8 Best Drill Presses for Metal of 2023 – Top Picks & Reviews
Drills are the first tools you grab when making a hole. While they are portable and easy to use, they’re not the most stable or precise instruments. When you need more precision from your bit, you’ll need a drill press.
They work similarly to a regular drill but are a stationary machine instead of something you hold. This allows for precise drilling and reaming that you could never achieve with a hand drill. Likewise, a drill press allows you to work with small materials that you might not be able to stabilize otherwise.
Take a look at drill presses online, and you’re bound to be a bit overwhelmed. There are so many brands with drastically different prices. How are you supposed to know which one is the best machine? We decided to answer the question definitively by testing them all. We learned a lot about these machines along the way, which we will share with you in the following eight reviews.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press||
|Best Value||WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press||
|Premium Choice||Jet JDP-17 3/4 hp Drill Press||
|YEEZUGO Floor Drill Press Stand Table for Drill||
|Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press||
The 8 Best Drill Presses for Metal
1. SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press – Best Overall
Offering the best combination of power, precision, and price, the SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press was our favorite. This 10-inch benchtop unit is compact and won’t take up much space in your workshop, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a capable little tool. When it’s time to start drilling, five speeds ranging from 570–3,050 RPM let you dial in the drill’s speed for any situation.
We loved the overall quality of this tool. Assembly was easy when it arrived, and it took just a few minutes to assemble everything. It’s well constructed and feels solid and stable, with no play in any moving parts. If anything goes wrong, it’s covered by a 3-year warranty.
The Skil drill press is loaded with extra features. It has a built-in laser that makes it easy to line up your bit for precise drilling. The table also tilts 45° to the left and right for drilling angles. There’s also a depth-stop on the device, but we found it was unreliable and didn’t hold enough for us to trust it. Despite that, we think this is the best overall drill press for metal available this year.
2. WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press – Best Value
This tool from WEN is one of the cheapest drill presses we tested. Don’t let that fool you; we think it’s one of the best drill presses for metal for the money. It’s packed with important features that you’ll find on more expensive models, like the ½-inch keyed chuck with key storage built-in.
Often, cheaper tools are underpowered, but the WEN is an exception. It has similar specs as models priced twice as high. For instance, you get five speeds ranging from 740–3,140 RPM. There’s also a locking depth adjustment for drilling multiple holes of the same depth.
However, it is an 8-inch drill press, which means it can drill into larger materials. With just 2 inches of spindle travel, you’re only going to be able to work with smaller materials. It’s also pretty light, which causes it to vibrate more than some models we tested. On the other hand, the compact size means it will fit nicely on your bench without taking up all your space. And for the price, we think those are minor complaints.
3. Jet JDP-17 3/4 hp Drill Press – Premium Choice
At 198 pounds, the Jet JDP-17 Drill Press is one burly beast. With a 17-inch work surface, it’s also much larger than the other models we tested. However, you can work with larger materials and drill deeper holes with the impressive stroke length of 5 inches that you can drill with a single turn of the handle.
All that weight comes with a benefit; the Jet JDP is a seriously stable machine. It produces few vibrations, and every hole is accurate and precise. You also get incredible control over your holes with 16 speeds ranging from 210 to 3,500 RPM. Changing between the speeds is easy, thanks to the one-handed belt-tensioning system.
What’s most impressive about the Jet JDP is its incredible craftsmanship. This very well-made tool looks and feels like a high-quality device. It’s apparent when looking at the precision-ground oversized worktable that tilts 90° in both directions. Of course, it requires a substantial investment. But if you want a top-quality drill press for metal that won’t disappoint you, the Jet JDP is it.
4. YEEZUGO Floor Drill Press Table for Drill
If you have a perfectly usable drill in your collection, you might not need to buy an entire drill press. Instead, the YEEZUGO Floor Drill Press Stand Table for Drill allows you to clamp your existing drill into this device and turn it into a functioning drill press.
What’s best about this machine is its low price, making it affordable for any hobbyist to get started with a drill press and not go broke. It works well and has an accurate depth-stop adjustment like most standard drill presses.
But there were some flaws that made the YEEZUGO a bit difficult to work with at times. It’s hard to get completely plumb because of the shape and balance of a drill. And the heavier your drill is, the worst this problem will be. Heavy drills can pull the tower out of alignment. But once you get everything dialed in, it is one of the most affordable ways to get the functionality of a drill press.
5. Shop Fox Oscillating Floor Drill Press
With a powerful ¾-horsepower (HP) motor, the Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill Press is never at risk of being underpowered. It has 12 spindle speeds ranging from 250–3,050 RPM, which allows precise control of your holes.
One unique feature of the Shop Fox is that it can be converted into an oscillating sander in just a few seconds without any tools. Everything you need is already included with the drill press. However, it is a big, bulky, and very expensive machine. It stands at a towering 63 inches since it’s a floor model and not one of the compact benchtop models.
With 3¼ inches of spindle travel, this machine is no slouch, but you’re sacrificing a lot of space for that when there are much smaller machines with more spindle travel, not to mention the extra-high price you’re paying for this one.
6. Genesis GDP1005A 5-Speed Drill Press
This 5-speed drill press from Genesis features an oversized ⅝-inch chuck that works with large bits. It’s a 10-inch benchtop model that won’t take up too much space in your workshop. At just 52 pounds, you’ll have no problem lifting it onto your workbench, but it will vibrate and shake excessively while you work.
Adding to the shaking issue is the unsteady worktable. This would be bad enough on its own if the machine weren’t shaking too. Worse, the quill had noticeable play, which caused the bit to wobble and create uneven holes.
There were some features we appreciated, however. For instance, the built-in LED work light is a nice touch, and the 4.1-amp induction motor produces plenty of power. It’s just not very usable in this shaky package.
7. Jet Jdp-15B 15 Bench Drill Press
We were pretty surprised by the Jet Jdp-15B drill press. Its cousin, the JDP-17, is one of our favorite drill presses, but this one falls well short of the JDP-17. Speaking of short, this machine has 3⅛ inches of spindle travel. That’s not bad, but considering that this machine is many times the price of other drill presses that aren’t too far behind in spindle travel, we can’t look at that favorably. The JDP-17 is only a bit more expensive than this model, but it has a full 5 inches of spindle travel.
The Jdp-15B has the same one-handed belt tensioning system as the JDP-17, which we liked. But this model doesn’t seem to be constructed nearly as well. When it arrived, the spring housing cap was already broken off. Extensive assembly was required, and it was much more difficult than we thought it should be. During assembly, the plastic connectors that hold the power button in place broke, and it fell out. For a machine this expensive, we expected better quality and features.
8. GENERAL INTERNATIONAL 10” Bench Mount Drill Press
With 5 speeds, ranging from 570 RPM to 3,050 RPM, the GENERAL INTERNATIONAL Bench Mount Drill Press seems like a good match for the competition. That is, until you attempt to use it. It’s equipped with a 375-watt motor that doesn’t put out enough power. It will drill metal, but it doesn’t seem to enjoy doing so.
The General International drill press features a built-in LED work light. Well, it’s supposed to. Ours didn’t have a bulb, and our standard LED bulbs wouldn’t fit. But that doesn’t matter since the device stopped working after just a few light projects. When the bit hits the metal now, the chuck just stops. That’s a flaw we can’t forgive at any price, which is why this drill press is at the bottom of our list.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Drill Press for Metal
If you haven’t used your fair share of drill presses, you might feel confused looking at the options. How do you know which features you need and what all these numbers mean?
To help you narrow down the choices, we’ve written this short buyer’s guide that will explain the features and specifications that we think are the most important for a drill press for metal. After reading this buyer’s guide, you should have a better idea of what you’re looking for and which machine might fill your needs.
The first thing to consider when deciding between drill press models is the machine’s overall size. There are two main types of drill presses: benchtop models and floor models.
Floor drill presses are meant to stand on the floor and provide you with a table height that’s comfortable to work at. They’re pretty substantial machines; they weigh over 100 pounds and can be over 60 inches tall. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to drill incredibly deep holes, however. It just means that it takes up a lot of space.
An alternative to floor drill presses is benchtop models. They are much smaller and can be placed on your workbench. They take up less space and are much lighter and easier to move, though they’re often less stable.
You’ll also notice that drill presses are measured in inches. You might see a 10-inch drill press, a 15-inch one, or even one 17 inches or more. So, what are these measurements signifying?
This measurement is the swing of the drill press, and it tells you the size of material you can work with. To get the swing of a drill press, you’d measure the distance from the spindle’s center to the column’s close edge at the rear of the worktable. Then, you double this measurement to find the swing.
So, if you measured 7.5 inches from spindle to column, it is a 15-inch drill press, or you could say it has 15 inches of swing.
We’ve discussed swing measurements and the overall size of the drill press, but there’s still another measurement to consider: spindle travel. This is essentially a measurement of how deep you can drill. In reality, it measures how far the spindle travels, but the best way to think of it is in terms of the hole you can drill. So, a drill press with two inches of spindle travel can drill a maximum depth of two inches.
Most drills are variable speed, so you have precise control over the bit while drilling. Luckily, drill presses are usually variable speed as well, though a trigger doesn’t control them. Instead, you must apply tension to the belt to adjust the speed. Most drill presses have several speeds for you to choose from. Five speeds are about average, though some of the top-end tools we tested offered as many as 16 speeds.
Also, consider how easy it is to change the speed. Some machines allow for one-handed belt tension adjustments, making it easy to change the speed and return to drilling.
Drill presses come in a wide range of sizes with various abilities and prices to suit everyone, from a hobbyist to a professional who relies on their drill press daily. After reading our reviews, you probably know which drill press is a great fit for you. But just to make sure they’re fresh in your mind, we’ll review our favorites.
For our dime, the best drill press is the SKIL 3320-01 10-Inch Drill Press. It has great features like the built-in laser for quickly lining up your holes and the five speeds that let you dial in the precise speed you want between 570 and 3,050 RPM.
If you’re looking for an affordable drill press, we suggest the WEN 4208. This 8-inch drill press is compact and won’t take up much space on your bench, but it’s still packed with great features like the ½-inch chuck with onboard key storage. With a ¾-horsepower motor, 5 inches of spindle travel, and a belt tensioning system that allows you to choose between the 16 speeds with one hand, the Jet JDP-17 is our premium choice recommendation.
- See our favorite mag drill presses here!
- Which drill press is best when on a strict budget?
- Which drill press to choose for around $200?
- 10 Best Benchtop Drill Presses
Featured Image Credit: Milos Stojanovic, Shutterstock