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10 Best Drill Presses of 2024

Updated
Drill presses deliver accuracy and speed. We'll show you the best models.

If you regularly need to drill holes through wood and metal and a handheld power drill is slowing you down, a drill press could be the answer. These stationary tools are large, powerful, and can drill numerous holes without needing to be reconfigured.

High-quality drill presses can bore holes in wood, metal, and plastic with speed and precision. However, these tools are large and among the most expensive you are likely to buy, so it is important to choose carefully.

To help you find the best drill press for your needs, we have reviewed 10 of the leading products that are currently available. We chose these drill presses for their size, type, power, reliability, and versatility.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Jet JMD-18 350018 Drilling Machine
Best for Milling
Jet JMD-18 350018 Drilling Machine
  • 360-degree swivel head
  • 2 hp motor
  • 31-inch wide work table
Product Image of the Jet JDP-20MF 354170 Floor Drill Press
Best Floor Drill Press
Jet JDP-20MF 354170 Floor Drill Press
  • 12 speeds
  • Built-in light
  • Easy-to-reach on/off safety switch
Product Image of the WEN 4208T 5-Speed Benchtop
Best for Metal
WEN 4208T 5-Speed Benchtop
  • Depth stop
  • 45-degree bevel worktable
  • Onboard key storage
Product Image of the WEN 4214 Variable Speed Drill Press
Best Overall Drill Press
WEN 4214 Variable Speed Drill Press
  • 3.12-inch spindle travel
  • Table extends to 17 inches
  • Digital speed display
Product Image of the Grizzly Industrial
Best Versatile Drill Press
Grizzly Industrial
  • 90-degree tilting table
  • 12 speeds in a wide range
  • Cushion-grip quill handles
Product Image of the Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill Press
Best Small Drill Press
Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill Press
  • Portable at 8 pounds
  • Maximum 8,500 RPM
  • Micro-drill
Product Image of the Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Drill
Best for Woodworking
Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Drill
  • 90-degree tilting table
  • Can be used as a sander
  • 12 speeds
Product Image of the SE 3-Speed Mini Drill Press
Best Budget Drill Press
SE 3-Speed Mini Drill Press
  • Simple and beginner-friendly
  • Very portable at 2.2 pounds
  • Affordable
Product Image of the Delta 18-900L Laser Drill Press
Best Industrial Drill Press
Delta 18-900L Laser Drill Press
  • Professional grade
  • 16 speeds
  • 6-inch quill stroke
Product Image of the Grizzly Industrial Benchtop
Best Heavy-Duty Drill Press
Grizzly Industrial Benchtop
  • 12 speeds
  • Emergency shut-off
  • Threaded depth gauge


The Best Drill Presses of 2024

At a glance, drill presses all have relatively similar designs but there are some important differences from model to model. We have reviewed 10 of the leading products to help you find the best drill press for your workshop, chosen for their power, size, versatility, and any extra features they have.

Jet JMD-18 350018 Milling/Drilling Machine

Best Drill Press for Milling

This Jet milling and drilling machine is an ideal tool for milling. It has a powerful 2-horsepower, 230-volt motor, which means it is suitable for working with the toughest materials.

A hinged belt is far quicker and easier to replace. In addition to its strong motor, this drill’s large work table measures 9.5 inches by 31.75 inches, so it is suitable for the majority of home drilling tasks.

It also has easy-to-read depth gauges and a 360-degree swivel head for greater versatility. This will make it much easier to drill a wide range of holes without needing to pick up your workpiece.

What We Like

360-Degree Swivel Head

The ability to swivel your workpiece by 360 degrees means you will be able to drill a far greater range of holes. It also increases the variety of angled cuts you can make.

2 Horsepower Motor

Most drill presses have 0.75 horsepower motors, so a 2-horsepower motor will help you drill through harder materials. This also makes this machine ideal for milling.

Large Work Table

The extra-large work table increases the size of the projects you can work on and makes the tool more versatile overall.

What We Don't Like

Expensive

This drill is one of the most expensive we have looked at, so it is probably only an option for professionals or hobbyists with a very generous budget.

Specialist Capabilities

This machine’s milling ability requires specialist knowledge and is unlikely to be of much use to a casual user.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 9.5 x 31.75
Dimensions (inches) 42.5 x 39.75 x 43.5
Weight 739 pounds
Horsepower 2
Speeds 12
Warranty 2-year
Price $$$$

Our Ratings

Power
5 / 5
Accuracy
4.5 / 5
Design
4.5 / 5
Durability
4.5 / 5
Total Rating
4.5 / 5

User Experience

In my hands-on experience, this machine has proven to be a robust and precise asset for my hobby metalwork. It initially presented transportation challenges due to its unstable pallet design, necessitating unconventional solutions such as engine hoists and additional manpower. Once installed, I had to perform some unexpected electrical tweaks to match my power supply. The machine, however, has performed impeccably since, offering precise drilling and milling capabilities. Despite the initial hurdles, the machine's quality, utility, and available accessories have left me thoroughly impressed.

Jet JDP-20MF 354170 Floor Drill Press

Best Floor Drill Press

This 20-inch Jet floor drill press has a powerful 1.5-horsepower motor that can tackle even the toughest materials.

It is very versatile, with 12 spindle settings that provide a maximum speed of 4,500 RPM. This means it can adapt to drilling more delicate materials, despite its strong motor.

This drill is also user-friendly thanks to its built-in work light that will illuminate the material you are drilling. It has a keyed chuck for extra security, so you won’t need to worry about it slipping.

What We Like

12 Speeds

A wide range of different speed settings increases the versatility of this drill press significantly. This means you can use it to work on materials with various grades of hardness.

Built-In Light

The drill’s built-in light will improve the visibility of your workpiece, helping you drill more accurately without the need for an additional light source.

Safety Switch

The drill’s safety switch is located at the front of the drill press, so it is easy to reach in case of an emergency.

What We Don't Like

High Price

Jet drill presses are very high quality but this is reflected in their high prices. If you can afford it, this is an excellent drill, but it will probably be a better option for professionals rather than DIY enthusiasts.

Limited Maneuverability

This is a floor-standing drill press, so it is designed to be a stationary tool. Once in position, it is not easy to move without assistance.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 18.6 x 16.1
Dimensions (inches) 58 x 27 x 13
Weight 282 pounds
Horsepower 1.5
Speeds 12
Warranty 2-year
Price $$$$

Our Ratings

Power
4.5 / 5
Accuracy
4.5 / 5
Design
4 / 5
Durability
4.5 / 5
Total Rating
4.25 / 5

Personal Perspective

In my journey as an ambitious home hobbyist, this drill press has been a significant upgrade from my previous model. The first thing to note is how astonishingly heavy this drill press is, affirming its solid construction and durability. Most of my work consists of drilling mild steel, and this machine delivers impressive power and smooth operations at all speeds, with no noticeable vibration. However, the table does draw my critique. Its size is agreeable, but the surface is not entirely flat, and the T-slots dimensions did not match the user manual, requiring a bit of adjustment on my part. Despite these minor issues, the overall precision of this drill press and its sturdy base make it a valuable piece of my workshop.

WEN 4208T 5-Speed Benchtop Drill Press

Best Drill Press for Metal

This WEN drill has five speed settings ranging from 740 to 3,140 RPM, so you can adjust it to cater to most materials including wood, plastic, and metals. It can also be used for various other materials thanks to its high speed and two-inch spindle travel.

It has an adjustable depth stop that will help you drill to the same depth as many times as you want, ideal for bulk drilling. Another feature that makes it suitable for a wide range of projects is its ½-inch keyed chuck, which will help it accept various drill bits.

What We Like

Depth Stop

Thanks to the depth stop, you can set your desired drilling depth to suit the project at hand. This allows you to drill numerous matching holes without needing to measure them manually.

45-Degree Bevel Worktable

The beveling worktable can be adjusted 45 degrees to the left or right. This will ensure you have precisely angled holes which will make a joiner’s work much easier.

Onboard Key Storage

There is onboard storage for your chuck key, so you shouldn’t misplace it. A missing chuck key can bring any drilling project to a halt, so this is a very helpful feature.

What We Don't Like

Basic Drill Press

This is a good drill press but it is relatively basic. It isn’t very well suited to hard materials or more delicate ones such as glass. It is also less precise than higher-end models, so don’t expect millimeter-accurate drilling.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) ‎6.5 x 6.5
Dimensions (inches) 7.5 x 22.9 x 11
Weight 34.2 pounds
Horsepower 0.33
Speeds 5
Warranty 90 days
Price $

Our Ratings

Power
3 / 5
Accuracy
3.5 / 5
Design
3.5 / 5
Durability
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.25 / 5

Community Feedback

My experience with this drill press has been generally positive. It required assembly, but the directions were clear, even though I had to supply most of the tools. Once assembled, it proved to be a quiet, easy-to-operate machine with necessary speed adjustments. However, I did have to clean off the oil or cosmoline treatment on the exposed metal parts, which was an extra step. The drill press has facilitated several of my home and hobby projects, although it does lack a work light and needs C-clamps for stable operation.

WEN 4214 Variable Speed Drilling Machine

Best Overall Drill Press

This WEN drill press has variable speed settings, so it can be customized to suit whichever material you are working on. These speeds range from 580 to 3,200 RPM, so the drill is suitable for fragile materials as well as tough ones.

The table can be angled to 45 degrees for drilling joints. The drill’s linear depth lock will enable you to make numerous holes to the same depth, while the 3.12-inch spindle travel will help you penetrate thicker pieces of material.

WEN has added a digital display that gives you a much clearer picture of what your drill is doing at any given moment. This removes much of the guesswork that can be involved with drilling.

What We Like

Spindle Travel

This model has a spindle travel of 3.12 inches, which will allow you to drill through thicker workpieces than usual.

Table Extension

The table can be extended to a maximum of 17 inches to accommodate larger workpieces.

Digital Speed Display

Speed is an important part of accurate drilling, which is why this drill press has a digital display. It will give you a much better sense of how your drill is performing at all times.

What We Don't Like

Build Quality Issues

Some of the materials used in the construction of this drill are of lesser quality when compared to high-end drill presses. This is not surprising given its very low price, but it is something to keep in mind.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 9.5 x 9.5
Dimensions (inches) 13.5 x 36.63 x 16.75
Weight 89 pounds
Horsepower 0.66
Speeds Variable
Warranty 2-year
Price $$

Our Ratings

Power
3.5 / 5
Accuracy
4 / 5
Design
4 / 5
Durability
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

First-Hand Impression

In my hands-on experience, this drill press is a significant and impressive upgrade from my previous SKIL model. The variable speed feature is a fantastic addition that eliminates the need for manually adjusting the belt and pulleys. The initial assembly was somewhat challenging, but manageable - the heftiness of the head was the trickiest part. The accuracy of this drill press is commendable, with the tip of the drill bit landing precisely where the lasers cross. The standout feature that blew me away was the chuck key design, which prevents you from forgetting it in the chuck and turning the power on - a truly ingenious and practical detail.

Grizzly Industrial G7944 14-Inch Floor Drill Press

Best Versatile Drill Press

With 12 speed settings, you can customize this Grizzly Industrial drill press to suit any drilling task. It will be at home in any workshop, thanks to its versatility and heavy-duty construction.

It also boasts a ¾-HP motor which is quite powerful considering the unit’s slim design. When combined with the 90-degree tilting table, this will allow you to complete various tasks easily.

It is easy to adjust thanks to its crank handle, which will allow you to move the cast-iron table up and down without having to hold its weight yourself.

What We Like

90 Degree Tilting Table

The tilting table is one of the standout features of this drill press. It can tilt 90 degrees to the left and right, making it a great option for projects that require angled holes.

This table is made of precision-ground cast iron, so the crank handle that adjusts it is very helpful. It operates the vertical pinion movement, so you won’t need to move it up and down by hand.

12 Speeds In a Wide Range

12 different speed settings are already generous but the wide range really stands out. It can be used from 104 to 3050 RPM, so it excels at cutting delicate materials as well as tougher ones. This drill covers all bases in terms of speed.

Useful Features

This drill has an extensive list of helpful features. It has built-in lighting that will provide excellent visibility even if the drill is in the shade.

The table locks for safety and there is a threaded depth gauge and depth stop. The cushion-grip quill handles make it more comfortable to use, which you will appreciate if you need to use this drill for extended periods.

What We Don't Like

Belts Don’t Fully Tighten

The belts seem quite cheap and don’t tighten fully. Even with belt dressing, some customers found that they slipped. This causes the drill to vibrate during use, which can impact your precision.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) Not specified
Dimensions (inches) 57 x 20.5 x 10.5
Weight 171 pounds
Horsepower 0.75
Speeds 12
Warranty 1-year
Price $$$

Our Ratings

Power
4 / 5
Accuracy
4 / 5
Design
4 / 5
Durability
4 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

User Experience

I'm thoroughly impressed by the robust performance of this drill press, which has proven to be both reliable and powerful in my shop. While the assembly required a helping hand due to the weight of the head unit, the smooth operation and low vibration afterwards were well worth the effort. However, I did encounter some minor issues with missing parts and the belt drive system, but on the whole, the drill press has handled everything from wood to mild steel with ease, demonstrating its versatility and value for money.

Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill Machine

Best Small Drill Press

Proxxon may not be a household name on the level of Delta and WEN, but that doesn’t mean this drill is ineffective. As it is a micro-drill, it excels at drilling small holes, so it is a great option for working with jewelry and other delicate tasks.

It has 3 speed settings and an 8.5 x 4.75-inch table with an adjustable fence for greater accuracy and stability. It is small and light enough to take wherever you need it, so it is great if you want a change of scenery.

Spinning at a maximum of 8,500 RPM, this drill can work remarkably fast.

What We Like

Portable

It weighs just over 8 pounds, so you can easily transport this drill press to job sites or anywhere else you want to use it.

Maximum 8,500 RPM

It may be compact, but this drill still has a very wide range of speed options. The 3 speeds are 1,800, 4,700, and 8,500 RPM.

What We Don't Like

Size

At just over 12 inches, this drill’s small size makes it a great option for intricate work. However, it will limit you to smaller workpieces.

Price

While it is cheaper than some drills we have looked at, it is still quite expensive for a small unit. It is more expensive than some full-size drill presses.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 8.5 x 4.75
Dimensions (inches) 12.6 x 9.45 x 5.12
Weight 8.05 pounds
Horsepower 0.115
Speeds 3
Warranty 2-year
Price $$

Our Ratings

Power
2.5 / 5
Accuracy
4 / 5
Design
4.5 / 5
Durability
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.5 / 5

Personal Perspective

I'm quite impressed with this drill press, especially when used with the optional Proxxon X-Y Table for my small model projects. Although it's well-built and accurate, it does generate a lot of heat during prolonged use which can make certain parts too hot to touch. The MS-4 vise that came with it was a bit of a letdown due to too much play and no way to secure it properly. Despite some shortcomings, like the guide bar lock-down screw which was uncomfortable to handle, this drill press is a solid upgrade from my previous one and worth the price tag.

Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Drill

Best Drill Press for Woodworking

This Shop Fox oscillating drill press is ideal for woodworkers because it can also be used with sanding attachments to give the holes you drill a smoother finish. If you want your work to be as neat as possible, this press will help you accomplish that.

It has a standard 0.75 horsepower motor that provides 12 different speed options. These speed settings range from 250 to 3050 RPM, so this drill can be used for a variety of different tasks and materials.

What We Like

90-Degree Tilting Table

Many drill presses have 45-degree tilting tables, but Shop Fox has taken things further by allowing the table to tilt 90 degrees. This will greatly expand your range of drilling angles.

Sander

When you have finished drilling, you can attach the sanding drum to quickly convert your drill press into an oscillating sander. This means you can drill holes and finish them with the same tool.

12 Speeds

Having 12 speeds means you can adjust the pace to suit whichever material you are working on. You can work at a low speed with increased torque to drill through harder materials.

What We Don't Like

Damage on Delivery

Many customer reviews say the packaging for delivery is inadequate, allowing the parts to rattle and resulting in damage to the drill press.

Build Quality Issues

Shop Fox drill presses are not cheap, yet many reviews mention loose-fitting or poorly made parts. This tool is manufactured overseas, presumably to save money.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 12.38 diameter
Dimensions (inches) 24 x 15 x 63
Weight 122 pounds
Horsepower 0.75
Speeds 12
Warranty 2-year
Price $$$

Our Ratings

Power
3.5 / 5
Accuracy
4 / 5
Design
4 / 5
Durability
3 / 5
Total Rating
3.5 / 5

Community Feedback

For a woodworker like me, this drill press was a much-anticipated addition to my workshop, and on the whole, it has lived up to my expectations. After a swift assembly process, I found the drill to be quite powerful and effective in handling my projects, from drilling precise holes on my guitar build to testing it on poplar and oak scraps. However, I did face some minor issues such as the rough movement of the crank lift and an initially noisy operation which was rectified after adjusting the motor mount bolts and tension of the belts, but these were small setbacks in an otherwise solid and efficient tool.

SE 3-Speed Mini Drill Press

Best Budget Drill Press

If you are looking for a good drill press on a tight budget, this SE model is well worth considering. You can buy it several times over for the cost of some of the most expensive drill presses we have seen during our research.

This SE mini drill press has a work table size of 9.56 by 9.56 inches. Its 3 speed options are 5,000, 6,500, and 8,000 RPM.

It is quite basic in terms of features but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While experienced drill press users might want something more advanced, it is ideal for beginners who want to get to grips with the tool.

What We Like

Ideal For Beginners

If you want a drill press that is simple to operate and easy to learn, this is a good option. It might be too simple for more advanced users, but its simplicity means it won’t overwhelm people who don’t have much experience.

Portable

At just 2.2 pounds, you can easily pick this drill press up and carry it to wherever you want to work. This also means it is easy to store if you have limited space in your workshop.

Price

This is one of the cheapest drill presses we have seen. You could buy it twice for less than it would cost you to buy some of the other drills we have reviewed.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 9.56 x 9.56
Dimensions (inches) 20.5 x 13.1 x 17.1
Weight 2.2 pounds
Horsepower 0.125
Speeds 3
Warranty 3-year (includes 1-year extension if registered)
Price $

Our Ratings

Power
2 / 5
Accuracy
3.5 / 5
Design
3.5 / 5
Durability
3 / 5
Total Rating
3 / 5

First-Hand Impression

This drill press, despite its manufacturing defects, proved to be a satisfactory starter tool for me. The first thing I noticed was some casting issues with the base and incomplete vent holes on the drill part, but these didn't affect its operation. Despite an odd sound it made after some use and a less-than-desirable vertical adjustment method, it met my needs and drilled clean holes in various materials. However, the sticker on the depth gauge was a poor design decision as it easily came off, and the runout could be better, but overall, for its price, it's a decent tool.

Delta 18-900L Laser Drill Press

Best Industrial Drill Press

Delta is a true household name and one that you probably know if you have spent any time in workshops or DIY stores. The company has been manufacturing tools for about a century.

This large laser drill press has an oversized table with a fence and T-slots to grip the workpiece. The table also pivots 90 degrees left and right, as well as forward by 48 degrees, so you will be able to drill at a wide range of different angles.

It has 16 different speed settings, which is a very impressive amount for any drill press. There is also a work light and a dual laser gauge to ensure your work is as accurate as possible.

What We Like

Professional Grade

With features including a micro-adjustable depth stop and an oversized table, this is a true high-end drill press that will be at home in industrial settings.

16 Speeds

You are unlikely to see more than 16 speed settings on a drill press. You will be able to choose exactly the right speed for any task you are working on.

High Drilling Capacity

The 6-inch quill stroke means you will be able to drill through thick material, which can be invaluable in an industrial setting.

What We Don't Like

Expensive

This is a high-end industrial drill with numerous extra features, which is reflected in its price. It isn’t the most expensive drill press of its type that we have seen but it still costs a lot of money.

Poor Customer Service

Delta scores poorly when it comes to customer service. Many customers have complained that they struggled to get any help when they encountered problems.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 20 x 14
Dimensions (inches) 59 x 30.5 x 13
Weight 261 pounds
Horsepower 0.75
Speeds 16
Warranty 5-year
Price $$$$

Our Ratings

Power
4 / 5
Accuracy
4.5 / 5
Design
4.5 / 5
Durability
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

User Experience

As an amateur woodworker, I've been using the Delta drill press model 18-900L since August 2013, and I have mixed feelings about it. While I appreciate the large table and relatively quiet operation, the manufacturing quality left a lot to be desired. I spent a full weekend tuning and fixing the machine, which was disappointing considering the almost $1000 price tag. The belt adjustment system and LED light need improvement, and the quill travel was rough due to machining chips left inside. Despite these issues, I believe the design is solid and it suits woodworking well. While I wouldn't buy this unit again, it's now a relatively smooth running machine that I expect to use for a long time.

Grizzly Industrial G7943 Heavy-Duty Benchtop Drill Press

Best Heavy-Duty Drill Press

Precision is important but sometimes you need a tool that has the durability and power required for the toughest drilling jobs. With a wide range of speeds, this Grizzly model is that kind of tool.

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, so it is versatile as well as tough.

It also features a work light for improved visibility, but you will need to purchase a bulb separately.

What We Like

12 Speeds

The speeds range from a gentle 104 RPM up to a rapid 3,050 RPM. As always, more speed options mean greater versatility.

Emergency Shut-Off

The shut-off button sits front and center on the unit. It will be easy to see and use in case of an emergency.

Threaded Depth Gauge

The special threaded depth gauge means you can wind the gauge to your required depth and lock it in place with the locking nuts.

What We Don't Like

No Mount Holes

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

High Price

For a tabletop press, this model is not cheap. It is made of robust materials, but it is still quite expensive for what it is.

Product Specs

Table size (inches) 11.38 x 11.38
Dimensions (inches) 33 x 20 x 12
Weight 142 pounds
Horsepower 0.75
Speeds 12
Warranty 1-year limited
Price $$$

Our Ratings

Power
4 / 5
Accuracy
4 / 5
Design
3.5 / 5
Durability
4 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

Personal Perspective

Love the power and affordability of this drill press, but it wasn't all smooth sailing. The setup process was a bit of a workout, given this beast's weight. It's like trying to move a mountain! Additionally, attaching things to the cast iron table was a constant struggle, and the drill operation can be physically demanding due to the low plunge distance per handle rotation. The drill press also had some problems with spindle wobble, making it challenging to drill through certain materials. However, despite these setbacks, the low RPM and overall performance make it a solid choice for hobbyist use.

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Table size (inches) Dimensions (inches) Weight Horsepower Speeds Warranty
Jet JMD-18 350018 Drilling Machine Milling 9.5 x 31.75 42.5 x 39.75 x 43.5 739 lbs 2 12 2-year
Jet JDP-20MF 354170 Floor Drill Press Floor Drill Press 18.6 x 16.1 58 x 27 x 13 175 lbs 2 12 2-year
WEN 4208T 5-Speed Benchtop Drill Press Metal ‎6.5 x 6.5 7.5 x 22.9 x 11 34.2 lbs 0.33 5 90 days
WEN 4214 Variable Speed Drill Press Overall Choice 9.5 x 9.5 13.5 x 36.63 x 16.75 89 lbs 1 Variable 2-year
Grizzly Industrial G7944 Versatile N/A 57 x 20.5 x 10.5 171 lbs 0.75 12 1-year
Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill Press Small Drill Press 8.5 x 4.75 12.6 x 9.45 x 5.12 8.05 lbs 0 3 2-year
Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Drill Woodworking 12.38 D 24 x 15 x 63 122 lbs 0.75 12 2-year
SE 3-Speed Mini Drill Press Budget Pick 9.56 x 9.56 20.5 x 13.1 x 17.1 2.2 lbs 0.125 3 3-year
Delta 18-900L Laser Drill Press Industrial 20 x 14 59 x 30.5 x 13 261 lbs 0.75 16 5-year
Grizzly Industrial G7943 Benchtop Drill Press Heavy-Duty 11.38 x 11.38 33 x 20 x 12 142 lbs 0.75 12 1-year limited

What Is a Drill Press Used For?

A drill press is a stationary tool used to make holes in wood, metal, and plastic. They can accommodate a wide range of attachments, which means they are also suitable for countersinking and counterboring. The most common drill presses in non-professional settings are benchtop models, with larger floor drill presses better suited for industrial work.

Drill presses are typically found in workshops and on production lines in factories because they are precision tools that significantly speed up the drilling process. They can also deliver a level of accuracy that most users would struggle to replicate with a hand drill.

Here are some of the most popular uses of drill presses:

  • Drilling Large Diameter Holes: Drill presses generate more power and torque than hand drills, so they can drive larger bits and accessories into various materials.
  • Drilling Holes to a Specific Depth: Most drill presses have a depth stop that will help you consistently drill holes to the same depth.
  • Drilling Angled Holes: Drill presses have pivoting tables that enable you to alter the position of the workpiece to drill at an angle. This means you can drill multiple holes at the same angle without having to readjust the tool each time.
  • Sanding: There are attachments that will convert your drill press into a sander. When combined with the tilting table, this will help you achieve the neatest finish possible.
  • Enlarging Holes: Thanks to its extra power and torque, a drill press can accommodate larger drill bits to enlarge existing holes.

How to Choose a Drill Press

Whichever type you choose, a drill press will be a significant investment, so it is important to consider some key points before you start shopping.

Type

There are two broad types of drill presses: benchtop drill presses and floor-standing drill presses. As the name suggests, a benchtop drill press is small enough to sit on top of your workbench. Some models have holes in their bases that allow you to bolt them in place for greater stability.

Benchtop drill presses are smaller, lighter, and generally more portable. Their smaller size makes them more convenient and suitable for home DIY projects, but it also restricts the tasks they can be used for.

Floor-standing drill presses are also known as stationary drill presses. Once in position, they are fixed in place and are very stable and sturdy. These drill presses are preferred by woodworkers with a dedicated workshop, or in factories on production lines.

Quick Note

Floor drill presses are more expensive than benchtop models.

Size

When considering the size of a drill press, the most important measurements are the swing and spindle travel.

Swing determines the maximum width of stock you can place on your drill press and drill through its center. It measures the distance between the central column and the spindle, multiplied by two.

Spindle travel, or stroke distance, measures how far the bit can move up and down. Benchtop models typically have lower spindle travel, at 2 to 3 inches. Floor drill presses have a higher spindle travel, generally 5 to 6 inches.

Power

Most drill presses will have their amps and voltage listed in their specifications. To calculate the wattage, simply multiply these two numbers. The higher the wattage, the more powerful your machine is and the easier it will be to drill through harder materials. A drill press that is suitable for metalwork will have a higher wattage.

Floor models usually have more power, which is reflected in their higher wattages. They have an average rating of 1,000 watts, whereas benchtop presses have about 500 watts.

Speed

Most drill presses offer various speed options. This is essential when drilling harder materials because you will need to drill at a slower pace. Benchtop models usually offer around 5 or 6 settings, whereas floor-standing presses might have as many as 16 different speed options.

Chuck Capacity

The average drill press has a chuck capacity of 0.50 inches. There are 0.75-inch chucks available on larger, industrial drill presses. On the other hand, compact models will usually have a chuck capacity no larger than 0.25 inches.

A higher chuck capacity means your drill press can accommodate larger drill bits, which will increase the size of holes you can make.

Adjustability

Your workpiece will sit on the drill press table, which can be moved up and down. Drill presses often allow angle adjustments of 45 and 90 degrees. Some high-end units even allow for full 360-degree rotation. Check for extra features such as LED lights and laser guides to improve your drilling accuracy.

Who Makes the Best Drill Press?

WEN

WEN was founded in 1951 by Nick Anton. In the decades since the company’s creation, its product range has expanded to include drill presses, nailers, miter saws, and bench grinders.

By 2001, the company had sold over 50 million units, making it one of the leading power tool brands in North America. Although their products are now manufactured overseas, they are still excellent tools.

Skil

In 1924, Edmond Michel introduced the world’s first electric saw. He founded the Skilsaw company with his business partner Joseph Sullivan. By 1926, 2,000 electric circular saws had been produced, a sign of remarkable growth (1).

The name “Skilsaw” is often used as a generic name for all circular saws, but the company also offers many other tools.

Delta

Delta has been making power tools for a century. The company’s story started in 1919 in Milwaukee when Herbert Tautz, a German immigrant, started making hand tools. These tools soon became powered versions, culminating in the introduction of the first compound miter saw. Today, Delta is a household name in power tools.

Grizzly

Compared to some of the historic names in this list, Grizzly is the new kid on the block. The company was founded in 1998 by business partners Inge Christ and Horst Lieb with the intention of supplying Germany with affordable gardening tools. In the years since, Grizzly has expanded to producing power tools, including drill presses.


FAQs

Why Does My Drill Press Wobble?

One of the most common causes of a wobbly drill press is the quill. A loose quill will allow the chuck to wobble when the drill press is operating. Another possible cause is the drill press being misaligned. This is usually a result of the gearbox and motor not lining up correctly. You should also check that the drill bit is inserted in the chuck correctly.

What Does the Size of a Drill Press Mean?

The size of a drill press is determined by its swing. The swing is the distance from the central spindle multiplied by two. If your drill press has a swing of 16 inches, this means it is capable of drilling the center of a 16-inch workpiece.

You also need to consider spindle travel because it determines the depth of stock you can drill through. Spindle travel is how far the chuck can move up and down, which directly affects your maximum drilling depth.

What is a Quill Lock on a Drill Press?

A quill lock is typically a lever opposite the handles. It allows you to lower the drill press to your desired depth and lock it in place.

How Tall Should a Drill Press Stand Be?

A stand should be between 33 and 35 inches tall, including its casters, to allow you to drill comfortably and safely.

How Do You Drill an Angle With a Drill Press?

Depending on the drill press, you can probably angle your table to 45, 90, or a full 360 degrees. Set it to your required angle and lock it in place. You can raise or lower the table depending on the depth you want to drill. Bring the drill press down so the bit makes contact with the stock.

Start the drill, working slowly as the bit starts making a hole. You can make a pilot hole to improve your accuracy if you feel it is needed.

How Much Horsepower Does a Drill Press Have?

Most drill presses have motors that generate between 0.50 and 0.75 horsepower. However, there are stronger models available. Shop Fox produces a drill press with 1 horsepower, and Jet offers a drilling/milling machine with 2 horsepower.

Do You Need Special Drill Bits for a Drill Press?

Standard drill bits are designed to fit any universal chuck, so you can install any drill bit with a circular or hexagonal shaft in a drill press. While it is possible, it might not be a good idea. Some drill bits are aggressive and will grip the workpiece, making it difficult to control the drill press. The best options for a drill press are spade, brad point, and standard twist bits.

What Is the Best RPM for a Drill Press?

The best RPM for a drill press depends on the material you’re drilling and its thickness. Generally, the higher the RPM, the smoother and faster the drill job.

For metalworking, 1500-3000 RPM is suitable; for plastics and softer materials, 4000-6000 RPM will work well.

When drilling into hard materials like stainless steel or cast iron, using a slower speed, like 500-1000 RPM, to reduce heat buildup can help keep your bits in good condition.

Always consult your manufacturer’s recommendations before selecting an RPM setting.

Can I Use My Drill Press As a Lathe?

A drill press can be a lathe only when you are out of options. While a drill press may seem like the perfect tool for a lathe, it is not ideal.

The rotation of a drill press is typically not balanced – meaning that the object being turned will vibrate due to the uneven spin. The chuck on a drill press does not allow for precision turning and cannot apply pressure along the length of an item.

If you require precise cuts and an even rotation for projects like chiseling or turning wood, then a dedicated lathe would be better suited for that task.

How Much Run Out Should a Drill Press Have?

The amount of runout in a drill press can vary greatly, depending on the quality and age of the drill press.

Ideally, you should have very little to no runout when setting up a new or recently serviced drill press; most professional-grade drill presses have less than 0.005″ of odd-to-even axis runout.

On the other hand, some older models may have as much as 0.010″ or more in their design. To ensure a perfectly accurate cut, always ensure your drill press has no noticeable play before starting a project.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Accidents on a Drill Press?

Poor operator judgment is the most common cause of accidents on a drill press. Even a small mistake can have serious consequences without proper safety precautions.

Always ensure that you are aware and educated about your drill press’s operations and any additional hazards or risks associated with your specific project.

Even simple things like failing to use guards or not checking for excessive play in the chuck can lead to a dangerous situation. Make sure to always be prepared and stay vigilant when running a drill press.


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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.