The drill press might not be the fanciest or most well-known tool in the workshop; however, it is one of the most effective machines that you could invest in. It offers a plethora of advantages and should be part of any comprehensive toolkit. If you are new to working with drill presses and need to know the ins and outs of these machines, then this detailed guide is tailored for you. In this article, will go over everything that you need to know about these tools and we will help you choose the best drill press on the market today.
Factors you should know before buying and reading drill press reviews
Like with any complex power tool, there are several important factors that you need to keep in mind before opting for a particular model. Here are some of the main aspects that you should focus on when you are looking for a new drill press:
Drill machines vary from small units that can be mounted on a benchtop to the large models that should be placed on the floor. Before committing to a purchase, you need to have a clear idea of how much space you can allocate to this tool. This will allow you to make a decision on which option to go with.
This is undeniably the most important factor and also the most straightforward one. The vast majority of drill press machines are powered by electricity and the torque that they produce is measured in horsepower. It is rather simple; just get the machine that can produce the highest horsepower for the price point that you can afford. A powerful motor gives you the flexibility to take on any type of project regardless of how demanding it is and ensures the durability of your drill press machine.
While not all drill press machines have it, the variable speed is an extremely important feature and should be near the top of the list of the factors that you should consider. The importance of the variable speed lies in the fact that different types of drills require different kinds of speed and power. Being able to adjust the machine’s output to suit a multitude of situations gives you the necessary flexibility that allows you to tackle different applications without having to switch the machine.
The size of the machine
Unlike hand drills where compactness and a slim design are favored, drill presses need to be large enough to accommodate the sizable pieces of wood that have to be drilled. To that extent, the metric that lets you know the maximum size that the unit can handle is known as the throat depth. More specifically, this area refers the space between the drill bit that is attached to the spindle and the post that holds the head. In short, the bigger the throat depth is the higher the capacity of the drill press is.
Besides their main drilling function, a number of drill presses are equipped with extra components that enable them to serve other purposes. A prime example of this is some of the units that can be converted into an oscillating spindle sander.
Durability and build quality
Needless to say, any machine that is geared toward industrial use must be sturdy enough to handle the rough work and constant exposure to the elements of the workshop. The frame should be extremely solid and all the parts should be robust and well-attached to it. As far as the build quality is concerned, the base needs to be completely flat so that you can get the most accurate drilling possible. Also, avoid models that are mostly made from plastic. This material is highly unreliable and is liable to compromise the quality of your work as well as the functionality of the machine itself.
The assembly process
Assembling a power tool might not be a challenging task for a professional, but for most beginners, it can be quite overwhelming. If you happen to fall in the latter category, it is advisable that you avoid drill piece machines that don’t come with any preassembled parts and require you to mount the unit from scratch. Additionally, you should always check if the manual covers the assembly process in a detailed and comprehensive way.
A good warranty is an essential factor that a lot of people neglect. Even if you get the most durable option on the market, you still need to be covered by a complete warranty that covers parts and service for at least twelve months.
This factor is entirely dependent upon each person’s budget. However, you should know that the power tool marker is not the ideal place to look for bargains and that the drop-off in quality between the premium models and the entry-level ones is fairly substantial. With drill press machines, you get exactly what you paid for, and the bigger your budget the more effective and productive the tool that you can get is.
Types of drill press machines
When it comes to drill presses, there are two popular options; best Benchtop drill presses and floor mounted drill presses. Like with almost everything else, each has its own set of positives and negatives. Below is a breakdown of what to expect from each type:
Best Benchtop drill press: This is the most common type of drill press and is the preferred option of most small workshop owners. The main advantage of Benchtop models is the fact that they don’t occupy that much space in the work area. They can be mounted on a workbench with relative ease and the entire process is very intuitive. The main drawback of this option is the height restriction that it imposes on you. This makes vertical cutting relatively underwhelming compared to the alternative.
Floor mounted drill presses: This is the option of choice for professionals and experienced hobbyists. Floor mounted drill presses are designed to handle the heavy-duty cutting that requires immense vertical power and unrestricted height. They boast a substantially higher amount of horsepower and are capable of cutting through a wide array of materials that range of light wood to reinforced metals. They are also more precise and have the capacity to drill much deeper holes. The only inconvenience of using floor mounted models is their sheer size and bulkiness, but this is more than offset by their high performance.
The benefits of using a drill press over a hand drill
The advantages that a drill press offers compared to its manual counterpart are fairly obvious. It is substantially more powerful and has the capacity to drill much deeper and larger holes with little to no effort. Furthermore, drill press machines are often versatile and can be used for different applications that extend beyond drilling. For a more in-depth look at what a drill press can bring to your workshop, here are some of the major advantages of using these effective tools:
They are more accurate: If your work requires the utmost precision, then you can’t go wrong with a drill press machine. In a stark contrast with hand drills, the holes that are created by the drill press are evenly spaced and have the exact same proportions.
They are significantly safer: When using a drill press, the last thing that you need to worry about is an injury. Features such as the variable speed and the clamp that tightly secures the wood to the surface ensure a smooth operation at all times and an overall safe work environment.
They boost productivity: A drill press has the capacity to increase your output at an industrial scale. It can make identical cuts multiple times with one initial setting. This is especially ideal if you are running a small workshop and have to meet a certain level of production every single day.
Best drill press reviews
1 – WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
- Infinitely variable speed ranges from 580-3200 RPMS. Mechanical variable speed...
- Spindle Travel of 3-1/8" with easy to read, locking linear depth stop for...
- Quill diameter of 2.17 inches. Durable 2/3hp induction motor develops ample...
- 9-1/2 x 9-1/2" cast iron worktable features rack & pinion height adjustment and...
The first option in our list is this great model from WEN. This drill press comes with a plethora of attributes that enable it to deliver the kind of performance that is needed in your workshop. It combines all the main elements that are essential for a smooth and efficient operation. It boasts an impressive maximum speed of 3200 RPM and provides a tremendous amount of control. If you are not willing to sift multiple options and simply want a straightforward drill press that can do an adequate job without blowing through your budget, the WEN 421412 is a right for you.
As previously stated, this unit comes with the variable speed feature. The range is between 580 and 3200 RPMS. This quality is extremely important because it gives the tool enough versatility to handle different types of projects as well as a multitude of materials. This feature plays a direct role in improving the overall precision of the drill press. Moreover, it gives you full control over the mode of operation of the tool and guarantees better results. Another quality that is worth mentioning is the durability of this drill press. Its frame is remarkably sturdy and it is thick enough to provide ample protection for the integral parts of the machine.
- The motor is surprisingly quiet even when working at full capacity
- It has a sleek design and an exquisite finish
- It is made from heavy duty materials and is built to last
- It is easy to assemble and the instructions are detailed and clear
- It is equipped with a motor that produces ample torque
- The speed control is not easy to adjust
- The handle can feel slippery at times
2 – Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Workstation Drill Press Work Station with Wrench
- Articulating Drill Press- Drills Perpendicular and Angled Holes in 15-degree...
- Tool Holder- Holds Tool at 90 Degrees Horizontal for Tasks Such as Polishing...
- Flex Shaft Tool Stand- Allows Telescopic Adjustment to Any Height Between 16 and...
- Cord Management Clips - for Safe Storage of Power Cords, Inch/Metric Marking on...
Picking a budget power tool can be a tricky process. More often than not, these models have subpar designs and the level of craftsmanship and engineering that goes into the manufacturing of these units tends to be questionable, to say the least. Fortunately, this does not apply to all products on the market. This particular model from Dremen exemplifies everything that we like to see in an affordable power tool. It is as stable as it is powerful and is without a doubt a worthy contender for the title of the best budget drill press. Moreover, the compact and lightweight design of the tool makes it easy to store since it doesn’t occupy a lot of space. For the price point, it is quite robust and most of its parts seem to be made from good quality materials.
Another great quality that this unit offers is its impressive flexibility. This is mostly owed to the 36 inch shaft that can be attached in a fast and easy manner, which affords you a high level of versatility when working on a wide range of projects. The Dremel 220 is ideal for a multitude of applications that include crafts, hobbies, metal working, as well as various DIY jobs around your house. All these features makes it one of the best drill press for metal.
- This power tool provides one of the best quality to price ratios on the market
- It is suited for a wide range of projects
- It has a compact design that allows for easier storage
- It is equipped with a well made 36 inch shaft
- The drill press can be turned into a mini plunge router
- The assembly instructions are not very clear
- It vibrates too much
3 – Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
- Auto-tensioning belt drive system allows for fast and easy speed changes while...
- Full 6-inch quill stroke for deeper drilling applications and best-in-class...
- Micro-adjustable depth stops and independent depth scale allows the user to zero...
- Fully adjustable TWINLASER projects a bright red crosshair on the work piece at...
When it comes to floor drill presses, this is easily one of the top options that you could get. While floor drill presses are substantially more expensive than benchtop ones, it is essential to remember that they offer a significant number of advantages, namely an increased level of stability and precision. This model from Delta is specifically tailored to the needs of professionals and advanced users and it boats several attributes that make it the best floor drill press on the market. Despite all this, operating this power tool is rather easy and doesn’t come with a steep learning curve that is often associated with professional grade appliances.
This unit features a tremendous laser system and provides you with a wide range of speeds depending on the project that you are undertaking. The best drill press table is remarkably spacious and has the capacity to accommodate large chunks of material. Furthermore, it is quite flexible and can be rotated up to 90 degrees in each direction.
Some of the other features that come with the Delta 18-900L include an effective auto-tensioning belt drive system that facilitates the changing of the speed while ensuring maximum transmission efficiency and a convenient depth scale that enables the user to set up the tool for repetitive drilling in a practical and time-saving fashion.
- The double tilt table offers a spacious work area and it can rotate up to 90 degrees
- The tool is equipped with an effective auto-tensioning belt drive system
- It offers up to 16 different speeds
- It delivers professional grade precision
- This drill press is relatively quiet despite its size and power
- The LED light is too dim
- The belt tension system could use some improvement
4 – Shop Fox W1668 3/4 HP Bench-Top Oscillating Drill Press
- Motor: 3/4 HP, 110-Volt, 1,725 RPM, Spindle Speeds 250-3050 RPM
- Drill chuck: 5/8-Inch
- Spindle travel: 3-1/4-Inch
- Swing: 13-1/4-Inch
This is another affordable unit that has managed to meet our strict requirements for a quality drill press. It comes in a comprehensive package that includes a 3-piece spindle sander drum kit with a mandrel and 80 grit sanding paper to fit the 1-Inch, 1-1/2-Inch, and 2-Inch drums. It is equipped with a decent motor that has the capacity to generate 0.75 of horsepower and it gives you the possibility to pick a speed between 250 and 3050 RPM. The machine is quite decent for the price point and it is quite adept at delivering a great level of performance with various kinds of drilling projects regardless of the type of material that you are using.
Unlike the vast majority of entry-level units, the Shop Fox W1668 is not completely devoid of extra features. Most notably, it boats a tilting table that makes angled drilling an absolute joy. The table itself is spacious and setting it up was an easy and straightforward process.
While this unit should not be your first choice if you are planning to use your drill press for heavy applications, it is still a versatile option that provides great value for your money and should be seriously considered by anyone on a budget.
- It is an ideal option if you a have a tight budget
- It boasts an oscillating feature for sanding operation
- The tilting table of the machine gives it extra versatility
- It works smoothly on a wide range of materials
- The frame is sturdy and robust relative to the price of the drill press
- The instructions are not very detailed
- The paint of the column that supports the table peels off rather easily
5 – SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
- 1/2-Inch keyed chuck. Bump-off switch for added safety
- 5 Speeds - 570 - 3,050 RPM
- Adjustable depth stop for accurate measurements and repetitive drilling
- 0-45 Degree Left/Right Tilting Work Surface
Skil has amassed a reputation for engineering cheap and effective power tools that can do the job in your workshop without costing you an arm and a leg. There is a reason why this unit is one of the best selling drill presses on the market. It combines simplicity, effectiveness, affordability and comes with a set of features that wouldn’t look out of place in a premium professional grade model. Performance wise, you can expect to get a smooth and precise operation out of this machine. Some of the main features that are worth mentioning include the variable speed that facilitates working on different applications and the accurate laser beam that ensures a more precise drilling. Furthermore, the table can be tilted up to 45 degrees, which gives you a wider range of control.
Despite the low price, the build quality of the Skil 3320-01 is actually pretty decent. All the parts look sturdy and the overall design of the machine looks in line with some of the company’s most expensive models. As long as you make sure not to neglect proper maintenance, this drill press can last you for years.
- The build quality is remarkable for the price point
- It has a laser beam that adds to the machine’s precision when you are drilling
- The table can be tilted up to 45 degrees
- The machine is easy to assemble and the instructions walk you through every step of the process
- It includes a metal top lid
- It doesn’t produce a lot of noise
- The height adjuster is poorly designed
- The handle ends are made from cheap plastic
What You Should Know Before, During, and After Using Your Drill Press
Now that you have decided to have this important machine in your workpiece, you will need to know some of the important tips to keep it running and to keep yourself safe while using it. A drill press machine can be a very dangerous tool if used improperly and vice versa when you know how it works.
- Always take your time to read through the manufacturer’s manual. No matter how conversant you are with other drill press machines, modern makes usually have something you don’t know about hence important to go through the manual.
- Ensure you are trained before operating it. Learn how to use it, its limitations, and hazards that come along with it.
- Wear a face mask or some approved safety goggles when operating it. This will prevent some particles from entering your eyes and consequently keep off the dust from your breathing system.
- Ensure the start and stop buttons are within your reach. This will help you stop the machine in case of an emergency. You should also ensure that your machine has an emergency stop switch.
- Before turning on your power, always ensure that the chuck key has been removed from the machine’s chunk. It is advisable to use a chuck key which is self-ejecting. Since you don’t want some accidental startups, it is advisable to always ensure the drill press is at OFF position before powering it. In every repair, make sure you have disconnected it from the power source.
- Only use the recommended accessories for a specific drill press. Use the right drills and bits for your machine make.
- Always ensure that the workpieces, you are working on are firmly held. This can be hazardous to you if the piece spin-off right to your face. Use the clamps to hold the workpiece tightly.
- Avoid loose clothing, ties, jewelry, and gloves. If you have long hair, use your hair net. The room should be well-ventilated too.
- Ensure the cutting tool and drill bits are safely secured and locked in the chuck. Adjust the table properly so that you will not drill the table. Avoid drilling in very high speed else you might burn the workpieces or the tool itself.
- Always do the cleaning using a brush to keep the sawdust and chips off the table. Disconnect from the power when doing the cleaning.
- Wait for the drill come to a standstill using your bare hands.
- Never leave the drill press unattended when running.
- Keep lubricating the moving areas
With the advancements that were made over the past few years in the power tool industry, there are absolutely no excuses for using a hand drill these days. Even if you are on a tight budget, we can confidently state that the most affordable option in our list would be a substantial upgrade over your current tool. But if your resources allow it; consider investing in one of the premium best drill press models that we reviewed. The level of stability, accuracy, and power that is delivered by these machines is simply outstanding and you can expect an exponential rise in productivity the moment you decide to equip your workshop with one of these marvels of engineering.
Last update on 2020-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API