What Drill Press Speed Should I Use Best? Drill Press Speed Chart

A drill press is a valuable and flexible machine, but many people do not know how to select the proper speed for a drill press. As a result, many people simply end up using the wrong speed, resulting in burned drill bits, damaged materials, and using twice as much effort.

To determine what drill press speed you should use, you have to realize that a drill press may be used to drill a variety of different materials, using a variety of different drill bit types, with varying diameters. Only by linking these three variables can you establish the proper drill press speed.

With the several free drill press speed charts in this article, you will be able to identify the ideal drill press speed for the job you are working on. To make things even easier for you, I’ve separated them apart based on the sort of material you’re drilling, so you can discover the correct drill press speed range in no time.

Pro Tip

Always secure your drill press in place before beginning to drill; this will help avert any unfortunate incidents as well as make sure you get the desired outcome. Nevertheless, it is essential to mention that you should not employ the slots in its baseplate for securing it since they are not meant for stability.

To better understand why the slots should not be utilized, please refer to my article, “What Are The Slots In A Drill Press Base For? A Clear Answer“.

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

Why is Drill Press Speed so Important?

The drill press’s speed is crucial for various reasons. One of it is overheating. As a result of it, the bit might be damaged.

Overheating can occur if you drill too quickly, resulting in burn marks on the wood or metal discoloration. If you drill too slowly, the drill will not cut cleanly into the material but will instead break off flakes which will give you a sloppy end result.

Another important reason why the speed of your drill is important is your safety. Using the wrong speed can cause drill press accidents. Not only creased or broken fingers, but also amputated fingers, have often been the result of not using the correct speed in the past. Avoid accidents and be sure to check out my article, “Drill Press Accidents Happen Every Day: 9 Tips To Stay Safe”.

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How do You Define Drill Press Speed?

A drill press’s speed is measured in revolutions per minute. This is denoted by the acronym RPM.

So, if we talk about a drill press that runs at 1000RPM, it indicates that the drill head has been threaded 1000 times around its own axis in one minute. RPM is used to indicate the speed of numerous devices and equipment, not just drill presses.

Factors that Influence the Drill Press Speed that You Should Use.

Drill Bit Size

When you check the drill press speed chart below, you will notice that each drill diameter has a distinct drilling speed. A thicker drill, for example, will have to rotate at a lower revolution than a thinner drill.

When working on a material with a bigger diameter drill bit, there will be much more friction between the workpiece and the drill than when working on the same material with a smaller diameter drill bit.

That instance, while your drill press is running at a greater speed, a bigger diameter drill bit will heat up faster than a smaller diameter bit at the same speed.

Drill Bit Type

Each drill not only has its unique form and diameter, but it also has its own method of cutting into the material. A Forstner drill, for example, cuts through the wide, slanted blade differently than, say, the tiny teeth of a hole saw.

That is why it is critical to match the drill speed to the type of drill you are using. If you do not do this, you run a considerably higher risk of the drill bit getting burned or worn down.

To know what sort of drills you should have in your workshop, read my previous post “7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking.”

The Material that You’re Using.

The material’s hardness also plays a huge role in deciding what drill press speed you should use.

Drilling through hardwood will produce greater friction than drilling through softwood. When drilling in hardwood, you must choose a lower speed to avoid the drill from overheating or burning the wood.

As a result, if you drill into a harder material or with a drill with a larger diameter, the speed must drop proportionally. Hard materials or bigger drills require a slower speed, whereas soft materials or thinner drills require a faster speed.

How to Determine the Right Speed of a Drill Press.

Now that you know what factors to consider when determining drill press speed, you can get started. To make things easier, I’ve created two tables below that show the speed for drilling with various types of drills, different sizes, and different materials.

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What Drill Press Speed Should I Use for Wood?

To find the perfect drill press speed for wood (softwood or softwood) select the type of drill bit you are using in this drill press rpm chart.

Once you have selected the type of drill bit, find the diameter size you need. Next to that drill size, you will find what drill press speed to use for softwood (first column) or hardwood (second column).

Drill type & diameter InchDrill type & diameter mmSoftwoodHardwood
Twist Drill Bits
1/16″ to 3/16″1.5mm – 5mm3000 RPM3000 RPM
1/4″ to 3/8″6mm – 10mm3000 RPM1500 RPM
7/16″ to 5/8″11mm – 16mm1500 RPM750 RPM
11/16″ to 1″17mm – 24mm750 RPM500 RPM
Brad-point bits
1/8″3mm1800 RPM1200 RPM
1/4″6mm1800 RPM1000 RPM
3/8″10mm1800 RPM750 RPM
1/2″12mm1800 RPM750 RPM
5/8″16mm1800 RPM500 RPM
3/4″18mm1400 RPM250 RPM
13/16″22mm1200 RPM250 RPM
1″24mm1000 RPM250 RPM
Forstner Bits
1/4″ to 3/8″ 6mm – 10mm 2400 RPM700 RPM
1/2″ to 5/8″12mm – 16mm2400 RPM500 RPM
3/4″ to 1″18mm – 24mm1500 RPM 500 RPM
1- 1/8″ to 1- 1/4″28mm – 30mm1000 RPM 250 RPM
1- 3/8″ to 2″34mm – 48mm500 RPM 250 RPM
Hole Saws
1″ to 1- 1/2″24mm – 32mm500 RPM350 RPM
1- 5/8″ to 2″40mm – 48mm500 RPM250 RPM
2- 1/8″ to 2- 1/2″54mm – 60mm500 RPM250 RPM
2- 1/2″ to 4″60mm – 92mm250 RPM250 RPM
Spade bits
1/4″ to 1/2″6mm – 12mm2000 RPM1500 RPM
5/8″ to 1″16mm – 24mm1750 RPM1500 RPM
1- 1/8″ to 1- 1/2″28mm – 36mm1500 RPM1000 RPM
2- flute1400 RPM1400 RPM
5- flute1000 RPM750 RPM
screw pilot bit
all sizes1500 RPM1000 RPM
Plug cuttersall sizes 1000 RPM 500 RPM
Drill speed chart for wood

What Drill Press Speed Should I Use for Metal?

To find the perfect drill press speed for steel (brass, aluminum) select the type of drill bit you are using in this drill press rpm chart.

Once you have selected the type of drill bit, find the diameter size you need. Next to that drill size, you will find what drill press speed to use for brass (first column), aluminum (second column), or steel (column on the right).

Drill type & diameter InchDrill type & diameter mmBrassAluminumSteel
Twist Drill Bits
1/16″ to 3/16″1.5mm – 5mm3000 RPM3000
3000 RPM
1/4″ to 3/8″6mm – 10mm1200 RPM2500
1000 RPM
7/16″ to 5/8″11mm – 16mm750
600 RPM
11/16″ to 1″17mm – 24mm400
Hole Saws
1″ to 1- 1/2″24mm – 32mm250 RPMNRNR
1- 5/8″ to 2″40mm – 48mm250 RPMNR NR
2- 1/8″ to 2- 1/2″54mm – 60mm250 RPMNR NR
2- 1/2″ to 4″60mm – 92mm250 RPMNR NR
2- fluteNR NR NR
5- flute250 RPM 250 RPM 250 RPM
Drill speed chart for metal

How To Set Up Your Drill Press at the Right Speed?

To convert from one speed to another, many smaller DIY drill presses require manual adjustments. With larger appliances, the speed can also be set electronically.

Nowadays, even smaller devices, made for DIYers, already have electronic settings such as this Bosch PBD40 variable speed drill press.

To accomplish this, just follow the steps below to change the speed of your drill press.

Before you begin, disconnect your drill press from the wall for safety reasons. Every drill press comes with a guide to assist you select the best RPM for the job you’re working on.

What drill press speed should I use_ (+Drill Press Speed Chart)

Step 1: open your drill press and loosen the knob using the knob and lock found on the drill press’s side. The belt will be free enough to move after the motor has been pushed backward.

What drill press speed should I use_ (+Drill Press Speed Chart)

Step 2: To change the speed, simply insert your finger behind the loosened belt and pull gently to the desired level. To make this process easier, it is a good idea to do this while turning the pulleys.

What drill press speed should I use_ (+Drill Press Speed Chart)

Step 3: After you’ve installed the belt, push the motor backward and use the side knob and latch to secure the motor and tighten the belt. Before connecting the machine back in, make sure to close the cover.

What drill press speed should I use_ (+Drill Press Speed Chart)

You may now drill at the proper speed without fear of burning your workpiece, ruining your drill bit, or exerting too much effort.


If you want your drill press and drill bit to last longer, and if you want to drill without damaging your workpiece, you will have to adjust the speed of your drill press. Therefore, you can use the charts in this article to find the right speed in seconds.

Next to the correct speed, there is a lot to learn about the drill press, so you can get the most out of this power tool. Be sure to read the article, “What is a drill press used for? (7 steps to better results)

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I hope this information will answer your question “What drill press speed should I use?” and that the drill press speed chart was helpful.

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