The Best Drill Presses for the Workshop

For precision drilling, it’s tough to beat the accuracy of a drill press.

Best Overall

DeWalt DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press and carry case

DeWalt DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Pres

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Runner Up

JET JDP-15B 15-Inch Bench Drill Press on a white background

Jet JDP-15B 15-Inch Bench Drill Press

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BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK

Wen 4208T 8-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Drill Press on a white background

Wen 4208T 8-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Drill Press

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A hand drill is controlled by the user’s hand and arm, so human error can create a slightly off-center hole. A drill press produces perfectly aligned holes of equal size every time, depending on the model. There are many different kinds of drill presses, including magnetic, a floor model, and a mounter or workbench design. 

When choosing the best drill press for you, factor in the thickness of the material—average drill depth is around 2 to 6 inches—and the type of material you’re working with: Dense wood and metal require more power to drill through than softwoods and plastic. 

This guide will focus on popular products and things to consider when selecting the ideal drill press for specific projects or jobs. Read on for some of the best drill presses on the market that we hands-on tested and selected.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DeWalt DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press
  2. RUNNER-UP: Jet JDP-15B 15-Inch Bench Drill Press
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Wen 4208T 8-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Drill Press
  4. BEST FOR CRAFTERS:Shop Fox W1668 Benchtop Drill Press/Spindle Sander
  5. BEST FOR BEGINNERS: Wen 4212T 10-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Drill Press
  6. BEST FOR DIYERS: Wen 4214T 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
  7. BEST FOR WOODWORKING PROS: Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press
  8. BEST COMPACT: Ryobi DP103L 10-Inch Drill Press With Laser
The Best Drill Presses
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Drill Presses

The right drill press can make cutting your wood or metal quick and safe. The drill presses we tested and researched come in various types, power outputs, chuck sizes, revolutions per minute (rpm), and additional special features and safety features for your big or small projects. 

We looked for the most sought-after drill presses in their respective categories and discovered that benchtop options are favored for their ease of use, potential portability, and effective cutting power. Magnetic and floor drill presses are also listed. While the magnetic is suitable for metal and softwood, the floor models offer more precision. 

Though different in performance, each of the drill presses included has powerful rpm ranging from 210 to 3,200. Powerful motors are also not a problem with these models as many come with ample volts, amps, or horsepower while in use. Half-inch and ⅝-inch chucks are among the most common sizes in the best drill presses, while some models also come with adjustable/tiltable worktables, dust ports, variable speed control, and multiple speed settings included.

Our Top Picks

The following drill press options were selected based on brand reputation, build quality, power, and ease of operation. The models on our list of top picks were either tested or selected after in-depth research, and we awarded each one with a set of pros and cons.

BEST OVERALL

DeWalt DWE1622K 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press 

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Magnetic 
  • Power: 10-amp motor 
  • Chuck size: ½ inch 

Pros

  • 10-amp motor and 2 speed settings provide effective use and reliability 
  • Made with a magnetic base and coolant bottle to orient a variety of tools
  • Safety overload protection switch prevents any damage or misuse 
  • Made with a quick, tool-free chuck change system; can change between the ¾ Weldon shank and ½ keyed chuck

Cons

  • Heavyweight design is not ideal for portability or transportation 

In projects or trades that include metal fabrication, building steel stairs, or other major steel construction, the metal will likely be too large or heavy to haul to a workshop drill press. That’s where magnetic drill presses (commonly called mag drills) like the DeWalt 2-inch magnetic drill press come in. 

When the powerful electromagnetic base is positioned on the metal to be drilled, such as a large I-beam, the magnet is activated, locking the drill press to the metal object for stability while drilling. The DeWalt mag drill has two speed settings, 300 rpm and 450 rpm, and comes with a safety overload switch that shuts down the drill if it overheats. 

With a 10-amp motor and two speed settings, this model is versatile and comes with a quick, tool-free ¾ shank or ½-inch keyed chuck change, a quick-release feed, a magnetic self-feed cooling tank, and a motor height adjustment. 

Get the DeWalt drill press at Amazon or Acme Tools.

RUNNER-UP

Jet JDP-15B 15-Inch Bench Drill Press

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Benchtop 
  • Power: ¾-horsepower motor 
  • Chuck size: ⅝ inch 

Pros

  • Heavy-duty construction; built with a ¾-horsepower motor that runs between 210 and 3,500 rpm speeds 
  • Comes with a 17-inch-wide table with precision-ground t-grooves for clamping on wood or metal 
  • Heavy-duty model is suitable for home workshops or small businesses 

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other options on the market
  • Heavyweight construction; not ideal for use as a portable drill press

For home-based production workshops, the JDP-15B bench drill press is a good investment. Whether you run a small muffler shop from your home, build custom motorcycles, or create custom furniture, the JDP-15B can handle any garage workshop project. This drill press has a 3/4-horsepower motor with speed adjustability between 210 and 3,500 rpm. 

With that power and speed, and a spindle travel of 3⅛ inches, it can handle everything from softwood to cast iron. The 15-inch throat is large enough for almost anything you can think of, and the 17-inch wide table has precision-ground t-grooves to clamp and hold projects firmly. It also features a laser guide for faster alignment.

Though this bench drill is very heavy and not meant to be a portable drill press, users make speed changes with adjustments to the drive belt, which is fine, but it would be nice to have a digital readout that shows the spindle’s speed for precision work. 

Get the Jet drill press at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK

Wen 4208T 8-Inch 5-Speed Benchtop Drill Press

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Benchtop 
  • Power: 2.3 amps 
  • Chuck size: ½ inch 

Pros

  • Comes with a 2.3-amp induction motor, an 8-inch swing, a 2-inch spindle travel, and a ½-inch keyed chuck 
  • 5-speed drill press offers excellent versatility; ranges from 740 to 3,140 rpm
  • Height-adjustable cast-iron worktable bevels up to 45 degrees in either direction 

Cons

  • Assembly is required before use; may take some time to put together 
  • Some users reported difficulty when using the chuck 

Adding a drill press to your workshop arsenal needn’t cost a fortune. The Wen 4208 8-inch 5-speed drill press has a 2.3-amp induction motor, an 8-inch swing, and a 2-inch spindle travel. All of this provides the ability to drill precise holes up to 4 inches from the edge of your material—all at an affordable price point. Select from five speeds, ranging from 740 rpm to 3,140 rpm, to best suit the type of material being drilled. 

The cast-iron worktable is 6 1/2 inches square, tilts up to 45 degrees, and can be raised or lowered, depending on the thickness of the material. This affordable drill press can drill holes up to 2 inches deep and, like any benchtop model, should be bolted to a countertop for stability. This model is also lightweight enough for those who require a portable drill press.

What our tester says: Tom Scalisi, a Bob Vila product tester and staff writer, notes in The Best Benchtop Drill Press that “this model from Wen was one of the easiest in the bunch to assemble. I also liked that it’s lightweight and compact, allowing for picking it up and moving it with ease.”

Get the Wen 4208T drill press at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

BEST FOR CRAFTERS

Shop Fox W1668 Benchtop Drill Press/Spindle Sander

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Benchtop 
  • Power: ¾ horsepower
  • Chuck size: ⅝ inch 

Pros

  • ¾-horsepower motor delivers 250 to 3,050 rpm of power and 12 speed settings 
  • Comes with a 3-piece spindle sander drum kit with a mandrel and sandpaper
  • 13¼-inch table swing is capable of tilting 90 degrees on both sides 

Cons

  • Heavyweight design is not suitable for transporting or portability; may be tricky to install 
  • Assembly required; may be difficult for beginners 

Shop Fox knows that most hobbyists need their workshops to be as versatile as possible. Their 13-inch Benchtop Drill Press/Spindle Sander is designed for both drilling and sanding, which is why this ¾-horsepower drill press turns the spindle at speeds between 250 and 3,050 rpm. The 13¼-inch swing allows easy manipulation of large workpieces without issue, especially when sanding. 

The table tilts to either side up to 90 degrees, making drilling end-grain on woodworking projects a snap. It includes the spindle sander drum kit with 1-, 1½-, and 2-inch drums and sandpaper. When used in sanding mode, the drum oscillates up and down. The unconventional round worktable features a circular cutout for the sanding drum—perfect for fine, detailed sanding jobs.

The only complaint we have is that there’s no mechanism for switching between drilling and spindle-sanding and it is not light enough to be a portable drill press. Users have to open the lid and remove or replace a belt to make the switch between the two modes.

What our tester says: Tom Scalisi, a Bob Vila product tester and staff writer, notes in our tested guide that he “found a lot to like about the Shop Fox drill press during the test. First, the wide speed range and high-quality worktable made drilling easy and accurate. Also, I liked the spindle sander attachment as it attaches easily and does a great job of smoothly sanding.”

Get the Shop Fox W1668 drill press at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Wen 4212T 10-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Drill Press

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Benchtop 
  • Power: 5-amp motor 
  • Chuck size: ½ inch 

Pros

  • Built-in 5-amp induction motor delivers between 530 and 3,100 rpm; digital speed readout display reads out the rpm 
  • Comes with a laser guide, adjustable depth stop, and ½-inch-capacity keyed chuck
  • 8-inch-long by 7.5-inch-wide cast-iron work table bevels up to 45 degrees for excellent versatility 
  • Predrilled holes on the base allow for easy mounting to a benchtop or work surface

Cons

  • Assembly required before use; may be difficult for first timers and beginners

With a large 8-inch-long by 7.5-inch-wide worktable, the 5-amp Wen 4212 10-inch variable-speed drill press allows users to make precise drill holes up to 4 inches from the edge of their material. The laser guide is helpful for beginners just getting the hang of a drill press, but advanced workers are sure to find it handy as well. 

The cast-iron worktable tilts up to 45 degrees for drilling directional holes, and the Wen drill press will drill a hole up to 2⅖ inches deep with the help of the adjustable depth stop and the ½-inch keyed chuck. Users can select and lock in the exact speed needed from 530 to 3,100 rpm. Like most benchtop drill presses, this model should be mounted to a benchtop, worktop, or countertop for stability.

Get the Wen 4212T drill press at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

BEST FOR DIYERS

Wen 4214T 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Benchtop
  • Power: 120 volts 
  • Chuck size: ⅝ inch 

Pros

  • 5-amp motor delivers variable speeds of 580 to 3,200 rpm; works well when drilling wood, plastic, and metal 
  • Comes with a cast-iron base, crosshair laser beams, a 12-inch swing, an overhead light, and a 3⅛-inch spindle travel
  • Digital speed readout displays the current rpm for user convenience 

Cons

  • Assembly required before use; may take a learning curve for new users 
  • Some users report manufacturing defects or difficulty using 

The benchtop-style Wen 4214 12-inch variable-speed drill press offers ample power for drilling through wood, plastic, and metal with ease, making it a good choice for the DIY workshop. This drill press provides several features found on industrial models, including a digital readout that lets you select a full range of speeds between 580 and 3,200 rpm and crosshair laser beams that pinpoint the exact spot to drill. 

The 12-inch worktable, which tilts up to 45 degrees in both directions, allows users to drill holes up to 3⅛ inches deep and up to 6 inches from the edge of the material. It also comes with an adjustable depth stop, a table roller extension, a ⅝-inch keyed chuck, and onboard storage for small accessories. The cast-iron base comes with holes for bolting it to a work surface if desired and an overhead work light allows for excellent visibility.

What our tester says: Tom Scalisi, a Bob Vila product tester and staff writer, notes in our tested guide that “I really enjoyed working with the Wen 12-inch drill press during the hands-on testing. The motor was quiet, the long travel was a plus, and the digital speed readout on the front of the drill press helped keep track of the speed.” 

Get the Wen 4214T drill press at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

BEST FOR WOODWORKING PROS

Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Floor drill press
  • Power: ¾ horsepower 
  • Chuck size: 1/64 inches to ⅝ inches 

Pros

  • ¾-horsepower motor delivers 12 speed settings and 250 to 3,050 rpm 
  • Oscillating movement and standing feature for efficient contour standing 
  • Built-in 2-inch dust port minimizes debris and dust in at-home or professional workshops
  • Tiltable worktable; tilts 90 degrees on either side 

Cons

  • Very heavyweight construction may be difficult to assemble and install

For the woodworking pro who needs both a drill press and a sander, the Shop Fox floor drill press doesn’t disappoint, as the drill bit can be easily removed and replaced with a sanding pad. The oscillating movement (orbital movement combined with a spinning motion) of the sanding feature produces a smooth surface without leaving scratches or cross-grain marks like non-oscillating sanders can. 

The floor drill press is fitted with a 2-inch dust port that connects to a standard shop vacuum for wood dust control. The worktable tilts up to 90 degrees in both directions, and the user can select from 12 different speeds, ranging from 250 to 3,050 rpm. 

The maximum hole depth is 3 1/4 inches, and holes can be drilled up to 6 1/2 inches from the edge of the material. The round worktable measures 12⅜ inches in diameter, and the floor base can be bolted down to a concrete floor or anchored with heavy sandbags or gym weights.

Get the Shop Fox W1848 drill press at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool + Equipment.

BEST COMPACT

Ryobi DP103L 10-Inch Drill Press With Laser 

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Benchtop 
  • Power: ¼ horsepower 
  • Chuck size: ½ inch

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight construction can fit in small household or workplace workshops
  • Comes with plenty of useful features including an LED work light, Exactline laser alignment system, and an adjustable depth stop
  • 5 speed settings integrated and a 360-degree swivel head for excellent versatility 

Cons

  • Our tester reported that the motor fan tends to chatter when in use; may get annoying with extended use 

Most drill presses have large constructions that take up a lot of space in a workshop. But some models on the market are compact like this model from Ryobi. The 10-inch drill press comes with five speed settings for excellent versatility, and the heavy-duty ¼-horsepower induction motor provides longevity and reliable performance. 

This 620 to 3,100 rpm benchtop drill press also has a ½-inch keyed chuck, a 360-degree swivel that is compatible with mortising attachments, an integrated LED work light, an adjustable depth stop, and a tilting cast-iron table that shifts between 0 and 45 degrees for even more user convenience. 

Plus, there is an Exactline laser alignment system for precision when drilling, and an onboard storage compartment holds chuck keys and other accessories like drill bits. All in all, this little 62.06-pound Ryobi model is small but powerful, making it perfect for the DIY workshop. 

What our tester says: Tom Scalisi, a Bob Vila product tester and staff writer, notes in our tested guide that “I really liked this model from Ryobi. The laser was bright and easy to see, even with the onboard light turned on. I also really liked that this model’s worktable had a crank system, as many smaller drill presses don’t. While my particular model did chatter a bit, the compact and lightweight design made it easy to lift on and take off the bench.” 

Get the Ryobi drill press at The Home Depot.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Drill Press

When shopping for the best drill press for your needs, consider whether you have sufficient space on a workbench to mount the power tool or if you’d prefer a freestanding floor model. All drill presses operate on the same basic principle, but differences can be found in power level and optional features.

Type 

  • Benchtop drill presses are usually mounted to the workbench with bolts to keep it from moving during use. When mounted to the workbench, the top of a benchtop model reaches roughly 60 inches in height. Benchtop models are designed more for the home workshop than for professional use. Standard benchtop drill presses range from ⅓- to ¾-horsepower models and a maximum cutting depth of 4 inches. 
  • A floor model drill press can either be bolted to the floor or weighted down with something heavy, such as sandbags. A floor model is larger, topping out around 60 inches in height and are often found in commercial workshops for their precision. With a cutting depth of 13 to 20 inches and 300 to 3,000 rpm. 
  • Magnetic drill presses, also known as “magnetic drills” or “mag drills”, are designed for drilling into metal. A strong magnetic base sits directly on the metal that you want to cut, ensuring stability and accuracy while drilling. Most magnetic drill presses have between 6 and 12 amps of power and a cut depth between 1 and 3 inches. 

All of the above models are considered to be mostly stationary tools once a location is decided upon, but the benchtop and floor options—with some effort—can be moved to another location in the workshop. 

Power and Speed

The power of the motor—horsepower—determines how long the drill press will run without undue stress on the motor. More powerful motors will withstand frequent use without overheating, but in most home workshops, a drill press with a ¼ horsepower to ¾ horsepower motor is usually sufficient. In commercial shops, it’s not uncommon to find drill presses that feature 1 horsepower or even more power in larger motors. 

Most drill presses come with a variable speed adjustment that allows the user to increase the speed up to about 3,000 rpm or reduce it to around 250 rpm. Lower speeds are desirable when drilling through some types of material, such as steel, to keep the bit from heating up and breaking.

Chuck Size

The chuck is the assembly that holds the drill bit. The average benchtop drill press is likely to come with a ½-inch chuck. This means the chuck will accept any drill bit up to ½ inch in diameter, including a ¼-inch bit, a ⅜-inch bit, and so on. 

Some floor models also come with ½-inch chucks, but many floor model drill presses come with ¾-inch and 1-inch chucks for accepting larger bits. The majority of drill bits are ½ inch or less in diameter, so unless you plan on using larger bits, a drill press with a ½-inch chuck will be sufficient.

Size and Weight

Drill presses are sized according to their “throat distance.” The throat distance is the space between the center of the chuck (the part that holds the drill bit) and the front of the tool’s supporting column. That distance is doubled to indicate the drill press’s “size.” So if the throat distance on a particular press is 6 inches, we say that machine is a size 12. The throat distance, sometimes called “swing,” indicates how far the user can drill a hole from the edge of the material. 

For example, a 10-inch drill press will drill a hole up to 5 inches from the edge of the material, and a 12-inch drill press will drill a hole up to 6 inches from the edge of the material. Most drill presses are 10-inch or 12-inch, although larger ones are available for commercial use and much smaller ones can be found for crafting use. 

Mini drill presses, which are used more by crafters than by mechanics or woodworkers, can weigh as little as 2½ pounds, while benchtop models range from around 35 to 65 pounds and floor models can weigh 130 pounds or more.

Safety Features

Drill presses don’t have a lot of extra safety features, but some come with a plastic see-through safety guard that encircles the drill bit to help keep wood chips and metal shavings from flying in all directions. In many cases, the clear safety guards are sold separately and can be attached to most models. 

Before operating any power tool, study the owner’s manual and follow the safety instructions. A drill press is one of the safer power tools, but never wear gloves, dangling jewelry, or loose clothing that could become caught in the spinning bit. If you have long hair, pull it back and secure it out of the way. It’s also important to wear safety goggles to keep wood chips or metal shards out of your eyes.

Additional Features

Drill presses come with a few additional features that may be helpful. 

  • LED light: The ability to direct a bright light right where you need to drill can be very helpful, especially in workshops where the lighting isn’t great.
  • Oscillation: Some drill presses are capable of oscillating in an orbital motion as well as drilling. This makes the tool capable of sanding and polishing, in addition to drilling holes, when the drill press is fitted with a sanding wheel or polishing hood.
  • Accessories: Some drill presses may come with optional accessories, including clamps for securing the material when drilling. These can also be purchased separately.

FAQs

While shopping for your first drill press, you likely have some questions about its range of use.

Q. Can you mill with a drill press?

Trying it is not recommended. The bit on a milling machine is designed to spin at speeds of up to 15,000 rpm or faster, which is required for shaping aluminum and other metals, while a drill press, even at top speeds, spins around 3,000 rpm. 

On a milling machine the material is clamped to a movable table, which allows the user to move the material safely. On a drill press, the table is stationary, and the machine is not equipped to mill in a way that is considered safe.

Q. Can you use a mortising bit in a drill press?

Yes, mortise bits are available for use with drill presses. Mortise bits can save time when you need to cut a mortise (a hole with square sides). A mortise bit features a drill bit with a flat end and a side chisel for creating holes with straight edges.

Q. How do you change the speed on a drill press?

The speed of a drill press affects the cleanliness of the holes drilled in wood, metal, and other materials. Drill presses come with speed adjustments that allow you to drill as fast as 3,000 rpm or as slow as around 250 rpm. 

Q. Should you wear gloves when using a magnetic drill press?

You will want to avoid wearing gloves when using a magnetic drill press because the fabric can get caught and be pulled into the machine. However, when the magnetic drill press is not in operation and you are removing chips from the cutter and magnet, you’ll want to wear gloves to prevent cuts.

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Glenda Taylor Avatar

Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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