Whether you work with miniatures or jewelry, a pin vise is a small and simple tool that’s worth having in your tool kit. Also called a hand drill, this tool can serve various functions. In fact, its multiple names allude to the different things it can be used for. Like a vise grip, it can be used to hold thin pieces of wire or metal in place. Or, like a drill, it can be used to make small holes in soft materials such as wood or plastic.
Unlike the all-purpose electric drill you might have in your cupboard, a hand drill is a specialized, manual tool. You might wonder why you’d want something you have to turn by hand when electricity has been making life easier for humans for about 200 years. The answer comes down to precision — your average drill exerts a lot of torque, which is great when drilling into hard materials. But your electric drill is liable to destroy your small craft project or handmade jewelry.
Another handy thing about a pin vise is its size. You can slip it in your pocket, so it won’t take up much space in your workshop, even if your workshop is also your coffee table. We’ve picked out some of the best pin vise hand drills available right now. Some of these options are hand drill sets, so they’ll include multiple bits that you can use, allowing you to get started on your project right away.
1. Bastex Precision Pin Vise Hand Drill with Twist Bits
This affordable option is a great set for the average hobbyist. With a knurled grip and wide base, this small tool is made to be easy to handle and use. You can use it one or two-handed, depending on what the task calls for. Plus, it’s a complete set. In addition to the hand drill, 10 drill bits are included. Included are a 0.5mm, 0.6mm, 0.7mm, 0.8mm, 0.9mm, 1mm drill bit, 1.2mm, 1.5mm, 1.8mm and 2mm drill bit.
Pros: Knurled grip and curved shape make it comfortable to hold and easy to control. Complete set includes 10 mini drill bits.
Cons: Drill bits are not ideal for use on harder materials.
2. Starrett Pin Vise With Insulated Octagonal Handle
If you want a pin vise that you can use for hours at a time, consider this option from Starrett. While it doesn’t come with its own bits, its sturdy build and unique features make it a worthwhile investment. It has an insulated plastic handle in an easy-to-hold octagonal shape. The chuck is precise and offers a secure hold on bits that are inserted.
Pros: Precise and reliable tool with an insulated grip. Octagonal handle won’t roll when you place it down.
Cons: Doesn’t come with bits.
3. Werkzeug Pin Vise Hand Drill Bits (20PCS)
Along with the pin vise, 20 drill bits are included in this set. The smallest bit is 0.6mm and the largest is 3.0 mm. Many of the smaller drill bits are duplicates, which is handy in case one wears out or breaks. The tool itself is made out of aluminum, and it has a knurled grip to prevent your hands from slipping while holding it.
Pros: Includes 20 drill bits and one pin vise hand drill. Suits a variety of DIY projects.
Cons: Some options are steel, but this vise grip is aluminum, which may not be as long-lasting.