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How to Reverse a Screw with a Power Drill – A Step-by-Step Guide

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Written By John Gibbs




» Power Tools » Drill » Drill Bits » How to Reverse a Screw with a Power Drill – A Step-by-Step Guide
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If you’re looking for an easy way to reverse a screw with a drill, you’ve come to the right place. This step-by-step guide will show you how to easily unscrew any screw with a drill. We’ll cover all the basics, from choosing the right drill bit to using the proper technique to ensure a successful unscrewing. We’ll also discuss tips and tricks for more difficult screws. By the end of this guide, you’ll be a pro at reversing a screw with a drill.

What You’ll Need

What You'Ll Need

Item Quantity
Power drill 1
Drill bit 1
Screwdriver bit 1
Screw 1

To reverse a screw with a power drill, you’ll need a power drill, a drill bit, a screwdriver bit, and a screw.

Preparing the Drill

Preparing The Drill

  • Set the clutch: The clutch is an important component of the drill. It should be set to the lowest setting possible to ensure that the drill bit doesn’t exert too much force on the screw.
  • Choose the right drill bit: A drill bit should be chosen that is the same size or slightly smaller than the head of the screw. This will ensure that the bit has enough space to fit inside the head of the screw.
  • Mark the screw: To ensure that the drill bit is lined up properly, it is important to mark the head of the screw with a marker. This will provide a visual reference point for the drill bit.
  • Secure the screw: The screw should be secured in place to ensure that it doesn’t move while being drilled. This can be done by using a clamp or vice.
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Selecting the Right Bit

Selecting The Right Bit

  • Choose a drill bit that is slightly wider than the screw head. This will ensure the bit fits securely and won’t slip off.
  • Make sure the bit is long enough to reach the full depth of the screw head. If the bit is too short, it won’t be able to fully engage the screw and cause it to spin.
  • If the screw is corroded, choose a bit with a pointed tip. This will help penetrate the rust and make it easier to unscrew.
  • Make sure the drill bit is compatible with the material of the screw. If the bit is too hard, it could damage the screw head or strip the thread.

Adjusting the Speed

Adjusting The Speed

Set the drill to a slow speed before beginning to unscrew the screw. A slow speed will help you avoid stripping or damaging the screw head. To adjust the speed, use the variable speed trigger and adjust it to the lowest setting. This will ensure that you have enough control over the drill and the speed at which it is running.

If you are using an impact driver, make sure the speed is set to the lowest setting before starting to unscrew the screw. An impact driver can easily damage the screw head if the speed is set too high.

Setting the Direction

Setting The Direction

  • Set the drill to reverse direction. To do this, locate the forward/reverse switch and set it to the reverse position.
  • Adjust the speed. Make sure the speed is set low enough to prevent the drill bit from damaging the screw head.
  • Secure the drill bit. Insert the drill bit into the drill chuck and tighten it securely.
  • Position the drill bit. Place the drill bit on the screw head and press down lightly.
  • Start drilling. Start the drill and press down firmly as the drill bit engages with the screw.
  • Turn the drill. Slowly turn the drill in reverse until the screw is unscrewed.
  • Remove the screw. Once the screw is loose, stop the drill and remove the screw from the hole.
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Applying Pressure

Applying Pressure

  • Position your drill bit: Make sure your drill bit is firmly positioned on the screw head.
  • Apply pressure: Slowly apply pressure to the drill trigger, providing enough power to back out the screw.
  • Continue applying pressure: Increasing the pressure that you apply to the drill trigger will back out the screw.
  • Keep pressure consistent: Maintaining a consistent pressure on the drill trigger is important to ensure that the screw is removed.

Releasing the Pressure

Releasing The Pressure

Once the drill is in place, you should apply pressure to the screw while slowly turning the drill in the opposite direction. You will likely feel resistance, which means the drill is engaging the screw and slowly turning it. Be careful not to push too hard; the goal is to slowly and steadily release the pressure from the screw.

If the screw does not budge, try increasing the pressure. You can also switch to a higher speed setting on the drill. However, be sure to go slow and steady. Too much pressure or speed can cause damage to the screw and surrounding material.

Remember to keep your hands on the drill at all times and to stop immediately if you feel any excessive resistance. It is also important to wear the correct safety gear, such as safety glasses, when using a drill.

Finishing the Job

To finish unscrewing a screw with a drill, you need to:

  • Disconnect the drill from the power source. Turn off the power switch and unplug the cord from the wall outlet before removing the drill bit from the screw.
  • Remove the drill bit. Gently pull out the drill bit from the screw head.
  • Check the screw head. Make sure the screw head is clean and free of burrs, dirt, or rust.
  • Remove the screw. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw completely.

Now that you know how to reverse a screw with a drill, you can easily unscrew any screw. With a few simple steps and the right tools, you can quickly and safely remove any screw from your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of drill bit should I use to reverse a screw?

Reversing a screw with a drill might seem like a daunting task, but it can be done easily with the right drill bit. To reverse a screw, you need to use a reverse screwdriver drill bit. This type of drill bit has a special angled tip that allows you to unscrew screws in reverse. Here is a list of the types of drill bits you can use to reverse a screw:

  • Spade Bit: A spade bit is a type of drill bit that has a flat, wide tip. It is designed to easily bore through wood and other materials. It is ideal for reversing screws in wood.
  • Brad Point Bit: A brad point bit is designed to bore through wood and other materials with precision. It has a sharp point that helps guide the screw in the right direction. It is ideal for reversing screws in wood.
  • Phillips Bit: A Phillips bit is a specially designed bit for reversing screws with a Phillips head. It has a cross-shaped point that allows you to unscrew the screw in the opposite direction.
  • Torx Bit: A Torx bit is a special bit designed for reversing screws with a Torx head. It has a star-shaped point that allows you to unscrew the screw in the opposite direction.

No matter which drill bit you choose, it is important to make sure that the bit is specifically designed for reversing screws. Using the wrong type of drill bit can damage the screw and make it difficult to unscrew.

What is the Best Way to Ensure the Screw is Straight Before Reversing?

Before reversing a screw, it is important to make sure that it is straight. The best way to do this is to use a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw head and check that it fits properly. If the bit is not fitting properly, the screw is not straight and needs to be adjusted before reversing. Additionally, if the screw is stuck, use a lubricant to free it up before attempting to reverse it.

Is there a difference in technique when reversing a screw with a corded or cordless drill?

When using a corded drill, set the drill to reverse and slowly apply pressure until the screw starts to back out. With a cordless drill, there is no need to set the drill to reverse as the motor will automatically switch directions when pressure is applied. Simply apply pressure until the screw starts to back out.

Is there a risk of damaging the screw if I reverse it incorrectly?

Yes, reversing a screw incorrectly can cause damage to the screw. Stripping, chipping, and rounding of the head and threads can occur if the screw is reversed too quickly, with too much force, or if the wrong tools are used. Always use the correct tools and follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the screw.

What is the Most Efficient Way to Reverse Multiple Screws of Different Sizes?

The best way to reverse multiple screws of different sizes is to use a cordless drill with an adjustable clutch. This allows you to set the clutch to a desired torque level and adjust it accordingly for each screw size. Using a cordless drill also allows you to easily maneuver around tight spaces and quickly remove screws from hard-to-reach places. Additionally, using a cordless drill with an adjustable clutch ensures that you don’t over-tighten or strip the screws.


Reversing a screw with a drill is a relatively simple task that requires a few steps and the right tools. With patience and some practice, anyone can easily unscrew any screw with a drill.



About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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