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Magnetic drills are strong power tools found in most woodworker and metalworker shops. But what are mag drills and how do they work exactly is a mystery for many tool lovers. We will give you an in-depth look and explain how do these machines work.

The Parts


Most magnetic drills are powered by a brush DC motor, but there are also grease gearbox motors, and oil bath gearbox motors. The gearbox motor is a cheap alternative designed for heavy-duty use, while oil bath motors cost more, but they also have a longer life.


The arbor is attached to the drill, and it’s there to give the user more control. You can choose if you want to use the manual or quick-changing option with the cutter.

Front Support Brackets

The front support brackets are responsible for the connection between the arbor and the cutter. It also acts as a guide for drilling holes as it prevents the drill from boring in too deep. It’s a small but significant part of the machine.

Annual Cutter

The annual cutter is what gives this machine its versatility. It is a hollow tool that can make all kinds of holes because of the many groove options that come with it. You use it to drill holes in your workpieces.

Pilot Light

The pilot light is added to give you a better view on what’s going on with the annual cutter. The light is positioned just above the cutter, and it improves accuracy and visibility. The tool could do without it, but it’s an excellent little detail that makes your life easier.


The electromagnet is what makes this machine special. The magnet has a strong pulling force, so it sticks to the material you are working on with one touch of a button. That gives the user control and safety.


The housing protects all of the components from the elements or any damage. Most cheaper models have plastic housing, while other, more expensive models have metal housing that’s even more durable.

Types of Mag Drills

All magnetic drills have the magnetic base that sticks to the material. However, there are three different types of mag drills: pneumatic, electrical, and hydraulic powered drills. Each one is designed to provide some benefit, but they also have downsides. Still, you need to know the difference to fully understand how does a magnetic drill work.


These drills are lightweight, they have plenty of power, all of the features are there, and most of all – they are highly dependable. Electrical mag drills come in many different sizes and they sometimes even have a reversible motor. The downside is that you can’t use them in wet conditions.


This type of magnetic drill uses compressed air to run so that you can use it wet conditions. They can also work in a flammable environment as there are no sparks. The downside is their price, which is often pretty steep.


If you ever wondered how does a magnetic drill work, the hydraulic drills are the easiest to understand. They work like any other hydraulic tool. These drills are specialized tools mostly used underwater because the water doesn’t bother them.