Drill Chuck Slipping Problems Resolved

photo of Jacobs Chuck

Are you having problems with a slipping chuck? One of the most common problems for all drill users is when the drill bit starts to slip in the actual chuck.

If you have used a drill for any length of time, then no doubt you have come across this rather annoying problem.

Many people think they are doing something wrong when this happens, but that may not be the case at all.

The chuck is the part of the drill where you put the drill bit or screwdriver bit into and then tighten up. You can see that clearly in the image just above and to the right.

Keyed Chuck vs Keyless Chuck

There are two ways of tightening a chuck around a drill bit. Some drills use a key to tighten the chuck around the bit but more and more chucks are made keyless for faster changing of the bits.

Drill bits do tend to slip more in a keyless chuck than one that is manually tightened using a chuck key.

When these keyless chucks were first made, the problem of slipping was huge. Manufacturers have however become much better at the design of these and that problem is now starting to disappear.

However, even with the best designs you can still have the slipping problem so let’s have a look at why this happens and how to stop it.

There are two parts to this:

  1. The chuck itself
  2. The bits that you are using

Larger chucks with a heavily knurled interior surface will always give a much stronger and more solid grip. In early designs these chucks were made with smoother inner surfaces and this caused the problem.

You need to really tighten the keyless chuck but it does take a serrated edge or knurled edge to make a firm connection with the bit.

It is better to replace your chuck if it is old and smooth with a newer chuck designed to modern standards. It is also cheaper in most cases than replacing a drill.

It could also come down to the bits that you are using. Many drill bits are made in a round cylindrical style and most chucks will struggle to get a complete grip on those style of bits.

That is why hexagonal bits have grown so much in popularity. That design is much easier to grip than a cylinder style, and although they cost a little more, are in my opinion a very good investment.

Replacing A Slipping Chuck

If you do a lot of drilling and continue to have slippage problems then I would recommend changing to a new chuck and one that uses a key for tightening. You will lose a little speed when it comes to changing bits, but you will end any problems you have with slipping drill bits.

Now we would only recommend doing that if you are regularly doing a lot of heavy drilling. For normal household drilling, it is better to stick with a keyless chuck.

The perfect drill to bit combination is a keyed chuck and hexagonal drill bits. That particular combination will never slip and you do have the perfect gripping combination.

Changing or replacing a chuck is a fairly straightforward process and well within the remit of any person. Here is a short video of how to do just that.

As you can see from the video it is pretty simple to remove an old chuck. Just be aware that each model is slightly different and the removal technique may vary, but generally the same principles apply.

After that you need to put on the new chuck depending on which one you have bought. A typical one is this one called the Jacob’s chuck.

photo of Jacobs Chuck

These are a very popular choice in the market as they have hardened jaws and a well constructed interior for gripping. As you can see it comes with a key for manual tightening which also helps prevent slipping.

Change the Chuck of Change the Drill

You can change a chuck if you have the right tools and the right knowledge. If you own a really old drill, then it may be hard to find a replacement chuck. It will also be really hard to remove the old one as well.

If that is the case, then it might be better just to spend the money on a new drill.

If you are not a handy DIY person, then we would also recommend not tackling this job. Owning a drill with a slipping chuck makes it all but useless. Taking it apart will not then matter that much as it is ineffective anyway.

The only thing you need to balance out is the price of a new chuck against the price of a new drill. A typical chuck costs anything between $10-$40 and that will depend on the brand of the chuck. If you buy one of these, then you will have to do the replacement or pay someone to do it.

New drills can be purchased from $30 upwards, so it is always going to be a balance in price.

The majority of people will simply buy a new drill, and save all of the hassle.

Enda McLarnon
 

Enda McLarnon is now retired and is now enjoying writing about his love of power tools. All types of these tools are now available and they make working on projects and DIY jobs around the home a great deal of fun