If you don’t have time to browse through all the reviews and excellent buying advice prepared by our researchers, then this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best drill presses. In order to determine the best products, we took into consideration user feedback, expert reviews, reliability surveys and we discovered that the SKIL 3320-01 is the best around because of its outstanding features. Its special LaserX2 2 Beam Laser System guarantees great precision when working with this reliable tool, so you can see about your DIY projects without worrying that your work may end up looking amateurish or you may not be able to finish what you had in mind. Ideal for angled drilling, this specific drill press comes with the ability to tilt right and left to a maximum of 45 degrees, offering you great versatility when working with a drill press. What may even be more important for a hobbyist, the drill press can make holes through both wood and metal, and it can perforate other materials, too. If the SKIL 3320-01 is temporarily unavailable, you should go for the WEN 4208 as it is almost just as good.
What is the best drill press in 2016?
Having a great drill press in your work shop lets you accomplish a wide range of applications using a variety of materials. A drill press is not a simple item that you can simply pick out from a shelf at the store without thinking about how useful the machine will be to you. In order to purchase the best drill press, you will have to get as much information as you can from buying guides and product reviews. It is important to know the essentials of this kind of equipment, and the general functionality of the machine to the everyday DIY individual or professional user.
The market is filled with various brands and models of drill presses. You can buy a unit from a variety of local and online stores, which have a large selection of drill presses you can choose from to suit your needs.
The product above is SKIL 3320-01
What does a drill press do?
With a good quality drill press, you are able to drill a single hole in an accurate manner. When you do plenty of woodworking, you’ll need precisely drilled holes that are evenly spaced and of the exact depths, angles and widths that your project requires. The drill press provides the speed you want while avoiding mistakes. The powerful motor of the drill press saves on operator effort, unlike when working with a handheld drill.
The drill press enables you to use really large drill bits to bore wider holes. The best part is that you can do this repeatedly and with the exact same precision and size every time. The machine lets you do a variety of tasks safely and securely including: angled drilling; working on elaborately shaped work pieces such as furniture legs; working with a spindle sander for sanding; boring squares and rectangles into a piece of wood; drilling holes into metal for incorporation into wood pieces.
The best drill presses - comparison table
|Models we recommend||Our Rating||Speed configuration||Best features||Price||Get it from:|
|SKIL 3320-01||A+||5 adjustable speeds|
|Adjustable depth stop;|
2 beam laser for hole
0-45 degree tilting
|WEN 4208||A||5 adjustable speeds|
|Locking linear depth stop; |
0-45 degree tilting
cast iron worktable
|Delta 18-900L Laser||A+||16 adjustable speeds|
6-inch quill stroke;
belt drive system;
|JET 354165 JDP-15M||B+||16 adjustable speeds|
|Rotating worktable that |
tilts up to 45 degrees;
spindle return spring
|Jet JDP-12||B||Adjustable speeds|
|3-1/8-inch spindle travel;|
LED work light;
Digital readout for
|Shop Fox W1668 Bench-Top||C+||12 adjustable speeds|
|3-1/4-Inch spindle travel;|
0-90 degree tilting
Includes 2 sanding drums
What are the best drill presses? How to choose one?
Because of the large number of drill presses on the market, you may find it difficult to select just one. Narrowing the choices to only one without knowing what makes one model different from another is foolish. To make the search easier and more sensible, you’ll need to consider what aspects to look for that distinguishes the best from the rest.
When buying a drill press, check for the size, capacity or horsepower of the unit. Of course, when checking for those elements, you need to establish what the machine will primarily be used for.
A variable speed drill press offers greater versatility. So do a good number of attachments, accessories and features, which expand the range of usability for the device. You should also get the type or model you believe will be most optimal for your needs.
Those four characteristics are explained in detail in a related article, so check that one out as well.
Types of drill presses
A drill press or drilling machine is commonly found in many modern machine shops. It is a device equipped with a driving tool or cutting tool attachment, typically a driver or drill bit. The power tool is highly useful for cutting holes into a variety of stock or materials. It can also be employed to fasten various workpieces together through fasteners.
Aside from power and capacity, drill presses are categorized under several basic types.
Classified as a light-duty drill press, the upright sensitive drilling machine is typically equipped with a belt-driven spindle head. It is generally employed for doing work of moderate-to-light duty levels. The name of this type of drill press is derived from its capability to be hand fed. The tool is hand fed into the stock to empower the user to get a literal ‘feel’ of the tool’s cutting mechanism. Available in workbench and floor forms, the upright drill press, and all other drill machines, should have a solid build and a stable base to ensure safety for the operator.
An upright drill press is designed for heavy-duty tasks. It typically features a gear-driven spindle head. The upright drill press is utilized for boring large holes on projects with generally larger or heavier elements. This type of drilling machine also enables the user to manually feed or even do automatic feeding of the tool right through the stock. The machine’s power feed system propels the tool deep into the stock. Some upright drill press models are equipped with table height adjustment mechanisms to facilitate tool feeding.
Giving the user the ability to cut angular or intersecting holes in one easy setup, the radial arm drill press can be outfitted with a trunnion table or tilting table, which features a shaft that supports and positions a tilting plate. The radial arm drilling machine can be depended on for heavy-duty hole cutting tasks and is referred to simply as a radial drill press. This type of machine enables effortless positioning of the spindle right over the stock instead of simply raising the workpiece towards the tool. The unique design of this type of drill press provides greater versatility, since it allows the user to work on large parts that can be impossible to position optimally.
A radial drill press delivers power feed on the spindle, along with the automatic mechanism for lowering or raising the radial arm. Mounted on the radial arm is the wheel head, which can be adjusted along the arm to ensure ease of use and greater versatility.
There are also special purpose drilling machines used for a variety of applications. Some models are able to drill 20 holes simultaneously or slice holes as narrow as 0.01 inch.
One example of the special drill machine is the gang style drill press, which features a number of work heads mounted over just one worktable. This model is highly useful when you have to carry out successive hole drilling. The first head may be employed for spot drilling, then the second for tap drilling, then the third used in conjunction with the tapping head to tap a hole. The fourth head can be used to slice out a symmetrical sloping edge or for chamfering.
A multiple spindle drill machine, also called a multi-spindle drill press, features many spindles mounted on a single or main work head. The spindles are fed simultaneously into the workpiece. The multi-spindle drill press makes boring of many closely-spaced holes on a large number of parts much easier.
An exceptionally accurate machine that offers high spindle speed is the micro drill press. Capable of boring holes into very small parts, this type of machine has pretty small dimensions, as well. Most are designed as benchtop machines equipped with chucks that can hold very small tools for drilling.
Several drilling heads on the turret can be found on a turret drill machine, with each turret head capable of being equipped with a variety of cutting tools. The user can quickly position the tool into position thanks to the turret. Modern turret drilling machines are computer-programmable to ensure accurate and quick table positioning.
What is a good price for a drill press?
You will need to establish a budget when buying a drill press. This helps you narrow down the choices even more. It is best to have a good idea of the current market price for the type of machine you plan to get. This helps you set your budget to a reasonable level. Setting a budget that’s too low may mean not getting all the features you want, plus the build and quality you expect from this type of tool. Setting your ceiling too high may only cause you to overspend and not fully optimize the usability of the product you spend on.
Set your budget to a reasonable level. Watch out for product promos, too.
A magnetic/stationary drill press goes for $80 to $130. A laser drill press sells for around $1000. Most benchtop models can be bought from $400 to $500. You can purchase a radial drill press for around $400.
Usual Issues with Drill Presses
One of the most common complaints is that regular bits skate around and enter the work piece in the wrong place. A related issue is after lining up the brad point with a mark on the work piece and switching on the machine, the stock shifts slightly before drilling commences. The first issue comes from not using a good quality brad point, while the second arises from the vibration of the motor. Using the drill press vise, you can clamp your work piece firmly into position, holding the material at a specific angle relative to the spindle set.
Generally, good quality drill bits provide a clean entry into the wood but with some nasty torn fibres on the exit side, which becomes more pronounced when using veneered stock. Using a backer board with consistent thickness to support the hole’s bottom can help.
Another common problem is burning of the wood, which is caused by running the drill too fast and that results in a blackened hole. Try to run your machine at a slower speed as the drill bit diameter increases. Use full speed (usually 3,000 RPM) only when running the smallest drill bits.
Top products that we recommend
Among the many models on the market, the SKIL 3320-01 120-Volt 10-Inch Drill Press has got to be one of the best there is thanks to the onboard LaserX2 2 Beam Laser System. For the weekend hobbyist who demands greater reliable precision than what a handheld drill can offer, the SKIL 10-inch Drill Press with Laser proves to be a solid choice. The specially engineered X2 2-Beam Laser allows precise alignment of the hole. The integrated Depth Adjustment System enables you to drill down to a consistent level every time.
The machine’s Zero to Forty-Five Degree Left and Right Tilting Work Surface has the capability to bevel right and left from 0 to 45 degrees, giving you precise angled drilling. Powered by an efficient 3.2-amp motor, this drill press comes with five speeds from 570 to 3,050 RPM to cut holes cleanly through various types of material such as wood, metal and plenty more. The machine has a ½-inch keyed chuck that accepts larger diameter bits for various cutting and woodworking applications.
The three-year warranty is a huge bonus, as it ensures that you get a drill press you can count on for plenty of larger-scale building and furniture projects.
Sold at an amazingly low price yet not running short on genuine value for money, the WEN 4208 Drill Press is a great addition to your workshop. Providing 5 speeds, the machine lets you choose from 620, 1100, 1720, 2340 and 3100 RPM to work capably with various materials and thicknesses. With a spindle travel of 2 inches and an easy-to-read locking linear depth stop, the drill press provides you accurate and repeatable drilling operations.
The tough 1/3HP induction motor provides adequate torque and power. It features ball bearings that ensure an extended life, and all comes together with balanced and smooth performance even at high speeds. The cast iron worktable comes with height adjustability and tilts up to 45 degrees right and left to enable you to perform angled drilling.
Small yet powerful enough to bore through metal, wood, plastics and plenty of other materials, the WEN 4208 Drill Press offers a maximum drill capacity of ½ inch. It’s the perfect size for a workshop and is designed to be portable for hassle-free transport from site to site. The rigid frame ensures dependable durability. The predrilled holes on the base enable mounting to a work stand or bench. Effective clamping of the stock is assured by the mounting clamps and vises on the slotted table.
Backed by a five-year warranty, the Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press is made rugged and versatile enough for professional use. It is outfitted with a heavy-duty ¾ horsepower induction motor that provides powerful performance. For problem-free speed changes, you can enjoy using the machine’s Auto-Tensioning Belt Drive System. Engineered for repeatable accuracy and precision, the Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press offers maximum transmission efficiency so you can get the job done right the first time.
The onboard full 6-inch quill stroke allows you to perform deeper drilling applications and to manage the machine’s best-in-class capacity. The drill press comes with 16 speeds for dependable drilling performance using a variety of materials.
The micro-adjustable depth stops and independent depth scale allow the operator to zero the scale and set up for repetitive drilling quickly and easily. With its rack-and-pinion height adjustment, the oversized woodworker’s table on the machine has to be one of the best drill press tables you can find on this type of equipment. The worker’s table carries an exclusive design and tilts from 0 to 48 degrees forward and 0 to 90 degrees left and right. Easy angle adjustments are provided by the adjustable locking levers. The T-slots enable clamping and the replaceable and removable center insert allows through-the-table drilling.
The JET 354165 JDP-15M is a genuine benchtop drill press that saves on workshop space. This unit is incredibly easy to use and offers the best in versatility. It provides 16 speeds from 200 to 3,630 RPM, which enables you to choose the speed that fits the job. At the heart of the JET 354165 JDP-15M is the 3/4HP, 115/230-volt motor that delivers reliable power coupled with variable speed. The 15-inch swing is supplemented by the adjustable tension spindle return that enables repeatable drilling to the same depth every time.
The rotating table comes with a full 10- by 13-inch work surface and a crank-operated height adjustment mechanism, enabling it to tilt up to 45 degrees. Aside from that, the table also comes with quick-release capability and X-pattern mounting grooves for easy stock positioning across the surface. You can mount a fence in the rear mounting grooves thanks to the reversibility of the table. To enable easy and quick access to the motor mount, you can use the hinged metal belt and pulley cover. Those components make spindle speed changes rapid and effortless.
The depth stop saves on time by displaying parameters both in millimeters and inches. The quick-set bolt ensures accurate and quick adjustments, as well.
Thanks to its compact bench top design, the Jet JDP-12 12-Inch Drill Press enables hassle-free transport from site to site and from workshop to anywhere you want to do your woodworking tasks. The heavy-duty 5/8 inch chuck handles large drill bits so you can use it on thicker materials to drill deeper and larger holes. For optimal drilling and quick checks while working, the digital readout displays the spindle speed. This variable speed drill press has more than enough power to tackle big tasks.
The Jet JDP-12 12-Inch Drill Press is outfitted with an LED work light that increases the visibility on your work piece. This is complemented by the clear linear scale with depth stop, which delivers an accurate and consistent drilling depth every time. The drill press has the power to cut any hole thanks to its 1/3 HP 110-volt motor. You can choose between 530 and 3,100 rpm to go with the demands of your drilling task. The 3.15 vertical stroke and 3 1/8-inch vertical spindle travel deliver maximum drilling depth.
Onboard the Jet JDP-12 12-Inch Drill Press is the revolutionary X-shaped Xacta laser that ensures drilling accuracy. The 360-degree head swivel plus 5/8-inch drilling capacity delivers the capability you want in a versatile drill press.
Outfitted with a strong ¾ HP motor, the Shop Fox W1668 Bench-Top Drill Press/Spindle Sander offers spindle speeds from 250 to 3,050, which enable it to effortlessly handle a variety of drilling and cutting tasks on a wide range of materials. Thanks to the machine’s capability to double as an oscillating sander, the Shop Fox W1668 can also be used for efficient contour sanding. This is a truly effective tool due to it having more capacity, more power and more speeds.
The Shop Fox W1668 is built with a table that has a clearance hole, which proves valuable while sanding. The clever design features a dust collection port that ensures a less messy sanding job. The ¾-inch drilling capacity is even capable of handling steel, giving you reliable versatility and functionality. The tilting table bevels up to 90 degrees left and right for angled drilling jobs. The table height and tilt can accommodate any work piece height or deliver special drilling or sanding angles. You can even choose to move the table out of the way and use the base of the drill press as a table for sanding or drilling.
The oscillating capability reduces buildup of heat and leaves a fibre-free, smooth finish when sanding.
WEN has been in the business of developing and marketing affordable power tools of high quality for decades. The company was founded by Nick Anton in 1951. It initially was reputed for merging electricity and tools together, creating genuine power tools. WEN’s talented research and development division has helped craft numerous common everyday tools including the electric jigsaw, chainsaw, electric soldering gun, electric engraver, wet wheel and knife sharpeners. The brand has specialized in random orbital technology, demonstrated in many of today’s buffers, waxers and polishers to give the modern car that spic-and-span showroom quality.
WEN has since branched out to encompass more types of tools in its product lines, including drill presses, bench grinders, tool storage, miter saws, hand tools, nailers and much more.
SKIL has faithfully upheld innovation as part of its business culture. From the time the company came out in 1924 with the Model E, which was the first portable electric hand saw, SKIL has been credited with its own series of firsts in the power tool industry. It introduced the first diecast aluminum motor housing in 1928. In 1949, the company came out with the Varied Torque Clutch, which reduced saw overload and kickback. SKIL introduced the first three-way action Roto-Hammer in 1960. Fast forward to 1976, when the company came out with the first self-contained consumer cordless drill. The company launched the first 12V drill/driver in 1987 and in 2000, produced the palm-size cordless lithium-ion battery powered screwdriver.
Known for a wide range of stationary woodworking tools such as band saws, radial arm saws, electric table saws, scroll saws, planers, joiners, drilling machines and more, DELTA Machinery has been creating innovative power solutions for the needs of professional and advanced woodworking segments of the market. In 1999, the firm merged operations with its sister company PORTER-CABLE, which had been creating portable cordless and electric power tools, compressors, generators, air nailers and pressure washers. DELTA and PORTER-CABLE were acquired by Black & Decker from Pentair, Inc. in 2005.
DELTA was eventually purchased by Taiwan-based Chang Type Industrial Co. Ltd on February 4, 2011, resulting in the creation of a new, independent firm, DELTA Power Equipment Corporation (DELTA PEC). The DELTA brand continues in its pursuit of innovation and quality while being committed to being people-oriented.
JET was born in 1958 through the Founder, Leslie P. Sussman, taking the first Boeing Jet Airplane trip from Seattle, Washington to Japan. The company started as a small dealer of manual trolleys and chain hoists. A single hardware store in Tacoma, WA sold the products. JET launched an entire line of material handling products and industrial air tools at the beginning of the 70’s. Metalworking products had become JET’s core business line by the early 80’s. Five years later, the brand introduced the largest range of product categories in woodworking under its name. The brand employs an elite team of US-based engineers whose work is supplemented by a world-class overseas supply chain to deliver products of impressive quality.
Standing firmly behind its products, IRWIN Tools has been engaged in the promotion and distribution of professional-level hand tools and power tool accessories all over the world. The brand features an impressive product portfolio that includes IRWIN®, Marathon®, Quick-Grip®, Vise-Grip®, Strait-Line®, Speedbor®, Unibit®, Marples® and Hanson®.
IRWIN power tools are engineered for trade professionals who want nothing less than exceptional performance from their circular saw blades, chisels, drill bits, locking and marking tools, hand saws, pipe wrenches, screwdrivers, screw and bolt extractors, pliers and adjustable wrenches, utility knives and blades, and much more. The brand also carries tool storage products, gloves and knee pads.
Drill press common terms
Drilling is the process by which a round hole is cut or originated from a solid material, stock or workpiece. Drilling holes can be carried out using either a compact benchtop drill press, which is useful for small shop use, or a floor-model drill press, which offers greater drilling power and comes with more attachments plus exceptional handling of material compared to a bench top unit. The second type offers greater versatility that avid DIY craftspeople need.
Depth stops -> The depth to which the quill can be propelled down is controlled by depth stops, which prove to be useful when carrying out repetitive hole cutting. You want precise depth stops for greater drilling accuracy.
Drill bit -> The most important component of the drill press is the drill bit, which ensures accurate functioning of the machine.The drill bit has to match the material you have to work with. Generally priced low while being able to work fine through softwood, steel bits can dull easily when used in hardwood. Tougher than steel bits, high-speed steel bits or HSS also stay sharp longer. Carbide-tipped bits are pricier compared to other types, but they hold their sharpness longer than titanium, steel or high-speed steel bits. Titanium-coated bits cost a bit more than HSS bits, but the titanium coating ensures tougher tips and greater retention of sharpness. Cobalt bits distribute heat quickly and are designed with extreme hardness, making them ideal for handling stainless steel and other metals.
Table height -> The adjustable drilling or table height proves to be useful for end drilling, assemblies, and support of one or more jigs, if space is not an issue.
HP -> The horsepower provides the machine with the capability to cut larger holes through the toughest material. Typically, drill presses come with 1/4 HP and greater.
Quill travel -> The quill travel or plunge range is the hole depth that can be drilled.
Swing -> The swing is what drill press standard capacities are measured with and refers to the maximum diameter disk the machine can drill the center of. Fundamentally, the swing is the distance between the center of the chuck and the column’s closest edge multiplied by two, or simply two times the throat distance.
Tilting tables -> Large tilting tables are present in higher-priced machines. The adjustable tilt enables horizontal and vertical drilling at various angles.
Spin speed -> Variable spin speeds are convenient for versatility on the types of stock the machine can handle. Most woodworking experts recommend nothing under 12 speeds from 200 RPM or less and up to 3500 RPM or higher. Variable speed units are convenient but also come with a higher price.
How has the drill press evolved over the years
Fundamentally invented for boring through metal, the drill press has evolved into a heavily used machine in the modern woodworking shop. Using just one drill press, the operator can do precision hole drilling for repetitive tasks that require it. What used to take a whole team of workers has become more simplified with the drill press. A drill machine can even cut holes at virtually all angles while using variable spin speeds.
History of the Drill
The early humans around 35,000 BCE were able to explore the benefits of using rotary tools for a variety of applications. The earliest drills were crude tools composed of a pointed rock continuously spun between the hands to cut a hole through another material. The hand drill wasn’t far behind, and it comprised a smooth stick, which would sometimes be attached to a flint point and rubbed vigorously between the hands. The Mayans were one of the ancient civilizations to use this crude tool.
The first machine drills are categorized as strap or bow drills. They utilized the back-and-forth motion to create a revolving action. This type of tool can be traced as far back as 10,000 years ago. The ancient people also discovered how a cord tied around a stick with the ends attached to the ends of the stick could enable more efficient and quicker drilling. These types of simple machines facilitated fire creation and were also useful for stonework, woodwork and dentistry.
Bow drills became widely used through Europe, Asia, Africa and North America after earliest evidences of the use of the tools came about around 2500 BCE. Through the years, a variety of versions of strap and bow drills have been used for different applications including cutting holes through stock and fire making.
Later versions include ancient Egypt core drills in 3000 BC and the pump drill created during Roman times, with a horizontal piece of wood aligning the vertical spindle, plus a flywheel to ensure momentum and accuracy.
Utilized around the 13th century, a hollow-borer tip comprised a stick with a tube-shaped metal piece such as copper on the end, which enabled hole drilling while simply grinding just the outer section. The auger, which provided more torque for bigger holes, was used at a certain point between the Roman and Medieval times for cutting of larger holes. Although it is uncertain when the bit-and-brace was invented, the earliest picture of it dates back to the 15th century. The gimlet is a scaled-down version of the auger.
Churn drills came about in the East as early as 221 BC in the Chinese Qin Dynasty. Those tools could reach a depth of 1500 meters. Built of wood and requiring heavy labor, churn drills could bore through rock. This type of machine also came about in the 12th century in Europe.
Isaac Singer built a steam-operated churn drill in 1835. This version was based on the one the Chinese used.
Drill presses were machine tools that sprung from bow drills that were powered by waterwheels and windmills. They were powered drills that allowed raising and lowering into the stock, thus requiring less force from the user. According to some accounts, the first drill presses were used in smithy and machine shops over two centuries ago. They were utilized for boring through metal while being hand cranked for power. The stationary drill press offers the necessary precision that blacksmiths and factory machinists want for creating repetitive cuts with assured accuracy. Proving to work faster and more accurately than hand-operated hand drills, those wall mounted drill presses could be used even without electric power.
The creation of the electric motor led to the invention of the electric drill, which was patented in Melbourne, Australia in 1889 by William Blanch Brain and Arthur James Arnot.