Three Things to Consider Before Buying A Drill Press

This handy piece of equipment should be among every homeowner’s tool collection.

Drill press
A drill press can create perfect holes in materials, every time.Clint Patterson

After you’ve used a drill press, you won’t want to go back to a handheld drill for precise tasks. Drill presses create accurate holes at a variety of angles that you could never achieve—much less repeat—by drilling free hand. You can also easily control the depth, making a once difficult job simple. From simple home repairs to elaborate fabrication jobs, you’ll benefit from having this handy piece of equipment in your tool collection.

Milescraft 1318 Drillmate Drill Guide with chuck
This product can also make angled holes at 45 and 90 degrees.Milescraft

One of the most important considerations when purchasing a drill press is the amount of power the motor can deliver. If you only plan on drilling holes in wood, you can get away with minimal horsepower. But if you’re going to take on tough materials like ferrous metal on a regular basis, look for models that produce 2/3 horsepower or more. If you’re going to be using the press often, go with the most HP you can afford. The larger motor will work more efficiently, and last longer.

WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press
The larger the machine, the larger the materials you can sink holes through.WEN

Other than the power they create, the biggest differences in drill presses are the size of the materials they can accommodate. Drill presses are referred to by the diameter of the circle into which it can drill a center hole into, which is also known as the swing. For the average home shop, you can get away with a bench top model with about 8 inches of swing, though if you plan on building cabinets or furniture you might want something larger. For the biggest jobs, consider a floor mounted drill press—if you have the space.

DEWALT Drill Press, 2-Speed, Magnetic, 2-Inch (DWE1622K)
This machine has a 10-amp motor and overload protection electronics.DEWALT

One of the biggest strengths of a drill press is the ability to precisely control the rate of speed at which the bit is turning. By tailoring the RPMs to the material, you’ll bore clean holes every time. You can also control the amount of heat produced by the cutting operation, which prolongs the life of your bits. Most drill presses require you to move the drive belts to change the speed of rotation, relying on a series of pulleys to change the speed. Those systems are fine, but if you will be drilling a variety of materials you may want to choose a never models that changes motor speed with the flip of a switch instead of the time consuming process of swapping belts.

Also Consider

JET J-2530 15-Inch 3/4-Horspower 115-Volt Bench Model Drill Press
This model has a cast-iron head and large quill for greater accuracy.Jet
SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
This model has a bump-off switch for safety.Skil
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