Best Drill Press Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

Best Drill Press Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

Best Drill Press Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

Best Drill Press Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

Drilling is a term loosely used to refer to semi-precision and general-purpose hole making in preparation for screws or other fixings.

You’ll need a portable electric drill, a handheld model or a drill press.

Accurate drilling is a must for all aspects of woodworking. Getting your holes cut cleanly and to the proper depth while also located in the right spot is indicative of solid cabinetmaking just as much as snug joints and a smooth finish.

Since drilling accurately is just about impossible with handheld tools, the best drill press is a workshop essential. In today’s drill press reviews, we’ll outline 5 of the strongest products on the market. We’ll also give you a no-nonsense guide to streamline your buying decision and have you drilling with incredibly precision in no time.

A drill press has broadly similar features regardless of brand:

  • Motor with variable speed belt and pulley system
  • Table (stationary or tilting)
  • Chuck
  • Base
  • Column

While configurations differ, you’ll also usually get a depth stop, a mechanism to lock this into place, and a belt tension knob.

You tighten the drill bit into the chuck with a matching key then lower it down into the work using either a spring-loaded handle or a feed lever.

Although initially conceived for metalworking, you can now use a drill press for boring into wood as well as metal. You’ll also be able to perform other woodworking operations like sanding or mortising.

A drill press comes in 2 main variants which we’ll look at right now…

For use in the home workshop, a benchtop drill press usually makes most sense.

These scaled-down machines are cheaper while also eating up less precious workshop real estate.

You can expect 8 to 12 inches of swing from a benchtop drill press with the stroke reaching anywhere from 2 to 3 3/8 inches.

The power range of a benchtop drill press is normally between 0.3 and 0.5 HP while you can expect anywhere from 5 to 15 or more speed levels.

The compact size and attractive price makes this type of drill press tailor-made for light household jobs.

Benchtop drill presses don’t make a good fit for any heavy-duty construction work and for working with longer pieces.

With an increased swing from 13 to 20 inches, the stroke varies from 3 inches through 6 inches.

Power is from ¾ HP to 1 ½ HP while speeds levels start at 12 and rise to 16.

You’ll get far more oomph from a floor drill press and you’ll also be able to comfortably deal with longer pieces of material.

Another benefit of opting for a floor-standing drill press is the extended range of accessories and attachments you’ll be able to make use of.

In return for more power, precision and stability, you’ll need to pay more and you’ll also need to ensure you’ve got enough workshop space to accommodate a larger drill press.

The Best Drill Press Reviews 2018 – Comparison Chart By Mitersawjudge.com

If you’re looking for the best drill press, it’s easy to get bogged down with the sheer number of products on the market. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here are 5 of the best drill presses worthy of a place in any workshop …

Detailed Table Saw Reviews

If you’re looking for the best drill press

First up in our drill press reviews is a dinky but highly effective 8-incher from WEN. This brand has a hard-fought reputation for combining price and performance with a healthy dose of durability. This 5-speed drill press continues that tradition in fine style.

While you obviously won’t get the firepower or ability to engage in hardcore commercial projects with this diminutive drill press, this WEN punches well above its weight.

Check out the core features before we break down the shower of benefits this drill press could bring to your workshop…

  • Amazon's Choice
  • 500+ Reviews
  • Stationary Drill Presses

A great simple press. I needed a press to machine 6016 aluminum to finish lower AR receivers. To do this I needed to make straight holes and I needed enough power to get through the alloy. I put the belt on the second to highest torque setting, which would mean the second to slowest speed and the press worked great.

By Amazon Customer

Main Features:

  • 5 speeds
  • 1/3 HP induction motor
  • 120V, 60Hz
  • ½-inch keyed chuck with onboard storage
  • 6 ½ x 6 ½-inch work table
  • Swing: 8 inches
  • 38 pounds

Weighing in at just 38 pounds, this drill press might be lightweight in terms of stature but the performance is delivers is far from it. Powered by a 1/3 HP, 120-volt motor, you’ll also enjoy 5 adjustable speeds allowing you to tweak things according to the application:

  • 740 RPM
  • 1100 RPM
  • 1530 RPM
  • 2100 RPM
  • 3140 RPM

With such power, you’ll also need plenty of stability. WEN made the base of this drill press from cast iron giving you a rock-solid foundation to work from and allowing you to increase your accuracy not just the speed at which you can bore.

The table is generous enough to use as a makeshift worktable. At 6 ½ x 6 ½ feet, you can bevel the table 45 degrees left and right. You’ll also be able to fine-tune the height so everything is in place for some accurate, pacey drilling any time you want.

This accuracy you can enjoy with the WEN is further honed by the exceptional lockable and readable depth stop. This comes in particularly handy if you have lots of repetitive drilling you want replicated without spending all day squinting and laboring away.

Although you won’t be able to work with steel or other really tough metals, you can quite easily slice your way through some aluminum so this drill press steps up to the plate for more than basic woodworking duty.

You’ll get an 8-inch swing along with spindle travel of 2 inches if you invest in the WEN.

As if all this is not enough, you’ll be covered by a solid 2-year guarantee so you shouldn’t have any lingering doubts about purchasing this fantastic, inexpensive drill press.

Drilling is straightforward but drilling effectively and accurately is not so easy…

Unless, of course, you treat yourself to the best drill press!

We’ve compiled a snapshot of the key strengths and weaknesses so you can see at a glance whether the WEN 4208 makes a good fit for your workshop and drilling needs…

Pro's

  • Extremely nimble little induction motor gives you all the raw power you need along with ample torque when it counts
  • Substantial height adjustable table bevels in 45 degrees to either direction giving you total flexibility
  • Outstanding overall value offering hard-hitting performance at a decidedly budget price point
  • 5 speeds ranging from 740 RPM right through 3140 RPM at the upper end
  • Never lose your chuck again thanks to thoughtful onboard storage
  • Depth adjustment gauge with spindle traveling up to 2 inches allowing you a great deal of control and precision
  • Durable cast iron base means you won’t get any wobbling or movement during operation
  • Works effectively with aluminum and other harder materials not just wood
  • Readable and locking linear depth stops ensure you get repeatable and precise drilling every time
  • 2-year limited warranty is more than you’d expect from a budget drill press

Con's

  • Not cut out for very heavy-duty metal and steel work but you wouldn’t expect that functionality at this price point

Conclusion

If you’re hunting down the best budget drill press, few units offer the same price to performance ratio as the WEN 4208 which is why we’ve kicked off these drill press reviews with something for the bargain hunters among you.

As long as you’re not expecting a machine designed for sustained and demanding industrial work, you should find this compact drill press delivers fully.

Check out the 4208 today and enhance the quality of your woodworking no end.

Next up in our drill press reviews is a slightly more expensive yet still affordable 10-incher from the industry legend SKIL.

This is another benchtop model but slightly larger than the dinky WEN at 10 inches. If you need to undertake some specialized drilling and you need both speed and accuracy, the SKIL is a smart bet.

We’ll break down the basic features then explore this nifty drill press in a little more detail…

Main Features:

  • 5 speeds
  • 3.2-amp motor
  • Maximum no-load speed 3050 RPM
  • ½-inch keyed chuck
  • 2-beam laser system
  • 22 x 15 x 10 inches
  • 10-inch swing
  • 7 5/8 x 7 5/8 -inch work table
  • Magnetic Drill Presses
  • 450+ Reviews
  • by Skil

The Skil 3320 took a little longer to deliver than expected (2 weeks). The distributor (CPO) was out of stock and indicated the drill press would be shipped direct from the factory. The box was pretty beat-up on arrival, but no components were damaged as the molded Styrofoam packaging did its job.

Considering the low sale price for this drill press I’m delighted with the quality and features normally only found on more expensive units.

By Amazon Customer

The vast majority of drill presses are similar in functionality which is why these reviews are a little shorter than some of the more complex power tools we investigate. Ther SKIL does have a unique selling point that distinguishes it from many lesser drill presses in the guise of a twin laser system that helps you to align drill bits on the worktable. The patented system projects those pair of lasers onto the material so you can ascend to new levels of accuracy without losing out on raw speed. Aligning the lasers is super-simple and you’ll also be able to make any adjustments fuss-free.

Assembly couldn’t be much easier and you’ll be up and running within a half-hour of unboxing.

The 3.2-amp powerplant gives you sufficient power for most regular drilling tasks you’d reasonably carry out. There’s an adjustable speed pulley system sat just above the motor allowing you a choice of 5 speeds:

  • 570 RPM
  • 900 RPM
  • 1390 RPM
  • 2050 RPM
  • 3050 RPM

The only real drawback here is the manual changes you’ll need to make when it’s to switch the speed up or down. Loosen the belt tension knobs to either side of the housing, adjust the belt after sliding the motor forward then reverse these steps and you’ll be firing on all cylinders again. Think carefully about how often you’ll be changing speed. If it’s something you’ll be doing consistently, you might be better advised looking at a drill press offering a tension lever to streamline speed changes.

As with the WEN, you’ll get a base from machined cast iron you can move up and down using a crank handle you’ll find on the support column. The square surface of the table lets you work with fairly large pieces. As with every top-notch drill press, you’ll be able to angle the table up to 45 degrees in both directions.

Safety is uppermost with the SKIL. A front-mounted paddle switch has an integrated safety key ideal for making sure your kids’ curious fingers don’t fire up your drill press accidentally. This can be easily disabled when not being used.

We’ll walk you through the shower of benefits you can expect if you invest in this mighty but inexpensive drill press before serving up out verdict…

Pro's

  • Flexible, agile 3.2-amp motor gives you adequate power whatever the application
  • 5 speed pre-sets topping out at 3050 RPM so you can make micro-adjustments depending on what material you’re drilling
  • If you use the correct bit, you’ll be able to drill through thin sheets of metal as well as wood
  • Bump-off switch with safety key is a neat way to ensure you don’t get any accidental starts
  • Beam laser system with a pair of lasers gives you even more accuracy and is a wonderful touch for a drill press in this price range
  • Work surface tilts 45 degrees to both left and right
  • Neatly squared-off worktable lets you handle larger pieces of material with plenty of support
  • Well-crafted depth adjustment system allows you to drill with confidence and precision
  • Dependable 3-year SKIL warranty gives you real peace of mind as long as you register within a month of purchase

Con's

  • Laser calls for AA batteries so make sure you always have a supply to hand
  • No button to enable automatic speed changing but you’d expect some sacrifice with a budget drill press

Conclusion

When it comes to any power tools, you should always buy the best you can afford and you should build up your collection over time. Buying into SKIL lets you experience all that brand heritage without bankrupting yourself.

Although, like the WEN, this drill press is not designed with incessant industrial usage in mind, you’ll certainly enjoy a broad scope of work if you invest in this powerful 10-inch drill press.

Check one out today or read on for more inspiration when it comes to choosing the best drill press 2018.

As we reach the midpoint of our drill press reviews, we’ve got another fine 10-inch unit from a lesser-known brand, Silverline. It’s not through snobbery that we usually tend to stick with the tried-and-true manufacturers when we’re tracking down the best power tools simply that you know exactly where you stand with the industry’s major players and you’ll invariably get superior value for money over time.

That said, Silverline enjoys a sterling reputation throughout Europe and the functionality of this agile and accurate drill press is too good for us not to cover.

We’ll summarize the main features before doubling down on the many reasons why you should consider adding this capable workhorse to your workshop.

Main Features:

  • 5 speeds
  • 350-watt motor
  • 230V
  • ½-inch keyed chuck
  • 2 inch maximum drilling depth
  • Swing: 10 inches
  • Benchtop Drill Presses
  • 200+ Reviews
  • by Silverline

I’ve used it to drill vertically through wood, plastic and even fairly thick stainless steel plates with no problems. (Obviously you need the correct bits, particularly for the stainless steel!)

The on and off switches seem sturdy enough. The on switch is recessed in comparison to the off switch, however both switches are quite hard to push. (I would have expected the off switch to be significantly easier to hit in an emergency). However it is perfectly adequate for normal use.

By Amazon Customer

A benchtop model, the Silverline is a great sized unit if you’re struggling for space in your workshop but you’re not prepared to sacrifice accuracy when you’re drilling. You should be aware that you’re not going to get the extreme level of precision a more expensive drill press will provide but the tolerance is close enough for most reasonable household drilling jobs.

The drill press doesn’t come assembled but you shouldn’t need much more than 20 minutes and you’ll be up and at work.

As with most drill presses in this class, you’ll get 5 variable speeds starting at a pedestrian 580 RPM and maxing out at 2650 RPM.

The 350-watt motor delivers more than enough grunt and it runs on 230 volts.

The keyed chuck is a real pleasure to use and the overall feel of this drill press is user-friendly in the extreme. You’ll also be able to use a wide spectrum of drill bits making this a versatile tool.

That versatility extends to the materials you’ll be able to work with. Wood is a given but you’ll also be able to drill your way through much thicker plastic or even harder metals like brass or steel. As long as your intended scope of work is not too ambitious, you’ll get a surprising amount of range with this drill press.

 

Despite such excellent functionality, the Silverline is a slimline and compact piece of kit so it’s ideal in smaller shops.

As you’ll see outlined below, the Silverline offers you an impressive list of benefits. There are a number of drawbacks with this budget drill press so it’s worth paying attention to the negative aspects so you can be sure this makes the right fit for your workshop.

Pro's

  • Wide band of 5 variable speeds from 580 RPM right through 2650 RPM for pace matched to application across the board
  • Assembly is quick and easy and this drill press is a cinch to use even if you’re just starting out
  • Occupies a very small footprint for a 10-inch drill press so ideal in smaller workshops with space restrictions
  • A versatile drill allowing you to penetrate hard wood, brass, steel and thick plastic if you use the appropriate bit
  • Easily adjust the depth of cut from 0 to 2 inches by restricting the chuck’s movement
  • Keyed chuck is a breeze to open and close, and compatible with a wide range of drill bits
  • This drill press integrates well with a diverse array of accessories making it a very flexible addition to your workshop
  • Sturdy base and thoughtfully engineered table for a solid experience without too much vibration
  • Perfect for all those household DIY jobs where you don’t need to work to incredibly fine tolerances
  • Exceptional 3-year warranty so you can buy without a headache

Con's

  • On/off buttons rather awkward to depress
  • Plastic belt pulleys are distressingly fragile
  • Recommendation from manufacturer not to use this tool for more than 15 minutes without allowing it to cool down so useless for projects requiring sustained drilling
  • In a poor oversight, this drill press is not compatible with the Silverline drill vise

Conclusion

With so many Europeans flocking to Silverline tools, it might be time to look beyond the usual suspects if you’re looking for a no-nonsense drill press at a price you’ll love.

As always, we’ve frankly outlined the drawbacks of this drill press rather than focusing purely on what it does well. As long as you’re aware of these limitations up front, you’ll get no unpleasant surprises.

From the dependable build quality through to accuracy and speed all wrapped in that budget package, you’ll struggle to find a better drill press for the money. Road test one of these today and you won’t look back.

We’ll step things up a gear as we near the end of our drill press reviews with a heavyweight beast from the stellar JET, this time a floor-standing model ideal for larger workshops and more ambitious drilling needs.

If you need to process larger sheets of metal in a commercial setting where time is money, the JET is tailor-made. Variable speeds make drilling even the toughest metal straightforward while boring through thinner workpieces is child’s play.

Scope out the core functionality of this exceptional drill press before we laser in on what makes this unit perfect for home craftsmen and pros alike…

Main Features:

  • 12 speeds
  • 1 ½ HP motor
  • 115/230V
  • ¾-inch drill chuck and key
  • Work light
  • Swing: 20 inches
  • 325 pounds
  • Drill Presses
  • 10+ Reviews
  • by Jet

A really heavy duty tool with the following notable characteristics: Exhibits noisy sheet metal at some speeds and vibration at highest speeds. Quill travel is only 4+ inches. At low speeds this press generates very high torque and will damage tools if the operator is not careful. (I installed a 1/2″ chuck and did not drive the adapter in tightly. This press twisted the adapter out and ruined the chuck for precision work.) Depth gauge is slow to use. Tool does not have a quill lock. Like all drills of this type there is a big gap in speeds and getting over the gap requires switching belts. 

By Amazon Customer

First thing’s first, if you’re looking to drill the occasional hole and you’ve got a small home workshop, this is an unnecessary beast. If, on the other hand, you have a consistent need to work with bulky sheets of harder metal, this might be the smartest investment you make all year.

Kicking off with the incredibly agile and capable powerplant developing 1 ½ HP, everything on the JET is precision engineered to give that essential combination of speed and accuracy. Build quality is vital if you want a drill press to help you with challenging applications on a sustained basis. The hard metal is built to stay the distance and all componentry is highly dependable as you’d expect from an industry behemoth like JET.

That motor will keep going all day so you don’t need to worry about overheating if you deal with large volumes of sheeting. Properly maintained, your JET will keep running as long as you have the stamina to operate it.

This is a whopping pillar drill and you’ll benefit from a huge 18 ½ x 16 inch worktable allowing you all the room you need even with bulky sheets of metal. You can bevel this in both directions to 45 degrees as is standard with drill presses and you can also lower or raise the table so you get the optimum working position at all times.

12 variable speeds allow you to start remarkably slowly at just 150 RPM and take things right up to 4200 RPM when the project dictates. You’ll be able to easily penetrate hard plastics and metals as well as wood so you’re spoiled for choice. Initially, changing speeds feels a little awkward but once you’ve got this down-pat, you shouldn’t continue to struggle.

The ½-inch positive depth stop, by contrast, is a cinch to adjust. The 3-nut locking feature is a real bonus enabling you to switch the speed up or down without losing precious working time.

Many workshops are naturally gloomy and there’s nothing worse than straining your eyes attempting intricate work calling for complete precision. The work light housed on the front side of the JET lets you beaver away even if the light is sub-par.

The 2-year limited warranty means JET has your back in the event of anything going awry. Given the quality of this drill press, though, we don’t imagine you’ll be facing too many problems.

Have a glimpse at a breakdown of the pros and cons of this floor-standing colossus before we serve up our verdict and wrap these drill press reviews…

Pro's

  • Torquey and powerful 1 ½ HP motor giving you all the grunt you need to attack the most demanding applications
  • Ready to go straight out the box so perfect if you dislike assembling machinery
  • Wide choice of 12 speeds starting at 150 RPM and topping out at 4200 RPM so you can match the pace to the project with ease
  • Very generous 1-inch drilling capacity sets this pillar drill apart from the weaker competition
  • Hinged metal belt and pulley cover works seamlessly with motor mount so you can tweak those speeds without reaching for your toolbox
  • Integrated work light illuminates the material perfectly so you can work with complete accuracy even in dimmer workshops
  • ½-inch depth stop also allows for tool-free manipulation
  • ¾-inch chuck accepts an assortment of bits up to ¾-inch in diameter
  • Height adjustable worktable that bevels out 45 degree left and right giving you all the flexibility you need for just about any drilling task
  • Decent 2-year warranty coverage allows you to buy stress-free

Con's

  • Like any floor-standing drill press, this is a bulky unit so make sure you’ve got sufficient workshop space to accommodate the JET
  • Certainly not the cheapest drill press solution at your disposal
  • A few isolated complaints about high-pitched noise and vibration at the very upper speeds

Conclusion

When you’re looking for a rugged and powerful drill press you can use to really widen the scope of your drilling while also ramping up the speed and accuracy you can work with, this 20-inch floor standing model from JET is tough to beat.

For an industrial-grade floor-standing drill press that won’t bankrupt your business, the JET is a wise bet. And the best thing, if you do add this giant to your workshop, you’ll recoup that investment in short order thanks to the enormous increase you’ll experience in productivity.

Last but by no means least in our drill press reviews is another floor-standing gem, this time from Delta.

As with the JET, this drill press is no budget machine but it’s also anything but budget in terms of performance. Take a look at the main features at a glance before we outline what this drill press does best…

Main Features:

  • 16 speeds
  • ¾ HP induction motor
  • 5/8-inch keyed chuck with onboard storage
  • 20 x 14-inch work table
  • 59 x 30 ½ x 13 inches
  • Swing: 18 inches
  • Dual laser
  • 240 pounds
  • Benchtop Drill Presses
  • 100 Reviews
  • by Delta

This is a great drill press! I’ve looked at DP’s for a long time comparing features & benefits and it all boiled down to this one. I was really wanting a DP that had electronic variable speed control but as quick as one comes on the market they are discontinued because of technical difficulties.

The motor is obviously a central part of any effective drill press and Delta rolls out a ¾ HP beauty giving the 18-900L more than enough punch to bore out large, deep holes in more or less any material you put in its way.

With 16 speed settings to choose from, you can work anywhere from 170 RPM to 3000 RPM at the top end. When you need to change that speed, you’ll appreciate the auto-tensioning belt drive. All you need to do is push the handle, manipulate the belts then flick the arm back.

Despite packing all that power, the Delta runs smoothly without any menacing vibration. It’s also quieter than you’d imagine a machine of this stature would be even when you’re working it pretty hard.

The 6-inch quill stroke enables you to drill deeply even if you’re working with thicker metals or very hard plastics.

Patented TWINLASER beams project onto the workpiece enabling you to see like a hawk even if the light in your workshop is fading. This feature alone will add another layer of accuracy to your work while making things easier on your eyes at the same time.

The worktable is substantial and clamping is a breeze with the T-slots thrown in. You can remove the replacement center if you need to carry out any through-the-wood drilling. As with everything else on this drill press, attention to detail in the workmanship and durability is second to none.

Assembly polarizes opinion. While many satisfied customers said they experienced no hassle during set-up, others have complained it’s a tasky procedure.

Make no mistake, this is a huge unit. The drill press tips the scales at 240 pounds and it measures up at 59 x 30 ½ x 13 inches so you’ll need plenty of space to accommodate it. The delivery package is evidently bulky so make sure you’ve got assistance on hand when it arrives.

There’s legitimately very little to moan about with the Delta aside from that price tag. While no machinery is perfect, the Delta 18-inch drill press is the next best thing. Check out at a glance where it stands and falls then we’ll move onto a brief buying guide to make your decision even easier…

Pro's

  • Class-leading 16 speed settings allowing you to get the pace right whatever material you need to penetrate
  • Heavy-duty ¾ HP motor helps you bore large holes through the toughest materials without sacrificing speed or accuracy
  • Auto-tensioning belt drive system makes switching speeds quick and easy
  • Dual lasers illuminate your workpiece even if the lighting is less than ideal
  • 6-inch quill stroke promotes the deepest drilling in either wood or metal with precise scale marked out in 1/16-inch increments
  • Broad and sturdy worktable with nifty T-slots to simplify clamping
  • Extremely quiet for a drill press which is surprising given the amount of power on tap
  • Some assembly required but you’ll be up and running in no time without too much interference
  • Superb 5-year limited warranty gives you the confidence to invest in this expensive drill press without any concerns about it letting you down next year
  • Micro-adjustable depth stops streamline any repetitive drilling tasks so you can get more done in less time

Con's

  • An eye-watering price tag but we would say still great value
  • Very heavy and bulky like any floor-standing drill press

Conclusion

Not everyone needs an industrial drill press or one built to keep running all day long so if you’re looking for a casual, lightweight machine, this is absolutely not for you.

For any small business owners who need to bore through hard and demanding materials on a regular basis, picking up this awesome pillar drill will save you money as well as enhancing the quality of your work.

With top-tier build quality and all the power you need for even super-tough materials from a brand you can trust, what’s not to like?

Best Drill Press Reviews and Buying Guide 2018

OK…

Now we’ve polished off out drill press reviews, it’s time to give you the lowdown on what to look out for when you’re tracking down the best drill press for your needs.

First thing’s first, though, why do you even need one in the first place?

Who Needs A Drill Press?

Whether you’re working with wood or metal, if you need to drill holes through, the best drill press will help you to do far more rapidly and accurately than you could by hand.

Whether you’re in the home workshop, out on the jobsite or working in a commercial setting, a drill press will be one of the most effective investments you could make.

While the core purpose of these magnificent pieces of kit is basic – it improves your drilling  – there are nevertheless a few things to look out for when you’re on the buying trail…

Buying Guide

When you’re hunting down the best drill press, the first thing you should do is think about your intended purpose and use that to help determine your budget.

Let’s face it, if you only plan to use the machinery once a month, it probably doesn’t make sense to invest in something like the costly Delta laser press. Equally, if you’re intending to put this drill press through its paces on a regular basis under challenging conditions, it pays to buy the very best you can afford.

Reading plenty of user reviews generally gives you a balanced idea of what actual users think of the product in action. Once someone has spent out on any given product, they’re usually keen to point out genuine flaws as well as what that product does well. If you see certain issues constantly reappearing in user reviews, it’s worth paying attention to these and doing some further research.

Beyond that, here are a few simple pointers to bear in mind when you’re looking for the best drill press.

What To Consider When Buying a Drill Press

Type of Drill Press

Before anything, you’ll want to determine whether you want a bench top drill press or a floor-standing model.

If you’re looking to undertake more ambitious projects and accuracy is key, target one of the larger floor units.

When space is at a premium but you still need assistance when it comes to small drilling jobs, a benchtop model is the ideal choice.

Horsepower

If you’re looking to bore wide, long holes through harder materials like iron or steel, you’ll understandably want to shoot for a drill press packing plenty of horsepower.

The more power you have on tap, the less your drill bit will end up being stressed and the lighter work you’ll make of piercing thicker, more resistant materials.

Table

You’ll be able to fine-tune your table so you can make drilling easier and more accurate at the same time.

Design and dimensions vary with tables.

With some tables, you’ll be able to swivel it completely as well as making micro-adjustments.

Think about your intended use and angle for a drill press with a table in line with that.

Dimensions

Size matters and it certainly does with drill presses.

The tool you have in mind needs to be wide enough to hold the piece of wood you want to drill into. The area between the bit and the drill press post accounts for the throat depth. The greater this depth, the bigger hunk of wood you can use.

Weight

The weight of your drill press is important for the way it impacts both stability and portability.

Benchtop models are obviously much lighter than their Floorstanding counterparts so if you’re looking for portability, these make most sense. Not only will it weigh less, you’ll be able to shift it around if your needs change.

That said, the heavier the drill press, the more stable it will be. You’ll get less vibration and this will enhance the accuracy you can achieve with the machine.

Speed Adjustment

Not all applications are equal. If you plan to work with metals or certain types of wood, you’ll appreciate having the ability to play with the speed.

Pretty much any first-class drill press will give you several speeds to choose from.

Whether you want to slow things right back to work with metal or amp up the pace for certain kinds of wood, look for a drill press offering you the speed selection you need.

Serviceability and Warranty

However much you spend on a drill press, you’ll need to look after it and also to be prepared if something goes awry.

Check out in advance if spare parts are available for the model you’re considering.

Tied in to this is the length and strength of the warranty you’ll be offered. Let’s face it, manufacturers don’t intend to lose out by offering this kind of coverage. As a rule of thumb, you might generally expect to start experiencing problems some time shortly after the guarantee expires.

Look for a drill press that won’t let you down even if you need to spend a few dollars more.

A Checklist

If you’re on the verge of investing in a drill press, make sure you think of the following before committing to purchase…

  • Look for a flat base for maximum accuracy
  • Make sure the framework is solid and built to last
  • Make sure there’s a stopper so you can’t drill too deep
  • Iron heads are the most effective way to keep the bit protected

So…

Now you’ve got a solid overview of what to look for in the best drill press, how about actually using one?

Usage and Maintenance Tips

If it’s possible, you should locate your drill press on or between some long benches. This enables you to keep longer boards nicely supported horizontally.

If you want to drill with any degree of success, you’ll need to focus on these factors:

  • Selecting the right drill bit for the application
  • Accurately centering
  • Properly supporting the workpiece

If you’re screwing holes, all you need to do is mark and center punch the holes. Supporting the workpiece with your hand while you’re drilling is more than enough.

When you’re looking to carry out some more precise boring work, you should shoot for a machine dowel bit. Clamp or hold your workpiece against a fence or guide and you’ll ramp up the accuracy without sacrificing too much speed.

Jigs, templates and other attachments can all help extend the scope of work you’ll be able to perform with the best drill press.

Drilling speeds vary from around 600 RPM right through 4000 RPM and above.

  • Low Speeds: Large diameter drilling in hardwoods and all kinds of drilling in metal
  • High Speeds: Smaller diameter drilling in wood. Routing, grooving

Check out this handy video for a hands-on guide to tuning your drill press and making sure it gives you years of faithful service.

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Closing Words

With any luck, this exploration of the best drill presses on the market has put you one step closer to buying the tool of your dreams.

As long as you take the time to think about why you actually need a drill press, you should have no problem getting something that meshes with those needs perfectly.

Drop us a line any time if you’ve got any questions or feedback at all. We love to hear from our readers and we’re always happy to help however we can.

And as a parting shot, we’ve assembled 10 of the most frequently asked questions about the drill press for your convenience…

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FAQ

1) WHAT EXACTLY IS A DRILL PRESS?

It’s a simple machine for both metalworking and woodworking. You can use it to drill holes, press things together and other workshop tasks like mortising and sanding.

2) CAN ALL DRILL PRESSES WORK WITH MUCH HARDER MATERIALS?

No. While pretty much any drill press will enable you to work with both wood and some metals, if you’re planning to drill through very tough metal or stone, you’ll need to make sure in advance the models you’re looking at allow for this.

3) WHEN SHOULD YOU USE THE DRILL PRESS AT SLOWER SPEEDS?

If you’re using a larger bit to bore through materials like cast iron, dial the speed back to around 200 RPM for best results.

4) WHEN SHOULD YOU USE THE DRILL PRESS AT HIGHER SPEEDS?

Speed things up to 4000 RPM when you’re using smaller bits and dealing with softer material?

5) WHAT DOES SWING REFER TO WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A DRILL PRESS?

The swing is double the distance from the chuck to the post supporting the throat.

6) WHAT DOES STROKE REFER TO WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A DRILL PRESS?

This is the plunge depth of your chuck.

7) IS IT ONLY POSSIBLE TO DRILL ROUNDED HOLES WITH A DRILL PRESS?

No. If you invest in a mortising attachment, you’ll also be able to drill square holes.

8) ARE BENCHTOP DRILL PRESSES WORSE THAN FLOOR-STANDING MODELS?

It’s not a question of better or worse, it’s all about intended purpose. Don’t buy a bulky floor-standing drill press if you only use it for occasional light duties at home. Equally, don’t imagine a dinky benchtop unit will make a great fit in a busy commercial shop. It’s all about getting the right drill press for you.

9) WHAT IS THE QUILL?

It’s simply the hollow shaft surrounding the spindle

10) WHAT DOES RUNOUT MEAN?

This is another way to describe the vibration that can mar cheaper drill presses and wreak havoc with accuracy.