The 10 Best Right Angle Drills
This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Whether you're a professional contractor or just a dedicated hobbyist working on building up the arsenal of tools in your garage, our selection of right-angle drills includes an option for just about everyone. These handy devices can reach into places standard drills can't, and we've included both corded and battery-powered models, so you can select the type that best suits your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 19, 2021:
We eliminated the Ridgid MegaMax due to availability issues, and replaced the Hitachi DN18DSLQ4 with the rebranded Metabo HPT DN18DSLP4. We also decided on removing the discontinued Bosch ADS181B, which was still available through some vendors, but likely to go missing by the next time we visit this list.
In its place, we added an alternate option from Bosch that will appeal to a different part of our audience. The Bosch RHA-50 isn’t a tool in its own right, but rather an adapter that can attach to SDS hammer drills, effectively enabling right-angle functionality. It’s a nice trick to have up your sleeve for occasional use, but it should be noted that some users have complained about it overheating when used strenuously, so it might not be a great option for heavy-duty applications.
The RHA-50 is a brand-specific device, and it isn’t compatible with some of the company’s older models, so make sure you do your due diligence and check whether it jives with your drill before you order it. Users looking to outfit an SDS Plus rotary hammer from Hilti can alternatively look into the company’s TE-AC right-angle chuck.
We also added the Makita XAD01 to our list, as a cordless complement to our corded inclusion: the Makita DA3010F. It’s available much more affordably as a bare tool, but we chose to rank the kit option, which comes with a charger, two three-amp-hour batteries and a serviceable tool bag with a shoulder strap.
March 24, 2020:
During this round of updates, while most of our previous selections managed to maintain their positions, we did remove the DeWalt DW125 and Makita Cordless AD02W, in order to make room for a couple of new additions: the DeWalt DWARA120, though not technically a drill in its own right, is a right-angle adapter that’s compatible with impact drivers, which many users will find to be an adequate solution for light-duty, right-angle drilling; and the Ridgid MegaMax is a powerful bare tool, backed by a lifetime warranty, that combines the company’s MegaMax Power Base with a right-angle drill attachment.
A few things to look out for in this category:
Power Source: As with most power tools these days, there are battery-powered models – like the Milwaukee Hole Hawg 2708-22 and Bosch ADS181B – and there are corded models — like the DeWalt DWD460K and the Makita DA3010F. iIf your job site has the luxury of a generator or utility services, the constant power of a corded option can certainly be a luxury worth constantly tripping over a power cord for, but the convenience of a battery-powered model is also quite desirable. Which is more important to you will be matter of personal circumstance and preference. As a third option, for the few of you who are working from inside a workshop, or are willing to regularly haul an air compressor to a job site, pneumatic drills like the Ingersoll Rand Air 7807R get the job done to employ compressed air in lieu of electric power.
Ergonomics: While the molded housings that dominate this category are all fairly comfortable to hold onto, it should be considered that these drills, by nature, tend to be used in awkward spaces; so, an extra handle can go a long way to ensuring you can wield the tool safely and comfortably. While the Milwaukee Hole Hawg 2708-22 features a swivelling top handle, the DeWalt DWD460K features a proper bail handle and a third handle that can be installed on either side of the tool. Many smaller models, including the Metabo HPT DN18DSLP4, also come with detachable auxiliary handles.
Warranty: It’s always worth thinking about, but especially in a category like this, where you’re dealing with power tools that are likely to absorb a lot of abuse during their lives, drillings holes through studs day in and day out. While DeWalt backs all their tools with a respectable, three-year limited warranty, Milwaukee does one-up on them by covering their equipment with a five-year limited warranty. Ridgid remains on top of the pile, standing behind their portable power tools with a full lifetime warranty.
DeWalt DCD460B Part of the company's powerful line of 60-volt cordless tools, this beast is a great choice for plumbers working on residential projects, who are constantly needing to drill holes through studs and floor joists. When dealing with wood, it can handle 1-1/2-inch spade and auger bits, as well as 6-1/4-inch hole saws. dewalt.com
Metabo HPT D10YB If you're interested in a corded model, this one is well worth considering. Despite weighing just 3.3 pounds, it can deliver 106 inch-pounds of torque and has a no-load speed of 2,300 RPM. Its head has a 3-1/4-inch profile and it comes with an auxiliary handle to help improve your ergonomics. metabo-hpt.com
Uncommon Tools You Will Use All The Time
And even if you already own a drill, you owe it to yourself to consider getting a right angle drill.
Almost all households have at least a few basic tools at the disposal of the occupants. These might include a hammer, a screwdriver or two, a handsaw, and some wrenches and pliers. This simple "tool kit" is sufficient for hanging pictures, tapping an errant flooring nail back into place, and other minor repairs.
Many homes have a few power tools as well, with a drill and skill saw being among the most common. But when a person is met with an issue that calls for a tool he or she doesn't own, it can be a tough call whether it is a better idea to simply call a professional to deal with the issue, or to buy a tool and handle the job on their own. There are myriad tools available that might seem, at fist glance, to be of limited value, but which will in fact become some of the most frequently used tools you own once you have familiarized yourself with their use and capabilities.
Let's take a moment to look at a few of the tools you may not own now, but won't want to live without once you have come to know them. But first a word of caution: while a self-possessed DIY approach to life is a great thing in many aspects of home care, not so when it comes to electrical work and, more often than not, plumbing. Unless you know exactly what you're doing, when it comes to work required in these two fields, leave it to the experts.
When you hear the term reciprocating saw you might think of a fancy tool designed for use by skilled professionals. But when you know that the other common name for a reciprocating saw is a sawzall (pronounced saws all) you'll have a clearer picture. These potent tools can accommodate various blades that slice their way through everything from stone to wood to plastics to metal. Your reciprocating saw might be the last saw you ever need, in fact.
If you have ever spent time sanding a piece of furniture in an effort to restore it or stripping paint off a wall prior to repainting, then you know what thankless work both of those tasks can be. An orbital sander (properly known as a random orbital sander) can make that work so much the easier by doing the bulk the hard work of you. You hold your sander in place, and it will provide the motion that creates the abrasion, minimal elbow grease required. Many orbital sanders can also be used as buffing tools for washing and shining your car, by the way.
And even if you already own a drill, you owe it to yourself to consider getting a right angle drill. Even if you only have a few inches of clearance while working under a bathroom sink, in a crawlspace, or under your car, a right angle drill can provide plenty of torque and power, boring holes and driving (or removing) screws with ease.
A Right Angle Drill For Home Use
It's easy too see why right angle drills are handy to have around the home. If you need to sink some screws into the bottom of the bed frame, tighten a drawer or cabinet under the sink, or you are building a piece of furniture with lots of little nooks and crannies, a right angle drill can help you work in an area as narrow as a few inches, whereas a traditional drill might require a foot or more of clearance at minimum.
Rather than needing to be behind the tool, as with a regular drill, right angle drills allow you to apply pressure even when the tool his held aloft above your head.
When considering which right angle drill might suit your needs best, remember that the term drill is almost a misnomer in this category; if you're like like most people, you'll use this tool to sink or remove screw far more often than you will to drill holes. Thus many people actually call this type of tool (and any drill, in fact) a screw gun instead of a drill.
The ideal home use drill (or screw gun) will be lightweight and compact, making for quick and easy use when you need it and requiring minimal storage space when you don't. In fact, it is the compact nature of most right angle drills that makes them such a good choice for home use; you can usually tuck these tools away inside any drawer or cabinet. Chances are good that a right angle drill will be a more practical choice for most people than a standard drill for precisely this reason.
A lightweight right angle drill can also help to extend your height when you are trying to work with a drill bit or screw near the top of your reach. Rather than needing to be behind the tool, as with a regular drill, right angle drills allow you to apply pressure even when the tool his held aloft above your head. Just remember to use caution with these and all other tools.
Right Angle Drills For Professional Jobs
Don't think that right angle drills can't pack professional grade power. Many corded options boast plenty of torque, with some models featuring motors as powerful as seven amps.
A right angle drill is a must have for roofers, electricians, HVAC installers, and anyone else who often works in cramped quarters but needs a powerful tool to get the job done. If you usually work at bustling sites where electricity is not an issue, a corded model delivers more power. If you are often out on call alone, then there are certainly plenty of battery powered right angle drills that will get the job done.
A top-of-the-line, battery-powered right angle drills can be quite expensive, but you can think of it as an investment in your business's future growth.