Fabricators and contractors who work with metal know how valuable a magnetic drill is.
If you want a steady, stable surface when working with these kinds of materials, a magnet drill is the only way to go.
This might not be a tool that everyone needs but there are plenty of options available whether you want to invest a little or a lot. Let’s take a look at the following mag drill reviews.
In a Rush?
Here are 3 magnetic drills we think will interest you:
- Milwaukee 4206-1 - The Milwaukee 4206-1 gets consistently awesome reviews. Users are hard pressed to find anything bad to say about it. It’s commercial grade and a great investment.
- Hougen HMD904S - For a professional grade tool that’s a little more affordable, the Hougen HMD904S is it. It’s powerful, versatile, and redesigned for more comfortable use.
- Steel Dragon Tools MD40 - Hobbyists or anyone looking for a mag drill to do a few jobs are a perfect match for the Steel Dragon MD40. For a bargain price, it can get the job done with most metals.
The Best Magnetic Drill Press (with reviews)
Below is a list of the top magnetic drill presses we found on the market today. Let us know if you think any other products should make the list!
1. Milwaukee 4206-1
- Drill Capacity: 3/4 in
- Volts: 120
- RPM: 350
- Weight: 70 lbs
- Dimensions: 21 x 18.8 x 7 in
The goodAdjusts front to back and has side to side tilt for versatility, powerful, easy to change bits without breakage, high-quality base and mag drill in one package.
The badExpensive, big investment if you’re not going to use it regularly, commercial grade may be too much for smaller jobs.
This is actually a combination of Milwaukee’s 4203 adjustable base and the 4262-1 electromagnetic drill press. The base is easy to adjust so lining up the bit is a quick job. It adjusts 3/4 inch from front to back and tilts 20 degrees left or right. As for power, it can produce 1670 pounds of pressure on a 1-inch steel plate. Bit changes are simple, too, thanks to a 3/4 inch chuck that eliminates slipping and reduces breakage.
Why you should buyThis is the best mag drill if you’re looking for something that’s professional grade. It’s loaded with features that make it a great choice for a professional. The front to back adjustment and tilt make it versatile enough for just about any job.
2. Hougen HMD904S
- Drill Capacity: 2 in
- Volts: 115
- RPM: 450
- Weight: 30.5 lbs
- Dimensions: 18 x 9 x 20 in
The goodPilot light included for accurate results in low lighting, swivel base for easy alignment, feed handle can be changed from left to right.
The badA little pricey, coolant system not included.
For the best mag drill that’s lightweight and compact while still packing a lot of power, you have to check out the Hougen HMD904S. It has a large 2-inch capacity and spins at 450 rpm. For low light conditions, they’ve included a pilot light for better visibility. Plus, the base swivels so you can line up the bit precisely every time. Redesigned housing is stronger and ergonomic plus the feed handle changes from side to side. This is a versatile tool that’s accurate, fast, powerful, and proudly made in the USA.
Why you should buyThe Hougen HMD904S is perfect for fabrication. It’s powerful, versatile, and has a large 2-inch capacity. An added pilot light gives you clear visibility in low-light conditions so you can focus on accuracy no matter where you’re working.
3. Steel Dragon Tools MD40
- Drill Capacity: 1 1/2 in
- Volts: 110
- RPM: 670
- Weight: 34.5 lbs
- Dimensions: 16.4 x 16.2 x 8.5 in
The goodAffordably priced, suitable for any metal surface, powerful magnetic force, gear system designed for accurate drilling depths.
The badInstructions aren’t clear, paint job is a bit sloppy, some difficulty fitting various drill bits, metal surface has to be clean for maximum magnetic force.
The Steel Dragon MD40 is a reliable tool at a bargain price. With 2700 pounds of magnetic force and a maximum boring diameter of 1 1/2 inches, this tool is suitable for any metal surface. The magnetic force is even powerful enough that you can use it upside down and it will not move while you’re drilling. The rack and pinion gear system provides consistent and accurate drilling depths and the high rpm will get the job done fast.
Why you should buyIf you’re looking for a bargain, the Steel Dragon MD40 is it. The powerful magnetic force keeps the drill from moving while in use. It consistently gives precise results and has a high rpm for maximum speed.
4. Evolution Power Tools 849713054050
- Drill Capacity: 1 1/8 in
- Volts: 120
- RPM: 570
- Weight: 38 lbs
- Dimensions: 19 x 9 x 13 in
The good.Reasonably priced, chuck and key adapter included, integrated cooling system, veratile handle that can be used on left or right side.
The badCoolant attachment can come loose easily, not as effective with titanium, limited applications to metals that are very hard.
Evolution Power Tools magnetic drill includes some great features at a reasonable price. It works great with steel and aluminum and the heavy-duty magnetic force keeps things stable while you work. The solid construction is built to last and it even includes a 1/2 inch chuck and key adaptor. The integrated cooling system does the job. With right or left side handles, this is a versatile tool that anyone can get a good grip on.
Why you should buyEvolution Power Tools has built a magnetic drill that’s really built to last. If your jobs are limited to metals like aluminum and steel, this tool has more than enough power to give you great results. It’s reasonably priced and is adjustable so that even lefties can get maximum control and precision.
5. Jancy JHM Series
- Drill Capacity: 1 3/16 in
- Volts: 120
- RPM: 680
- Weight: 38.7 lbs
- Dimensions: 9.65 x 7.68 x 11 in
The goodCompact and portable, great for high or tight spaces, Smart Magnet circuitry that prevents it from working if the magnet hold isn’t strong enough.
The badA little on the pricey side, compact size makes it slightly less powerful than larger models.
Jancy’s JHM Series magnetic drill is portable and compact, ideal if you need something that can work at height. The motor wiring is concealed and the power-to-weight ratio is ideal for tight or high spaces. It’s fast, too, with a no-load speed of 680 rpm. It’s built well and provides a stable platform when you’re working. One of the best things about it is the Smart Magnet circuity. If you’re even in a position when the drill isn’t able to get a good enough grip on the surface, it stops.
Why you should buyThis magnetic drill from Jancy is lightweight, compact, and portable so you can do just about any job, anywhere. It was built well and remains stable and supportive during use. Plus, it’s loaded with safety features.
6. Steel Dragon Tools MD45
- Drill Capacity: 1 3/4 in
- Volts: 110
- RPM: 500
- Weight: 47 lbs
- Dimensions: 20 x 11.5 x 24 in
The goodVariable speed from 100 to 500 rpm, strong magnetic power, adapter included for MT1 or 3/4 Weldon Shank, versatile.
The badA little pricey, heavier than comparable models, occassional problems with magnet being lopsided.
The MD45 from Steel Dragon Tools has a powerful magnet that gives 2700 pounds of pulling force. Even when you’re working with thick metal, this drill will stay in place. The base is strong and stable so you can get precision results. It includes an adapter so you can convert from an MT2 to an MT1 or a 3/4 Weldon Shank which gives you a lot of versatility so you can get exactly the results you need. With variable speed from 100 to 500 rpm, it can adjust to the kind of metal you’re using for the most effective results with every job.
Why you should buySteel Dragon Tools MD45 offers an adjustable speed from 100 to 500 rpm so you can get the right setting no matter what kind of metal you’re using. The magnet is strong and works well enough that you can use this drill upside down if need be.
Magnetic Drill Press Buying Guide
Before we get into the details, let’s first focus on what exactly a magnetic drill is and what it’s used for.
What Is a Magnetic Drill?
A magnetic drill, which is sometimes called a magnetic drill press, is designed to drill holes in metal. It’s a little different than a drill press, which is a stationary tool meant for drilling into wood. For one thing, it’s portable. Plus, it’s meant to cut metal, which is why it has a magnet.
So, how does it work?
The magnetic base attaches to the metal to hold it in place. You get really accurate results because you attach the drill exactly where you want it to drill and it doesn’t move, even when the drill is working.
Something really cool about these tools is they can be used in any position. As long as the magnet is strong enough, you can use it vertically, horizontally, or even upside down. There are lots of different tooling and bits available for them, too, so they’re really versatile if you work with metal.
Electric drill presses are the most common because they’re portable and easier to use on a job site. We focused primarily on electric for precisely this reason but wanted to mention two other options.
Magnetic drills are also available in hydraulic and pneumatic options. If you need to do work underwater, you’ll need to get a hydraulic mag drill because they’re designed with a closed loop system that keeps the motor separated from the water. If you want to be able to work in inclement weather, go with a pneumatic option. Since there’s no electricity, you don’t have to worry about an electric shock.
Who Needs a Magnetic Drill Press?
Magnetic drills are particularly useful because of their portability. Rather than having to take large, awkward sheets of metal to a stationary press, you can take to tool to the material. If you work in fabricating, welding, construction, or the automotive industry, a magnetic drill will save you a lot of time and make every job easier.
That said, they’re not cheap. You don’t really need one unless you’re going to use it on a regular basis or you’re working on a major project that will take some time. If you don’t work with metal regularly, think about whether or not you want to make the investment. This is the kind of thing that you don’t always need but you’ll be happy to have it when the opportunity to use it comes up.
Things to Consider
Here are some things to think about to help you choose the right magnetic drill for you.
Budget. Seriously, these things can get pricey. At the same time, though, there are some reasonably priced options. The price range is pretty wide so you can find options that fit into your budget if you decide this is an investment you want to make.
Type of Job. You should have some idea of what you want to do with your magnet drill before you buy one. They come with different cutting diameters, rpm, etc and you need to match the abilities of the tool to the job you’re hoping to do.
Convenience. This is a portable tool but they are still quite heavy. They can get pretty big, too. If you’re planning to work in a small space or do a job that requires you to climb a ladder frequently, make sure you pick a magnetic drill that you’ll be able to move easily.
We touched on some of the main things you should think about in our magnetic drill press reviews but let’s take a closer look.
- Drill Capacity. This is the largest diameter that the tool can cut. Just in the 6 products in the reviews, the range is pretty impressive, from ¾ to 2 inches and everything in between. Adapters are available if you want to make some changes but keep in mind that’s an added expense on an already pricey tool. This is why it’s important to know what kind of work you’ll be doing. You can get the right capacity when you buy.
- Volts. We stuck to electric magnetic presses and they’re all 110 to 120 volts. You can use an AC adaptor or whatever power supply came with the tool and plug it into any standard socket in the US.
- RPM. Obviously, this is rotations per minute. The number you’ll see here is the no-load rpm, which means it’s how fast it spins when it’s not drilling into anything. This is a good indication of the speed because it doesn’t take the load into account. The load or material will change the rpm depending on its thickness and density. Giving you the no-load rpm makes it a little easier to compare the different magnetic drills to one another. It’s not an exact comparison but it does give you some idea.
- Weight. Remember, this is supposed to be a portable tool so you have to consider the weight. The weight range here is pretty significant and none of them are what you’d expect for a portable tool. For example, the lightest one is 30.5 pounds. So, keep weight in mind as you shop.
- Dimensions. Again, because this is a portable tool, you have to keep the dimensions in mind. If you’re going to be working in a small space, try to get a compact magnetic drill is you can.
One more thing we wanted to mention is variable speed. One of the products in the reviews has a variable speed function. Basically, that means that it adjusts the power so it’s at the level it needs to do a specific job. Compare that to other tools that go to full power the second you turn them on and stay at 100% for the whole job. Variable speed is a little more versatile because you can adjust it to each specific job. It’s also a little easier on the tool because it’s not getting worn as quickly.