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Best Drill Press 2020 – Top Picks, Guide and Reviews

When you need precise control and power — the drill press is the ultimate machine. These units include a drill bit that you can move in the vertical plane by a rotating spindle. Slowly lowering the tip into your material provides accurate and perfectly straight hole driving — with the ability to preset the depth. Due to their large size, these machines were previously the sole domain of the professional workshop. However, now that more compact versions have hit the market, hobbyists and DIYers can also find the best drill press for their needs.

Categories to Choose From

Benchtop

Benchtop

Ideal for the garage or home workshop — benchtop presses allow entry into the precise drilling world for hobbyists and DIYers. Although suitable for mounting on benches and tables, once in place, they need to remain in situ, due to their weight. Their downside is they cannot tackle thick material the way the floor press does.

floor

Floor

A real beast of a drill. Floor presses are the staple of engineering and machining workshops and — due to their size and cost — are typically only used by tradespeople. Immensely powerful and accurate — they’re incredibly heavy and are often professionally installed.

magnetic

Magnetic

Used for metalwork — these drills include a magnet (permanent or electro) that clamps to your work piece — increasing stability and therefore accuracy. This strong adherence means that you can drill overhead, horizontally, or vertically, with little fear of slippage. Naturally, they’re unsuitable for use on timber.

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 is a good candidate. It features a ¾-horsepower 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 3050 RPM. 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. Apart from the fact that it offers much more drilling power in comparison to handheld drillsit can also act as an oscillating spindle sander, with a built-in dust collection port. 

As you can see, when it comes to 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 just 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, you can also work with different materials.

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 17inches, to accommodate different workpiece heights.  

One of the things that separates this unit from most others is its sanding capability. You can switch from drilling to sanding in a matter of seconds. On top of that, it’s a tool-less operation, so you won’t need any extras if you want to make 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 on the market. It features an auto-tensioning system, which ensures easy and fast speed changes during operation. 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.

What makes this particular design stand out from the rest is the Twinlaser technology. 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 when it comes to versatility and diverse applications.

This model is a pretty reliable and trustworthy design. The unit is made of sturdy materials, able to cope with intense projects with ease. It has a few noteworthy accessories, for example, an LED work light, which is essential when working under dim conditions. 

Delta is a brand known for manufacturing user-friendly, heavy-duty tools and this particular one is a fine example. While it’s not something an average hobbyist needs, it’s definitely a great piece for avid professionals. 

Regarding the downsides, one complaint from some reviewers is about the quality of the laser, or rather, the lack of it. It’s certainly a useful feature, there’s no question about that, but it’s only useful when it actually works. A worrying number of people received units with a faulty laser. The customer support department also has numerous negative comments, due to their inability to solve simple issues.

As far as we are concerned, however, it’s a good product for people who know what they are doing. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, something smaller and more affordable would probably suffice, 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 on the market. It features an auto-tensioning system, which ensures easy and fast speed changes during operation. 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.

What makes this particular design stand out from the rest is the Twinlaser technology. 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 when it comes to versatility and diverse applications.

This model is a pretty reliable and trustworthy design. The unit is made of sturdy materials, able to cope with intense projects with ease. It has a few noteworthy accessories, for example, an LED work light, which is essential when working under dim conditions. 

Delta is a brand known for manufacturing user-friendly, heavy-duty tools and this particular one is a fine example. While it’s not something an average hobbyist needs, it’s definitely a great piece for avid professionals. 

Regarding the downsides, one complaint from some reviewers is about the quality of the laser, or rather, the lack of it. It’s certainly a useful feature, there’s no question about that, but it’s only useful when it actually works. A worrying number of people received units with a faulty laser. The customer support department also has numerous negative comments, due to their inability to solve simple issues.

As far as we are concerned, however, it’s a good product for people who know what they are doing. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, something smaller and more affordable would probably suffice, as this one is quite a hefty investment.

Dewalt DWE1622K


Our Rating: 4.0

For those on a tight budget, this 2-speed drill offers an opportunity to own a decent machine with a lot of useful features. Its 10-amp motor is powerful enough to drill through a variety of materials. With a weight of about 33 pounds, it’s 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 ease of use goes, it’s not the simplest on the market, but it’s also not the most complex.

The overload protection is a great addition too, as it prevents motor damage in case the machine is overworked. It also comes with a magnetic coolant bottle which can be placed on either side of the drill press.

There are few downsides, 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 inconsistencies. Needless to say, if you’re a professional, inconsistency is not going to be in 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 of the DeWalt DWE1622K are the build quality, versatility, and ease of use. The price is acceptable, although we would have expected 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 that offers favorable warranty conditions, as well as 24/7 customer support.

Finding the Best Drill Press – Buyer’s Guide 2020

In order to find a good deal, you need to familiarize yourself with the things to pay attention to when shopping. Most people want a guide which consequently leads to them paying less for a better product. Take a few minutes to check out our buyer’s guide, which is designed to help you find a favorable deal.

Different Types of Drill Press

Benchtop


Benchtop units are the most popular units for DIYers. They are easy to use, affordable, and 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 1/6 HP all the way up to 2 HP, depending on the size of the machine as well as the power source. However, most models are corded and utilize electricity as a power source. The variability of speed at which the drill is driven determines its versatility. In simpler terms, the more adjustable it is, the better the performance.

Benchtop drills are usually designed to cope with a wide range of materials, including metal sheets, wood, etc. Some models also feature a special chuck that allows you to mount a piece of sandpaper and use it as a sander. This 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. 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 than 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 once it’s in place. While it’s not something that’s recommended for absolute beginners, it’s usually a go-to machine 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 you could have with these machines is their price. While the hefty cost is easily explainable, it means they’re out of reach for many people, especially those on a tight budget. If that’s the case, we recommend you look into benchtop models rather than floor drills. However, if you’re buying for commercial or professional use, remember to do your research first — don’t just purchase the first one you find.

Magnetic


When it comes to magnetic drills, they are somewhat the best 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.

They certainly are not the most powerful type, but most models feature more than enough to tackle a variety of materials. As far as complexity goes, these drills are pretty simple to master. On the other hand, it is recommended that you get familiar with the basic concepts of these machines by following the user manual, particularly if using it for the first time.

If you’re on a limited budget, again you could run into some issues. These drills tend to have a high price tag. However, there is no real substitute when it comes to portability, so if you’re looking for something highly portable, a magnetic drill is a good choice if you can afford it. There are some reasonably priced models about, but make sure you compare — these often lack additional features and consistency.

Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Product

Before you opt to invest in a particular model, there are more things you should think about in order to find the best possible product. Check out some of these tips, you might find some helpful advice, especially if you’re a novice.

Type of Drill

The first thing you should look at is the sort of drill that would suit your requirements the most. If 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 for heavy-duty work, floor drills should be a viable option. However, keep in mind that these cost significantly more in comparison to tabletop models. If 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, rather than going with auxiliary options.

Portability

Benchtop models can be considered somewhat portable. Even though they aren’t meant 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, as they tend to weigh several hundred pounds. However, it is the best type to go for when 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 settle for something more affordable and portable, 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’re often costly, lack features. and most of them tend to struggle with power and consistency after a while.

The Price

It’s important to remember that price doesn’t always indicate quality. If something is particularly expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s proportionally better than more affordable units. In fact, the reason behind unreasonable prices is usually the brand. In most cases, you will pay more for a branded tool, but that also has its upsides. The most notable ones are favorable warranty conditions and a responsive customer support service. While it’s great to find a cheaper unit from a lesser-known brand, this could be reflected in the product quality and after-sales service.

Important Features to Look For

Let’s talk about some elements to compare between different products.

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 working with screws, variable speed settings allow you to fine tune the machine according to the task — different materials require different chuck speeds.

reverse icon

Reverse

If you need to remove a bit that is stuck, a reverse feature is a must. 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 a unit with 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 definitely avoid underpowered units. There isn’t really an ideal value, but we would recommend that you look for at least ¾ HP — anything below that would not be powerful enough.

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 task. Furthermore, you should look for pivoting tables, which allow you to drill at an angle.

led light icon

Additional Accessories

While you may think these additions are irrelevant most of the time, having a bunch of accessories can be very useful. For example, an LED light seems to be a minor extra, but it can make a big difference, especially if you’re used to working in dim conditions.

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, this could be a hindrance to the inexperienced user. Unless you’re looking for a specific feature, we suggest keeping things as simple as possible.

Drill Press Safety Precautions


Your personal safety should be the number one priority whenever you’re operating a drill press. While it doesn’t seem like a particularly dangerous tool, 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 — this will help you avoid tragic scenarios.

The Importance of the Start/Stop Button


This feature is often overlooked by many people and regarded as 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. Make sure the on/off button is easily accessible within seconds, this could prevent a disaster.

Wear Appropriate Safety Equipment


Safety equipment is essential, but a worrying number of people decide not to bother with it. First of all, you should wear safety goggles or safety glasses at all times to prevent debris flying into your eyes. While it may seem uncomfortable and tedious, this should be considered a mandatory requirement.

Furthermore, you should always wear ear protection, regardless of the level of noise in the room. Even though it 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 won’t be any in the future.

Loose clothes are also something to avoid at all costs, as they can potentially get tangled. Wearing short sleeves is recommended, for example, but if you’re not able to do this, for whatever reason, go with fitted clothing, particularly cuffs.

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 wearing safety goggles, debris can still be a hazard.

Clamps

Use Clamps and Fences


Not many models come with clamps and fences included. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t an important part of every drill press. Keeping the workpiece stationary is essential, both for precision and your protection.You don’t want your piece wobbling around while you’re drilling through it. Clamps and fences are relatively affordable and easy to install, so there’s no reason to avoid them.

Things to Avoid


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

  • Gloves, jewelry, bracelets, and watches shouldn’t be worn when 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 easy to get carried away and push 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. Let the drill work through a piece as naturally as possible to avoid issues.
  • Never try to stop the chuck with your hands, regardless of how slow it’s spinning. Some people do this instinctively as it’s one of the frequent practices with handheld drills. However, most people overlook the fact that handheld units have much less power and offer much more control via the trigger. When it comes to press drills, allow it to stop of its own accord.
  • Keep your focus levels as high as possible. It’s so easy to get distracted by what’s happening around you. Don’t take your eyes off of the unit, even when you’re finished drilling. Make sure it’s stopped completely and then turn it off. It may seem to be a burden to turn it on and off constantly between pieces, but this way you can be certain that it is in a safe position at all times.
  • If you own a keyed chuck, make sure you remove the key as soon as you finish changing the bit. If you forget to take the key out, the high RPM will turn it 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 worth doing thoroughly. 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, choosing the right machine is a breeze.

If you’re on a limited budget, make sure you don’t buy the first or cheapest machine you find. It’s better to sacrifice some 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 good quality and consistency. Alternatively, if money isn’t an issue, aim for a unit with useful additions, such as fences, pivoting tables, and clamps.

Are you still unsure about which model to choose? Then look at the sub-categories and read more about each type. You’ll also find the best drill press reviews with full page articles, covering the top-rated products on the market.

 

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