Some tools you buy yourself, while some tools you are inevitably given. There are other tools you that will eventually be given, but you should have gone ahead and bought yourself. My prime example of such a tool? The right-angle drill attachment.
This is the most handy tool that I would have never thought to buy for myself.
Right-Angle Attachment Basics
There aren’t that many right-angle bit holders on the market, but there are enough that you’ll want to shop around and not just buy the first one you see. Typically the main distinction you’ll want to draw is between flexible ones and fixed ones.
Fixed right-angle bit holders are sturdier and more reliable than their flexible counterparts, but they are less versatile. Fixed bit holders will be able to handle more torque, more RPMs, and some can even work with impact drivers, where some flexible ones aren’t built for that level of demand.
Flexible right-angle drill attachments are long, snake-like tools that can get almost anywhere. They are incredibly handy, but you have to accept that they are relatively frail and they can kink if they are put at too much of an angle or too much pressure is placed on them.
Some models will have a little handle on them, but not all do. This is convenient for dealing with the sideways torque of the right-angle drilling, which isn’t easy to do with the drill on its own. This Milwaukee attachment has a handle that can deal with pressure of up to 235 ft-lb of torque, which is a nice-to-have but not a must-have feature.
Dewalt 12″ Right-Angle Flex Shaft
The most popular of the flexible shaft drill attachments is the Dewalt DWARAFS, the 12″ right-angle flex shaft bit holder.
This is a good tool and one that is worth owning, but it’s rather sensitive relative to what you’d expect from a drill bit holder. Normally you can torque these things to quite a high degree with no problems, except in the case of an impact driver where they break now and then, but that’s to be expected. This $35 (or so) attachment has been known to break or kink when used in what seems like a perfectly standard level of flex, which has led to mixed reviews online.
This model does have a collet so you can put just about any tool in there.
Dewalt Right-Angle Attachment
A more conventional right angle tool is the Dewalt DWARA120, a fixed (non-flexible) and impact driver-compatible right-angle drill attachment. This tool costs about $25 and it’s less versatile a fix than the flexible model, but it’s stronger and more reliable. It can take more torque and more speed, plus it costs about a third less so this will be the pick for people that don’t need to get into such tight spots.
This little tool adds just 4 ounces to your drill and is only a little over an inch in depth so it’s easy to maneuver. It’s good for drilling, impact driving, and wrench work, though you won’t get a nut driver unless you spend another $10 on the upgrade model.
This is as simple and as reliable a right-angle attachment as you are going to find from a top tier brand. It doesn’t use a collet so it’ll be good for driving, but not so much for drilling.