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.
This 4-inch drill press vise is constructed with a cast-iron base with 4-inch serrated steel jaws and cold rolled steel screws.
- Adjustable without needing to be unbolted
- Extremely versatile
- Holds materials well
- May require disassembly and cleaning before use
- May wobble slightly
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.
- Effectively grips wood, plastic, and metal
- Quick-release feature
- Easy to store
- Mounting hardware not included
- Not particularly solid or robust
This 3-inch cast iron drill press vise is designed for small stock and materials such as wood, metal, and plastic.
- Durable and stable during operation
- Universal installation
- Compatible with most drill presses
- Won't clamp material over 3 inches wide
- The handle is not particularly strong
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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.
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 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 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 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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.