The Best Benchtop Drill Press

Shop Fox W1667 1/2 HP 8-1/2-Inch Bench-Top Oscillating Drill Press

Our Top Pick for 2016: Shop Fox W1667 1/2 HP 8-1/2-Inch Bench-Top Oscillating Drill Press
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $186.30*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

If you work with wood as a hobby or professionally, you likely have heard about benchtop drill presses. These are the machines that do drilling for you in lieu of your handheld drills. There are a lot of reasons why you should venture into the world of drill presses. Here are some important ones:

• Drill presses are accurate. Even if you are great at targeting your drilling, a proper tool will make it that much easier. You can set your desired location for the drill and then clamp your wood or metal in, and drill. It’s particularly helpful with accuracy if you have a lot of wood holes to drill on a lot of boards. Plus, you can angle your holes if needed.

• Drill presses are speedy. You are going to save a lot of time with the right drill. Again- you set it once and then put your wood in for drilling. You’ll get a uniform drill hole time and time again with minimum effort.

• Drill presses are powerful. You don’t have to worry about exhausting your hand or grip. With a drill press, the machine does the hard work for you.

• Drill presses are versatile. Technology has pushed these tools to be more versatile than ever. Hint: Look at our number one gold pick!

Combine all of these things and you have the chance at a great product quickly and efficiently constructed. We decided because of the value of drill presses, to put together a list of the best ones in the market. Here is what we found.

Table of contents

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Easy Speed Changes
5 Speeds
Easily Adjustable Drill Table
Fully Adjustable Twinlaser
1/2″ Drill Chuck
Scaled Steel Fence
Best-In-Class Capacity
Precision-Ground Spindle
Laser Guide For X And Y Positioning
Auto-Tensioning Belt Drive System
Long Lasting Sanding Sleeve
680-3,150 Rpm Speed Range
Maximizes Transmission Efficiency
Includes Sturdy Square Table
1/2 HP Motor

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Shop Fox W1667 1/2 HP 8-1/2-Inch Bench-Top Oscillating Drill Press

Shop Fox W1667 1/2 HP 8-1/2-Inch Bench-Top Oscillating Drill Press Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $186.30*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOur gold pick for the best benchtop drill press is the Shop Fox W1667 ½-HP 8 ½-Inch Benchtop Oscillating drill press. This is a two-in-one powerful machine to help you with any project you are working on. It’s perfect for carpenters, woodworkers, or DIYers who want a multipurpose and useful tool to add to their workshop. Here are the details on all it has to offer.

The versatility of this machine is the primary reason it made it to number one on our list. Not only is this a great drill, but it also is an oscillating spindle sander. As a drill press, you get all of the precision and control needed to make accurate drill holes. Have you ever tried making a hole with a hand-held drill? Likely you got the job done, but not as accurately as you had hoped. A good woodworker can still salvage a part after a mis-drilled hole, but why not cut the error out completely? That’s exactly what a benchtop drill press can do. It is stationary so all you have to do is put the wood to be drilled on its work surface, and bring the drill bit down to exactly where you need it. The Shop Fox allows you to drill holes as needed time and time again with no decline in accuracy or uniformity. Just decide on the bit size, and the machine does all the work for you.

The second part of this Shop Fox is an oscillating spindle sander. We loved how easy it was to switch between the two without any tools. Converting to the sander requires 1) unplugging the machine, 2) removing handles, 3) switching the inner belts to the pulley, 4) adjusting the jam nut and 5) inserting the mandrel into the chuck with the proper size drum. Once you have it set up, you can then easily sand down any piece of wood or metal to whatever configuration you need. For any carpenter, woodworker or hobbyist this is a huge advantage. Rather than having to hand sand or order pieces custom cut, you can just get raw wood and turn it into any configuration you need to finish your project. By all accounts, this is a DIYer’s dream tool.

Both parts of this tool were easy to use and they blended together perfectly. We loved how Shop Fox coupled the fine workmanship of the tool with a powerful motor. This model has five different speeds and runs from 620 all the way up to 3,100 RPM. This makes it perfect for doing a wide variety of jobs. You can easily lower the power for finer jobs, or increase the power for bigger jobs. The machine weighs 54-pounds and has 110 volts of power and that works perfectly for the jobs it is tasked to do. It has a ½-horsepower motor and a ½-inch drill chuck and an 8 ½-inch swing. An aluminum plate covers the motor to allow heat dissipation and avoid overheating during intense jobs. It also has a safety key to prevent unwanted starting of the machine.

An added convenience feature is the built-in work surface. It holds any wood steady as you drill it. It also is adjustable to an angle of 90-degrees so you can drill at any angle you need to for your project. It will hold the wood steady so again, mistakes are not an issue. To further its convenience, there is an oscillating spindle kit that can be purchased for this model. It includes a mandrel and three 4 ½-inch long rubber sanding drums that are 1-inch, 1 ½-inch and 2-inch diameter sanding sleeves. Sleeves are 80 grit for ease of sanding to the size and shape you need.

Clean up is also easier than ever with the Shop Fox. It has a built-in collection port beneath the work surface. All you have to do is connect a 2-inch vacuum to it and it will draw your debris away. This is a huge convenience because it cuts down on any clean-up post-work.

With the Shop Fox model, you get power, accuracy, ease of use, versatility in a compact drill press and spindle sander. We loved how this was the perfect versatile tool to use for a wide variety of tasks in a workshop. If you are looking for a benchtop drill press, consider this one. Not only will it be the drill you have been looking for, but it can handle your sanding with perfection too.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press

Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press

View it on Amazon for $930.49*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerOur silver product is the Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser. This one won us over because of its power and ease of use. If you’re new to the world of benchtop drill presses, you’ll love the Delta’s performance. It has a lot to offer and here are some of its key points to consider.

This is one of the most efficient precision tools we have found in a long time. After our thorough vetting process, we realized just how efficient this option was. It has an auto-tensioning belt drive that allows for quick changes in speed. When working on projects, you likely know how speed plays a huge part in how well and how quickly the job gets done. Having to go through an intense process to adjust the machine is never a plus. With the Delta 18-900L you won’t have to worry about it. It can easily be changed to meet whatever speed is best for the project at hand. Whether you are drilling holes for a large armoire build or small table, you are going to get precision work every time.

In addition to its versatility, we also liked its 120 volt power. The Delta model works at 16 different speeds from 170 to 3,000 RPM. Just like our top pick, this one allows you to customize its power to any project you are working with. It has an induction motor and there is a rack-and-pinion height adjusting feature that lets you easily raise and lower the table to whatever height you need. You can also angle the table if needed for specific builds. It adjust 90-degrees left or right and tilts forward to a maximum of 48-degrees. It also works with an auto-tensioning belt drive that lets the speed change happen seamlessly.

One of the unique features of the Delta 18-900L is that it has a 6-inch quill stoke. That allows deeper drilling if needed. Not all of the models we vetted has this ability. In fact some of them were so shallow with depth that we questioned their viability in the market at all. There was no problem though with the Delta. It allowed for full customization whether we needed to change the table height, angle or drill depth. Also, all of the alterations were easy and could be done in a few seconds. Not only is this a huge advantage to the jobs, but it also is a time-saver. If you have to get a wide variety of drill jobs completed quickly, this is the perfect tool to help out.

This is a hefty tool. It weighs 260 pounds and its dimensions are 59-inches by 12.8-inches by 3.2-inches. It stands on a solid steel base and the table height can be adjusted on the center pole. There is a TWINLASER feature also that projects red cross-lights to the table for targeting the point where the hole will be made. This is a bonus feature because you can see exactly how your end-product will turn out and make adjustments if needed.

The Delta 18-900L is our silver pick because of its power and accuracy. It is easy to maneuver and any DIYer or professional carpenter will love it. If you are in the market for a new benchtop drill press, consider this one. It offers years of reliable and accurate service as a drill.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press with Laser Trac

Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press with Laser Trac

View it on Amazon for $146.88*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardRounding out our top three and taking the bronze slot is the Craftsman 10-Inch with Laser Trac. Its most notable feature is how well it guides newer users through using a bench drill press easily and quickly. Once you give it a chance, likely you are going to be spoiled into demanding to pull it out rather than your handheld any day. Here are our official thoughts on its value.

What we loved most about the Craftsman was its ease of use. It has Laser Trac—a feature that helps with precision targeting. It also has a table that can be adjusted via a rack and pinion system. A built in guide helps you to align the board against a scaled steel fence. This is a great product for someone just transitioning to a benchtop tool from a handheld. We can see how easy it will be to get spoiled by a machine this easy to use and convenient. No longer will you have to steady your hand and picture the target, hoping to hit it. The Craftsmen needs to be set once and it will get it right every time.

The Craftsman also has a powerful motor. It uses a ½-horsepower motor that has 5 different speeds ranging from 680 to 3,150 RPM. It works on 6amps, 120 volts and 60Hz of motor power. We loved how powerful this was and how many speed-settings there were. We were able to easily adjust the speed to different projects. This comes in handy if you have to drill metal and wood, or just different types of wood with varying hardness. It has a ½-inch keyed chuck and adjustable sanding drums with a ½-inch shank.

Having the sanding drums is another feature we were thankful for. Just like our gold pick, this one can be used as a sander too. The size is adjustable up to ½-inch shank, so you can take on different projects and alter the sanding capability as needed. The dependable chuck can handle metal and wood. It also has a table that can be adjusted up to 45-degrees, which works well for beveled edges and drilling corner holes. A rack and pinion system work to adjust the table. This makes for easy transitions so you can keep on working quickly.

This model Craftsman weighs 61-pounds and its dimensions are 13-inches by 8-inches by 27-inches. It is still compact enough to hide away in your workshop when not in use. We found that this model was great at doing lots of drilling quickly. Say you need to drill starter holes in multiple boards for a big project. This drill press was easy to adjust and then just quickly center each board, and drill it. It has a special feature – the Laser Trac for added accuracy. We loved this feature because it made precise drilling that much easier with a bright red x- and y-axis marker. It takes separate batteries to work, but it is well worth it.

The Craftsman 10-Inch is a great benchtop drill press. We liked its ease of use and can see it as a good starter benchtop tool. It’s easy to use and has features to help you get accurate drilling every time you use it. As our bronze product, it is a great one.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): EuroTool Small Benchtop Drill Press

EuroTool Small Benchtop Drill Press

View it on Amazon for $79.28*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickAs usual, we find our top three but after vetting all of our products we revisit the best ones. Out of that pool we find the best budget product. In this case, the honor goes to the EuroTool Small Benchtop drill press. We loved its compact size and power. It’s a great tool to have and a great addition to any workshop.

Don’t let size fool you. At just 13-pounds and with dimensions of 10-inches by 12-inches by 8-inches, you might mistake this tool for a mediocre and unnecessary addition to your workshop. Think again! After thoroughly vetting our contenders, we decided that the Euro Tool deserved its budget pick standing. Though it is small, it works with 110 volts of power and provides 100 watts, which makes it powerful. Its chuck can handle with bits as large as 6.5mm. It has three different speeds that range from 0- all the way up to 8,500 RPM. This is fantastic for any machine and even more impressive for a machine this compact.

We tested it out with both metal and wood and it stood up just fine. It was able to handle a lot, which is what we demand from any product we nominate to our winners. We loved its versatility. Though it doesn’t have an adjustable table, we realized that it’s too small for that to reasonably make sense. The table it does have is durable and can be secured to a work table easily.

We definitely were impressed by this model and to show it, we made this our budget buy. Not only is it effective, but it is durable and reliable. If you have smaller projects to get done, or have the need for a drill only once in a while, this one comes in at a great price point. Consider using it. There are a lot of bigger models out there, but this one probably can do most of what they can do at ½ the size and ½ the cost.


Pre-purchase considerations

Power/Motor

With any large power tool, one of our main concerns is power/motor. We want to be sure that any model we choose has enough motor power to get the job done quickly and efficiently. We look for a lot of watts and a powerful system. With our lineup of tools we also looked for different speeds. We wanted the speeds of each product to be adjustable depending on the size of the project at hand. As any carpenter knows, one speed doesn’t take care of every job. Having the ability to decide what level of power needed is critical to getting jobs done efficiently and precisely. Each one of our chosen models offer multiple speeds at multiple RPMs.

Accuracy

The next important feature of our benchtop drill presses is the accuracy of drilling. Hand-drilling a piece of wood can be difficult. Even if you have the steadiest of hands, it can be a task—in particular if the wood is misshaped or oddly cut. It also can be dangerous to try to drill with one hand, while holding the wood with the other.

The value of a benchtop drill press is that it holds the wood in one place firmly as you drill. It also has some indicator of where the drill hole will be so you can adjust it before you actually make the hole. Some of our models came with red lights that projected down on the wood on the table. This was an added convenience that caused us to throw in a few extra points. When it comes to our assessments, anything that makes the customer’s life easier is heralded by us. It gets noticed quicker. We believe that if a manufacturer is truly looking out for their customer base, then we want to stand behind them. We took note of the products with special indicators that made drilling steadily and accurately that much easier.

Ease of Use

Next, we wanted to assess all of our machines for ease of use. One of our main desires is to find products that don’t require highly-trained workers to use them. With the benchtop drill press, we didn’t want to find the models that only seasoned carpenters would know how to work with. We want products that are universal. Again- it is a matter of championing the models that manufacturers worked on for the general public’s benefit. We want products that anyone can handle.

We also don’t want a long learning curve. We want to be sure that the products we note as our top products can be easy to master. Though some of them are more detailed than others, we believe a good build will overcome any newbie difficulties. Manufacturers who are able to build intricate products that are still user-friendly, win us over quickly. Each one of our selections on this list of top products are easy to use. They also come with toll-free numbers so consumers can contact customer service at any time if needed.

Versatility

We also look at versatility of products. Our number one product, the Shop Fox offers both a benchtop drill press and an oscillating sander. It’s versatility like this that helps us to note the stand-out products. When we find a product like this one, we give bonus points. On top of versatility though, it also has to be easily adjusted to take advantage of that versatility. We don’t want long winded instructions on how to convert to a different machine configuration. Rather, we want a streamlined process that takes a product form one configuration to the other in minutes. That’s exactly what we found with the Shop Fox.

We also look at versatility like “How many different things can be accomplished with this product?” For example, our silver product is just a benchtop drill press. However, can it handle a wide variety of applications? Can it handle drilling small projects? Can it handle drilling large projects equally as well? Can its table be adjusted both left and right? What about forward? This kind of versatility goes a long way with us too. It means that the product can be used to create a wide variety of different things. We love diversity and the tools that make it easier to achieve are ok with us!

The Extras

We also looked at the extras. These were things that weren’t considered to be “standard” with machines, but the manufacturers built them in. One important extra was the inclusion of a dust port. With any drill or sander, there is going to be a lot of sawdust and debris. That can create a mess for carpenters quickly. We considered having an easy-attach dust port included in the machine’s design was a highly advantageous extra.

We also considered tables that were completely adjustable—both left and right, and forward. A tilting table is a great advantage to alter support on a work space. It allows for different angled drill holes. This can help with a wider variety of projects.

Another extra was a lighted target on our drill presses. This was a light that showed the user exactly where the hole would be placed before they brought the bit down. This is highly effective at avoiding mistakes and being able to pinpoint the exact spot where the drill hole is needed before the point of no return.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

In the end we are excited about all four of our heralded products. They truly are the best in the market and we are confident that they can help you with any project you decide on. Test out our top three, and our budget pick and likely you will find the perfect machine to help you with your woodworking projects.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Shop Fox W1667 1/2Hp 8 ½_ Bench Top Oscillating Drill Press. 2015
  2. Shop Fox. Shop Fox W1667 ½ HP 8 ½-Inch Bench-Top Oscillating Drill Press. 2016
  3. Delta 18-900L Drill Press. February 16, 2012.
  4. Steve. Review: Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press. September 3, 2015.
  5. Craftsman 10-In Bench Drill Press Review. April 29, 2016
  6. Craftsman 10 Inch. 2016
  7. Justin Glover. Best Small Drill Press in 2015. April 26, 2015.
  8. .6 Reasons Every Woodworker Needs a Drill Press. March 3, 2016.

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