Whether you are a professional who owns a workshop, or a DIYer that likes spending time in the garage, there will come the time when you will need a drill press. It will take a bit of skill to make a perfect hole, but it is far more important to have the best drill press out there.
The great thing about these power tools is that they are versatile. The most reliable models out there will handle different materials, including metal, wood, and aluminum. Our drill press reviews will cover top-rated tools from different categories. Floor, Magnetic & Mortiser Drill Presses
We will start with Benchtop Drill Presses but we will move on to the Floor, Magnetic & Mortiser Drill Presses in case you feel they are a better fit. Finally, we created a buying guide to help you decide on what features you need in a drill press. The goal is to make you an informed buyer by the time you finish reading the article.
Best Benchtop Drill Presses
1. JET J-2530 15-Inch 3/4-Horsepower Benchtop Drill Press
At first glance, you will like how this tool looks. It is visually attractive, and the combination of gray and black looks modern.
What matters more is that it is durable and reliable. The drill press features a cast iron head for sturdiness, as well as a big quill to improve accuracy. You will find four ball bearings that are lubricated for life and boost the durability of the tool.
The table has a 45-degree tilt, and the chuck size is set to 5/8 inches, which is also the drilling capacity. The speed of the tool varies from 200 to 3,630 RPM, which makes it very versatile. The motor is fairly powerful with 3/4HP, and it is a shame that there is no LED light included.
The product comes with a plastic shield that should prevent the chips from hitting your eyes, but its quality could be better, and you will need safety glasses.
2. General International 75-010 M1 Bench-Top Drill Press
The greatest think about this drill press is that it has an integrated laser guide. It is vital for optimal precision and ensures accurate drilling.
The tool also comes with a 1/3HP motor, which will be more than enough for use in your garage or workshop. The speed goes up to 3,000 RPM, and it is variable with the minimum set at 500RPM.
The swing is set at 12 inches while the chunk size and drilling capacity are 5/8 inches, which is up to the average standard of the industry.
The product has a fairly durable base and an interesting green color that might not suit everyone’s taste. Fortunately, the bearings are of superb quality and secure smooth operation.
The only noticeable drawback is that the product is a bit noisy, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker because you should expect a power tool to be loud.
3. WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
WEN stuck to their classic orange and black combination for this power tool. When you look under the base, you will find a 2/3HP motor. Although it does deliver a fair amount of power, it is obvious that this drill press should be primarily used for DIY and home improvement projects.
The speed can infinitely vary in the range between 580 and 3,200RPM. You even have a LED display where you can check out the current speed at any moment.
The worktable is fairly compact, and the drilling capacity is up to 5/8 inches. You do have a table roller extension while the X-pattern laser should increase the accuracy of the tool.
The spindle travel has a maximum of 3 1/8 inches, but you can use the adjustable knobs to adjust it to your preference. The base is made of cast iron, and the product is fairly durable, but don’t expect wonders in terms of durability.
4. BUCKTOOL 10 Inch Drill Press
Here is a tool that could be a great choice for every beginner out there. It is an entry-level unit, but it has a decent quality to be versatile and cut metal, aluminum, wood, and other heavy-duty applications.
It is primarily thanks to the 2/3HP motor, which is quite powerful for a tool that primarily aims newbies as a user group. The lowest speed setting is 610RPM and the highest 2,800RPM, but you have a total of six-speed variables available.
The LED light will enable you to see the workpiece better while the laser guide should ensure the highest level of precision.
It may take a bit of time to get used to the tool as it vibrates a lot, especially for a compact drill press. Fortunately, the cast iron base and head table are quite sturdy. The table can tilt for 45 degrees, and the drilling capacity is ½ inches.
5. SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
If you are looking for a budget-friendly unit, you might find one in this drill press made by SKIL. It is clear that this a tool for newbies and those that are only entering the power tool world.
Additionally, it is a reliable choice for light projects, and it is fairly durable. However, the replacement parts are a bit tricky to get, which may affect the tool’s total lifespan.
As for operating the tool, you can tilt the table up to 45 degrees to both sides. The ½-inch keyed chunk makes the drill press suitable for bigger workpieces, but keep in mind the motor is of moderate power.
The RPM goes up to 3,050, and the unit has five variable speeds. The laser with two beams enables high precision for the holes. Batteries power the tool, and the first set comes included with the tool.
6. Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Workstation Drill Press
Dremel offers a different take than what we might be used to when it comes to drilling presses. The tool was designed to make angled and perpendicular holes. The increments are set to 15 degrees and go up to 90 degrees horizontal.
Thanks to the tool holder, the press is excellent for sanding wood and other shapes, as well as grinding and polishing metal. The maximum drill depth is set at two inches.
The third feature of this versatile tool is that the tool stand, which enables telescopic adjustment. The height can vary from 16 to 29 inches.
The operators will appreciate the marking, which is both in meters and inches for complete accuracy. The tool has a fairly low footprint and doesn’t take a lot of space. You can even store drill bits and other accessories within the special section of the unit.
Floor / Magnetic / Mortiser Drill Presses
1. JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill Press
Here is a drill press that is large and can handle materials of different size and thickness. That is what makes it suitable for professional and industrial use, although you can also utilize it for home improvement projects.
The motor is fairly powerful with a 1.5HP motor, and the speed goes up to 4,200RPM. It is impressive and enables us to do the desired work quickly. You can choose from 12 different speeds depending on the material you are drilling.
The table measures 18 ½ x 16 inches and moves up and down for quick adjustment. The external depth stop does a great job, and the chuck size is set at ¾ inches. It is worth noting that you can tilt the table of this drill press up to 45 degrees.
The quill may be a bit wobbly, which requires a bit more care, but it still does the job, and you can expect great results from this tool.
2. Hougen HMD904 115-Volt Magnetic Drill
The first thing you notice about this magnetic drill is that it is light. With less than 29 pounds of weight, you can transport it from one place to another with relative ease.
The maximum cut depth of this unit is two inches, and the motor works at 450RPM. The obvious downside is that it doesn’t feature other speed options, which means you will need a bit of patience when working with the tool.
The drilling capacity is set at ½ inches, and the tool comes with a gravity-feed coolant and lift detector safety features. The base seems quite durable and sturdy, and the unit also features a pilot light when you need to improve the visibility and accuracy.
Finally, the two-stage magnet is what contributes to the overall longevity of the tool. It only engages full power when you switch on the motor to increase magnet life.
3. DEWALT DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press
DEWALT’s take on magnetic drill presses features a powerful 10A motor with low and high-speed settings. The low one ensures 300RPM while the higher setting increases rotations per minute to 400.
The manufacturer considered users’ safety, which is why they included overload protection. The product comes with a ½-inch keyed chunk and a ¾-inch Weldon shank. You can switch from one to the other quickly with the Quick-Change feature. However, this might make the chunk a bit wobbly, so be careful.
The drill travel is set to four inches to ensure ample capacity. You will also get a magnetic coolant bottle, and you can have the freedom to choose where to place it – on the work surface or any of the tool’s sides.
Overall, the tool is quite versatile and can handle various materials, but we may have expected improved durability from this manufacturer.
4. Jancy Magforce Portable Magnetic-Base Drill
Jancy Magforce is aware of what should be the main advantage of a magnetic drill press – portability. That is why they designed a tool whose motor is strong, but also light as it weighs only 27 pounds.
As for power, the motor has 1.6HP, which should be more than enough for optimal tool versatility. The motor is stationary, which enables that the working height doesn’t change as you operate.
The depth capacity for the drill is set at two inches, and the cutting diameter is set at 1 5/8 inches. The product is safe to use, especially because of the smart magnet feature. It detects working conditions and stops the motor in case something is not up to the standard.
Overall, the manufacturer designed a unit which can be great for newbies but can also suit professionals. The price tag might be a bit higher, but it is a long-term investment.
5. Makita 7104L 10.5 Amp Chain Mortiser
The mortiser comes with a strong 10.5Amp motor, as well as a high speed of up to 3,200RPM. Thanks to this operation quickness, you can both drill thick materials and expect fast and consistent results.
The overall unit weight is 38 pounds, which makes it relatively portable. The unit’s capacity for lap joints is set to 5 1/8 inches.
The knob and vise are adjustable, which enables you to place logs that have thickness up to 12 1/8 inches and they will hold them down firmly. The clamp in the back is sliding, which allows efficient adjustment.
The mortiser is durable and sturdy, but keep in mind that it will take some time to learn how to use the unit. Additionally, the instruction manual might not be suitable for newbies as it is a bit complicated. If you can’t do it yourself, consider asking an experienced professional for help.
6. Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press
The oscillating drill press is a fairly large unit, but it manages to keep a relatively low footprint with its dimensions of 24 x 15 x 63 inches. The design is fairly simple, but the tool itself is visually attractive.
The product utilizes a 110V power source and a motor of 3/4HP. You could say it is an entry-level unit, but the RPM goes up to 3,050 rotations per minute, which is quite generous. The product does have a variable speed range with 12 speeds and the lowest set at 250RPM.
The drill chuck has a maximum capacity set at 5/8 inches while the swing is set at 13 ¾ inches. The greatest thing about the unit is that it has an oscillating feature that allows sanding.
The oscillating spindle is ¾ inches, and the product also has a two-inch dust port. The instruction manual could be better, but you still shouldn’t have plenty of problems assembling the unit.
Drill Press Buying Guide
What to Consider When Buying a Drill Press
The good thing about drill presses is that they are versatile. You can use them for different materials, but the suitability for particular types depend on the speed and power of the tool.
What Materials Can I Use a Drill Press For?
Here are some materials you can use them for when drilling:
- Wood – a drill press works on pine and other soft wood, but also hardwood materials, such as maple. However, you may want to find a suitable drill for the latter. Some wooden pieces might require the tool to operate at high speed.
- Metal – low speeds are ideal for metal, and you can even consider using oil for lubrication and stopping the tool from overheating.
- Plastic – you also want low speeds because plastic is a sensitive material that might melt.
How Much Power Do You Need?
The critical question you want to ask yourself is related to the materials you plan to drill. If you intend to work on small and light projects at home, you may be more than satisfied with a moderate power drill press.
However, if you plan to handle large and thick materials, the chances are you will need a more powerful tool. In that case, think about adding extra bucks to your budget and buying a press with a stronger motor.
The same goes if you plan to use the tool every day. If you use the drill press often, you need a durable and sturdy unit with high-quality components. In that case, choose strong and durable materials.
On the other hand, if you are a beginner or a DIY enthusiast, even a press with limited durability will do the job.
Do You Need Extensive Drilling Capacity?
You should choose the drilling capacity depending on the materials you will work with when using the press. The capacity is directly related to the drilling hole depth. If you plan to use the tool for thick and large materials, go ahead and pick extensive drilling capacity.
When choosing the desired capacity, always consider all materials that you plan to drill, and not only the ones that you will drill most frequently.
How Much Space You Have Available?
First of all, drill presses are mostly stationary tools. Some of them are light enough to move from one spot to another, but you do not hold them in your hand while operating.
That is why you want to ensure that you have enough space to place the unit and operate it. First, find the measurements of your desired press. Next, check out the preferred location and make sure it fits there. Keep in mind that you will need at least several additional inches so that you can comfortably move around the press.
4 Most Common Drill Press Types
You can find various types of drill presses out there, but we singled out four most common types. Take a look at their advantages and drawbacks below.
Benchtop Drill Presses
DIY enthusiasts and those who plan on using this powerful tool for home improvement projects might make a great choice by investing in a benchtop drill press. The majority of them has a compact size and design so that it doesn’t take a lot of space in your workshop or garage.
If you compare them to floor drill presses and some other models, they present a fairly affordable investment. The tool is also quite versatile and offers variable speed, as well as plenty of power for small and light projects.
As such, they might not be a great option for long-term everyday work and heavy-duty workpieces. Ultimately, however, it depends on a unit and benchtop tools can provide good value for money.
- Compact design and size
- Good value for money
- A great choice for DIY projects
- Not that great for professional work
- It may be a bit difficult to drill heavy-duty materials
2. Magnetic Drill Presses
Here is a tool that may be a smart choice if you are doing the drilling in an unstable environment. As long as you ensure that the magnet is reliable, the drill press will take your accuracy to a high level.
These devices are lightweight and compact, which makes them very portable. Although they are fairly powerful, suitability for heavy-duty workpieces varies from one unit to another.
The source of power can be electricity, but there are also hydraulic and pneumatic. The price largely varies, but you will need to be ready for a learning curve either way.
- Portable and easy to transport
- Suitable for job sites and unstable environment
- Various power sources
- The price varies from one unit to another
- Expect a learning curve when operating them
3. Mortiser Drill Presses
Those experienced among you already know, but let’s mention that mortising is an action of using power tools to cut square-shouldered mortises. Apart from the classic method, you can also mount a mortising accessory on your drill press.
The installation process might take some time, especially because it is essential to keep the workpiece in place while operating. The attachment will increase the versatility of your tool, and it presents an affordable investment.
It might take a while to learn to work with the tool, but once you do, it can deliver consistent and solid results.
- It can deliver solid results
- A fairly affordable investment
- It increases the versatility of the unit
- The setup may be a bit difficult
- It will take trial and error to learn to operate the tool
4. Floor Drill presses
The first thing you notice with these units is that they are exceptionally strong. As a result, they are suitable for thick and large materials, as well as heavy-duty projects.
You will also be happy with precision and stability, which makes them capable of delicate projects. Floor drill presses offer variable speed, and they are suitable for professionals due to its versatility. Additionally, you will find many accessories and attachments.
With great power comes great responsibility, but also a big size, which means you will need to ensure that there is enough room for a floor drill press in your workshop. They will cost a bit more than the other models, but it will be a smart investment.
- Powerful units with great versatility
- Suitable for delicate projects
- Many accessories and attachments
- They can have a high price tag
- Make sure to have enough space for it
5 Most Important Drill Press Features & Specifications
If you want to buy a drill press, you need to get familiar with the crucial features of the tool. Here are the specifications that you should keep in mind when purchasing these units:
- Power – the tool’s motor is the component that determines the power of a drill press. The general rule is the more, the better, but stronger motors usually increase the price. Keep in mind that the manufacturers use different motors and mark their power in HP (horsepower).
- Speed – many presses these days have variable speeds for increased versatility. You should consider how you plan to use the tool and choose the appropriate maximum speed accordingly. The creators describe the speed of the press by using RPM – rotations per minute.
- Table size– once again, it comes down to your intentions with the tool. All presses come with a table, but its size varies. If you plan on drilling large units, go with a big table. You can also consider an auxiliary table you can use for sanding.
- LED light– a feature that can increase the precision and accuracy of the drill. Some working areas might not be well lightened and could appreciate additional light. Furthermore, when you are drilling small workpieces, extra illumination can’t hurt.
- Drilling capacity– in short, this determines the depth of the hole that you can make. It is measured in inches, and you should pick it depending on the materials you plan to drill.
Benefits of Using a Variable Speed Drill Press
The majority of drill presses these days allow the users to choose the desired speed between the specified range. However, you can still find models that do not have variable speed. That might make you wonder which is the right way to go.
Let’s take a look at why you should purchase a variable speed drill press:
- Suitable for various material types:
The fact that you can choose speeds also implies that you can choose different applications and materials. For example, metal requires lower speeds which vary from 500 to 2,500 rotations per minute. On the other hand, you can use higher speeds for wood applications, which is why the adjustment is welcome.
- Different workpiece thickness:
If you can adjust the speed of the press, you can also pick the desired workpiece thickness. In some cases, it will be easier to work at higher speeds, but the situations will come when you need to lower the number of rotations per minute. A variable speed unit allows both options so that you can choose depending on the workpiece you are drilling.
- Practice your skills:
If you do not have plenty of experience in operating a drill press, it might be useful to start practicing at lower speeds. At the same time, a variable speed range is a right way to becoming an expert in operating drill presses. You can get familiar and perfect operating at different speeds, which will quickly make you a true professional.
What to Consider When Buying an Industrial Drill Press
When we say industrial drill presses, we mean power tools that will be used in factories and by professionals. As such, these units need to be durable and sturdy, as well as capable of working long-term and delivering consistent results.
Industrial drill presses should be large because they have to handle heavy-duty projects and large and thick materials. You want to ensure that the press table is precious and the power and speed are what you expect from a press.
It is always a smart move to ensure that the quality of components is superb. You do not want to risk having to switch parts often because you need maximum uptime of the tool. Instead, aim for the press to be a long-term investment, which means that spending more upfront can be beneficial in the long run.
Features of the Best Drill Press for Woodworking
The crucial thing to mention is that there aren’t separate presses made for woodworking, material, or other metals. However, some models are more suitable for a particular material. If you plan on cutting wooden pieces, we would always suggest going for a fast and powerful variant.
The critical feature you want to look for is variable speed while having more options is always better. It allows you to adjust the desired pace depending on the thickness of the material you are drilling.
Features of the Best Drill Press for Metal
When you are cutting metal, the crucial thing to remember is that you will need a bit of patience. That particularly applies if you want your hole to look perfect. You see, metal should always be drilled at lower speeds.
As such, you do not need a particularly powerful press, except if you are handling thick metal pieces. It is, however, desirable for the tool to be sturdy and durable. The crucial thing you want to aim for is for the press to be reliable, which will ensure high accuracy and precision when drilling holes.
Drill Press Accessories
A drill press is a powerful tool, but it is still pretty basic. If you want to take things to the next level, you should consider purchasing various accessories. Here are our top choices:
- Additional table – you will get a table when you buy a drill case, but in most cases, it will have some limitations. That is why you should consider purchasing another one. It is a great way to find the fences or stop blocks to prevent the material from moving and ensure high accuracy. Furthermore, you can also get a bigger table to fit larger workpieces, but make sure that the press can deliver the expected drilling quality.
- Clamps – it is equally hard to drill both small and large workpieces and ensure high drilling accuracy. That is where clamps can come in handy. The accessory will firmly hold any application and allow accurate drilling even at close quarters.
- Laser guide– you may rely on your estimation, but we are all humans, and we make mistakes. Laser guides are there to mark the exact place where you need to drill a hole. They enable you to carefully measure the distance between holes and enable the perfect cut every time.
FAQs & Answers
- Q: What Is a Drill Press?
A: Drill press is a powerful tool that both amateurs and professionals use to drill holes in various materials. Depending on the strength and other features of the unit, you can use it to cut metal, wooden pieces, and other applications. You can use it for light and small projects in your garage, as well as complex industrial cutting needs and delicate cutting.
If you want the best cordless drill, you will probably not find it among drill presses. But if you are looking for a reliable and versatile tool suitable for different types of workpieces and materials, these units will be an excellent choice.
- Q: What Is the Difference Between a Drill Press and a Hammer Drill?
A: The crucial difference between the two tools is that a hammer drill is a handheld device while the drill press has a table where you put the workpiece you plan to cut.
That being said, you can easily learn to operate both tools, although achieving high precision and expertise level might take a bit of time.
- Q: How to Safely Use a Drill Press?
A: Drill press is a power tool, which means that it may lead to injuries when working. That is why operators need to be careful when operating a drill press. For starters, you should wear safety glasses, as well as make sure your hair and clothing pieces and accessories are not close to the tool. We also suggest keeping the working area clean.
If you followed our guide carefully, we assume that you already selected the best drill press for your garage or workshop. As you could see in the article, you should consider various features before you pick your model.
You have several different types of drills available, and they all have different characteristics in terms of power and speed. Some manufacturers packed safety and other useful features to make operating the tool easier.
The crucial thing to consider, however, is how you plan to use the unit. The good news is that our drill press reviews covered benchtop, floor, as well as portable magnetic tools. That means it should be simple to choose whether you will keep the tool in your garage or use it in your workshop every day. So, please do not hesitate – check our reviews once again and place an order for your favorite drill press!