Best Drill Press Reviews 2017
When I did metalwork at school, I encountered my first drill press. I have to say that out of all the power tools in that room, including lathes, that press was, and remains to this day, my favorite choice. There is probably no reasonable logic that would explain that to anyone, but I just liked it a lot.
They are sometimes called a pillar drill, and a simple explanation of one would be a stationary vertical form of a normal hand held drill.
Is A Drill Press Important To Own?
My honest answer is no, not really necessary at all. Is it a cool gadget to have in your workshop or garage? The answer to that is a massive YES. The bottom line is, will it ever get any use? There are many tools that may be nice to have, but the reality is we should only buy tools if we are going to be regular users of them. Otherwise it is just a lot more sensible and cost effective to rent them out as and when you may actually need them.
Two Types of Drill Press
There are just two types which are:
- Floor standing
- Bench standing
In my opinion the floor standing version of any shop tool is always going to be better. That said the bench top versions work very well, and they will save you floor space. In the main it will come down to space. Someone who is a woodworker will always buy a floor model as they will have more features. Others who do some hobby work will be more that happy with the results they will get from one that sits on a bench.
The Average Prices of Drill Presses
For a good quality drill press you will pay anything between $80-130 depending on which brand you decide upon, and what features you are looking for. Given the price of power tools and accessories these days, personally I think that is not too bad. Now there are some real high end ones available and for those you are looking at the best part of $300.
Before we start digging into prices, features and qualities I have added a video below, that shows what a drill press is, and what uses you can make of it. It also covers off which drill bits to use.
As you can see from the video, it is extremely easy to use. The very basic ones will have a single speed, but I would advise you to avoid those. A drill press is only useful if you are going to be able to drill different size holes, into different kinds of materials. To do that you will need a press with variable speeds.
Let’s dig a little more into the features, that in my opinion, you must have if you are considering getting one of these for your workshop or garage.
Key Features & Benefits of A Drill Press
Woodworkers and those who have hobbies will be the main users of a drill press. They help you deliver accurate cuts, and for me it is like having an extra pair of hands. When you clamp something properly into the table of your press, then it will not move.
If you watched the first video, you will have heard the guy talk about the spindle. This is simply the spindle that the chuck is attached to. I have mentioned already the importance of speed variance. It is just a “must have,” and never buy a single speed press as it would be a waste of money.
Metals need a lower speed than wood for example. The right range is from around 500-2,000 RPM for most drilling jobs. You can use a press for other jobs so you may see many of these being advertised with a higher RPM range of around 4,000 RPM. These types of jobs include grooving, making mortise joints and sanding.
I like a press with around 12 speeds
It does depend a lot on what you will be drilling as to how much power your press will need to generate. if you plan on drilling through tough materials, or drilling a lot of larger holes, then you will need a press with a larger horse power. Something like 3/4 HP is perfect for that type of power drilling.
The All Important Table
Again if you watched the first video, you will have notice the guy moving the table around. This is something that you will do and you want this to be a simple and smooth process. It needs to be easily moved up and down the shaft, and also be able to swivel a full 360 degrees around the main shaft or column.
I would not go with anything less that a 1/2″ chuck and to be honest if I had to pick a size it would be 5/8-3/4″. I would also just get one with a keyless chuck. It makes everything so much faster.
This is the distance from the middle of the chuck to the closest edge of the column. Something with a 16″ swing is perfect for most jobs on a drill press.
This again is an essential feature to have as you will understand if you watched the first video. Essentially if you only want to drill a hole through a piece of material, but you only want that hole to go into a certain depth, then you will need to be able to set that on your press.
Drill Press Clamps
If you want to lose fingers, then never use a clamp. Honestly I have seen so many woodworkers with missing tips on their fingers that it is almost like a sign of the trade. If you don’t clamp the material down, then it has a very high potential to swing around. If that is a thin piece of metal, it will shear off your finger in a heart beat.
How To Drill Steel Using A Drill Press
Here is a really useful video on how to drill through steel if you have a press. This is a useful video to watch especially if you have never done this before.
Other Main Uses for A Drill Press
And one more video that shows some other uses that you may not have thought of if you own or decide to buy one of these.