One of the very first tools I ever remember learning how to use in shop class was a benchtop drill press. In fact, that was one of the more memorable days I can recall from high school altogether. I knew the moment that I started using the drill that DIY projects were going to be a love for life.
Fast-forward to adulthood, and finally having the space and the resources to start purchasing tools for my own personal workshop.
One of the first power tools I needed to obtain was a benchtop drill press.
Of course, the basic know-how I’d picked up in shop class wasn’t going to cut it. I had to do extensive research to figure out what I needed. In the process, I realized I was learning enough to put together a buying guide, so that is exactly what I did.
Here's a list of Best Benchtop Drill Press
Benchtop Drill Press
What is a Benchtop Drill Press?
Most people shopping for a benchtop drill press should be at least somewhat familiar with these tools. In case you aren’t, a benchtop drill press is exactly what you would guess. It is a tool for drilling holes into wood or metal.
Why would you need one? Why not just rely on a hand drill? The reason, in a word, is control. When you are drilling by hand, it can be hard to perform precision work. The drill press gives you superior control over drill speed, depth, hole width, angle and more. Drill presses also let you do sanding, tapping, deburring, mortising and more.
Features to Look for in the Best Benchtop Drill Press
There are a lot of essential features and options to consider when you are shopping for a drill press.
- Spindle speed range: The speeds you require depend on the materials you plan to drill. If you are going to be drilling wood, you need faster spindle speeds. If you will be drilling metal, slower speeds are necessary. A good ballpark range for most jobs is 500-4,000 RPMs.
- Table design and features: You want a table which you can raise, lower and rotate. If you want to be able to clamp down materials, be sure to shop for a machine which includes slats or ledges.
- Radial design: This type of drill press allows you to tilt the machine instead of the table. Many people prefer them for angled holes.
- Horsepower: As with spindle speeds, horsepower requirements depend on the materials you are drilling. Those who will be working on iron and other hard metals need the highest horsepower. Others can get away with less.
- A key to tighten the chuck: Without a key to do this (sometimes a wrench), you have to do it manually, which is a real pain.
- A depth stop: This feature gives you precision control over the depth of your holes so that they match.
- Lasers: These provide you with precision guidance for your drilling.
- Handle length: The longer the handle, the more leverage it gives you.
- Sturdy materials: A well-designed drill press made out of high-quality, rugged materials should offer you years of top-shelf performance.
- Heavy build: The more a drill press weighs, the less it will vibrate. This reduction in vibration can boost accuracy and improve your final result.
- Easy on and off: Now and again, you may need to switch off your drill press in a hurry. Pay attention to the location of the switch and its design.
- Fast cool-down: Some drill presses include cooling fluid to aid in this process. These are generally the magnetic models.
- Parts availability: No matter how well-built a machine is, it can and will eventually have parts fail. If that happens, will you have an easy time replacing those parts, or will you be stuck buying a whole new drill press?
- Noise level: Some people feel that drill presses are obnoxiously loud, and may be in the market for quieter machines. This feature might be important depending on where you will be using the drill press.
- Accessories. Many benchtop drill presses include a range of helpful accessories which can expand the machine’s applications.
- Warranty: The more extensive the warranty on your drill press, the better. You want your purchase protected.
- Customer service: If you need to call on your warranty, you need helpful agents standing by waiting to help you out with your benchtop drill press.
Top Recommended Benchtop Drill Presses for 2018
You now know more about the features you need to look for in a high-quality drill press. Ready to find the best drill press for your needs? Below are some top recommended products for 2018.
Best Overall Drill Press
WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press
This is a full-size machine, not a mini drill press, but it is quite compact and lightweight. That means that you can move it even to a remote job site if you need to.
The most significant selling point for this drill press overall is simply the fact that it delivers more than what you would expect given its price point and its size. Because it is such a good deal, it is ideal for beginners shopping for their first drill press, but it offers enough sophisticated features that even intermediate and advanced users should be happy with it for casual jobs.
- Even with the small size of the drill press, you have a powerful motor here which can tackle most jobs.
- The construction and materials are sturdy given the price point.
- Accuracy is reasonably good given the price as well, even though there are more expensive models which can give you more of an edge in this department.
- You can adjust the table to your needs for each project.
- The storage compartment makes it much less likely you will misplace your chuck key.
- This drill press is top-heavy. Even with the cast iron base, it wobbles if you do not bolt it down.
While the WEN 4208 does not feature a massive amount of bells and whistles, it offers some great features at a surprisingly low price. For hobby use, it is the best overall choice. Professionals who are looking for more may want to consider one of the drill presses recommended for metalworking recommended later in this guide.
WEN 4208 8" 5 Speed Drill Press Video Review
Best Radial Drill Press
Grizzly G7945 5 Speed Bench-Top Radial Drill Press
- 5 speeds available.
- 34” variable swing.
- Table bevels 90 degrees to the right and left.
- Heads pivot for even more angling flexibility.
- 1/2 HP single-phase 110V motor.
- 3-1/4" spindle travel.
- Quiet operation.
- Spindle lock included.
Smooth and Accurate
While some purchasers complain that this product vibrates too much to do accurate work, this probably reflects poor attention to detail during the assembly process. Set up and adjusted correctly, it is generally quite stable and allows for precision drilling.
While this drill press can be a bit finicky if you do not set it up correctly, it should run smoothly and provide you with great options for angling your work if you assemble it properly. As a bonus, it also runs quietly.
Grizzly G7945 5 Speed Bench-Top Radial Drill Press Video Review
Best Compact Drill Press
Gino Development 01-0822 0-8500 RPM
- Compact design measuring just 12 x 10 x 8 inches and weighing only 11.7 pounds.
- Three speed ranges are available: 0-5000, 0-6500, and 0-8500 RPM.
- Can use drills ranging from 0.79 to 6mm DIA. (1/4").
- 6 mm chuck capacity.
- 1” spindle.
- Work surface measures 6.750" x 6.750”.
- Comes with a chuck key. If you want to put in a smaller chuck, you can.
Precision Control Over Speed
As mentioned in the bullet points above, there are three speed ranges offered: 0-5000, 0-6500, and 0-8500 RPM. Within each of those ranges, you can choose any speed you want; the control you have to fine-tune it is unrestricted.
Excellent for Wobble-Free Work
If you have been searching for a drill press which will run smoothly without wobbling, you should find that the Gino Development 01-082 drill offers you the steady performance you need to tackle even intricate precision jobs. Given the price point, this is unexpected and impressive.
- It’s hard to overstate how steady this machine is. This stability is a big deal with a mini drill press, which you may be purchasing not only for its compact size but also for its applications with small, precision jobs.
- This drill press is not too loud—it is about on par with a sewing machine.
- The price is outstanding. You are not going to find a lot of other drill presses which are this inexpensive.
- The product manual is in very poor English, so that is just something to be aware of, especially if you are a novice. You may need to figure out some things on your own. Thankfully there are some videos online which can help you get started.
For a compact, affordable drill press which is ideal for working on small items, the Gino Development 01-082 gets the job done right. It runs smooth and true, and allows you to complete precision work without a hitch.
SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Mini Drill Press Bench
- 3 speeds offered: 5,000, 6,500 and 8,000 RPM.
- Base measures 6-5/8” x 6-5/8”. Drill can be raised as high as 7-1/2”.
- The work area measures 6-9/16” x 6-9/16”.
- There is a 6-mm chuck key included as well as 3 wrenches. Comes with a 6 month warranty.
Great for a Wide Range of Materials
Not only can you use this drill to work on wood and other standard materials which you would normally tackle with a drill press, but you can also use it on some surprisingly fragile substances as well, like seashells and glass. You will get nice clean holes without the materials breaking.
The Chuck Is Easy to Manage
With a chuck key and not one, but three, wrenches, you can rest assured that you will never have a problem tightening your chuck.
- On the whole, accuracy for the SE 97511MDP is very good. It runs smoothly and doesn’t have much play at all.
- The machine boasts a powerful motor.
- While only several speed settings are available, they work well and are easy to adjust.
- The price is quite low, making this drill press a great deal.
- The manufacturer may have cut some corners. Some units may arrive with broken drive belts and other flaws. In particular, the screw which is responsible for securing the spring-loaded plunge assembly can be a weak point in the design.
This is not a drill to use on tough materials, but for wood, thin metals, and fragile substances, it is an excellent choice and a great deal for your money.
SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Mini Drill Press Video Review
Best Drill Press for Metal
WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
- 580-3,200 RPM.
- 3-1/8" spindle travel.
- 2.17 inch quill diameter.
- The work table measures 9-1/2 x 9-1/2".
- 45 degree tilting.
- Equipped with a 120 V, 60 Hz. Laser Module: Class III motor.
- Your purchase includes a number of accessories: a 5/8” keyed chuck, a chuck key, a laser, a table roller extension, and tools to get the unit set up and running.
- Backed by a two-year warranty.
Ideal for a Wide Range of Materials
With speeds ranging between 580 and 3,200 RPM, you can select the exact speed you need for the material you want to drill, whether it be metal, wood or plastic. Inside that range, you can pick any specific speed you want. With this ability to fine-tune coupled with a top-of-the-line induction motor, there is no job that the WEN 4214 shouldn’t be able to handle.
With its cast-iron build, the WEN 4214 should hold up well to lots of daily use. This material is also hefty, reducing vibrations for more accurate work. Ball bearings in the motor enhance its longevity, ensuring that this drill will continue to deliver for years ahead.
- Control your speed precisely within a wide range.
- Drill lots of different materials, from the flimsy to the heavy-duty.
- Tilt your table 45 degrees to either side as you need to in order to drill at an angle.
- With the X-pattern laser, you can achieve results which are more accurate and precise.
- Get the same great results time after time with tools to help you reproduce the exact same holes. A bright LED screen tells you how fast the drill is spinning while a depth adjustment gauge helps you reach the same depth every time you drill.
- A light is built right into the drill press. You can use this to highlight what you are doing.
- Need more space on the work table? The roller extension lets you expand the surface by 17 inches.
- The price is excellent given the array of features.
- While this drill press has almost everything you could ask for, it is missing a spindle lock.
For a drill press to use on metal, wood, or any other material, the WEN 4214 is definitely one of the top options on the market right now. This drill press includes a ton of great features for a very reasonable price. In fact, it can easily compete with drill presses at double or triple the cost.
WEN 4212 12" Variable Speed Drill Press Video Review
Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
- 6-inch quill.
- TWINLASER crosshair.
- Depth stops.
- A 5-year warranty protects your purchase.
- Equipped with a work light.
- ¾ HP motor.
- Work table bevels from side to side and front to back.
- 170-3,000 RPM (16 speeds total).
- Table measures 20” x 14”.
Super Efficient Design
One of the big selling points for this drill press is its auto-tensioning belt drive system. This system makes it possible to switch up the speed quickly and easily. It also keeps the motor alignment and belt tension consistent through those speed changes. This in turn boosts the efficiency of the transmission.
Flexible Table to Support Your Projects
Another excellent Delta 18-900L feature is the table, which is extra-large. Most drill press tables only can be angled from side to side. This one can not only be beveled 90 degrees left and right, but can also be angled up to 48 degrees forward. Additionally, it has T-slots built in. You can use these to clamp your materials down while you work. The insert in the middle of the table can be removed if you want to drill straight down through.
- The warranty on this drill press is much longer than the average, which is important at this price point.
- This is not a cheap drill press by any stretch. You will probably only be able to afford it if you are a professional or a serious hobbyist.
Those looking for more from a drill press table will find that this machine makes a great purchase. Its powerful motor, sturdy build and range of 16 speeds to choose from make it an excellent choice for metal and other materials.
Delta 18-900L 18" Laser Drill Press Video Review
Best Magnetic Drill Press
DEWALT DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press
- 2 speed settings: 300 and 450 RPM
- 10 amp motor
- 4-3/8 inch drill travel
- Chuck system designed for ease-of-use
- Includes a magnetic cooling tank
This drill press has an important feature which adds to its longevity, and that is overload protection electronics. This feature helps to protect the motor as well as the accessories from wear and tear. The result is a drill press which stays in great condition over lots of heavy use.
Superior Control Over Cooling
For those who need to maintain careful temperature control over their drill presses, the DWE1622K offers a self-feed cooling tank which makes it possible to do just that.
- You get to control the flow of the cooling fluid.
- The Quick Change chuck system is easy to use. In fact, ease-of-use overall with this machine is excellent.
- The tool comes with a storage box, which is a nice extra. Some accessories are also included, which enhances the value.
- This drill packs a lot of power. You can even use it on tough metals like steel.
- You can adjust the motor height, which helps to accommodate more accessories.
- At this price range, you are getting an excellent value on a magnetic drill press. You will find that other magnetic drill presses in this bracket generally do not compare when it comes to features and power.
- There is no reverse speed with this drill press.
- Some people complain that this drill press has a bit of a wobble, though the majority of units do not seem to suffer from this issue. This may result when using old cutters, so it may be worth it to replace yours if you experience any problems.
When it comes to magnetic drill presses, the DWE1622K is hard to beat. The price is fantastic, and you are getting a powerful, versatile drill which is easy to use and works great with a wide range of accessories.
DeWalt DWE1622K Magnetic Drill Video Review
The Right Drill Press Is Waiting For You
While a drill press is a relatively simple, straightforward machine, there are many variations in the features and attachments available, and quite a wide range in terms of overall quality.
Hopefully reading the reviews above, you already have identified a few benchtop drill presses which may fit your needs in 2018. Check out these products in more depth, and enjoy being able to drill holes with greater precision and ease in your home or professional workshop!