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Do you know the difference between a chuck and a spindle on a benchtop drill press? Do you know how best to use a mortiser or a hydraulic floor press?

With different models of power tools sharing such similar specifications, it can be nearly impossible to determine which unit to buy. When trying to choose the best drill press, you may run into the same confusion.

We are here to help. A drill press is a great addition to the average garage, work shed, or tool shed, especially if you routinely need holes drilled in precise locations. These items are particularly customizable. You can equip them with several accessories and purchase them with a variety of features.

But these versatile pieces of equipment come in so many different forms, shapes, and sizes, that sorting through them for the best drill press can be a tiresome chore.

We’ve reviewed the best drill press models on the market, and a few other appliances that will likely prove useful to you alongside any drill press you choose.

Below our drill press reviews, refer to our Buyer’s Guide to better understand what specifications will be most relevant in your search for the best benchtop drill press or floor-model drill press. Read our FAQ to make the most informed choice about which model type will work best for you!

Drill Press Comparison

DEWALT DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press

Motor: 10 amp, Speed: 2 settings, Drill Travel: 4 inches, Height: 22.4 inches, Laser: No

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

Motor: 5 amp, Speed: 5 settings, Drill Travel: 3-1/8 inches, Height: 36.6 inches, Laser: Yes

Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press

Motor: 3/4 horsepower, Speed: 16 settings, Drill Travel: 6 inches, Height: 61 inches, Laser: Yes

WEN 4225 8.6-Amp Variable Speed Floor Standing Drill Press

Motor: 8.6 amp, Speed: Adjustable, Drill Travel: 4 inches, Height: 63 inches, Laser: Yes

Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser

Motor: 115 volts, Speed: 1725 RPM, Drill Travel: 5-1/2 inches, Height: 17.4 inches, Laser: No

Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand

Motor: 1 horsepower, Speed: 1725 RPM, Drill Travel: 6 inches, Height: 74 inches, Laser: No

Dake F-10 Model Manual Utility Hydraulic Floor Press

Motor: Single-speed hydraulic hand pump, Speed: N/A, Drill Travel: N/A, Height: 60 inches, Laser: No

Hougen HMD904 115-Volt Magnetic Drill

Motor: 7.2A (120V)/3.6A (230V), Speed: 450 RPM, Drill Travel: 1-1/2 inch x 2 inches, Height: 16-3/8 inches, Laser: No

PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser

Motor: 11 amp, Speed: 27,500 RPM, Drill Travel: 4-1/2 inches, Height: 19 inches, Laser: No

JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill Press

Motor: 1.5 horsepower, Speed: 12 settings, Drill Travel: 4-5/8-inches, Height: 67 inches, Laser: No

The Top 10 Best Drill Press Reviews 2017

DEWALT DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press – Great mid-range option

DEWALT engineered the DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press to provide optimal performance. With a 10-amp motor and two different speed settings, this drill press is a versatile option for any craftsman.

The tool includes overload protection electronics to help prevent any damage to the motor. Since it’s important to keep drill presses cool, magnetic coolant bottles can be placed on either side of the drill press or the surrounding work surface.

These safety measures keep the drill press operational and prevent accessory wear.

When you want to change between a 3/4-inch Weldon Shank and a 1/2-inch keyed chuck, the DWE1622K’s Quick Change chuck system allows you to do it without any additional tools. And if you want to change handles from one side of the tool to the other, the Quick Release feed handles make it easy to do without the use of other tools.

For heavy duty jobs, the 4-inch drill travel provides maximum capacity. The motor height adjustment also gives a greater range of accessory compatibility.

As beneficial as the Quick-Change chuck system can be, some consumers dislike its loose fit.

Pros
  • Includes overload protection electronics.
  • 4-inch drill travel for maximum capacity in heavy duty jobs.
Cons
  • Loose fitting Quick Change chuck system.

The DEWALT DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press is a great mid-range option with several useful features. The DWE1622K comes with two different speed settings, 4-inch drill travel, overload protection electronics, and room for magnetic coolant bottles on either side. Thanks to its 10-amp motor, this is a powerful option for the price that will get the drilling jobs done for your project.

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press – Editor’s Choice for a Bargain

The WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press comes with a 5-amp motor and five separate speed settings, allowing for an infinitely variable range of speed for your projects. This model is capable of drilling through metal, wood, plastic, and many other materials—even cast iron.

A digital LED displays the current speed as you drill.

The 5-amp motor prolongs operations by utilizing ball bearings and balancing performance. If you’re looking for versatility, the WEN 4214 offers a 5/8-inch chuck with an MT2 spindle taper. It also comes with onboard chuck key storage.

An X-pattern laser points straight at your drill points, ensuring precision and efficiency.

The WEN 4214’s cast iron frame includes a head, table, and base with pre-drilled holes for mounting.

Some consumers report that performances suffer when drilling in metal rather than wood. Others report that quality varies between orders, and some drill presses ceased to function after minimal use.

Pros
  • The variable range of speed.
  • Can drill through cast iron.
  • X-pattern laser indicates drill points.
Cons
  • Quality varies between orders.

With five speed settings and the ability to drill through several materials, the WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press is one of the best drill press bargains on this list. The 5-amp motor drives and balances performance while the digital LED and X-pattern laser keep you on track and informed about your drill. Though the quality does vary between orders, the ability to drill through cast iron at this price is impressive.

Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press – Ideal for woodworking

The Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press has a belt drive system that is auto-tensioning, allowing for speed changes without any hassle. The drill press is powered by a 3/4-horsepower motor and comes with 16 different speed settings.

A fully-adjustable laser points crosshairs straight at your drill points, ensuring precision and efficiency with the 6-inch drill travel.

With this level of accuracy and capability, the Delta 18-900L is ideal for working with all types of wood. This model has slots for clamping and a removable center panel to accommodate drilling through the table.

A LED light helps you see the work surface, and a non-tip cast iron base gives you maximum stability.

Some consumers report dissatisfaction with the quality of the Delta 18-900L. Parts sometimes break off the drill press, and the model is not always manufactured carefully.

Pros
  • 16 different speed settings.
  • Laser crosshairs indicate drill points.
  • Removable center panel.
Cons
  • Some models are poorly manufactured.

The Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press is one of the best drill press models reviewed when it comes to woodworking. It features 16 different speed settings and a laser crosshairs to help position the drill exactly where you need it to bore your hole. The removable center panel makes it easy to drill through the worktable, and a LED light illuminates your work surface in low light conditions. Though the Delta 18-900L isn’t always manufactured carefully, its range of features and abilities make it a good bet.

WEN 4225 8.6-Amp Variable Speed Floor Standing Drill Press – Great for woodworking with 4×4 boards

The WEN 4225 8.6-Amp Variable Speed Floor Standing Drill Press comes with an 8.6-amp motor and 4 inches of drill travel capacity. This model is excellent for working with 4×4 boards.

While drilling, adjust the variable speed from 280 to 1000 RPM with a turn of the lever. You can also adjust the belt for speeds ranging from 1000 to 3300 RPM. A digital display notes the speed setting at all times.

A fully-adjustable laser marks the exact location of your drill points, ensuring precision and efficiency.

The WEN 4225’s cast iron frame gives this model a secure support system for heavy duty drilling. It also comes with onboard chuck key storage.

Sometimes the lasers can be mechanically difficult to align, and you’ll need to buy a separate accessory to use small drill bits.

Pros
  • Laser marks the exact location of drill points.
  • Speeds vary between 280 RPM and 3300 RPM.
Cons
  • The laser can be difficult to align.
  • Accessory required to use small drill bits.

The WEN 4225 8.6-Amp Variable Speed Floor Standing Drill Press was designed with 4×4 wooden boards in mind. If you’re looking for routine wood drilling abilities, the WEN 4225 might be the unit you want. It comes with an 8.6-amp motor, 4 inches of drill travel, variable speed settings up to 1000 RPM, and a laser pointer that will help you align your project with the drill. Though that laser can sometimes prove a bit difficult to manage, the onboard chuck key storage helps make this drill press model a safe choice.

Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser – Editor’s Choice for Left-Handed Craftsmen

The Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser comes with a 3/4-horsepower, 115-volt motor and 5-1/2 inches of drill travel capacity.

This model is excellent for left-handed craftsmen, as the reversible handle can be switched to either side of the drill press without the use of any tools. The motor for this Powermatic model runs at 1725 RPM and has a chuck capacity of 1/2 inch.

It’s a benchtop drill press that’s equipped to cut squared mortises in your woodworking project.

The large, hinged chuck door has a magnetic catch. It allows you to access the drill chuck easily using a standard 4-inch chuck key. A rack and pinion system adjusts the fence.

However, the head does not swivel, so it cannot be used for oversized pieces, and some consumers report that the reversible handle breaks with the first use.

Pros
  • The handle can be switched to either side of the drill press.
Cons
  • Does not have a laser to guide precision.
  • Reversible handle breaks easily.
  • Smaller than other units.

Because the reversible handle can be moved to either side of the drill press, the Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser is a great option if you’re left-handed. This Powermatic comes with a 3/4-horsepower, 115-volt motor and 5-1/2 inches of drill travel. It’s a compact benchtop drill press equipped for cutting mortises, but the stationary head will prevent you from using this with oversized pieces. The drill runs at 1725 RPM and has a chuck capacity of 1/2 inch.

Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand – Editor’s Choice for Storage

The Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand uses a heavy-duty cast iron frame to support a 1-horsepower motor. The rack-and-pinion gear system uses a spring-loaded, adjustable handle with six positions and a gas-filled shock to make mortising smooth.

Thanks to the adjustable jibs mounted on the head, this Powermatic model is long lasting and can provide years of uninterrupted service.

One of the most significant benefits to this model is the large, 20-inch wooden table. The table will support your work and adjust to various angles using large, wheeled controls.

In the stand at the base, an enclosed steel cabinet offers lots of storage for your chisels and accessories.

This model is a bit too large if you’re looking for something compact, and some consumers report that this model may be cheaply made.

Pros
  • Large, 20-inch wooden table.
  • Steel cabinet for storage.
Cons
  • Materials may be manufactured cheaply.

The Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand has the most storage available of any other drill press model on this list. The base includes a steel cabinet for stashing all your chisels, chucks, and accessories. It also boasts a large, 20-inch wooden worktable, so if you’re looking for a floor-model drill press to support professional projects, this Powermatic may be an excellent choice.

Dake F-10 Model Manual Utility Hydraulic Floor Press – Great for metal forming

The Dake F-10 Model Manual Utility Hydraulic Floor Press is a manual utility hydraulic floor press rather than a drill press, but it’s still a great option for several projects. Using fluid pressure, hydraulic presses compress materials at a constant force. These are particularly useful in metal forming.

This model’s single-speed hydraulic pump lowers the ram for pressing and forming with up to 10 tons of force.

The cylinder and the handle for the pump can both be moved to either side of the press. This ability helps optimize the space available and your comfort in using it.

This model includes two interchangeable ram noses: a flat one for typical pressing and a step-reduced nose piece. The step-reduced piece helps with positioning and supporting pieces when pressing.

Note that mounting hardware and hydraulic oil are not included, and the Dake press requires some assembly.

Pros
  • Operates with 10 tons of force.
  • The cylinder and pump handle can be moved to either side of the press.
Cons
  • Mounting hardware and hydraulic oil are not included.

The Dake F-10 Model Manual Utility Hydraulic Floor Press uses fluid pressure to compress materials at a constant force. It’s great for working with metals and uses up to 10 tons of force in its pressing. Since the cylinder and handle can both be moved to either side, it’s another great tool for left-handed craftsmen and maximizes the space available for your projects. Mounting hardware and hydraulic oil are not included.

Hougen HMD904 115-Volt Magnetic Drill – Compact and powerful for fabrication

Hougen designed their HMD904 115-Volt Magnetic Drill to drill superior holes with speed and ease. You might be interested in this drill if you’re looking for something with light weight, compact size, and versatility.

The Hougen uses a pilot light to maintain hole accuracy in low light conditions. Several accessories are available for this drill, including drill chucks, tapping, countersink, and more.

Because the feed handles can change from side to side, this is a great option if you have varying needs in your projects. The Hougen HMD904 also comes with a lift detector safety system and controls mounted in the rear.

Hougen even includes a carrying case and a pint of coolant.

However, this drill only operates at one speed—450 RPM—so if you’re looking for a bit more speed, this might not be the best choice.

Pros
  • Lightweight, compact, and versatile.
  • Includes a carrying case and a pint of coolant.
Cons
  • Only operates at a speed of 450 RPM.

As one of the smaller options, the Hougen HMD904 115-Volt Magnetic Drill is powerful in fabrication projects. If you’re looking for something lightweight, compact, and versatile, the Hougen is a great choice. You can outfit this drill press with many accessories. The feed handles can be positioned on either side. And Hougen ships the model with a carrying case and a pint of coolant. This drill press is portable!

PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser – Editor’s Choice for Box Locks

The PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser is not a drill press in the strictest sense, but it functions in much the same way, cutting holes for box locks into the sides of doors.

The PORTER-CABLE accommodates doors up to 4-1/2-inches thick, and it cuts mortises up to 7 inches long. With an 11-amp motor that runs at 27,500 RPM, this is a powerful tool to add to your garage.

Cuts made with this PORTER-CABLE model are detailed and precise. The mortise unit automatically centers its cuts in the middle of the edge of the door.

However, adjusting the different lock settings can sometimes be challenging for a new user. The guides meant to help you aim the mortise unit can also be somewhat inaccurate.

Pros
  • Accommodates doors up to 4-1/2-inches thick.
  • Cuts mortises up to 7 inches long.
Cons
  • Adjusting between settings can be challenging for beginners.

The PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser is your best bet if you need to cut mortises into a door. In any project requiring the installation of a box lock, you’ll need a mortise unit, and this one accommodates doors up to 4-1/2 inches thick. It cuts mortises up to 7 inches long. Though adjusting between settings can be challenging for those unfamiliar with the PORTER-CABLE 513, this is a powerful tool to add to any workspace.

JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill Press – Luxury of choice in speed settings

The JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill Press comes with a 1.5 horsepower motor with 12 different speed settings. You can change between those speed settings easily by disengaging the motor beneath the hinged metal cover and switching the belt onto a different pulley.

The support table beneath the drill raises and lowers to the position you need with the turn of a crank. It also angles to accommodate a number of drilling needs.

This JET model has a diameter of 1/2-inch for its external positive depth stop and three-nut locking feature. It also includes an on/off switch on the front of the drill press head and a built-in work lamp for low light conditions.

However, this model does not allow users to reverse the spindle rotation or drill direction. If you’re looking to tap numerous holes, other models might be a better choice.

Pros
  • 12 different speed settings.
  • Support table raises, lowers, and angles.
Cons
  • Does not support hole tapping.

The JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill Press offers 12 different speed settings, and you can switch between them easily. It’s a floor model, so it’s larger than some of the other drill presses reviewed, but if you’re planning on more drilling than the average hobbyist, the JET might be a good choice. It comes with a 1.5 horsepower motor and does not support hole tapping.

Editor’s Choice

Editor’s Choice for a Bargain – WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

As one of the cheaper units reviewed, the WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press is the best drill press if you’re on a tight budget. It comes with several impressive features, including five different speed settings and an X-pattern laser that will help you aim your drill with precision.

The WEN 4214 can drill through cast iron and uses a digital LED display to keep you aware of your current speed setting.

If you’re looking for a beginner’s drill press, this might be an excellent place to start.

Editor’s Choice for Left-Handed Craftsmen – Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser

If you’re left-handed, working with tools can sometimes prove frustrating.

The Powermatic 1791310 PM701 3/4 Horsepower Bench Mortiser is our best recommendation for any of our left-handed craftsmen. The reversible handle can be switched to either side of the drill press, making it easy to use no matter which hand you use more often.

This Powermatic comes with 5-1/2 inches of drill travel and runs at 1725 RPM. It’s a benchtop model of compact size that’s built for cutting mortises in wood.

Editor’s Choice for Storage – Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand

None of the other reviewed drill presses have as much storage as the Powermatic 1791264K Model 719T Tilt Table Mortiser with Stand. The base of the drill sits on an enclosed metal cabinet. The cabinet makes a great place for storing any of your accessories for the drill.

Some of the other drill presses have storage, but this floor model drill press resembles a piece of furniture as much as a power tool.

Editor’s Choice for Box Locks – PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser

Most of these units are intended to drill holes through materials. The PORTER-CABLE 513 1-1/2 Horsepower Lock Mortiser is meant to cut squared mortises into the sides of doors.

This PORTER-CABLE model is worth considering if you need to install a box lock in a door. It accommodates doors up to 4-1/2-inches thick and cuts mortises up to 7 inches long.

If you want a classic drill press, this unit might not be your best option, but it’s a great choice as a mortiser.

How to Choose the Best Drill Press – Buyer’s Guide

What is a drill press?

A drill press is a wood- or metal-cutting machine, and it is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can own. It is used in place of a hand drill when you need more control and accuracy for the orientation or location of the hole you’re drilling.

In short, drill presses bore holes into projects.

The base of the drill press supports a column, and the column supports a worktable. Some worktables can move up and down the column or be tilted at different angles. Other worktables have removable inserts. The column of the drill press supports the head, and the head contains the motor.

The motor causes the spindle to move, usually at varied speeds controlled by the operator. The spindle holds a drill chuck. The drill chuck can be outfitted with various cutting and drilling tools and accessories.

What should I consider when buying a drill press?

Examine the unit’s capacity or the unit’s “swing.” The size of a drill press is two times its throat depth, which is what we call the distance between the chuck and its column.

So, for instance, if you want to drill a hole in the middle of a 12-inch piece of material, you’ll need a 12-inch drill press because it has a 6-inch throat depth.

Also, be aware of the difference between a bench-top unit and a floor model drill press. Floor models come with more power and offer more accessories and attachments. If you plan to do a lot of heavy-duty drilling, a floor model is your best bet.

If you’re more of a hobbyist with occasional drilling needs, a bench-top unit may better suit you. These models are also more affordable.

What accessories and features are available for drill presses?

A drill press can be equipped to fulfill a number of roles using various accessories.

  • A mortiser or mortising kit allows you to create rectangular holes.
  • Masonry drill bits can bore through marble and tile.
  • Cobalt bits can bore through harder metals.
  • Variable speed settings help you customize the rotations of the drill press, preventing damage to the equipment.

What are the potential hazards involved with a drill press?

Potential hazards include:

  • Accidents due to poor judgment.
  • Few drill presses feature emergency stop devices.
  • The electrical components are often exposed.
  • Wood chips and scraps contribute to a hazardous work area.
  • The deceptive simplicity of the drill press leads users to dangerous overconfidence.
  • Poor manufacturing can sometimes lead to drill presses being recalled.

How can I exercise safety precautions with a drill press?

It’s important to exercise safety when operating drill presses. Recommended precautions and operating procedures include:

  • Familiarize yourself with the controls.
  • Wear safety glasses but never gloves.
  • Secure all loose clothing, jewelry, and hair.
  • Keep your hands away from the drill chuck, spindle, and drill bit.
  • Clean the work area of any scraps, cuttings, or chips.
  • Use cutting oils when drilling metals.
  • Familiarize yourself with the appropriate speed setting for your project.

Conclusion

Drill press specifications and features can be intimidating to research without a helpful primer. Determine whether you want a benchtop model or a floor model. Examine the drill press’s capacity or “swing,” and compare that to the needs of your project. And as with any other power tools, always exercise safety precautions when operating a drill press.

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