Have you ever walked into a hardware or supply store just to canvass through the power tools? I have – and it’s an experience that always leaves me in awe and amazement. Seeing each machine, learning about what they do, and imagining myself using them has only deepened my passion for this industry.
Through the years, a machine that has constantly piqued my interested is a drill press. In terms of function, we all know what this does – it punctures holes of varying sizes and depths inside of wood. But this isn’t what astonishes me; it’s the way force moves from the switch, through the gears, before finally reaching the drill bit. How does this seemingly modest process create so much power? Most importantly, in what other ways could it be vital to the construction process?
In this best drill press review, we’ll be answering these questions and more. Our goal is to deepen everyone’s appreciation while also discussing the top models currently on the market. Hopefully, through our insights, we can make selecting one much easier for you. Please read along to learn more.
What Is A Drill Press?
Drill presses are an essential cog in the business of woodworking. Their ability to perforate through all types of materials – and in an efficient manner – gives users some much-needed relief. As such, these instruments allow you to save time, while also conserving energy for other more important tasks.
Now that we’ve identified their purpose, how exactly do these work?
Well, it’s quite simple, really. Drill presses transfer energy from a source (usually an outlet or battery pack) directly to its motor. This revs up the engine to spin profusely, engaging the gears and shifting power to the drill bit. Finally – with the force at its peak – the bit makes contact with a workpiece creating an insertion.
The significance of owning a drill press is seen in its widespread popularity. Certified carpenters and contractor occasionally use them on jobsites, as do manufacturers of furniture, artists, craftsmen, and even DIY enthusiasts. Controlling them, likewise, is relatively simple. Though it might take a while before doing so accurately. Still, the learning curve isn’t steep at all, which is yet another reason for people’s fondness for it.
To deepen our understanding, let’s take a quick tour through its different parts.
Main Parts of a Drill Press
Contrary to popular belief, drill presses aren’t complicated. It may just seem this way because of how engineered everything is. In this sub-section, we’d like to share what its six chief components are, discuss their roles, and understand how each one complements the others to create a well-oiled machine.
We all need a solid foundation – most especially power tools – and this is what the base adequately provides. It is often built using stainless steel or carbide-iron to increase overall stability. At the same time, this should be capable of supporting larger workpieces without sacrificing the results.
Users frequently overlook this piece but we believe in its significance. Having a base that’s too flimsy, rigid, or uneven can result in multiple errors occurring. And as professionals, this has to be something we avoid given the sensitivity in our nature of work.
Attached slightly above the base is a flat surface called the table. Its primary function throughout each session is to support wooden boards, provide steadiness, and serve as a venue for measurement. On it, you’ll usually find a fence to hold the wood in place and a ruler-like accessory for accurate estimating.
When you see a drill press, do inspect the tabletop and make sure it is screwed on properly. We also recommend checking if it uses the same material as its bottom. This isn’t just for aesthetical purposes, but also functionality and uniformity. The consistency will be a simple indicator of how well everything is put together.
Feed Lever and Controls
Though not always found beside each other, both the feed lever and control switch are integral aspects of drilling. Aside from regulating the speed, depth, or direction of your drill press, these mechanisms likewise turn everything on and off.
Among all the main parts, these are probably the most exposed to you. On some cases, they may even have a better overall impact. So before initializing the machine, make sure to have everything else in order. Lower the crank to a height you’re comfortable with and select your desired settings. Then, press the power button and stand back as the bit bores holes into the wood. Just be alert in case chippings are hurled your way.
Nevertheless, controlling a drill press is this simple and will undoubtedly make every work session more hassle-free than it already is.
Much like any other tool, the motor is its heart and soul. This mechanical marvel is responsible for pumping energy all through the machine, particularly to its chuck. Gears inside the engine will spin, causing it to revolve as well.
One of the most important aspects to look out for when analyzing a motor is its power. On average, a proper model can provide between 3000 to 4000-RPM of drilling strength, which is perfect for penetrating thicker pieces of wood. As such, try to match this with your chosen task. Both are directly relatable with each other.
Chuck and Bit
A chuck is an accessory that connects the drill to its bit. This tiny fixture, if you will, is predominantly responsible for carrying and it too, rotates at a constant pace. One part is linked directly to the machine while the other – an opening with a thread inside – is where you can screw in the drilling piece.
Upon buying a drill press, you’ll notice that the chuck already arrives pre-installed. They need only slight adjustments and typically follow a standard design. As such, there’s no need to buy an extra unless it gets broken.
The bits, on the other hand, are a whole different case. These come in a wider variety, often by size. Their diameter ranges anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5-inches, each one serving an exact role. Our suggestion is to carry at least 4 bits so you have a little bit more versatility when working. You’ll be able to mix and match the apparatus with what exactly the job requires.
Practical Applications and Uses
One thing we’ve been mentioning constantly is that owning a drill press gives you greater flexibility. This means doing more tasks with less time and resources at your disposal.
Now in this sub-section, we’re not here to give generic terms like woodworking or livelihood; we want to focus on the practical applications. Hopefully, identifying these will guide you in discerning whether buying one is worth the investment.
1. Making or Building Furniture
A real-world function that numerous enthusiasts take part in is furniture building. Cutting up plywood and putting together their remnants is both a resourceful and therapeutic way of using your drill press. Not to mention creating things that last. The holes yielded are more clear-cut and less likely to erode through time. All you have to do is insert a wooden tocs, fasten it tightly, and sit back – literally – as it is set to last you a lifetime.
2. Home and Commercial Repairs
The fascinating thing about these tools – specifically the best drill presses on the market – is they work well on non-wood materials too. Plastic, acrylic, and even soft metal are no match for the dominance of these amazing pieces of equipment.
One clear advantage is that it infiltrates quickly without showing any signs of slowing down. For example, a random reader shared how he used a drill press in fixing his refrigerator door. Since it was made from really thick plastic, he had trouble utilizing a regular screwdriver. So instead, he took out a more robust device, made four holes in ten minutes, and the problem was solved.
Needless to say, these tools can help cut your working time in half so you can concentrate on other more important things.
3. Creation of Art
Everybody needs a way to express themselves and for many, it’s through an art form. This, of course, isn’t just limited to paintings but all sorts of sculptures. Laying down different articles to generate unique patterns is an inventive way of conveying your thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
Operating a drill press won’t just fast track this undertaking; it also forms connections you never thought we possible. Linking a wooden board with a piece of metal may seem unthinkable, yet it becomes a possibility, thanks to this device’s abilities. Ultimately, your once imaginative ideas can now turn into a reality.
Different Types of Drill Presses
It’s no surprise that drill presses come in all shapes and sizes, each one with their specialization. Consumers will need to familiarize themselves with these types so they can choose one that best fits their needs.
In this section, we’ll be discussing what the two main archetypes are, describing them, and identifying some best examples of each. Once you familiarize yourself, this one daunting task will feel so much more manageable.
Benchtop Drill Press Reviews
A benchtop model is smaller than regular drill presses. These variations have shorter bases, come with a reduced worktable and are typically situated atop counters. This puts users in a better position when working. The good thing about them, though, is they are much easier to transport and perfectly fit the nomadic lifestyle. People who move around a lot are their primary clientele.
To better describe them, we’ve compiled a lit of the best benchtop drill presses on the market, beginning with these examples. Hopefully, learning more will help you form a deeper appreciation for that offer.
Benchtop drill press
- Produces a maximum drilling speed of 3,050-RPM that’s perfect for everyday jobs at home
- Equipped with an X2 2-beam laser to improve the accuracy of every movement
- A powerful motor spins to yield up to 3,100-RPM – the highest in its class.
- A JT33 spindle taper widens this tool’s compatibility with all sorts of different bits
- Is packaged with a spindle sander to help even out rugged edges in wood
- Users can select their preferred speed setting from 12 pre-installed functions on this tool to perfectly fit each task
We’ve always been taught never to judge based on looks, but the SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch Drill Press is just too good to pass up. Its race car-red head is extremely eye-catching, while a lean body projects confidence in all aspect. Holistically, this power tool is well put together and can rival even the top units today.
However, a closer look will show it’s far more than a pretty face. We’re particularly drawn to the X2 2-beam laser designed to provide better aim. This works incredibly well with a depth adjustment system so guarantee that all holes produced are both well-aligned and consistent.
As a user, you are also given the autonomy to choose the desired drilling speed. The SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch Drill Press employs a 5-speed structure that ends with a maximum of 3,050-RPM. This is by no means the most powerful, but it is good enough for use on DIY projects, not to mention a wide variety of wood.
We would highly recommend this to those on a tighter budget as it costs only slightly above $100. Given its wide range of features and abilities, we definitely won’t think twice about considering this deal reasonable – and you shouldn’t either. The SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch Drill Press will prove its worth to you as a valiant companion for many years to come.
Another quality option that’s also easy on your wallet is the WEN 4210T 10-Inch Drill Press with Laser. Nevertheless, extending a super friendly price has not stopped manufacturers from investing in quality. As it stands right now, this device is one of the best benchtop drill presses you can ever buy.
In terms of potency, the WEN 4210T provides woodworkers with impressive piercing potential. A 3.2-AMP induction motor induces rates of up to 3,100-RPM, the highest – so far – in its class. And just like other models, users are free to choose from five pre-installed speed settings, each with a precise characteristic. This gives you the flexibility to match everything together, especially for certain tasks.
At the same time, its carbide iron frame – which includes both the frame and tabletop – has been upgraded for greater durability. It is designed to support heftier workpieces with minimal effort and does everything it can go prevent unnecessary shaking. Specialized ball bearings have likewise been inserted near the engine to prolong its total lifespan.
Finally, we’d like to take time and discuss its JT33 spindle taper. A ½” key chuck grants the WEN 4210T 10-Inch Drill Press with Laser access to a full range of bits, which significantly maximizes your tool’s utilities. Although this may require you to purchase more accessories, we believe this investment is still worth it. The range of tasks it allows you now to do will only help maximize this wonderful tool to the best of its abilities.
All in all, we would deem this drill press suitable for almost anyone. The user-friendly and easy-to-understand features only augment its allure to potential users. So if you’re looking for a quality tool to bring around wherever, the WEN 4210T 10-Inch Drill Press with Laser has to be one of your top choices.
The Shop Fox W1668 is packaged as a drill press and spindle sander, offering you two high-quality power tools for the price of one. This blend of raw power and speed is a supreme advantage for users attempting to keep up with the challenges of modern-day construction or woodworking.
Similarly, this gizmo is fortified with a vigorous 0.75-horsepower motor that’s capable of tremendous things. It has a maximum drilling speed of 3,050-RPM, making it ideal for thicker materials. Special metal heat dissipators are likewise present to help manage its load and keep temperatures at optimal levels. More than anything, this shows it can be used for longer periods, even on heavier-duty projects.
Moreover, the Shop Fox W1668 Bench-Top Drill Press and Spindle Sander is designed strategically to offer you both stability and comfort with every use. Its tabletop is pretty standard at 23 x 14 x 38-inches, though we would have preferred it to be slightly wider. Nevertheless, it takes up limited space and should benefit those with smaller work stations.
Of course, arguably its most appealing addition is a spindle sander, which serves as your secondary implement when needed. The drill press shifts into an oscillating tool with the simple flip of a button, providing you with another way to even out wood. Additionally, this function is easy to use. Just attach a grit sanding sheet, turn the machine on, and begin your work – it’s that simple.
Compared to others, the Shop Fox W1668 Bench-Top Drill Press and Spindle Sander is quite expensive. Yet if you consider how broad its applications, then the discrepancy becomes more acceptable. Those seeking a reliable unit that works well without issues should strongly consider this model.
Floor Drill Press Reviews
Floor drill presses, conversely, are the complete opposite of bench-tops. They are much bigger versions and assembled with a taller base that’s usually put directly on the floor. We’ve also noticed that the majority of models are built more steadfastly, though they are more difficult to transport. As such, floor drills are far better suited for stationary positions than being brought around.
In this next segment, we’d like to what the top qualities of these types are, while also presenting three top models. If you’re interested in reading our full list, continue to our article via this link.
Floor drill press
- Its entire frame is structurally sound to prevent any unnecessary shaking
- The tabletop can be twisted up to 90-degress to better support your workpiece
- Employs a depth lock with ball knob height adjustment system for faster and more accurate modifications, even while you’re working
- Pre-installed with 16 different speed settings for you to choose from
- A 1.5-horsepower motor delivers speed of up to 4,200-RPM that works well on virtually any types of project
- The structure has been fortified greatly to support workpieces as heavy as 80-lbs
The Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press doesn’t just offer users with top-notch power, but also an adaptable structure. These are the two major components that make it one of the best floor drill presses currently on the market.
At approximately 122-lbs and standing 63-inches, the Shop Fox W1848 hulks over its competitors both literally and figuratively. Its sheer size allows it to stand firmly without any additional support. Furthermore, its body is made from durable materials so won’t have to worry about excessive shaking or preventable damage.
Another worthwhile feature is its tabletop, whose height and angle are modifiable. The platform can either be brought closer to the bit, further away, or even twisted up to 90-degrees. This gives you better control over how everything is positioned while working, resulting in cleaner outputs all around. In this setup, though, the table is merely a secondary support system. Don’t expect to it bear a workpiece’s full weight – especially those that are heavier – since it might topple over. Rather, reinforce it with your arm at all times while drilling.
After this happens, the 0.75-horsepower can now begin doing its work. This miniature mechanism may seem feeble but is the driving force behind its strength. As such, it transforms into a strapping accessory that cuts through all sizes of wood. And just like the Shop Fox W1668, initializing either fixture is done by simply flicking a switch.
Ultimately, if you’re in need of a heavy-duty piece of equipment, then you better take a closer look at the Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press. It’s almost exactly like the W1668, only bigger and more hardwearing. Even its price points are no far from one another. Those running under a tighter budget will definitely see this as a viable choice.
Speed is the name of the game for the Klutch 2705S058 Floor Drill Press, yet its creators have not stopped at that. Despite a few minor weaknesses, this option is still one the most sought after units currently available to consumers.
Probably our favorite attribute about it is a revolutionary height adjustment system. Unlike other brands that utilize a simple lock-and-twist system – which, in our opinion, relies too much on a user’s estimates – the Klutch 2705S058 employs a revolutionary depth lock with ball knob setup. This puts the platform exactly where you want it, without having to get a feel or guess too much.
Generally speaking, everything from its 5-foot pole to the base feels incredibly long-lasting. The structure is widely present to provide added endurance while you work. There’s even a gooseneck LED light installed beside the chuck to illuminate your surroundings. These features have been added to make your life simpler. It’s just a pity, though, that the table only tilts up to 45-degrees, which drastically limits its flexibility. We would always prefer having at least a 90-degree capacity.
In terms of power, the Klutch 2705S058 Floor Drill Press doesn’t turn any heads, either. A 0.7-horsepower motor is average at best and while completely workable, won’t do much to compensate for other deficiencies. Perhaps the only saving grace we have to relay is its maximum drilling speed of 3,410-RPM. This allows it to work well on most tasks without displaying signs of slowing down.
Nonetheless, it’s hard to take anything against this unit, given its economical price. Despite a handful of flaws, the Klutch 2705S058 Floor Drill Press is still an above-average option that should provide significance in its simple way.
On the surface, the JET 354170 20-Inch Floor Drill Press may seem like an outrageously priced option not worthy of your time. Its high ticket alone can segregate the serious buyers from those that are not. In the end, only users fully committed to this craft can objectively tell the potential value it is capable of.
Among all the contenders on our best drill press review, no other power tool comes close in terms of might. The JET 354170 is fortified with a 1.5-horsepower motor that produces a whopping 4,200-RPM of spinning speed. Both are the highest in its category by far, dwarfing its closest competition by nearly half.
Users can likewise select from any from the 12 pre-installed speed settings that range from 150-RPM all the way to its maximum. This allows you to personalize the drill press precisely for the task at hand. At the same time, it offers better control, especially when switching from one gear to the next. All you need to do is tug on the belt rides to shift rates – it’s that simple.
Moreover, its structural integrity is another clear positive about it. At approximately 288-lbs, the JET 354170 20-Inch Floor Drill Press is built to last and can endure all kinds of working conditions. Also, it comes with a slightly larger work table, which has constantly been the Achilles Heel of many floor drill presses. As such, you can put all types of workpieces and be confident that it won’t fall apart.
All these are only the tip of an iceberg. The JET 354170 20-Inch Floor Drill Press is an astounding option, but only for the right people. We wouldn’t advise novices to invest in it unless they’re sure about pursuing this field. Otherwise, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Either way, this option should prove its worth immediately and demonstrate why it is one of the best floor drill presses you can ever own.
What to Consider When Buying a Drill Press
After going through our recommended models, we would now like to discuss the factors that play a major role in decision making. Hopefully, reading through these will help make the process much easier for you.
1. Size of the Working Table
At this point in our best drill press review, we’ve come to realize just how handy having an able-sized work table is. Not only can a larger variation support heftier materials, but they also offer you more space to work with. Thus, this can directly affect the quality of work you produce.
So when canvassing through models, make sure the tabletop size is attuned to your expected types of work. Though to be sure, it’s always better to get something bigger. Do check also how far it tilts. As we’ve mentioned earlier, we wouldn’t recommend going for anything less than 90-degrees.
2. Overall Size and Stockiness
Are you the type of user that moves around a lot and brings your tools too? If your answer to this question is yes, then you might need something more compact. Smaller options like bench-top models are easier to mobilize and take up less space. They’re more suited for contractors or carpenters always on the go and who work in limited areas.
On the other hand, those that work in a constant spot are granted more flexibility. Both of the drill press types we discussed could be viable choices for them. Just be sure that when choosing a floor press variant, you need to finalize where to put it. Lest you might find it difficult to move later on.
3. Miscellaneous Additions – Lights, Lasers, and Dust Collectors
These add-ons may seem superfluous, but they’re actually essential to the working process. Function like a gooseneck light, dual dust collectors, or an extra adaptor, are included in the package to make your experience better. Most importantly, these are clear indicators of how well the manufacturers know your needs. As simple as they may be, they display the level of commitment companies have to make your lives much more convenient.
When going through different variations, try to match these additions to your own specific needs. It won’t be until later on that you realize just how much you need and appreciate them.
4. Warranty Package
A factor that we constantly recommend is a warranty and with good reason. Investing in a thorough package is essential because it serves as your safety net when something goes wrong. In the event of a malfunction, factory damage, or fortuitous events, you can easily turn to the makers for swift action, no questions asked. As a result, you save time, money, and tons of effort in the process.
So when presented with several options, we advise leaning towards one with at least 2-year warranty. Drill presses, on the average, do not come cheap so think of this as their insurance. Try to include also a money-back guarantee and free after-sales labor for a set amount of time. Though this may seem intimidating at first, the juice is well worth the squeeze.
5. Speed Compatibility
The final element on our list may seem surprising, but it’s something we feel is necessary. Instead of pushing you towards a model with absolute drilling ability, having flexibility might be a little bit better. Therefore, we advocate for models that offer multiple speed settings.
This versatility should help you better cater to each task. Since every project has its own set of requirements, having more options shifts control over to you and augments the tool further. Users already with a load of experience can share just how convenient having this can be.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
In this next section, we’ll be answering the most often asked questions by users, for users. We understand that drill presses still seem quite complicated and we’re here to shed light on any misconceptions or misunderstandings. Should you have any further clarifications, leave us a message and we’ll do our best to get back to you.
1. Is size the only difference between a bench-top and floor drill press?
Though the size is a major distinction, it isn’t the only property that differentiates these two types. Cutting strength, mobility, and endurance – just to name a few – are also potential elements to be considered. At the end of the day, each one has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s all about identifying which among the two best fits your needs.
2. How much does a drill press usually cost?
Again, the expense will depend greatly on the features. Though it is possible to segment options into three sub-sections: entry-level, mid-level, and high-end. On average, the first tier models cost less than $400, mid-tier choices are between $500 to $700, while the top-tier choices are usually above $1000.
3. Who are the people best suited for this tool?
Anybody from constructions workers, artists, masons, or housewives can own a machine like this. Drill presses, in all honesty, are extremely flexible power tools with a wide range of uses. They can be utilized anywhere from massive construction sites to everyday repairs at home. Therefore, if you’re looking for a quick way to produce holes in thick materials, then this could be a tool for you.
Learning more about the best drill presses has been an enlightening journey for us and we hope you learned something too. These tools often have the impression of being too expensive or intricate, yet a closer look will reveal that they’re not. On the contrary, they make our jobs much easier, while also prolonging resources.
Choosing what model to invest in is the same way. In the beginning, this task may seem demoralizing, yet it becomes easier as you break everything down. Essentially, the core of this decision-making journey is all about yourself. Find a tool that works best for you, answers your needs to the best of its abilities, and is right up your budget. Once you tick all these boxes, there is no doubt in our mind that you’re making the correct choice.
Always remember, there is no perfect choice out there; just one that’s perfect for you.