Reviews

LAST UPDATED: July 18, 2019

Best Drill Presses: Accurately Measure and Drill Holes On Almost Any Material

Bore into hardwood, softwood, metals, plastics, and more with our top picks for the best drill press

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PUBLISHED ON July 18, 2019

A drill press is an important tool in any workshop as it helps you drill through metals, wood, and other materials. It is basically a large table with a drill and a clamp attached to it. It provides precision drilling on a properly shaped, spaced, and sized material. If you’re looking to get the right drill press for your job type and budget, here’s a rundown of some of the best options.

  • Best Overall
    Jet IDP-22 Industrial Drill Press
    Summary
    Summary
    A reliable and heavy-duty 22-inch industrial drill press with an oversized table, a two-year warranty, and 1.5 horsepower motor.
    Pros
    Pros
    The device is perfect for drilling through just about any material, be it metal, wood, or tough steel. The press is CSA/CUS-certified. It includes high-quality ball bearings, a rotating 45 degree tilting crank-operated worktable, and it’s constructed out of a cast-iron table and base.
    Cons
    Cons
    It is quite hefty and weighs around 364 pounds. It is also rather expensive.


  • Best Overall
    Jet IDP-22 Industrial Drill Press
  • Best Value
    WEN 5-Speed Drill Press
    Summary
    Summary

    A powerful 8-inch benchtop drill press that operates at five different speeds and can cut through any material.

    Pros
    Pros

    The unit is eligible for hard plastic drilling, woodworking, and metal sheet drilling. It has a strong cast-iron work table. Features convenient speed ranges. Backed by a one-year warranty. Decently priced.

    Cons
    Cons

    Doesn’t feature a laser guide. Less powerful than high-end presses. Feels wobbly.

  • Best Value
    WEN 5-Speed Drill Press
  • Honorable Mention
    SKIL Drill Press
    Summary
    Summary

    A 10-inch benchtop, laser drill press with a powerful, 3.2-amp motor that produces smooth and clean holes.

    Pros
    Pros

    Includes an X2 laser dual-beam guide for a precision cut. Has an adjustable depth stop. Includes a rapid shut-off for safety. Backed by a three-year manufacturer warranty.

    Cons
    Cons

    Expensive. The lasers use separate batteries. It’s a bit underpowered for some applications.

  • Honorable Mention
    SKIL Drill Press

    A drill press is an important tool in any workshop as it helps you drill through metals, wood, and other materials. It is basically a large table with a drill and a clamp attached to it. It provides precision drilling on a properly shaped, spaced, and sized material. If you’re looking to get the right drill press for your job type and budget, here’s a rundown of some of the best options.

    Best Drill Press Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overal

    The Jet Industrial Drill Press is an impressive tool capable of drilling through just about any metal imaginable. This 22-inch machine is supported by high-quality ball bearings and is built out of premium cast-iron steel. Plus, it includes a hinged metal belt and pulley cover with a quick adjustment motor mount so you can drill more quickly, safely, and conveniently.


    One of the best features is its powerful and heavy-duty motor. It comes with a 1.5 horsepower, 115/230V motor, so it’s quick, durable, and efficient. It also includes a rotating 45-degree tilting hand-operated worktable with a quick-release clamp, plus, a ½-inch diameter external positive depth stop with a three-nut locking feature for quick adjustment of the drill. It even comes with an LED machine lamp to help when operating in dark or low light conditions.


    One of the biggest negatives about this specific drill press is its weight. It is quite hefty and weighs around 364 pounds. However, Amazon lists it as 120 pounds, so there are some discrepancies between the website and the manufacturer. Another drawback is the machine is also rather expensive.

    Best Value

    The WEN is a professional drill press that includes a 2-inch spindle travel fitted with a locking depth, a ½-inch keyed drill chuck, a chuck key, an 8-inch swing, and a cast-iron base. That’s all the necessary tools needed to assemble the unit and get it to drill through any material that’s 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. It’s a five-speed system with a reliable 1/3 horsepower motor that allows for variations of speeds ranging from 740 to 3,140 RPM. With that range, you can easily bore through material of different thicknesses.

     

    The unit stands on a beveling worktable measuring 6.5 by 6.5 inches. The bevel can be adjusted either horizontally or vertically by 45 degrees. For precise and uniform drilling, the unit comes with an adjustable and easy-to-read, locking depth stop. In addition, it has onboard key storage on the side of the drill for easy access and safe storage of the chuck key. Lastly, the product is backed by a one-year warranty by the manufacturer and is easy to set up.

     

    A major downside of the product is that it has no laser guide for precision alignment.  Additionally, it doesn’t have enough power when compared to other high-end drill presses. The base tends to wobble even when placed on a flat surface, and it has a cheap drill bit that also wobbles, especially at higher speeds.


    Honorable Mention

    SKIL is one of the best benchtop drill presses due to its construction quality and additional safety features. It comes with a five-speed angle that allows you to switch from light to heavy-duty jobs. The unit includes a ½ -inch keyed chuck and a speed motor capable of a maximum torque of 570 RPM and an RPM of 3,050 for fast drilling.


    A notable feature of the product is its X2 dual-beam precision laser coupled with a depth adjustment system that guarantees precise cuts at all times. Its adjustable work surface can turn by zero to 45 degrees on either side. It also features a panic stop button at the front of the chassis that shuts down the unit in case something goes wrong.


    The downside of the product is that it is more expensive than most standard benchtop drill presses. It also underperforms when cutting through some metals like steel and aluminum. Its worktable wobbles even when you tighten the clamps correctly, and you would have to purchase separate batteries for the laser guide. 

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    Benefits of a Drill Press

    • Drill accurate holes. Drill presses come with mechanisms that allow you to adjust the depth and angle of the cuts. A depth stop on the press allows you to stop at the right drilling spot if you don’t want to drill all the way through the material.
    • They’re superior to handheld drills. A handheld drill is convenient and affordable but often makes a lot of jerking movements. That can make it difficult to make a precise cut. A drill press is perfect for precision work as the drill head barely moves when mounted on a sturdy column shaft.
    • Drill through different materials. Depending on the quality of drill press you choose, you can bore through metal, wood, and hard plastics with ease. Some drill presses can also be used on pebbles, gemstones, clay tiles, and concrete. 

    Types of Drill Press

    Tabletop and Benchtop Presses

    Benchtop models are the best shop drill presses as they don’t take up much space and offer the best value for the money. They have the ability to drill straight and accurate holes on any material. The presses offer vertical and horizontal adjustability for precise measurement, but the height adjustment may not successfully accommodate large pieces.

    Floor Drill Press

    Consider a floor model if you need to do some heavy-duty drilling projects. It’s a larger drill press model that frees up your workbench space. The unit is ideal for both professional and hobbyists. Floor models have a larger drilling platform and allow for larger vertical movement ranges. They are typically more expensive than benchtop drills due to the allowance for additional features and raw power. 

    Portable Drill Presses

    If you don’t have a designated work station, you should opt for a portable drill press. The units essentially have mounting mechanisms, either a clamp or a magnetic plate, that can attach to any worktable. While they do not have the most powerful motors, they do come with pocket-friendly price tags.

    Top Brands

    SKIL              

    Edmond Michel founded SKIL in 1926, and it’s currently a global manufacturer of electric power tools under Chevron (HK) Ltd. Some of its products include belt sanders, jigsaws, mixers, routers, planers, cordless screwdrivers, and drill presses. The company has its headquarters in Nanjing, China. One of its best-rated drill presses is the SKIL Drill Press.

    WEN

    WEN is an American designer and distributor of power tools such as drill presses, chainsaws, electric engravers, electric jigsaws, knife, and wet wheel sharpeners. Nick Anton founded the company in 1952. WEN is lauded for its fantastic customer service, and its power tools often get a consumer rating of four stars and above. Some of its high-quality drill presses include the WEN 5-Speed Drill Press and the WEN Variable Speed Drill Press

    Dremel

    Dremel is an American brand that manufactures powered screwdrivers, contour sanders, hot glue guns, scroll saws, and rotary tools, which are its headliner products. The company has been in existence since 1932, and Albert J. Dremel founded the company. Dremel products have a legion of following among DIY enthusiasts as they are detailed and easy to use. One of its best-selling drill presses is the Dremel Drill Press.

    Best Drill Press Pricing

    • Under $500: This price range houses both portable and workbench drill presses. The products get cheaper as their sizes decrease and their drilling power reduces. Moreover, some cheaper options may not come with induction motors or laser guides for accurate drilling.
    • Over $500: This is the price range for most high-end benchtop and floor model drills. The units here often come with highly adjustable angles, mechanically variable speeds, adjustable material stops for accurate repetitive actions, optimizable spindles, and laser guides for precision cuts. However, some higher-priced products have poor consumer ratings so be sure to read the reviews before buying one. 

    Key Features

    Horsepower

    A tool with more horsepower is always better if it’s within your budget. A drill with more horsepower is capable of doing heavy-duty jobs. It can also be tuned to a lower power setting to perform light jobs. However, powerful drills may draw too much power from your electrical system.

    Power Source

    Most drill presses primarily use electricity as the main power source. However, there are some models that are battery-powered, but such cordless units don’t output as much power as their alternatives. Cordless units also can’t drill through tough materials. Always invest in a corded drill for high precision and power.

    Compatibility

    You need to check on the drill’s compatibility with accessories and the materials it drills through. The drill press should have the ability to mount other accessories that make the drilling job easier. It should also be able to drill through metal, wood, and a variety of other material. However, if you only do woodwork, most portable drill presses can comfortably drill through any type of wood.

    Other Considerations

    • Rotations Per Minute (RPM): Most drills come with a system for adjusting the spindle speeds when working on different materials. The spin rate is given in RPM and often ranges from 100 to 3,000 RPM. The drill press should have at least two adjustable speeds—a high-speed rate for drilling through softwood and a slower speed for metal.
    • Construction: It’s important for the drill press to have solid construction. Steel is the best material for the base to enhance overall stability. The unit should also contain hard plastic parts but minimally in comparison to metal.
    • Adjustability: The best drill presses have adjustable angles that allow you to drill through curved or tilted wood. You should look for a drill press with a greater capacity for incline and adjustable clamps. 
    • Weight: You need a heavy drill press that won’t rattle and vibrate when you work. Stability is key, especially at the base of the unit. Consider a floor model if you need to do some heavy-duty drilling projects. A light drill may be portable, but you would have to hold it firmly for stability as you make the cut. That can be an inconvenience.
    • Size: The drill press should be large enough to get the job done but small enough to fit into your available workspace. This will depend on your job type. Most professionals prefer a large floor model while DIY enthusiasts go for portable workbench drill presses.

    Best Drill Press Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overal

    The Jet Industrial Drill Press is an impressive tool capable of drilling through just about any metal imaginable. This 22-inch machine is supported by high-quality ball bearings and is built out of premium cast-iron steel. Plus, it includes a hinged metal belt and pulley cover with a quick adjustment motor mount so you can drill more quickly, safely, and conveniently.


    One of the best features is its powerful and heavy-duty motor. It comes with a 1.5 horsepower, 115/230V motor, so it’s quick, durable, and efficient. It also includes a rotating 45-degree tilting hand-operated worktable with a quick-release clamp, plus, a ½-inch diameter external positive depth stop with a three-nut locking feature for quick adjustment of the drill. It even comes with an LED machine lamp to help when operating in dark or low light conditions.


    One of the biggest negatives about this specific drill press is its weight. It is quite hefty and weighs around 364 pounds. However, Amazon lists it as 120 pounds, so there are some discrepancies between the website and the manufacturer. Another drawback is the machine is also rather expensive.

    Jet IDP-22 Industrial Drill Press}
    Amazon

    The Jet Industrial Drill Press is an impressive tool capable of drilling through just about any metal imaginable. This 22-inch machine is supported by high-quality ball bearings and is built out of premium cast-iron steel. Plus, it includes a hinged metal belt and pulley cover with a quick adjustment motor mount so you can drill more quickly, safely, and conveniently.


    One of the best features is its powerful and heavy-duty motor. It comes with a 1.5 horsepower, 115/230V motor, so it’s quick, durable, and efficient. It also includes a rotating 45-degree tilting hand-operated worktable with a quick-release clamp, plus, a ½-inch diameter external positive depth stop with a three-nut locking feature for quick adjustment of the drill. It even comes with an LED machine lamp to help when operating in dark or low light conditions.


    One of the biggest negatives about this specific drill press is its weight. It is quite hefty and weighs around 364 pounds. However, Amazon lists it as 120 pounds, so there are some discrepancies between the website and the manufacturer. Another drawback is the machine is also rather expensive.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Best Value

    The WEN is a professional drill press that includes a 2-inch spindle travel fitted with a locking depth, a ½-inch keyed drill chuck, a chuck key, an 8-inch swing, and a cast-iron base. That’s all the necessary tools needed to assemble the unit and get it to drill through any material that’s 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. It’s a five-speed system with a reliable 1/3 horsepower motor that allows for variations of speeds ranging from 740 to 3,140 RPM. With that range, you can easily bore through material of different thicknesses.

     

    The unit stands on a beveling worktable measuring 6.5 by 6.5 inches. The bevel can be adjusted either horizontally or vertically by 45 degrees. For precise and uniform drilling, the unit comes with an adjustable and easy-to-read, locking depth stop. In addition, it has onboard key storage on the side of the drill for easy access and safe storage of the chuck key. Lastly, the product is backed by a one-year warranty by the manufacturer and is easy to set up.

     

    A major downside of the product is that it has no laser guide for precision alignment.  Additionally, it doesn’t have enough power when compared to other high-end drill presses. The base tends to wobble even when placed on a flat surface, and it has a cheap drill bit that also wobbles, especially at higher speeds.


    WEN 5-Speed Drill Press}
    Amazon

    The WEN is a professional drill press that includes a 2-inch spindle travel fitted with a locking depth, a ½-inch keyed drill chuck, a chuck key, an 8-inch swing, and a cast-iron base. That’s all the necessary tools needed to assemble the unit and get it to drill through any material that’s 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. It’s a five-speed system with a reliable 1/3 horsepower motor that allows for variations of speeds ranging from 740 to 3,140 RPM. With that range, you can easily bore through material of different thicknesses.

     

    The unit stands on a beveling worktable measuring 6.5 by 6.5 inches. The bevel can be adjusted either horizontally or vertically by 45 degrees. For precise and uniform drilling, the unit comes with an adjustable and easy-to-read, locking depth stop. In addition, it has onboard key storage on the side of the drill for easy access and safe storage of the chuck key. Lastly, the product is backed by a one-year warranty by the manufacturer and is easy to set up.

     

    A major downside of the product is that it has no laser guide for precision alignment.  Additionally, it doesn’t have enough power when compared to other high-end drill presses. The base tends to wobble even when placed on a flat surface, and it has a cheap drill bit that also wobbles, especially at higher speeds.


    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Honorable Mention

    SKIL is one of the best benchtop drill presses due to its construction quality and additional safety features. It comes with a five-speed angle that allows you to switch from light to heavy-duty jobs. The unit includes a ½ -inch keyed chuck and a speed motor capable of a maximum torque of 570 RPM and an RPM of 3,050 for fast drilling.


    A notable feature of the product is its X2 dual-beam precision laser coupled with a depth adjustment system that guarantees precise cuts at all times. Its adjustable work surface can turn by zero to 45 degrees on either side. It also features a panic stop button at the front of the chassis that shuts down the unit in case something goes wrong.


    The downside of the product is that it is more expensive than most standard benchtop drill presses. It also underperforms when cutting through some metals like steel and aluminum. Its worktable wobbles even when you tighten the clamps correctly, and you would have to purchase separate batteries for the laser guide. 

    Honorable Mention: SKIL Drill Press

    SKIL Drill Press}
    Amazon

    SKIL is one of the best benchtop drill presses due to its construction quality and additional safety features. It comes with a five-speed angle that allows you to switch from light to heavy-duty jobs. The unit includes a ½ -inch keyed chuck and a speed motor capable of a maximum torque of 570 RPM and an RPM of 3,050 for fast drilling.


    A notable feature of the product is its X2 dual-beam precision laser coupled with a depth adjustment system that guarantees precise cuts at all times. Its adjustable work surface can turn by zero to 45 degrees on either side. It also features a panic stop button at the front of the chassis that shuts down the unit in case something goes wrong.


    The downside of the product is that it is more expensive than most standard benchtop drill presses. It also underperforms when cutting through some metals like steel and aluminum. Its worktable wobbles even when you tighten the clamps correctly, and you would have to purchase separate batteries for the laser guide. 

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Tips

    • When it comes to adjusting the speed on a drill press, maintain a simple rule. Select faster speeds for drilling through wood and slower speeds for metals. Remember to use a coolant when necessary, and stop occasionally to clear chips from the drilling channel for a faster and cleaner cut.
    • Safety comes first when operating a drill press. Be sure to secure any loose clothing or personal items, and tie back long hair to avoid injury or damaging the spinning gear. Wear safety goggles and a face mask to protect your face from airborne particles.
    • Lubricate the gears to prevent rust, and blow off any excess particles from the system to ensure that it spins freely and smoothly. Also, always ensure that the pulleys and belts are intact so that they don’t snap or fly off when you run the machine.

    FAQs

    Q: Can I pair a standard workbench drill press with other accessories?

    A: It’s good to pair your drill press with some accessories such as an attachable work light that can be turned on and off when necessary. Also, include an angle vises for clamping material at an angle and a bit storage bin for quick access to drill bits. You could include fences if your press is doubling as a router or sander. That allows you to move around the material for an accurate cut.

    Q: What safety measures should I take when using a drill press?

    A: First, ensure that the unit has a start and stop button that’s within your reach and an emergency stop button. Additionally, you should wear safety glasses and remove any pieces of jewelry or lose clothing. Always secure the material with a clamp or a drill vise. 

    Q: What’s the difference between variable speed drill presses and step pulley systems?

    A: Most drill press systems are step pulleys with configurable speed settings. They are cheaper and easier to use but take a longer time to change from low to high speeds. For that reason, they are mostly used for assembly line work where repetitive action at a constant speed is needed. Variable speed drill presses have a button that changes the spindle speed and working diameter of the spindle pulley to swiftly change the speed setting even without removing the material.  

    Final Thoughts

    Our top pick is the Jet IDP-22 Industrial Drill Press because it's a decently priced, high-end drill that can bore through metal, wood, and hard plastics at variable drilling speeds.

    If you are on a tight budget, you could go for the WEN 5-Speed Drill Press, which is a great tabletop drill press for woodworkers.