If you are like me, you are also tired of reading numerous promotional articles that only try to assure you that a particular drill press “works like a charm,” “will make your every wish come true,” and “is the best thing available on the market.” Moreover, every drill press brand claims its appliance to be the best one.
Should we trust them?
They claim that they are the best on the market according to the customers’ reviews. However, in my opinion it is more reasonable to try different approaches to this issue. Having experienced many failures in my search, I came to a point when I was sick and tired of all the useless advice those articles gave me. I have made the conclusion that a particular product can be the best one for me and just horrible or mediocre for my neighbor.
I think that the buyer is the only person who can decide what is the best product for him. First of all, to do it, he or she should research the information about more than one appliance and only then decide which one is the most suitable for his or her needs. Considering all this, I have written the article that provides more opportunities for you to pick out the best drill press for your needs.
Top Five Best Drill Presses
It is an appliance produced by one of the China’s largest hardware equipment manufacturers. This product has enough power for efficient drilling through a wide variety of materials, for example, plastic, wood, metal, and much more. This tool is perfect for making accurate and repeatable holes, which can be compared to those, produced by a handheld drill and has been manufactured from industrial grade materials. The induction WEN 4208 motor features special ball bearings providing an extended lifespan of the motor. Considering its price tag and size, this WEN appliance has a strong motor and operates very smoothly. Aside from the depth gauge, this tool comes with the useful retraction stop as well as a depth stop. Moreover, it does not wobble while drilling through harder materials. However, you will experience some troubles with the laser tool since you will need to adjust it almost every time it is used. As the chuck key spring makes it harder to tighten the chuck, it can be a kind of a nuisance.
This SKIL product has been available on the market since 2010 and already become a favorite for those men and women who adore some home projects and woodwork. Being very reasonable in price and quite portable in size, it has been designed for personal usage. However, do not let its size fool you, this appliance can handle everything you may throw at it. Made of prime quality materials, it is also equipped with a wide laser tool.
All its screws and knobs are rugged to ensure a long lifespan. The accuracy of the lasers is incredible since the appliance is precise even in making the smallest holes. However, the drill functionality and design lack the modern touch that can be a problem if you are used to having the latest models. Drilling through harder materials, you may notice some wobbling that, however, does not interrupt the machine functionality.
This Delta press will be the perfect option for wood workshops and those enthusiasts who want to have a professional drilling press at their workspace. With 16-speed drilling functionality, the auto tensioning belt, and powerful motor, this product leaves others far behind. Since it has LED illumination, depth stop, and ultra-precise depth scale, precision is not a problem with this appliance.
This Delta 18-900L can be easily considered one of the best drill press since it has all that you may need. The Delta 18-900L quill travel of 6-inch is smooth and efficient. Thanks to the spindle nuts’ design, they can be easily moved without turning. With smooth operation and stainless steel finish, Delta 18-900L looks good as well as performs well. Thanks to the auto-tensioning belt, changing the speed is more efficient and easier. However, you may experience some problems due to the appliance size as it is bulky and stands tall, so you will not get additional convenience by placing it on the worktable.
This Powermatic PM2800B 1792800B is the drilling press of any woodworker’s dream. Thanks to the number of the Powermatic features, this product’s capabilities are pushed above the competitors. It comes with an expanded worktable, which is the largest on the market and can be rotated 90 degrees enabling the operator to adjust its table for efficient meeting the application needs. The single-phase 1-hp electric motor of 18 inches is infinitely variable that allows the drill press to change its speed without turning the motor off and changing a belt.
Powermatic PM2800B is designed for simple set-up and operation. It has twin LED lights, which are mounted near the spindle that provide ample light that is enough to see the work piece so that you do not need to have a large light to be constantly on. You can quickly and easily adjust the plunge depth with the help of the press of a button. By the way, this feature is something revolutionary in terms of drill presses and not widely used in the metal shop. Being designed for the woodworker, this Powermatic appliance can easily handle drilling heavy metal.
The easy use is unprecedented and perfect for woodworkers interested in a high piece output. All the features that any operator could require are presented in this appliance, and it is welcome in any shop due to its medium size. The PM2800B is surely the drill press that every woodworker should have, whether for professional operating in a commercial shop or just for amateur work.
JET 354165 JDP-15M 3/4-HP 15-Inch Bench
This JET 354165 is perfect for workshops with significant power requirements in small spaces. Thanks to 16 speeds, this JET’s product is an ideal option not only for drilling but also for many other chores such as shaping, plating, sanding, routing, mortising, and much more. Aside from the industrial grade components and slick design, JET 354165 worktable has a quick release clamp and rotates 45 degrees.
Using this machine, you can quickly adjust its speed to your needs. Its powerful motor, resting in the machine’s heart, packs up 3/4 hp. The column and base of this appliance are made of chunky metal, which keeps its ground no matter whether you use tough material or not. The locks and clamps that are placed on the drill’s side are somewhat hard to open . However, it may be a good thing since it ensures that while the drill press is working, they will not get released because of the vibrations. Initially, you may also notice that its belt tension lever falls quite short, and the table crank mechanism works not as smooth as it should.
Drill Press Buyers’ Guide
What Do We Consider a Drill Press?
Since early years of human history, drills have been used for various kinds of activities ranging from drilling holes, boring, and reaming. A drill press is a common denominator in metalwork and carpentry fields and is a typical product in most workshops. It is an essential machine for drilling holes, which can be bolted to the floor or a bench or set up on some stand. It usually has a column or a pillar, a base, a drill head as well as a spindle. A workbench or table can provide a handy base for attaching the drill. The same role can be performed by a metal stand. Otherwise, you can just bolt the appliance to the floor. There are can be various accessories added to the drilling tool, which can make it adjustable for such tasks as grinding, buffing, shaping, and sanding.
Drill presses may be of several models. The most widely used ones of them are the radial model, the floor-standing model, the bench-top model, and the magnetic model. Each model differs from others mostly in terms of capacity, affordability, portability, and power requirements. For example, if you require a more powerful drill that has a wide variety of accessories, a perfect choice for you will be a floor-standing model. On the other hand, a consumer who needs a simpler machine for simpler tasks and home use will appreciate a bench-top drill press more. A magnetic machine is more powerful and more portable compared to the floor or bench press model. Due to a tilted head, a radial model can bore angled drill holes and offers a wide swing, which means that it is appropriate for drilling through thick or broad materials. While the floor-standing and bench-top models are more affordable, the radial and magnetic models cost more.
Opposed to a hand-held drill, a drill press is preferable mostly due to the accuracy in making holes of any specified width or a certain depth. Because this appliance is stationary, it is possible to use it while drilling steadily and consistently, aside from improved accuracy. The three arms of a handle help to control the downward and upward movements of the head allowing you more control and ensuring easy usage. Being motor operated, a drill press requires much less effort from a user.
Before purchasing a drill press, it is crucial for a consumer to consider the different models and his or her particular requirements. It will help to make a reasonable choice easier. Looking at various models and their features, you should consider such factors as the types and sizes of materials that you will work with. It is also crucial to take into account the floor space, the metal density that will be used, and the frequency of drilling angled holes.
Every model of drill presses has variations in the structure that are crucial in terms of its use. However, there are a number of standard construction features for all drill presses as a worktable, a pillar, a base, a drill head, a spindle, and a quill. All of these features have their individual functions. Some drill models may have some additional features.
The pillar is an extremely stable column, which supports the spindle and sleeve of the drill. As a rule, it is made of solid material and circular. The worktable is commonly attached to the pillar.
The drill press’s accuracy is determined by the base as it holds the whole appliance up. Mounting the base on a table or the floor properly, you can minimize the vibration, especially when you use a floor-standing drill press.
With the help of the spindle, the drilling bit or any other cutting tools are held, when it is spinning in a sleeve. The spindle is upright on most appliances.
You can refer to the quill as a sleeve as well. When the spindle continues spinning, the quill is either raised or lowered and the pressure is varied by the motor or a hand to determine the cut depth.
The head consists of the spindle, the quill, and the motor. Being attached to the column, it allows its up-and-down movements for varying the depth of cutting according to the needs.
Since the worktable is portable, it can be adjusted to suit the tilt or length of the pieces that are worked on and height of the user for more convenience. You can tilt it either horizontally or vertically. Most worktables have slots for keeping work accessories.
Looking for a drilling appliance, you should consider two essential issues. They are the unit’s stroke and swing. The drill press’s size is equal to the distance from the column to the drill. It is called the throat depth. You can calculate the size of a drill multiplying this throat depth by two. Hence, if the distance between the drill and the column is six inches, the drill can get to the center of the circle with a 12-inche diameter. The obtained figure indicates the cutting material width that the drill press can accommodate. It is called the swing of the unit. The stroke, which is also called the quill stroke, shows how deep you can drill. Sizes of each of the drill press mentioned above vary according to the functions of the model.
Thus, a swing of bench-top models can be 10-12 inches and their stroke may be up to 4 inches. A swing of a floor-standing model ranges from 15 to 17 inches and its stroke is 3-6 inches. Magnetic models come with a stroke of 4-8 inches.
Radial models’ swing is 24 inches and more, which allows to drill and cut broader materials.
Drill Presses’ Types
Since drill presses are the tools used in workshops, they are available in various types, and thus they differ in purpose, size, capacity, and cost, of course. So, if you are going to install a workshop, we advise you to look through the different types of these appliances along with their features to be sure that you have purchased the right machine for your workshop.
The presses can be classified into two main types, which are the floor (or standing) and the bench presses. Both of them serve different purposes; that is why they have different capacity and relevant works. Let us consider these types of drill presses separately to have a clear idea of which press you should purchase and install in the workshop.
If you plan to deal with the manufacturing process and large projects in your workshop, a floor or standing drill is a perfect first choice for you. You can install this drill directly on the floor that provides better support for the appliance. This unit has a swing capability of about 14-20 inches and 16-speed levels, a floor drill will be much more reliable and powerful compared to a bench or any other drill type. Thanks to the wide range of available speed options, it provides a worker with more control over the process and thus makes it more precise. Aside from the small workshops, a floor drill is quite suitable for home usage as well.
Bench drills are the second type of these appliances that you can find in small workshops especially wooden ones. These drills are smaller compared to the floor drills, and thus can be installed right on the worktable. However, as they are smaller, their capability is obviously lacking. Hence, the bench drills have a swing of 8-12 inches and a stroke of about 3,5 inches. These appliances are capable of operating with 1/4 or 1/3 hp. The bench presses are ideal for working with wooden models.
Considering this, if you plan to use your appliance in a wooden workshop, you can purchase a bench drill, which will eventually make your cost of investment less with gaining more profit.
Aside from these two types, there is one more classification, according to which we can distinguish such types of drills as radial arm, upright sensitive, and multi-spindle. Choosing out of these, a radial arm drill press model is the most suitable for using in large projects and handles the bigger things more easily that is practically not possible while using a bench drill press.
The main point is that you should choose your drill press according to your manufacturing plan and use. In case you purchase the wrong drill, you will spend your money in vain and will not get an appliance meeting your needs, and it is not desirable for anyone. That is why you should know your needs perfectly before buying any product, including drills so that you can choose the right appliance that suits your needs.
Advantages of Using a Drill Press
Comparing to the hand-held drills, drill presses have many significant advantages:
- The principal advantage of using a drill press is its accuracy. Its design allows you to drill your workpiece at precise angles. It also enables you to make holes of identical position, size, and depth.
- You will be required less effort for applying the drill to your workpiece while working with it. Since the movements of the chuck and spindle are operated by a lever performing on a rack and pinion, the user has considerable mechanical advantage.
- The table of the appliance allows a vise or clamp to position and lock your work piece in place making the operation much more secure.
- Thanks to the fixation of the spindle angle on the table, the holes are drilled accurately and repetitively.
- You can achieve a change in the speed of your drill by manually moving the belt across an arrangement of the stepped pulley. Most modern drill presses also use both a variable-speed motor and the stepped pulley system.
- Using a drill press is a very practical choice for drilling holes in wood. It allows a user to make a drilling process easier and helps to achieve more accuracy. By the way, it can usually be found in any woodworker’s store.
- Providing excellent versatility, it is capable of making more than only drilling holes. You can also use it for miscellaneous workshop tasks, for example, sanding, polishing or honing, thanks to mounting sanding drums, honing wheels, and other numerous rotating accessories of the set.
- Its powerful motor helps to save a woodworker’s energy. It also enables a worker to use quite large drill bits for making wider holes.
- Providing proper functionality, it allows woodworkers to drill angled holes accurately. To drill at various angles is another advantage of it. You can effectively use it for drilling holes in your furniture legs and other strangely shaped pieces of wood.
- The provided safety and security are another significant benefit of these appliances. Thanks to the variable speed, woodworkers have a good control over the drill bit. It helps to ensure your safety during the operation and prevent the drill bit’s breakdown during the use. The clamp or vice that ensures the stable position of the piece of wood on the worktable also provides your safety during the operation by preventing slipping of the wood.
How Can You Choose the Best-Rated Drill Press
The distance between the axis, where the drill spindle turns, the rear supporting column as well as the throat size determines the flexibility of a drill press. The most frequent throat size is 7,5 inches. Since they can drill into the middle of a 15-inch workpiece, these drill presses are considered 15-inch models.
The depth of cut is determined by the hit length and the column length. Freestanding presses are longer than compared to bench top models. Both bench top and freestanding models feature heavy bases made of cast-iron. The process of worktable sliding along the column is much smoother while using the freestanding models. Thanks to tilting the worktable, some models can allow you to drill angled holes. Electric motors, usually powering bench drills, are installed behind the columns. The drill throw is adjusted depending on where the depth stop is set.
Horsepower ratings vary from 1/6 hp to 2 hp and more, depending on the drill size. The drill speed variability determines its versatility. Higher speeds are usually used for cutting wood while slower ones are perfect for cutting metals.
The remarkable range of drill press’s attachments includes an extension, brad point, spade, twist, Forstner drills, plug cutters, router bits, dovetail groovers, rotary rasps, and mortising attachments.
Essential specifications for you to consider while looking for the best-rated drill press available on the market are speed, power, throat depth, attachments, and adjustments.
All of the above-mentioned best drill presses are popular among professionals and come with a decent set of features providing good value for money. We consider Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser our top choice in terms of specifications and features. SKIL 3320-01 is the best value for money since it is equipped with 85 % of the features that are ever needed by users. However, choosing the most suitable drill press for your work you should consider the materials you will work with, and your specific requirements as what is excellent for me can be totally horrible for you. Only the buyer can know which appliance is truly the best one for him or her.
How Should a Drill Press Be Used?
Setting the speed
Using most drills, you will have to move their drive belt to this or that pulley to asset their speed. As a rule, the smaller the pulley is, the faster it spins. It is better to use slower speeds for drilling metals while faster ones are more suitable for working with woods.
Fitting the belt
If you need to fit the belts, firstly, open the chuck, then slide in the bit, snug the chuck manually around the bits shaft, and tighten the three chuck jaws with the help of the key. Remember to remove the chuck since when you leave it there, it may become a dangerous projectile when you turn on your drill. Pay attention that to drill larger holes, firstly, you should drill a smaller pilot hole.
Adjusting the table
There is a crank in some drills, with the help of which the table height can be adjusted. Other drills can easily move after you release the clamping level. Set its table to your desired height suitable for the operation you will perform.
If you only need to drill a hole on some piece of stock, you may not have to adjust the depth of gauges. On the other hand, if you deal with stopped holes the depth of which is fixed, depth gauging is a crucial thing. To do it, you need to reduce the bit of the appliance to the desired height and adjust the Knurled nuts to the right stopping point on the depth gauge. One of the nuts should stop the spindle, and the other will lock in the right place.
Securing the workspace
For starting to operate with the drill press, you should fix the workpiece in right place, firstly. The drill bit rotation can try to spin the wood or metal workpiece. That is why it is important to clamp the worktable and brace it against the supporting column placed at the rear of the appliance.
N.B.: Do not anchor the workplace while operating the drill press.
As you have set the right speeds, adjusted the drill’s table and fixed the workpiece, it is extremely easy to put the appliance to work. Having confirmed that the drill is spinning at full-speed, swing the rotating level, lower the bit and present it to the workpiece. Having drilled the whole piece, reduce the pressure on the appliance’s level and return it to its initial position using the Spring-loaded return feature.
When you deal with metals, it is crucial to set the appliance at low speeds because of the high density of used material. If you drill through metal using high speeds, it will burn out your appliance. Several drops of cutting oil applied to the metal before drilling can also serve as an extra preventive measure.
If you need to cut a circle, the circle cutter should be used, and your workpiece should be clamped to the appliance’s table. For preventing table damages, it is better to place a scrap wood piece under the workpiece.
Safety and Maintenance of a Drill Press
Drill presses are very useful and handy machines for home usage. However, there are several essential rules that you should follow.
These rules are following:
- Make sure that your drill press is securely fixed either to the worktable or to the floor depending on the model you have.
- Use a clamping kit or a vice. You should secure a vice to the adjustable table properly.
- Make sure that the appliance’s belts are in their right position on the pulleys, that the tension is appropriate. You should always keep the top cover securely closed.
- Using the provided chuck key, secure the drill bit properly. The bit securing with the help of the key is usually better to do by moving the appliance’s chuck to two guide holes in sequence.
- Held the workpiece chosen for drilling into securely by the help of the clamping kit or vice.
- It is better to mark the exact spot wished for drilling into using a center punch. It contributes to line the appliance’s bit up. Hence you will drill the needed hole in the appropriate place.
- Choose the correct speed and use the feed handles to fix the workpiece. To achieve maximum efficiency, the exerted pressure must be consistent and steady. Drill the hole of the required depth in the workpiece. Do not stop and start while drilling since you may damage your appliance. A drill must be taken out from the hole before turning off the appliance.
- A drill press usually requires extremely little maintenance. Be sure to clean it up after usage, especially the table. Remember to check the belts for damages or wear and tear and replace them when necessary.
- To ensure your safety, always wear protective gloves and safety goggles while drilling. No long jackets or sleeved shirts are allowed. Remember to always switch your appliance off and if there is an opportunity, plug it out when leaving the workplace.
It is imperative not to consider the price as the only factor while choosing the perfect drill press for your workshop. The decisive factor, in this case, should be the kind of work the appliance will be used for. For example, if you need a drill press just for performing some handyman work, you do not need to buy a professional grade appliance. Considering these decent drill press reviews, you can make a well-informed choice and purchase the product that meets your needs the best.
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