The 10 Best Center Punches

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This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in February of 2019. These tools really pack a punch — a center punch, that is. They create a dimple where you intend to drill a hole in a piece of metal or other material, so the drill does not wander off from the intended spot for a hole. Many can also break through vehicle glass, making them a useful part of a car's emergency kit. Here, you'll find a selection of both automatic and manual varieties. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Rennsteig Automatic

2. Starrett 4-Inch

3. General Tools #89

Editor's Notes

March 17, 2021:

It was an easy round of updates for us, as all of our existing choices for this category continued to be superb selections, leaving us with no real need to make any new omissions or inclusions. We did give some thought to replacing the Mayhew Tools 62213 with the company’s new 62215 model – an alternative four-piece kit that Mayhew is now offering – but it didn’t seem sensible to us that they’d be charging more for a kit that offered smaller hardware, and since the scope of which sizes you need will depend largely on the nature of the work you’re doing, we didn’t know that our users would be any better served by this new choice. So, we decided to leave things as they were, at least until the next time we revisit this list.

February 28, 2019:

We started by looking at options from top names, including Starrett, Rennsteig, and Mayhew. Although we added automatic models from both Starrett and Rennsteig, it's tough to say which one truly comes out on top, as they're both crafted from durable materials to high quality standards. For example, it's true that the Rennsteig has a handle that's designed for comfort, where the Starrett's is plainer, but some users don't like the extra bulk. So, in the end, the choice is subjective. We also selected a few budget models, such as the Neiko 5-Inch, the Forge Industrial Brass, and the Horusdy Spring Loaded 2-Piece; they're fine for DIYers and light use, but if you rely on your tools to make a living, then these may not be heavy-duty enough.

4. Starrett 18C

5. Neiko 5-Inch

6. Lisle Automatic

7. Forge Industrial Brass

8. Mayhew Tools 62213

9. Horusdy Super Strong 2-Pack

10. Stanley Fatmax 3/8-Inch

Will Rhoda
Last updated by Will Rhoda

After deciding that the pen was mightier than the pliers, Canadian electrical contractor William Rhoda abandoned his career and headed back to college, where he majored in marketing and advertising and won a scholarship along the way to earning a diploma in creative communications. His past career landed him a depth of knowledge in tools and hardware, while his current career schooled him in audio, video and camera equipment. During his leisure time, he’s learned lots about outdoor gear, and years of tiresome backyard maintenance have taught him all about pools and hot tubs. His recreational pursuits include rest, relaxation and revolutionary action, and his roommate’s a hairless cat.

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