Best Drill Press of 2020

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

If you work with wood or metal and need to work at a fast pace, a drill press could be the tool for you.

The best drill presses bore holes in wood, metal and plastic using precision and speed. It’s also an ideal tool for those serious about working quickly to get through bulk projects.

We explain what a drill press is, how it works and what makes a good drill press.


What Is a Drill Press Used For?

A drill press is a stationary tool used to bore precise holes in wood, metal and plastic. Thanks to the array of bit attachments, it can also countersink and counterbore. The most common drill presses in domestic settings tend to be the benchtop varieties, with the floor drill presses best suited to industrial uses.

Drill presses are typically found in woodshops, production lines and factories because they are precision tools that speed up the drilling process. They also deliver a degree of accuracy that most would struggle to replicate with a hand drill.

Here are some specific uses of a drill press:

  • Drilling Large Diameter Holes: Drill presses have more power and torque than hand drills so they can drive larger bits and accessories into different types of material.
  • Drilling Holes to a Specific Depth: Most drill presses have a depth stop that makes drilling holes to the same depth easier and with consistency.
  • Drilling Holes at Specific Angles: Drill presses have pivoting tables that enable you to change the position of the workpiece to drill more acute angles.
  • Sanding: You can get attachments that convert your drill press into a sander. It is possible to use the tilting table to get the neatest finish to your project.
  • Enlarging Holes: With all the extra power and torque, a drill press can accommodate larger drill bits to enlarge existing holes.

How to Choose a Drill Press

A drill press is a significant investment, so if you are serious about getting a top drill press, there are some things you should consider.

Type

There are two varieties of drill press. First, there is the benchtop drill press. As the name suggests, it is small enough to sit on top of your workbench. Some models have holes in the base to enable you to bolt them in place. This increases their stability. Benchtop drill presses are smaller, lighter and generally more portable.

However, because they have a scaled down size, while they are better suited to home DIY projects, they restrict the size of the tasks you can complete.

Second, there are floor standing drill presses. These are also known as stationary drill presses. Once in position, they do not move, so they are more substantial and not portable. These drill presses are suited to woodworkers with a dedicated workshop, or in factories or production lines.

Quick Note

Floor drill presses are more expensive than the benchtop varieties.

Size

When we talk about size, what we actually mean is swing and spindle travel.

Swing determines the maximum width of stock you can place on your drill press if you are aiming to drill through the center. It is calculated as the distance between the central column and the spindle, multiplied by two.

Spindle travel, or stroke distance, is the downward distance that your drill press moves. Benchtop models typically have lower spindle travel, at 2 to 3 inches. Floor drill presses have a higher spindle travel, at 5 to 6 inches.

Power

Most drill presses display the amps and voltage, but to calculate the wattage, multiply them together. A high wattage indicates that you have a powerful machine that can drill through harder materials. Drill presses suited to metalwork have a higher wattage.

As you would expect, floor models have more power. They have, on average, 1,000 watts, whereas benchtop presses have about 500 watts.

Speed

Most drill presses give you the ability to adjust the speed. This is crucial when you are drilling harder materials because you will need to work at a slower pace. Benchtop varieties offer around 5 or 6 speed settings, whereas floor presses can have as many as 16 different speeds.

Chuck Capacity

Most drill presses have a chuck capacity of 0.50 inches. There are 0.75-inch chuck capacities available on larger, more industrial drill presses. Likewise, on the compact models, you can expect a chuck size no greater than 0.25 inches.

A higher chuck capacity means your drill press can handle more significant drill bits, which increases the range of holes you can drill.

Adjustability

The workpiece sits on the drill press table, and this moves up and down. Some drill presses allow angle adjustments of 45 and 90 degrees. Some top drill presses allow a full 360 degrees. Look for other features like LED lights and laser guides to improve your accuracy when you drill.

Who Makes the Best Drill Press?

Wen

Wen was founded in 1951 by Nick Anton. Since then, they have expanded their operation into drill presses, nailers, miter saws and bench grinders (Souce).

By 2001, the company had sold over 50 million units.

Skil

In 1924, Edmond Michel invented the world’s first electric saw. He founded the Skilsaw Incorporate Company with his business partner Joseph Sullivan. By 1926, 2,000 electric circular saws were produced, showing their increasing popularity (1).

The name “Skilsaw” is still commonly used as a generic name for all circular saws.

Delta

Delta has been making power tools for almost 100 years. It all started in 1919 in Milwaukee when a German immigrant named Herbert Tautz started making hand tools. This developed into powered versions and culminated with the invention of the first compound miter saw (2).

Grizzly

Grizzly is a relatively new kid on the block compared to other brands. Started in 1998 by business partners Inge Christ and Horst Lieb, the plan was to supply the German gardening industry with affordable gardening tools (3).

This has now expanded to producing power tools like drill presses.


The Best Drill Presses of 2020

Drill presses are specialist tools, but each has characteristics to stand apart from the competition. We look at the best drill presses for specific tasks to make your choices easier.

1. Jet JMD-18 350018 Milling/Drilling Machine

Best Drill Press for Milling

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.

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

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 likely 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.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)9.5 x 31.75
Dimensions (inches)42.5 x 39.75 x 43.5
Weight739 pounds
Horsepower2
Speeds12
Warranty2-year
Price$$$$

2. Jet JDP-20MF 354170 Floor Drill Press

Best Floor Drill Press

JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill Press
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Jet feature yet again!

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

It also has 12 spindle speeds, giving you the option of a maximum top speed of 4,500 RPM.

It has a built-in work light and comes with a drill chuck and key.

Why We Love It

12 Speeds

The ability to adjust the speed increases the versatility of the drill press. It means you can work on material with different grades of hardness.

Built-In Light

The built-in light increases your accuracy and enhances your visibility of the workpiece.

Safety On/Off Switch

The safety switch is located at the front of the drill press, making it easily accessible in an emergency.

Keep In Mind

Price

It seems one of the main features of Jet drill presses is the high price. These are quality machines, and they do say you get what you pay for, but these drill presses will appeal to professionals rather than DIY enthusiasts.

Limited Maneuverability

This is a floor standing drill press, so it is a stationary tool. Once in position, this thing is not easy to move.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)18.6 x 16.1
Dimensions (inches)58 x 27 x 13
Weight175 pounds
Horsepower1.5
Speeds12
Warranty2-year
Price$$$$

3. WEN 4227 12-Speed Floor Standing Drill Press

Best Drill Press for Metal

WEN 4227 13 Amp 12-Speed Floor Standing Drill Press, 17'
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This is the first of two Wen drill presses to feature on the list.

This model has 12 speeds ranging from 180 to 2,949 RPM, so you can adjust the speed to cater to most materials.

It is what makes this drill press the ideal candidate for metals.

Also, it has a table that pivots by 45 degrees for angled drilling.

Why We Love It

12 Speeds

At low speeds, you can drill through metal and other robust stock. Then, when done, you can swap to faster speeds to drill wood and plastic.

Cast Iron Table

The 14-inch by 14-inch table is sturdy and pivots by 45 degrees to make angled cuts.

Precision Laser

This drill press is equipped with a laser guide to increase your accuracy and speed up your drilling. It removes every element of guesswork.

Keep In Mind

Limited Chuck Size

The chuck doesn’t accept smaller drill bits. You need an adapter to accommodate the smaller sizes.

Complicated

The laser guide is tricky to set up.

Build Quality Issues

While this tool is considerably cheaper than the Jet model, it is still a lot of money, so it is all the more surprising to see some people complain about build quality issues.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)14 x 14
Dimensions (inches)14 x 30 x 67
Weight214 pounds
Horsepower0.75
Speeds12
Warranty2-year
Price$$

4. WEN 4214Variable Speed Drilling Machine

Best Overall Drill Press

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press,Orange
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This WEN drill press has variable speed settings, meaning you can customize the speed you need for the material you are working on.

The speeds range from 580 to 3,200 RPM.

The table angles at 45 degrees, and it also has a linear depth lock for accurate drilling.

Why We Love It

Spindle Travel

This drill has a spindle travel of 3.12 inches, meaning you can tackle thicker workpieces.

Table Extension

The table extends to allow for more substantial projects. It increases to 17 inches maximum.

Digital Speed Display

Accuracy is vital, and the correct speed for the work material you have improves precision. The digital readout helps you to maintain control over the drill press.

Keep In Mind

Build Quality Issues

It seems that some of the materials used in the construction are of lesser quality when compared to the high-end drill presses.

Price

We are always fans of saving you money. However, sometimes things can appear too cheap. This drill press is a fraction of the price of the Jet models.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)9.5 x 9.5
Dimensions (inches)13.5 x 36.63 x 16.75
Weight89 pounds
Horsepower0.66
SpeedsVariable
Warranty2-year
Price$$

5. SKIL 3320 Drill Press

Best Benchtop Drill Press

SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
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This benchtop drill press is incredible value for money.

It is the ideal drill press for beginners.

It has 5 speeds ranging from 570 RPM to 3,050 RPM, and an adjustable depth stop for accurate measurements and repeat drilling.

It also has a laser guide for precision hole alignment.

Why We Love It

Price

This drill press is over 20 times cheaper than the Jet milling/drilling machine. That makes it incredible value for money.

Bump Off Switch

Just like the Jet floor drill press, this drill press has an easy-to-reach bump off switch for emergencies.

Lightweight

At just 50.8 pounds, this drill press is light. It means that it is one of the most portable presses on the market. It is ideal if you need to get the drill to the job site.

Keep In Mind

Limited Stock Size

The 10-inch swing should tackle most jobs, but it does restrict you on the size of the stock you can work with.

Build Quality Issues

As with all cheaper products, the price you pay relates directly to the quality of the materials used in construction.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)7.5 x 8
Dimensions (inches)21.75 x 15.25 x 9.75
Weight50.8 pounds
Horsepower0.25
Speeds5
Warranty3-year limited
Price$

6. Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill Machine

Best Small 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.

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, 4,700 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, for a small drill press, it is still costly. Expect to pay more for this than the Skil model.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)8.5 x 4.75
Dimensions (inches)12.6 x 9.45 x 5.12
Weight8.05 pounds
Horsepower0.115
Speeds3
Warranty2-year
Price$$

7. Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Drill

Best 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.

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

It has 12 speeds that range from 250 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-fitting 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
Weight122 pounds
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 over 20 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, and it has three variable speeds ranging from 5,000, 6,500 and 8,000 RPM.

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.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)9.56 x 9.56
Dimensions (inches)20.5 x 13.1 x 17.1
Weight2.2 pounds
Horsepower0.125
Speeds3
Warranty3-year (includes 1-year extension if registered)
Price$

9. Delta 18-900L Laser Drill Press

Best Industrial Drill Press

Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
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Delta is probably the drill press your dad used to have.

They have been gracing workshops and factories for decades.

This laser drill press benefits from an oversized table with a fence and T-slots to grip the workpiece.

It also pivots 90 degrees left and right, as well as forward by 48 degrees. It has a work light and a dual laser gauge for increased accuracy.

Why We Love It

Professional Grade

With features like a micro-adjustable depth stop and an oversized table, this is the stand-out candidate for the industrial award.

16 Speeds

It has a class-leading 16-speed settings. This increases your control when matching the speed to the material.

Best-in-Class Capacity

The 6-inch quill stroke allows for the biggest capacity for industrial applications.

Keep In Mind

Price

This drill press has so much to offer, and all these extra features come at a price. It may not be as expensive as the Jet models, but it is in the same price league.

Zero Customer Service

Delta scores poorly when it comes to customer service. Many people have complained that it is non-existent when they have reported problems.

Additional Specs

Table size (inches)20 x 14
Dimensions (inches)59 x 30.5 x 13
Weight261 pounds
Horsepower0.75
Speeds16
Warranty5-year
Price$$$$

10. Grizzly Industrial G7943 Heavy-Duty Benchtop 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 is not included in the price.

Why We Love It

12 Speeds

The speeds range from a leisurely 104 RPM up to a Daytona-like 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$$$

Drill Press Comparison Chart

ProductBestTable size (inches)Dimensions (inches)WeightHorsepowerSpeedsWarranty
Jet JMD-18 350018 Drilling MachineMilling9.5 x 31.7542.5 x 39.75 x 43.5739 lbs2122-year
Jet JDP-20MF 354170 Floor Drill PressFloor Drill Press18.6 x 16.158 x 27 x 13175 lbs2122-year
WEN 4227 12-Speed Floor Standing Drill PressMetal14 x 1414 x 30 x 67214 lbs1122-year
WEN 4214 Variable Speed Drill PressOverall Choice9.5 x 9.513.5 x 36.63 x 16.7589 lbs1Variable2-year
SKIL 3320 Drill PressBenchtop7.5 x 821.75 x 15.25 x 9.7550.8 lbs053-year limited
Proxxon 38128 TBM Bench Drill PressSmall Drill Press8.5 x 4.7512.6 x 9.45 x 5.128.05 lbs032-year
Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating DrillWoodworking12.38 D24 x 15 x 63122 lbs0.75122-year
SE 3-Speed Mini Drill PressBudget Pick9.56 x 9.5620.5 x 13.1 x 17.12.2 lbs0.12533-year
Delta 18-900L Laser Drill PressIndustrial20 x 1459 x 30.5 x 13261 lbs0.75165-year
Grizzly Industrial G7943 Benchtop Drill PressHeavy-Duty11.38 x 11.3833 x 20 x 12142 lbs0.75121-year limited
Jump to the Full Drill Press Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Drill Press Wobble?

One common reason for a wobbly drill press could be the quill. A loose quill will cause the chuck to wobble when the drill press is operating. Another issue could be that the drill press is misaligned. This is a result of the gearbox and motor not lining up correctly.

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 measured in terms of swing. The swing is the distance from the central spindle multiplied by two. So, if your drill press has a swing of 16 inches, it is capable of drilling the center of a 16-inch workpiece.

You also need to factor in spindle travel because that determines the depth of stock you can work with. Spindle travel is the downward movement of the chuck and motor towards the workpiece.

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?

The stand should be between 33 and 35 inches tall, including the casters.

How Do You Drill an Angle With a Drill Press?

As the table can angle either to 45, 90 degrees or the full 360 degrees, set the angle of the table to your preferred specifications 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 that the drill bit is making contact with the stock.

Now start the drill press, working slowly as the bit begins to make the hole. You could make a pilot hole to improve your accuracy if you feel it is necessary.

How Much Horsepower Does a Drill Press Have?

Most drill presses operate with between 0.50 and 0.75 horsepower. That said, Shop Fox produces a drill press with 1 horsepower, and Jet has a drilling/milling machine with 2 horsepower.

Do You Need Special Drill Bits for a Drill Press?

This is a yes and no scenario. Standard drill bits are designed to fit any universal chuck, so in theory, you can install any drill bit with a circular or hexagonal shaft in a drill press. While it may be possible, it might not be a good idea. Some drill bits are aggressive and would grip the workpiece, making it hard to control the drill press.

The best drill bits to use are spade, brad point and standard twist.


The Pressing Issue

We’ve established the credentials of the drill press and how they speed up your projects while increasing the accuracy of the holes you drill. You might have thought that drill presses were the preserve of professionals and serious woodworkers.

A drill press is for everyone, no matter what your skill level.

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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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