Why buy a right-angle drill?
If you’re working in an extremely tight spot, sometimes your trusty cordless drill is too bulky and cumbersome for the application. Thankfully, right-angle drills are a perfect tool for working in close quarters with their compact head and angled design. They can be used around pipes in a cramped cabinet or navigate between floor joists during a DIY construction job. Nowadays, many right-angle drills also come with nifty features that make them more comfortable and convenient to use than ever before.
What should you look for in a right-angle drill?
- Power Source: Battery-powered right angle drills are a convenient and effective tool favored for DIY applications. However, many find that air-powered drills require less maintenance over time when frequently used. There are also some excellent electric right-angle drills on the market, but these are much less convenient in tight spots due to their corded designs.
- Features: While most right-angle drills operate at a 90-degree angle, some have pivoting heads to make it even easier to find the perfect angle to work in extremely tight spots. A variable-speed trigger can also be incredibly handy and adds to a right angle drill’s premium feel. If you work in dark spaces (such as under cabinets), you should also consider purchasing a right-angle drill with a built-in LED light.
- Durability: If you plan on using your right-angle drill for various jobs, investing in a durable model is a no-brainer. While a rugged build quality will usually accompany a premium price tag, these drills are less likely to fail during a demanding project. They can outlast the most budget-friendly right-angle drills you put them up against, saving you money in the long run for pricey replacement tools.
What chuck size is ideal for my right-angle drill?
A vast majority of the right-angle drills on the market sport a 3/8-inch chuck, which will serve most DIYers just fine. This chuck size ensures the right-angle drill can sport a compact head that won’t have any issues fitting in tight spots. That being said, many professional applications might require a 1/2-inch chuck (and added torque). Before investing in a right-angle drill, it’s wise to research the applications you will use it for to be sure the drill’s chuck size will be ideal for the jobs you have in mind.
DEWALT 20V MAX Right-Angle Cordless Drill
This cordless right-angle drill is durable, compact, and extremely useful when working in tight spots.
Pros: At 3.9 pounds and four inches in length, the DEWALT 20-Volt MAX Right-Angle Cordless Drill can be used in the tightest of spots while minimizing user strain. Its dual-speed ranges are extremely handy in several applications, and the multi-grip trigger feels natural and comfortable in hand. The tool also feels incredibly durable and well made, with an attention-to-detail that one has come to expect from DEWALT tools. Overall, this is a great angle drill for your money.
Cons: While this right-angle drill exceeds expectations in most ways, it might be a little too pricey for DIYers who will only use it for the odd job that requires it.
Bottom Line: Thanks to its compact design and incredible build quality, this right-angle drill is an excellent choice for those who will get plenty of use out of it.
Bosch PS11-102 12-Volt 3/8-Inch Right-Angle Drill
This right-angle drill sports a unique pivoting head that is perfect for working in the tightest of spots or at the most awkward angles.
Pros: The Bosch 12-Volt Right Angle Drill features a five-position pivoting head, making finding the perfect angle in the tightest of spaces easier than ever. Weighing in at 2.4 pounds, the drill is light and compact enough to go anywhere you need it to go and mitigates arm and hand fatigue while working. With a 12-volt motor providing impressive torque and a quality variable-speed trigger to boot, the Bosch Right-Angle Drill has everything you love to see in an angle drill.
Cons: This right-angle drill doesn’t feature adjustable torque. Also, the drill’s battery life is pretty polarizing, so investing in an extra battery is probably a good idea.
Bottom Line: At this price point, there’s a lot to love about this right-angle drill from Bosch. Those who work under cabinets with piping running every which way will love the adjustable head, as it’s capable of drilling holes that are simply impossible with less versatile right-angle drills.
DEWALT Right Angle Attachment
This rugged right-angle attachment is incredibly durable for the price and pairs nicely with drills and drivers.
Pros: If you anticipate needing a right-angle drill only on rare occasions, the DEWALT Right Angle Attachment gives you all the functionality you’ll need for DIY jobs at a fraction of the cost. This durable attachment features a rugged metal-gear design and can be used with impact drivers or power drills. While lesser angle attachments degrade quickly when used with impact drivers, this one can take plenty of use and abuse, making it a great tool to keep in your toolbox in anticipation for the day you’ll need it.
Cons: This tool doesn’t work well with shorter drill bits.
Bottom Line: This amazing attachment can turn your drill into a right-angle one when you need it. It is great to have on hand if you can’t justify investing in a right-angle drill.
Ingersoll Rand Reversible Air Angle Drill
This right-angle drill stands out due to its impressive torque and durable metal build.
Pros: Auto mechanics generally need a different breed of right angle drill, and this drill from Ingersoll Rand checks off all the boxes. Featuring a rugged metal build with a reliable chuck, this highly-rated air drill has no problem drilling 3/8-inch holes in metal or working in confined spaces. It also stands out for its premium durability, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re still using this tool a decade after purchasing it. Factor in its next-level torque, and you can see why it’s such a highly-rated product.
Cons: Compared to the other products in this guide, this is the only right-angle drill that can potentially damage your hearing if you are not using ear protection. For that reason, keep your ear plugs handy when grabbing this tool to work on your car.
Bottom Line: If you’re shopping for a right-angle drill around your garage, this is the model for you.
Makita AD03Z 12V Max CXT Right-Angle Drill
This quality right-angle drill stands out for its compact design and impressive torque.
Pros: Featuring a lightweight design and keyed metal chuck, the Makita AD03Z Right-Angle Drill delivers 245 inch-pounds of max torque, making it more than capable of handling heavy-duty DIY jobs. Its large trigger feels very natural in your hand, and its variable-speed functionality works like a dream to keep things under control. This right-angle drill also sports an effective LED work light and convenient key management on its underside, making it suitable for those with a couple of compatible Makita batteries.
Cons: Since this right angle drill has a little more torque than similar tools, its lack of variable torque can lead you to damage screws when using it as a driver.
Bottom Line: Makita is a brand trusted all over, and when you use this right-angle drill, it’s easy to see why. While this drill probably won’t wow many people in terms of build quality, it should hold up just fine for occasional DIY usage spanning a wide range of applications.
Considering the time you can waste squirming around with your power drill or impact driver to achieve the perfect angle in a tight space, investing in a quality right-angle drill makes sense. Sure, it’s not a tool you’ll use every day, but there’s simply no substitute when the need arises.