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How To Drill a Perfectly Vertical Hole Like a Pro

Drilling perfectly vertical holes is more than challenging. The drill bit's straight and wants to stay straight but when you add the weight of the drill with the speed of rotation, things can get a little hairy. But even if you don't have a drill press on hand, you can still drill perfectly straight holes. Below we'll show you 5 ways you can drill a perfectly vertical hole using a few things you already have laying around the house and some pro tools that don't cost much.

Drill Level

Most handheld cordless drills made in the last few years have a built in level on the top and the back. Using that level you can drill a perfect hole without any extra tools.

This method requires a little more skill though and you have to be comfortable with a drill to actually make a straight hole. If you're not an expert, start with a slow rotation on the drill. Don't start by squeezing the drill trigger all the way down because 99% of the time this throws the drill off balance and makes your hole crooked.

Instead, use a low RPM setting and go slow until you get a starter hole. Then you can increase the speed as long as you can keep the bubble perfectly centered while you drill through the material.

Use An Old CD

Most of us have some old CD's laying around the house thanks to the invention of the digital music. Fortunately, you can once again put them to good use.

The hole in the center of the CD can be used as a drill guide. Simply lay your CD flat on the surface of the thing you're drilling through. Then put your drill bit in the center of the CD and use it to guide your drill.

Use Some Old Scrap Wood

Use a few pieces of 1 x2 inch scrap wood and nail them together to form a perfect 90 degree angle. It's important that the angle is perfect otherwise your hole wont be straight and you're wasting your time.

When you're building this guide, use a square to form your 90 degree angle before nailing the wood together. Once your guide's built, use the inside corner to guide your bit. As long as your wood is perfectly angled, you'll get a perfectly straight hole. Before you drill your hole, we recommend you clamp your newly made guide down just to be on the safe side.

Portable Drill Press

The most straightforward way to drill a perfectly vertical hole every single time is to get a portable drill press. This is a guide that your handheld drill goes into. Then you can operate your drill with the precision of a drill press without the bulky equipment or expense of an actual drill press. If you need to drill perfectly straight holes often, you should consider investing in one of these.

Drill Block

A drill block is a little block that has pre-drilled holes of different sizes in it. The good ones are made from metal and keep your bit straight and your holes perfectly vertical. This options more portable and less bulky than a portable drill press and something that you can easily keep in your tool box or bag.

The holes are just large enough for standard drill bits to fit through without leaning to the side. When you use the drill block, you want to make sure that you clamp it firmly in place before beginning to drill so that it doesn't accidentally spin out of place.

Safety Tips

  • Always wear safety goggles when operating power tools or doing anything that could cause dust or debris to shoot into your eyes.
  • Clamp down your guide before drilling. Make sure it's firmly in place and use more than one clamp if needed.
  • If you're not experienced, start with a low speed setting and get comfortable with the drill.
  • Safety gloves can be a good idea as long as they're not loose enough to get caught up in the spinning drill bit.
  • Keep your other hand a safe distance away from the drill bit.
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