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Best Manual Hand Drills 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

a manual hand drill

A manual drill’s abilities are probably the most underrated in a handyman’s scope of work, as a result of the invention of electric drills. While an electric drill is faster, its manual counterpart allows more control over the applied pressure, thus making it the ideal tool to use on delicate material. Finding a manual drill can be challenging because only a limited number are manufactured every year. To make things worse, in addition to finding a manual drill, you need to identify which one will suit your needs. To make your search more manageable, we have compiled a list of them, ranking them in order of efficiency and quality.

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Schroeder ¼- inch Capacity Schroeder ¼- inch Capacity
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Strong handle
  • Stable
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Fiskars 85167097J Rotary Craft Fiskars 85167097J Rotary Craft
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Parts will not clog easily
  • Third place
    Fuller Tool 890-1072 12-Point Reversible Fuller Tool 890-1072 12-Point Reversible
  • Versatile
  • Snug grip
  • Swpeet Powerful Capacity Pinions Swpeet Powerful Capacity Pinions
  • Durable
  • Prevents clogging
  • AB Tools Toolzone AB Tools Toolzone
  • Smooth drilling
  • 3tooth jaw chuck
  • The 5 Best Manual Hand Drills

    1. Schroeder ¼- inch Capacity Manual Hand Drill – Best Overall

    Schroeder ¼- inch Capacity Hand Drill

    The Schroeder ¼- inch Capacity Hand Drill stands out from other hand drills. At first glance, you will notice how the tool looks perfect. The paint job on the tool is rich and even and the steel looks shiny.

    This drill is strong and sturdy; it allows you to keep your balance while applying pressure to the material. The handle is strong and ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip. The ratchet mechanism is enclosed; this decreases the chances of clogging.

    This tool is highly recommended because of its outstanding performance and attractive appearance.

    On the downside, the handle is not removable; therefore, a breastplate cannot be used with this tool.

    • Ergonomically designed
    • Strong handle
    • Enclosed ratchet mechanism to prevent clogging
    • Stable
    • Non-removable handle

    2. The Fiskars Rotary Craft Manual Drill – Best Value

    The Fiskars Manual Rotary Craft Hand Drill

    The Fiskars Manual Rotary Craft Hand Drill is a modern design hand drill. It almost looks like a power drill with the delicacy of a manual drill. All the mechanisms are enclosed, so you are sure to have more control over the pressure exerted, and the parts are less likely to clog.

    The tool is stronger than it appears to be, as it’s made of durable material. This tool drills smoothly and neatly without creating noise.

    In addition to all the appealing features of this hand drill, it is significantly more affordable than other manual drills.

    However, it’s not ergonomically designed. The handle resembles that of a gun, making the drilling process a bit awkward because you have to hold on to the handle while moving the turning handle.

    • Affordable
    • Durable
    • Parts will not clog easily
    • Not ergonomic

    3. Fuller Tool 12-Point Reversible Manual Hand Drill

    Fuller Tool 12-Point Reversible Hand Drill

    The Fuller Tool 12-Point Reversible Hand Drill is not a regular manual drill. Instead, it’s what we refer to as a brace hand drill. The design is slightly different from a regular manual drill, but the fundamentals are the same.

    The tool consists of a short round handle and a gripping point positioned between the handle and the head. The gripping point is made of rubber, so you are sure to have a comfortable and sturdy grip.

    The head consists of a four jaw chuck. It is therefore versatile, because drill bits of different sizes may be used with this jaw chuck.

    However, the handle is not ergonomically designed, and because of the way it is designed, it is not stable. This drill was not manufactured with heavy-duty material, so the chances of breakage are high.

    • Versatile
    • Snug grip
    • Not ergonomic
    • Not durable

    4. Swpeet Manual Drill

    Swpeet Hand Drill

    The Swpeet Hand Drill is a relatively short hand drill. It consists of an ergonomic main handle and an equally comfortable turning handle.

    The ratchet mechanisms are enclosed, and this prevents clogging of the mechanism. It includes double pinions to make the drilling process faster and smoother. Even though it is light, it is also reasonably tough.

    The problem with this tool is that tightening the chuck might be a bit challenging, and the gears stop working after a while, because of a lack of lubrication.

    This tool is best used on small projects such as carving, but it will not be as efficient in drilling hard material.

    • Durable
    • Prevents clogging
    • Difficult to tighten the chuck
    • Not versatile
    • Gears need frequent lubrication

    5. The AB Tools Hand Drill

    The AB Tools - Toolzone Hand Drill

    The AB Tools – Toolzone Hand Drill is a relatively small manual drill. The main handle and the turning handle are made of wood. The head of the tool is also larger than expected.

    The ratchet mechanism is exposed; therefore, the chances of clogging are high.
    The double pinion system creates smooth drilling.

    The material of the tool is not tough or durable, and the tool can only be used on small projects.

    The drill’s overall performance is poor. The drill bit slips off as soon as you start to drill, the drill head wobbles repeatedly, and the gear mechanism becomes sticky after a few uses, rendering the tool useless.

    If you are willing to handle all the frustrations attached to this tool, then you may opt for it. Otherwise, we would not recommend its use.

    • Smooth drilling
    • Parts are exposed
    • Not tough
    • Not durable
    • Drill bit slips off
    • Drill head wobbles
    • Gears become sticky

    Buyer’s Guide

    The following features will help you recognize an efficient manual hand drill:

    Removable handle

    A removable handle allows you to replace the main handle with a breastplate, to maximize the pressure exerted when drilling hard materials.

    Two speeds

    Having two speeds on your hand drill will make the job smoother and easier. The high speed will allow you to drill smaller holes at a fast rate, while the low speed will allow you to drill larger holes smoothly.

    Oil holes

    These are used to lubricate the parts of the hand drill. If you intend to use your hand drill frequently, make sure it’s equipped with oil holes, to help keep the tool in good working condition. This is especially crucial for the gears because they are constantly rubbing against each other, so sufficient lubricant is necessary to optimize their efficacy.

    The drill head

    The drill head plays an important role in the drilling process. A faulty drill head is, therefore, a major dealbreaker. Make sure that the drill head is properly fitted, to prevent wobbling or the drill bits slipping off.

    The material

    No one wants to buy the same item multiple times. For this reason, be sure that the material of your manual drill is tough and durable.

    The design

    Certain designs perform better than others, through careful positioning of the parts and ergonomically manufactured parts.


    The Schroeder ¼- inch Capacity Hand Drill has all the desirable aspects of a manual drill. Its only shortcoming lies in the fact that the handle is non-removable. It is, therefore, our most recommended manual drill. The Fiskars Manual Rotary Craft Hand Drill landed in second place because it is almost as efficient as our first choice, but it is not ergonomic. It is, however, more affordable than the other manual drills, hence the title “best for the money.”

    Hopefully, the reviews and tips mentioned above have served as useful pointers to enable you to make the best choice according to your needs, and to make the task of picking a manual drill less daunting.

    Here are some other drills we’ve reviewed in the past:
    –> 18v cordless drills

    –> Corded drills

    –> Ryobi P208 Lithium-Ion Drill Review

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