The 8 Best Automatic Center Punch in 2019

Drilling holes can be backbreaking especially if you do not have the right tools. Worse still; the hassles of losing your drill bits and searching for them all over the place can consume much of your time. But with an automatic center punch, you can make high precision marks on different workpieces before drilling your holes. This way, you can increase your precision and minimize any chances of losing your drill bits.

Besides, having an automatic center punch is not only ideal for professionals in the automotive and construction industry. Anyone can utilize the tool in times of emergency like breaking through a vehicle glass window or at home when you have misplaced your house keys.

However, while having this amazing tool in your home can be of much help, you need to be keen when making your selection. A wrong choice will always embarrass you at times when you need it. To make sure you get the right model, here are some of the quality brands in the market which will help you identify the best automatic center punch.

Best Pick

Neiko 02638A Automatic Center Hole Punch

Neiko 02638A Automatic Center Hole Punch has stood out from the other products and is our best pick. The tool boasts of chrome plated construction with a hardened and tempered S2 steel tip for exceptional performance and durability. It's precision centered tip, and knurled slip-resistant surface helps increase the tolls precision. Its spring loaded mechanism accommodates different materials and allows for customization of your stroke force for exceptional performance.

Budget Pick

ABN Automatic Center Punch

ABN Automatic Center Punch is an affordable, easy to use spring-loaded tool which can be adjusted to suit your project. Its chrome plated steel body is strong enough to withstand the pressure and rust. Its S2 steel tip is durable enough for use on hard surfaces with excellent performance. Its nail punch shaft and knurled surface offer a secure grip and comfort to help reduce fatigue levels making the tool our best budget pick.

Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Automatic Center Punch


1. Neiko 02638A Automatic Center Hole Punch

Highlighted Features

  • Built to last
  • Comfortable grip
  • Knurled handle for slip, dirt and rust resistance
  • Premium quality marking tip with incredible precision
  • Ideal for punching, scribing, marking and staking
  • Adjustable cap for regulating striking force
  • 5-inches long

Featuring a chrome coated shank body; this Neiko 02638A series can withstand high impact forces for an excellent performance. The Chrome coating adds elegance and helps protect the tool from rusting. Its S2 steel tip is super strong to punch hard surfaces with high precision.

The 5-inch center punch is spring loaded with a variable stroke which gives you the freedom to use different materials such as glass, plastic, wood, leather, and metal. It's precision centered tip enables you to perform precision marks while its knurled slip-resistant surface offers a secure grip eliminating any chances of marking incorrectly.

With this Neiko center punch, you will enjoy efficiency. The tool is lightweight and easy to use which makes it ideal for use on demanding projects. Whether you are working on your automotive job or doing a construction project, this automatic center punch should be the go-to accessory for your next project.

2. ABN Automatic Center Punch

Highlighted Features

  • Affordable
  • Handy
  • Versatile
  • Adjustable cap
  • Durable
  • Makes dimples of 5-inches
  • Comfy
  • Skip and rust resistant

Say goodbye to the hassles and stress of having to look for your drill bits all over by taking advantage of this automatic center punch. The tool features a shank body which is designed with high-quality chrome-plated steel for added strength and durability.

The tooltip features S2 steel which enables you to make precise dimples on hard materials effortlessly. Its knurled handle is slip resistant which together with the spring loaded shafts works to reduce fatigue levels. When working on different materials, all you need is to loosen or tighten your cap to suit your workpiece. Overall, ABN automatic center punch is an affordable, handy, useful and reliable tool for your construction projects.

Better still; it can be used on different materials including plastic, wood, leather, and glass making it one of the best automatic center punch for emergencies.


3. Starrett Automatic Center Punch

Highlighted Features

  • Incredibly strong
  • Durable
  • Slip-resistant handle
  • Adjustable stroke
  • has a diameter of 11/16” with 5 1/5" length
  • Handy
  • Detachable tip for easy replacement or sharpening
  • Affordable

Starrett center punch is designed to deliver excellent performance. As compared to standard models, the tool can strike heavy blows on different workpieces giving you great versatility. It achieves this through its superior construction which features a hardened and tempered steel which not only provides the tool with more strength but also makes it resistant to wear.

With a diameter of 11/16” and a length of 5 ¼ “, this center punch will enable you to create a starter dimple without calling for any tool.  Its adjustable stroke allows you to easily customize the striking force to suit the project at hand. It rounded handle has a knurled surface which offers you a secure grip for a slip-free punching. When the precision tip becomes dull, you can easily detach it for sharpening or replacement making the entire maintenance process easy.


4. General Tools 78 Heavy Duty Steel Automatic Center Punch

Highlighted Features

  • Robust
  • Adjustable stroke
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Rust and slip resistant
  • Replaceable hardened steel point
  • 5/8” body diameter
  • One-hand operation

Marking and staking hardened metals has not been easy but with this large, heavy-duty automatic center punch, you will enjoy high precision punches within no time. The device is one of the most popularly used and trusted by professional machinist and automotive repair pros.

Featuring heavy-duty steel this General Tools center punch will deliver high impact needed to punch your materials. Whether heavy-duty or light metals, this device will enable you to adjust the striking force depending on the material at hand.

It's all steel construction features a black oxide finish and a knurled grip for rust resistance and secure grip. The tool provides a one hand operation which facilitates precision punching on wood and metal surfaces. It's precision tip boasts of a hardened steel point which can be easily replaced. Aside from punching, scribing and staking, this center punch can also be used in vehicles as a glass window breaking tool during emergencies.

Making use of this tool will help you ease all the hassle of using a manual center punch while delivering professional results.

5. MulWark Automatic Center Hole Punch

Highlighted Features

  • Durable
  • Comfy
  • Adjustable cap
  • Versatile
  • Slip, rust and wear resistant
  • Affordable
  • Handy

Mulwark is a 5” center punch which has been designed with a premium grade CR-V steel for great impact force without wearing. With this excellent tool, you can effortlessly mark, scribe, punch and stake different materials including plastic, wood, metal, leather, and glass.

The device has an adjustable orange cap which allows you to adjust your striking force for different materials. When downward pressure is applied on the inbuilt spring mechanism, the center punch automatically delivers a precision blow with just a single hand operation.

Its ergonomic design provides a secure grip and protects your palm from the impact enabling you to handle even the most demanding jobs. The punch point is detachable for easy replacement and sharpening. Its ease of use, maintenance, and ergonomic design makes the center punch the go-to device for professional automotive repair, machinists, and do it yourselfers.


6. General Tools 89 Stainless Steel Automatic Center Punch

Highlighted Features

  • Handy
  • Built to last
  • Adjustable spring mechanism
  • All steel construction
  • Comfy
  • Versatile
  • One hand operation
  • Affordable

This automatic center punch features an all steel body with a knurled finger grip for a durable, comfy and robust grip. Its spring mechanism features an adjustable stroke which enables you to adjust your striking force to suit the task and material at hand.

With only one hand operation, you can easily mark, punch, and scribe different materials effortlessly. Its hardened steel point is strong enough to withstand regular use without calling for quick replacement making it an excellent pick for professionals who work on hard metals.


7. Rennsteig Automatic Center Punch

Highlighted Features

  • Incredibly strong
  • Durable
  • Striking force 60 to 130N
  • Ergonomically designed handguard
  • Ideal for industrial use
  • Nickel plated finish
  • Adjustable stroke
  • Replaceable hardened steel pin

If you may be looking for a commercial center punch, then this model from Rennsteig could be a great choice. Featuring a striking force of 60 to 130N, this tool will make visible holes on NF metals and steel with one hand operation.

Its spring loaded mechanism features a self-striking design which is automatically activated by a downward pressure. When working on different materials, the tool allows you to adjust your striking force by turning the knurl.
For increased precision, the tool has a hardened steel point which can be detached for replacement when needed. When working on heavy-duty metals, you do not have to worry about fatigue as this tool has an ergonomically designed hand guard.

Overall, Rennsteig automatic center punch is a quality tool designed to help you make holes on heavy-duty metals. The device is designed with great features to enable you to handle different tasks with ease making it one of the best automatic center punch for steel.


8. HORUSDY Automatic Centre Punch

Highlighted Features

  • One hand operation
  • Accurate
  • Durable
  • Adjustable spring mechanism
  • Versatile
  • Handy
  • Detachable point for sharpening or replacement
  • Reliable

Make visible marks effortlessly on your workpieces with this automatic center punch. Featuring hardened and tempered steel construction, the tool delivers excellent performance on different materials. For uniform dimple size, the device has an adjustable stroke which is easily adjusted on the knurled cap.

Its secure grip enables you to hold it in place minimizing any chances of losing grip. For increased strength and rust resistance, the center punch has a modern black chrome finish. Taking advantage of this tool will enable you to make precision marks on your workpieces like a pro.


Benefits of Using an Automatic Center Punch

Convenient

An automatic center punch is more reliable and convenient to use as compared to a manual model. This is because manual models will require you to use a hammer which is tiresome and time-consuming. Worse still; you may end up accidentally injuring your fingers if you happen to miss your punch head.
But, with an automatic center punch, you will minimize your fatigue levels by performing high precision marks effortlessly.

Versatile

Whether you are a professional carpenter, contractor or an automotive repair expert, owning an automatic center punch will help ease your job. The tools are lightweight which allows you to move around with them.

Besides, a center punch can also be used to break through a glass window in vehicles or at home in times of emergency. Owning one as a homeowner can help you rescue your loved one or anyone who may be affected by a tragedy which needs emergency.

Affordable

Buying an automatic center punch is affordable, a significant reason why you should own one.

Easy to maintain

Maintaining your automatic center punch is easy. All you need is to sharpen the tip when required or do a replacement.

Factors to Consider When Buying an Automatic Center Punch

Shopping for an automatic center punch may be tricky as most of them have similar features which confuse customers and make them think that they are all the same. Though they may have similar features, the performance, feel, design and quality differs. Knowing what makes the best center punch will enable you to choose your preferred model without any challenges.

Before jumping in and getting one, here is what to look for.

Size

The primary role of a center punch is to make visible holes that will guide you to drill holes as desired. As a rule, your center punch should not make bigger holes than the size of your drill bits, or else your screws will not firmly hold your workpiece. When determining the right model to choose, your drill bits size should dictate the preferred center punch size.

Material

Center punches are designed using different materials with different degree of hardness, strength, and durability. Some of the popularly used ones include steel, CR-V steel, and chrome plated steel.

By nature, steel metal is sturdy and durable. To increase its strength and durability, manufacturers add chrome plating or harden it to defy the pressure. The plating also adds elegance and prevents the metal from wear and rust.

Tempered steel is another excellent way of increasing the strength and durability of these tools. However, for tempered models, the quality of the device will be dictated by the temperature levels used. Unlike the standard steel material, tempered steel is extremely strong and long-lasting. 

Performance

Modern center punches are designed to be used on different materials. Usually, your tools maximum striking force dictates its efficiency. Devices with high stroke force are ideal for commercial applications involving solid steel and metals.

In addition to the striking force capabilities, the performance of your center punch is also dictated by its tip hardness or strength. For increased durability, most manufacturers use S2 steel material which is hardened and tempered to withstand regular use.

Before choosing your tool, consider the purpose you intend to utilize it for. Check out if your preferred brand is strong enough to deliver exceptional performance and the experience of other customers who may have tried it before.

Versatility

An automatic center punch is designed to help you complete different tasks like scribing, marking, and punching different materials. The number of materials you can utilize your tool will be determined on how strong it is. To avoid misuse of your center punch, most manufacturers will list down the recommended materials.
Your tool versatility will, in this case, be influenced by the type of job or workpieces you are working on. For great results, avoid using your tool on other tasks other than the ones listed by your manufacturer.

Precision

A good center punch should have a high precision point which scribes, punches and marks accurately. Its tip should be sharp enough to make even and clear dimples. To get optimal performance, consider buying a model which features a detachable tip which can be easily removed for sharpening or replacement.

Design

Almost every automatic center punch will require you to use one hand to operate it. Though automated, using it for long hours will strain your hand which may force you to take a break. To reduce excessive straining and increased fatigue levels, you should take a look at how the manufacturer has designed your preferred tool.

Models with hand guard and secure grip eliminate any need of repeat striking and keep your tool on your palm. A hand guard, on the other hand, reduces your fatigue levels improving your productivity altogether.

Ease of use

Using an automatic center punch should not be hard but will require regular practice for first time users. You may encounter some challenges at first, but when your hand gets used, you will increase your productivity with time.

Cost

Different factors will influence the value of your center punch. Among these factors include material, the technology used, design, comfort levels, and versatility. However, while having a high-quality tool makes your job easier, choosing a model within your budget will help minimize any chances of having financial runaways.

How to use an automatic center punch

While it is good to have high-quality tools, lack of skills can consume much of your time and probably ruin your morale. Knowing how to use your tools properly will not only enable you to manipulate it without hassles but also get professional results without damaging it or wasting time.

Note that, using your tool for the first time may be a bit challenging, but as time goes by, you will learn how to make precision punches. To get the best out of your tool, here are tips on how to use your center punch correctly.

  • Put safety glasses before using your center punch
  • Ensure the tip is correctly attached
  • Adjust your punching force. For lighter materials like wood or plastic, ensure minimal stroking force is used by lessening you knurl or adjusting it appropriately
  • Place the workpiece you would like to punch on a safe ground
  • Take your center punch and hold it straight up with the tip pointing downwards
  • Hold your workpiece with the other hand or support it to avoid unnecessary movement. Slowly press the spring mechanism to fire the pin into your workpiece. Once you punch the desired size, you can drill your hole.

How to sharpen a center punch

Regular use of your center punch will make the point dull calling for replacement or sharpening. Knowing how to sharpen it will enable you to create high precision punches with ease. So next time you notice the tip is not making precision marks, it means it's dull and needs sharpening. And here is how to do it.

  • To sharpen your center punch, you will require safety glasses, bench grinder and your center punch
  • Place your center punch tip at 60 degrees. Turn the grinder wheel while moving your center punch along the grinder. Continue spinning the wheel for even wear of your tooltip while tracking its temperatures to prevent overheating.
  • Once you attain an even point, leave your tool point to cool down before returning it back

Tip: An incredibly sharp point will become dull faster while a blunt end will not strike with precision. Always keep tracking the performance of your tool to know when sharpening or replacement is needed.

What makes an excellent automatic center punch

A quality automatic center punch should:

  • Strike your workpieces with precision
  • Be easy to adjust
  • Provide a secure grip
  • Allow for one hand operation
  • Deliver high performance on the recommended material
  • Allow for easy replacement and sharpening
  • Strike automatically without using a hammer

Final Verdict

An automatic center punch can be a lifesaver and a must-have tool for automotive repair pros and machinist. Any professional who has used one before knows the essence of owning this amazing tool. However, it can be disgusting to invest in a model which is not strong enough to withstand the pressure and the task at hand. That’s why it is always necessary to take your time before choosing the best automatic center punch for your next project. To have confidence, make use of our guide to help you identify the right model that suits your needs.

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