The Best Drill Press: Beginner to Pro

Tired of using a hand drill to bore hole after hole? Then a drill press is exactly what you need in your life.

You’ll save a ton of time and have pinpoint accuracy that only a drill press can offer.

I reviewed over 20 drill presses and found the best one to be the Jet JWDP-12. What I love is the onboard guiding laser, bringing precision back into your hands. The 1/2 horsepower and 5 variable speeds allow you to drill right through even tougher metals.

If you’re new to drill presses, then the beginner friendly WEN 4208T is going to be your best bet (and most affordable).

You’ll find the 7 best drill presses reviewed below, let’s get to it!

Best Drill Press

Jet JWDP-12 12″ Variable-Speed Drill Press

  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • Type: Bench
  • For: Serious woodworkers

What’s great

When buying a drill press, you need to look for accuracy and reliability. The Jet JWDP-12 is a perfect combination of both. The best part about it? It’s portable enough that you can throw it in the back of your vehicle and take it anywhere you need.

If you’re clumsy like me, you have the reassurance X-shaped XACTA Laser will guide you throughout the drilling process. You’ll know exactly where the drill is going to land so you won’t have to do any second-guessing. The LED work light is also a nice touch, giving you more visibility when you need it.

The industrial 5/8″ drill chuck is perfect for any drilling need you require. If you need to attach a spade, hole saw, or sander, it’ll fit anything you throw at it. The spindle offers 3-1/8″ of travel which will let you cut all the way through the material you’re using in one go.

To top it all off, the variable speed motor ranges from 530 to 3100 RPM, giving you the precision and power you need to drill through anything you wish.

What I don’t like

Some had issues with changing the variable pulley mechanism. While most users might not need to change the pulleys at all, this can be a big downside if you need to change the speed settings often. They also mention that without lubrication, the pulley system won’t be able to reach the advertised RPM.

Verdict

For the price, this was the best drill press I could find. Looking past the flaws of the hard-to-change pulley mechanism, you’ll still find that this drill press is capable of drilling through even tougher woods like walnut or maple.

Pros
  • Has a laser for guiding
  • The best drill press you’ll find in this price range
Cons
  • The pulleys can be difficult to adjust and require lubing to reach the described RPMs

Also Great Drill Press

JET J-2530 15″ Bench Model Drill Press

  • Variable speed: Yes
  • Type: Benchtop
  • For: Professionals

With a 3/4 horsepower motor, this drill press was built for professionals that require reliable tools that get the job done. You’ll be able to utilize the 16-speed motor, going down to 200 RPMs allowing you to drill through harder materials.

One great feature is that the table can be tilted, allowing you to cut through the material at an angle. It’s rock-solid, but you can clamp down a piece of wood if you’d rather drill into some scrap instead of the table itself.

There’s also a lock on the side that you can release and move the table. This makes it easier to drill items that might not fit in the limited space. You’ll also be able to reach around the backside and clean metal shavings every once in a while.

You’ll also be able to adjust the depth of the drill press with the stops on the left side. You can set the depth and you’ll be able to easily make repetitive motions that save you on unneeded movement. Your energy will be spared and the holes will be made fast as heck.

On the side, you can store the chuck key which makes replacing the bit a breeze. Whether you need to cut through hardwood or the toughest metal, this drill press will be able to do just that.

What I don’t like

Compared to the Jet JWDP-12, this drill press is almost twice the price. That’s not a big deal if you’re a professional, this drill press will last you close to a lifetime if you take care of it. It’s not worth it though if you’re a casual hobbyist.

Verdict

If you’re a professional that lives and breathes tools, this drill press won’t disappoint. You’ll be able to cut holes with ease with the 3/4 horsepower motor. This drill press is also big and heavy, so do make sure you have enough room for it.

Pros
  • Has power to cut through almost anything
  • Tiltable table for more options
Cons
  • A little pricy, but worth it for pros

Best Drill Press for the Money

WEN 4208T 

  • Variable speed: No
  • Type: Benchtop
  • For: Hobbyists

What’s great

If you’re tired of using a hand drill but don’t quite need half a horsepower motor, this drill press is the right fit.

While it’s a bargain, you’ll still be able to enjoy 5 different speeds from 740 to 3140 RPM. Depending on if you’re sanding, drilling, or using a spade, you’re going to want the control this drill press offers.

The worktable tilts and is 6.5 x 6.5 wide. It’s not the biggest surface I’ve seen, but you can clamp down spare wood to simulate a much bigger surface. That will allow you to drill into the wood, and not the table which prevents damage.

The chuck accepts any bits from 1/20 to 1/2 inch in diameter, giving you the option to add whatever type of bit you need. Noobies will have a wide variety of bits they can throw at this drill press, giving them a great learning experience.

What I don’t like

If you need to drill holes through hardwood, then this drill press won’t cut it. It’s good for beginners who need to get a feel for working with a drill press before moving on to more expensive options.

Verdict

I would recommend it to anyone who’s starting out and doesn’t want the cheapest option, but still wants a good bang for your buck. This is a step up from the bargain drill presses out there, but still enough value that makes it worth buying.

Pros
  • Perfect for beginners
  • 5 different speeds
Cons
  • Not suitable for pros or heavy duty jobs

Best Beginner Drill Press

BILT HARD 8 in Drill Press

  • Variable speed: Yes
  • Type: Benchtop
  • For: Beginners

What’s great

Imagine you could get a 5 variable speed drill press with a drill bit set and a vise all in within a budget’s price? The BILT HARD 8 in Drill Press is exactly that, you’ll be able to save a ton of cash while getting the hang of using a drill press.

It’s tiny but packs a punch with its 5 operating speeds allowing you to get the right speed for the task at hand. You’ll enjoy the precision gained over a hand drill when you no longer need to hold down a trigger!

The worktable bevels 45 degrees in both directions if you ever need to drill at an angle. The cast-iron base can also be drilled into your workbench giving you the stability you need when working with a drill press.

If that doesn’t convince you, you’ll also get an included 13 piece drill bit set AND a vice for clamping down on anything you wish.

What I don’t like

Reviewers of this vice did mention that they had trouble getting the accurate cuts with this drill press. This can be a big deal if you’re a professional that can’t afford mistakes, but I think if you’re a DIYer, you shouldn’t have an issue with this drill press. You will have to take your time to ensure that you’re making accurate holes, though.

Verdict

If you’re on a budget and could use a vice + drill bit set, this is a great option. Professional woodworkers/carpenters likely won’t be able to get good use out of this tool, but it’s perfect for the weekend warrior that wants to try out a drill press for the first time.

Pros
  • Perfect for medium sized DIY jobs
  • Comes with a vise + drill bit set
Cons
  • Not the most accurate for professional usage

Best Dremel Stand

Milescraft 1097 ToolStand 

  • Variable speed: No
  • Type: Benchtop
  • For: Beginners

What’s Great

The Milescraft 1097 ToolStand is not a drill press, it’s a stand that can fit a dremel. It’s ultra-cheap and can get minor jobs done.

If you’re an ultra-beginner with a tight budget, you may be able to get use out of this stand if you have a dremel that you can fit this stand.

For a budget buy, it still has a scale with depth stop which will help when you’re making repetitive motions. You won’t have to waste any extra energy moving the press up and down, and it’ll help to get more precise holes.

You can also lock the dremel in place, giving your hands freedom to move around.

What I don’t like

While you do save money buying this stand, you may pay for it in the end. The setup can be a bit frustrating and even when it’s set up, it isn’t going to perform as well as a standalone drill press.

Verdict

If you have no money and own dremel, you’ll be able to get good use out of this stand. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it and for a few more bucks you can get an entry level drill press that will do you a ton better.

Pros
  • Super cheap
Cons
  • Better options out there if you don’t own a dremel

Best Small Drill Press

Grizzly Industrial G0925 – 8″ Baby Benchtop Drill Press

  • Variable speed: Yes
  • Type: Benchtop
  • For: Anyone with limited space

What’s great

I love that this drill press is a portable solution while still being able to drill through metal. It has a 1/3 horsepower motor with 5 speeds, giving you crazy control for such a small tool.

You may not have space in your workshop or need to drill through tiny objects, and this small drill press is perfect for that. It still can drill through 1/2″ cast iron or steel and will be able to glide through any plastic, wood, or composites that you throw at it.

The spindle has 2″ of travel and a depth stop giving you repeatable action. The table also comes with 45 left and right tilts so you can still bore holes like a pro. To top it all off, it has a 1-year warranty.

What I don’t like

For the same price, you could get the WEN 4208T which has more of everything.

Verdict

Anyone who is limited on space, or only needs to drill holes through smaller materials, this small drill press is perfect. It’s got the Grizzly brand behind it and it’s going to last you years to come. I wouldn’t hesitate on this item, it’s one of the most solid drill presses on this list.

Pros
  • Small, great for workshops without space
  • Still has 5 speed options giving you control
Cons
  • Can buy a more powerful drill press for the price but bigger

Best Floor Drill Press

SHOP FOX W1670 1/2-Horsepower

  • Variable speed: Yes
  • Type: Benchtop
  • For: Serious workshops

What’s great

1/2 horsepower, 32.5″ swing, and a spindle travel of 3 1/4″. This drill press is perfect for professionals who need power and reliability behind their floor press. The height of this bad boy is 64.5″.

The 5 speeds go down to 550RPM up to 3470RPM, giving you the power you need to cut through metal. This model can drill through the material with a 34-inch diameter, that’s an incredible amount for anyone looking to upgrade their current drill press.

One feature that’s unique to this drill press is the tilting table AND headstock. The table tilt is a common feature, but this press goes another step and allows you to adjust the entire top of the drill press as well. You’ll be able to cut through any material, at any angle, giving you the ease of use that pros rely on.

It also comes with common features like a depth stop, giving you the accuracy you need when boring hole after hole.

What I don’t like

Some purchasers mentioned that they had difficulty putting this drill press together. Also, they mention that they had a lot of vibration during drilling which caused some inaccuracy.

Verdict

For the price, it’s going to be hard to find a comparable floor press. You’ll have to spend at least 3x more for a comparable floor press. If you are worried, it might be better to put your money into a benchtop drill press instead of this floor press.

Pros
  • Tiltable headstop letting you drill holes at any angle
  • Affordable floor press
Cons
  • Hard to put together
  • Some users felt that it was a bit underpowered for cutting through tough metals

Drill Press Buying Guide FAQ

What should I look for when buying a drill press?

I’d first recommend thinking about where you’re going to store your drill press. If you don’t have a lot of space in your workshop or garage, then you’re going to want to buy a benchtop drill press rather than a floor drill press.

Consider what you’re going to use the drill press for. Are you needing it for professional use or are you a weekend warrior? If you need to bore holes through metal, then a budget option isn’t going to cut it. I’d use a 1/2 horsepower motor if I was using it for professional use.

If precision is vital for you, then you’re going to a drill press with a guiding mechanism. Cheaper options aren’t going to be as precise, so be aware of that when you’re picking the right drill press for you.

I’d recommend spending as much as you can as a drill press can last you a long time if you take care of it (and the press is quality).

Is it worth buying a drill press?

If you drill holes often, you might find that it works better than a hand drill. You’ll also bore holes with more accuracy which will help to make your projects more professional.

What is the most dangerous hazard when using drill press?

You shouldn’t wear gloves when utilizing a drill press. It may catch the bit and you’ll be out of a hand, literally! Be aware of where your hands are at all times.

The drill press can also create a lot of heat from the friction of drilling holes, giving you burns if you aren’t careful.

Final Thoughts

You’ll find a drill press for any price range on this buyer’s guide. If money isn’t an object, then the JET J-2530 is going to be your best bet. For the noobies out there, the WEN 4208T  is also a great value for the money.

About Roy Cohen

I'm Roy, founder of Hack My Garage. I started out like most not knowing how to hammer a nail, but now I know more than most people about home improvement and DIY. I want to spread my wealth of knowledge with the world and hope to make it a better place.