When you’re working with wood, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to drill some holes at some stage during your project, whether it’s a simple DIY job or a more professional endeavor. This is where drill presses can come in handy. Strong, sturdy, and high-powered, they can help you drill super precise and clean holes in various woods, with some models even tough enough to handle plastic and metal drilling, too. Here are some of the best drill presses in 2023 that you can buy for the most accurate drilling.
Fitted with a 1/2″ keyed chuck and onboard key storage, this highly functional and versatile drill press can run at five different speeds from 740 to 3,140 RPM. This press is durable, sturdy, and built to last. It’s equipped with a 1/3 HP induction motor that provides the torque and power you need to drill precise holes through a range of workpieces. Thanks to its many flexible features, this selection is the best overall among the drill presses on our list.
If your holes aren’t accurate enough for your woodworking projects, this super precise bench drill press is right for you. It features a laser-guided alignment system and adjustable depth stop for the most accurate drilling, every time. This benchtop drill press can operate at five different speed settings from 570 up to 3,050 RPM, perfect for a wide range of woods and workpieces. The work surface can be tilted left and right at angles of up to 45 degrees. This lets you work with oddly-shaped pieces at varying angles – an important feature for benchtop drill presses.
Fitted with a 3/4 HP, 110V motor, this high-powered oscillating floor drill press is the perfect tool to set up in your workshop. It’s ready to tackle all kinds of materials and help out with a wide range of projects. Hitting top speeds of 3,050 RPM, it’s also able to take things slowly at just 250 RPM. This floor drill press offers the variability you need to tackle a wide range of tasks and get the most precise holes, every time.
Hitting top speeds of 450 RPM and offering two variable speed settings, this press stands out for its compact and lightweight design. It’s perfect for slipping into small spaces or cramped working areas. Fitted with a 10 amp motor, this benchtop drill press is strong enough to drill through most woods without any issues. It offers a quick change chuck system for your convenience too. This makes it an easy and excellent addition to the world of benchtop drill presses.
If you already have a drill and want to attach it to a simple stand to convert it into a drill press, this is all you need. Fully compatible with Dremel-style rotary tools, this stand offers a spring-loaded metal rack and pinion gearing for super smooth control. Made from high-quality steel, this press stand is an efficient and affordable piece of hardware. It will perfectly accompany an existing collection of drills and drill presses. This choice can serve as a simple bench drill press without paying extra.
This benchtop drill press comes with features most expect in industrial-type machines. The included worktable’s rack and pinion adjustability allow users to adhere the tool to their personal needs. The variable speeds of 580 to 3200 RPM offer ideal torque for operation. The WEN drill press is backed by a powerful ⅔ HP induction motor that ensures maximum power when working with this tool. This drill press also comes with a laser included for precision use, a ⅝ keyed chuck for perfect drilling, and a table roller extension for larger work areas. At lower RPMs, this drill press may vibrate or emit a humming sound, but this issue goes away when set to higher speeds. This is easily one of the most reliable benchtop drill presses.
This drill press mount is easy to use and simple to mount. Any ⅜ and ½ inch power drills will easily attach to this mount allowing the user to immediately step into the world of precision drilling and perfectly aligned holes. The built-in centering channels also aid when working with round stock materials. The Milescraft drill press mount is lightweight and easily attaches to drills. Ideal for use on straight board or rounded stock, this drill includes an attached ⅜ capacity chuck for easy installations and immediate use. The metal base features angle cuts for easy read-outs when the drill press is in operation. Due to the lightweight make of this drill press mount, vibrations can be an issue that may leave holes slightly off-center.
Buying Guide to the Top Drill Presses
The drill press is a staple workshop power tool in every home or professional wood or metal workshop. It is used to drill perfectly round holes into metal, wood, and other materials. When integrated with other tools, accessories, and attachments, it can also be used to carry out other workshop operations. It can be excellent for counter-boring, mortising, countersinking, sanding, reaming, and spot facing. Accurate drilling is extremely important, and the drill press is the perfect tool to accomplish this goal.
There are many different variations and configurations of drill presses on the market, including the benchtop drill press and the floor drill press. A lot of people end up buying the wrong types for their project. The reason why is simple: lack of information. We have already done the work for you and outlined the very best drill presses available that stand out. But how did we choose and how should you choose?
In the rest of this buying guide, we will take it a step further and outline factors you want to consider. We’ll outline qualities to look out for in a drill press to help you choose one that suits your specifications and project requirements.
Factors To Consider Before Buying a Drill Press
The different materials you will be drilling will determine the type of drill press to buy. But ideal drill presses should be compatible with different materials.
One major machinability factor that separates different materials is their different required drill speeds. A press with a speed adjustment function is a staple and will allow you to work with different materials once the right drill bit is installed.
The swing size is the distance between the center of the chuck and the front of the bench column multiplied by 2.
It is an important feature that determines the range of tasks you can perform and the size of material you can work on with your drill press.
Before making that drill press purchase, remember that the larger the swing size, the larger the material it can accommodate.
The rule of thumb in drilling is that the tougher or stronger the material, the higher the power required to drill into it for the same drill bit dimensions. Drill presses with lower power ratings will take longer to drill a particular hole size than ones with higher power ratings.
The depth stop/gauge feature allows you to automatically make multiple holes at consistent and precise depths, to ensure the most accurate drilling. If you have a project requiring consistent holes, you should go for a drill press with a depth gauge.
Pro tip: A depth stop can be added to a drill press as an accessory.
Quill stroke / spindle travel
This feature, also known as stroke distance, is a measurement of how deep the drill can go before the drill table needs to be readjusted. It is measured in inches.
When buying a drill press, ensure that you get one with a quill stroke of at least 4 inches. It is best to avoid cheap drills with quill strokes of 2.5 inches or less if you want to enjoy seamless drilling operations.
Drill presses should come with a table that tilts to an angle of at least 45 degrees. Drilling complex angle mortises, building a Windsor chair, and executing other complex drilling operations will require a tilting drill press, and you want yours to be able to pull it off.
Things You Can Do With a Drill Press
Drill presses are useful for more than just creating precise holes for your wood or metal drilling needs. To learn about some clever uses for your new tool, check out this video:
People Also Asked
Q: What are the basic types of drill presses?
A: There are many variations of drill presses, but each falls under two major categories: benchtop and floor/stationary drill presses. Benchtop drill presses are designed to be fixed to a bench. With a quill stroke of only about 8-12’’, they are relatively smaller than floor drills. The benchtop drill press can only handle simple to fairly complex drilling tasks.Floor drill presses are designed for heavy-duty projects. They come with quill drills of about 13-20’’ and are the most preferred option by professionals.
Q: What protective equipment is needed when operating a drill press?
A: Operating a drill press is nothing like riding a roller coaster. Like with most machining operations, it requires operators to use personal protective equipment (PPE). Some of them include:
High-grade, shatter-proof safety glasses or goggles to protect the eyes.
Industrial face masks to prevent inhalation of dust, debris, and metal shards. Use respirators for large amounts of dust.
Safety boots to protect the feet.
Earplugs or any form of hearing protection to protect the eardrums from excess noise.
Q: Should you wear gloves when using a drill press?
A: No.Gloves are likely to get stuck in the moving parts of the drill press, pulling your hand inside. To avoid such a gory situation, do not wear gloves while operating a drill press.
Q: What are the safety tips to follow when operating a drill press?
A: There are some standard rules and safety tips for operating drill presses.
Operate the drill press only if you are qualified and trained to do so.
Read and strictly follow the manufacturer’s operating manual, especially information about maintenance, operation, shutdown, and start-up.
Never wear gloves, rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, watches, or any form of jewelry while operating a drill press.
Do not set or adjust the speed of a drill press while the machine is running. Turn it off before making any adjustments to it.
Maintain a distance of at least 4 inches between your hand and the drill.
Keep the area around the press free of oil, debris, grease, and other needless materials.
Perform a thorough inspection to ensure that all safety guards are in place before starting and operating the drill press.
Never abandon the drill press when it is running.
Inspect the drill press for damage or faults before using it.
Do not apply extra pressure to the drill.
Put on earplugs or any form of hearing protection to minimize the impact of drill press noise on the ears.
Never stop the chuck and spindle rotation with your hand.
Keep at least 2 feet of your drill press operating area clear at all times.
Roll up your sleeves and tie back long flowing hair.
A single drill press should be operated by only one person at a time.
Q: What are some common drill press accessories?
A: Drill press accessories/add-ons upgrade its versatility and functionality. Here are some of the most common ones:
The Old House Journal Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you restore, repair, update, and decorate your home. The content is created by The Old House Journal Review Team. The Old House Journal editorial staff is not involved. Old House Journal is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. All questions regarding articles or product testing can be sent to email@example.com