If you work with metal or wood, you probably have such tools as a drill or hammer drill in your garage. While a hand drill can be handy and do the job well enough, the best benchtop drill press is equipped with special gear to ensure safe, convenient, and accurate work. This kind of drill press is designed to be mounted on a workbench for null stability and is usually driven by an electric motor.
Most models are able to provide great versatility since they come useful for making holes in such materials like plastic, wood, plywood, metal, etc. They were invented decades ago and now can be found in all kinds of workshops.
The stationary drill presses are smaller and cheaper than their floor-standing analogs. However, despite the smaller size, the benchtop drill’s power is pretty close to full-size drill presses. Plus, they are more convenient for work with small working pieces.
One of the most obvious benchtop drill press advantages is that its exploitation is pretty understandable and doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge from the user. It can be easily carried and used by one person, being suitable for performing single works.
There is a huge number of models available so it can be quite challenging to decide which one you need exactly. Our bench top drill press reviews will provide you with information about features, pros and cons of our 6 top-rated models. For those who aren’t familiar with such devices as benchtop drill presses, our buyer’s guide is here to assist you in making the right buying decisions.
Benchtop Drill Press Reviews
The WEN 4208 is a small benchtop drill press that won’t take excessive space. Having 23 inches of height from the floor to the top, it’s portable enough for transporting.
It allows switching between 5 speeds (from 740 to 3140 RPM), so you can work with such materials as metal, wood, plastic, and more. The half-inch JT33 keyed chuck ensures versatility for a variety of projects since it lets you work with a wide range of bits.
The spindle moves up to 2 inches. The locking depth adjustment gauge to set the spindle travel is located on the left side of the unit.
The durable induction 120V 60Hz motor works at ⅓ HP. It also features a ball bearing construction which ensures durability. Generally, the motor’s operation can be characterized as smooth and balanced.
The WEN 4208 is able to drill up to the 0.5-inch deep hole. The 8-inch swing and 2-inch stroke allows drilling a hole measuring up to 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick.
For repetitive operations, the unit is supplied with locking linear depth stops which also contribute to more precise work.
The table is adjustable (6.5 by 6.5 inches) and can be tilted up to 45° left/right for angled drilling operations. The base is made of rigid cast iron to provide convenient, accurate, and stable operation. It also prevents wobbling and allows mounting the drill press on any benchtop. There are also the pre-drilled mounting holes.
- This drill press includes an onboard key storage which ensures that the chuck key is always close by.
- It goes with a long 6-feet cord.
- The slots on the table allow mounting clamps and vises.
- The motor may stall when drilling high-density metal.
- This model isn’t able to accommodate large projects.
- The drilling on hardwoods is very slow.
The WEN 4214 is a large bench top drill press that is 37 inches from floor to top. It’s supplied with a powerful 120V 60Hz induction motor with ball bearings and works at ⅔ HP. The variable speed allows you to target at any speed from 580 to 3200 RPM. The current speed is shown on the LED digital speed readout display.
The 0.6-inch keyed chuck allows drilling holes in different materials: heavy-duty cast iron, wood, plastic, etc. It also ensures versatility allowing you to work with a variety of bits.
The spindle moves 3 inches which, along with 12-inch swing, allow drilling circles that are 12 inches in diameter and 3 inches thick.
The locking depth stop is linear, which allows precise drilling even for repeatable operations. The depth adjustment gauge can be found on the left side of the unit. The 9.5 by 9.5 inches table can be tilted up to 45° left/right.
This bench top drill press from WEN also features an X-pattern laser that locks-on to the drill points, making the process of drilling as accurate as possible. The table, head, and base are made of cast iron which prevents walking and wobbling during operation.
- The onboard work light illuminates your workpiece for maximum visibility and precision.
- The table roller extension extends the table roller to 17 inches.
- The kit includes all the necessary tools to assemble the unit so you won’t even need anything to buy.
- Weak at drilling steel.
- There is no spindle lock.
- It’s not convenient to tighten the chuck because of the spring-loaded spike.
This Skil benchtop drill press operates at 5 speeds (from 570 to 3050 RPM). However, the 3.2A 120V motor with 1/3 HP makes it more suitable for wood than for metal. The speed changing system is also rather complicated: it’s necessary to open the cover and manually change the belt tensioning system. Of course, you will get used to it with time, but the absence of a gauge or an automatic button for switching between speeds definitely makes the process slower.
The 0.5-inch keyed chuck accepts large bits for woodworking and cutting. For accurate measurements, there is an adjustable depth stop. There is also the X2 2-beam laser for precise hole alignment.
The whole unit is only 21.8 x 15.2 x 9.8 inches which makes it potentially the best benchtop drill press in terms of portability. The table measures 7.6 inches and can be tilted up to 45° on left and right. The table and the base as well are made of cast iron.
Unlike the other benchtop drill presses, this one can’t be powered by AC power and requires AA batteries which you must purchase separately. The Skil 3320-01 requires only partial assembly out of the box which can be performed for less than half an hour.
- The bump-off switch located on the front of the unit ensures more safety.
- There is a safety key which allows blocking the operation.
- The Skil 3320-01 is cSAus certified which means that you can be sure that it meets the American National Standard.
- This unit is unable to tackle heavy-duty projects due to weak motor.
- This drill press emits more noise during work than many other similar models.
The DEWALT DWE1622K is a 2-speed (300 – 450 RPM) drill press. This way, due to minimum speed adjustment, this model can work great for non-experienced users.
The unit is equipped with a powerful 10A motor which is able to handle a lot of various applications. The motor also has an overload protection which prevents it from being damaged. This means that in case of overheating, the drilling machine will automatically shut down. Then, you will have to wait until the internal system cools down with the help of natural airflow before resuming your work.
By the way, the unit will warn you about the overload with a special 3-stage LED indicator. Next to it, you will also find large, easy-to-understand control buttons that have convenient placement on the face panel of the unit.
Thanks to 4.3-inch drill travel, this Dewalt bench drill press is suitable for heavy-duty applications. This way, if you frequently deal with drilling steel, you will probably appreciate this model. The quick-change chuck system allows for tool-less change between 0.7-inch Weldon Shank and 0.5-inch keyed chuck. For increased safety, the drill press goes with a safety chain which prevents potential crashes.
The DWE1622K can be the best bench top drill press for frequent transportations as it is only 22.4 x 6.5 x 19.3 inches and comes with a convenient carrying case.
- The unit goes with a magnetic coolant bottle that you can place on the side of a tool or on the table.
- The DWE1622K has quick-release feed handles for a tool-free change of handles.
- The motor features a height adjustment for larger accessory compatibility.
- The cutters and сhuck wobble during work due to the design of the unit.
- The chuck doesn’t seem reliable and may break down after several years of use.
The Jet J-2530 is equipped with a 15-inch swing and ¾ HP 115V motor which can work with cast iron and mild steel. The unit also boasts an incredible number of 16 spindle speeds: starting from 200 and up to 3630 RPM. For changing the speed, the unit offers a step pulley system.
This model from Jet goes with a 0.6-inch drill chuck and arbor. It gives the opportunity to drill 3-⅛ deep holes with an accurate depth stop. The 11.5 by 11.5 inches table tilts up to 45° in either direction.
The present model has a cast iron head and a large-sized quill which both work for increased precision and smoother running. There is a larger-than-average column made of steel which ensures maximum support. In terms of safety features, there is a telescoping safety spindle guard.
This Jet benchtop drill press features a workstation light that takes a bulb of up to 60W. Thanks to that, you shouldn’t worry about dimly lit working spaces.
The overall dimensions of the unit are 31 x 13 x 39.5 inches. Besides, weighing 157 pounds, it’s a very heavy piece of equipment and requires at least two people to assemble it.
- The machine runs very quietly and there are no noticeable vibrations while the drill is running.
- The Jet J-2530 uses robust, permanently lubricated heavy-duty ball bearings spindle which is necessary for reducing friction.
- The 200 RPM drilling speed allows drilling without generating any heat.
- The safety shield is of poor quality, so you will have to invest in some good goggles.
- The ON/OFF switch requires a strong pushing to activate.
This drill press benchtop from Genesis features a 10-inch long swing and 120V 60Hz 4.1A induction motor which is not among the most powerful ones but still can complete a lot of tasks. It operates at 5 speeds (from 620 to 3070 RPM). The easy-to-access pulley housing greatly facilities the process of speed changing.
The impressive ⅝-inch chuck is able to deal with really large bits. The 3-spoke spindle moves to 2 inches with a built-in adjustable depth stop.
The 7.25 by 7.25 inches table not only tilts up to 45° but rotates at 360°, providing great flexibility for various projects. The built-in work light illuminates the table for maximum working convenience in any conditions.
The base of the unit is made of heavy cast iron so it can withstand shocks. The assembled machine’s size is 23.2 x 16.9 x 10.4 inches and has a small footprint.
- The unit’s body features a large ON/OFF switch with a removable safety key.
- It’s very easy to assemble due to included easy-to-understand instructions.
- The unit provides a rack-and-pinion table height adjustment.
- When working at high speed, the engine makes a lot of noise.
- The unit is more suitable for wood as it struggles when working with metal.
How to Choose the Best Benchtop Drill Press
Most of the modern benchtop drill presses consist of a base, column, table, and drill head.
The base must be constructed in such a way so the weight of the unit and your working piece is perfectly supported. It also should have special mounting holes so you can install the drill press on your workbench.
The column unites the base, the table, and the head. Mostly, it’s made of steel, but the expensive models of premium quality have the column made of magnesium or aluminum. In benchtop models, the column can’t be longer than 48 inches.
The table normally has holes for drilling, but some models don’t have them to let the users make their own holes instead. The units that allow tilting the table at different angles are the most universal ones.
The head is the part that you use for drilling. Most drill presses have the gear that must be moved down to engage the mechanism. Then, when the gear is released, the head returns to its usual position.
If you are planning to buy a bench top drill press for frequent use or for commercial purposes, pay attention to professional-class models. If you need it for domestic purposes, simple models with a power capacity up to 600W will probably satisfy your needs. The more powerful the unit is, the thicker material it’s able to handle.
Most models use a standard 220V household outlet. However, there are also models that need a 380V outlet. As a rule, such units are used in factories or in specially equipped workshops.
Features You Need to Consider
Modern models can offer a lot of different features that may be indispensable. However, note that any additional features make the tool more pricey. The most important features that you should pay attention to include variable spindle speeds, horsepower, and depth stop.
The variable spindle speeds make the drill press more versatile since it allows working with a wider range of materials. For example, metal requires slower speeds, while different kinds of wood may need medium or high speeds to create a neat hole.
The benchtop drill press of a satisfying quality has a minimum ¾ of horsepower. Anything less than this will make it difficult to work with complicated projects.
If you need repetitive drilling for your projects, pay attention to the depth stop. That means how far the quill can descend. It’s also responsible for how consistent your work will be.
Some benchtop drill presses come with various accessories aimed to make your work easier. The most essential of them is a drill press clamp. It’s responsible for keeping your working piece in place while you are working.