Whether you are a professional working for many years or a hobbyist who’s just getting started, you’ve no doubt had some experience drilling holes into your metals.
And while drilling by hand does get the job done, a drill press takes you on a whole different level of accuracy. So if you’re looking for an upgrade, you’re in the right place.
From bench top drills to floor standing ones, we’ve assessed the most popular products in the market to find out which one is the best drill press for metalworking.
So if you’re looking to carve your mark and take your craft to the next level, what are you waiting for? Read through and find out which drilling tool best fits your workshop and style.
7 Best Drill Press For Metalworking Reviews
Power, accuracy, good price point, and durability- so many things matter when picking out a work tool. So our list of reviews stating the pros and cons of each product is here to make things less of a hassle for you.
1. WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press
Let’s start off with a boom and talk about this amazing piece of work equipment from WEN. It’s small and portable but comes with a variety of features to make any task a breeze. This drill press is suitable for woodworking, metal working, and plastic working.
As this is a machine built with cast iron, you can bet that it’ll be durable. The induction motor on it has ball bearings to prolong that even more. And there are 5 different speed settings to ensure ease of customization.
You can have this mounted on your workbench as it has pre-drilled holes. It includes a 1/2 inch chuck and the motor’s power is 1/3 HP. Besides the good torque and power, this also provides a full 2 inches of spindle depth making it perfect for both a hobbyist and pro.
- Durable since it’s made with cast iron
- It has five-speed settings so it’s usable on different materials
- Has 1/3 HP motor power
- Relatively lightweight and portable
- The tube from the stand to the motor is thin and might flex under pressure
2. SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
If you’re a newbie to the world of metalworking, then this would be a great tool to start off with. This tool from SKIL is one that offers both great precision and a great price point. It’s a people pleaser with a small yet sturdy build and good accuracy.
In terms of special features, it comes with an X2 2-Beam Laser that helps in alignment. You’ll also get a multitude of five-speed settings that go as high as 3050 RPM from just 570 RPM. And the ½ inch keyed chuck in this is made for accepting bits of a larger diameter besides the usual.
The fact that its work surface has a tilting mechanism that allows working from zero to 45-degree angles is a sweet bonus. To make sure the hole is drilled precisely the way you want, they’ve included adjustable depth stops.
The extra advantage of this is that it’s super convenient for repetitive drilling tasks. There’s a bump-off key for some extra safety.
- Five-speed settings with 3050 RPM as the highest
- The work table allows tilting and angular setup
- Its chuck is capable of accepting larger bit sizes
- Inexpensive price
- Motor gets quite hot after around 15 minutes of continuous use
3. Shop Fox W1668 ¾-HP 13-Inch Bench-Top Drill Press/Spindle Sander
There’s nothing more satisfying than getting two kills with one stone. And that’s exactly what you’ll be able to do with this product from Shop Fox. It’s not just a drilling press but also an oscillating sander. So if you’re looking to get to work on some complex projects in the future, this is a great investment.
Although it’s a bit expensive, the product’s performance and two-in-one nature make it totally worth it. The 12-speed settings are also one of its most impressive features. Besides, with this, you get a sander drum kit, a mandrel as well as 80 grit sanding paper according to the drum sizes.
You can tilt the table on this as far as 90 degrees with no trouble. This is a product perfectly fit for heavy workload since it’s got a very strong motor with ¾ HP. The spindle depth can go as far in as 3 inches while the swing ranges from 13 to ¼ inch. And since it’s got a dust port, cleaning up will be easy.
- Works as both a drilling tool and a sander
- The table can be tilted as far as 90 degrees for working
- This has a strong motor and many speed settings
- It comes with a dust port option
- Instructions for assembling it are a bit unclear
4. Jet JDP-17 3/4 hp Drill Press
Are you looking for an upgrade from your old-school drilling tool that just doesn’t make the cut anymore? Then you’re probably going to love this 17-inch drilling monster from Jet.
It’s a heavyweight machine in all its metallic glory fit for use on woods and metals alike. And since this has a floor-standing design, you don’t have to give up any of your bench space or buy a separate stand.
With this, you’ll get 16 different spindle speeds and a range that goes as far as 3500. One simple revolution of the handle will allow the spindle to travel as deep as 5 inches. And even if you’re planning to use larger Forstner bits and require a slower RPM, its 210 least speed will be just enough.
This has both LED lights and a laser for alignment. What impressed us the most was its depth stop that’s both easy to set and superbly accurate. Table inserts on this are also easily replaceable.
The motor of ¾ HP power, the large table size that can be tilted and the chuck size of 5/8 all make this a super neat piece of equipment to have.
- Easy changes/use of speed settings and depth stop
- Can handle heavy-duty work
- It has both a laser and LED lights which are adjustable at angles
- Well-built and durable
- Requires floor space to set up so not great for tiny studios
5. Grizzly G7942 Five Speed Baby Drill Press
A lack of space shouldn’t stop you from getting great quality tools for your workshop. To fight the struggle of cramped spaces, opt for this Baby Drill Press from Grizzly. Weighing a meager 39 pounds, it’s easy to whip out for any miniature project and store away when you’re done.
This cast-iron constructed work tool has 5-speed settings and a smoothly running motor of 1/3 HP. Its max drill capacity in case of cast-iron and steel is ½ inches and so it can easily handle fiberglass, composite materials, or even plastics.
Furthermore, the high quality drill press table comes with tilts 90 degrees in both directions and swivels 360 degrees around the column of steel.
The spindle on this has a 2-inch travel depth. You can amp up the speed from 620 to 3100 RPM easily. It even comes with a depth stop and a swing of 8 inches. For a budget-buy that’s meant for small tasks, this is as good as it gets.
- Lightweight and portable so it’s easy to store
- Price is inexpensive
- Swivel-action table which can also be tilted
- Can be used on multiple materials
- Not suitable for bigger and heavier metal blocks as the table is small
6. RIKON 30-140 Bench Top Radial Drill Press
For something on a more mid-range price, this RIKON bench top drilling device is another great option. It’s particularly great for odd-jobs and working on job sites that don’t have much space.
You can drill holes into timber, light sheets of metal, balustrades for stair-railings, or for peg construction purposes using this machine.
The horsepower of the motor for this is 1/3 HP which is powerful enough to handle small to mid-range and somewhat heavy workloads. Again, newbies will enjoy working with something like this as it is both portable and performs on a versatile level.
It was designed to be easy to use and hence has feed handles along with a speed-selection chart for extra convenience.
More so, this has a cast-iron table that you can tilt to 90 degrees and rotate 360 degrees. Since its drilling capacity is up to 5/8 inches, a lot of different sized holes can be achieved using it.
As for the speed range, the user can set this to any point within 620-3100 RPM easily. Although the 620 RPM being the least makes it difficult to use to thicker metals, the powerful motor and higher speed together give clean outputs on lighter ones.
- It comes with a speed selection chart
- Includes a chuck key holder and a clutch depth stop
- Head of this tilts at 45 and 90-degree angles and moves back and forth
- It has feed handles and is easy to use
- Can’t be used for more heavyweight jobs that require lesser RPM
7. Small Bench top Drill Press | DRL-300.00
The last and perhaps the best one in the budget is this bench top drilling tool that’s from the company Euro Tool. This mean and green machine weighs just 11.53 pounds and is perfect for a small workshop. It’s the ideal tool for jewelry making of any size or miniature craft projects.
Speed settings on this can be ramped up to as high as 8500 RPM. It has a square base of 6 to ¾ inches size on either side. And it comes with a height adjustment feature that allows you to loosen the handle, bring it down and set it to the height that works best for you.
Changing belts on this is also very simple as it only takes you to remove the headpiece and set the new belt in place. It has a reliable motor that gives good precision and accuracy in works.
Moreover, it’s really budget-friendly. If you’ve had no prior experience in assembling one of these, you won’t have any trouble because the instructions with this particular tool are in plain English and are very simple to get.
- Easy to assemble and instructions are very clear
- Operation is easy and the tool is portable
- Saves space and money
- Allows versatility due to height adjustment and a good motor
- The speed controlling knob can only be slowed down after the tool’s been turned on at full bore
What to Look For Before Buying
To find the perfect drill press there are a number of features you need to look at beforehand. We’ve boiled down the major ones as a guideline for you.
There are mainly two types of drilling presses- a bench top press and a standing press. Stand presses are better suited for heavy-duty work, especially works that involve metals.
This is because standing presses are built more sturdily and weigh a lot more compared to bench top models. But for portability and lightweight usage, bench top models are good.
The clamp that holds your drill bit in place is called the chuck. This clamp is sometimes not capable of holding bits that are either too small or bigger than standard sizes. So if you’ve already got bits at hand, we recommend checking the chuck size for the press first.
Speed Setting & Rates
No doubt one of the main reasons anyone would be getting one of these tools is to work faster. But the keyword here isn’t “speed” but “control”. And that’s why you need to look for speed presets along with a wide range of speed settings when buying a press.
The more presets, the more you get to customize the power and pace. And the wider range of speeds, the easier it’ll be to work on different metals be it a thin sheet or a thick block.
Travel Depth of Spindle & Quill
When it comes to press drilling, the spindle’s travel depth is very important. This indicates how deeply a hole can be made in one shot. Some models nowadays even have settings to adjust the depth stop.
So if your projects often involve drilling holes of a certain depth or some extra precision, it’s a good idea to get one of those models.
Also, how far your machine’s quill travels determines what sort of metals you get to work with. The quill is the hollow tube around your press’s spindle. There’s usually a handle that lets the user lower or raises it depending on their work.
What sort of metals can the tool cut and make holes in? A low-speed one with lesser torque will be best for thicker and tougher pieces. Whereas, a machine with high-speed RPM can be used to get clean edges on thin metal pieces. You can even work on wood or plastics with those.
Usually, drill presses have powers ranging from 1/2 HP to 3/4 HP or even more. For those of you looking to do DIY projects, something with power from the range 1/3 to 1/2 HP should do the trick.
Here the HP means Horsepower and it’s one of the major make-or-break deals of a drilling machine. Bigger motors have better capacity in dealing with metals that are thick. So, for a clean finish, a power-packed motor is a must-have.
How well your work tool stands against the test of time tells you about its reliability. What you want is durable and high-quality equipment that lasts a long time.
And since you’ll be working on metal projects, it’s only natural the tool should be made of metallic parts as well. Plastic or anything else that’s cheap really won’t make the cut.
While it’s not a compulsory thing, it’s nice to get a product that has some extra zing to it to make your work even easier.
Some of these have rotation features that let you work from special angles. Companies also include built-in work lights with some of them which help see minute details or make up for a lack of adequate lighting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you secure metal while drilling with a drill press?
Ans: You need to secure the metal with the help of the bit, tightening each hole of the chuck. Before turning on the press, remove the chuck key and you’re good to go.
Q: Do you need to wear gloves while using a drilling press?
Ans: No, you should never wear gloves or watches, bracelets, rings, etc. when using a drill press.
Q: How do the variable speeds work on a press for drilling?
Ans: Usually, presses have a dial at the front that allows the turning or a knob for scrolling to the desired speed. The speed change occurs while the press is operating.
Q: Why do you need a drill press for metalwork?
Ans: You need it for the following reasons- more accuracy and repeated drilling in a short time. Tapping holes more easily. Doing pattern work is safer and you won’t have locked up drill bits.
Q: What are the safety rules of a drill press?
Ans: Do not wear loose clothing and tie long hair. No gloves or hand accessories are allowed as they might get caught in the spindle. And never adjust a press or leave the chuck key while it’s running.
Q: Do you need special bits for a drill press?
Ans: If the bits you have are of electric hand drills, then it’s possible to use it in a drill press. Special bits are recommended.
Metals are some of the trickiest materials to work with. And to thrive in the competitive metal-crafting world, you’ll need the best drill press for metalworking out there. So if any of these 7 tools have caught your eye, go on and grab it.