Best drill press? – Benchtop or Floor Model

By Mark Adams, Senior Editor, Wood Tools Magazine

best drill pressTo do any type of woodworking, a drill press is rather important.  The major question I’m often asked is benchtop or floor model?

In this article, I’m going to try and help you determine what’s the best drill press type for you. In other words, benchtop or floor model.

To see more reviews on specific models, click here.

In another article we review specifics of various models.  Click to see our best drill press reviews.

The first step is to choose the drill press that drills best for YOUR PARTICULAR NEEDS!  Then decide if you want a benchtop or floor model.

To expand on that thought, do you drill lots of large holes in hardwoods like oak?  If so you will be best suited by a ¾ hp motor or higher.  Do you also want to do mostly metal working?  If so, you probably don’t need as strong of a motor but variable speeds and precision are more important. If you don’t choose the right drill press features first, it really won’t matter whether you have a benchtop or floor model.

How deep of a hole will you USUALLY need?  Do you cut no more than ¾ inch thick wood 95% of the time?  Then buy a press that’s designed to do that.  No press is perfect for 100% of drilling.  You can always improvise for the 5% or less of what you drill.

What about table size, do you cut large or small items?  If larger items how easy is it to attach a larger table and maybe a fence?

I’ve always thought this step is the hardest in buying any tool.  It’s had to accept that the tool you just bought won’t do everything you may ever need it to do.  But if you can accept that you’ll be happy 95% of the time.  Pretty good, overall, I’d say.

OK, if you take my advice, you’ve done really the important part. You now have thought through what you’ll USUALLY drill and determined the right type of features best suit your needs.

Best Drill Press

best drill pressBut the second part and the reason you’re reading this article is to help decide what’s the best drill press type for you?

Here are some things to keep in mind.

Aren’t floor models better drill presses than benchtop models?  No.  In most cases the manufacturers make the motors are the same, just the base is different.  So there is no quality difference.

With that said if you are looking for high end features like electric variable speed or digital readouts, etc then plan on the floor model.  The manufacturer reasons that you have the space and desire for a floor model and usually only includes those type of features on larger more expensive models.

Space.  Probably the biggest determining factor for most people.  If you’re limited, then a pretty easy decision.

Assuming you do have limited space but want a floor model, you can always add a mobile base and slide the tool out if needed.

If you’re thinking benchtop, know that all drill presses are deeper that you realize.  Measure the depth of your table and make sure there is enough room for the press to sit safely without it tipping forward.

But what if I want to drill long pieces of wood?  OK, how often will you really do this?  If enough to justify a floor model, then your decision is made.  However, realize you can turn your bench model base 180 degrees and have the head extend over the floor.  For all practical purposes this turns your benchtop into a floor model.  Just make sure you bolt down the base and secure the table so the press doesn’t flip over towards you.

It can be a tough decision choosing any tool.  But I hope this short article gives you a little help in choosing the best drill press for you.

To see more reviews on specific models, click here.

Good Luck with your woodworking.


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