Electric Drills: An Essential Farm Tool

Stocking up your tool box? Make sure you have an electric drill in the mix.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson

“Hand me the drill.”

This phrase couldn’t be more common on hobby farms everywhere, whether you’re building a chicken coop, repairing a fence or working on a multitude of other construction tasks. Electric drills—specifically, portable battery-powered drills with exchangeable drill bits—are remarkably versatile and are, in my opinion, an absolutely essential farm tool. Here are seven reasons why electric drills are so useful.

1. They’re Great For Quick Repairs

On a farm, it’s inevitable that things are going to break once in awhile—a horse might pull a feed bucket off the wall or part of a garden trellis might collapse after a storm. When’s there’s wood involved and time is limited, there’s nothing much more simple than grabbing an electric drill and putting in a few screws to make a repair. It might only be a temporary fix, but it can keep things running smoothly until you have a chance to address the issue in a more thoroughly.

2. They’re Portable

When a fence line is down on the outer reaches of your property, a battery-powered drill might be all you need to replace a damaged part and repair the fence. No extension cords, no generator, just a quick walk to analyze the trouble spot and fix it right then and there.

3. They’re Lightweight

For such a useful tool, electric drills weigh surprisingly little, making them simple to carry around from project to project and easy to use for long periods of time. Some of them hardly weigh more than hammer!

4. They’re Easy To Use

What could be simpler than pushing a button and letting the drill do the work? They’re significantly faster and easier to use than manual screwdrivers, and for most projects, I prefer to use an electric drill and screws rather than a hammer and nails—after all, there’s no pounding involved and no chance of hitting your fingers with the head of a hammer.

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5. They’re Customizable

Replacing drill bits is fast and easy, adding to the versatility and usefulness of these tools. It seems like many farm repair projects involve screws of all different head types, including Phillips heads, square heads and star heads; a handful of different screwdriver bits will allow your drill to handle any screws you might encounter.

6. They’re More Than Just Electric Screwdrivers

While you might use an electric drill primarily for driving screws, you can also purchase spade or brad point bits that bore holes through wood, a very useful feature if you love DIY projects.

7. They’re Small

Some electric drills aren’t very big, which comes in handy when you need to screw things together in tight spaces. Unlike with a hammer, which needs plenty of clearance so that you can generate the velocity for pounding nails, a drill will work in any space that you can fit it in, which comes in handy for tricky projects involving oddly shaped objects.

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