A drill press is one of the best tools for repetitive, precise drilling needs that a manual drill simply won’t be able to match. If you’re looking to make your time in the workshop a bit cumbersome, a tad more precise and a whole lot more powerful, this is the tool for you. Today we’ll be exploring the best drill presses of 2021, their features, functions and how they can level up your drilling game. And to top it all off, we’re including a complete guide of what you should watch out for when you’re deciding on the right drill press for your needs. Let’s jump into it!
Whether your drill press will be suitable for the work you intend is essential. Before you get started and choose the power tool you think is best, you should keep in mind the following aspects.
What Material Will You Need to Drill?
It’s important to keep in mind that not all drill presses will be able to handle all types of workpieces. A five-speed drill press should be enough for you if most of your projects are wood-based but if you’re looking for something that can handle metal you might want to look for a drill press with more speed range. This is because, with drill presses, the harder a material is, the lower the rotations per minute need to be.
The Head Of The Drill Press
The head of the drill press is going to be crucial in determining what type of material you will be able to work with. The two essential measurements you need to keep in mind are the swing and the travel.
The swing is the distance between the chuck and the metal column supporting the drill. This will be the aspect that limits how far into the workpiece you can drill.
The travel is the distance that the spindle on which the drill is held can travel down. This is going to determine how deep your drill holes will be.
The speeds that the drill press will have determine what sort of capacity your power tool has as well. More professional models have between 12-16 speeds which makes them ideal for drilling in any kind of material you can think of. More lightweight bench models usually have 5 speeds. These types of drill presses have narrower scopes and they’re generally more suitable for woodworking than metal drilling.
The Power Of The Motor
Another important aspect is the power of the motor. A powerful motor will have high torque on lower speeds which are important when you’re working with harder materials. This is another crucial factor that will determine what your drill can do.
When it comes to drilling, vibrations are a no-no. If you’re looking for accuracy, the more vibrations a press is going to have the likelier you are to come out with an unsatisfactory result. Sturdier machines with more weight are less likely to be wobbly but even in those cases, the taper is the essential piece in reducing vibrations. The more massive the taper is going to be the more precise you will find your drilling. This is because the taper itself will absorb the vibration by sitting between the arbor and the spindle of the drill.
Straight Vs Angled Drilling
Some projects require straight drilling while others will need to have the workpiece angled. Make sure that the guide on your drill press is adjustable and allows for this sort of functionality before making a purchasing decision.
Last but not least, it’s important to determine whether all of your drillings will happen in your workshop, in a set corner, or whether you will need to be able to change the location of the drill. This is important because drill presses range in weight from about 30 to hundreds of pounds and if you’re going to need something that you can haul around, you might want to sacrifice power for portability, depending on the tasks you have in mind.
The Size Of The Drill
When it comes to drilling presses a bigger size usually means a better drill. This is because larger drills usually have more powerful motors and therefore higher applicability. But these models are also a lot harder to move around. They’re usually very heavy and also quite expensive. Not everyone needs a heavy-duty drill press.
Benchtop drills are usually the go-to models for lighter tasks. They’re more portable, easier to work with, and can satisfy a good variety of needs for DIY-ers or woodworkers without breaking the bank or your back.
The Chuck Capacity
The chuck capacity is going to determine what sort of bits your drill can handle and as a result, what kind of holes it can bore. The overall size of the tool is going to be a good indication for the size of the hole but check with the manufacturers to see the capacity for the model you’re interested in.
This budget drill press is the most affordable model that WEN has to offer but there is no compromise on quality on the part of this manufacturer. Primarily suited for woodworking, this drill press is going to make drilling into wood or low density metal an easy job. The five speed function allows you to easily adapt to the material and the operation is very user friendly.
Small and easy to assemble, this is a great option for anyone who isn’t swimming in space in their workshop. But despite the size, it retains power and stability with the 2.3 Amp motor and cast iron base.
5 speeds that allow you to work on a broad range of material
The Bilt Hard 8 inch 5-speed drill press is ideal for the DIY-er or hobbyists looking for a tool that will make drilling a dream. This tool is solidly made and it’s about as good as you will get for the price. It’s ideal for lighter projects as the speeds and motor won’t handle hard steel work, but it’s easily adjusted and ideal for a home workshop.
The Bilt Hard will definitely make your life easier if it’s replacing a hand drill, especially for woodworking. It provides the basic functions of a drill press without any bells and whistles and it comes with some useful accessories out of the box.
Variable speeds that allow for versatility of material
This benchtop drill press will be right at home in your workshop if you’re looking to supplement your existing floor press or simply want to get into some fun, small to medium projects. You won’t need too much know-how to set up and operate it, this tool comes with simple instructions and user friendly controls.
Solidly built to minimize vibration and provide additional accuracy, the G0925 remains lightweight enough to be easily carried around but sturdy enough that it will provide the stability you need. It’s quiet, reliable and overall the best portable option in its price range.
Lightweight and portable
⅓ horse power – powerful enough to drill through metal
Cast iron table for maximum precision
Unsuitable for big projects that require higher drilling power
The JET JWDP-12 is the most expensive drill press on our list but it’s also the most powerful. This drill press is exquisite and it’s suitable for projects big and small with it’s ½ horsepower motor that can bore a hole in anything you throw at it. With a maximum of 3-⅛” spindle travel you won’t have any depth issues.
Make no mistake, this model is heavy – especially when compared with the other budget friendly options on our list. But for what it can do, it’s surprisingly portable. Quiet and smooth, this is a high power tool that’s versatile and solid and it will handle your drilling needs for a good while.
Great bang for your buck, the SKIL 3320-01 has a lot of the features you will find in more expensive models, without breaking the bank. A great drill press that can offer accuracy without taking too much space and stability without adding on too much weight, this is the tool for you if you’re looking for a versatile drill press right at home in a small to medium workshop.
It’s easy to assemble, simple to operate and it can handle a variety of jobs both in a professional and amateur setting. Definitely a top contender!
Equipped with a laser guiding system for precision drilling
Easily adjustable 5 speed setting that can drill through metal
Comes with a three year warranty
The batteries for the laser guiding system will need replacing
Easy to set up and more powerful than some of its price range competitors, the Genesis drill press can be exactly what you need if you’re looking to increase the accuracy and power of your drilling. Level up from a manual drill with a drill press that’s heavy enough to reduce vibration, increase precision and stand the test of time, but light enough to move around at will.
For the best experience make sure to assemble carefully, tightening all of its nuts and bolts. Although this drill press doesn’t come with a laser, the powerful motor makes up for it. Simply designed but efficiently engineered, the Genesis brings more oomph than expected to the 5 speed drill model.
Although not a professional drill press, the speed range on this tool allows for lower RPMs making it a rarity in it’s range. The Central Machinery 10 Inch Bench Mount Drill Press offers plenty of space for your workpiece and higher control over your drilling speed which make it much more suitable for drilling in metal.
While it won’t satisfy the hard core precision drillers, it will provide amateurs and DIY-ers with a lot more range while maintaining stability and power.
Good size bench for the price
0.6 horsepower motor
Great choice for a hobbyist
Will not offer as much precision as more expensive brands
Drill Press FAQ
Q: What do you use a drill press for?
A: A drill press is used for boring holes into various materials ranging from wood to metal. The drill head is fixed on a rotating spindle that bores into the workpiece, which is usually fixed on a bench top or vise.
Q: Is a drill press worth it?
A: Drill presses will offer superior stability and precision when compared to a handheld drill. If your projects entail a lot of straight hole drilling, this tool will make your life much easier and the drilling process more effective and less time consuming.
Q: Can a drill press drill metal?
A: Yes, a drill press can be used to drill metal, although not all drill presses will be able to. In order to safely and efficiently drill into metal, a press will need to go into lower RPM numbers which rule out most hobbyist 5 speed drills - especially when it comes to drilling into hard metal.
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