What Is a Right-Angle Drill and When Is It Used?


What Is a Right-Angle Drill and When Is It Used?

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If you are just getting into the world of construction, repairs, and woodworking, you need to have the right tools in your arsenal.

Generally speaking, you are going to need a variety of drills, particularly if you are a professional, and one of these drill types you might need is the right-angle drill.

So, what is a right-angle drill and what is it used for?

What Is a Right-Angle Drill?

In simplest terms, a right-angle drill is not much different from a regular drill. A right-angle drill has a drill head and drill bit that is set at a 90-degree angle when compared to the handle. Now, a normal drill also has the drill head set at a 90-degree angle from the handle.

However, the big difference is that right-angle drills have much smaller and more compact drill heads, and they often have smaller and more comfortable handles than regular drills. In essence, a right-angle drill is like a combination between a screwdriver and a regular handheld drill. A normal drill has a small handle and a large head, whereas a right-angle drill has a long handle and a short head.

These drills are short, compact, and designed to be easy to use with one hand, as well as in very tight spaces. Due to the fact that they are lightweight and compact, plus thanks to their special shape, they are ideal for jobs where a normal drill couldn’t fit. Pro tip: when selecting a right-angle drill, look for one that is cordless, and has an adjustable speed setting.

Right-Angle Drill

Right-Angle Drill vs. Attachment: Which One to Get?

What is important for you to know here is that right-angle drills can be purchased as a standalone tool, or you can also get right-angle drill attachments for your existing power drill. So, what’s the difference?

Well, on one hand, if you are operating in very tight spaces, a standalone right-angle drill is better than using a drill with a right angle attachment. The reason for this is because one of the main points for using a right-angle drill is to get into tight spaces, and of course, a right-angle drill alone is much smaller than a regular drill with an added attachment.

Now, while an attachment on a drill will allow you to get into tighter spaces than with just the drill alone, if the space is too tight, it still might not fit. That said, if the issue is that you need to reach deep into a crevice to screw something in or to drill a hole, a right-angle drill alone may not be long enough to reach, in which case the attachment is necessary, as it will extend the reach by quite a few inches.

Right-Angle Drill Attachment

In terms of power and speed, if you need to drill at right angles and you need to drill through very solid and dense materials, the smaller standalone right-angle drill may not have enough power. These drills are small, which means that they also have small motors. Using a right-angle attachment for a large drill may give you that extra power you need to drill or screw into hard and dense materials.

When it comes to the overall cost, this is kind of up in the air, as it all depends on the brand name. Right-angle drills on their own are not overly expensive unless you get a very high-end model. On the other hand, if you need to buy a real power drill and the right-angle attachment, you’ll end up spending more money. However, if you do this, you will also have a regular drill available for use, which thus increases functionality and versatility.

5 Common Right-Angle Drill Uses

Now that we know what a right-angle drill is and why they make for such convenient tools, let’s figure out what exactly they are used for.

Working with Wall Studs – Framing

When you are building the frame for your home, particularly when it comes to attaching wall studs and especially as you get further into the job, you will need to drill holes and screw together pieces of wood in very tight spaces.

Eventually, a normal drill might not be able to reach certain joists or studs, particularly when it comes to attaching walls to studs as well. Simply put, when it comes to building a house, anytime there is a tight space involved, a right-angle drill can save the day.

Electrical Work

Electricians often use right-angle drills. The reason for this is because electrical work often gets done once the walls are already in place. This means needing to attach wiring and various components to the interior of walls, as well as drilling holes in various tight spaces to run cables and wires from one room to another, and from one floor to another. In many cases, a normal drill would be way too bulky for an electrician to be able to reach into the walls.

Plumbing Applications

Another practical application of right-angle drills is in the plumbing industry. Just like with electrical work, plumbing often gets done once the framing is already done. This means that plumbers need to be able to get into very tight spaces to secure pipes to walls and to secure pipes to each other. This also applies to plumbing repairs, not just the initial building process.

Cabinetry, Shelving, Furniture Making, and Installation

Right-angle drills may also be used for a wide variety of woodworking projects, such as in cabinetry, for installing shelves, and for all kinds of small wooden projects. If you need a drill for tight spaces, it’s a right-angle drill that you need.

Ceiling and Floor Work

Finally, if you are installing ceilings or floors, you also may need to be able to reach into tight spaces for drilling and screwing, in which case a right-angle drill will come in handy.

Using a Right-Angle Drill


The bottom line is that the right-angle drill makes for a great addition to any toolbox. This is especially the case if you need to drill and screw in very tight areas where a regular power drill just couldn’t fit.