If some plain drilling operations were the only job a drill press would perform, you might not even be reading this article to find the best woodworking drill press. These tools are really popular, and the reason is their versatility either as a spindle sander or in combination with a mortising machine. But the machine may not be of much use to you if it comes without your preferences met and includes nothing that makes a difference. So, I’ll talk about those factors that matter most and offer some great choices, so you can get what you pay for.
To start, I need to make the fundamentals of the machine an easy read, and so here are some discussions that you would find useful.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Before going any further, we would like to make it clear regarding why you should believe that our buying guide is something you can put your trust in. Well, if you check our About Us page, you will have no doubt anymore (if there was any). This platform is a safe haven for wood and metalworkers from all corners of the USA that come here to share their ideas, opinions, and tips on using different power tools.
We also test and review different metal and woodworking tools here and share our hands-on experience with them. We know very well this helps the novice and home-based DIY enthusiasts find their best matches without having to do hours of research online or visiting several brick and mortar stores for the same purpose. We are so sure about that because many of our audience have thanked us for providing them with such valuable information, which encouraged us to give more reviews on such power tools.
We would also like to mention that our reviews are totally unbiased and free from the influence of the product manufacturers because we are not affiliated with them. We shortlist the choices that we find the most effective in performance during the testing phase and mention their features and our user experience.
Before presenting to you our top 10 drilling presses, let's first show you what you have to consider in order to make a choice that suits your individual needs.
How Did We Pick These Tools?
Now let’s consider how we prepared this shortlist. At first, we spent 20 hours to research and make a list of the 20 top options available in today’s market. Then, we tested each of these products ourselves to understand their basic features and comparative advantage over another.
Since we could not rely on our results alone, we had to recruit volunteers who conducted practical tests on the various models. Their feedback and reports also helped us a lot in improving our understanding of these shortlisted choices.
During these tests, we focused on the specific features that are required of a good drill press, such as the type, versatility, chuck, spindle reach, price-to-quality ratio, main parts, functionality, angle, and inclination. Moreover, we got ideas from different blog reviews on drill presses. We examined the comments and posts from various consumers of these products. To strengthen our ideas, we also took the trouble of getting in touch with professionals and industry experts who had years of experience with different pedestal or pillar drills.
Finally, we collated product information and user feedback from the volunteers, online reviews, verified consumers, and industry experts. By combining such a large pile of data, we were able to come up with our list of the top 10 drill press. Our time and commitment to finding the most effective drill press choices finally paid off because we are confident that our review will guide you in making an informed decision without any hassle and confusion.
Our Top 10 Best Woodworking Drill Press
Here comes our shortlisted choices. Take your time and go through every product carefully in order to get familiar with its features, performance, pros, cons, and if it's really worth your money.
Understanding the Woodworking Drill Press
The drill press has always been one of the indispensable tools for woodworkers, enabling them to drill through the wood with accuracy. If you know how a drill press works , you surely know that the beauty of this device is that it lets you control the operation with its inclinations while handling different angles and surfaces.
Let’s discuss the two main types - the bench and the floor wood presses.
1. Bench Drill Press
A bench drill press remains fixed on the workbench. Despite compromising on the output of speed, it comes handy as it is portable and does not take much space. The outstanding thing about it is that it gives you advantages as you drill small holes, pocket holes, and need help with other intricate design.
2. Floor Drill Press
The floor type is bigger and more powerful than the bench type. As the name suggests, it is mounted on the floor. It has the capacity to drill larger and deeper holes and can easily handle complicated drills and cuts.
You should not buy just about any drill press on the market. There are factors to consider. In this buying guide, we will discuss all of those to help you choose wisely.
Who Is This Tool For?
Who can benefit from drill press woodworking? Designed for both inexperienced and professional woodworkers, these tools are easy to use and designed to deliver to woodworkers with any project demand. Here’s an overview of the drill presses that professionals with different levels of woodworking skills would want.
If you are a woodworker with an eye on greater accomplishments, something with simple mechanism yet great performance requiring a little ingenuity from you would be perfect thing to get. A drill press is better than handheld drills in terms of speed, efficiency, and accuracy.
There are woodworking drill presses for professionals to help them get great drilling experiences, especially when the jobs include drilling small/big holes, working on rough surfaces with different angles.
Many woodworkers seem to develop a concern about the nature in themselves, and this rising trend is giving place to the concept of environmentalism in the area of woodworking. With standard dust collection systems, modern drill presses come with an attention to the eco-friendly concerns.
How to Use a Drill Press for Woodworking?
A drill press is an essential woodworking machine because of its ability to handle multiple tasks. It can be used as a mortise, sander or in dowelling. All you need to do is fit the correct drill bit attachment to the chuck. Here are a few ways to make the most of your drilling machine.
1. As a Drill Press
If you’re to carve holes on a piece of wood or metal, then a drill press is the ideal option. The type of drill press you use depends on the size of your task. Large holes or heavy-duty projects will require a floor drill while a hand-operated or cordless drill is ideal for small holes and light projects.
The floor type is more powerful than the benchtop drills. Their quill and chuck can be aligned with the drill hole by adjusting the height of the worktable to your convenience.
2. Cutting Mortises
Mortises are rectangular or square holes carved on a plank of wood. It receives tenons cut from another wood piece. Before the invention of the mortise or drill press, these holes were carved by hand. Meanwhile, a mortise is designed to cut square or rectangular holes of various sizes on a wood piece. We will discuss how a drill press can be used as a mortiser; so, read on.
3. Drill Press & Mortise
When you’re to create a few squares or rectangular holes on your wood piece, a drill press becomes the ideal option. If the project is large and requires more mortises, it will be suitable to get a dedicated mortise which will churn out the work quickly. However, if there is no mortise available, then drill press becomes the only option. You can attach the hollow-chisel mortising bit to the floor drill press to continue with your operation easily. These drill bit attachments allow you to carve holes of ¼ to ¾ diameter.
4. Sanding of Spindle
A spindle sander is used to create cuts on curved surfaces. Meanwhile, the drill press can also be used if you have a sander attachment that can fit into the chuck of the drill press perfectly. In addition, its variable speeds allow you to cut different materials smoothly and accurately by adjusting the speed accordingly.
Dowels are small but round sticks of wood that are cut to be inserted to holes to provide a glued and durable joint. This technique has been in existence for centuries. Holes are very important in dowelling and they must be smooth and accurate to obtain a strong and durable joint. Such a level of precision and smoothness for a hole can only be achieved by using a drill press.
Things to Consider When Looking for a Drill Press
There are some factors you should keep in mind when buying a drill press. We’ve listed them out for you.
The main components of a drill press are the base, column, table, and head. While the drill rests on the head, the table serves as the workstation. The base and the column provide support for the machine. The base should be firmly clamped to the table to reduce the impact of vibration on the entire machine. The type of drill press is determined by the length of the column.
The benchtop and floor drills are the two types of drill presses. Therefore, your choice of a drill press should be determined by its usage. If your need for a drill machine is to take on heavy tasks like drilling large holes into metals or heavy woods, you should buy one that can perform the task. For heavy tasks, we strongly recommend that you try the floor drill type.
The benchtop drill presses are suitable for lighter tasks like drilling of small holes on wood or mild steel sheets. Also, if you have limited space for storage or workstation, the mini type is for you.
A high-end model is not designed to perform only the task of drilling holes on metal or wooden objects. Rather, it should polish, make designs, and cut woods based on your need. It should come with different drill bits for each of these tasks. To maximize the capabilities of your machine, you should always have the right bit ready.
Before making a final decision, put an eye on the chuck and spindle set. The chucks should be firm enough to allow bits to be inserted easily. Also, check the spindle assembly.
5. Spindle Reach
Each spindle is designed for a fixed length. The depth of the hole depends on the length of the spindles. Your preferred model should have a spindle adjustment setting to let you control the hole depth. In addition, you need to measure the quill stroke and adjust the spindle before drilling.
6. Angle & Inclination
Many of the drill presses for sale are designed with tables which are inclined to specific angles. This is very useful for drilling holes in woods with a curved surface. You should consider a drill press with a table that can be inclined to 45° or 90° angles.
Apart from drilling holes, a drill press serves other purposes. It functions as a mortise or a sander machine once you attach the right drill bits to the machine. You’ll save money by getting a drill press with a high degree of functionality.
8. Price-to-Quality Ratio
So, you want a drill press that matches your budget without requiring you to compromise on quality? A low-profile drill press may come cheap but not with high safety standards, thereby making you susceptible to accidents. Some drill presses come at a reasonable price but with pretty tight safety features So, you need to purchase a machine that delivers exactly what you want to pay for; no more, no less.
Care & Maintenance
The following tips will help on how to care for your drill press and to enhance its productive time and lifespan.
1. Lubricate the Chuck
Your drill press should be lubricated regularly. One of the most important parts of this machine that require much attention is the chuck. To lubricate the chuck, open it while the bit is out, clean off any dirt then apply the lubricant. Try to open and close the jaws repeatedly to ensure that the lubricant has circulated properly
2. Inspect the Drill Quill
You can only inspect the quill once the chuck is out. Hold the quill and confirm if it is fixed to the drill press’ housing. A wobbling quill could mar the accuracy of your drills. Now, tighten the quill’s bolt to secure the quill lube to the motor.
3. Clean the Table
Cleaning the table after each use will help keep it safe from rust. You can wipe it with a soft cloth and then spray a rust-resistant fluid on it.
4. Drill Switches & Power Cords
Check the switches and power cords to ensure that they are working properly. The connection between the cord and the machine should not be loose. Moreover, ensure that there are no cracks on the insulation of the power cord. If the cables are damaged replace them immediately and ensure that its connections are firm.
5. Vibration & Belt
Sounds or vibrations from a worn or bent belt could be annoying. You can check this by opening the machine’s head to inspect the belt visually. If you find cracks on it, replace it immediately. If it seems there is no fault, try to see if the tension is normal. Deflecting the belt will provide you in knowing the status of its tension. If you observe any change in the tension, then you should correct it by making the necessary adjustments in accordance with the instructions on its manual.
Also, you can power up the drill press to observe if the sounds and vibration persists. If it does, check the belt, tap and adjust it again but only after you must have switched it off and the power cord unplugged. Also, if the pulleys are shaky and produce unwanted sounds, check the screws to see if they are secure. If the noise persists, check if the rims on any of the pulleys have been bent and if they are, get them replaced immediately. You can inspect the drill press’s bearings to see if they need a replacement especially if the noise seems to come from there.
To conclude, when you are shopping for the best woodworking drill press, it is important that you consider some of the major aspects required from a good model. Keeping the points and features that we enumerated here for each product, you are on the right path to making a good choice.
The WEN 4208 is chosen as our first choice because of its excellent price to quality ratio. Some of its outstanding features include powerful torque, accuracy, spindle travel, adjustable worktable, high-quality material construction and more.
The Dremel 220-01 became our runner-up pick because of its extreme affordability and other outstanding features. It is much smaller in size but can drill into woods or plastics with accuracy and speed. It may not be as durable as other drill presses on this list, but it has a good price-to-quality ratio.
We also feel it necessary to inform you that the Drillly team finalized these 10 products based on our user experience and other factors mentioned before. But you will find more options from a number of popular brands, including Rockler, Woodcraft, Craftsman, Porter Cable, Harbor Freight, Grizzly, Ridgid, Dewalt, Powermatic, Rockwell, Nova, Jet, Ryobi, Bosch, Menards, Duracraft, and the list goes on. We could not include some of their best products here because we could not afford more than 10 products in this review.
It is understandable that you will prefer a product based on the features that are required for your project. That is why we have carefully analyzed each product to help you to make the right decision. Therefore, you can go ahead and try any of our top products.