Benchtop drill presses allow you to drill holes quickly and accurately. They have power behind them, allowing them to drill through thick pieces of material with minimal effort on the part of the user. You often get a repeatable process, allowing you to handle large scale projects. However, not all benchtop drill presses are the same. What is the best benchtop drill press for your application? We’re going to provide a list of the top picks that you can choose from based on what your priorities are.
01. Wen Brand Model 4214 12 Inch Drill Press
This Wen brand drill press is a good, basic drill press. It is affordable. It runs off 120-volt power. This means it will run in the average garage workshop. It is a corded electric model, so you don’t have to worry about managing compressed air or batteries.
This drill press has a top speed of 3200 RPM. You can set it at any speed from 580 to 3200 RPM. An LED display allows you to see what speed the drill press is set at. It can drill through both metal and wood.
The spindle travel depth is just over three inches. It has a locking linear depth stop, so it can drill holes to a given depth, again and again, giving you clean, accurate cuts. The front to back drilling distance is 22 inches. The work table has a height adjustment. It can also bevel up to 45 degrees either to the left or the right.
The 9.5 inch square work surface is large enough for controlling the board but doesn’t take up much space. There is also a table roller extension to help you move and guide large workpieces. There is a five-eighths inch keyed chuck and key. It even comes with the tools you need to assemble it.
The work surface is only as stable as the supports of the drill press itself. And the drill press is wobbling. Stabilize it before you use it, if you have one of the less stable units. The laser guide that is intended to help you accurately locate the drill may be off-center, too.
The motor is a relatively high speed, but it is prone to burning out. The motor sometimes slows down during a job to avoid over-heating, but that causes it to take longer to drill a hole or cutout.
- Relatively compact design
- Can drill through both wood and metal
- Worksurface may not be flat or stay flat
02. Jet Brand Model J-2530 15 Inch Drill Press
Jet is not a well-known maker of machine tools. Yet they’ve made a decent bench drill press. This drill press is driven by a 0.75 horsepower motor. It is a robust piece that works well.
You can buy this drill press with a variety of taper mount drill chucks. The manufacturer also offers these and similar pieces of hardware separately. This drill press by Jet comes with a light to light up the work surface. It gets extra points for having a plastic shield to protect you from wood chips and metal shavings, though you should still wear safety glasses when working with it.
The drill press has a motor, drill and tilting table. It has a basic work surface above the base/stand. The benefit of this drill press is that the unit can stand on a workbench, whereas other units have to stand on the floor. Note that it is so heavy that it needs to be transported via a pallet, so don’t think that it is portable. The table height can be adjusted. You can alter the belt tension, too.
Once the drill gets above 1000 rotations per minute, the quill will start to vibrate. This can cause the drill bit tip to move during drilling. It is small, but it may affect your quality of work. The unit sometimes causes run out, too. It can have up to a hundredth of an inch of runout.
Assembling this is a challenge because the assembly instructions are missing several key steps. Adjusting the belts isn’t difficult but may be necessary before you start work.
The on-off switch takes so much effort to turn off that this could be a safety concern.
- Extras like work lights and shielding
- Difficult to assemble
03. Wen Brand Model 4208 Drill Press and Drill Bit Set
We mentioned that other drill presses sell extra hardware separately. One point in favor of this Wen drill press is that it comes with a 15 piece drill bit set. This is in addition to the five-speed drill press driven by a powerful motor. One-third of a horsepower motor is surprisingly quiet, too.
The drill press itself is incredibly accurate. There is little runout on the pulleys, though the output shaft and dial indicator may not be as accurate as desired. It isn’t good enough for high precision work, but it is ideal for do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Think plus or minus two thousands of an inch. There is no quill play.
This drill press is easy to assemble. There is good documentation on how to use it, such as when you need to alter the drill speed. The five speed settings take a lot of guesswork out of the equation. Note that all of the settings have low torque, because of the third of a horsepower motor behind it.
The top of the drill press doesn’t fit tightly with the top of the column. You may need to shim it to get everything perfectly level. The work surface itself is tight. And the work surface is hard to adjust. You have to slide it up or down, whereas other work tables let you move it in set increments. You have to do this by lifting on the handles on the sides of the table, and this can be awkward.
The drill bit can be hard to get square or perfectly aligned. Unlike other drill presses on this list, you can’t tilt it north to south.
The drill bit travel length is only two inches. This may not be enough for many users.
- Comes with a large, diverse drill bit set
- Easy to assemble
- No table tilt
- Short travel distance for drill
04. Genesis Brand Model GDP1005A 10 Inch Five Speed Drill Press
This five-speed drill press is powered by a 4 amp induction motor. That makes it quieter than average while giving you a smooth performance.
Its 5/8 inch chuck can handle larger drill bits. On the other hand, the drill table and the drill itself can shake. This can cause quality control problems.
This drill press has an integrated LED work light. However, there is no laser to guide the drill.
The work table is unusual in its flexibility. You can rotate it a full 360 degrees. This lets you drill holes around a workpiece clamped to the table without having to move it or the clamps. The work table also tilts up to 45 degrees.
The drill motor is not very powerful. It can’t cut thick pieces. This drill cannot cut hardwoods. It can’t cut metal or plastic effectively. Think balsa wood or other softwoods. The work surface can’t even handle very heavy pieces.
- Very flexible work table
- Relatively quiet motor
- Can handle bits over half an inch across
- The weak motor powering the drill
- Can’t cut anything hard
05. Genesis Brand Model GDP805P 2.6 Amp 8 Inch Drill Press
This is a five-speed 8-inch drill press by Genesis. It is driven by a 2.6 amp induction motor. That makes it relatively quiet, but it also means the drill has relatively little power behind it. It is a corded-electric drill press, and it can run off standard 120-volt electricity.
This drill press comes with an adjustable depth stop in addition to a tilt table. It comes with a chuck key and half-inch chuck. On the other hand, you may need to carefully align the pulleys and the main shaft to get accurate holes drilled. Yet this may be worth it given the unit’s low price. This may be the best benchtop drill press for someone on a budget.
The drill press has a table that can tilt zero to 45 degrees. The table and base have a relatively small footprint. That makes it easy to fit on a work table or garage floor. At 30 pounds, it is lighter than average. This means you could put it on a cart or carry it to a new location, though we wouldn’t call it portable the way we would a cordless drill.
The metal case is not very strong. In fact, it can bend and flex while the drill is operating to the point that it can cause the spindle to wobble when the drill press is under heavy load. This will cause oblong holes if you’re cutting hard woods or metals. The problem is also present when you’re using larger bits. Do not use this drill press if you want to cut large holes or cut heavier materials.
- Tilting work table
- Relatively lightweight and compact
- Wobbles when you’re cutting hard materials, preventing clean round holes
06. Shop Fox Brand Model W1668 Drill Press
This drill press is driven by a powerful 0.75 horsepower motor. It has a 13 inch benchtop drill press.
The unit has a spindle that can serve as a drill or sander. Very few drill presses allow you to use the drill as an oscillating sander.
The work surface is a round plastic piece with multiple cutouts. This makes the Shop Fox the best benchtop drill press for custom work since you can attach various tools and clamps to the workpiece.
This is a standard corded drill press. It weighs roughly 65 pounds. Set it on your workbench, and get to work. Assembly is straightforward, assuming you get all the parts. There are no complaints about difficult to understand instructions missing important steps.
The motor will burn up within two years, whether or not you’ve used it heavily. In some cases, the motor dies as soon as you get it. It is prone to damage during transport.
The drill doesn’t always drill straight when it is spinning. This is not necessarily due to problems with the motor but the alignment of key components.
The thin and poorly connected casing vibrates. That creates a lot of noise on top of the loud motor noise. Wear ear muffs in addition to safety glasses with this drill press.
- Can double as a sander
- Has a powerful motor
- Noisy and loud
- Doesn’t always drill straight
07. Powermatic Brand Model PM2800B Drill Press
This is a premier drill press, and it has an equally premium price tag.
This drill press has up to six inches of quill travel. Yet it has good controls. For example, it has an excellent fence system. There is an adjustable material stop. You can adjust the speed to be almost anything you want, and a digital RPM readout lets you see what it is currently set as. Better yet, you can adjust the speed digitally. You don’t have to play with belts to get the right speed.
The unit has built-in LED lights. That’s extra on many assemblies. You get laser guides, too.
There is sometimes run out on the chuck. The depth stop doesn’t always stay where you set it. This means the drill isn’t always as precise as it should be. This is disappointing given how expensive the unit is. The keyless chuck could accidentally release the bit. This isn’t a safety hazard, but it can break your drill bits.
- Adjust the drill speed without messing with belts
- Not always precise
The best benchtop drill press will have the features and the core functionality you need, no matter what that may be. Choose a benchtop drill press that fits your lifestyle and your project to-do list.