Best Drill Presses – Unbiased Reviews

Are you looking to gain more info on the drill press? You have landed at the right place. Originally, drill press was invented to drill holes in metal bodies. Eventually drill press became versatile equipment. And today there are varieties of drill press available in the market.

Drills available in the market vary in size, power delivery, specific accessories and attachments which can easily improve the potential of your drill press. There are simple models with standard features also available. While the price range of the drill press is decent, the prices vary by power, features and model.

Top 5 Drill Presses
Motor13 HP3.2 Amp34 HP1Hp3/4Hp
Speed Settings5516full16
Speed Range620-3100 Rpm570 - 3050 Rpm170 - 3000 Rpm250 - 3000 Rpm200 - 3630 Rpm
Chuck Size12-inch12-inch58-inch58-inch58-inch
Laser Guide
with laser guidewith laser guidewith laser guide
Variable Speedallow variable speed settingsallow variable speed settingsallow variable speed settingsallow variable speed settingsallow variable speed settings
Work Light
with work lightwith work lightwith work light
Swing8-inch10-inch18-inch18-inch15-inch
Weight33.5 Lbs55.2 Lbs261 Lbs266 Lbs163 Lbs
Warranty2 Year1 Year5 Years5 Year5 Years
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

Things to Consider While Buying a Drill Press

If you are working at the workshop, you must be well aware of the fact that after the table saw, the second most essential equipment piece is the drill press. But before you buy one, there are few things that you must keep in mind, they are –

  • Construction and Sizes

The traditional drill press is basically made of four main parts – the column, base, head and table. Machine is supported by the base. The column is normally steel made, which grasps the head and table and is fixed firmly to the base. When it comes to determining the type of model, i.e. Bench or Floor, the length of the hollow column comes into play. The height of the Floor models ranges from 65 to 76 inches while the height of bench model ranges from 25 to 50 inches. 

  • Robust

The complete drill press that you are about to buy should have a solid construction, which can lead to longer life and long-lasting precision job.

  • Strong

The base and table must be corrugated for rigidity and strength. The table must have board or slats on the either side, it offers convince and safety while working.

  • Material

The head must be made of cast iron. This provides outstanding protection and support to the significant parts of the machine — the quill, motor, and pinion shaft.

  • Support

There must be an adjustable motor bracket support, and this must be constructed solidly as it supports the motor. It should also be effortlessly movable to ensure appropriate tension on belt.

  • Customizable

Make sure that the drill press you are going to buy must have an option for selecting the speed for drilling metal(steal, aluminum), wood, glass, ceramics and plastic. Some drills available in the market have an option for 12-15 different speeds, which ranges from 200 rpm to 3,500 rpm.

Now that you have gone through the basic features that you drill press must have, you are all-set to buy one! Here we have reviewed 5 high quality drill presses. Let’s have quick review on each of them.

1. WEN 4208

A product from one of the largest hardware equipment manufacturers from China, this one has enough power to drill efficiently through a wide array of materials such as wood, metal, plastic and much more The tool is ideal for accurate and repeatable holes compared to a handheld drill and has been constructed with industrial grade materials. The induction motor of WEN 4208 features special ball bearings for an extended life period of the motor.

Compared to its size and the price tag, it from WEN has a strong motor and operates quite smoothly. Apart from the depth gauge, the tool is equipped with the useful depth stop and retraction stop as well. When drilling through harder materials, it does not wobble at all.

However, the laser tool is not up to the mark and needs adjustment almost every time you use it. The spring in the chuck key can be a bit of a nuisance as it makes it harder to tighten the chuck.
 
Check Price at Amazon  or Read Our Review


2. SKIL 3320-01

Available in the market since 2010, this product from SKIL has become a household favorite for men and women who enjoy some woodwork and home projects. Quite portable in size and with a very reasonable price, it has been created for personal use. However, don’t let the size fool you, this SKIL is capable of handling everything you can throw at it. Built with prime quality materials, it is equipped with the extended laser tool precision as well.

All the knobs and screws are rugged to make sure that it lasts you a long time. The accuracy of the lasers is spot on, and is precise in making even the smallest holes. The functionality and design of the drill lack the modern touch, which could be a problem for those who are used to the latest models.

 
Check Price at Amazon  or Read Our Review


3. Delta 18-900

Wood workshops and enthusiasts who wish to have a professional DP in their workspace, this Delta press will fit right in. With all the features such as 16 speeds drilling functionality, efficient performance with the auto tensioning belt drive along with a powerful motor and wide table, this product sets the benchmark for all others. With LED illumination, ultra precise depth scale and depth stop, precision is never a problem with this product.

The Delta 18-900L has all that you would need and can be easily considered among the best drill press available. The 6 inch quill travel of the Delta 18-900L is efficient and smooth. The spindle nuts are designed in a way that they can be moved easily without turning. With a stainless steel finish and smooth operation, the Delta 18-900L performs well and looks good at the same time. The speed changing is much easier and efficient with the auto tensioning belt.

 
Check Price at Amazon  or Read Our Review


4. Powermatic PM2800B

The Powermatic PM2800B 1792800B is the woodworker’s dream DP. The number of features on the Powermatic push it’s capabilities beyond the competitors. It features an expandable work table, the largest available on the market, can be rotated a complete 90 degrees to allow the operator to adjust the table to meet the needs of the application. The single phase 18 inch, 1 horsepower electric motor is infinitely variable, which allows for drill speed changes without stopping the motor or changing a belt.

Powermatic designed the PM2800B for easy set-up and operation. Twin LED lights mounted near the spindle provide ample light in every situation without having to move a large light constantly to see the workpiece. The plunge depth is easily and quickly adjusted with the press of a button, something revolutionary on drill presses not intended for the metal shop. Even though designed for the woodworker, the Powermatic can handle heavy metal drilling with ease.

The ease of use is unprecedented and ideal for woodworkers with a high piece output. It has all the features any operator could want and it’s medium size makes it welcome in any shop. The PM2800B is a must have drill press for every woodworker, whether a hobbyist or a professional operating a commercial shop.

 
Check Price at Amazon  or Read Our Review


5. Jet JDP-15M

JET 354165 is ideal for workshops with small spaces but power requirements. This product from JET comes with 16 speeds, making it ideal not just for drilling, but several other chores such as plating, routing, mortising, shaping, sanding and much more. With the slick design and industrial grade components, the worktable of the JET 354165 rotates 45 degrees and comes with a quick release clamp.

With this machine, you can make quick speed adjustments and the powerful motor that rests in the heart of the machine packs up 3/4 horsepower. The base and column of it from JET comprise of chunky metal which will hold its ground no matter how tough the material being used may be. The clamps and locks on the side of the drill require some effort to be used, but is probably a good thing as it ensures that they won’t get released due to the vibrations of the drill press.

 
Check Price at Amazon  or Read Our Review


DRILL PRESS BUYERS GUIDE

What is a drill press?

drill press reviewsDrills have been used since very early in human history for all sorts of activities ranging from boring, reaming and drilling holes. Drill presses are a common denominator in the fields of metalwork and carpentry and are a common sight in most workshops. They are essentially machines for drilling holes that can be set up on a stand or bolted to a bench or the floor. They will generally have a pillar or a column, a base, a spindle as well as a drill head. A table or work bench can make a handy base to attach the drill, as can a stand made of metal or simply just bolting it to the floor. Various accessories that can be added onto the drilling machine make it useful for tasks such as buffing, shaping, sanding and grinding.

Drill presses come in several forms with the most commonly used ones being the bench-top model, the floor-standing model, the magnetic model and the radial model. Each model has its differences from the other, mostly in terms of power requirements, capacity, affordability and portability. For instance, a consumer who requires a more powerful drill with a wider variety of accessories would do well with a floor-standing model.

A consumer who requires a simpler machine on the other hand for home use and simpler tasks would appreciate a bench-top model more. A magnetic machine while being more powerful than the floor model or the bench press model is more portable and easier to get from one location to another. A radial model will bore angled drill holes since it drills with a tilted head, and it offers a wide swing meaning that it is very appropriate for cutting through broad or thick materials. While the bench-top model and the floor-standing model are more affordable, the magnetic model and the radial model require more of an investment.

Preference for the drill press is mostly as a result of its accuracy in drilling holes of a certain depth or any specified width apart as opposed to the hand-held drill. The fact that it is stationary makes it possible for the consumer using it to drill consistently and steadily, thus the improved accuracy. The handle has three arms which control the upward and downward movement of the head allowing the user more control and ensuring ease of use.

A drill press or bench press as it is otherwise called requires much less effort on the part of the user since it is motor operated. Before deciding to purchase a drill press, it is important for a consumer to take into consideration the various models and their own particular requirements. This makes it easier for them to make an informed choice. Some of the factors to consider when looking at the models and their features are the sizes and types of materials that the consumer works with. It is also important to take into account floor space and the density of the metals that the consumer works with, as well as the frequency with which the consumer drills angled holes.

Construction

Each model has variations in its construction as an adaptation for its use. However, all drill presses will consist of some common construction features, which are the pillar, the base, the spindle, the drill head, the quill and a worktable. Some models will have more features. These parts all have their individual functions.

  • The pillar is a very stable column that supports the sleeve and spindle of the drill. It is almost always circular and made of solid material. The worktable is usually attached to the pillar.
  • The base holds the whole machine up and as such, it determines the accuracy of the drill press. When the base is mounted properly either on the floor or on a table, it minimizes vibration. This is especially so in the floor-standing model.
  • The spindle is the part of the machine that holds the drilling bit or other cutting tools, while spinning in a sleeve. On most machines, the spindle is upright.
  • The quill is also referred to as a sleeve. While the spindle continues to spin, the quill can either be raised or lowered and pressure can be varied by hand or motor to determine the depth of the cut.
  • The head comprises of the quill, the motor and the spindle. It is attached to the column, allowing it to be moved up and down in order to vary the depth of cutting as desired.
  • The worktable is portable, thus it can be appropriately adjusted to suit the length or tilt of pieces being worked on as well as height adjustment for the convenience of the user. It can be tilted either vertically or horizontally. A majority of work tables have slots for holding work accessories.

Sizes

There are two important considerations that a consumer should take into account when looking to acquire a drilling machine. These are the unit’s swing and the stroke. The size of a drill press is determined by the distance from the drill to the column. This is called the throat depth. The calculation for the drill size is done by multiplying the throat depth by two. For instance, if the distance from the drill to the column is 6 inches, the drill can reach the center of a circle with a diameter of 12 inches. The figure that is obtained indicates the width of cutting material that the drill press can accommodate. This is called the unit’s swing. The stroke, also referred to as the quill stroke determines how deep one can drill. For each of these drill press models, sizes vary based on the functionality of the model.

  • Bench-top models have a swing of between 10 and 12 inches, and a stroke of 2 to 3 3/8 inches.
  • Floor-standing models have a swing ranging between 15 and 17 inches and a stroke of 3 to 6 inches.
  • Magnetic models have a stroke ranging from 4 to more than 8 inches.
  • Radial models have a swing of 24 inches and more, allowing for drilling and cutting of broader materials.

Types of Drill Presses

Now, as the drills are tool used in workshop, they also are available in different types and all of them differ in size, capacity, purpose, and cost. So, if you are about to install a workshop, then we would advise you to go through the different types of presses along with their uses to make sure that you have installed the right tool in your workshop.

The presses can be broadly classified into two major types including the standing or floor presses and the bench presses. Both the drills serve different purposes and thus have different capacity and dedicated works. Let us have a closer look to the types of drill presses, which would make it clear that which press should you buy and install in your workshop.

Floor Drills

JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor

The floor or standing drills are the first choice for those who plan to deal the large projects and manufacturing process in their workshop. These drills can be installed directly on the floor and thus provide better support to the model. With capability of 14-20 inches swing, and up to 16 speed levels, the floor drills are much more powerful and reliable than the bench top, or any other type drill press. The wide range of speed selection helps the worker to get more precision and control over the model being made. Apart from the small workshops, the floor drills are also quite suitable for home purposes.

Bench Top Drills

JET 354165 JDP-15M 3/4-HP 15-Inch Bench

The second type of the drillpress that you can easily see at small especially wooden workshops are the bench top drills. These drills are relatively smaller than the floor drills and can be installed directly on the worktable. Moreover, as they are small, they obviously have less capability. Specifically, the bench top drills are capable to produce swing of 8 to 12 inches and can produce stroke of maximum 3-3/8 inches. Capable to operate with the horsepower of 1/4 to 1/3, the bench top presses are perfect for manufacturing the wooden models.

In short, if you are planning for a wooden workshop then you can opt for the bench top drills, which will eventually reduce your cost of investment, and you can gain more profit.

Apart from these two types, the other types of drills are upright sensitive, multi-spindle and redial arm. Out of these, the radial arm drill press is most suitable for large projects and can handle the bigger things that are practically not possible for the bench type drill press.

Choose the drill according to your use, and manufacturing plan. As if you choose the wrong drill, you can end up with increased cost of investment, which is definitely not desirable. Know your needs before buying the drills so that you can find the right press for your workshop.

Advantages of using drill press

It has many significant advantages when compared with the hand-held drill:

  • The principal advantage of a DP is its accuracy. The design of it allows it to drill at precise angles to the work piece. It is also able to drill holes of identical depth, size and position.
  • When working with it, less effort is required to apply the drill to the work piece. The operator has considerable mechanical advantage because the movement of the spindle and chuck is by a lever working on a pinion and rack.
  • The operation is much more secure because the table of it allows a clamp or vise to position and lock the work in place.
  • The holes can be drilled repetitively and accurately because the angle of the spindle is fixed in relation to the table.
  • A change in drill speed can be achieved by moving manually a belt across a stepped pulley arrangement. Most of the modern drill presses can also use in conjunction with the stepped-pulley system a variable-speed motor.
  • It is a very practical option for drilling holes into wood. They make drilling easy and help woodworkers to achieve greater accuracy and usually found in any woodworker’s shop.
  • It provide good versatility, being capable of doing more than just drilling holes. It can also be used for miscellaneous workshop tasks such as polishing, honing, or sanding by mounting honing wheels, sanding drums, and various other rotating accessories in the chuck.
  • It comes with a powerful motor that saves a woodworker’s energy. A DP’s powerful motor also enables using very large drill bits for wider holes.
  • It provide good functionality and enable woodworkers to accurately drill angled holes. This ability to drill at angles another advantage of it. It can also be used for drilling holes in furniture legs and other intricately shaped pieces of wood.
  • Another important benefit of it is the safety and security provided. Woodworkers have good command over the drill bit, due to the variable speed feature. This helps to ensure the safety of the operation, preventing the drill bit to break during use. The vice or clamp that secures the piece of wood to the worktable also ensures the safety of the operation, by preventing the wood from slipping.

How to Choose the Best Drill Press


The flexibility of the DP tool is determined by the distance between axis on which the spindle of the drill turns and the supporting column at the rear, as well as the size of the throat. The most common size of the throat is seven and a half inches and because they will cut to the center of a fifteen-inch work piece such drill presses are referred to as fifteen-inch models.

The length of the hit and the length of the column determine the depth of cut. Freestanding presses are longer than bench top models. Both freestanding and bench top models feature heavy cast-iron bases. The worktable slides along the column and the travel is much greater in the case of the freestanding models. Some models allow drilling angled holes by tilting the worktable. Bench drills are usually powered by electric motors that are installed behind their columns. Depending upon where the depth stop is set, the throw of the drill is adjustable.

Horsepower ratings range from one sixth horsepower to two or more horsepower, depending upon the size of the drill. The versatility of it depends on the variability of the drill’s speed. Higher speeds are suited to cut wood, while slower speeds are suited to cut metals.

There is a remarkable range of attachments for it, including brad point, spade, extension, twist, plug cutters, Forstner drills, router bits, rotary rasps, mortising attachments, and dovetail groovers.

The most important specifications to take into consideration when looking for the best drill press on the market are:

  • Power
  • Speed
  • Throat Depth
  • Adjustments
  • Attachments

All these best drill press models are popular among professionals, come with a good set of features, and provide good value for your money. In terms of features and specifications, our top choice is Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser. The best value for your money is SKIL 3320-01, as it comes with 85 percent of the features you will ever need. However, selecting the most suitable DP for your work depends on your specific requirements and the materials you usually work with. It can be excellent for me and horrible for you. Only you, the buyer, can know which it is truly the best for you.

How to Use a Drill Press?


One of the most important tool used at the wood shops are the drill press. But many people usually get stuck on how to use the drill press, let’s list out some of the way.

Make sure you choose the correct diameter

It is important to select the appropriate drill diameter at the time of drilling a hole. Then you can choose any machine drill or the wood drills. Wood drills work best with a spiral kind of cutting side. And when compared with the mechanical drilling press it can’t run fast when you work with bolt.

Setting the speed

Most drills have their speed set by moving the drive belt from one pulley to another. Generally, the smaller the pulley, the faster it spins. With most cutting operation, slower speeds are much better for drilling metal while faster are better for woods.

Fitting the belt

To fit the belts, open the chuck, slide in the bit and snug the chuck by hand around the bits shaft by hand, then tighten the three jaws of the chuck with the key. Remove the chuck because by leaving it there, it becomes a dangerous projectile at the time of turning on the drill. Take note that drilling of larger holes requires drilling of a smaller pilot hole first.

Adjusting the table

Some drills come with a crank for adjusting the height of the table while others can move freely after the release of the clamping level. Set the table to the desired height as per the operation you need to perform.

Depth gauging

Sometime you may not need to adjust the gauges depth, especially if you are just drilling a hole on a piece of stock. On the other hand, depth gauging is important if you are dealing with stopped holes of fixed depth, reduce the bit to the desired height, then adjust the pair of Knurled nuts at the depth gauge to the correct stopping point. One of the pair should stop the spindle while the other lock in place the first nut.

Securing the workspace

Fixing the work piece in place is important starting to operate the drill press. The drill bit rotation may try to spin the metal or wood work piece, this calls for the need to clamp the worktable, brace it against the supporting column that at the rear of the machine.

NB: you should operate the drill without anchoring the workplace.

Drilling

Once you have set the speeds, adjusted the table and secured the work piece, putting the drill press to work is very easy. Confirm that the drill is spinning at full-speed, present the bit to the work piece while lowering the bit by swinging the rotating level. After the hole has been drilled, release the pressure on the level to return it to its original position using its Spring-loaded return mechanism.

When drilling metals, it’s important to set the drill press at low speeds due to the high density of the metal material. Drilling through a metal at high speeds will burn out the drill bit. You can also apply a few drops of cutting oil before drilling to the metal as an additional preventive measure.

To cut a circle, you should attach the circle cutter and then clamp the work piece to the table. To prevent table damages, place a scrap piece of wood under the work piece.

Drill Press Safety and Maintenance

The drill press is a very useful and handy machine if you have one for home use. There are a couple of cardinal rules that one has to follow. These in point form are as follows:

1. Make sure that the drill press is either securely fixed to the work table or to the floor depending on what model you have.
2. Always use a vice or a clamping kit. The vice must be properly secured to the adjustable table.
3. Make sure that the belts are in their correct position on the pulleys and that the tension is correct. The top cover must always be securely closed.
4. The drill bit must be properly secured in the chuck by using the chuck key that is provided. It is always better to do the securing of the bit by moving the chuck to at least two of the guide holes in sequence while securing with the key.
5. The work piece that you wish to drill into must be securely held by the vice or clamping kit.
6. It is advisable to mark the exact spot that you wish to drill into with a center punch. This will help you to line the drill bit up so that you drill the hole in the right place.
7. Select the correct speed and then use the side feed handles to engage the work piece. The pressure exerted must be steady and consistent for maximum efficiency. Drill the hole to the required depth or through the work piece. Never stop and start while drilling as this leads to heat build up. The drill must be withdrawn from the hole before stopping.
Your drill press requires very little maintenance. Make sure that you clean up especially on the table. Check the belts for wear and tear and replace when necessary.

On the safety side you should always wear safety goggles and protective gloves while drilling. No long sleeved shirts or jackets should be worn. Always switch the machine off at the wall and if you can, remove the plug when you leave your work place.

Conclusion

So you can see getting the right drill press that suits your requirements can be a hard hitting and a confusing decision, since there are a lot of significant factors that have to be considered. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that when you are choosing the ideal drill press for your work place, it is essential not to consider only the price factor, make sure you give a complete thought on the kind of work and efficiency the drill is offering. With these top of the class drill press reviews, you might surely make a great decision and buy the product which suits you the best.

One comment

  1. A wonderful review. I wished I had read it sooner. I purchased and am not happy with it,and now am looking for a better one. Big problem is where to find one in Canada and close to home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *