Getting the right drill press wasn’t always a hassle. A long time ago, it was safe to buy just about any model, since they were largely crafted by hand and the manufacturer would stand by their product if something was. We all know that times have changed, and you can’t buy tools and equipment without doing a lot of research beforehand.
The internet was supposed to make this job easier, but as it turns out, things aren’t always as simple as people make them seem. Manufacturers aren’t shy when it comes to highlighting every good feature on their products, even if it’s not that good, while they conveniently leave out every potential product.
We believe that a well-informed consumer can make a great decision, which is why we’ve assembled these reviews of the best drill presses for woodworking. With this guide, you’ll be able to find the model that’s right for you, even if you’ve never used one before.
|JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch|
|SHOP FOX W1680 1-Horsepower||185 lbs||4.75/5|
|WEN 4210 10-Inch|
(Best for the Money)
|SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch||52 lbs||4.3/5|
|Grizzly G7943||250 lbs||4.0/5|
The JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch is the model you want to get if you’re going to be woodworking a lot and want to have the power and control you’ll need to get every project done quickly and with a high degree of precision at the same time. This monster of a drill press comes with a 1-1/2-horsepower motor, and you can adjust the speed from 150 to 4200 RPM. That’s the kind of power you’d expect to get on a good table saw, and the wide RPM range allows you to work with a variety of woods and even other materials. The lid is hinged, allowing you easy access to the belts for quick speed changes.
The table can support up to 80 pounds, making it one of the strongest on the market, and it can also turn up to 45 degrees for angled cuts. This model also includes an excellent depth stop, which makes it easy to get the right depth every time. While this model has a light mount, it doesn’t include a bulb, which is a strange oversight given the cost. Still, this is easily the best model overall, and one most people will love using.
The SHOP FOX W1680 1-Horsepower might be the model you go for if you don’t want to shell out the money for our top model, but still, want to get a high-quality experience. This model comes with a 1-horsepower motor, which has more than enough power to get most projects done fast. It also comes with a great toggle switch. Those switches are easy to use, and make it easy to turn the machine off, which is a great safety feature. This model also has great spindle travel, allowing for up to 3-1/4 inches of travel.
The table is also one of the better ones on the market. You can turn it up to 90 degrees, allowing to you work on any piece, no matter how awkwardly shaped it is. This model is far cheaper than our top model, though it has lower quality, too. There are some plastic parts in critical areas that will wear down faster than metal ones, so this model is unlikely to survive for as long as some of the other models on our list. However, it’s still a power drill press, and for the money, you’re getting a good deal.
The WEN 4210 10-Inch drill press is the perfect model for cost-conscious buyers. It comes with 2-1/2 inches of spindle travel, which is surprisingly good for a benchtop model. It also comes with a guide laser that makes most jobs easier and allows you to drill with more confidence. The included table is large, at 7-5/8 inches square, and gives you plenty of room on which to place your work. However, the best thing about this model is its price. You’ll pay about a quarter of what you’ll pay for the second model on our list, which makes this model the best for the money.
While this model is seemingly a downgrade from a floor model to a bench-mounted model, the truth is that it’s a bonus in a small shop. You can put this model away when you’re not using it, and it won’t require dedicated floor space like a larger model might. The only real downside is that it comes with a relatively weak motor at only 2/3-horsepower. That’s not that great, but it’s more than enough for working with most woods. If you’re looking for a low-price, high-value model, then look no further than this model.
While the SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch provides a decent amount of value in terms of power relative to its price, it does have some downsides that will lead many users to become frustrated. Like the previous model, this one comes with a guide laser, and while experts will probably prefer not to use it, it can be a convenient tool for beginners. It also comes with a toggle switch, which leads to easy operation and quick power-offs if an emergency stop becomes necessary. Best of all, it’s inexpensive and will cost you about the same as the third model on our list.
However, this model suffers from some problems that will lead to frustrating experiences. The most prominent problem is the runout on this model. It wobbles some while it spins, which reduces your accuracy. It also has an unreliable depth stop, which can lead to your ruining your project by accident. Overall, there are problems that you would expect out of a model at this price point, though you can spend about the same amount and get a better model. While some people may be attracted to this model’s price, you can get better value for the money.
The Grizzly G7943 succeeds in some superficial areas but has some severe problems that make it poor value for the money. Unlike many other models on this list, this one not only has a light mount but also includes the light itself, which is a nice touch. It also runs relatively quietly for a drill press, which makes it easier on your ears. That’s something even novice woodworkers will appreciate. However, it only comes with a 3/4-horsepower motor, which is less than you’d hope to get for the money. For woodworking, it’s plenty strong, but you won’t get as good a performance when working other materials.
It also has serious runout problems. With a cheaper model, that might be more understandable, but given how much this model costs, it’s an inexcusable problem. You should be able to get a decent degree of precision for this price, but the runout makes that very difficult. Overall, this model is going to be a frustrating one to use. If you’re looking to get good value out of your purchase, this model will disappoint you, and it’s a good idea to spend more or less and get better value for your money.
We hope that our reviews have already led you to the model that’s right for you. If you’re not yet sure which one that is, don’t worry. There are a lot of things that you need to think through, and while it can feel overwhelming at times, there are steps you can take to make that process much easier. This buyer’s guide is designed to teach you everything you need to know about drill presses, so that you can find the model that will make you happy, and that you can get at a great price, too.
The head is the most important part of a drill press and the section which is most likely to make you enjoy or hate using a particular model. The head includes multiple important parts, including the motor itself. Most woodworkers will want a model that can put out at least one-horsepower, as those models have enough strength to work with most woods and help you get your projects done quickly. However, if you’re only going to be working with wood, you can get away with using a less powerful model, but you should know that your projects will take longer to finish.
The head also includes the belt system, which is used to change the spindle’s speed. An easy or quick-change belt system will save you a lot of time in the long run, whereas one that is tricky to use could make you use your drill press less often.
The table is the other very important part of a drill press. The sturdier the table is, the more you can do with it, and if you’re going to be regularly working with large blocks of wood, you’re going to need a very large table. It’s also useful to invest in a drill press that comes with a table that tilts to one side or both. That allows you to drill at angles into regularly-shaped pieces, or drill straight into a piece that has an angled or irregular side. The best tables tilt up to 90 degrees to both the left and the right, while good tables will tilt in at least one direction up to 45 degrees.
The best tables allow for a variety of clamping solutions so that you can always have a firm grip on your piece while you work.
While it may seem like it’s hard to get a good deal on a tool these days, there are things you can do to make sure that you get great value for your money. Instead of focusing on price alone, it’s a good idea to start by analyzing your needs. Ask yourself what you’ll want to be able to do with your drill press, and which features would best help you get there.
Then, make a short list of drill presses that meet those requirements. It’s then a good idea to choose the cheapest model off that list. It meets your requirements, but also carries the lowest price, which means it’s the best value for the money among the products on your short list.
The JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch is our favorite model due to its very powerful motor, strong table, and excellent depth stop. The SHOP FOX W1680 1-Horsepower has good spindle travel, a good motor, and a toggle switch, which earn it second place. The WEN 4210 10-Inch drill press comes with a guide laser, a large table, and decent spindle travel, and since you can get it at a very low price, it’s the best value for the money on our list. The SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch does come with a guide laser, and you can get it for a low price, but its runout and inaccurate depth stop will make it the wrong model for most people. In last place is the Grizzly G7943, which does have a built-in light, and runs relatively quietly, but it has a week motor and runout problems, despite demanding a high price.
Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you understand how the right drill press can make your job easier. You should now be able to find a model that allows you to work quickly and have some fun along the way, all at a great price.
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