best angle drill

Best Angle Drill in 2021 (UK Buying Guide & Reviews)

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So why buy an angle drill? Just ask a plumber or an electrician. Angle drills are powerful tools that are great for drilling holes through floor & roof joists for cables and pipes. Kitchen fitters also use them for drilling larger holes in cupboards for ventilation pipes.

As angle drills are specialist tools, it can be challenging to know which is best for you. In this guide, we’ve spent hours reviewing the best angle drills available in the UK. Read on to discover the best angle drill for you.

In a Hurry? Here’s our Top Pick for the Best Angle Drill in 2021:

DeWalt DCD740N-XJ 18V XR Lithium-Ion Body Only Cordless 2-Speed Angle Drill, Yellow/Black, 4.57 cm*12.52 cm*2.99 cm
  • Powerful fan cooled motor
  • 2 speed ranges
  • Forward, reverse and variable speed
  • Multi grip trigger provides comfort and convenience by allowing the user to operate the trigger from various positions
  • High performance fan cooled motor for maximum power and durability

Why are Angle Drills so Expensive?

Angle drills are more expensive than standard drills because they have additional gearing to turn the rotational drive shaft through 90°.

So, why pay more? You can buy our pick for the best combi drill for less than £100 and for that you get a charger and two batteries. An even cheaper option is an electric screwdriver, but they’re not suitable for heavy-duty use due to their low torque – around 4.5Nm.

If you’re short on cash and it’s for a one-off project, you can convert your combi-drill or drill driver into an angle drill by purchasing an attachment that connects to the chuck like a drill bit. There are several types on the market, some easier to use than others, but they’re not a great option for long-term use.


What to Look for When Buying an Angle Drill

angle drill drilling hole on wood

As with all tools, there are several things to consider before buying an angle drill. The three key factors are:

  • Weight
  • Size
  • Speed and Torque

Weight

As you will often use your angle drill one-handed, weight is an essential factor. The comparison tables below give weight measurements for the body only, which is how these manufacturers sell these tools. You should add at least a further 300g for the battery.

Drills with a side handle help share the weight if you can use both hands and provide the extra force needed when drilling into challenging pieces of wood or metal.

Size

The whole point of an angle drill is to get into tight or awkward places, so size really does matter. Typically, angle drills have a long handle – around 300mm – and a short headpiece. This part is the business end of the drill, so this dimension is critical for some applications.

Pro Tip: If you’re drilling in a restricted space, insert the drill bit as deep into the chuck as it will go. This tip will reduce the overall length of the head section. Similarly, with driver bits – insert them directly into the chuck without a bit holder.

Speed and Torque

Speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), but high speed is not necessarily what you need with this type of drill driver. Speed control is much more important.

The same can be said about torque – the energy required to turn a drill or screw bit, measured in Newton-metres (Nm). However, torque could be a critical factor if you need an angle drill for challenging work such as drilling through floor or ceiling joists.

It’s important to note that angle drills are specialist tools, and although you can use them for other jobs, there are much more efficient drills & drivers available for speed and torque.

You can read more about speed and torque in our guide to the 9 best drills and drivers.

Other Considerations

The key factors above are what separates the strong from the weak. This section outlines other, less important factors to consider when buying the best angle drill.

The Chuck

All the drills in this review have a chuck size of 10mm. This dimension restricts the size of the drill bit, but for most jobs where an angle drill is needed, this is good enough.

Some chucks are tightened using a key, but these days most angle drills are keyless. Having a keyless chuck means the drill bits are quickly interchangeable. It also allows you to go from drill to drive mode in seconds.

Handle Grip

Their long handle characterises angle drivers, but the length of the trigger and position of the reverse gear switch is essential too. Drills with a long trigger and a thumb switch are better to work within restricted spaces.

On most drills, the reverse switch also locks the chuck to enable one-handed bit changes – handy for frequent switching from drilling to driving.

All the angle drills we review in this guide feature ergonomic handles with rubberised grips for extra comfort.

Battery Power

All the angle drills we reviewed are 18v cordless models, but you can get corded versions if you need more power. Batteries are rated in Amp-hours (Ah), and in simple terms, the higher the value, the longer they last.

Most modern batteries are Li-ion (Lithium Ion). These lighter batteries are more expensive than NiCad (nickel-cadmium) batteries, but they also last longer.

As most cordless drills are sold as a body only, you have a choice over the battery rating. I recommend going for a 4-5Ah Li-ion battery. Anything smaller needs constant recharging, and larger batteries are much heavier.


Best Angle Drill – The Top 3 in 2021

Here are my top three picks for the best angle drill in the UK.

#1. DeWalt DCD740N-XJ 

DeWalt DCD740N-XJ 18V XR Lithium-Ion Body Only Cordless 2-Speed Angle Drill, Yellow/Black, 4.57 cm*12.52 cm*2.99 cm
  • Powerful fan cooled motor
  • 2 speed ranges
  • Forward, reverse and variable speed
  • Multi grip trigger provides comfort and convenience by allowing the user to operate the trigger from various positions
  • High performance fan cooled motor for maximum power and durability

Apart from its strong resemblance to a king penguin, the DeWalt DCD740N-XJ came out on top because it’s the most versatile, compact and powerful of the three angle drills on our list. 

As the primary purpose of an angle drill is to get into tight spaces where conventional drills can’t go, size is a significant factor. The DCD740N-XJ wins hands down on this score.

Lengthwise, the DeWalt is on a par with the Makita DDA351Z, but it’s the depth that counts when you’re in a tight spot. At just over 100mm, the DeWalt easily fits between joists and provides enough room to get your hand behind it.

Weighing in at 1.5kg, the DeWalt is the heaviest of the three angle drills. However, it comes with a side handle, so you can use both hands if you’re doing a lot of drilling. Also, the variable speed and torque settings make it ideal for drilling and driving.

The high torque setting of 33Nm, along with a top speed of 2000RPM, allows this drill to cut effortlessly through the toughest of timber. This extra power is ideal for drilling larger holes in joists for cables or pipes to pass through.

ProsCons
Variable speed and torque for drilling and driving The heaviest of the three
Top speed of 2000RPM and 33Nm torque for drilling larger holes than most angle drills  
The best option for tight spaces  

#2. Ryobi RAD1801M ONE+

Sale
Ryobi RAD1801M ONE+ Angle Drill, 18 V (Body Only)
  • 180° rotating base for easier access
  • Reverse action
  • Electric safety brake
  • Electronic variable speed
  • Dual material, non-slip, anti-vibration handle

Ryobi has an extensive range of tools called ONE+, all designed to take the same battery. So if you already have Ryobi drills or drivers, this is a very economical option for you. If you don’t, the battery and charger are costly. Either way, the Ryobi RAD1801M is the least expensive of the three angle drills on our list.

With a variable speed of 0 to 1100RPM, the Ryobi is fast enough for an angle drill, and the soft start is essential when you don’t have speed or torque control. This drill also has a safety brake so that the rotations stop as soon as the trigger is released.

A nice feature of the RAD1801M is its magnetic bit tray for holding spare bits. Much better than the spring clips most drills have, and you can place small screws on it too. Another plus is the 180° rotating base, which will get you into spaces other dills can’t.

Its 15Nm of torque is good enough for most situations, but because there is no clutch, you may find it jerks when you hit a hard spot. So remember to watch your wrist!

ProsCons
Variable speed with soft start and electric brake It’s big and heavy
Least expensive of the 3 reviewed No torque setting
The 180° rotating base gets you into tight corners 

#3. Makita DDA351Z

Makita DDA351Z 18 V Li-ion LXT Cordless Li-ion Angle Drill with Keyless Chuck, No Batteries Included,Small
  • Maximum Capacity in steel 10mm
  • Maximum Capacity in wood 25mm
  • Head height 93mm
  • Keyless chuck
  • Large trigger

The Makita DDA351Z is the lightest of our three models, and it’s also the most expensive. The comfortable handle is 295mm long, but the head section is a little on the long side at 171mm, making it less suitable for very tight spaces.

Speed is controlled by pressure on the trigger, which is nice and long for ease of control. After a soft start, it can quickly get up to full speed and then suddenly stop after pressure is released. The maximum speed is an impressive 1800RPM which makes up for the relatively low torque rating of 13.7Nm.

You can easily switch from forward to reverse using the thumb-controlled push-button on the side, which is ideal for unscrewing.

ProsCons
It’s relatively lightweight, which allows for  one-handed use for more extended periods Expensive
Variable speed with a high of 1800RPM compensates for the lower torque of 13.7Nm Long head section. Over 170mm

Best Angle Drill – 2021 Comparison Table

ProductTorque (Nm) Speed (RPM) Size (mm) Weight (kg) Cost Rating out of 10
DeWalt DCD740N-XJ 11-330-650/2000295 x 102 x 671.5££9
Ryobi RAD1801M 150-1100330 x 135 x 801.48£8.5
Makita DDA351Z 13.70-1800295 x 171 x 831.2£££8

Final Thoughts

There are more uses for an angle drill than drilling in tight spaces, but this is what most people buy them for, and it’s why DeWalt came out on top. The DCD740N-XJ is compact and powerful, with two speed and torque settings for ultimate control. The only downside is its weight.

The Ryobi RAD1801M is the least expensive of the three, especially if you own other Ryobi tools, as you can share batteries between them. Furthermore, the maximum torque of 15Nm makes it a powerful alternative to the DeWalt DCD740N-XJ. 

Although it’s the lightest, the Makita suffers from being bulkier and less powerful than the others. It’s also the most expensive angle drill on our list.

I hope you found this buying guide helpful. If you did, please share it with your friends & family who may be looking to hire or buy an angle drill.