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Best Drill Press Reviews – Product Comparison and Buyer’s Guide

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty tool that’s capable of coping with demanding projects, a drill press might be the thing for you. These machines are designed to tackle any project that requires extensive drilling without breaking a sweat. However, finding the right one isn’t as easy as it might seem.

Categories to Choose From

Benchtop

Benchtop

This particular type is more compact and less expensive in comparison to floor drill presses. Furthermore, benchtop presses are the most widespread amongst both professionals and DIY enthusiasts. The biggest advantage is their ease of use while the biggest drawback is the cutting restrictions related to the height of the machine. Have a look at our top benchtop models and its reviews.

floor

Floor

Floor-mounted units are known as the most powerful type of them all. They are usually utilized by avid professionals for the most challenging heavy-duty projects. Needless to say, these things weigh well over a hundred pounds meaning they don’t feature any portability whatsoever. On top of that, most of them are upgradeable and come at a hefty price.

magnetic

Magnetic

Magnetic presses are known for their portability and efficiency. The vast majority of models feature a magnetic base which allows the user to mount the unit on any metal surface. They can withstand intense projects and are relatively lightweight. As far as the price goes, they are somewhat affordable, although there are some models that have a pretty hefty price due to their features.

Top-Rated Drill Press from Each Category


Shop Fox W1668 – Editor’s Choice


Our Rating: 4.9

If you’re looking for a high-quality tabletop drill, this particular one might be a good candidate. It features a 3/4HP motor which offers more than enough power to drill through anything you put in front of it. The drill chuck is 5/8-inch and spindle speeds vary from 250 up to 3050RPM. As you can tell, it’s quite a versatile machine suitable for a vast array of different applications.

One of the best things about this particular model is the fact that it packs two great tools into one footprint. Besides the fact that it offers much more drilling power in comparison to handheld drills, it can also act as an oscillating spindle sander with a built-in dust collection port. As one can tell, when it comes to ultimate versatility, the W1668 is a pretty safe bet. On top of that, switching between the machine’s functions is a piece of cake and it takes only a couple of seconds to do. The motor features an aluminum shroud which significantly helps when it comes to heat dissipation and overall motor life. Thanks to the wide range of spindle speeds, one can tackle different materials without too much hassle.

The workspace is relatively spacious, but it could have been a bit bigger. However, the worktable is able to tilt both right and left at 90 degrees. Therefore, if you’re planning on drilling or sanding at an angle, this is the right model for you. The table’s height is also adjustable and can be set up to about seventeen inches to accommodate for different workpiece heights.  The thing that separates this unit from most others is its sanding capability. In other words, you can switch tasks from drilling to sanding in a matter of seconds. On top of that, it’s a tool-less operation meaning you won’t need any tools in order to make some adjustments.

The price is acceptable, but it’s definitely not a cheap piece of equipment by any means. However, the premium price is justified by the amount of features as well as the quality of this particular tool.

Delta 18-900L


Our Rating: 4.2

When it comes to versatile floor drills, the Delta 18-900L is among the best ones available on the market. It features an auto-tensioning system which ensures easy and fast speed changes during operation. On top of that, the 6-inch quill stroke allows for deeper drilling applications and great capacity. Repetitive drilling is quick and easy thanks to the micro-adjustable depth stops and scale.

As far as the design goes, it’s pretty reliable and trustworthy. The unit is made of sturdy materials that are able to cope with intense projects without any issues. What makes this particular design stand out from the rest is the Twinlaser technology. In other words, the unit features a laser which projects a red crosshair onto the worktable in order to help the user to drill through the material with high precision. The table is also able to tilt at an angle which is a great feature and helps a lot when it comes to versatility and diverse applications.

As far as the additional accessories go, there are a few noteworthy ones. For example, the LED work light might not seem as impressive, but you can rest assured that it helps a lot, especially while working under dim conditions. Delta is a brand known for manufacturing user-friendly heavy-duty tools and this particular one isn’t an exception. While it’s not something an average hobbyist would need, it’s definitely a great piece for avid professionals. When it comes to disadvantages, there are some you should pay attention to. The first thing many people complained about is the quality of the laser, or rather, the lack of thereof. It’s certainly a useful feature, there is no question about that, but it’s only useful when it actually works. A worrying number of people got their units with a flawed laser. The customer support department has got numerous negative feedbacks due to their inability to solve simple issues.

As far as we are concerned, it’s a good product for people who know what they are doing. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, try finding something more affordable that has similar features as this one is quite a hefty investment.

Delta 18-900L


Our Rating: 4.2

When it comes to versatile floor drills, the Delta 18-900L is among the best ones available on the market. It features an auto-tensioning system which ensures easy and fast speed changes during operation. On top of that, the 6-inch quill stroke allows for deeper drilling applications and great capacity. Repetitive drilling is quick and easy thanks to the micro-adjustable depth stops and scale.

As far as the design goes, it’s pretty reliable and trustworthy. The unit is made of sturdy materials that are able to cope with intense projects without any issues. What makes this particular design stand out from the rest is the Twinlaser technology. In other words, the unit features a laser which projects a red crosshair onto the worktable in order to help the user to drill through the material with high precision. The table is also able to tilt at an angle which is a great feature and helps a lot when it comes to versatility and diverse applications.

As far as the additional accessories go, there are a few noteworthy ones. For example, the LED work light might not seem as impressive, but you can rest assured that it helps a lot, especially while working under dim conditions. Delta is a brand known for manufacturing user-friendly heavy-duty tools and this particular one isn’t an exception. While it’s not something an average hobbyist would need, it’s definitely a great piece for avid professionals. When it comes to disadvantages, there are some you should pay attention to. The first thing many people complained about is the quality of the laser, or rather, the lack of thereof. It’s certainly a useful feature, there is no question about that, but it’s only useful when it actually works. A worrying number of people got their units with a flawed laser. The customer support department has got numerous negative feedbacks due to their inability to solve simple issues.

As far as we are concerned, it’s a good product for people who know what they are doing. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, try finding something more affordable that has similar features as this one is quite a hefty investment.

Dewalt DWE1622K


Our Rating: 4.0

This 2-speed drill offers a perfect opportunity for people who are on a tight budget to get a decent machine with a lot of useful features. Its 10-amp motor is powerful enough to let you drill through a vast variety of materials. This tool weighs about 33 pounds which is not much, but it’s definitely not a particularly lightweight model.

The design is great which is to be expected from Dewalt. The unit is reliable and sturdy enough to withstand intense projects and demanding applications. As far as the ease of use goes, it’s not the easiest to get the hang of on the market, but it’s also not the most complex one. It does require some previous experience, but even people who never had the opportunity to utilize one of these had no issues to figure it out. The overload protection is a great addition as well as it prevents motor damage in case it gets overwhelmed. It also comes with a magnetic coolant bottle which can be placed on either side of the tool.

When it comes to downsides, there aren’t many, but some things should be pointed out nonetheless. The rails that are responsible for the drill head are somewhat poorly designed. It’s not a massive burden by any means, but it can cause some wobbling and inconsistencies. Needless to say, if you’re an avid professional, inconsistency is probably not a part of your vocabulary. Also, the quick-change chuck system is far from being impressive. Because there are no screws to retain the Weldon Shank cutters, you may experience some wobbling.

The most notable advantages are the build quality, versatility, and ease of use. If you’re looking for any of these three elements, the DWE1622K will meet your expectations. The price is acceptable, although we would have liked it to be a bit lower. It’s certainly not a cheap piece of equipment, but it’s a worthy investment as long as you use its potential. Dewalt is an established brand and they offer favorable warranty conditions as well as 24/7 customer support.

Finding the Best Drill Press – Buyer’s Guide

In order to find a good deal, one must get familiar with the things they should be paying attention to when shopping. Most people don’t want to read through a guide which consequently leads to overpaying. Take a moment and check our buyer’s guide as it is designed to help you find a favorable deal.

Different Types of Drill Press

Benchtop


Benchtop units are the most wide-spread ones of them all. They are easy to use, affordable, and most importantly – somewhat portable, especially in comparison to floor drills.

A tabletop press provides more power and accuracy than you can ever get by drilling with handheld units. On top of that, most modern models come with a pivoting worktable which allows you to cut at a specific angle.

The power can vary from 1/6HP all the way up to 2HP, depending on the size of the machine as well as power source. However, most models are corded and they utilize electricity as a power source. The variability of speed at which the drill is driven determines its versatility. In simpler terms, the more adjustability, the better the performance.

Benchtop drills are usually designed to cope with a wide range of materials including metal sheets, wood, and etcetera. On top of that, some models feature a special chuck that allows you to mount a piece of sandpaper and use it as a sander. It is a somewhat premium feature, but it’s definitely worth considering. If you’re looking for consistency and precision, a tabletop drill might be a good starting point.

Floor


The best choice for a heavy-duty project is a floor drill; there is no question about that. These units are designed to cope with a wide range of materials and most of them can tackle a demanding project without breaking a sweat.

Floor drills are significantly heavier in comparison to other types, which has an effect on their overall portability. In fact, most models weigh well over 250 pounds meaning you shouldn’t plan on moving your new tool much but rather leave it stationary. While it’s not something that’s recommended for absolute beginners, it’s usually a go-to tool for devoted professionals. It’s not the easiest thing to operate, but it’s not hard to get the hang of its concepts.

The only issue one might have with these machines is their price. While the hefty price is easily explainable, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for most people, especially the ones on a tight budget. If you’re struggling with your finances, we would recommend you look into benchtop models before looking for floor drills. However, if you’re in a must-have situation, don’t hesitate to conduct research and find an affordable unit instead of purchasing the first thing you stumble upon as it’s probably unreasonably expensive.

Magnetic


When it comes to magnetic drills, they pack a bit of both worlds. One of the biggest advantages is their portability. In fact, you can mount a magnetic drill on any surface as long as it’s metal.

When it comes to power, they certainly are not the most powerful type, but most models feature more than enough power to tackle a vast variety of materials. As far as the complexity goes, they are pretty simple to master. All you have to do is follow the guidelines from the user manual and there shouldn’t be any issues. On the other hand, it is recommended that you get familiar with the basic concepts of these machines in case it’s the first time for you.

If you’re on a limited budget, you could run into some issues. These drills tend to have a hefty price, but there is a good reason behind that. However, there is no real substitution when it comes to portability, so if you’re looking for something highly portable, a magnetic drill might be a good choice. There are some affordable models out there, but most of them lack additional features and consistency.

Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Product

Before you opt to invest in a particular model, there are some things you should think about in order to find the best possible deal for yourself. Take a moment and check out some of these tips, you might find some helpful advice, especially if you’re a novice.

The Type of Drill

The first thing you should think about is which type would suit your requirements the most. In case you’re looking for something affordable but able to cope with various tasks on a daily basis, don’t hesitate to look into benchtop models.

On the other hand, if you need something with a lot of power and consistency, floor drills should be a good start. However, keep in mind that floor drills cost significantly more in comparison to tabletop models. In case you’re looking for something portable and yet sufficiently powerful to tackle a demanding project, magnetic units are your safest bet.

Naturally, there are numerous other factors that should determine which type would suit you the best. One of the most impactful elements in this equation is your budget. If you’re on a limited budget, make sure to look for essential features in a unit instead of going with auxiliary options.

Portability

Tabletop models can be considered somewhat portable. Even though they aren’t foreseen to be mobile, most units weigh about 30-40 pounds which isn’t particularly heavy. Therefore, you can count on some portability, but don’t make it a priority if you’re planning on investing in benchtop units.

Floor drills are definitely not something you should plan on moving often as they tend to weigh several hundred pounds. However, it is the best type to go with in case you’re dealing with heavy-duty tasks on a regular basis. More often than not, people who opt for floor drills are experienced professionals. Hobbyists and enthusiasts usually go with something more affordable like a benchtop unit.

Magnetic drills are known as the most portable ones within these categories. As we mentioned, they take the good and the bad from both worlds. While they are relatively lightweight and portable, they do lack some features and most of them tend to struggle with power and consistency after a while.

The Price

It’s important to remember that the price doesn’t indicate quality. In other words, if something is particularly expensive, that doesn’t mean it’s proportionally better than more affordable units. In fact, the reason behind unreasonable prices is usually the brand. In simpler terms, you will pay more for a branded tool, but that also has some upsides. The most notable ones are favorable warranty conditions and responsive customer support department. While it’s great to find a cheaper unit, cheaper brands struggle with their customer support as well as warranty regulations.

Important Features to Look For

In order to find the best product, here are some things you should consider first.
Speed Adjustment Button Icon

Speed Settings

This feature is of utmost importance if you’re looking to use your machine for driving screws. On top of that, even if you’re not planning on messing with screws, variable speed settings allow you to fine-tune the machine according to the application you want to execute as different materials require different chuck speeds.

reverse icon

Reverse

In case you want to remove bits that get stuck, a reverse feature is a must-have. A keyless chuck features a reverse option by default as there is no other way of removing bits. On the other hand, if your machine features a keyed chuck, it’s strongly recommended that you aim for units that have a reverse feature.

Horsepower Icon

Horsepower

More horsepower doesn’t necessarily mean better performance. However, you should pay attention to the overall power output and avoid underpowered units. When it comes to ideal values, there aren’t any, but we would recommend that you look for at least 3/4HP as it’s on the border of being underpowered.

Workspace Icon

Workspace

Most modern drill presses come with a spacious worktable. There are some models out there that feature a relatively small work surface which can have quite a negative impact on your overall experience with the unit. Furthermore, you should look for pivoting tables as they allow you to drill at an angle.

led light icon

Additional Accessories

While these things seem relatively irrelevant most of the time, having a bunch of additional accessories isn’t a bad thing. For example, an LED light is a small addition, but it makes a massive difference, especially if you’re used to working in dim conditions.Some models come with a set of clamps that allow you to fixate the piece you’re working on to increase precision.

ease of use icon

Ease of Use

Whether you’re a professional or an enthusiast, you should look for simplicity over complexity. Even though complex models perform slightly better as they offer more variability and features, it’s not a game-breaking fact. Unless you’re looking for a specific thing, we would recommend keeping things as simple as possible.

Drill Press Safety Precautions


Your safety is the number-one thing you should think about whenever you’re operating a drill press. While it doesn’t seem like a particularly dangerous tool, you can rest assured that it can cause some serious injuries if misused. If you’re an absolute beginner, make sure to read the user manual and get familiar with the potential dangers as it will help you avoid bad scenarios.

The Importance of the Start/Stop Button


This feature is often overlooked by many people and is regarded as relatively irrelevant. However, it’s of utmost importance for the operator to have easy access to the start/stop button in order to react to sudden changes accordingly. In simpler words, make sure you find a model that features an on/off button that’s easily accessible within seconds because that can sometimes prevent a massive disaster.

Wear Appropriate Safety Equipment


Safety equipment is essential, but a worrying number of people decide not to wear it. First of all, you should wear safety goggles at all times to prevent debris flying into your eyes. While it may seem uncomfortable and borderline tedious, it’s a mandatory thing. Furthermore, one should always wear ear protection, regardless of the level of noise in the room. Even though a model might not seem as loud to you, high levels of noise have a negative effect over time. Therefore, even if you’re not feeling the consequences at that particular moment, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

Loose clothes are also something you should avoid at all costs as they can potentially get tangled. Wearing short sleeves is recommended, but if you’re not able to for whatever reason, go with slim-fit clothes.

Safety Goggles

Keep the Surface Clean Of Debris


You can use an industrial vac or anything that allows you to eliminate sawdust and debris from the machine as well as from the worktable. Even if you’re using safety goggles, debris can still jeopardize your safety.

Clamps

Use Clamps and Fences


Not many models come with clamps and fences included. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not an important part of every drill press. Keeping the workpiece stationary is essential both for precision and safety. In other words, you don’t want your piece wobbling around while you’re drilling through it. On top of that, both clamps and fences are relatively affordable and easy to install.

Things to Avoid


It’s important that you avoid some of these common mistakes even though they don’t seem like an immediate threat to your safety.

  • Do not wear gloves, jewelry, bracelets, and watches while using a drill press. It’s very easy to overlook this potential threat and more often than not it’s the main cause of injuries.
  • Do not force the drill with extra pressure. It’s very easy to get carried and force the drill beyond its capabilities. While it’s a matter of common sense, many people think that more pressure equals better performance which is certainly not the case. In fact, you’ll do much more harm than good with excess pressure. Let the drill work through a piece as naturally as possible and there shouldn’t be any issues.
  • Do not stop the chuck with your hands, regardless of how fast it’s spinning. Quite a lot of people do this instinctively as it’s one of the frequent practices with handheld drills. However, most people oversee the fact that handheld units have much less power and offer much more control via the trigger. When it comes to press drills, it’s best if you let it stop by itself.
  • Keep your focus levels as high as possible. It’s very easy to get distracted by things around you. Do not take your eyes off of the unit, even when you’re done with drilling. Make sure it stops by its own, and turn it off as soon as you finish the piece. It may be a bit of a burden to turn it on and off constantly between pieces, but it’s the only way you can be certain that it is in a safe position at all times.
  • In case you own a keyed chuck, make sure you remove the key as soon as you finish changing the bit. You would be surprised by the number of people who forget to take the key out. Needless to say, high RPM will turn the key into a dangerous projectile.

The conclusion


As you can see, finding the right unit for yourself isn’t an easy task, but it’s definitely doable. It’s important that you keep some things in mind such as the price, quality, and type you want to invest in. Once you sort these elements out, getting the best out of it is a breeze.

In case you’re on a limited budget, make sure not to buy the first cheap thing you stumble upon. It’s always better to sacrifice some of the additional features for better quality. In other words, instead of getting a cheap unit with tons of auxiliary features, aim for the basic ones that offer quality and consistency. On the other hand, if money isn’t a concern, aim for the units with useful additions such as fences, pivoting tables, and clamps.

In case you aren’t sure about which model to choose, go ahead and read some of our full reviews. We have covered some of the top-rated ones on the market as well as their advantages and shortcomings.

 

Drill Press Categories

Benchtop Drill Press category image
Floor Drill Press category image
Magnetic Drill Press category image