Reviews

The Best Drill Press Vises: Hold Items Securely In Place

Use these top drill press vises for your metal and woodworking projects

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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON January 25, 2021

A drill press can be a great addition to your arsenal of tools, particularly if you often need to drill a lot of precision holes. It allows you to effortlessly drill as many holes as you need to exactly where they need to go without the hand fatigue that comes with using a drill. However, using a drill press without securing the workpiece to the table can lead to disastrous results — some of which can leave your workpiece mangled if you are lucky, your fingers if you’re not.

 

While there are many ways of securing stock to a table, vise grips and clamps are the two that immediately come to mind. But these are unreliable at best and if you are looking for secure, repeatable results, you need a drill press vise. We have taken the liberty of doing all the research for you and compiled a list of the current market’s best drill press vises. Read on to find one that is right for you.

Best Overall
Hardware Factory Store 2 Way 4-Inch Drill Press
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Summary
Summary

This 4-inch drill press vise is constructed with a cast-iron base with 4-inch serrated steel jaws and cold rolled steel screws.

Pros
Pros
  • Adjustable without needing to be unbolted
  • Extremely versatile
  • Holds materials well
Cons
Cons
  • May require disassembly and cleaning before use
  • May wobble slightly
Best Overall
Hardware Factory Store 2 Way 4-Inch Drill Press
Best Value
POWERTEC R71044 DuBois Aluminum Drill Press Vise
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Summary
Summary

This cast aluminum drill press vise is 9 1/8-inches long and 4.5-inches wide with a maximum jaw opening of 2-3/4 inches.

Pros
Pros
  • Effectively grips wood, plastic, and metal
  • Quick-release feature
  • Easy to store
  • Corrosion-resistant
Cons
Cons
  • Mounting hardware not included
  • Not particularly solid or robust
Best Value
POWERTEC R71044 DuBois Aluminum Drill Press Vise
Honorable Mention
WEN 423DPV 3-Inch Cast Iron Drill Press Vise
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Summary
Summary

This 3-inch cast iron drill press vise is designed for small stock and materials such as wood, metal, and plastic.

Pros
Pros
  • Durable and stable during operation
  • Universal installation
  • Compatible with most drill presses
Cons
Cons
  • Won't clamp material over 3 inches wide
  • The handle is not particularly strong
Honorable Mention
WEN 423DPV 3-Inch Cast Iron Drill Press Vise
Drill Press Vises Close Up
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Benefits of Drill Press Vises

  • Work safely. If you want to avoid accidents when drilling through material such as wood, metal, or plastic, then you need a proper drill press vise to hold the items securely in place and avoid accidental injuries.
  • Keep your drill from slipping. No matter what type of work you do at work or around the home, a drill press vise lets you better control your drill so it doesn't inadvertently move when you're making holes.
  • Efficiently complete a project. Whether you're building cabinets or doing other tasks around the home or on a job site, a drill press vise will help you get the job done efficiently and effectively.

Types of Drill Press Vises

Angled Drill Press Vise

Tilting or angled drill press vises have an inner jaw that allows users to work with oddly-shaped material. These vises provide up to 45-degree angle tilting horizontally and 90-degree vertical tilting. This allows users to position material at a right angle. These vises are a good option if you plan on working with circular-shaped materials.

Quick-Release Drill Press Vise

If you want a drill press vise that's easier to use, consider one with a quick release. Adjustments are simpler to make. There is usually a central button or spot to press that opens and closes the jaws as required. However, they're not as versatile as their tilting drill press counterparts.

Top Brands

WEN

Headquartered in Elgin, Ill., WEN was founded in 1951. The company produces a wide range of products from electric jigsaws and wet wheel sharpeners to bench grinders and drill presses. We recommend the WEN 423DPV 3-Inch Cast Iron Drill Press Vise or WEN 3.25" Compound Cross Slide Industrial Strength Benchtop and Drill Press Vise.

Powertec USA

Powertec USA is based in Waukegan, Ill., and produces power tools, hand tools, craft supplies, and more designed with quality, durability, performance, and value in mind. One popular product is the POWERTEC R71044 DuBois Aluminum Drill Press Vise.

Performance Tool

Performance Tool is a brand of Wilmar Corporation, which was founded in 1971 and is based in Renton, Wash. The company produces hand tools, specialty tools, grease guns, accessories, hydraulics, and more. Check out the Performance Tool W3902 Hammer Tough 4" Drill Press Vise.

Olympia Tools

Olympia Tools in Covina, Calif., has been in business since 1973. The company makes hand tools, specialty tools, accessories, and outdoor equipment for retailers and distributors across the globe. We recommend the Olympia Tools Flat Drill Press Vise.

Wilton Tools

A Czech immigrant founded this vise manufacturing company on Wilton Avenue and Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, in 1941. Wilton vises were commonly used "to support the war effort" in the 40s. One top product is the Wilton 3-Inch Cradle Style Angle Drill Press Vise.

Drill Press Vise Pricing

  • Under $20: Some drill press vises are very affordable. However, they're not the highest quality and are designed for light-duty tasks. They're best for casual use and not serious DIYers or professional woodworkers and metalworkers.
  • $20-$60: Expect to pay a little more if you are a DIYer who plans on using a drill press vise regularly. These tools vary in their construction, so make sure you find one that is well-reviewed and designed with durability in mind.
  • $400 and up: Premium drill press vises can cost several hundred dollars. Industry professionals require rugged, dependable equipment that will last for years, so high-end vises are critical (and pricey).

Key Features

Construction

First and foremost, look for a product that is of high quality. If you buy an inexpensive drill press vise, it probably won't last very long and may fail within a few months. Or it may not work correctly when you receive it. Try to avoid plastic and look for tools that are built of steel.

Compatibility

To properly use a drill press machine, the drill press vice must be properly aligned, and not all presses fit all vises. If you're unsure of your drill press’s dimensions, simply measure the swing (the distance between the spindle to the edge of the column) and double it. Also, make sure you have the right press for the type of tool you're using (i.e., radial arm drill press or upright sensitive drill press).

Throat Depth

The distance between the top of the vise jaws to the base is known as the throat depth, and this is an important feature on a drill press vise. This measurement indicates how deep the jaws can go. If you work on extended projects or use irregular drill bits, the throat depth makes a difference.

Jaws

Drill press vise jaws can be etched or textured, which gives them a better grip on certain surfaces, including metal and slippery wood. Some jaws are padded and are helpful when the material is softer or prone to scratches. You can also purchase pads separately for certain tasks. Also, consider the jaw width with the size of the material you're going to use.

Other Considerations

  • Type of Material. Some drill press vises are designed for use with certain materials. For instance, you might choose heat-treated steel jaws for heavy-duty projects, or you might want a brand that’s intended for metalworking. Some vises are more versatile and can be used with both wood and metal. Choose the one that best matches your needs.
  • Weight. Drill press vises vary widely in their weight, from several pounds to over 50 pounds. This is due to their size and application. The benefit of a heavier vise is that you may not need to bolt it down to the drill press table to prevent vibrations.

Best Drill Press Vises Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Hardware Factory Store 2 Way 4-Inch Drill Press

The most versatile drill press vise on the market has to be the Hardware Factory Store 2 Way 4-Inch Drill Press. Construction-wise, it doesn’t get better than a durable cast iron base with 4-inch serrated steel jaws and cold rolled steel screws. Although what makes this drill press vise stand out is its two swivel crank handles that allow you to adjust the vise front to back and left to right without unbolting the vise. It features a 3.5-inch throat opening with a 5-inch longitudinal and four and a half-inch cross travel for adequate capacity and adjustability. 


While this drill press vise is a bit more costly than others, its ability to hold stock still or move it while being drilled for small machining projects makes it ultra-versatile.

Best Value
POWERTEC R71044 DuBois Aluminum Drill Press Vise

The POWERTEC DuBois cast aluminum drill press vise effectively grips wood, plastic, and metal. It has a quick-release feature that allows you to instantly clamp and reposition the material you're working on. The vise is 9 1/8 inches long and 4.5 inches wide, so it's easy to store. It has a maximum jaw opening of 2 3/4 inches that accommodates a variety of woodworking and clamping tasks. The vise is corrosion resistant and is compatible with most drill stands. Slots make it simple to mount on a table, and built-in grooves help you secure dowels and other round objects. 


Overall, it's a great lightweight vise for small projects, and the price is right. However, you need to supply your mounting hardware.

Best for Small Stock
WEN 423DPV 3-Inch Cast Iron Drill Press Vise

If you need a drill press vise that will adequately hold stock smaller than three inches the WEN 423DPV 3-Inch Cast Iron Drill Press Vise is what you are looking for. Its cast-iron construction provides durability and stability for drilling operations on small stock. It is perfect for many materials including woods, metals, plastics, and virtually any other material you can think of. The four mounting slots and two mounting groves allow for a solid and universal installation. It is not only compatible with all of WEN’s drill presses but also with the majority of other drill presses as well.


 While this would not be the best choice for someone that needed to clamp a four-inch piece of stock to be drilled, its full 3-inch clamping capacity makes it the perfect choice for clamping materials less than 3 inches wide.

Most Rugged
Performance Tool W3902 Hammer Tough 4

Renowned for their rugged durability, Performance Tool did it again with their Performance Tool W3902 Hammer Tough 4" Drill Press Vise. This drill press vise is made of a durable cast iron that is precision ground and finished with a hammer tough powder coating and a chrome-plated handle. It also features replaceable, hardened steel jaw faces. While this vise was specifically designed for drill presses it also works well for clamping small stock to a bench as well. 


The four mounting slots make it easy to mount to any surface and the four-inch by one-and-one-sixth capacity of this vise makes it the perfect solution to hold metal, wood, plastic, or any other material in place for many precision machining processes.

Honorable Mention
Delta 4-Inch Drill Press Vise

The Delta 4-Inch Drill Press Vise is a solid product that’ll fit with many different brands of drill presses. It holds onto items firmly, keeping them in place, and it’s particularly handy for larger items that are difficult to hold while working. It’s made with cast iron and large-capacity jaws that can hold workpieces up to four inches in width. The jaws stand 2.25 inches tall from base to top. There are built-in grooves that will support dowels measuring up to 0.5 inches in diameter, and the entire drill press vise can be used with wood or metal items. This vise will keep items in their place, but it’s important to note that no mounting hardware is included. 


You’ll need to supply your own to ensure this vise stays secure on your drill press. Overall, this vise offers solid value and an effective grip.

Honorable Mention
WEN 3.25

The WEN 3.25" Compound Cross Slide Industrial Strength Benchtop and Drill Press Vise is also available in 4, 5, 6, and 8-inch options. This particular drill press vise has jaws that open 3.25 inches wide that move 5.8 inches left/right and six inches front to back. The handwheels are marked in 0.1-mm increments, enabling users to work with precision. The vice is made of industrial-strength, powder-coated cast iron, and its universal design makes it compatible with numerous drill presses currently available. Overall, it's very stable and doesn't wobble. It's also a great value for what it provides. 


Unfortunately, it's not as precise as the description claims it is. Also, it's a little tall and may not fit well on a benchtop drill press, so consider the dimensions before making a purchase.

Honorable Mention
HFS (Tm) 5

The HFS (Tm) 5" Cross Slide Vise Drill Press has five-inch wide serrated steel jaws and easily transforms a drill press into a milling instrument. The high-quality machine can process wood and metal parts with precision. You can also combine it with a lathe or other tools that require special positioning.  The vise is made of durable cast iron and features cold-rolled steel screws, swivel crank handles for adjustment, bolt-down slots, and a hinged vise crank handle. The vise and cross slide feature adjustable shims, while the crank handles on the cross slides are removable.  Users like this vise because it does what it's intended to do. 


However, you may have to disassemble the tool, adjust it, and grease everything before using it as it can be a little stiff out of the box.

Honorable Mention
Olympia Tools Flat Drill Press Vise

This Olympia Tools Flat Drill Press Vise has jaws that open four-inches wide. One of the best things about this vise is its price plus it includes a bench dog lug. It feels sturdy and operates smoothly. It has rubber pieces on the handle ends and features a malleable cast steel body with a powder-coated finish. The four-hole reinforced base allows users to make quick table adjustments, while the hardened steel jaw faces are replaceable. It stays in position, is very easy to manipulate, and works well particularly if you grease the pivot ball. 


One downside is that the jaw may move slightly from side to side as you're tightening the vise. The castings are also a little imperfect, but overall it performs as intended without any issues.

Honorable Mention
Forward Drill Press Vise 4

The Forward Drill Press Vise weighs 6.6 pounds and features a four-inch jaw width, 3/4-inch jaw height, and 4-3/8-inch jaw opening. The vise is sturdy and constructed of high-strength cast iron for durability. The serrated jaw plate provides a clamping force of 1,760 pounds, while the slotted base is simple to mount. It's compatible with a variety of drill presses and is designed for light-duty projects. In addition, it has a threaded screw to make adjustments simple. Users report that the vise does exactly what it's designed to do and is great for the typical DIYer. It's good quality overall and not too expensive. 


However, you may have to take it apart and adjust it so it operates more smoothly. Still, it's a very serviceable tool despite needing to be filed down to remove sharp edges.

Honorable Mention
Wilton 3-Inch Cradle Style Angle Drill Press Vise

If you need a vise with an angled setup, consider the Wilton 3-Inch Cradle Style Angle Drill Press Vise. It can be used in a variety of applications, such as drilling, tapping, and reaming. It features a cradle design with 90-degree vertical indexing and 1-degree increments. The drill press vise has a side tommy bar that securely locks in place from zero to 90 degrees. The material and construction are top-notch. The angle adjustment is smooth and secure when locked.  Out of the box the vise is solid with no play in the moving parts. It is adjustable and has a small footprint, which many users prefer. It's great for projects such as small metal forging. There have been some complaints that it doesn't sit flat on a drill press table. Also, it won't fit with all drill presses.

Tips

  • Make sure both the vise and the drill press are in good working order before starting a project. Inspect for cracks or other anomalies, and make safety a priority.
  • When you drill a deep hole, remove the drill bit regularly to remove chips and keep the bit lubricated.
  • Wear safety glasses or other eye protection when using a drill press and vise.
  • Be particularly careful when drilling plexiglass and other types of plastic. Make sure you're using the proper drill before taking on this type of task.

FAQs

Q: What is a cross slide drill press vise?

This type of drill press vise is adjustable, and you can move the jaws into several positions. There are also two mounts.

Q: Can a drill press be used as a milling machine?

Yes, but it's not a good idea. Drill presses are designed for up/down loads, while a traditional drilling machine can tolerate sideways loads. It's vital to get the proper bit speed, and doing so can be dangerous.

Q: What should I look for when buying a drill press?

First, determine how much space you have. Floor-mounted presses take up more room than a benchtop drill press. Also, consider the drilling capacity and the types of projects you plan on tackling. Other features you should consider are motor power, drilling speeds, and price.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best drill press vise is the Hardware Factory Store 2 Way 4-Inch Drill Press. It features a durable cast-iron base and two swivel crank handles that allow you to adjust the vise without unbolting it. Plus, it's a very versatile machine. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the POWERTEC R71044 DuBois Aluminum Drill Press Vise.