In a hurry? If you’re looking for the best right-angle drill attachment, I highly recommend checking the one offered by DeWalt first. It’s made by one of the best-known tool manufacturers and it is one of the most compact ones allowing for work in even the tightest spaces.
Right-angle drill attachments change the direction in which your drill is “pointing” by 90 degrees. That can be helpful in reaching screws in tight spots and in other similar situations.
In this article, I briefly review some of the best such attachments available. I’ll also tell you what criteria I considered when choosing the featured products, as well as give you answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to these tools.
Top Pick: DeWalt Impact-Ready Right-Angle Attachment
This DeWalt right-angle attachment is by far the most popular such product – or at least its predecessor was. The new version is reportedly very sturdy. At just 1.5 inches thick, it is also a bit more compact. In fact, it’s one of the most compact right-angle attachments on the market meaning it can fit into even the tightest spaces.
Just like most other similar tools, it will work with any impact driver (or a drill) that can be used with standard 1/4-inch hex bits.
On its other end, its equipped with a slot that can fit any 1/4-inch hex bit. With the slot being magnetic, the bits – whether drill, socket, or screwdriver – hold in position well. In fact, to be released, the bits need to be pushed out using a small screwdriver.
Things I Like About This Product: It’s made by one of the world’s leading power tool brands, so you know what you are getting – both in terms of quality as well as customer service. It’s quite sturdy (DeWalt even claims it lasts 5-times longer than the competition) and it’s about as compact as it gets.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Some users reported problems with the quality of the attachment slot with it either not holding the bits strong enough or being too tight. Those issues are rare occurrences, though, and if you happen to get a faulty device, you should simply return it and ask for a replacement.
Runner-Up: Milwaukee 49-22-8510 Right-Angle Drill Attachment
The Milwaukee 49-22-8510 right-angle drill attachment is in many regards as good – and in some even better – than the top pick.
However, it is considerably more expensive meaning its cost-performance is not as good. Especially so if you only need to use the tool occasionally. At 2 inches, it is also a bit thicker than the DeWalt option which makes it a bit less versatile.
This attachment is equipped with a standard 1/4-inch hex shank and a magnetic 1/4-inch chuck on the other end. It can be used with up to 18-volt drills and can bear up to 235-inch-pounds of torque.
The handle sporting the signature Milwaukee logo is used to lock the attachment’s head in its position. In other words, the head can be rotated along its axis so that you can set the tool in the position that works the best for you.
Things I Like About This Product: The tool is very sturdy and made completely out of metal. Its head can be rotated for increased versatility.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: While the tool is of very high quality, it is also considerably more expensive than the DeWalt product above. As such, you will have to decide whether you’ll use the tool enough to make the extra spend worth it.
Budget-Friendly Option: In-tool-home 105-Degree Drill Adapter
If you are looking for an adapted to only use for a specific job once or twice – and don’t need the length of the two products above – then consider the very affordable In-tool-home 105-degree drill adapter.
While it’s not right-angle, in most situations, it will be good enough. It’s made of chrome vanadium steel and – for its price – it’s of decent quality. Just keep in mind that it is not ideal for heavy-duty applications but will work just fine for simple woodworking and similar uses that don’t need too much torque.
The In-tool-home adapter can fit into any tool accepting 1/4-inch hex shank bits. Any 1/4-inch hex shank bit will fit into the tool. One more thing worth mentioning is that its head can be rotated 360-degrees and adjusted to the position that works the best in your situation.
Things I Like About This Product: While it’s not the most sturdy tool in this list, it’s highly usable considering its price.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The adapter is short and so you will not be able to reach places deep in tight spots. Also, it’s not ideal for use that requires a lot of torque.
The Alternatives: Products Also Worth Considering
While in general, I recommend getting one of the above three products, if you didn’t find one you like among them, you might also want to consider one of the two attachments below.
DeWalt 12-Inch Right-Angle Flex Shaft
As its name suggests, the DeWalt 12-inch right-angle flex shaft is a slightly different type of product than the others on this list. That’s because rather than being a simple rigid structure, it consists of two parts.
At the very end of the tool is a right-angle head with a magnetic 1/4-inch hex chuck, just like you would find on any other right-angle attachment. However, there is also a long, flexible shaft between the head and the 1/4-hex shank. That allows the tool to be used in nooks and crannies where using a regular attachment won’t work.
Things I Like About This Product: One word – flexibility. The attachment can be used to drill and drive even in the most obstructed places.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Some users reported the tool not lasting long. Others reported that the shaft twists when a lot of torque is required. Those are, however, problems with all similar products – and the DeWalt one is about as good as it gets when it comes to flexible shaft adapters.
ARES 70790 Right-Angle Driver
Last but not least, if you are looking for something priced between the DeWalt top pick and Milwaukee runner-up, consider the ARES 70790 right-angle driver. Having a small extendable handle, it’s similar in design to the latter.
The tool can fit any 1/4-inch hex shank bit and can be used to drill holes, drive screws, and tighten bolts. It can provide a maximum torque of 504 inch-pounds and can be used with an impact driver at up to 2,000 RPM.
Interestingly, the extendable handle has a removable cap that covers a space in which a Phillips or other small bit can be stored.
Things I Like About This Product: Provides the sturdiness of the Milwaukee without costing nearly as much. Made of high-quality materials.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: As some users reported, the tool cannot be locked in the right position once set. As such, it needs to be held in place properly throughout the drilling or fastening process.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Products Featured Above
When choosing the right-angle attachments and adapters to feature above, I looked at the following criteria among other things. The list below should also provide you with a good framework on which to base your decision in case you are still not sure which product to buy.
Price: Of course, I considered price as one of the ranking factors. However, I took it into account relative to how the products performed on the other criteria. The two categories where this mattered were:
- The top pick where I opted for the DeWalt attachment which offers a slightly better cost than the higher quality but considerably more expensive Milwaukee attachment
- The budget-friendly option where I featured the cheapest usable attachment, the one by In-tool-home
Quality: I assessed the quality of the products in three ways – by looking at the reputation of the manufacturer, the quality of materials used, and several reviews. For the reviews, I went through positive, negative, and neutral ones. Overall, all of the products in the list – perhaps except for the budget-friendly pick – are of high quality. If I had to choose one that stands out, though, it would have to be the Milwaukee.
Size: Since right-angle attachments are tools that are meant to be used in tight and hard-to-access spaces, size is an important factor to consider. In most situations, the thinner the better and the longer the better. That will help you with reaching places deep in tight spaces. The two DeWalt products are clear winners in this regard.
The FAQs: Information About Right-Angle Drill Attachments You Might Find Useful
Below, I try to answer some of the questions I hear about right-angle drill attachments often. If you have any other questions, feel free to get in touch and I’ll try to answer them.
What is a right-angle drill attachment?
Just as its name suggests, a right-angle drill attachment (also referred to as a right-angle drill adapter in some cases) is a tool that can be attached to a drill or an impact driver to change the angle of drilling using a series of gears.
In other words, the chuck that you put the drill or screwdriver bit into will not be pointing straight out of the drill – instead, it will be turned 90-degrees.
Such an attachment is useful when you need to drill holes or drive screws in tight spaces where you would not be able to fit the whole impact driver. One of its common uses is in cabinetry.
Should you get a right-angle drill or an attachment?
Right-angle drill attachments are – in function – very similar to right-angle drills. However, there are some considerable differences between them. Learning those will help you pick the winner of the “right-angle drill attachment vs. right-angle drill” battle for your use case.
The biggest difference between the two is their price. While attachments are fairly cheap since they are fairly simple tools that are attached to separate power tools, right-angle drills can get quite pricey – they are the power tool itself after all.
Another difference is that attachments are, for obvious reason, smaller than drills.
As such, if you are looking to work in extremely tight spaces – or if you only need the “right-angle functionality” every now and then, go for the cheaper and more compact right-angle attachment. Keep in mind that you will also need a separate drill or impact driver (if you need one, check my recommendations here).
On the other hand, if you plan to use the functionality a lot, consider getting a dedicated right-angle drill.
A right-angle drill attachment is a specialty tool that not every handyman needs. However, if you tend to do a lot of drilling and driving in spaces that you find difficult to access with your impact driver, you should definitely look into getting one.
There are dozens of different such products that you can choose from. However, I strongly recommend getting either the DeWalt one or the Milwaukee one. They are both very versatile and made out of quality materials.
Besides attachments, you might also want to consider getting an actual dedicated right-angle drill if you think you will need to do this type of drilling and driving a lot.