The Jet JWDP-12 is not necessarily the best tool for all jobs that call for a drill press. However, this should not be seen as a negative critique against the JWDP, simply an acknowledgement of the product’s limitations and intended uses. The prime selling point of the JWDP should be its price.
Make no mistake: the JWDP is a top of the line “consumer” drill press. At under $500, this is an ideal drill press for your shop at home. However, if you require even a moderately heavy commercial workload, you may be better suited getting a more powerful drill press that provides a wider range of versatility. If, however, you need only occasional commercial projects to utilize lighter drill work, the JWDP can serve admirably and keep some of your equipment costs down.
The consumer designation can most accurately be traced back to the motor: a 1/2 HP induction motor with a Reeve’s variable speed system. The motor is adequately powerful for a wide range of jobs, but its limitations will be more readily noticeable as the material being drilled gets extremely dense or thick and soft. Moreover, the limitations of the motor’s power can also be observed when using a drill bit on the larger end of the spectrum to bore a larger diameter hole.
In terms of general construction of the drill press, the Jet is fairly solid, though there are points which can be improved. The 10″ x 16-1/8″ cast iron base provides a solid foundation to prevent wobbling or an inaccurate drilling. The compact size is another sign that the JWDP is marketed and suited for consumer uses where workshop space if often more scarce than in shops which do commercial work. Still, the relatively small size combined with a comparably light weight, allows the JWDP to be more portable than many of its competitors as well.
Keeping in mind the purpose and limitations of the JWDP, the drill press does come with a few bells and whistles that might make it especially attractive to consumers—another nod towards its intention. The drill comes with a digital read out that provides real time information. Moreover, the XACATA, x-shaped laser ensures that you drill exactly where you want to. As icing, the drill comes with bright LED lights, so you can work in even the dimmest of workshops.
In terms of the actual drill process, the 5/8” chuck size is fairly standard, but nothing special. The 530-3100 RPM range is also around what you would expect from competitors. However, the 3-1/8” spindle travel is a bit longer and allows for deeper holes than many other similar models. In the end, it comes down to what you need and your budget. If your workload can accept some limitations, this can be an excellent drill that will pay back its dividends over and over.