Best Drill Press 2017 – Reviews and Top Picks
A drill press is one of the essential tools in a workplace because of the number of tasks it covers from drilling to sanding to buffering and more. That’s why it isn’t easy to pick the perfect one for you in one-shot and we believe this review will help you get started.
Nothing but a drill press would drill you a flawless hole with a depth of your choice on almost any surface. It’s versatile too, and adding a few accessories may replace many other tools on your workplace.
Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, our review will direct you towards a drill press that’ll fit your needs. To do so, we spent many hours researching and testing hundreds of drill presses on the market. With an enormous effort, we managed to narrow it down to this list and we’re pretty sure you’ll find your buy in it.
Comparison of Top 5 Drill Presses
*Best Heavy Duty*
Shop Fox W1668
Drill Press Reviews
Best Drill Press (Overall)
WEN 4208 Drill Press
WEN 4208 Drill Press is the epitome of performance and value.
Being a compact yet powerful beast, WEN 4208 Drill Press is an ideal choice for both hobbyists and part-time professionals who have light to medium duties to be taken over. It has a touch of everything you’ll want a drill press to have and its best-seller status leaves nothing to wonder.
With 5 varying speed levels, and a powerful 2/3 HP motor, this machine can drill like butter through anything from wood to iron to metal and steel. The 1/2-inch keyed chuck will go along with any bit and accessory you have. What’s more, it’s way quieter than similar units at its knock-down price point.
At 6.5 inches long and 6.5 inches wide, the drill table is clearly not the widest. But it tilts 45 degrees on either side to easily accommodate and drill the edges of longer items. The machine also includes cranks to adjust the height of the work table along its body. But don’t expect the smoothness found in expensive models.
With clear-cut instructions, pre-drilled mounting holes, installing the unit is pretty easy, maybe a less-than-30-minutes job - even if you haven’t done it before. But given its weight, it may tend to wobble if you don’t place it on a solid, even surface.
The machine even includes controls for depth stop and a nice LED light to shine on the work table. The laser beams form an accurate center and further simplifies drilling a hole.
- Great quality construction
- Very quiet and smooth operation
- Assembling is easy
- Versatile and ideal for home use
- Not suitable for heavy-duty work
- Drill table needs improving
The Bottom Line
It’s not everyday you find a drill press like the WEN 4208 that even the budgeters can afford. If you’re a novice to the art of woodworking and the like, then this is a model you should check out first. It’ll also last long, and maybe your next generation can inherit it from you.
Best Heavy Duty Laser Drill Press
Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
Everything about Delta 18-900L Laser Drill Press has been made to fit the needs of professional, heavy duty work.
When you pay top dollar to buy a drill press, it’s reasonable to expect many bells and whistles. Delta Laser Drill Press won’t fail you in this regard. Starting from a speed as slow as 170 rpm, it can be adjusted for 16 speed levels, which is quite frankly impressive for a benchtop drill press.
The Auto-Tensioning Belt Drive System makes changing speeds much easier and fast. But sometimes, it may irate you to deal with 2 belts and 16 levels of speed. However, rest assured you’ll love its oversized, all-metal tabletop, for it could be bevelled up to 90 degrees and tilted forward up to 45 degrees. Just get the perfect angle to the task at hand, pick a speed using the provided table as a guide, and you’ll be good to go.
You can also adjust the scale and drill repeatedly by using the micro-adjustable depth stops and an independent depth scale. This system is popular as one of the best in the industry. Moreover, should you need to drill deeper, then the full 6 in. Quill Stroke will effortlessly facilitate it.
The Twin lasers of this drill press is unlike any other we’ve seen - not in this price range anyway. It forms a cross on the surface and an accurate centre for drilling. Assembling the Delta Laser Drill Pressis tricky and you’ll definitely need a few more pairs of hands to place its head on the column.
In some occasions, the provided chuck of this machine has failed to fit snugly and tended to wobble. If this is the case, request a replacement chuck or buy a better, branded one of your choice.
- Robust, rugged construction
- Can change between speed levels quickly
- An accurate and nice laser system
- Relatively quiet
- The table tilts to angle it better
- The chuck might need an upgrade
- The speed adjustment is a bit tedious
The Bottom Line
Buying Delta Laser Drill Press will make you call that money well-spent. As if the price isn’t an indication of quality, spare it a look to know that it’s made to last. Overall, we won’t hesitate recommending it to a professional on the look out for a powerful tabletop drill press.
Best Drill Press for Home Use
SKIL 3320-01 120-Volt 10-Inch Drill Press
If you’re looking for a home drill press, then SKIL 3320-01 is a fantastic and affordable option.
Consider buying SKIL 3320-01Drill Press only if you don’t have production work on mind. That being said, this machine is an ideal choice for hobbyists, amateur and novice woodworkers and the like. What made it into our list, however, is its overall value. At a mid-price point, SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press gives you the feel of how good a professional model will look like.
With 5 varying speed levels that could be adjusted through the old-school belt-drive system, it’ll drill through most materials including wood and steel. This isn’t one of the highest quality drill presses, but it has a base and a table made up of cast iron. Overall quality is great, and will last through years of light to medium use.
The battery operated double laser beams work way better than the price suggests. This makes drilling much precise and easy. But since these beams are powered by batteries, remember to turn it off separately from the drill when not in use. The work surface can be tilted to 45 degrees when you drill at an angle. Though not smoothly, the surface can also be moved up or down with the crank handle.
The 1/2-inch chuck is a great addition to the machine, but comes as a surprise as it isn’t factory installed. However, assembling the the machine is easy and made easier with a clear instruction manual.
- Great value for the money
- Quieter operation
- Economically priced
- Laser guide works well
- Installation is a snap
- The Bit is slightly wobbly
- The chuck isn’t factory installed
- Relocating the work table isn’t smooth
The Bottom Line
If a hand-held drill doesn’t fit your needs anymore, then SKIL 3320-01 10’’ Benchtop Drill Press is a reliable upgrade that won’t hurt your pockets. It’s built well, which is a solemn promise of long-life. And when longevity is combined with its performance and price, it becomes an absolute steal.
JET 354165 Bench Drill Press
Save bucks in the long run by investing on this one.
If you’re willing to brush aside an absent laser guide, then read on - JET Bench Drill Press will make a great buy. It has a powerful 3/4 HP motor that speeds up and down to 16 speed levels. Whether it is about drilling metal or wood, you’ll find just the right speed to drill that perfect hole you want.
The biggest selling point of this machine, however, is its versatility. Sanding, mortising, shaping, routing, and plating are few other jobs you can get done with its speeds. Having little space in your workshop is no longer an issue either - this compact powerhouse would fit in.
The10-by-13-inch work table is quite generous too and has the ability to be tilted 45 degrees to the right and left. The only drawback, which is common among drill presses, is that the crank mechanism doesn’t operate as smoothly as one would like and it’ll put your patience to test.
Though you’ll need assistance placing the bulky head on the column, you can put the rest together all by yourself. It’s sturdy and solidly built as well, so it won’t budge once you install it right. The footprint of the machine is small, but its height is quite tall for a benchtop drill press. So make sure you’re fine with it before you place a buy.
- Constructed solidly
- Straightforward installation
- Works like a champ
- Compact and stable design
- A generously-large work table
- A laser guide is not included
The Bottom Line
This space-saving, robust drill press is one of the most reliable machines on the market and deserves to go right into your cart. When its 16 speed levels are combined with a powerful motor, there’s no material it can’t handle. Consider buying it if you’re serious about your hobby or occupation, and want to rely on it for a long time.
Shop Fox W1668 Benchtop Drill Press
If you’re looking for both a drill press and a spindle sander, then end your search right here.
Falling just under the mid-price range lies the affordable Shop Fox W1668 Benchtop Drill Press. For professionals who need the performance of an industrial drill that’s neither large nor pricey - this is an excellent choice.
The powerful 3/4 HP motor, combined with the industry-leading 5/8-inch chuck are precisely what’s needed to drill a hole through any surface - let it be metal, wood or glass. It also features 12 levels of speed, starting from a point as slow as 250 RPM. But like in almost every other benchtop drill press, shifting through speeds using a belt-drive system is a bit of a pain.
However, what sets Shop Fox W1668 apart is its ability to sand items with a 3-piece spindle sander drum kit. To facilitate this purpose, not only does it come with a clearance hole on the table, but also a dust collection port. This saves you the cost of splurging on a sander and gives you the finish look you crave on your projects.
Additionally, the table can smoothly be moved up, down or out of the way. It can also be tilted for 90 degrees to the left and right. While all the parts of the drill press are easy to put together, the construction quality ensures a lasting performance.
The only thing you’ll need to watch out for would be the packaging. In most instances, it’s reported to be arrived damaged during shipment. So our advice would be to inspect it closely as soon as you receive it. However, there’s hardly any risk or reason to worry because you can always get use of Amazon’s return policy.
- Can be used as an oscillating sander
- Installation is simple
- Very quiet and smooth operation
- Easy to assemble
- Highly versatile
- Economically priced
- Poor packaging
- Not good for advanced users
The Bottom Line
Shop Fox W1668 is an ideal choice for professionals who not only want to finely dill out a hole, but also sand them to a level of sheer perfection. The price is just right too, which makes it more affordable than not.
How to Choose the Best Drill Press :
The Complete Buying Guide
You know you need a buying guide when you ask 10 people about the best drill press and they give you 10 different opinions.
It’s indeed overwhelming. But by educating yourself, you can make an informed decision. This buying guide will help you achieve that, and simplify your never-easy hunt for a drill press.
Scroll down and discover what they are!
Types Of Drill Presses
If you’re an amateur to the art of woodworking or metalworking, then a benchtop drill press is the ideal choice. They’re compact, swing anywhere from 8 to 12 inches, and usually come with a relatively low price tag. Because they require less amount of space, they could be easily stowed away when not in use as well.
Floor-standing drill presses are made to take over heavy-duty work related to production. They’re expensive, and cover a swing between 13 to 20 inches. But due to their large size, they can easily overcrowd a small workplace.
For professional metalworkers, a magnetic drill press is the closest thing to perfection. With a swing from 4 to 8 inches, these machines can drill through chunks of metal that can even be as thick as 4 inches.
Radial drill presses offer the longest swings on the market with a minimum length of 24 inches. So if you’re looking to drill broad materials, then consider buying a radial drill.
Horsepower is the key to determine how efficiently the drill press will bore a hole through dense materials. The harder it is, the more horsepower is needed. Generally, drill presses come with a motor anywhere between 1/4 HP to 1 HP.
This is the maximum length the quill can travel. If you need to drill deeper holes, then go for a model with a greater quill travel.
Getting the perfect hole through different materials by using different bits will need different levels of speed. Take glass for example. Going fast would make shards of glass fly in all directions. So the ideal speed would be somewhere around 200 to 500 RPM.
Starting from 5, speed levels can go up to 12 and sometimes even 16. This makes the drill press highly versatile. Better still, they come with a speed chart attached to their body so that you can always refer to it when determining which is which.
The universal gripe about drill presses is related to its table. No matter how good a task it does at drilling, failing to have a spacious table doesn’t make it worth buying.
Having a table that can be tilted sideways to angle your drill is an added advantage. Some tables can also be moved completely out of the way to accommodate large items. However, all tables can be glided up and down along the length of the press.
The chuck is one of the most important accessories that you need to watch out for. Some chucks are poorly constructed. They may even miss out the snug fit and end up wobbly.
Also check whether the provided chuck has a 1/2 in. capacity so that it can go along with most of the bits and accessories on the market.
Having the ability to control depths is a must for repetitive, dowel holes. You can go on drilling holes similar to the initial hole with controlled accuracy.
The Built-In Light
Even when your surrounding is bathed with light, sometimes it may not be enough to focus on that one little point you want drilled. That’s why a built-in light is a mighty welcome. However, not all drill presses have this feature.
The Laser Guide of a drill press ensures you don’t miss out the precision of the hole you drill. Usually, 2 laser beams are included in a way that the point at which they interconnect can easily be considered the centre. If you’re concerned about accuracy of the holes, then you definitely need to check this feature out on your drill press.
Though a drill press was initially designed to pierce a hole through metals, a modern machine can handle any type of materials and cut tools, jigs and attachments. Professionals like woodworkers, metalworkers and glaziers love this versatility.
Some drill presses provide even more advanced features such as mortising and sanding. So if you’re looking not only for a drill press but also a pocket hole device, spindle sander, buffer, grinder, or a mortise unit, then you can have all of them in one simple unit.
You don’t have to be a handyman to take over the installation process, you can do it on your own. Most drill presses, specially the ones in our list, are simple to install with instructions that can’t get any better.
They even include pre-drilled holes so that the only requirement would be fastening them up to a bench or the floor. Better still, you can fix it up on a wheeled stand and move it to any place you want. However, you’ll surely need help lifting the head up and placing it on the column.
If you’re looking for a drill press for life, then the good news is that you can find one. The units that made into our list are the best examples we could find. The body, head, table and the base are made entirely up of cast iron.
Though certain less expensive models have plastic handles which may break over time, the replacements won’t cost you much. The chances are, if you’re under the warranty, the manufacturers will send it to you free of charge.
Warranty and Customer Support
Make sure you go through the warranty and its conditions before you solidify your purchase decision. Also note how well the company is standing behind their product. With poor support, even a lifetime warranty is anything but useful.
With the right set of accessories, a drill press is one of the most flexible machines you will ever own on your workplace. You can turn it into a pocket hole device, spindle sander, buffer, grinder, and even a mortise unit. With little effort, it’ll assist your multiple DIY and commercial projects.
However, to reap all these benefits, you need to first choose the ultimate machine. It could be difficult, but with sufficient information, you can make it happen. Happy drilling!
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