When it comes to woodworking, it can be a chore to line up the holes and attempt to do the same depth each time. While it might initially seem like part of the fun – and even the challenge – it can become tiresome.
This is where something like the drill press comes in handy. You will even wonder why you never used one before (we certainly thought that).
With a tool to use the same depth each time, and the ability to drill at different speeds, you will be amazed at how fast your projects will take.
If you’re not sure where to start, fear not, because we have put the top 5 together for you to have a look at. From high-end to low-end and portable to the ones you can’t move, we have different ones for you.
You will also find a handy buyer’s guide below to help you focus on some key areas to look at when finding the right drill press. Hopefully, this article will help you, so let’s get to it!
But first, here is our Top 3:
The Jet JDP drill press is on the much higher end of the spectrum. While it can also tilt at a 45-degree angle from left to right, it has some fantastic extras that any woodworker will love.
The speeds are incredible. You can work from a slower speed for different materials at around 200 and then work your way up to 3,630 RPM. The power is strong enough to be used on sheets of metal and plastic, and hardwood.
You can also adjust the tension of the return spring to repeat the same drilling depth to make sure you get accurate results every time during a project.
At 17 inches, there are more options to work on bigger projects, though this may take up some extra room on the worktop.
There is the option to add a lightbulb, too, so you can work with extra lighting, especially during the colder months like fall and winter.
There is a quick-release crank for ease of use, making it an efficient drill press. However, it is expensive. It is worth considering if you use the drill press a lot.
Not only that, there is a 5-year warranty on the item, so you will also feel better knowing you can get it fixed if there is a fault that wasn’t by you.
- 🏃♂️ Fast – Drill speeds of up to 3,630 RPM
- 🎯 Accurate – Adjust the tension of the return spring for depth control
- 💡 Option for extra lighting
- 🪛 Quick release crank
- 📏 17-inch swing
- ✅ 5-year warranty
- 💰 Expensive – This is a high-end product
The WEN drill press has a 12-inch swing that offers a lot for the at-home woodworker. With speeds of 580 to 3200 RPM, there is plenty of speed to use for many different projects.
The WEN has a LED screen that shows you the different speeds quickly. You can also lock in the depth to make sure every drill made is the same for a project.
This makes it easier than doing it manually, where you must figure it out each time.
It can bevel at a 45-degree angle, and the machine is 37 inches tall. It also has a work light to see what you are doing in even more detail.
The base is made from cast iron to ensure it is completely sturdy to avoid moving as you work. There are also drill holes so you can mount the drill press into the worktop for ease of use.
There are other sizes available when it comes to the swing, from 8 inches all the way to 17 inches.
The only downside to this drill is tech support is 50/50 – you either get through or not, but hopefully, you won’t need to!
- 📏 12-inch swing that offers versatility
- 📺 LED screen which shows the speed
- 💡 Includes a work light so you can see what you are doing
- 📐 Bevels at a 45-degree angle
- 💪 Cast iron base for extra sturdiness
- 🏃♂️ Speeds from 580 to 3200 RPM
- 🔐 Ability to lock the depth for repeat use
- 👨💻 WEN tech support isn’t great
The Shop Fox drill press is another on the high end of the budget, but don’t let that put you off. The reason being? It’s pretty darn good!
It includes a 13-inch swing, and you have the option to purchase the same one, but that lives on the floor rather than a benchtop. But again, that’s completely optional, depending on what kind of workspace you have.
The Shop Fox is pretty powerful at 250 to 3050 RPM. This drill press is useful for drilling, and there is also an added spindle sander in various sizes. Working with wood, having a sanding ability is always helpful!
The only downside is that the size of paper (1 inch, 1 and a ½ inch, and 2 inches) is mainly made by Shop Fox, so you will have to pay a little extra to buy it.
The overall height of the drill press is a little high compared to others at 38 inches, but it’s pretty powerful and does a great job.
- 📏 13-inch swing to suit most woodworking projects
- 💪 Solid frame that belongs on the benchtop
- 🏃♂️ Powerful at 250 to 3050 RPM
- ➕ It has an added sanding ability due to the oscillating drill
- 📏 Sandpaper is a specialized size
- 💰 Expensive – But also high end
Let me introduce the Dremel Drill, a small but mighty portable drill press suitable for smaller projects.
With only a 2 inches depth to drill, it is perfect for more intricate woodworking projects. It can sit quite happily on the workbench and not take up too much room with its compact frame of 29 and 16 inches.
It comes with a tool that can be used at a 90-degree angle to polish metal, sand, and grind metal.
Simply put, it is said to be a 3-in-1: a rotary tool holder, a drill press, and a flex-shaft tool stand. So, it’s perfect for having in the room where you do all your woodworking.
However, this will not be for you if you are after something much more powerful.
While it is good with small projects – and we mean small projects – this will not be the one for you if you are planning to make a few shelving units, for example.
- 💰 Budget-friendly and great as a starter drill press
- 🔍 It has a small frame and doesn’t take up too much space
- 🪶 It is portable and lightweight
- 💅 Has a polisher included for metal
- 📏 Not suitable for bigger projects
- 🧩 More of a 3-in-1 rather than a drill press
We shall start with the portable drill press. It might be small, but it is mighty with its variable speeds of 660, 1140, 1740, and 3000, making it a versatile piece of equipment.
In fact, with 2.3 amps, there is enough power to do most woodworking jobs. The speed setting means you can go slower on material like metal or plastic, but there is plenty of RPM to drive through even the toughest wood.
You can bevel the drill press at a 45-degree angle, both right and left. It also has a compact design making it better for smaller spaces and if you need to transport it regularly.
However, the size likely won’t suit everyone. With an 8-inch swing and a height of 23 inches, it may be best suited to smaller projects.
The product has a 30-day warranty for ease of mind, and it is a top choice for those who are watching their money. With its smaller design and portable finish, it is most undoubtedly budget-friendly.
- 🪶 Portable and light, which is better to travel with
- 📐 Can bevel the worktable at a 45-degree angle for ease of use
- 🏃♂️ Speeds of up to 3000 RPM
- ✅ 30-day warranty
- 💰 Budget-friendly
- 📏 Small and will not suit bigger projects
Now that you have looked at the best 5 drill presses, here is a buyer’s guide to ensure you know the key points when looking at a drill press. Hopefully, this will be the icing on the cake to ensure you know exactly what you are looking for.
You may notice that a drill press has different inch sizes. While you might initially think this is some depth capability or something, it is not.
For example, if you saw a 15-inch drill press (known as a swing), it means that it is the distance between the spindle, which is the center point, and where the drill bit will be, compared to the pole or support column that helps the drill press to stand upright.
If it is an 8-inch swing, it will drill a hole in the center (4 inches) of an 8-inch circle.
Keep this in mind when thinking about the projects you would like to do. The most common sizes are 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, and 15 inches.
You will want to make sure that you take note of the variable speeds available. This is especially important if you use it for more than just wood. For example, lower speeds will work with metal, and higher speeds will work with plastic.
Most drill presses have different speed settings, so it is always worth noting if you plan to work with more than just wood in the future.
For accuracy, you will want to make sure you can adjust the depth of the drill. This will make sure that you can have the exact same depth each time, rather than having to figure it out yourself – which you would do manually.
It will give the project a professional look and make the job much easier and faster.
When you use the drill press, you will want it to be sturdy. To ensure this, make sure that the material it is made of is strong. Usually, a drill press frame is made from something like steel.
The sturdier it is, the more accurate the job will be. It means it won’t be moving as you use it. Also, the less sturdy the material, the more likely it is to break, especially during machine use.
You will find different prices for drilling presses, but that doesn’t mean that the cheaper ones are no good, and the more expensive ones are the best.
Some excellent value drill presses are available; it all depends on what you want to achieve with one.
Think about the project you plan to do and work from there. If an expensive drill press has more than you need, opt for something a little more basic.
You can always upgrade in the future.
Not all drill presses are made equal; some have extras that you may want – or you might not care for them all that much.
Some include an LED screen to help you see numbers better, such as the overall drill speed. Some drill presses include a work light too. This is handy if you still struggle to see, even with the room light on.
Just like with the Shop Fox, you might find that it might also include added features like the sanding tool. This is especially handy if you are going to be working with wood. All it takes is the odd change of tool to move from one to another quickly.
As with most things you buy, you will want to ensure it has some form of warranty. While you might assume that it will work fine, knowing that you have the option of a contract will always give you peace of mind.
Some drill presses have a warranty included. This means you can return the product for fixing if anything goes wrong due to the item’s manufacturing.
However, even if it doesn’t have a warranty, you should be able to return the drill press within 30 days. This could be because of a fault or because it wasn’t exactly what you expected.
To avoid this, make sure you do your research. There are a lot of drill presses out there, so take a look at the top 5 above for inspiration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Several frequently asked questions about using a drill press:
Are There Any Advantages To Using A Drill Press?
The number one reason to use a drill press is for accuracy. It helps you drill at the exact angles you would like and keep the holes identical.
This is especially handy for those who are new to woodworking.
Do You Need A Drill Press?
No, you don’t need one, but a drill press will become your number one tool if you want to create accurate results, especially with intricate items like wooden toys.
At What Time Would You Want To Use A Drill Press And Not A Regular Drill?
A drill press is a great tool if you are drilling more than one hole. Instead of using your body to move around the wood, you will just need to move the wood because the drill is already in place and where you want it.
Is There A Limit To How Far A Drill Press Can Go?
Most drill presses can reach a depth of around 4 inches at most. However, it is always worth checking different manufacturers if you need something different.
How Does A Drill Press Work?
A drill press works by a motor turning the belts or gears inside the machine, which then rotates the spindle and chuck that grips the drill bit.
The hole is made due to the spinning bit.
What Does The ‘inch’ Number Mean On A Drill Press?
When a drill press says something like ‘8 inches’ or ’15 inches’, it means the distance between the spindle, which is where the drill bit is, and the pole which keeps the actual drill press standing upright.
It helps you determine the size you will need for your projects.