Since there are so many options, brands, models, and types of drill presses to choose from, finding the best drill press for your projects may seem like a daunting task. You need to ask yourself many questions, the answers to which can help you find the best drill press, one that will work perfectly for your usual projects and make life much easier.
To help you find the perfect drill press for your workshop, I’ve created this buyer’s guide, which goes over the different features, types, and styles of drill presses available, how each type works, and which models are currently crushing the market. I’ve tested out several of the top drill presses, narrowing it down to six that have what it takes to get the job done. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each model that made it onto my top six list, information concerning important features, and how each drill press is rated.
Drill Press Comparison Chart
Best Drill Press-Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press
The Shop Fox W1848 oscillating floor standing drill press can be used for both traditional drilling and contour sanding. The innovative design allows you to easily and quickly shift from sanding operations to drilling operations in just a few seconds.
The drill press features 3-18 inches of travel, with a total drill capacity of ⅝ of an inch through mild steel. The oscillating stroke length comes in at ¾ of an inch using the oscillating feature. The round table is 12-⅜ inches in diameter and allows for surface sanding and drilling using different angles. The table has a 90-degree tilt in both directions. It also has a clearance hole that’s used while sanding. This design incorporates a dust collection port that measures 2 ½ inches. The innovative dust port design will make clean up a cinch.
- Unbeatable value for money
- Precision drill
- Contour sanding feature
- User friendly
- Can handle just about any angle
- Heavy-duty design
- Small vertical tray
Considered one of the most versatile floor standing models on the market, this two-in-one drill press will make every sanding and drilling task a cinch. The Shop Fox will allow you to tackle both sanding and drilling jobs, giving you more bang for your buck and providing the perfect design solution for the buyer who is short on space in their workshop or garage.
Best 12 Inch Drill Press-WEN 4214 12-InchDrill Press
Wen drill presses have a reputation for drilling efficiency. Its latest model features variable speed settings that range from 580 to 3200 RPMs. The mechanical variable speed system also delivers equal torque throughout that range. In terms of spindle travel, the power tool offers 3-⅛ inches, with locking linear depth stops for repeatable and precise drilling. The quill diamter is 2.17 inches. This 12-inch drill press can easily power through plastic, wood, metal, and other types of durable materials. The induction motor is powerful and features ball bearings that offer a more balanced performance while extending the life of the motor. The ⅝ inch chuck comes equipped with an MT2 spindle taper that provides versatility, featuring onboard chuck key storage and a variety of bits.
- Can power through cast iron
- Digital speed readout
- Value for money
- Drill bit options
- Number of speeds to choose from
- Excellent value for money
- Too much vibration coming from the motor and drive
This floor drill press can easily power through cast iron and other tough materials. The X pattern laser will lock onto drill points, so you don’t make costly errors. This feature alone makes this drill press very beginner-friendly. The depth adjustment gauge allows you to precisely adjust the spindle travel for repeat drilling tasks and improved accuracy. Basically, this floor drill press has got it all and it’s available for a reasonable price.
Best 10 Inch Drill Press-BILT HARD 10 inch 12-Speed Drill Press
This 10-inch drill press features 2-⅜ inch spindle travel, with a 3.85 amp induction motor, offering ⅗ HP. The machine also features a total of 12 operating speeds, with adjustable depth stops. The compact design consists of a cast iron base to ensure precise drilling and top-of-the-line durability. The slotted table design allows you to mount vises and clamps for improved security. This 10-inch drill press has a base with predrilled holes that can be used to mount the drill press to a work stand or workbench.
- Cast iron base
- Adjustable depth stop options
- 8 piece drill bits set
- Powerful motor
- Value for money
- Adjustable speed options
- Excellent spindle travel
- Vague instructions make installation difficult
This feature-packed benchtop drill press features a heavy-duty ball bearing motor with adjustable table locks, ⅗ HP motor, impressive stroke length, and 12-speed options. This model is beginner-friendly, versatile, and can be a great addition to any garage or workshop.
Best Drill Press for Woodworking-Delta Drill Press
Considered the best drill press for woodworking, this 18-inch floor standing drill press has an auto-tensioning belt-driven system that allows for easy and fast-speed micro-adjustable depth stops, combined with the independent depth scale, which will allow you to precisely adjust the speed to set up the power tool for repetitive drill projects. Like most drill presses, this model is designed for accurate drilling and can save you plenty of time in the workshop, especially when repetitive drilling is involved.
- Easy to use benchtop drill press
- Smooth drilling process
- Value for money
- Micro-adjustable depth stop
- Adjustable speed settings
- 5-year warranty
- Belts may be loose and will require adjusting
The drill press comes with a 6-inch quill stroke that’s designed for deeper drilling, while the micro-adjustable depth stops and fully adjustable twin laser make this drill press a great choice for woodworkers of all skill levels and those in need of a versatile benchtop drill press that’s affordable and reliable.
Best Benchtop Drill Press-Jet Drill Press
This Jet drill press offers maximum control, thanks to the large ergonomic knobs that make adjusting the speed settings a breeze. The built-in LED light will help improve visibility, so you can clearly see your workpiece and your progress. The drill press also comes equipped with a retractable roller extension for additional support. For multiple drilling applications, the machine has a ⅝ inch industrial drill chuck, adding to the drill presses’ versatility. Aside from the machine’s durability, it’s also highly portable, so it’s great for pro use, for the woodworker or contractor that has to haul their drill press from site to site. The 5 amp induction motor will allow the drill to power through pretty much any type of material, including wood, plastic, and tough metals including cast iron.
- Cast iron base
- Easy to use
- Powerful motor
- Highly portable
- Can power through almost any type of material
This Jet drill press is considered the best workhorse for on-the-go use. The drill press is tough enough to handle jobs of all sizes, with a portable design that makes it convenient to use on the fly. The machine offers over 3-⅛ inches of spindle travel, providing maximum cutting depth, and also comes with a laser that will improve your accuracy when drilling.
Best Value-Grizzly Industrial G7948-20 Floor Standing Drill Press
This floor-standing industrial drill press by Grizzly offers the type of increased capacity and power that the pros need in a machine that will be pushed to its limits on a daily basis. This 1-½ HP motor can easily and smoothly power the 12 spindle speeds that range from 180-3240 RPMs. This floor-standing model beats out any benchtop drill press in terms of reliable power and overall toughness. One of the best drill presses on the market, this model features a maximum drill capacity of 1-¼ inches through mild steel or cast iron. It can easily drill through all types of tough materials including composites, plastic, and fiberglass.
- Good value for money
- Variable speed drill press
- Can be used daily
- 12 spindle speeds
- Not beginner-friendly
Great value for money, this industrial floor standing drill press is one of the top drill presses on the market for a number of reasons, but this machine is definitely overkill for the amateur or casual woodworker. This massive machine will take up quite a bit of space, so it’s also not recommended for smaller workspaces. If you need a drill press for woodworking that’s somewhat portable, this model also falls short in that area. So, if you plan on purchasing this massive model, make sure you find a permanent spot for it in your workshop or garage.
Drill Press Buyer’s Guide
A drill press may seem like a tool that you don’t need until you finally do. Once you use one of these tools, you’ll find that you don’t know how you ever lived without one. But choosing a drill press can be a complex process, considering all of the options available.
Should you buy a floor-standing drill press or a benchtop model to save space? Do you need an older heavy-duty industrial model, or would you be better off with a newer model, one that comes loaded with the latest features? Researching the answers to these questions can help point you in the right direction, so you can find a drill press that will work the amount of space you have available and a model that will be perfect for your usual projects.
Before I kick off the buyer’s guide, I’ll go over the biggest advantages a drill press has to offer and why you’ll want to add one to your workshop.
Drill Press Benefits
Drill presses are a type of very accurate power tool that is commonly found in metal fabrication and woodworking workshops. Adding a drill press to your garage or workshop offers many benefits, such as:
- You really can’t beat the accuracy of a drill press. While your standard type of drill can also be accurate, that tool’s accuracy will rely on the accuracy of the user. With the drill press, the user only has to set it up right.
- A drill press will make it easier to drill a large number of holes and it also increases the amount of drilling work you’ll get done. In a professional setting, this means the drill press will pay for itself many times over. This is also obviously good news for the DIYer or woodworker since it will also save them plenty of time in the workshop.
- Both handheld drills and drill presses have their pros and cons and can’t be compared on many levels since they have their jobs to do. However, the drill press is a better choice for repetitive drilling and to improve your overall work conditions.
- A top-of-the-line drill press will come with digital buttons or knobs that instantly change the speed. Some models also feature digital readouts of the machine’s current speed so there’s no guesswork involved.
Other Important Features
Below, you’ll find the must-have features that can make a drill press more powerful, accurate, and reliable.
Most modern drill presses will come equipped with a range of speeds to choose from. Variable speed is an important feature since different bits and materials require faster or slower speeds for optimal operation.
It can be difficult to adjust the speed on a low-end drill press that requires you to manually move the belts between different pulleys. Newer models make switching speeds as flipping a switch or turning a knob.
A bigger drill press often means a bigger table. Most pros prefer flat tables, without supports that run around the edge. The edging adds more strength and stability for thinner tables.
These days, many tables include upgrades, such as dust collection ports or adjustable fencing.
The majority of drill press tables can also be tilted.
A depth stop is used for the woodworker who wants to make several cuts at the same depth. Depth stops are perfect for processes such as drilling out wood plugs.
If you think you’ll be using depth stops often, then search for a model that comes with a depth ring or quick-release button. Both options will make adjusting and setting the depth stops fast and efficient.
On some models, the depth stops can be adjusted by moving a couple of nuts on a threaded rod. When you need to make big changes, this can be very time-consuming.
Many top-of-the-line drill presses will have laser centers. The laser center helps the user line up the spindle to their workpiece.
However, with a laser center, it will be very important to check the accuracy frequently, since the laser can easily get knocked out of alignment.
Lights can be a great add-on that you’ll find yourself using often. In many cases, the head of the drill press casts a shadow on a workpiece. This makes it difficult to line it up to the spindle.
Some models come equipped with an oscillating feature that automatically moves the spindle up and down while the press is on.
This feature is a must-have if you want to use the press as an oscillating drum sander.
Types of Drill Presses
Different types of drill presses can be used for spot facing, countersinking, tapping, and reaming. If you’re new to woodworking or you want to tackle some DIY repairs around the home, a drill press will be an invaluable tool.
Benchtop Drill Presses
Most types of benchtop drill presses will range in size offering eight inches up to twelve inches of swing. Swing refers to the distance between the support column and the spindle center, multiplied by two. This means that a twelve-inch swing press can be used to drill out the center of a twelve-inch circle.
Once a bit has been chucked into the spindle, it will have a very limited amount of vertical space between the bottom of the bit and the table. A smaller swing also means more space in your workshop. However, most models of benchtop drill presses will have a footprint of twelve inches wide by twenty to thirty inches deep.
A floor-standing drill press has a swing that ranges from twelve up to twenty inches and usually stands at five feet tall. If you have floor space, then this type of drill press will be a great option. The heavy-duty components, extra swing, and more quill travel make standard quill travel of 2 ½ inches.
Floor standing drill presses have spindle travel of three to six inches.
Portable Drill Press
A portable drill press may come in handy if you need a model that offers maneuverability. This type of drill press can be used anywhere. The biggest drawback is their lack of power. These lowered powered drill presses should only be used if you work with softer materials or you don’t need to drill a deep hole. With most models, the drill size is usually limited to twelve millimeters.
An upright drill is great when you need to make larger holes. An upright drill press also offers either manual or automatic operation modes. These models are very powerful and durable and the design of the spindle head often guarantees a higher power output. The head will usually come with a reliable gear drive.
You can choose between a couple of main subtypes, box and round columns.
A round column model has a circular column. This type of drill press can be used for lighter materials.
The box column models are rigid and strong, so they’re a better choice for more complex projects when you need to process strong pieces.
These machines have several spindle columns that are located on the same base. This design allows the user to perform multiple operations simultaneously. This will significantly increase productivity. However, a gang drill press is very large and heavy, requiring plenty of space.
A radial drill press offers impressive versatility and flexibility. These drill presses are perfect for heavy, large pieces. Fortunately, they also have a reputation for being user-friendly. There are a few main subtypes of radial drill presses:
Plain: These drill presses can move in a few directions, including a circular pattern, horizontally, and vertically.
Semi-Universal: The semi-universal radial drill press can move in three directions. It also features a design that allows it to swing around the horizontal axis.
Universal: This drill press also moves in three directions, in addition to having a rotating drill head. This type of drill head is important for angled drilling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Type of Drill Press has More Power?
There are a couple of main types of drill presses-stationary and benchtop. Benchtop models are more portable, lighter, and more compact. A floor model is harder to move because it’s larger and heavier, but it also comes with more features and power.
Does a Drill Press Need Special Bits?
Typically, no. A drill press will use ordinary bits, but it’s ideal for using larger diameters for drilling materials that can be secured in a press bed or clamped in a vice.
Is a Drill Press Worth it?
The best drill press offers more power and better accuracy compared to a standard drill. Woodworkers of all skill levels need the ability to drill perfectly straight holes. A handle drill is more suited for smaller jobs.
Does a Drill Press Need to Be Bolted to the Floor?
A drill press is slightly top-heavy, however, they don’t have to be bolted to the floor. Doing so will prevent you from moving the press around your shop or hauling it from job site to job site.
The best drill press can be a total gamechanger in your workshop. Whether you choose a benchtop or floor-standing model, you can be sure that your next repetitive drilling job will be faster and easier, with beautifully accurately drilled holes in wood or metal materials. I hope this guide has taught you what you need to know to help you choose the drill press that will be an asset in your home workshop and one that works with your metal or woodworking needs, budget, and skill level.