8 Best Drill Presses for Metal of 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
Drills are the first tools you grab when you need to make a hole. While these handheld tools are extremely portable and easy to use, they’re not the most stable or precise instruments. For the times when you need more precision from your bit, you’ll want a drill press instead.
These tools work similarly to a regular drill, but they’re a stationary machine instead of something you hold. This allows for very precise drilling and reaming that you could never achieve with a hand drill. Likewise, a drill press allows you to work with small materials that you might not be able to stabilize otherwise.
Take a look at drill presses online and you’re bound to be a bit overwhelmed. There are so many options with drastically different prices. How are you supposed to know which one is the best choice? We decided to answer this question definitively by testing them all. Along the way, we learned a lot about these machines, which we will share with you in the following eight reviews.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press||
|Best Value||WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press||
|Premium Choice||Jet JDP-17 3/4 hp Drill Press||
|YEEZUGO Floor Drill Press Stand Table for Drill||
|Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press||
The 8 Best Drill Presses for Metal – Reviews 2020
1. SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press – Best Overall
Offering the best combination of power, precision, and price, the SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press was our favorite of all. This 10-inch benchtop unit is compact and won’t take up much space in your workshop, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a capable little tool. When it’s time to start drilling, five speeds ranging from 570-3,050 RPM let you dial in the drill’s speed for any situation.
We loved the overall quality of this tool. Assembly was easy when it arrived, taking just a few minutes to put everything together. It’s well constructed and feels solid and stable with no play in any of the moving parts. If anything does go wrong, it’s covered by a 3-year warranty, but that’s really just for peace of mind.
This drill press is loaded with extra features. It’s got a built-in laser that makes it easy to line up your bit for precise drilling. The table also tilts 45° to the left and right for drilling angles. There’s also a depth-stop on the device, but we found it was unreliable and didn’t hold enough for us to trust it.
2. WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press – Best Value
This tool from WEN is one of the cheapest drill presses we tested. Don’t let that fool you though; we think it’s one of the best drill presses for metal for the money. It’s packed with important features that you’ll find on more expensive models like the ½-inch keyed chuck with key storage built-in.
Often, cheaper tools are underpowered. But the WEN is definitely an exception. It’s got similar specs as models priced twice as high. For instance, you get 5 speeds ranging from 740-3,140 RPM. There’s also a locking depth adjustment for drilling multiple holes of the same depth.
But it is an 8-inch drill press, which means it’s limited on size. With just 2 inches of spindle travel, you’re only going to be able to work with smaller materials on this tool. It’s also pretty light, which causes it to vibrate more than some models we tested. On the other hand, the compact size means that this tool will fit nicely on your bench without taking up all your space. And for the price, we think those are minor complaints.
3. Jet JDP-17 3/4 hp Drill Press – Premium Choice
At 198 pounds, the Jet JDP-17 Drill Press is one burly beast. It’s also much larger than some of the other models we tested at 17 inches overall. But that means you can work with larger materials and drill deeper holes with the impressive stroke length of 5 inches that you can drill with a single turn of the handle.
All of that weight does come with a benefit; this is a seriously stable machine. There’s almost no vibration and every hole is accurate and precise. You also get incredible control over your holes with 16 speeds to choose from that range from 210-3,500 RPM. And changing between those speeds is easy thanks to the one-handed belt tensioning system.
What’s most impressive about this machine is its incredible craftsmanship. This is a very well-made tool that looks and feels like a high-quality device. It’s apparent when looking at things like the precision-ground oversized worktable that tilts 90° in both directions. Of course, this machine is a serious investment. But if you want a top-quality drill press for metal that won’t let you down, this is it.
4. YEEZUGO Floor Drill Press Table for Drill
If you’ve already got a perfectly usable drill in your tool collection, then you might not need to add an entire drill press. Instead, the YEEZUGO Floor Drill Press Stand Table for Drill allows you to clamp your existing drill into this device and turn it into a functioning drill press.
What’s best about this machine is the low price that makes it affordable for any hobbyist to get started with a drill press and not go broke doing so. It works well and even has an accurate depth stop adjustment like most standard drill presses.
But there were some flaws that made this a bit difficult to work with at times. It’s hard to get completely plumb because of the shape and balance of a drill. And the heavier your drill is, the worst this problem will be. Heavy drills can actually pull the tower out of alignment. But once you get everything dialed in, this is one of the most affordable ways to get the functionality of a drill press.
5. Shop Fox Oscillating Floor Drill Press
With a powerful ¾-horsepower (HP) motor, the Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press is never at risk of being underpowered. It’s got 12 spindle speeds ranging from 250-3,050 RPM, allowing for precise control of your holes.
One unique feature of this drill press is that it can be converted into an oscillating sander in just a few seconds and without any tools. Everything you need is already included with the drill press.
But this is a big, bulky, and very expensive machine. It stands at a towering 63 inches since it’s a floor model and not one of the compact benchtop models. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get a lot of extra travel. With 3¼ inches of spindle travel, this machine is no slouch, but you’re sacrificing a lot of space for that when there are much smaller machines with more spindle travel, not to mention the extra-high price you’re paying for this one.
6. Genesis GDP1005A 5-Speed Drill Press
This 5-speed drill press from Genesis features an oversized ⅝-inch chuck that will work with large bits. It’s a 10-inch benchtop model that won’t take up too much space in your workshop. At just 52 pounds, you’ll have no problem lifting it onto your workbench, but it’s going to vibrate and shake excessively while you work.
Adding to the shaking issue is the unsteady worktable. This would be bad enough on its own if the machine weren’t shaking too. Worse, the quill had noticeable play, which caused the bit to wobble and create uneven holes.
There were some features we appreciated though. For instance, the built-in LED work light is a nice touch. And the 4.1-amp induction motor makes plenty of power. It’s just not very usable in this shaky package.
7. Jet Jdp-15B 15 Bench Drill Press
We were pretty surprised by the Jet Jdp-15B drill press. It’s cousin, the JDP-17, is one of our favorite drill presses, but this one falls well short of the JDP-17. Speaking of short, this machine has 3⅛ inches of spindle travel. That’s not bad, but considering that this machine is many times the price of other drill presses that aren’t too far behind in spindle travel, we can’t look at that favorably. For comparison, the JDP-17 is only a bit more expensive than this model, but it’s got a full 5 inches of spindle travel.
The Jdp-15B does have the same one-handed belt tensioning system as the JDP-17, which we liked. But this model doesn’t seem to be constructed nearly as well. When it arrived, the spring housing cap was already broken off. There was extensive assembly required, and it was much more difficult than we felt it should be. During assembly, the plastic connectors that hold the power button in place broke and it fell out. For a machine this expensive, we expected better quality and features.
8. GENERAL INTERNATIONAL 10” Bench Mount Drill Press
With 5 speeds that range from 570 RPM to 3,050 RPM, the GENERAL INTERNATIONAL Bench Mount Drill Press seems like it’s a good match for the competition. That is until you attempt to use it. It’s equipped with a 375-watt motor that just doesn’t put out enough power for our uses. It will drill metal, but it doesn’t seem to enjoy doing so.
This machine features a built-in LED work light. Well, it’s supposed to. Ours didn’t have a bulb in it and the standard LED bulbs we had wouldn’t fit. But that doesn’t really matter since the entire device completely stopped working after just a few light projects. When the bit hits the metal now, the chuck just stops. That’s a flaw we can’t forgive at any price, which is why this drill press is at the very bottom of our list.
If you haven’t used your fair share of drill presses, then you might feel a bit confused looking at all of the different options. How are you supposed to know which features you need and what all these numbers mean?
To help you narrow down the choices, we’ve written this short buyer’s guide that will explain the features and specifications that we think are the most important for a drill press for metal. After reading this buyer’s guide, you should have a better idea of what you’re looking for and what machine might fill your needs.
The first thing to consider when deciding between drill press models is the overall size of the machine. There are two main types of drill presses and they’re sized quite differently; benchtop models and floor models.
Floor drill presses are meant to stand on the floor and still provide you with a table height that’s comfortable to work at. This means that they’re pretty substantial machines. Generally, these machines are well over 100 pounds and can be more than 60 inches tall. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to drill super deep holes though. It just means that it takes up a lot of space.
An alternative to floor drill presses is benchtop models. These are much smaller; meant to stand on your workbench. They take up less space and are much lighter and easier to move, though they’re often a bit less stable as well.
But the type of drill press is only part of the machine’s size. You’ll also notice that these machines are measured in inches. You might see a 10-inch drill press, a 15-inch one, or even one that’s 17 inches or more. So, what are these measurements signifying?
This measurement is what’s called the swing of the drill press, and it essentially tells you what size of material you can work with. To get the swing of a drill press, you’d measure the distance from the center of the spindle to the close edge of the column at the rear of the worktable. Then, you double this measurement to find the swing.
So, if you measured 7.5 inches from spindle to column, then that is a 15-inch drill press, or alternatively, you could say it has 15 inches of swing.
We’ve discussed swing measurements and the overall size of the drill press, but there’s still another measurement to consider — spindle travel. This is essentially a measurement of how deep you can drill. In reality, it measures how far the spindle travels, but the best way to think of it is in terms of the hole you can drill. So, a drill press with two inches of spindle travel can drill a hole that’s a maximum of two inches deep.
Most drills are variable speed, so you have precise control over the bit while you’re drilling. Luckily, drill presses are usually variable speed as well, though they aren’t controlled by a trigger. Instead, you’ll have to apply tension to the belt to adjust the speed.
Most drill presses have several speeds for you to choose from. Five speeds is about average, though some of the top-end tools we tested offered as many as 16 speeds.
Also, consider how easy it is to change the speed. Some machines allow for one-handed belt tension adjustments, making it fast and easy to change the speed and get back to drilling.
Drill presses come in a wide range of sizes with various abilities and prices to suit everyone from a hobbyist to a professional who relies on their drill press daily. After reading our reviews, you probably have a good idea of which drill press is a great fit for you. But just to make sure they’re fresh in your mind, we’re going to remind you of our recommendations once more.
For our dime, the best drill press is the SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch Drill Press. It’s got great features like the built-in laser for easily lining up your holes and the 5 speeds that let you dial in the precise speed you want between 570 and 3,050 RPM.
If you’re looking for the best value to get started with an affordable drill press, we suggest the WEN 4208. This 8-inch drill press is compact and won’t take up much space on your bench, but it’s still packed with great features like the ½-inch chuck with onboard key storage.
With a ¾-horsepower motor, 5 inches of spindle travel, and a belt tensioning system that allows you to choose between the 16 speeds with one-hand, the Jet JDP-17 is our premium choice recommendation.
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- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 8 Best Drill Presses for Metal – Reviews 2020
- 1. SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press – Best Overall
- 2. WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press – Best Value
- 3. Jet JDP-17 3/4 hp Drill Press – Premium Choice
- 4. YEEZUGO Floor Drill Press Table for Drill
- 5. Shop Fox Oscillating Floor Drill Press
- 6. Genesis GDP1005A 5-Speed Drill Press
- 7. Jet Jdp-15B 15 Bench Drill Press
- 8. GENERAL INTERNATIONAL 10” Bench Mount Drill Press
- Buyer’s Guide