Best Drill Presses of 2017 – Reviews & Buying Guide

drill pressWhen you’re working with wood, chances are you’ll need to not only cut it but drill holes too. For such occasions, a drill press is certainly a tool to consider. A drill press is a machine tool that is set on a fixed stand. It’s an excellent tool for anybody who works with wood on a regular basis whether on small DIY projects or for larger workshop needs.

While a drill press may require more space than your typical corded or cordless drill, there are a number of advantages to be had. The main reasons are that the best drill press can help you achieve greater accuracy when drilling as well as offer improved ease of use. The fact that they’re easy to use means that work can be completed quicker than if you’re using a handheld drill. These are just some of the advantages that a drill press can provide. We’ll take a look at more in our buying guide!


The Best Drill Presses of 2017

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONS
ITEM WEIGHT
USER RATINGPRICE
DeWalt DWE1622K
DeWalt DWE1622K
22.4 x 6.5 x 19.3 inches
47.6 pounds
4.6/5
$$$$
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WEN 4214
WEN 4214
13.5 x 36.6 x 16.8 inches
89 pounds
4.4/5

$$$
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Dremel 220-01
Dremel 220-01
6 x 6 x 12 inches
0.2 ounces
4.4/5
$
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Craftsman 10 BD
Craftsman 10 BD
13 x 8 x 27 inches
61 pounds
4.3/5
$$
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Delta 18-900L
Delta 18-900L
61 x 31.5 x 13 inches
261 pounds
3.8/5
$$$$$
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With so many drill presses on the market, how are you supposed to go about finding one that fits your needs? Well, we’ve made this whole process much easier with our list of drill press reviews. Here you’ll find the very best products on the market with all of the information you need to make an informed decision. Explore the various pros and cons before going on to our buying guide which will help narrow your options down even further!

1. WEN 4214 – Our Top Pick

WEN 4214Thanks to the variable speed capability and a number of other impressive features, we feel that the WEN 4214 is the best benchtop drill press on the market. Based on comments from consumers online, it seems they agree! This 12-inch drill press has variable speed ranges from 580 to 3200 RPMS. This provides it with enough versatility to power through a wide range of materials. Adaptability is important and the WEN 4214 has it in spades. It’s very easy to change speeds and a digital LED readout shows you the current speed. Power is indicated in the 2/3 HP induction motor which provides plenty of torque.

As you can see, power and speed are essential features of this excellent drill press from WEN. Another thing to consider is the quality of construction. Thankfully this product is very durable and has a rigid cast iron frame and a large, sturdy base that prevents wobble during operation. A few other features that add to the ease of use are an onboard work-light and the various extensions and adjustments for versatility when working. While a powerful drill press, the WEN 4214 may have some difficulties getting through thick steel though this is often the case for non-industrial tools. There are otherwise few complaints to be made about this excellent product.

Pros

  • Offers impressive power

  • Versatile thanks to variable speed

  • Plenty of adjustment options

Cons

  • Perhaps not quite strong enough for very thick metals


2. Craftsman 10 BD – Another Great Pick

Craftsman 10 BD One of the best features of the Craftsman 10 is the 3 Amp motor which is known to be particularly robust. This means that this product should serve you well for a long time and provide smooth operation. There are 5 operating speeds between 620 and 3100 RPM which allows you to work on a variety of materials including wood and metal. The 10-inch bench drill press allows for flexibility with the rack and pinion table elevation which allows for quick and easy adjusting. A LED light helps with visibility and there’s also a laser sight which is generally considered to be fairly poor.

This is a drill press that is best used for light to medium duty work. It strikes a nice balance with regard to the power offered for the price and will suit most people’s needs. Because it’s fairly simple to operate and without too many features, it’s ideal for more casual users. What’s more, it’s said to be easy enough to set up. One issue encountered by buyers online is regarding the product descriptions which often state the unit has a 6 Amp motor. In actual fact, it has a 3 Amp motor. Aside from this, it’s another great pick if you’re seeking a drill press for more casual working needs.

Pros

  • Robust 3 Amp motor

  • Rack and pinion table elevation for easy adjustments

  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • Poor laser

  • Some misleading product information online


3. Dremel 220-01 – Best for the Money

Dremel 220-01It’s very impressive that Dremel has created such a popular drill press for such a low price. This versatile piece of equipment is head and shoulders the best drill press for the money. As a rotary tool workstation, it actually incorporates three tools in one with a rotary tool holder, small drill press and flex shaft holder. With this drill press you can drill perpendicular or at angles of 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 degrees. We like this versatility and the fact that the flex shaft tool stand can be adjusted makes this even better.

Onboard storage and cord management clips help keep the work area nice and tidy. These are only small features but they do add extra value to what is already a very competitively priced unit. Of course, there isn’t much in the way of more advanced features so there is no laser or LED light, for example. It’s really only suitable for light projects as it lacks the power and precision required for really high-quality and intensive work. The construction is fairly solid for the cheap price and it’s fairly lightweight so very portable. If you’re on a budget, this may well be the right bench drill for you.

Pros

  • Very cheap price

  • Lightweight and portable

  • Adjustments made easy

Cons

  • Lacks power and precision for anything other than light projects

  • Not many features such as LED light or laser


4. DeWalt DWE1622K – The High-End/Industrial Pick

DeWalt DWE1622KWhether you opt for the DeWalt DWE1622K really depends on the sort of work you’re going to be doing. If you’re only working on small to medium-sized projects, this is probably something of an overkill. But for heavier applications, a high-end, industrial-level drill press such as this might be just what you need! It’s packing plenty of power with a 10 Amp motor with 2-speed settings for a variety of applications. Overload protection electronics prevent this excellent motor from being damaged which provides assurance when putting it through its paces! While powerful, this drill press is easy to use and simply performs as advertised.

Another great feature of this high-end drill press is the tool-free quick change chuck system. You can also quickly release the handles without tools which is very convenient. At some 47.6 lbs, this is not a lightweight drill press but that’s expected from a more industrial option such as this. There aren’t many problems to be found with this product. The main hurdle is the hefty price tag. So it’s all down to how much return on investment you feel you’ll get from the DWE1622K. If you’re regularly working with wood and metal, it’s a solid choice with a nice, 3-year limited warranty available.

Pros

  • Provides excellent power

  • Nice tool-free system for easy changes

  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Quite heavy

  • On the expensive side


5. Delta 18-900L – Another High-End Pick Worth Considering

Delta 18-900LAnother high-end option for you to consider is the Delta 18-900L. This 18-inch laser drill press is as rugged and versatile as you’d expect from a product with such a price tag. The 3/4 HP induction motor is heavy duty and can perform even with the toughest applications. One of the most impressive features is the 16 speeds (ranging from 170 to 3,000) on offer for optimal performance with a variety of materials. An auto-tensioning belt drive system allows you to change speeds without any fuss, making it quick and easy.

Not only does the Delta 18-900L have the speed and power required for the toughest jobs, it is also user-friendly with features such as the micro-adjustable depth stops and independent depth scale. There’s also a LED light for increased visibility and a laser for improved accuracy. The product looks and sounds fantastic but there have been problems not only with customer support but also quality control. This is reflected in the various reviews by consumers online. So while there is a 5-year warranty, there may still be some issues that are difficult to resolve. With such a big initial outlay for the product, you then need to decide whether the risk is worth it.

Pros

  • Excellent reliable motor

  • Lots of great features such as adjustable depth stops

Cons

  • Reportedly poor customer support

  • Some poor quality control


Factors to Consider When Buying a Drill Press

Since you’re already here reading all about them, we’re quite sure that you know just how useful a drill press can be! But choosing from any of the above drill presses is still a tough task without knowing all about the various types of bench drills and features to look for, for example. Read on to become a drill press expert and develop a much clearer idea of exactly which product is perfect for you.

The 4 Types of Drill Press

Bench-Top Machine: This is most likely the best type of drill press for you. In fact, it’s the one we’ve covered extensively in our detailed reviews above. Bench-top units tend to swing between 8 and 12 inches while the stroke can be anything from 2 to 3 3/8 inches. This is probably the ideal drill press for you because it will likely have enough power for most small to medium duty projects. Bench-top drill presses tend to be smaller, lighter and thus more easily stored. Prices are also more competitive.

Floor-Standing Unit: As you’d probably guess from the name, a floor-standing unit stands on the floor instead of on the bench top! This means that they tend to be much bigger and heavier than benchtop machines. In the case of floor-standing drill presses, the swing can be anything from 13 to 20 inches while the stroke varies from 3 to 6 inches. Thanks to the greater power and capacity, a floor-standing unit can be used for both medium and heavy-duty applications. In fact, they’re often used by professionals.

Magnetic Machine: For getting through thick steel objects on a regular basis, a magnetic drill press machine is what you’re looking for. This type has a typical swing of 4 to 8 inches and is very portable which is ideal for going from job site to job site. Some of these devices are very heavy-duty which makes them ideal for professional use.

Radial: A radial drill press has the greatest swing which is usually at least 24 inches. Angled drilling is also possible thanks to specially designed equipment. Having such a wide swing is beneficial at it allows the user to cut through very broad materials. This makes it a great choice for regular drill users who are not too constrained by budget. If you’re drilling a material wider than 17 inches, this is definitely one to consider.

What you need to consider

The following are essential things to consider in your drill press. They can be anything from a physical part such as a depth stop or table or something more intangible such as the horsepower generated.

  • Horsepower

Motors can vary in size a great deal depending on the type or general quality of a particular drill press. Generally, motor sizes tend to range from 1/4 to 1 HP. Naturally the higher the horsepower, the more likely you’ll be able to cut holes through thicker, harder materials. If you’re only planning on using your drill press for lighter DIY projects, horsepower won’t be as much of a factor.

  • Depth stop

A depth stop allows you to set the depth that you’d like your drill press to achieve when penetrating a material. This allows you to work more accurately and produce higher quality work. A good depth stop should be quickly and easily adjustable and allow you to make accurate and repeatable holes at the same depth.

  • Table

Most drill presses on the market include a table which can be lowered or raised for your convenience. There should also be an option to swivel the table 360-degrees around the base. Such features are particularly useful when you’re working with materials of a variety of shapes and sizes. Finally, some tables have a tilt for angled drilling.

  • Speed adjustment

The ability to change speeds when using a drill press means that you can more easily adapt to different materials. You can drill holes with different diameters depending on whether you’re working with wood or metal, for example. Most good drill presses have at least a couple of speeds and some have as many as 15-20 speeds. Variable speeds offer more versatility and prevent damage not only to the material but to the drill bits as well.

  • Construction

One of the most basic things to consider when buying a drill press is of course the quality of construction. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles a drill press has if the construction isn’t solid. Drill presses are often constructed of steel and cast iron which should ensure their longevity. It’s also important to have a solid base to prevent wobble when the machine is in use.

5 Accessories to consider

While not as essential as the likes of the motor horsepower or speed adjustment options, accessories can undoubtedly prove useful and separate one drill press from another. Here are a few to look out for that might just come in handy.

  1. Laser guide

A laser guide can be a very useful accessory when seeking improved drilling accuracy. The problem is that the laser guides on many drill presses tend to be quite poor. A laser guide may require careful setup and adjustments in order to work well. So if you find a drill press with a well-received laser guide then it may be a product to consider.

  1. LED light

A LED light offers improved visibility when drilling. Some drill presses come with a LED light that is built in. If it’s a good LED light it should last a long time and offer sufficient brightness. Many of the LED lights available are adjustable which can be very useful depending on where you’re standing in relation to the light and of course based on the size and shape of the material itself.

  1. Onboard storage

While certainly not the most essential of features, onboard storage can be handy, particularly in cluttered workshops where things are always being moved around. The ability to keep drill bits and wrenches close at hand is always useful and it makes swapping bits over quick and easy. Some of the cheaper drill presses offer this because it’s obviously not an expensive thing to add.

  1. Drill bits

Arguably the most important of accessories, drill bits can make a huge difference to your experience with a bench drill. It’s a good idea to have a wide range of drill bits for different materials. For example, masonry drill bits will allow you to work through marble and tile, for example. Meanwhile, cobalt bits are great for hard metals such as stainless steel. Different drill bits for hard and soft materials means you’re less likely to damage your drill bits or indeed the material with which you’re working. It’s a win-win!

  1. Mortising kit

A mortising kit offers you much more versatility since it allows you to create rectangular holes. The problem is that many drill press mortising attachments are fairly poor and don’t work very well. They can be problematic to setup and maintain since they often come loose. The best thing is to buy a mortise drill if you need to create rectangular holes in materials but if you find a drill press with such a feature, be sure to check the reviews and see what consumers think of it.


Conclusion

As you can see, there are so many different things to consider when choosing a drill press. From the different types available to the various features and accessories, there is plenty to separate one product from another. This should help you narrow down your options and choose the right drill press for you.

It’s nice to know that there is a wide range of models and indeed prices to consider. So if you feel limited by your budget you should rest assured that there are some impressive budget options. Likewise, those seeking more premium options have plenty of choice with some very solid products on the market.

Drill presses are improving all the time and the technology of the present day is truly impressive. We hope that our reviews of drill presses help you to find one that suits your needs. Best of luck!