We’ve all had the problem… you need to drill a hole or drive in a screw but your trusty power drill is simply too big for the job – with its short handle and long driving section it’s just too bulky to get into that awkward corner, around that cabinet or behind that pipework.. cue the angle drill!
The angle drill (also known as a right-angled drill) is a compact version of the traditional handheld power drill but with the design reversed – it has a long handle and a short driving section with the screw head fixed at a 90°angle to the handle; this positioning, along with the reduction in drive head length, means the angle drill is the go-to power tool for drilling straight, or inserting or removing screws, even in the most awkward, hard-to-reach places.
Best Pick Angle Drill
- Keyless chuck
- Four pole LXT motor for improved performance
- LED light for job illumination with afterglow
- Conveniently located push button for forward and reverse
- Forward/reverse rotation
Originally, angle drills were only typically seen being used in the construction industry, however, now their efficiency and versatility have been recognised by amateurs and professionals alike, angle drills have become the go-to tool for a range of skilled DIY enthusiasts including cabinet and wardrobe fitters, carpenters, home DIY hobbyists and even mechanics!!
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When you think of an angle drill, think of a screwdriver and mini hand-drill combined. Streamline, compact and lightweight, they’re designed to fit into those confined and awkward spaces: the 90° angle allows for a smaller driving head, which results in increased manoeuvrability and precision.
The best angle drills will allow you to screw or drill in a straight line, even in an area where space is limited.
Cordless Vs Corded
Just like conventional drills, angle drills are available in both corded (mains powered) and cordless (battery-powered) models.
|Angle drill type||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Cordless||Maximum flexibility allows you to reach those almost-impossible-to-reach spots No trailing cables No power outlet/source needed||Limited battery life Will require charging Battery requires regular use to hold charge Not as powerful as corded models|
|Corded||Preferred by professionals as they aren’t limited on use-time More powerful than cordless Ready to use Can be used with an extension lead for increased flexibility Majority of models have an ‘impact mode’ for penetrating hard materials||Trailing power cord Requires mains power supply Better suited to drilling rather than screwing|
Technical capabilities to compare
Weight, power, speed and cost will all depend on which brand and type of angle drill you choose. When deciding between models, it is worth taking the time to compare the angle drills you’re considering based on the following four areas:
Lightweight cordless models can weigh as little as 2lbs, ranging up to around 20lbs. Corded models tend to come in at around 12-15lbs up to 21lbs+
Cordless models are between 10V-20V and corded models, which are mains powered, are 110/240V
Cordless models are generally between 800 – 2000 RPM; corded models have the capacity to run at 750-2400 RPM
Obviously dependent upon the brand, type, power capacity and additional features, however, you can expect to pay around £65 for an entry-level model and up to £400+ for top-end drill with maximum power and a wide range of additional features
Angle drill features
Standard components of an angle drill
- Chuck adjustment
- Forward/Reverse control
- Start/stop speed control trigger
- Handle/main body
Desirable features of an angle drill
- Well-made body
- Strong motor
- An LED light (ideally shockproof)
- Slim profile
- Lightweight & compact design
- Multi-speed settings
- Reverse drill function
- Keyless chuck (ideally a spindle lock chuck)
- Angle range settings/pivoting head
- High speed (0 – 1300 RPM)
- Battery level indicator*
- Additional battery*
- Storage case
- Detachable handle
- Speed limiting function (prevents over-tightening)
- Magnetic bit holder
- Ergonomic ABS handle
- Electronic clutch with multiple settings
- Lengthy warranty (minimum 12 months)
*cordless models only
Best Budget Angle Drill
- For difficult-to-reach areas
- Ideal for use with cordless drills
- Accepts standard 1/4in hex shank accessories
- Durable, compact design
Angle drill chuck design
As well as deciding between mains-powered or battery-powered, you’ll need to narrow down your search for an angle drill further by considering the design of the chuck (the clamp mechanism to which the drill bit it attached and tightened).
There are two options to choose from when it comes to the way that the chuck locks on to the screw or drill bit:
Key locking chuck
- The jaw of the chuck is tightened/loosened using a chuck key
- The key fits into a hole at the end of the chuck
- Over time the key locking chuck mechanism will wear, making tightening/untightening more difficult
- The chuck key requires safe-keeping
- The jaws are manually tightened and loosened by turning the exterior of the chuck
- No need for a chuck key
- Manual tightening/untightening should be sufficient for all sizes of angle drill screwdriver/drill bits
- When working in a tight space, a manual adjustment should prove much easier than using a chuck key
Models with a key locking chuck are, to some extent, a thing of the past, but it is still a feature of some models. A keyless chuck is the preferred and more common option due to its ease of use and durability.
Do I really need an angle drill?
- Thanks to variable speed settings, an angled-drill is suitable for the majority of domestic DIY tasks.
- For professionals, an angled drill is a vital piece of kit for both construction and carpentry.
- For occasional work around the home, a flexible head angle drill is definitely worth considering, which allows the user to switch between a conventional drill head to an angled head.
- For regular or professional use, a corded angle drill is worth considering then you aren’t restricted by the life of the angle drill battery.
Angle drill Vs Angle attachment
If you already own a conventional drill, there are angled attachments available on the market that can be fitted to your existing drill, which will allow you to drill at an angle.
These attachments are handy – they allow you to drill at an angle for the fraction of the price of an angled drill – however, it is worth remembering that an angled drill is specifically designed to drill and drive in areas where space is restricted; the small, compact, streamlined design of an angle drill reflects this. A standard drill with an angled attachment will not necessarily be suitable for use in a confined space.
Angle drill design features: functionality & comfort
Motor & torque settings
The majority of angle drills will be powered by an interchangeable 3-speed motor which means you can adjust the drill speed in accordance with the density of the workpiece. Maintaining the power but decreasing the drill speed will improve drill control and is also likely to prolong the life of the angle drill motor – the adjustable settings should relieve unnecessary pressure from the torque, reducing the risk of it burning out.
The best angle drills will have been designed ergonomically, reducing wrist flexion and the risk of hand and finger strain. As an angle drill needs to be held with the wrist straight, models with an ergonomic handle should prove more comfortable to use and allow for greater control. The best angle drills will have an adequate rubber coating on around the motor; not only does the rubber encourage a firm and stable grip, but it also absorbs vibrations during intense or prolonged periods of use.
Reaching the power switch can also prove tricky on some angle drill models and so an adjustable power switch is a handy feature to look out for.
Angle drill attachments
When it comes to power tools, versatility is key and the angle drill is no exception. Primarily it’s a drill designed to be manoeuvred in and around tight spaces, however, should you need to switch to a job where a conventional drill is good for the job, do you really want to have to switch between the two??? The best angle drills will come with attachments which extend the reach of the drill without putting excessive torque on the motor. Again a variable speed motor comes into play here as it minimises the risk of the motor burning out.
There are conventional drills which come with angled attachments, claiming to do the job of an angle drill, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that although you will indeed be able to drill and drive at an angle, you’ll lose the efficiency and precision that is unique to the angle drill. By using an extender on an angled drill, you’ll be drilling in straight lines with the help of the angled drive head, and still be able to maintain the high level of control and precision of the angle drill.
Angle drill torque
‘Torque’ is a common term associated with drilling. The torque is the power exerted by the drill onto a workpiece. The level of torque is important as it needs to be great enough to penetrate the material, but not so powerful that it’s difficult to control. The best angle drills will feature an adjustable torque setting and/or motor speed adjustment. You should look for an angle drill with at least 2-3 adjustable speed settings.
With an angle drill, more so than a conventional drill, it’s important to get the torque right as, when drilling in a tight space, a greater degree of accuracy is likely to be required.
Another positive when it comes to adjustable speed settings is the fact it reduces the pressure exerted on the motor. Regularly using a drill at too-high a torque will inevitably result in the motor burning out, which is both inconvenient and potentially costly.
An angle drill – why you need one in your toolkit
The main reason for using an angled drill is to screw in a screw or drill a hole in areas with limited space or access, where getting a traditional power drill just isn’t an option due to the fact that there is simply not enough space for drilling or screwing in a straight line.
Granted, there are situations where you can get away with drilling or driving a screw in at an angle – usually if you’re working on an area that can’t be seen. Providing the screw is secure and fully driven in, the fact that the screw is angled can, on occasions, be overlooked however it should be avoided where possible.
It might not be top of your DIY toolbox wishlist, but if it’s increased productivity; accuracy and manoeuvrability you’re looking for, then an angle drill is what you need; it’s a worthwhile investment and, although it’s typically been viewed as a tool which ‘complements’ the traditional power drill, this is no longer the case as there are models on the market which offer both the functions of a standard drill and an angle drill. Consequently, you may be best considering the possibility of investing in an angle drill over a conventional drill as switching between the two involves nothing more than removing the perpendicular (90°) drive head and the angle drill is then ready to use as a conventional drill. It is worth bearing in mind that the most angle drill combi-models tend to be smaller than a conventional hand drill though and are best suited to occasional, household DIY tasks.
Best of the Rest
- Compatible with Trend Snappy and other hex shank accessories, the right angled driver is the ideal tool for getting into tight corners to insert or remove screws, or to drill and countersink holes
- A sculpted grip and interchangeable side handle allows maximum control and can be used in cordless and corded drills. The quick change chuck ensures any tool or accessory is held securely
- Gets into areas where normal drills and drivers can't, ideal for securing fittings in tight spots, drilling holes and many other applications where space is restricted
- High quality construction with heat treated steel precision gears for maximum torque along with die cast head and ball bearing guides for stability
- Can be used with impact screwdrivers with the following specification - maximum 12V maximum torque 60nm, rotation 0-2000 rpm and 0-2500 impacts per min
- 180° rotating base for easier access
- Reverse action
- Electric safety brake
- Electronic variable speed
- Dual material, non-slip, anti-vibration handle
- Particulates with chuck and effectively illuminates dark work spaces
- Simple bit replacements for a variety of applications
- Chuck articulates from (90-180) Degree; better balance and control of the tool for ideal working in tight areas
- Professional 12 V system; compact performance; maximum freedom; all of our batteries are compatible with new and existing Bosch Professional tools in the same voltage class
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an adjustable drive head?
The best angle drills will have an adjustable drive head, which means the angle of the chuck can be adjusted – typically to 90°, 45° or to be used as a conventional drill. This means you can carry out a variety of drilling jobs without having to stop and swop between different drills and/or adjust the head angle.
What is the best battery in a cordless angle drill?
Lithium-ion batteries (Li-Ion) are the best type of battery for a cordless angle drill as they tend to have a short charge duration but decent running time. In terms of power, the majority of angle drill batteries tend to be between 10V and 18V, with 12V being sufficient for the majority of household DIY tasks. Look for a drill which comes with at least two batteries and a charger for added convenience.
Last update on 2020-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API