Okay, so you’re considering a drill press purchase – but you’re unsure of which model to choose, or whether those benchtop models are even any good. Well, you’ve landed on the right page. We spent 18.5 hours over several days checking out every half-decent benchtop drill press we could find. What we uncovered could save you at least as many hours of brain-numbing research, countless lost dollars, and endless frustration at having chosen a compact drill press that just didn’t deliver as expected. These are our highest-rated benchtop drill press for home workshop and DIY
Best Overall 5/5
WEN 4212 10-inch
High Quality 4.9/5
Skil 10 inch
Best Budget - 4.9/5
Wen 4208 8 inch
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- 1 Best Overall 5/5
- 2 High Quality 4.9/5
- 3 Best Budget - 4.9/5
- 4 Number One: WEN 4212 10-inch Variable Speed Drill Press
- 5 Number Two: Skil 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-inch Drill Press
- 6 Number Three: WEN 4208 8-Inch 5-Speed
- 7 Number Four: Shop Fox W1668 Three-Quarter Horsepower 13 inch Drill Press
- 8 Number Five: Jet J-2530 15-Inch Three-Quarter Horsepower Bench top Drill Press
- 9 The Best Benchtop Drill Press Verdict
Every serious do-it-yourselfer and home shop enthusiast needs a drill press. And these smaller benchtop drill press models provide a cost-effective way to drill accurate, clean holes of various sizes for a multitude of purposes.
In this article, we review the best five affordable drill presses designed specifically for home-shop use. All are relatively compact (some more than others) and affordable. Most importantly, you can count on them when you need to.
Number One: WEN 4212 10-inch Variable Speed Drill Press
WEN’s 10-inch variable speed drill press has a lot to offer. It’s a solid machine that delivers variable speeds – from 530 to 3100 RPMs from a 4.5 amp induction motor. During testing, it operated smoothly with surprising torque from a relatively small benchtop drill press. It’s well worth the price.
Other things we liked about the WEN drill press is the locking depth gauge, the half-inch chuck, plus the onboard key storage for the chuck. If you’ve ever lost the only chuck you had – you’ll appreciate this simple but useful feature. With a ten-inch swing, you’re able to drill through the center of a 10-inch circle. The spindle extends 2 3/8 inches and the table bevels in either direction – up to 45°.
Wen’s drill press is built on a sturdy cast-iron base that doesn’t wobble. It’s a smooth machine that performs admirably. With a simple turn of the dial, you can adjust speeds quite easily and the digital LED reveals the current speed. According to the manufacturer, you can easily drill a 1/2 inch hole into heavy-duty cast-iron with this machine. That’s plenty strong for most applications.
The frame is solid with a cast-iron base, table, and head. The standard warranty on the WEN is two-years – which is pretty good for a small benchtop device. This compact WEN drill press weighs in at about 62 1/2 pounds and overall dimensions come in at 13.5″ x 11″ x 33.9″.
Number Two: Skil 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-inch Drill Press
Here’s another top pick for the best benchtop drill press with variable speeds, accuracy, and reliability that is sure to be more than adequate for most home shops and weekend warriors.
This drill press has a tilting table that bevels from zero to 45° – left and right. Motor speed adjustments range from 570 to 3050 RPMs. This Skil model also features a half-inch key drill chuck which provides a solid grip on any type of drill bit with a shank of up to half an inch. There’s also a bump off switch for added security and quick shutdown.
One thing we noticed is that the adjustable depth stop comes in very handy. You can set it accurately and it’s excellent for repetitive work, where you need a specific depth – like when drilling for adjustable shelves.
The weight of the Skil comes in at 50.8 pounds. Overall size is 9.8″ x 15.2″ x 21.8″. Skill offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, plus a three-year limited warranty against defects.
Skil’s benchtop drill press makes a solid choice for most home shops and scores a respectable 3.8 out of five possible stars from well over 500 actual customer reviews. That’s a solid score that’s not easy to come by in today’s world that increasingly depends on customer reviews.
It’s a stable and accurate benchtop drill press. But as with any benchtop press (vs. a floor model), there are some limitations. However, for most home shops – This Skil benchtop drill press will certainly do the job.
On the downside, parts seem to no longer available from the manufacturer, since Skil was bought out by Bosch. So if you need to replace something you’re going after placed the whole unit.
The base column is manufactured from aluminum rather than cast iron- making this one quite a bit lighter than most benchtop drill presses.
What we really liked about the skill is the convenience it provides. It’s a durable unit that should last a number of years – so in terms of value, it’s hard to beat. And thanks to its lighter than average weight, it’s easy to take with you. It’s also easy to clamp to any workbench when needed, and then to simply remove it and place it in storage when not in use.
Number Three: WEN 4208 8-Inch 5-Speed
Here’s the second WEN drill press to make our top five list. Clearly, we’re not the only fans of the brand and specifically – this WEN 8-inch machine. It scores a solid and very respectable 4.3 out of five possible stars, from nearly 1500 customer reports. And at such a bargain price – this one represents outstanding value.
The WEN 4208 is a little bit smaller and more limited than the larger model we reviewed here. But this one also includes a half-inch chuck – so it allows for a variety of drill bits. Plus, there’s onboard storage for the chuck too.
This model comes equipped with a 1/3 hp induction motor, offering variable speeds (5 in total) from 742 to 3140 RPMs. This is a good range for the vast majority of drilling operations at home.
Also, the spindle has a locking depth stop for accurate, repetitive cuts. And the spindle travels up to 2 inches – pretty good considering how compact this unit is. With a work table that measures 6.5″ x 6.5″ and tilts up to 45° both to the left and right – it makes a versatile and practical addition to any shop. With the 8 inch swing, you can drill in the center of an 8-inch circle.
Like our top pick, this WEN benchtop drill press also comes with a one-year warranty. It’s surprisingly compact, yet versatile and powerful. In fact, it’s a whole lot of machine packed into a small unit. Like the Larger WEN, this one is said to be capable of drilling 1/2 inch diameter hole into heavy-duty cast-iron. That means the motor is ample for most any hope shop application.
While it may not look as slick as other benchtop drill presses, this one delivers on performance and is quite powerful, given its size.
One big advantage of these benchtop machines like this is that you can simply clamp it to your workbench for a stable drill press when needed. Once you’re done, you can simply and put under your workbench. Its compact design makes it an excellent backup drill press one that can be moved to any bench, work stand or tabletop as needed, including on job sites.
It operates relatively quietly and provides no wobble. It’s also bargain-priced –which means you’re getting good value here.
Number Four: Shop Fox W1668 Three-Quarter Horsepower 13 inch Drill Press
Here’s another benchtop drill press worthy of your consideration. It’s the Shop Fox W166 ¾ HP press. It’s another winner – though it’s priced a little higher than the others in the top five.
If you’re buying on value alone or price alone, you may want to choose one of our other recommendations. But you might be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least check out this beauty from Shop Fox. The slightly higher price comes with many significant upgrades. These seemingly small differences can make a big difference in capability – for specific jobs or in certain situations.
Among those differences are the 5/8 chuck, a spindle travels at 3 1/4 inches, and a swing of 13 1/4 inches. This makes it a larger capacity and a more capable machine than smaller models. But it really depends on your own needs. Also included with the Shop Fox is a drum sander kit complete with mandrel and 80 grit sandpaper to fit 1, 1 ½ and 2-inch sanding drums.
Shop Fox boasts 12 speeds – from 250 to 3050 RPMs. The table is round (as opposed to square) with a 12 – 3/8 inch diameter that can swing a full 360°. It also tilts 45° – both left and right – and has a built-in dust port of 2 1/4 inch diameter. Now that’s pretty cool.
If you do any woodwork, the oscillating spindle sander is an excellent addition to have along with the drill press. If you eve plan to work with any rounded surfaces that would need sanding – this may be the drill press for you.
It’s got more speed, power, and capacity than your typical benchtop drill press. So it’s a better option for heavier or frequent use – such as in a commercial shop setting. According to the manufacturer, you can easily drill a three-quarter inch diameter hole in solid steel.
Overall, the Shop Fox is a robust, well-built benchtop machine with easy to operate controls and a strong, capable motor. Oh yes and … the work table has been milled flat and smooth. So you get accuracy from something that’s comfortable to use at the same time.
Number Five: Jet J-2530 15-Inch Three-Quarter Horsepower Bench top Drill Press
Jet’s J-2530 drill press is another benchtop model built of cast-iron to make it stable. It also has a large quilt that allows for greater accuracy. The head casting on the Jet features a lubricated ball bearing spindle assembly for accurate, smooth operations. The table tilts 45° and the large support column provides adequate support for both the head and table. It’s a simple yet powerful drill press with a ¾ horsepower motor.
This benchtop model the jet is on the larger side of available tools. It weighs 157 pounds and measures 22.5″ x 12″ x 32″. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re working in a basement shop, with a lower than the standard ceiling.
Once your drill press arrives, set up is simple and straightforward with the provided instructions. It’s a larger beefed-up version with everything made of cast iron or steel – except for the table hand crank (which is plastic).
You’ll soon see that the three-quarter-inch horsepower motor provides plenty of power for any kind of drilling. And the 5/8 of an inch chuck holds larger a larger selection of drill bits solidly in place. Despite it’s a slightly larger size, this machine runs smoothly and quietly at any speed. Accuracy is maintained, with no noticeable run-out. That’s important and one of the key reasons you want to have a drill press in the first place.
Most notably about Jet is that the manufacturer provides a five-year warranty on their drill press – significantly more than any competing manufacturer provides.
The Best Benchtop Drill Press Verdict
You can search endlessly for a benchtop drill press that’s accurate, reliable and affordable. But we can confidently say that, since you have access to this article, your own searching would largely be a waste of time. We’ve narrowed it down to five quality machines for you and our number one pick is the WEN 4212 ten inch benchtop drill press. But choosing any one of our top five selections would be a wise investment. It’s really a question of which one you like best.