A drill press is one tool every craftsman should have. It helps you achieve control and precision in otherwise difficult situations. You call upon it when a cordless drill
isn’t enough and even your trusty hammer drill
can’t handle it - situations that require more powerful drilling. Remember to wear suitable protective equipment when using heavy tools, such as impact reducing gloves
and eye protectors.
How do you go about choosing the best drill press? What do you look out for? The kind of drill press ideal for you will depend on the scale of work you want to do with it. There are two types to choose from – floor based and bench-top. This is the first factor to consider.
The bench type drill press is mounted on a bench and is ideal for small scale projects. The floor type drill press stands firmly on the floor and is great for heavy-duty projects. It can handle bigger, deeper and much more complicated types of drilling. It can also accept a wide range of drill accessories, further increasing its versatility.
A drill press can be broken down into four sections. These are: The base, the column, the table and the head. The base and the column provide the support that holds the entire machine. The table is the workstation while the head is the drilling end, where the drill bits are fixed. Each of these sections must be solidly made. Needless to say, the base and the column which holds the entire machine must be made with solid and durable materials.
The next thing to consider is the power rating measured in horsepower. Depending on the kind of drilling you want to do, you may need more or less power. Just remember, the material you want to drill and the depth and width of the hole you want to make will determine how much power you need. The more work that drill bit needs to do, the more power you’re going to require.
Another thing is drill speed. Since you will be drilling into different materials requiring different drill speeds, you want to pick a drill press with a wide enough speed adjustment range to work on a wide variety of materials. You should also look for a depth stop. This is a function allowing you drill to a specific depth. This is very useful when you’re drilling a lot of holes and need them exactly the same depth.
Other features you need to look out for include: Weight (the heavier it is, the sturdier it will be for the job), table adjustability (it should offer considerable height and rotational adjustment), accessories (the more accessories it comes with, the better) and finally its serviceability (how easy is it to maintain?)
This guide will help you pick out the best drill press for you.
Drill presses can be expensive. However, from our research, we found that for between $100 and $1000, you can get a good drill press. There are of course factors that will make one costlier than the other. Apart from the basic functions, these factors include: the power rating, type (table or floor type), quality of material it’s made from, speed adjustability, weight of the unit and more.
Note, however, that we have chosen these 5 drill presses because regardless of their cost, they offer the best value for money. We found cheap drill presses but chose not to present them to you because their quality was far below what we consider acceptable.
A wood worker will not need the same features as a metal worker. You need to look for features important to you. This will differ from person to person and no one drill press may have all these features. Find what is important and look out for them.
These are some important features to be on the watch for:
- Type – Floor type or bench-top type. Floor is more capable but needs space and may be overkill
- Power rating measure in horsepower – the more power, the more it can do
- Speed adjustment – a broader variation grants the ability to work on a wider range of materials
- Depth stop – for drilling multiple holes of uniform depth
- Table adjustability – should be fully adjustable for height and rotation
- Weight – for additional base support. The heavier, the better
- Accessories – does it include any accessories? They increase your efficiency
- Maintenance – how easy is to service, repair and maintain?
Take note of the above, and improve your chances of getting the best possible drill press.
Construction and Design
Drills presses are machines that create a lot of vibration so it’s very important you get one with an adequate supporting base to avoid mishaps. A heavier machine will actually be advantageous for stability. The adjustability of the machine’s table is something that should really be considered. Depending on the angle you will be drilling, you may want to adjust the table to an angle that will allow you drill optimally. Your press drill of choice should have a fully adjustable table. The same goes for speed adjustment. You do not need the same drill speed when drilling wood and metal. Each requires a different drill speed. The speed adjustment range offered by the drill press you choose will affect the kinds of materials you can drill with ease.
Performance and Ease of Use
Apart from the actual press drill, there are accessories that can increase your efficiency - drill press clamps, mortising and sanding attachments etc. Some drills come with extra accessories while some don’t. Take note of this. Another thing that can make your work easier is a depth stop. When you are drilling multiple holes that should all be the same depth, it is practically impossible to do so manually. A depth stop ensures the holes you drill can’t exceed the preset depth.
Finally, every machine requires servicing from time to time. You need to find out how available the spare parts for a drill press are. You also need to find out how expensive it is to maintain the machine. Some will cost more to maintain than others. Some may even be easy to self-service.
We believe every buyer’s taste and choice for every product is unique. A drill press for woodwork may need different features from one for metal work. All you need to do is decide what you need a drill press for and what features are important to you. This should be a lot easier now you’ve gone through our buying guide. The drill press that gives you the features you need at a price you are happy with is the best for you. Let’s now look at our top five picks.
You should now have enough information to make your drill press purchase with confidence. Start making those masterpieces you’ve always wanted to make with ease. Get your drill press right away.
We hope we’ve provided you enough information to make your drill press purchase with confidence. Start creating those masterpieces you’ve always wanted to make with ease. We know you’ll be happy with the results.