Auger Safety 101 (Follow up to How to Secure a Bit in Your Cordless Drill)

November 04, 2023

Let’s talk about auger safety. In our last blog article we showed you how to secure a bit in your cordless drill the right way – by locking your drill bit into place.

This only works on newer model drills from manufacturers like Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt to name a few, but it’s an important thing to keep in mind to stay safe and keep yourself from being injured when operating an auger or another drill bit.

Check out the video we made on how to tighten your drill below.

Here’s a quote we received from one of our customers in response:
“Good tips. But one fact that someone should mention: when using the plant auger, be careful. If you are in some fine roots, the bit may get caught and spend the bit and the whole drill – depending where the clutch on the drill is set. I have had the twist cause some pain to the wrist. Lucky so far, but you could end up with a broken wrist.”

This makes a very good point.

Having the clutch set so the drill kicks out with too much resistance is a valuable piece of advice to follow.

Understanding How to Use Your Drill’s Clutch

We know that not everyone knows exactly what a drill clutch is or how to adjust one to protect your wrist when drilling. Since this is an important thing to understand for auger safety, we’re going to take the opportunity to explain exactly how it works. Keep reading to learn more.

When you look at your cordless drill (see photo below), you will notice sequential numbers – this is where the drill’s chuck is. Usually the numbers shown are 1-15, and then a picture of a screw is shown after the 15.

As our very smart customer mentioned in their response above, it is vital to have the clutch set appropriately on the drill if you are going to drill in less-than-ideal conditions (i.e., where there are many roots or rocks).

The clutch will trip out the chuck of the drill so it quits spinning when it meets resistance. You can easily try this out with your own drill at home, too.

Please note: it will take the operator some testing to figure out what their grip can handle as far as resistance.

Try it Yourself

Turn the dial to number 1, then pull the trigger and grab the spinning clutch. It will trip out and click very easily just from you grabbing it. If you move the dial to number 2, it will be a little more difficult for the clutch to stop, but it will still stop pretty easily. The same thing happens as you move the dial to the higher numbers.

But be careful – when the dial is on the screw icon, the clutch will not trip out at all.

This is when it is possible to get the drill bit caught on a root or a rock, which may send a person or their wrist spinning – and could cause pain or injury.

Always make sure you refer to the safety guidelines or instructions provided with your specific drill – there may be certain features and modifications to our advice here that the drill manufacturer can provide.

We want the best for our customers. Auger safety is important not only to keep yourself and others from being injured, but also to help you complete your gardening or landscaping project more effectively, too.

Check out our Power Planter FAQs to learn more about the safe use of our augers.