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The Best Center Punches for Construction Projects

If you build things, a useful tool to have on hand is a center punch—a tool that can make a mark on the surface of metal, wood, stone, or plastic. The resulting dimple helps guide drills when working on construction projects. Center punches are steady, quick, and precise to prevent accidental slipping that leads to injuries or mistakes. If you’re looking for a new center punch, here are some we recommend to make drilling easier.

Choosing a Center Punch

There are just a couple of factors you should consider when making a center punch purchase:

  • Ease of use: Many center punches come with adjustability and precise control to make them easier to use. Some are automatic, meaning they come with a built-in spring to punch on their own, while others require the tap of a hammer on them to create the indentation. Clearly, automatic ones will be extra convenient, but they are usually a little more expensive than their nonautomatic counterparts.
  • Construction: Consider what the tool is made from and how durable it will be. You’ll want something that will last and be effective on tough materials.

Best Overall: Super Strong Automatic Center Punch

These center punches have extreme strength and are made of well-machined brass bodies. The deeply knurled surface won’t slip and offers precise handling and control. The tension is adjustable, and they can be used with simple one-hand operation. They also make great emergency escape tools for cars.

Best Set: SEDY 4-Piece Nail Setter Punch & Center Punch Set

This center punch set includes a variety of punch sizes. The punches are made from alloy steel and have gouge points, anti-slip roads, clear specifications, and tap points. These are not automatic, so you’ll just have to tap them with a hammer to form a sharp impression on the work surface. These work especially well for embedding nails into wood veneers.

Best Set

SEDY 4-Piece Nail Setter Punch & Center Punch Set

A center punch set with a variety of punch sizes.

Best Adjustable: Neiko 02638A 5″ Automatic Center Hole Punch

This 5-inch long center punch is spring-loaded with an adjustable stroke. The punch can be used with various materials, including wood, plastic, metal, glass, and leather. The chrome-plated shank body withstands high impact force and resists corrosion, and the tip holds up to hard surfaces. The spring-driven action and hard steel awl tip make punching easier. It’s perfect for a variety of tasks in construction and auto mechanics.

Best Adjustable

Also Consider: Starrett 18A Automatic Center Punch

Perfect for pre-drilling, the 18A automatic center punch tool has a conical point for good indentation in an object. It is made from steel construction and has a knurled finger grip for easy handling and punching control. No hammer is needed as the punch can automatically strike a blow when pressure is applied. Users can adjust the force, and the point can be removed for regrinding and replacement.

Also Consider

Starrett Steel Automatic Center Punch with Adjustable Stroke - 5" (125mm) Length, 9/16" (14mm) Punch Diameter, Lightweight, Knurled Steel Handle - 18A

A center punch with a knurled finger grip, punching control, and an automatic mechanism for punching.

Rachel Shubin Rachel Shubin
Rachel Shubin is a freelance journalist who is passionate about telling stories. Along with writing reviews for LifeSavvy, she writes a book column for Cape May Magazine and is a reporter for the Cape May Star & Wave Newspaper. When Rachel is not writing, she can be found advocating for mental health awareness and animal rescue, reading novels, exploring Cape May, or working on her polymer clay jewelry business, Piper + Pearl Co. Read Full Bio »
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