Payday Wiki
This article is about the drills used in heists to open doors, safes, and vaults. For the drills bought and gotten in card drops used to open weapon skin safes, see Safes (Gameplay).

In both games of the PAYDAY series, the drill is among the list of mandatory items whose usage is required in almost every map. Although initially slow and prone to jamming, the performance of drills can be enhanced with the proper skills.


Drills provide access to locked doors and safes, and are one of the most useful and widely-needed tools of the trade. By default drills break through very slowly and noisily, and are prone to jamming which makes even more noise than usual, though these can be remedied by having the right skills.

High-level players generally tend to forgo the drill completely, however, as certain high-tier skills provides access to faster and/or more efficient alternatives to drilling such as Shaped Chargesthe use of the Saw and the ECM Jammer's Overdrive, though due to their usually limited amount of uses, and due to the fact that the first two are relatively noisy, the drill remains a viable option. There are also more spots to drill than there are places to put down Shaped Charges or use the Saw so drilling is almost always necessary.

Certain heists have their own unique drill that must be used as part of the mission objectives, such as the Golden Grin Casino and Big Bank.

Drill types[]

A drill working on a safe in Ukrainian Job.

"Why don't we just use a spoon?"
Houston, contemplating on a new, probably more reliable tool for drilling.

The basic drill comprises of a dark blue common drill fastened to a mount and has an electronic screen that shows the drill's progress. Almost any heist has a drillable spot, ranging from door locks to deposit boxes, with most of them being early mission objectives and/or sub-objectives as in the case of safes.

Except very few instances, drills share a same mechanic for its possibility to "jam". Any drill placed is scripted to jam up to a maximum of 3 times, based on a random selection made at the instant the drill is placed. This holds true for both the common drills and the thermal drills in PAYDAY 2. Some heists feature drills that will not jam (as in the OVERDRILL and Counterfeit in PAYDAY: The Heist; The Big Bank and Golden Grin Casino of PAYDAY 2), though the drills featured can be disabled by other means. They are also much slower than the common drills.

In PAYDAY: The Heist the drill's position is highlighted with a yellow silhouette of the drill itself, while in PAYDAY 2 the crew must find a viable spot and then deploy the equipment.

A Thermal Drill working on a vault in a Bank Heist.

"Guys! The thermal drill, go get it!"
—Bain bugging the crew about acquiring the thermal drill.

In certain heists, most notably Bank Heists, a thermal drill is required to break through reinforced vault doors. These drills are either spawned on set or dropped in after a vault has been reached as in the case of the Train and Hotline Miami heists. As thermal drills can only be deployed from individual kits, usually only one unit can be up and running at once, though certain scenarios also allows the crew to purchase an additional drill bag so they can work on two vaults at the same time.

Thermal drills appear to be more visible and audibly noisier than basic drills, though these aspects do not affect gameplay any differently than regular drills do. They have a base drilling time of 360 seconds, and use the same jamming mechanics as normal drills. Due to the longer drilling time, they appear to jam less frequently, however do jam just as often as regular drills.

Thermal drills are affected by all the same skills as regular drills (see below):

  • Hardware Expert is, relatively speaking, less useful for thermal drills than regular drills as jamming proportionally takes up less of the total drilling time. However, when going loud on higher difficulties, any reduction in the time spent holding out against the cops waiting for the drill is probably a good thing.
  • Drill Sawgeant is incredibly useful for thermal drills as its effect is in proportion to the base drilling duration. The Aced version of the skill will reduce total drilling time by almost 2 minutes.

Thermal drill bags are treated as loot by NPCs and as such guards will sound the alarm if they see one, though those that are spawned on set will not trigger be considered suspicious unless a player picks them up and drops them. Law enforcers will also attempt to take away thermal drill bags if left unattended.

The Beast Drill in action.

"Industrialists calls this a heavy drilling aparatus, but heisters call it "The Beast". Gentlemen, start it up."
—The Beast's introduction.

The Beast Drill is a unique heavy duty drill in The Big Bank and San Martín Bank heists. This drill is required to break through the Bank's heavily reinforced vault door and has to be constructed by the crew on the spot via parts delivered by crane in the Big Bank or delivered by Bile by helicopter in the San Martín Bank.

The Beast Drill is also unique in that once it jams, the crew must fix it with spare parts included in the delivery, or pre-placed beforehand somewhere in the map in the Big Bank, or in a white van outside the bank in the San Martín Bank.

The blueprints for the BFD.

The BFD in action.

The Big Fucking Drill (or BFD, for short) is a drill designed by Russian heister Sokol and is unique to the Golden Grin Casino heist. The BFD is not technically a drill in the conventional sense (especially when compared to the kind usually used by the crew), but rather a plasma arc cutter on a rig that allows it to cut a circular hole. By default it takes 7 minutes (420 seconds) to make a complete cut, has two green water tanks, a breaker panel, a small cabinet (for supplies, initially empty), a ladder, and must be hooked up to the casino power grid via two cables to function. There are three ways for the BFD to shut down;

  1. If there is no water in the tanks, the drill will begin to overheat; it will eventually break down and require repair with spare parts. This can partially be alleviated using the Improved Cooling System and Better Plasma Cutter Upgrades, but the crew will still need to periodically refill the tanks.
  2. If the two wall plugs are removed by law enforcers. The Extra Battery asset (see below) removes the need for one of the cables.
  3. If the drill itself is turned off, also by law enforcers.

When the water tanks are empty, players can bag them and bring them to one of the downstairs bathrooms in the casino to be refilled via the sinks. Empty water tanks weigh roughly as much as a bag of money (but it is possible to sprint with them), and full water tanks weigh roughly as much as bagged weapons, such as those in Firestarter and Big Oil. Empty tanks take 30 seconds to refill, so they should be filled and replaced before the other tank runs out.

The behavior listed above is merely the standard, in Pre-Planning there are additional upgrades to the BFD which are separated into the BFD Upgrades and BFD Attachments categories. All upgrades to the drill are free in terms of cash, but extensive upgrades to it will significantly eat into the team's supply of favours.

BFD Upgrades[]

  • Improved Cooling System: Doubles the size of the tanks, allowing longer operation between refills. Costs 3 favors.
  • Engine Optimization: Enables the drill to make a hotter arc, decreasing the time needed to drill. Costs 2 favors.
  • Additional Engine Power: A power upgrade that enables BFD to create a faster arc. Decreases time required to drill the hole. Costs 3 favors.
  • Better Plasma Cutter: A high-frequency cutter system makes BFD more reliable and has less chance to overheat if the water tanks are empty. Costs 2 favors.

Improved Cooling System and Additional Engine Power are very useful if the crew plans on going loud, reducing the cut time to 5 minutes and the number of total refills required to just one.

BFD Attachments[]

  • Water level indicator: Displays the current water level of each tank. Costs 1 favor.
  • Toolbox: Attaches a toolbox with 3 'consumable' tools for repairing the BFD. Costs 1 favor.
  • Timer: Displays progress of drilling. Costs 1 favor.
  • Sentry: Give the BFD some self-defense capability with a mounted turret. Costs 3 favors each.
  • Medkit: Attaches a medkit to the side of the BFD. Costs 2 favors.
  • Extra Battery: The BFD comes with an extra backup battery, removing the need for the second power cable. Costs 3 favors.

While the BFD upgrades themselves are useful, the attachments are less so;

  • The water level indicator can help somewhat in gauging tank drain speed or warn of an imminent need to refill them, but the tanks can only ever be removed when empty. An empty tank will gain the usual orange outline and Bain will prompt the crew to remove and refill the tank. Note that basic (short green) water tanks drain in 60 seconds and upgraded (tall blue) water tanks drain in 120.
  • The toolbox is almost completely useless, as a red toolbox in the Loading Bay at the rear of the casino holds replacement parts, and the drill can only break down if it is allowed to overheat. If taken, the attached tools can be found in the supply case next to the drill's main controls.
  • The timer was previously not completely necessary as the crew can simply view the hole being cut, however since the hole cut graphic has been removed, it may prove useful. The drill takes 7 minutes without upgrades, 6 with Engine Optimization and 5 with Additional Engine Power.
  • The turrets may look attractive at first, but come without upgrades and will significantly cut into favour supply that might be better spent on upgrades or other help. Only two turrets can be installed at most, despite the drill having four mounting points.
  • The medical supplies, as with all dead drops, are only really useful for teams that have a limited supply or wish to carry other supplies, although they do have the benefit of being in close proximity to the BFD. The supplies themselves take the form of a cabinet (similar to those seen in the Infirmary of Hoxton Breakout Day 2) placed within the supply case attached to the rig.
  • The extra battery allows the BFD to work with just one cable required to connect instead of two, as the battery will be used in the second outlet. While questionable in a full team, it helps players that play solo or with only one other player.

A saw working on the Panic Room.

Mounted saws appear in PAYDAY: The Heist, and starting with Update #81, in PAYDAY 2 and, albeit different in appearance and purpose, function identically to the normal drill and are affected by the same skills.

They appear in PAYDAY: The Heist in Panic Room, Green Bridge, Undercover, and No Mercy, and appear in PAYDAY 2 in Aftershock, Goat Simulator Day 1, Alaskan Deal, Reservoir Dogs Heist Day 2, Brooklyn Bank, and the remastered versions of the aforementioned heists.

Saws technically were in PAYDAY 2 since release in the form of the OVE9000 saw, which is not mounted but is rather a primary/secondary weapon and used to open deposit boxes, doors, and ATMs, and in some cases, as a faster alternative to drilling.

Drill-related skills[]

In PAYDAY 2, these skills can optionally be acquired to further enhance the performance of drills in general. Players with more advanced skills can upgrade those set by others. Fixing an inferior drill automatically applies the upgrades.

Hardware Expert U100.png

Hardware Expert
Technician: Breacher Tier 1
Basic (1 pt): You fix drills and saws 25% faster. Drills and saws are also silent. Civilians and guards must see the drill or saw in order to become alerted.
Ace (3 pt): Gives your drills and saws a 10% chance to automatically restart after breaking.
Drill Sawgeant.png

Drill Sawgeant
Technician: Breacher Tier 2
Basic (2 pt): Your drill and saw timer is decreased by 15%.
Ace (4 pt): Your drill and saw timer is decreased by an additional 15%.

Technician: Breacher Tier 3
Basic (3 pt): Your drills and saws gain an additional 20% chance to automatically restart after breaking.
Ace (6 pt): Enables the ability to reset a broken drill or saw with a melee attack. The ability has a 50% chance to fix the drill or saw. The ability can only be used once per time the drill or saw is broken.


  • The common red drills seemingly use magnets to anchor themselves to the drilled surfaces, as they are able to stay upright and operational without dropping due to sheer weight and/or spinning around due to the drill's movement. The metallic "clang" heard upon deploying a drill suggests this is the case.
  • The Big Fucking Drill's name and abbreviation is possibly a reference to the game DOOM, the trademark weapon of which is the BFG 9000 or "Big Fucking Gun 9000".
    • Additionally, the Big Fucking Drill's cutter relies on extreme amounts of power to operate, causing power shortages all around the casino, shutting down several lights and slot machines in the process.
  • Thermal drilling is also commonly referred to as "friction drilling", a process defined as a method of making holes in metal in which the material is pushed out of the way with the aid of heat. Other names include "flow drilling", "form drilling", and "friction stir drilling". Because of the thermal drill's reliance on heat, it is relit every time the lance shuts off instead of being mechanically restarted.
    • Due to graphic limitations, the thermal-drilled surfaces would always appear spotless.
    • It is never explained how the thermal drill works in the game. Most of the time, one is used to breach a secure vault, which supposedly means the lance is set up to melt through the vault door's latches, though it only seems to target the lowermost one. How the vault still opens is beyond anyone's guess, as a typical PAYDAY-style vault door usually has more than one latch, which remains largely untouched during the entire process. This is likely done for ease of development.
  • The Beast Drill seems to utilize some sort of internal combustion engine to generate the energy needed to drive the drillbit. This is lampshaded by the noise it makes while restarting, which sounds like a car engine being revved.
  • Despite drills having "estimated time remaining" written on them, the time written on the screen is always exact to the second.
  • The drills ranked at number 4 in OutsideXbox's "8 "useful" items that were no help whatsoever" video, with much of the criticism being directed at their general unreliability and tendency to jam in practically any situation. The narrator of the segment have also reiterated the popular question of how the player crew never seem to purchase a replacement or upgrade (not that they can, however, within the limits of the game's mechanics) with their earned cash when the drill is so vital to their operation.
    • The Payday Gang, with the collaboration of Vernon Locke on The White House heist, have at last obtained the gang's first ever portable drill that will not jam by itself, at the cost of it being electric and requiring a steady income of electricity, which means the gang must protect the drill and fuse boxes.
  • Map elements that can be opened with the normal drill always have the drill directly modeled onto them, it is simply invisible until a player sets up the drill. This can be observed by placing a deployable on the invisible drill or throwing a bag where the drill would be.

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