Drill guides take tricky projects and make them fast and accurate. These days there are a lot of cheap knockoffs on the market. One of the most frustrating things you can experience in the shop is the feeling of getting a misaligned hole even though you used the guide correctly. Sometimes the cheap stuff doesn’t work right, and that leads to ruined projects.
If you’re looking to avoid that frustration, you’ve come to the right place. It’s not always easy to shop online for tools, but we believe that a well-informed consumer makes great decisions. That’s why we’ve assembled these reviews of the best drill guides of 2019. We also included a buyer’s guide so that you can learn everything you need to know about drill guides before you buy.
|BIG GATOR TOOLS (Standard) Portable Drill Guides|
|Milescraft 1318 DrillMate||4 lbs||4.65/5|
|Milescraft 1312 DrillBlock- Handheld|
(Best for the Money)
|Wolfcraft 4525404 Multi-Angle||1 lb||4.1/5|
|General Tools 36/37 Precision Drill Guide||2 lbs||3.85/5|
The BIG GATOR TOOLS (Standard) Portable Drill Guides are a great choice for anyone who wants a wide variety of drilling sizes but wants a guide that that is portable and easy to use. This model comes with 17 drill sizes, which means almost any size you’ll want to drill will be available, and since each size is just 1/64” away from the last one, you’ll always be able to get a good fit that leads to a precise hole. It features alignment marks along the base that make it easy to line this device up with any centering marks you make.
This drill guide is made from a nickel alloyed steel, which is incredibly durable. However, it’s not inherently rust-resistant, and it’s not treated for rust resistance. While it is shipped with an oil coating to prevent rust, that’s no guarantee, so you should keep this drill guide dry. It does have a slick base, which means you’ll have to clamp it down to get the most accurate holes, but there’s a chance you were already planning to do that. Overall, this is one of the best drill guides on the market and will make most jobs far easier.
The Milescraft 1318 DrillMate is a great choice for anyone who wants to guarantee that they get the cuts at the angles they need, no matter how tricky they get. This model can guide your cuts at any angle between 45 and 90 degrees, which gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to making these cuts. It is also great for working with round stock, as its base features centering channels that make it easy to get the right alignment. It comes with an adjustable depth stop, which means you won’t have to worry about drilling too deep in situations where that mistake could be disastrous.
This model works with all 3/8” and 1/2″ drills, which means it’s probably compatible with the drill you already own. It’s also relatively inexpensive which is both a blessing and a problem. The build quality isn’t the greatest, and using this device gives people the impression that it won’t last forever or even all that long. However, if you need an affordable drill stop with features that are found on more expensive units, this can be a good investment, even if it’s not durable enough to win first place.
The Milescraft 1312 DrillBlock- Handheld is our choice for best for the money. The very best thing about it is how inexpensive it is. It comes with easy to use centerlines which make it easy to get the hole exactly where you want it to be. It also comes with non-slip feet, which makes it far easier to keep it aligned while you drill, which is an underrated feature. While it only comes with six guides, it’s small enough to slip into a jacket pocket, and wouldn’t take up much space at all in a toolbox.
It also features v-grooves on the bottom, which allow it to be used on corners or round objects. This means you can do a lot of things with this model that would be tricky to do with the Milescraft 1318, even though this model is far cheaper. The one problem is that you need long drill bits to reach through this guide, and while this isn’t much of an issue with the larger sizes, manufacturers don’t typically make narrow but long drill bits, which means you might have to search for compatible bits. However, this is still the best drill guide for the money.
The wolfcraft 4525404 Multi-Angle drill guide won’t be the right choice for most people, but it still has some value. It’s a similar style to the Milescraft 1318 that comes in second on our list, though it doesn’t perform as well as that tool. This model works with all 1/4″ and 3/8” drills, which means it will probably work with a drill that you already own. Unlike the Milescraft, it features two springs, which gives you more stability, and faster returns to the starting position when you’re done, which saves you a lot of time in the long run.
You can drill angles up to 45 degrees with this model, which makes it versatile and good for a variety of different tasks. It also comes with centering channels, which makes it easier to get the perfect alignment when drilling holes into a round piece. However, this model has severe quality control issues. There’s a lot of plastic and cheap metal in this model, which means things frequently break, and users also struggle to get things to tighten, which leads to low-quality cuts. This is likely to be a frustrating buy, so if you’re looking for a worry-free experience, look elsewhere.
The General Tools 36/37 Precision Drill Guide works with all 3/8” or 1/2” power drills but has little upside beyond what it’s supposed to be able to do. It comes with an adjustable depth stop, which should be included with all models, but is notably absent from some. You’re also supposed to be able to drill angels up to 45 degrees. In practice, that’s not something you can do with this drill guide.
There’s a ton of give and play in this model, that can lead to five degrees or more, of error, even when it looks like you have it set up correctly. If you’re using this press to get precise holes, then you’re going to be out of luck. The centering channels on this model are cheap and look bad. It also lacks springs, which means you have to force the bit back out of the hole yourself. Perhaps if this model was cheaper, we’d be more forgiving of it, but it retails for nearly the same price as the other full-sized drill guides on our list, which means that you could spend the same amount of money and get better value elsewhere.
When it comes to drill guides, the three most important factors to consider are portability, accuracy, and durability.
When it comes to portability, some models are clear winners. Those that have holes for multiple drill bit sizes and don’t rely on attaching your drill are the smallest and easiest to move around. They’re a bit less accurate, and they can be hard to secure in place, so that’s the tradeoff that you make with portability in drill guides.
Accuracy varies between drill guides. Portable models aren’t as accurate as large models, though you can still get good accuracy with them if you’re careful. Full-featured models, those that integrate your drill vary when it comes to accuracy. If they’re poorly or cheaply made, you may not be able to tighten them sufficiently, or loose parts could lead to an inferior cut.
Durability is another important concern. Portable models have fewer moving parts that could break, which means there are fewer ways in which they could break. Something to look out for is reports of melting plastic. Drilling holes can be a hot job, and if the plastic in the portable drill guide isn’t up to the task, you’ll want to skip that model.
With non-handheld models, there are more moving parts that could break, which makes getting a high-quality build a very important task. While you won’t be able to tell from the product description whether the model is well-made or not, reading online reviews can quickly give you a feel for the model as a whole.
The BIG GATOR TOOLS (Standard) Portable Drill Guides was our favorite model due to its portability, 17 hole sizes, and durable nickel alloyed steel frame. The Milescraft 1318 DrillMate comes in second due to its compatibility with 3/8” and 1/2″ drill bits and its low price, though its lack of durability keeps it out of first. The Milescraft 1312 DrillBlock- Handheld is our choice for best for the money, due to its low price, non-slip feet and easy to use centerlines. The wolfcraft 4525404 Multi-Angle drill guide comes with dual springs for stability and can drill angles up to 45 degrees but has parts that are hard to tighten and other quality control problems that drop it to fourth on our list. The General Tools 36/37 Precision Drill Guide comes with a great adjustable depth stop but lacks springs and has a lot of give and play, which earns it the last spot on our list.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you think through all the features you can find in a modern drill guide. Using this information, you should be able to find a model that you’ll love using at a great price.
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