I have an electric cordless drill that my father handed down to me. Recently, I needed to drill a hole in a desk to allow for computer cables to pass through. I bought an appropriate drill bit, clamped it in, and got to drilling - to have the drill manage a few rotations before sticking and stuttering and being unable to go any further.

I'm admittedly a novice at this - so my first thought, 'surely I just need a more powerful drill', may not be entirely trustworthy. Can that be safely considered to be my next step? To buy (or more likely, rent) a stronger electric drill to cut this hole?

  • 2
    Either your drill is defective or its battery needs a charge.
    – Barry
    Jun 2, 2017 at 2:15
  • 3
    Are you using a twist drill, or a hole saw? Are you pressing down hard, or with light even pressure? Are you letting the drill get up to speed, or starting against the wood?
    – Tester101
    Jun 2, 2017 at 2:23
  • Tester - tried with a hole saw bit for the drill. I had it pressed up against the wood but I tried letting it get up to speed and then setting it against the wood, made a little further but crapped out in the end.
    – CGriffin
    Jun 2, 2017 at 12:13
  • 1
    Chances are your battery is almost dead. This is commonplace: they make batteries to last no longer than the warranty period, then die. While you owned the tool, the manufacturers would also completely change the design and stop making old batteries, forcing you to buy a complete new tool. Don't fall for that, buy a corded drill.
    – ajeh
    Jun 2, 2017 at 14:08
  • You are backing off and clearing out the teeth of the hole cutter / circular hole, right? IIRC those kind of bits aren't meant to drill straight through in one go, you've got to back off because the sawdust will fill up your hole quickly and make it really hard to get into anything, probably not whats happening, but just wanted to make sure you're not just pressing down and giving it to the drill hoping it'll just power through it. Jun 8, 2017 at 11:50

1 Answer 1


Cordless drill "handed down from your father" - odds are the battery is toast. They don't last forever. At some point a whole new cordless drill makes more sense than pricy batteries for an older drill. Not knowing what yours is or when it's from, I can't say for sure. My last one I replaced the original two batteries with two new batteries when they crapped out, and when those were toast it was clearly new drill time, given the price of things and the moving on of battery technology.

It would probably be fine (you didn't mention what size hole, or what type of bit) for the job if it was fully functional, but old cordless drills are often not fully functional with their original batteries.

  • 3
    Corded drills are a much better option for someone using it so infrequently that they'd consider renting. They're half the cost, last forever, and avoid any battery issues. Jun 2, 2017 at 6:46
  • Hm, so noted! For reference, I bought a hole saw bit, the kind with a 'guide' bit down the middle to keep it straight (my terminology is almost definitely wrong in a few places). The hole is an inch in diameter. If that changes any of your answer let me know, otherwise I'll go ahead and accept it!
    – CGriffin
    Jun 2, 2017 at 12:17
  • The enterprising tinkerer with nothing to lose can carefully crack open a drill battery pack, identify the individual cells by asking the oracle what the numbers are, and ordering more of those cells on eBay. @MatthewGauthier I agree, and I work on a very large site where it's often hundreds of feet to an outlet. Jun 2, 2017 at 16:15
  • That "works" if the enterprising tinkerer counts his or her time as worth nothing. But if it is your idea of fun, feel free. I've done 4" hole-saw holes with two different eras of cordless drill, so it's certainly possible to do a mere 1" hole-saw hole. Of course the prior era drill is now more or less useless (that one being a 12V I'll probably make it a "jumper-cable to car battery sort-of-portable drill.")
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 2, 2017 at 18:32
  • Just following up for future viewers: the problem was indeed, that my old drill's batteries were starting to give out. A brand new drill did indeed solve the problem.
    – CGriffin
    Jun 8, 2017 at 13:28

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