Best Benchtop Drill Presses of 2020

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Categories Drills
Benchtop drill presses improve the speed and accuracy of drilling.

Benchtop drill presses are a great alternative to the floor-standing drill press.

They are cheaper and offer the home DIY enthusiast the same benefits that professionals and production line workers get every day with their industrial models.

We seek out the best benchtop drill press to help you make an informed choice.


What Is a Benchtop Drill Press Used For?

A benchtop drill press allows you to be more accurate and work at a faster rate than when using a power drill. You can set the depth, angle and width of each hole, making it easy to drill dozens of holes without worrying that you need to reset the drill press.

It makes them the ideal tool for larger projects that require precision and neatness. It’s the reason why you see so many drill presses used in a professional capacity in workshops, production lines and factories across the country.

Benchtop drill presses drill, cut, ream, tap, countersink and even bore holes in a variety of different materials.

How Do I Choose a Drill Press?

As with all power tools, there are some considerations to keep in mind when making the right choice. Drill presses are no different. So, what are the key features to look out for?

Speed

When we talk about speed, we mean the top speed as well as the range it has to offer. Drilling through harder materials like steel and cast iron requires more torque and less speed. So, a drill press that can accommodate different speed ranges is the ideal candidate.

Speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), which is the number of rotations the drill makes every minute. The higher the range, the more versatile the drill press. Typically, benchtop drill presses operate at between 250 and 3,500 RPM.

Torque

Torque is not quite the same as speed. It is the rotational force and is crucial when drilling harder materials at low speeds. Torque is measured in pound-force-inch (lbf-in) or Newton-meter (Nm), and the higher the number, the more powerful your drill is.

Table Tilt

Most drill presses have tables that tilt 45 degrees left or right. This helps when you are drilling angled holes. Some high-end models even tilt to 90 degrees or more. There are also some models where the head of the drill tilts.

Laser Guide

Not all drill presses have a laser guide. You get what you pay for, with many more expensive models providing this feature. The laser guide helps to pin-point your accuracy and increase the efficiency of your work rate.

Laser guides are also a great feature to have if you are a novice with a drill press. They make the learning experience far easier and reduce instances of mistakes.

Light

When you are in your woodshop, often, the lighting can be poor. With a light onboard your drill press, you can illuminate the exact area you need without obscuring your view with shadows. Couple this feature with your laser guide, and you have a super-accurate machine.

Weight

You don’t want a benchtop drill press that is too heavy to maneuver or relocate when you have a switch around in the workshop. While benchtop varieties are lighter than floor standing drill presses, they are still quite substantial.

It’s always a good idea to find the ideal location and then bolt the drill press to the table. Even these lighter versions can weigh between 50 and 150 pounds.

Size

The space you have available determines the size of your drill press. Compared to standing presses, the benchtop varieties are smaller and more manageable. That’s why they are a favorite with home enthusiasts and hobbyist woodworkers. Most tabletop varieties measure between 30 and 35 inches in height.

Work Table Dimensions

The work table size is a key factor in determining the size of the projects you can work on. You should place your benchtop drill press on as generous a size table as you can. If the table is too small, you run the risk of making the drill press unusable.

Safety Features

Danger and power tools are bedfellows, and the same is true of a benchtop drill press. Look for features like safety guards that protect your face and eyes from fragments or shards of metal.

You should also consider a bump switch or other safety cut-out mechanisms. You never know when an emergency will occur, and you will have to shut the drill press down in double-quick time.


The Best Drill Presses of 2020

We’ve reviewed the best benchtop drill presses in each category to make your buying choices easier.

1. JET J-2530 15-Inch Drill Press

Best Premium Benchtop Drill Press

JET J-2530 15-Inch 3/4-Horspower 115-Volt Bench Model Drill Press
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This Jet benchtop drill press is large at 15 inches. It benefits from a lubricated ball-bearing spindle that uses 4 heavy-duty ball bearings in an encased quill for a longer life. It means that this drill press is built to tackle tough tasks like drilling through metal.

The head is constructed of cast iron, as is the table, and it has a 0.75 horsepower motor, again, for the most robust materials. This is a quality drill press as you would expect for a premium price tag.

Why We Love It

Tilting Table

The table tilts 45 degrees on both sides, which increases the scope of the drill press. It means you can drill at angles.

16 Speeds

The higher the range of speeds the benchtop drill press has, the more versatile it becomes. It gives the operator the ability to run at lower rates when drilling into metal. This is a useful feature when you are milling or tapping into the material.

Steel Column Diameter

This benchtop drill press has a large steel column diameter to provide further support and stability. It makes it possible to work on heavier or larger projects.

Keep In Mind

Expensive Price

This model is not within the financial reach of most people, and it will appeal to semi-professionals and experienced DIY enthusiasts. This is not a budget model by any stretch of the imagination.

Large Size

At 15 inches, this may be too large for the average home woodshop.

Heavy Weight of 157 lbs

Given its size, it is also heavy for a benchtop model. It weighs 157 pounds, so once you have it in position, it might be a good idea to leave it there.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)15 x 15
Dimensions (inches)22.5 x 12 x 32
Weight (pounds)157
Horsepower0.75
Speed settings16
Warranty2-year
Price$$$$

2. Jet JMD-18 350018 Milling/Drilling Machine

Best Benchtop Drill Press for Metal

JET JMD-18 350018 230-Volt 1 Phase Milling/Drilling Machine
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This Jet milling and drilling machine is the ideal tool to use for milling metal.

It has a hinged belt to speed up belt changes and the work table measures 9.5 inches by 31.75 inches.

It also has a 2 horsepower 230-volt motor.

It also has easy to read depth gauges and a 360-degree swivel head.

Why We Love It

360-Degree Swivel Head

The ability to swivel your workpiece by 360 degrees, improves your ability to make a higher number of cuts. It also increases your repertoire of angled cuts.

2 Horsepower Motor

Most drill presses have 0.75 horsepower motors, so having the extra power increases the hardness of the material you can work on. This makes it ideal for milling metal.

Large Work Table

The extra-large work table increases the size of the projects you can work on. It also increases your flexibility.

Keep In Mind

Price

At this price, the only people expected to want or need this drill press are the professionals. It is likely that most people would refrain from spending this much money.

Specialist Capabilities

The milling credentials of this machine cater to those with specialist knowledge and not the casual user.

Weight

This drill weighs a ton. At 739 pounds, this is a stay-put machine because it would take 3 people to lift it.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)9.5 x 31.75
Dimensions (inches)42.5 x 39.75 x 43.5
Weight (pounds)739
Horsepower2
Speed settings12
Warranty2-year
Price$$$$

3. WEN 4210T 10-Inch Drill Press

Best Benchtop Drill Press for Beginners

WEN 4210T 10 In. Drill Press with Laser
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This drill press has a laser guide, which is ideal when you want to improve accuracy.

Beginners will love this feature. It also has 5 speed settings, ranging from 600 to 1,300 RPM.

It makes the drill press versatile at tackling a variety of materials.

It is a keyed chuck, and the table is constructed from cast iron and bevels to 45 degrees.

Why We Love It

Price

While it isn’t always the best policy to buy the cheapest tool when you start out on your drill press education, you don’t want to spend money needlessly. This competitively priced benchtop drill press is attractive to novices.

Laser Guide

If you are looking for precision, a laser guide is a must-have feature. It makes it easier to improve your accuracy, and, at the same time, speeds up the work rate.

Onboard Light

The onboard light enables the operator to work free from the hindrances of shadows. When you couple it with the laser guide, you have a perfect combination for precision.

Keep In Mind

Build Quality Issues

Some people have reported that the laser stops working and that the table support is made from inferior aluminum.

Lighter Duties Only

This is not a heavy-duty drill press. Like all cost-conscious products, achieving the price point comes at a sacrifice, and that includes the quality of the materials.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)7.58 x 7.58
Dimensions (inches)21.4 x 14.5 x 9.5
Weight (pounds)51
Horsepower0.75
Speed settings5
Warranty2-year limited
Price$$

4. WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

Best Variable Speed Benchtop Press

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press,Orange
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As we’ve highlighted already, variable speed settings increase the usefulness of the drill press.

This model has speeds ranging from 580 to 3,200 RPM, so you have the flexibility to adjust the drill to cater to different materials.

It has a 0.75 horsepower motor and the spindle travels 3.18 inches. The table is cast iron with a rack and pinion operating system for easy adjustments. It also has a light, a laser guide and a digital speed gauge.

Why We Love It

Variable Speeds

The speed settings on this model set it above other less versatile drills. 580 to 3,200 RPM is a plentiful selection of speeds to cater to any material.

Table Roller Extension

The extension increases the capacity of your table and is easy to adjust. It increases the size of the projects you can work on.

Price

This isn’t the cheapest benchtop drill press, but it certainly represents very good value for money.

Keep In Mind

Build Quality Issues

It seems that while it is not the cheapest drill press, it offers so many features that WEN has struggled to balance quality with value. They have gone for quantity and used less robust components.

Lacking Customer Service

Some people have reported that there is a distinct lack of aftercare service when problems arise with the drill. This is something to keep in mind when purchasing.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)12 x 12 (extends to 17 with extension roller)
Dimensions (inches)13.5 x 36.63 x 16.75
Weight (pounds)89
Horsepower0.75
SpeedsVariable
Warranty2-year
Price$$$

5. ShopSeries RK7033 6.2-Amp Drill Press

Best Lightweight Benchtop Drill Press

ShopSeries RK7033 6.2-Amp 10' Drill Press
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If you are looking for a drill press that’s easy to maneuver and lightweight, look no further than this ShopSeries model. It weighs just 48.3 pounds, making it the lightest standard-size drill press in this review.

It has a powerful 6.2-amp motor that generates 3,100 RPM. It also has 5 operating speeds, with the lowest at 620 RPM.

The cast iron table bevels left and right by 45 degrees, and it has a keyed safety switch to prevent accidental start-up.

Why We Love It

Weight

Admittedly, having a lightweight tabletop drill press can be a disadvantage when it comes to heavy-duty tasks, but then again, at 48 pounds, it is unlikely you would be buying this for robust projects. On the plus side, it is maneuverable.

6.2-Amp Motor

While the drill is lightweight, the motor packs a punch. 6.2 amps is plenty of power for tackling wood, lighter metals and plastics.

Enhanced Safety

The keyed safety switch reduces the risk of injury because it prevents it from accidentally switching on.

Keep In Mind

Weight

As we’ve said, this lightweight drill press will limit you to the types of tasks you can do. It isn’t suitable for heavy-duty work.

Limited Stroke

The stroke on this drill is 2 inches, which limits you to the depth you can cut. You might struggle to drill through 2 x 4 material.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)6.5 x 8
Dimensions (inches)12 x 14 x 28
Weight (pounds)48.3
Horsepower0.75
Speeds5
Warranty2-year limited
Price$$$

6. Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill Machine

Best Small Benchtop Drill Press

Proxxon 38128 Bench Drill Press TBM 115
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Proxxon may not be a name as well-known as Delta and WEN, but this little drill press is no less effective.

Because it is a micro-drill, it excels at drilling small holes, so you are limited to the bit sizes. For this reason, it might be a favorite of those in the jewelry and crafting business.

It has 3 speeds and an 8.5 x 4.75-inch table with an adjustable fence for greater accuracy and stability.

Why We Love It

Portable

It weighs just over 8 pounds, so you can easily transport this drill press to job sites.

Maximum 8,500 RPM

It may be compact, but it still packs a punch. The 3 speeds range from 1,800 RPM, 4,700 RPM and 8,500 RPM.

Keep In Mind

Size

There is no denying that this drill press is tiny. It stands at just over twelve inches. So it is going to limit you to smaller workpieces.

Price

While it is cheaper than some featured on this list, it is still costly for a small drill press. Expect to pay more for this than some of the full-size models.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)8.5 x 4.75
Dimensions (inches)12.6 x 9.45 x 5.12
Weight (pounds)8.05
Horsepower0.115
Speeds3
Warranty2-year
Price$$$

7. Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Drill

Best Benchtop Drill Press for Woodworking

Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press
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This oscillating drill press is ideal for woodworkers because it has an oscillating feature that allows you to attach sanding equipment to refinish your drilled holes. All you need to do is attach the 80-grit sanding drum and away you go.

So, if you are working on a project and need the neatest quality holes, this is the tool to use.

It also has 12 speeds that range from 250 RPM to 3050 RPM, and the motor generates 0.75 horsepower.

Why We Love It

90-Degree Tilting Table

Unlike other drill presses with 45-degree tilting tables, this Shop Fox allows you to go further and tilt the table to 90 degrees. It improves your breadth of angle options.

Sander

When you have finished drilling, you can attach the sanding drum in seconds to convert your drill press into an oscillating sander. It is an ideal feature for those working with wood.

12 Speeds

Having 12 speeds gives you the ability to customize the pace to match the material. It means you can work at a low rate with increased torque for drilling through harder material.

Keep In Mind

Damage on Delivery

Many people have reported the packaging for delivery is inadequate, causing the parts to rattle about and damage the drill press.

Build Quality Issues

Shop Fox drill presses are not cheap, yet many people have experienced loose-fittings or poorly made parts. This tool is made in China, presumably to save on costs.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)12.38 diameter
Dimensions (inches)24 x 15 x 63
Weight (pounds)122
Horsepower0.75
Speeds12
Warranty2-year
Price$$$

8. SE 3-SpeedMini Drill Press

Best Budget Drill Press

SE 3-Speed Mini Drill Press Bench - 97511MDP
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If you are looking for a drill press on a budget, this is worthy of your attention. It costs many times less than the most expensive drill press featured on the list. Having said that, it is pretty basic.

This SE is another mini drill press with a work table size of 9.56 by 9.56 inches, and it has three variable speeds ranging from 5,000 RPM, 6,500 RPM and 8,000 RPM.

Again, the likely audience for this drill press are those industries that need to work with precision and on a smaller scale like jewelry makers.

Why We Love It

Ideal for Beginners

If you want something simple to operate and easy to learn with, this could be an option. It isn’t the most complicated power tool to master, making it the ideal novice drill press.

Portable

You can pick this drill press up and carry it to the task, rather than bring the materials to the drill press.

Price

This drill press is so cheap. You could buy two of these and still have change from the price it would cost you to purchase the Shop Fox model.

Keep In Mind

Limited Size

It’s cheap and small. It is going to restrict the types of projects you can do.

Build Quality Issues

As always, if you are getting something cheap, it is for a reason. This drill press is not of the highest quality.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)9.56 x 9.56
Dimensions (inches)20.5 x 13.1 x 17.1
Weight (pounds)2.2
Horsepower0.125
Speeds3
Warranty3-year (includes 1-year extension if registered)
Price$

9. Shop Fox W1669 Radial Drill Press

Best Benchtop Radial Drill Press

SHOP FOX W1669 1/2-Horsepower Benchtop Radial Drill Press
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This radial arm drill press can bore holes in the center of workpieces 34 inches wide.

It is the ideal tool if you are working on cabinetry or a bespoke kitchen and need the extra reach. It has a 0.50 horsepower motor and 5 speeds, ranging from 550 to 3,470 RPM.

It has a threaded depth stop, and the table size is 9.75 inches in diameter. The table also swings 360 degrees.

Why We Love It

Radial Capabilities

Having a reach of 34 inches dramatically increases the scope of the projects you can work on. If you are drilling holes in sheet material, this is the ideal tool.

Tilting Headstock

You can adjust the angle of the headstock to 45 degrees clockwise and 90 degrees counterclockwise.

Repeat Operations

You can set up the drill to bore a series of straight or angled holes without having to make any adjustments. This is ideal for those working with time limitations.

Keep In Mind

Price

Because this drill press is a specialist tool, it costs a lot of money. Be prepared to dig deep to own one.

Lacks Power

The motor is 0.50 horsepower, so it lacks a power. This might hinder you from working on harder materials like metal.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)9.75 diameter
Dimensions (inches)35.7 x 18 x 12.7
Weight (pounds)96.6
Horsepower0.50
Speeds5
Warranty2-year
Price$$$

10. Grizzly Industrial G7943 14-Inch Drill Press

Best Heavy-Duty Drill Press

Grizzly G7943 12 Speed Heavy-Duty Bench-Top Drill Press
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Sometimes you need a tool that has grit and gets the toughest jobs done.

This Grizzly drill press is one such product. It has a tilting table that pivots 90 degrees left and right.

It also has a 14-inch swing and a steel drilling capacity of 0.75 inches.

It also comes with a work light, although the bulb, somewhat bizarrely, is not included in the price.

Why We Love It

12 Speeds

The speeds range from a leisurely 104 RPM up to 3,050 RPM. As we’ve said previously, the increased choice of speeds gives you a more versatile drill press.

Emergency Shut-Off

The shut-off button sits front and center. You cannot miss it in an emergency.

Threaded Depth Gauge

This neat addition means you can wind the gauge to the required depth and lock it in place with the locking nuts.

Keep In Mind

No Mount Holes

The table has no mount holes, which restricts your ability to mount clamps, vices and fences.

Price

For a tabletop press, this model is not cheap. It is made of robust materials, but that doesn’t compensate for the high price.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)11.38 x 11.38
Dimensions (inches)33 x 20 x 12
Weight142 pounds
Horsepower0.75
Speeds12
Warranty1-year limited
Price$$$

Benchtop Drill Press Comparison Chart

ProductBestTable size (inches)Dimensions (inches)Weight (lbs)HorsepowerSpeed settingsWarranty
JET J-2530 15-Inch Drill PressPremium Choice15 x 1522.5 x 12 x 321571162-year
Jet JMD-18 350018 Drilling MachineMetal9.5 x 31.7542.5 x 39.75 x 43.57392122-year
WEN 4210T Drill PressBeginners7.58 x 7.5821.4 x 14.5 x 9.551152-year limited
WEN 4214 Variable Speed Drill PressVariable Speed12 x 1213.5 x 36.63 x 16.75891Variable2-year
ShopSeries RK7033 6.2-AmpLightweight6.5 x 812 x 14 x 2848152-year limited
Proxxon 38128 TBM Drill MachineSmall8.5 x 4.7512.6 x 9.45 x 5.128032-year
Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating DrillWoodworking12.38 D24 x 15 x 631220.75122-year
SE 3-SpeedMini Drill PressBudget Pick9.56 x 9.5620.5 x 13.1 x 17.12.20.12533-year
Shop Fox W1669 Radial Drill PressRadial9.75 D35.7 x 18 x 12.796.60.552-year
Grizzly Industrial G7943 Drill PressHeavy-Duty11.38 x 11.3833 x 20 x 12142 lbs0.75121-year limited
Jump to the Full Benchtop Drill Press Reviews

FAQs

Are Benchtop Drill Presses Better Than Hand Drills?

It depends what project you are working on and the frequency with which you use the drill. Benchtop varieties are better for bulk projects that require lots of precise and neat holes. A hand drill is better for smaller projects or tasks that need something that can fit into tight spots.

Also, benchtop drill presses are better suited to workshops and garages, whereas a hand drill can go anywhere, especially if it is cordless.

How Tall Should a Benchtop Drill Press Be?

Typically, benchtop drill presses sit at about 30 to 35 inches tall. You will need to factor in the height of the bench if you want a comfortable drilling experience. The best way to check on the correct height is to stand the benchtop press in the desired location and see if it is the right height. If it is, either bolt or clamp it to the table.

What Does Swing Mean on a Drill Press?

Swing is the measurement of the size of the drill press. It is defined as twice the throat distance, which is the gap between the center of the spindle and the column’s closest edge. For example, a 15-inch drill press will have a 7.5-inch throat distance. This is the most excessive diameter stock the drill press can handle.

Can I Use a Drill Press as a Milling Machine?

A drill press lacks the capabilities of a milling machine, but a milling machine can double-up as a drill press. The key difference between the two devices is that a drill press drills holes vertically into the stock, whereas a milling machine can cut with the side of the cutting tools.

A drill press doesn’t have the bearings to cope with the side-load demands of milling and it would chatter, and possibly break.

What Does Spindle Travel Mean on a Drill Press?

Spindle travel refers to the distance the spindle will travel and the depth of the hole you can drill. If the spindle travels 2 inches, you can drill a hole to a depth of 2 inches.

Most drill presses have spindle travel of about 3 to 4 inches. This is an important consideration if you are going to drill thicker stock. The only way to compensate for low spindle travel is to take the stock and reverse it to drill from the other side, but this is fraught with perils because you risk messing up the hole.

What Does 10 Inch Drill Press Mean?

The answer to this question is the reverse of the swing question. The 10 inches refers to the distance between the center of the spindle to the edge of the column times two. If you have a 10-inch drill press, then you have a 5-inch swing.


The Pressing Issues

Now that we’ve covered benchtop drill presses in detail, the only question left to ask is, which one do you buy?

If you are a casual DIY’er, then a drill press that handles lighter tasks will suffice.

However, if you are looking for a powerhouse of a drill press, go for the heavy-duty models that can take all the punishment you can throw at it.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
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