The Best Drill Press

Drill Press Reviews

Our Top Pick is the Shop Fox W1668

A drill press is a tool designed to drill holes of various sizes with perfect accuracy. Instead of a hand held drill, a drill press is mounted ensuring accuracy and increasing speed. A drill press can create holes or creases that contain the exact depth, width, and straightness required for the job at hand. This tool also has the capability of adding various attachments to the drill head to create several other versatile tools. Common attachments include a mini sander attachment and polishing attachments. A drill press is vertically set and usually fixed to a tabletop work bench or the floor. The bench top drill press tends to be smaller and is easier to transported. Floor drill presses are significantly heavier and more suited to stay in one place in a dedicated workshop. Both options are suited for both heavy duty and light jobs.

A drill press is made up of a base, column, spindle, and drill head. This tool will also have a work area and then a base. The work area provides a stable surface to place material the requires drilling. This table or resting place will be found directly under the drill spindle and head and is used to position and lock your materials into place. Then with the handle attachment you will find on every drill press that raises and lowers you may adjust your depth, and desired drill position. Your machine then works by being lowered and pressed down into the materials and creates your exact hole or crease. The size of the hole or crease can be determined by the bit piece you choose and attach to your tool.

The base will either allow it to rest securely on the floor or allow it to be mounted on a table. To provide accurate drills securing the drill to a table or ensuring it is in a stable place on the floor is essential.

We researched and evaluated the top 28 drill presses currently available on the market and after testing the Shop Fox W1668 benchtop drill press, was the best of its class. It provides durability, high quality finishes and is equipped with the best features found in top quality drill presses. With a ¾ horsepower motor and spindle speeds ranging from 250 to 3050RPMs, there is enough power to work with hard woods and metals. The table swings up to 360 degrees and can tilt up to 45 degrees to both the left and right. Sanding attachments are also available for increased versatility.

Who Should Buy This

A drill press is ideal for anyone with a shop who does a lot of drilling and needs accuracy. Hand drills are portable and have many uses, but a drill press can increase your speed and accuracy in a way a hand held cannot achieve. Hobbyists and professional consider a drill press a must have in the workshop. Those who work with wood, carpentry and furniture making will find this tool essential for professional looking results. Mechanics and construction workers also find this tool very useful to own.

What Makes a Good Drill Press?

The first thing to weigh when looking at a drill press is to consider how the press will be used and where it will be stored. This will help you determine if you need a benchtop model or a floor model. Both are equally powerful and have the ability to perform the same job effectively. The difference is that the floor drill press is going to be significantly larger, and can weigh almost double of what the bench top drill press would. The table top model requires access to a table and while it can be moved, adding a designated table may be an added expense.

Drill PressThe floor drill press can offer more durability but requires a larger amount of space and be difficult to move once it is set up. The bench top is more compact and would be ideal for a smaller workspace such as a garage or small work shop. The bench top press would also allow you to move the press from job to job.

The next feature that is essential for a drill press is speed control and power. Your needs will be determined by the type of material you will be working with. Soft woods do not require nearly as much power as hardwoods and metal. If you’re going to use your drill press for metal working as well as woodworking, it’s important to have the speed control options as well as enough power to tackle those heavy duty circumstances.

Higher RPMs make for a higher powered drilling process when working with wood, and lower RPMs will ensure that every job is clean and precise. For maximum versatility you will want a drill press that can operate between 500-4,000 RPMs and the option to select and maintain the speed based on the material you are working with to ensure the perfect finish over and over again.

The larger table sizes will allow you to work with larger material and create larger holes. Table sizes start at 8 inches and are commonly found up to 15 inches. Another valuable feature is a tiltable table. Not all drill presses will have this added feature but it is very useful and adds to its versatility. In instances where you need to drill at an angle or perhaps even toward the back of your material where it may be harder to see, the tiltable table feature allows you to angle and maneuver your work table as well as secure it in place so that you may drill, cut or sand, in a more comfortable position.

Other useful features include a drill press clamp. This will keep your work firmly in place while working. An oscillating feature for sanding operations and available attachments such as drill bits or sanding drums will increase your ability to complete multiple jobs from a single tool.

How We Tested

We began our search by including gall drill presses we found available on the market. Next we researched the features that were most valued by professionals and hobbyists to narrow the list. Next we took a detailed look at the top brands and models long with value for the price, all-around performance, power, bells and whistles, and durability. We then tested the top brands and models and looked at real world applications. We consulted tool blogs, handyman websites and magazines, professional users, and with verified customers. Lastly we consulted with experts as well popular tool blogs, forums, and companies to finalize our pick.

Our Pick

Specifications

  

Drill Press size 13 ¼ inches
Motor ¾ Horsepower
RPMs 1725
Spindle Speeds 12 speeds between 250 to 3050 RPMs
Drill Chuck Size 5/8 inch
Spindle Travel 3 ¼ inch
Swing 13 ¼ inches
Table Swing up to 360 degrees
Table Tilt Ability Up to 45 degrees to left and right
Table Round 12 3/8-inch diameter
Dust Port 2 ¼ inches
Sandpaper Drum Kit 1 inch, 1 ½ inch and 2 inch drums
Weight 122.4 Pounds
Product Dimensions 23 x 14 x 38 Inches

The Shop Fox W1668 drill press has a powerful ¾ HP motor with 12 spindle speeds ranging between 250-3,050 Rpms. This drill press also doubles as an oscillating sander that can be used for efficient and powerful contour sanding with 1, 1 ½ or 2 inch drums. The design incorporates a dust collection port as well as a clearance hole for use while sanding. To provide a less messy work environment and an easier clean up after projects. The drill press can quickly and easily be converted from drilling operations to sanding in a matter of seconds with just a few tool free steps. Making the press more versatile. The kit includes a 3-piece spindle sander drum kit with a mandrel and 80 grit sanding paper to fit the 1-Inch, 1-1/2-Inch and 2-Inch drums.

This drill press has a 3/4th inch drilling capacity and is tough enough to barrel through steel and over tough drilling jobs. The Shop Fox W1668 offers the ability to tilt the mounted table up to 90-degrees with a 45-degree tilt to both the left and the right. You can adjust the table height and tilt to accommodate for workpiece height or achieve special drilling or sanding angles. You can also move the table out of the way and use the drill press base as a table for drilling or sanding larger pieces of material.

Who Else Likes It

Drillpressreviews.com wrote “Finding the right drill press that was right for people’s budgets was not an easy task…Shop Fox W1668 Drill Press. Most buyers were more than satisfied with this drill press…especially after using it for metal and wood…And takes no more than thirty minutes to assemble.”

Airtoolguy.com raved “Without question, anyone who tested the product realizes the Shop Fox W1668 drill press serves its real purpose – a real drill press to rely on for every home improvement task. It has all the right features of the best benchtop drill press and has sufficient motor power to keep the machine running smoothly.”

The guys at Popular Mechanics have this to say about the Shop Fox W1668, “This machine is a good choice for users who do a lot of metal drilling or make big holes in wood – say, for chunky pine or hardwood furniture…this machine can be converted into an oscillating spindle sander with a 2-inch dust port built into the side of its worktable.”

Amazon customers gave the drill press a 3.7 out of 5 stars with 64 reviews. One five-star customer writes, “I have had the chance to use my Shop Fox drill press for several months and love it. I build custom turkey calls and use it primarily to drill pilot holes for attaching wood to a lathe faceplate and then drill the pilot holes out as sound holes once the call is turned. This press is smooth running and operating. I have used the spindle sander a couple of times for a project with good results. It is not near the hassle to switch back and forth as I expected.”

The Step Up

When looking for more power and a bigger plate the JET J-2530 bench top drill press will meet your needs. This drill press is equipped with a cast iron head and 115 volts and ¾ HP of power. This drill also contains a larger quill than the Shop Fox drill press which provide even greater accuracy.

Other notable features include a permanently lubricated ball bearing spindle assembly, table tilt ability to 45 degrees, and a large ground steel column for maximum head and table support. It weighs 157 pounds and comes with a 2-year warranty.

Top Drill Press Comparison

Position
Visual
Tool
Swing (Inches)
Motor (HP)
Speed (RPM)
1Shop Fox13.00
0.75
3,050
2WEN12.00
0.67
3,200
3SKIL 10.00
0.25
3,050
4Rockwell 10.00
0.67
660
5Craftsman10.00
0.50
3,100
6Black Bull17.00
0.25
3,100
7JEGS 12.00
0.33
3,100
8Genesis 12.00
0.75
2,900
9Rikon13.00
0.50
3,630

Care Use & Maintenance

Drill presses are powerful tools that require moth safety measures and maintenance to ensure it will last. As with any power tools safety measures should be taken with each use to reduce the occurrence of injuries.

Safety First

  • Always wear protective eye wear or a face shield to protect yourself from debris and loose particles.
  • Do not place your fingers or hands within close proximity of moving drill bits.
  • Ensure you are not wearing loose clothing or accessories that may become caught in the press.
  • Gain a full understanding of the workings of your drill press before beginning.
  • Always ensure your drill pressed is turned off when changing drill bits or making repairs.

Maintenance

  • Adjust the drill press to the correct speed so the drill bit will not break.
  • Never leave the chuck key in the chuck socket when not in use.
  • Always repair broken or damaged parts before beginning use.
  • Lubricate moving parts as recommended in the owner’s manual.

Wrapping It Up

Drill presses are strong and powerful tools used to drill holes and creases with the highest amount of accuracy possible. These tools can also be used as sanders, oscillating tools, and polishers when different attachments are put into place. They come in both floor and bench top styles to meet your needs. Both professionals and hobbyists enjoy the power and speed offered by a drill press. Common  professionals who use a drill press on a regular basis include machinists, woodworkers, and furniture makers.

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