9 Best Small Drill Presses of 2023 – Reviews & Buying Guide
A drill is the ideal tool for most situations where you need a small hole. Sometimes, you need to make very precise holes, or you have to make holes in a small piece that would be difficult to achieve with a hand drill. For these instances, a drill press is the perfect tool, with a steady table to hold your work and a repeatable straight throw every time.
Whether you’re drilling holes in plastic, wood, metal, small electronics, jewelry, or another material, a good drill press has you covered. Thanks to great features like a depth stop, you can even make multiple identical holes. When it comes to accuracy, your hand won’t ever be able to match the precision of a drill press.
We never ran out of uses for our drill press, but we wanted a smaller version than the giant one sitting on our shop floor. So, we set out to find the best small drill presses on the market, comparing each in a series of reviews along the way.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press||
|Best Value||WEN 4208 Drill Press||
|Premium Choice||RIKON 30-120 Drill Press||
|Genesis GDP1005A Drill Press||
|Proxxon 38128 Bench Drill Press||
The 9 Best Small Drill Presses
1. SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press – Best Overall
Equipped with a 3.2-amp motor that allows for speeds ranging from 570-3,050 revolutions per minute (RPM), the SKIL 3320-01 drill press is our favorite small drill press. You get precise control over the speed of the drill with five speeds to choose from. To help line up your holes correctly, this machine features an X2 two-beam laser system showing you exactly where the bit will touch down.
The drill press plugs into a standard 120V outlet, though you’ll also need 2 AA batteries to power the laser. The worktable is on a rack and pinion system that allows for easy height adjustments. Furthermore, it can be tilted 45° to the left and right so you can easily drill precisely angled holes.
You get a depth stop on this drill, but it was unreliable at best in our testing. It tends to move and often releases entirely, which can cause you to drill through the face of your material. On the other hand, the Skil press is protected by a 3-year warranty. Considering its affordable price, the warranty makes it an incredible value in our eyes, which is just one of the many reasons it’s our top choice as the best overall small drill press.
2. WEN 4208 Drill Press – Best Value
WEN is known for making affordable alternatives to expensive tools. But just because they’re affordable doesn’t mean they’re inferior. In fact, the WEN 4208 drill press is one of the best small drill presses for the money. It’s dirt-cheap compared to the other models we tested but is still packed with all the features you expect from a good drill press.
It has variable speeds ranging from 740–3,140 RPM, so you can control how the drill handles. The ⅓-horsepower (HP) induction motor offers plenty of power and torque, especially for the low price.
Like many similar devices, this one features a worktable that bevels 45° to the left and right. The ½-inch keyed chuck provides a firm grip on your bits, though a small amount of chuck wobble is present. In our experience, it didn’t have any significant effect on our work, but it might be more of an issue if you drill precise holes.
3. RIKON 30-120 Drill Press – Premium Choice
RIKON makes high-quality tools that generally come with a higher price tag. The 30-120 drill press lives up to this description with one of the highest prices on this list and the best build quality we’ve seen. You also get more variability from this machine than others by quite a large margin. With 16 speeds to choose from, you get a lot of control, which is capable of 200–3,630 RPM.
The Rikon drill press is crafted from solid steel and cast iron. You won’t find cheap plastic parts adorning this tool. Of course, that means it’s a pretty hefty beast at just over 100 pounds. Its stout motor pushes ½ HP, making it one of the strongest drill presses on this list.
It also has one of the longest throats at 6.5 inches, allowing you to drill a hole in the center of a 13-inch disk. Altogether, it’s a sizable investment but well worth the cost if you’re looking for a precision tool with top-tier capabilities.
4. Genesis GDP1005A Drill Press
The Genesis GDP1005A drill press has impressive specs and decent performance, with a few flaws that prevent it from cracking our top three. There’s plenty to like, such as the ⅝-inch chuck that allows you to use much larger bits and get better torque application. We also really liked the built-in work light that illuminates your work.
At just 52 pounds, the Genesis is still light and portable, but it’s stable enough not to vibrate too much while working. The worktable tilts 45° both directions for angled holes, and there are five speeds to give you control over how the drill functions. It’s a well-built machine overall, but if something should happen, there’s a 2-year warranty keeping your investment protected.
However, some notable flaws held this machine back. There’s too much movement in the quill, which translates to sloppy holes from too much play. Adjusting the worktable is also a pain that requires two hands. It’s a nice tool, but it could be a top-three candidate with a few improvements.
5. Proxxon 38128 Bench Drill Press
If you’re looking for a machine that will allow you to drill ultra-precise holes, particularly micro holes down to 1/64-inch in size, the Proxxon 38128 bench drill press is worth considering. For most uses, it is too small of a machine with somewhat limited capabilities at a higher price than more capable units. Still, there’s plenty to like, even if we also have quite a few complaints.
To start, the Proxxon is lightweight and compact. It’s just 14 inches long, 9 inches tall, 10 inches wide, and weighs just 17 pounds. You can easily move it anywhere when needed. The spindle has a feed of just 1 3/16 inches with a maximum distance of 5.5 inches from the worktable to the spindle.
It won’t support large materials, but it’s great for jewelry or other small items. There are also no slow settings on this machine. The lowest speed is 1,800 RPM, and it goes up to 8,500 RPM with three speeds to choose from. We found that the weak 85-watt motor also gets very hot during use.
6. GENERAL INTERNATIONAL 75-010 M1 Benchtop Drill Press
We’ve used several GENERAL INTERNATIONAL tools in the past with great success. They’re known for making quality tools, though their 75-010 M1 benchtop drill press didn’t impress us much. It’s still got some worthwhile features though, such as the ⅓ HP industrial-quality motor. It offers speeds from 500-3,000 RPM with variable adjustment.
The whole machine weighs just 75 pounds, which is pretty light for a 12-inch drill press. Anti-vibration technology is integrated into the design, so it won’t move while running. There’s also a laser pointer for easy alignment of the drill bit, and this one doesn’t require additional batteries to power it.
When the unit first arrived, we started assembling it, only to discover that there were hardware pieces missing. They were quickly replaced by GENERAL INTERNATIONAL, so we could get back to our testing.
Our first problem is that the chuck won’t take tiny bits, and it doesn’t tighten enough. We also found that the work platform isn’t stable. Light pressure causes it to deflect, which exacerbates the existing runout issue. The runout is bad enough to make this machine useless for drilling precise holes, so it won’t earn a recommendation from us.
7. SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Small Drill Press
We liked the small footprint of the SE small drill press. It doesn’t take up much space on your worktable, and it’s a very affordably priced tool, but it’s not going to be useful for most people in need of a drill press.
This machine has three speeds: 5,000, 6,500, and 8,000 RPM. You don’t get anything slower than 5,000 RPM, which can make it difficult to drill into some materials. At least the machine is plumb-accurate.
However, we found another problem with the chuck. It won’t accept bits over 6 millimeters, which is just below ¼-inch. If you need to drill holes larger than that, you’ll need a different machine.
The chuck travels just 1 inch. Naturally, this means you can’t drill holes deeper than an inch. Even in that short distance, the quill doesn’t feed smoothly. Overall, we have a lot of complaints about this drill press, but it’s still practical if you only drill tiny holes and can work with the high speed.
8. EuroTool Mini Benchtop Drill Press
The mini benchtop drill press from EuroTool is not something we’d recommend to anyone. It’s a tiny machine at 7” x 7” inches and weighs 13 pounds. You’ll have no problem moving it anywhere you want, but you will have problems trying to drill precise holes with it.
The EuroTool has variable speeds up to a max of 8,500 RPM. We’re unsure what the lowest speed is, but it’s still too fast for many applications. You won’t get 200 or 500 RPM speeds from this as we got from several other machines we tested.
Worse, you can forget about straight holes since the chuck isn’t installed straight from the factory. We also couldn’t get the handle to mount, which meant we couldn’t control the drill. After a phone call, the handle was replaced, so we were able to locate the net problem. Our press had no set screw for depth adjustment. It’s supposed to, but the quality assurance is so lacking that our tool had several issues from the factory.
9. Ogrmar BG-6117 Drilling Collet Drill Press
The Ogrmar BG-6117 drilling collet drill press is a novel concept, and we like the idea, though it’s not a great tool in the real world. It is dirt cheap, however. This tool lets you clamp your existing drill into it, converting it into a drill press. Of course, it’s not as accurate as a real drill press since you’re relying on additional tools and adjustments. Speaking of the adjustments, they’re all made with hex screws, which is quite an inconvenience.
We never managed a truly straight hole with this drill press. Since the instructions were in Chinese, they weren’t any help. Ultimately, we think it’s a great idea that requires a better execution.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Small Drill Press
If you just need a hole and precision isn’t paramount, you might as well get a regular drill. But if you need precise, repeatable holes or you’re drilling in small items that are hard to manage with a handheld drill, a drill press is the perfect tool for your needs.
Choosing a drill press can prove to be more complicated than you might initially think. This is even truer if you lack experience with the tools. Luckily, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide that should help simplify the process, ensuring you pick a tool that offers all the performance you need and none of the frustration we’ve experienced with sub-par offerings.
Choosing the Right Small Drill Press
Drill presses come in different sizes with varying levels of performance. While there are plenty of traits to compare, we think the following features and functions are the most important. Determine what you’re looking for in each category, then look for the tool that best fits those needs.
The throat length is the distance from the drill press’s column to the chuck’s center. Essentially, it is how deep into your material from the edge that you can drill a hole.
Drill presses all state their size as a measurement in inches. Common sizes include 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch drill presses. This measurement is double the throat length, and it represents the largest size disc that can drill a hole in the center.
For instance, a 10-inch drill press has a 5-inch throat length. You can drill a hold in the center of a disc with a 10-inch diameter using a 10-inch drill press.
These tools have powerful motors, and they spin pretty quickly. This can result in lots of vibration, which could make it challenging to line up your holes precisely. For that reason, stability is a significant factor to consider.
Generally, heavier machines are more stable. A drill press can be made more stable with a heavier base. If your drill press is unstable, it might vibrate so much that it walks along your benchtop while you work!
Drill presses must be able to drill precise holes. If your holes are off, then it’s not going to do you much good. It’s important to find a machine with a plumb chuck and little to no runout.
If you’re looking for a small drill press, you probably want something portable that can be easily moved or put away when it’s not in use. A light machine is easier to move, though you’ll be sacrificing some stability. Most of our favorite machines weigh 50–100 pounds, which is a good range.
Most drill presses offer variable speeds for drilling in different materials. Some materials require low speeds, while others work best at high speeds. Ensure the machine you pick can drill slow enough and fast enough for the materials you work with.
The motors in these machines range in power pretty drastically. We’ve seen them as weak as ⅛-horsepower and as powerful as ½-horsepower. This might not matter much for drilling in soft materials like plastic or wood, but if you plan on drilling through metal, you will want the extra power of a higher horsepower unit.
We often tend to think that more expensive means better. After all, you get what you pay for. Well, sometimes that is true, but not always. We’ve seen great performance from affordable tools and dismal performance from expensive tools.
We suggest looking for the machines that meet your needs, but don’t get a more expensive option just because the price is higher. If a cheaper machine seems to meet your needs and has a good track record, it might be a better option.
For the most part, every tool you purchase will come with a warranty. It might be just 30 or 90 days, or it could be several years. We highly value a good warranty as it’s protection for your investment. The longer the warranty period covers your machine, the longer you can be confident that the machine will be around to perform the work you need.
You have many options if you’re in the market for a small drill press. With a great blend of performance and longevity, the SKIL 3320-01 10-inch drill press is our favorite overall. It features 5 speeds ranging from 570–3,050 RPM and a 2-beam laser that makes it easy to align your drill bit to create precise holes. Best of all, it’s protected by a 3-year warranty.
If you’re searching for the best deal possible, we suggest the WEN 4208. It is priced more affordably than the competition, but it still has excellent features that rival more expensive options. You get 5 speeds to control the entire speed range from 740–3,140 RPM, and the ⅓-horsepower induction motor provides plenty of power for most situations.
For a professional-quality product, we suggest the RIKON 30-120 13-inch drill press with 16 speeds for precise control over the 200–3,630 RPM range and a stout ½-horsepower motor.