Are you someone who tends to take up DIY projects at home all too often? Or are you planning to set up your own workshop sometime soon where you will be able to work on professional projects? Well, if this is you, then obviously you will need to buy a variety of tools that will help you accomplish different tasks that you are planning to take up. This will normally include corded or cordless drills, hand drills, buzz saws, hacksaws, welders, and much more. Of the various tools that are a must-have, irrespective of whether you want to work mainly with wood or metal or both, a drill press is an important one.
A drill press allows you to bore holes of the desired size in metals, wood, and even plastic. Though one may argue that the same can be easily accomplished with a drill, it must be very clearly understood that a hand drill can never accomplish the precision that can be achieved with a drill press. As such, when you need perfectly shaped holes on metal, plastic, or wood, a drill press is exactly what you need. You will be able to bore the holes in no time, thus saving you both time and effort. Not only that, you can attach more than one spindle to a drill press to bore multiple holes at the same time. This is highly convenient if you have to often work on projects that involve drilling multiple holes into the work piece.
Why do You Need a Drill Press?
If you are just starting out with wood or metalworking projects, you may be wondering whether it will be wise to invest in a drill press just because it can bore multiple holes in the work piece within a very short time. Moreover, if you are a DIYer, you may also think that a drill press isn’t something that you would need. However, if you want to complete a wide range of DIY jobs without having to sweat it out, a drill press is exactly what you need. If you aren’t yet convinced why a drill press is a have tool in your arsenal, then read on to know:
Accuracy: The first and foremost reason why you need a drill press is the accuracy factor. Though drill can be used for the purpose, yet it is impossible to create identical holes with a drill. However, a drill press allows you to select the angle, depth, and the width of the holes that you want to make, thus helping you to create as many identical holes as needed without having to worry about the precision and accuracy. This is important if you want all your projects to be professionally accurate.
Speed: Drilling with a hand drill obviously takes up a lot of time, more so if you have to drill multiple holes. But with a drill press, you can speed up the process. All you need to do is set up the exact angle, depth, and width and then, just hold the drill down, and you will get one or more holes in just a matter of a few seconds. Since, drill presses are automatic you do not actually have to put in any effort for boring the hole. Moreover, as they have high speed motors as compared to handheld drills, the holes are created much faster than you can even think of.
Power: Drill presses are equipped with very powerful motors. As a result, you can use fairly big drill bits with the drill press which isn’t possible in case of a handheld drill. As such, you can bore holes that weren’t earlier possible with the use of a regular drill. Not only that, with a drill press, you will be able to control the spindle and chuck with the help of a lever. This eases the process of drill and you can complete significantly more work within a shorter span of time.
Functionality: If you run a workshop or work at a job site, a drill press is sure to be more useful to you than just a handheld drill. This is because the drill press offers more functionality than a drill. Not only can you easily drill holes at angles with a drill press, but you can also work on unbalanced work pieces like furniture legs.
Versatility: Drill presses aren’t meant for just drilling holes. You can use it to control the motor speed, attach other tools, etc. You can attach a spindle sander to it so that the wood curves can be sanded faster. You can add a mortiser to the drill press to get rectangular and square holes. All these and more make the drill press a very powerful tool in your arsenal and ensures that you can work on all types of projects.
Safety: Using a drill press is comparatively safer than using a drill, mainly if you have to drill a lot and on hard materials too. By controlling the speed at which the tip rotates, you can have full control over the process and prevent injuries and minimize the chances of an error at work.
Benchtop Drill Press vs. Floor Drill Press
Now that you know that a drill press is undoubtedly a powerful tool for all metal and wood workers, you would surely be interested in buying one for yourself. But before you proceed to choosing a drill press for yourself, you must however understand that drill presses can be categorized into two types – Benchtop drill press and Floor drill press.
Benchtop drill press: As the name suggest, benchtop drill presses are directly mounted on the bench where you work. These models usually have a swing distance of 8 inches. These models can be bolted to your workbench or just mounted according to the type of projects that you plan to work on.
Floor drill press: The other type of drill press that is commonly available in the main is the floor drill press. In this case, the drill press is placed directly on the floor instead of being mounted on the workbench. It is, then, bolted to the floor to ensure that it remains steady on the floor. This gives you the option to work on larger work pieces with much ease. Also, being set up on the floor, it is much easier to work with, irrespective of the thickness of the material that you want to drill into, the depth of the holes that need to be made, etc. As such, the floor drill press is a much better option for large-scale and industrial level jobs.
Though benchtop drill presses have become popular in the recent times, they are, in no way, a replacement to the floor drill press. The floor models have certain strategic advantages over the benchtop models which is why they are still in demand amongst wood and metal workers across the world. Let’s consider the reasons that make the floor models a better choice for your workshop or job site:
- Stability: The first and most important factor why people love using the floor models is because of the stability that they offer. Once they are bolted to the floor, you can use them on all types of workpieces without any worry. Even though they work with extreme power to drill the holes, they do not wobble at all. This ensures that the holes that you drill are always precise and accurate. Since almost no vibrations are generated, there is less sound as well which may become bothersome if you work long hours quite often.
- Speed: The speed levels that floor drill presses can normally achieve usually make people fall in love with them. While most benchtop models usually have 5-8 speeds levels and sometimes in the range of 10, floor models can conveniently offer 16 speed levels which is surely impressive. Most common floor drill presses can reach upto 2500 RPM, which the best floor drill press can produce something in the range of 3500 RPM.
- Mortising: If you often work with wood, you sure do know that mortising is an indispensible part of woodworking. Though benchtop models support the mortising bits, it is best done with a floor drill press.
- Swing: Though benchtop models offer the facility to swing the head, they can never be used for a 360° turn as is possible with a floor model. This ensures that you get better results for projects that require swings of a greater angle.
- Flexibility: The column of a floor drill press is comparatively longer than their counterparts. As such, you will be able to easily drill on workpieces that are inconveniently big.
- Complete drilling solutions: If you are looking for a tool that can be used to for an entire project, a floor model is the best choice. With a benchtop model, you would have to reposition the drill very often, but not with a floor model. Since they are quite big, you hardly ever need to tweak them. You just have to keep moving the workpiece where you want the holes drilled and that’s all.
In short, you feel that you would need to work on a variety of workpieces for your projects and want to save time and effort while obtaining perfection, then the floor drill presses are the ideal choice.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Floor Drill Press
A floor drill press is, undoubtedly, am essential and important tool that every passionate and professional woodworker and metal worker would need. But that doesn’t mean that you can go and buy any model that is available in the market. There are dozens of good models in the market, but it is important that you choose a model that is the best for you and your needs. And for this, certain factors must be considered before you can settle down on a particular model of your choice. These include:
Purpose: The reason why you are looking to buy a floor drill press is the first and most important factor that you need to bring into consideration. If you just want to complete a couple of household DIY tasks every now and then, it would be best that you go for model that is small in size and is lightweight. This way, you will be able to accomplish all the necessary tasks with ease. However, if you are someone who is passionate about DIY projects and want to do much more than just making a wardrobe or something for your house, you have to go for tool that works much faster and more efficiently. However, for industrial standard projects, you would need a floor drill press that is not only powerful and large, but of a better quality as well.
Motor power: The power that the motor of your drill press can generate will determine what kind of work you will be able to do. In general, higher motor powers will help you to drill easily and swiftly. Thus, drill presses with a powerful motor are the best choice. However, you must keep in mind that powerful motors make the drill press expensive. That is why, if you looking to buy a drill press to complete random DIY projects, then it may not be ideal to shell out a lot of money for a powerful motor. However, if you want to use the drill press on a regular basis, and on a variety of materials, especially metals, a powerful motor is a must have and the money that you spend on getting one would be totally worth it. Powerful motors add to the life and toughness of a floor drill press.
Speed: if you have to continuously drill holes of varying depths, having a machine that offers only a high speed wouldn’t be ideal. The drill press must offer the facility varying speeds, and you must be able to adjust it according to your needs. For knowledge, the speed of the drill press is presented in RPMs and indicates the number of times the drill press rotates in a minute. While going through the products in the market, you can finds models offering as low as 250 RPMs, and as high as 3000 RPMs or more. Products that allow adjustment of the speed will allow you to work on all types of projects with ease. However, much like motor power, products with multiple speed adjustment options will generally be costlier and thus, are ideal for professionals or very passionate DIYers.
Construction: Since a drill press is an investment, it is essential that you invest in a product that comes with a sturdy built. It must be robust in all aspects – body built as well components. The materials that go into the making of the drill press will also make a difference. Be sure to choose a product that will last quite long.
Dimension: For anyone who is willing to work on different projects, the dimension of the throat of the drill press is an important factor to consider. The distance between the column of the drill press and the spindle center is known as the throat of the machine. This distance determines the size of the work piece that the machine can be used on. Larger the throat capacity, bigger will be the size of metal or wood that you can insert into your drill press to bore the holes.
Chuck: The chuck of the drill press is a very important component. Since it has to go through a lot of force and friction all the while you use your drill press, it is essential that you choose a chuck that is atleast ½ inch wide or more and is made of high quality materials. This is vital because otherwise it will get worn out very soon and need replacement. Moreover, chucks with capacity of ½ inch or more can be conveniently used to hold drill bits of all types, thus offering you more versatility. You should also try to go for a tapering chuck as this offers better accuracy in your projects. Another facility that you must look for while considering the chuck is whether it comes with a key. Even if the key facility is not available, you must be able to use a wrench to tighten it.
Depth gauge: If you want to use the drill press for commercial purposes or want to create the same type of holes time again, it is a must that you use a depth gauge. And a product that comes with a high quality and high precision depth gauge is necessary if you want to create holes of the same depth with total accuracy again and again. Make sure that you go through the floor drill press reviews to know good is the depth gauge of a particular model.
Angle and inclination: If you intend to work on different kinds of projects, it is quite obvious that you will need to drill holes even on curved surfaces. That is why, it is suggested that you always go for a model that offers ample inclination of the work table. This way, you will never have to give up any type of project.
Accessories: As discussed above, a drill press can be used to do much more than drill holes. That is why, it is important that when you choose a drill press, make sure that it has advanced options and accessories. This way, you will be easily able to expand the type of work you do and the level of perfection that you want to achieve.
Brand: While choosing from the different models available to you, it would be best that you go for a model that comes from a reputed brand. You may have to spend some extra money in order to buy a product from a well-known brand, but the reliability that you can expect from the product is usually much more than you may from a local product. Since, you are already making an investment, it would be wise to spend a few more dollars to get a products that’s known to be very good. You will be able to use it for many years without any worry.
Warranty: Not only do you need a product offered by a reputable brand, you also need one that comes with a long warranty period. A product that has a longer warranty period is undoubtedly better if it comes with the same features and quality as that of another product that comes with a shorter warranty period.
Best Floor Drill Press with Reviews
1. Klutch 13in. Floor Mount Drill Press – 3/4 HP, 16-Speed:
This 13” Floor Drill Press is one of those optimized drills that you can get at an affordable price as well. It has a ¾ HP motor that can help you drill through practically anything and it has a 13” swing as well that can help you cut through hard metals. Along with an advanced swing you get to enjoy 16 different speed options for precise drilling as well. The lowest speed available is at 260 RPM where as the highest speed that you can get is 3410 RPM. The head of this drill press can swivel 360 degrees and that makes it a lot easier and efficient to use. Also it comes with a depth lock system which enables you to get precise cut at the right depth. The table that comes with this drill press can be tilted 45 degrees on left or right according to your convenience.
- 5/8” chuck with the capacity to drill 1” of hole
- 13” swing capability adds to the versatility of the product
- The work table can be tilt 45 degrees to your right or left according to your convenience
- Comes with a depth lock mechanism for better and precise drilling
- 16 different speed variations give you an efficient way to drill through different metals
- The worktable can be titled but maximum 45 degrees
- You can have a fine metal drilling experience as it has the lowest drilling speed of 260 RPM
- The size of this machine is quite small. You can fit this in the smallest of the areas
- The motor is of 0.7 HP
- You can get maximum of 3410 RPM along with 16 different speed options
- It has a 13” workable swing
- Comes with an on-board light as well.
- Maximum depth of the spindle is only 1”. So, if you wish to have a better cutting depth, this might not be the right tool for you.
- Does not come with any laser guide
2. JET 354170/JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill Press:
If you are looking for a standard floor drill press then the JDP-20MF with all its professional level features will be one of the best choices. It comes with a variable speed of 150RPM to 4200 RPM and can cut through any material you like with the 1.5 HP motor that it has. It comes with a 20” swing, ¾ “chuck and a crack with large table. The crank adjusts the table height smoothly for a better work experience. This drill press also comes with onboard light facility but it does not include any bulb at all. Even though it does not have any laser guide for the pressing, still according to the floor drill press reviews this drill press still can be termed as one of the reliable and powerful of the drill presses that you can get.
- Comes with 1.5 HP motor for high power and better RPM range
- The crank alongside the table controls the table level. You can set the table level according to your convenience.
- 12 different speed variants starting from 150 to 4200 RPM
- Come with a ¾” chuck as well.
- You get the built-in light, key and drill chuck.
- Weighs only 288 lbs
- Has a large swing of 20”
- 5 HP motor can cut through any metal
- Better range of speed variants for convenience
- Comes with onboard light for a better work experience
- You can cut through any tough material you want and it won’t break down.
- One of the best stable drill presses that you can find
- Works fine in any condition.
- Drill height can be adjusted
- You get the best performance for the price that you pay
- Comes with a warranty of 2 years
- Compared to what you get some might say it’s a costly drill press
- No laser guidance for the drilling that can make things difficult when it comes to precise drilling
- You need to readjust the belt each time you wish to change the speed of your drill.
- The working table does not have a forward-backward tilt facility while working.
3. SHOP FOX W1680 1-Horsepower 17-Inch Floor Model Drill Press:
This drill press from SHOP FOX is designed in such way so that you can use it professionally and for personal projects. The motor is 1 HP only and it can be run on 110V electricity. It comes with a lowest speed of 150 RPM and maximum speed of 1720 RPM which is good enough to work with large objects. The work table of 14” and you can tilt it by 90 degrees. You can also choose to rotate or adjust the height of the table as well. The drill has some safety features as well. The chuck guard makes sure you do not come in contact with any of the moving parts.
- Motor power 1 HP
- Comes with toggle type switch
- Maximum speed of 1720 RPM
- Standard spindle
- Drill chuck can be 5/8”
- Can be used in 110V power supply
- Comes with a 17” swing
- Can be used for both personal and professional projects
- With the maximum speed of 1720 and 1 HP motor, it can be termed as moderately powerful.
- 140 RPM of lowest speed ensures that you get perfect efficiency for wood carving and woodworking
- With a spindle of 3-1/4 you can easily drill deep enough
- The table is made of cast iron, which adds to the precision of your drilling
- The speed adjustment belt is not that user friendly
4. Jet 354166 JDP-15MF 3/4-Horsepower 15-Inch Floor Model Drill Press:
This JDP-15MF from JET is one of the best floor drill presses that you will ever get to use. With a ¾ Hp motor and multiple speed variations this 15” drill press is truly the best that you can get. It has a speed variation of 200 – 3630 RPM which gives you 16 different speed modes. The drill press has an adjustable height and the worktable can be adjusted according to your need as well. If you wish you can lower the table or raise it to make it comfortable for you. You also get the option to rotate it for 360 degrees so as to work efficiently. According to the floor drill press reviews you might not find a better, comfortable and easier drill press to work with.
- Quite powerful for home use and good enough for even professional use as well.
- Powerful motor with ¾ HP
- 16 different speed variants for different types of jobs.
- Comes with an on-board lamp that can help you work in low light.
- It has a weight of 180 lbs.
- You can assemble this drill press faster than any of its competitors
- The built-in lamp is really of great help.
- You can tilt the worktable, so as to change the angle of the cut and there by changing the angle of the hole as well.
- Comes with a powerful enough motor with 16 different speed variations
- The drill press is quite stable; you can even cut through heavy metals without much of a vibration
- Weight of this product is quite too much to move around
- There are some issues with the chuck
5. JET J-2500 15-Inch 3/4-Horsepower 115-Volt Floor Model Drill Press:
If you are looking for the best floor drill press then JET is the product manufacturer that you must be looking for. They have been really good in developing this type of tool with professional features and J2500 from JET is not exception either. This particular drill press comes with a swing of 15” and you can run it with an electric supply of 115V. It comes with a 16 speed variation as well. The speed variation starts from 200 RPM to 3620 RPM which is really good enough to cut through any metal you like. The head swivels 3600. With this type of option, you can surely do a lot of things that you can’t even imagine. With an option to tilt the table by 450 you can get all those angled holes with ease and obviously you can’t ask for more at the price that you are spending. The ground column is made out of steel and it supports your working table and moving head as well, especially when you are running the machine at a high speed. It comes with a standard 5/8” chuck along with a spindle that can travel deep easily. In short this is one of the best professional grade machines that you can ask for.
- Comes with exceptionally large quill along with cast iron head
- Depth stop features for making perfect holes with proper depth.
- You get to enjoy 16 different speed settings.
- With a speed variation of 200 RPM to 3630 RPM, you can easily cut through any material you want.
- It comes with a electric motor with 0.75 HP.
- It comes with a 15” swing which is really impressive
- 2 years manufacturer warranty
- Comes with cast iron head which makes it a durable product
- Depth Stop functionality for precise drilling
- You can tilt the table for 45 degrees
- Spindle has lubricated balls
- Bearings are really easy to assemble
- Comes with a powerful motor of 0.75 HP
- The head can rotate 360 degrees offering your 100% satisfaction and convenience
- No vibration issues while working even at the top speed
- The speed ranges are good enough to assist you in your work.
- No laser guide or onboard light available
- If you increase the speed, it will have an increasing noise
6. Jet JDP-17 3/4 hp Drill Press:
JDP-7 from JET is particularly great for woodworks. It comes with the largest spindle compared to any of its competitors. With a long spindle you will be able to get your projects done quickly and accurately as well. It’s really simple to use and can be efficiently used to get the perfect depth. It comes with 16 different speed variations but you can control the speed with just using a switch. The RPM limit for this drill press is also really impressive. The machine comes with large grooved table that makes it easier for you to adjust your object that you want o work on. You can move the table up or down to adjust the height according to your convenience. Although this is one of the best of the drill presses that you can buy but you have to make sure you check the quill before drilling, as it has a tendency to shake while it works at the highest speed. This will ensure that you get a nice drilling experience and the required result as well.
- The spindle is large enough to drill 5” hole in one go.
- The worktable comes with T-slot groves and also 4 table slots making it easier for you to work on any project you want.
- You can easily change the speed with the use of one-handed belt
- Comes with a large off button and safety key as well.
- Comes with depth stop facility for a better, quicker and easier drilling
- Large spindle for better efficiency
- Better and easy speed adjustment
- Large table
- Table with grooves for better and quick alignment
- 16 speed variations
- The chuck key is not really user friendly. It’s difficult to use the key
- The quill vibrates a lot while it’s at the top speed
Floor Drill Press Buying Tips for Newbies
Apart from considering the various factors mentioned above, there are quite a few other things that you should keep in mind to ensure that you can work conveniently and efficiently on all types of projects. Here is a list of the points to remember:
- The base of the floor drill press must be absolutely flat to ensure better accuracy.
- Try to go for a drill press that comes with an iron head as this will better protect the drill bits.
- The work table of the drill press must be built of high quality material and must be sturdy.
- A drill that comes with an in-built work light system is undoubtedly an excellent choice as you will be able to easily see if you drill at the perfect spot.
- Floor drill presses are usually quite big in size. If you have a small workshop or workplace, the best floor drill press for your needs will be a small one.
- These models are generally quite heavy too. If you think that you will have to move the machine at some point of time or the other, it is better to go for a model that is comparatively lightweight.
- Make sure that you can easily get accessories and spares for the model that you choose.
Safety and Maintenance Tips
Choosing the best floor drill press isn’t all that you need to do if you want a good service from the machine. You have to make sure that you use it well and take good care of it so that it performs exactly the way it should. Here are a few tips that will help you get the best out of your drill press:
Study the manual – In order to use the drill press to its full potential, it is a must that you read the instruction manual very well. This is very important if you are a beginner. Even if you have used drill presses before, it would be wise to go through the manual once to ensure that you know everything about the machine and how it should be operated for the best results. This is also a safety precaution as you will not end up doing something that may not be ideal for the particular model.
Choose your drill bit wisely – The choice of the right drill bit is important not only to get precise results, but also to ensure that your machine doesn’t have to bear any unnecessary strain or lead to any accidents.
Use safety gear – As with any other work process, drilling also necessitates the use of protection gear. Before you start working with the drill press, make sure that you wear protective eyewear, hand gloves, protective clothing, and also use a face shield.
Remember to take out the key – If you have bought a model that comes with a keyed chuck, then make sure that you take out the key before you start operating the drill press. If it has a self-ejecting key, then that would be the best for you.
A floor drill press is a much sought after tool and can surely give you the opportunity to do much more than just build a few household items. Whether you want to work professionally or as passionate hobbyist, a floor drill press will surely make your work more convenient. Not only that, you will be easily able to do industry-level projects any time you want, whether that be with wood, metal, plastic, glass or any other material. However, you have to be very careful while deciding on the best floor drill press for yourself. Not only do you need to consider the various important and useful features, but have to also ensure that the chosen product is ideal for your requirements. Carefully go through the floor drill press reviews of the best products listed above and then make a purchase.