What to Look for When Buying a Drill Press – Essential Advice

So you’re ready to bring some heavy-duty drilling to your workshop, right? You’ve been eyeing that space on your workbench and thinking about what it’s missing.

And then it dawns on you: a drill press. Now, you’re probably wondering what to look for when buying a drill press. And that’s why I’m here. Buckle up, buddy, we’re going to break it down.

What to look for when buying a drill press, you ask? Well, the key things to consider are: capacity, accuracy, stroke distance, power, and more. There’s an art to this, and we’re about to paint a masterpiece.

Hang on tight, because we’re about to take a deep dive into the world of drill presses. By the end of this drill press buying guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of What to look For when buying a drill press, and you’ll be ready to make an informed decision.

No more guesswork, no more ‘maybes.’ We’re talking confidence, clarity, and a tool that’ll make your friends green with envy. Let’s drill down to the details, shall we?

Oh, and before you get lost in the whirlwind of drill presses, don’t forget to check out “What Is a Drill Press Used For? (7 Steps to Better Results)”. It’ll give you that extra edge in mastering your new tool. Now, let’s get to it!

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.

Having spent countless hours in the workshop, tinkering and crafting with different drill presses over the years, I’ve explored what makes each machine tick.

From budget-friendly options to high-end behemoths, my hands-on experience has given me insights that aren’t just theoretical, but battle-tested and practical.

My readers’ trust means everything to me, so rest assured that this advice is grounded in reality, tailored for those looking to buy the perfect drill press for their needs.

What to Look for When Buying a Drill Press: An In-Depth Guide

Understanding Your Needs When Buying a Drill Press

So you’re ready to buy a drill press. Not just any drill press, but THE drill press that fits your needs like a glove. But how do you find it? Let’s dig in.

Purpose and Workshop Requirements

small woodworking workshop

First off, why do you need a drill press? Is it for hobby woodworking or professional metal fabrication? Knowing what you’ll be doing with it is half the battle. Now, consider your workshop. Here’s what you need to think about:

  • Space: Measure that empty spot on your workbench. Make sure it’s a match.
  • Power Source: Got the right outlets? You don’t want to get caught without power.
  • Projects: What are you going to make? Different projects require different features.
  • Safety: Safety first, right? Think guards, clamps, emergency stops.

I mean, you don’t buy a sports car for off-roading. Your drill press should fit your purpose just like that car fits the road.

Budget Considerations

Ah, the money talk. Necessary but a bit tricky. It’s like going to the candy store with a few bucks in your pocket. So many choices, but you’ve got to stick to your budget. Here’s how to navigate:

  • Know Your Range: Decide what you’re willing to spend. No need to break the bank.
  • Features vs. Price: More features usually mean a higher price. But do you need them all?
  • New vs. Used: Sometimes, a used drill press works just fine. Investigate and decide.
  • Warranty and Support: Will it be supported? If it breaks, can you get it fixed?

Here’s a quick comparison table to help you out:

Warranty SupportLimitedGoodExcellent

Bottom line, finding the right drill press is like finding the right pair of shoes. You want the right fit for your foot and wallet. A little research and some good ol’ common sense, and you’ll be drilling like a pro in no time.

Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

Key Features and Specifications: What to Look for When Buying a Drill Press

Alright, enough with the basics. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of what makes a drill press tick. Here’s the key stuff to look for. It’s like dating. You know, finding the one that clicks with you. Let’s break down the drill press features to consider.

To understand drill presses better, it is recommended to read my article Anatomy of a Drill Press – Best Guide to Identifying Key Parts first.

Capacity, Accuracy, and Power

Capacity: Think of this as the reach of your drill press. How far can it go? It’s measured by the distance from the spindle to the column, doubled. You’ll see stuff like 8″, 10″, or more. Here’s the skinny:

  • Small Projects: 8″-10″ will do.
  • Big Projects: 14″ or more.

Accuracy: Ah, precision. You don’t want holes all over the place like Swiss cheese, right?

  • Look for depth stops to control drilling depth.
  • Check alignment and sturdiness. Give it a shake. If it wobbles, walk away.

Power: Horsepower, baby! It’s all about the motor.

  • Light Work: 1/3 to 1/2 HP is your friend.
  • Heavy-Duty: 3/4 HP or more. Bring on the big leagues.

Table Specifics and Drill Speed

Table Specifics: Your work surface. You want it to play nice with your projects.

  • Tilting: Can it tilt? Angles are fun.
  • Size: Enough room for your work?
  • Slots for Clamps: Trust me, you want these.

Drill Speed: How fast can it spin? Different materials need different speeds.

  • Multiple Speeds: More options, more fun.
  • Adjustable: Easy to change? Or like solving a puzzle?

Chuck Type and Construction

Chuck Type: The thing that holds your bits. No chuck, no drill.

  • Keyed or Keyless: Old school or new school? Both work.
  • Size: 1/2″ is standard. You’re good with that.

Construction: Finally, what’s it made of?

  • Metal: Sturdy, like a rock.
  • Table and Base: Solid, no bending or breaking.

Here’s a quick look in a table (because who doesn’t love tables):

FeatureWhat to look For when buying a drill press
Capacity8″-14″ depending on projects
AccuracyDepth stops, alignment
Power1/3 to 3/4 HP or more
Table SpecificsTilting, size, clamp slots
Drill SpeedMultiple, adjustable speeds
Chuck TypeKeyed or keyless, 1/2″ size
ConstructionMetal, solid table, and base

Comparing Different Types: Floor-Standing or Benchtop

the difference between a Floor-Standing drill press and a Benchtop drill press in size
Floor-Standing drill press vs Benchtop drill press

You know, sometimes life throws choices at you. Do you go with chocolate or vanilla? Beach vacation or mountain getaway? And when it comes to drill presses, it’s floor-standing or benchtop. Let’s break down this essential life decision, shall we?

Benefits and Drawbacks

Floor-Standing Drill Presses


  • More Power: Like a sports car in your garage.
  • More Capacity: Bigger swing size, handles anything you throw at it.
  • More Features: Fancy additions like digital readouts. You feel like a starship captain.


  • Pricey: Yep, you pay for all that awesomeness.
  • Space Hog: It takes up room, like that one relative at family gatherings.

Benchtop Drill Presses


  • Affordable: More like a reliable family car, but it gets the job done.
  • Space-Saver: Fits anywhere, like that chair you keep piling stuff on.


  • Less Power: Sometimes, you wish it had more oomph.
  • Limited Capacity: Kind of like trying to stuff a suitcase for a two-week trip.

Also read Unveiling Drill Press Sizes: Choose Your Perfect Match!

Swing Size, Horsepower, and More

Now, if you’re still with me, we’re going to dig even deeper. Get your coffee, and let’s talk swing size, horsepower, and all the other jazz.

Swing Size:

  • Floor-Standing: 14″-20″. Yeah, that’s a big reach.
  • Benchtop: 8″-12″. Not bad, but you know, not huge either.

For more informating on drill press swing, check out my article What Is Drill Press Swing (A Clear, Detailed Answer) 


  • Floor-Standing: 1 to 2 HP. It’s the big leagues.
  • Benchtop: 1/3 to 1/2 HP. Enough, but don’t expect miracles.

Other Considerations:

  • Weight: Floor ones are heavy, benchtops, not so much.
  • Adjustments: Floor ones often have more options. Benchtop? Kinda basic.
  • Versatility: Floor ones = big projects, Benchtop = DIY and smaller stuff.

Here’s how they stack up, side by side:

Swing Size14″-20″8″-12″
Horsepower1-2 HP1/3-1/2 HP
SpaceNeeds moreCompact
VersatilityBig projectsDIY & smaller

So there you have it. Floor-standing or benchtop? It’s like picking between two delicious pastries at the bakery. Either way, you can’t really lose. Just depends on your taste. Happy choosing!

Professional Tips and Tricks for Selecting the Right Drill Press

Oh boy, it’s like treasure hunting, ain’t it? Picking the right drill press. Dive into brands and reviews, or start pondering about maintenance and safety. Ah, the joys of life. Let’s pull the curtain and discover some gems together.

Brands and Reviews

First things first. Brands. Everyone’s got a favorite. You know what I’m talking about? Let’s look at the usual suspects:

  • Bosch: Ah, good old Bosch. Reliable like that friend who always answers your texts.
  • Delta: Smooth and classy. Kind of like jazz.
  • Jet: More like jet-setter. Fancy, with a price tag to match.

But, my friend, don’t just fall for the name. Reviews, reviews, reviews. That’s where the real truth hides.

  • Online Forums: Drill down into forums. You’ll find wisdom and nonsense, but that’s the charm of it.
  • YouTube Videos: Some folks make videos. Watch ’em. You’ll learn a thing or two.
  • Your Neighbors or Fellow Workers: They’ve got drill presses, too. Ask ’em. They’ll tell you stuff that ain’t in the manuals.

Maintenance and Safety Considerations

Alright, hold your horses. Before you swipe that credit card, let’s talk maintenance and safety. You know, the kind of stuff your mom would worry about.


  • Warranty: Check it. Twice.
  • Replacement Parts: Are they easy to get? Or like finding a needle in a haystack?
  • Ease of Cleaning: Can you clean it without a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering?

Learn more about drill press maintenance in my article Drill Press Maintenance in 6 Easy Steps (Complete Guide)


  • Safety Features: Emergency stops, safety shields, all the good stuff.
  • Compliance: Meets regulations? You don’t want the safety police knocking at your door.
  • Training: Know how to use it, or willing to learn? YouTube University is there for you.

Also read Drill Press Accidents Happen Every Day: 9 Tips to Stay Safe

So there’s the meat and potatoes:

Brands to CheckBosch, Delta, Jet
Review SourcesForums, Videos, People
WarrantyCheck it
Replacement PartsAvailable?
Safety FeaturesStops, shields, etc.

So go on, pick your drill press. Be brave, be wise, and may the drilling gods be with you. Happy hunting!

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Summing Up What to Look for When Buying a Drill Press

Ah, the finish line, my friend! It’s like we’ve run a marathon together, learning the ins and outs, the twists and turns. So, grab a chair, and let’s sum up the wisdom we’ve unearthed, shall we?

Final Thoughts on Finding the Perfect Drill Press for Your Needs

It’s like looking for the perfect partner. There’s no one-size-fits-all. What works for Bob down the road might not work for you. So here’s a reminder of what to look for when buying a drill press:

  • Capacity, Accuracy, and Power: You wouldn’t drive a sports car to a construction site. Get what fits your need.
  • Table Specifics and Drill Speed: It’s like fine-tuning a guitar. Get the right settings, and beautiful things happen.
  • Chuck Type and Construction: Ah, the little things that make a big difference.
  • Floor-Standing or Benchtop: A bit like choosing between a condo and a mansion. What’s your style?
  • Brands and Reviews: A little detective work here, my friend.
  • Maintenance and Safety Considerations: Don’t skimp on this. Remember what I said about the safety police?

Now, here’s a final nugget:

Know Your NeedsIt’s your tool, not Bob’s.
Check ReviewsGo beyond the marketing spiel.
Consider MaintenanceDon’t get stuck with a lemon.
Think SafetyKeep those fingers attached, please.

So there you have it. A condensed cup of wisdom, mixed with a sprinkle of experience, and a dash of humor. May your drill press be everything you ever wanted, and may you build, create, and innovate to your heart’s content.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll bump into each other at a hardware store, and you can tell me all about the fantastic things you’ve done with your drill press. Till then, happy drilling!

So, you’ve got the whole drill press thing down and you’re on your way to making an awesome purchase. But hey, once you’ve got that shiny new toy in your workshop, you’ll want to know how to make the best use of it, right?

Don’t sweat it; I’ve got you covered. Check out my guide on What Drill Press Speed Should I Use? (+Drill Press Speed Chart). It’s packed with tips and a handy chart that’ll make your drilling smoother than a fresh jar of peanut butter. See you there, happy drilling!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best drill press to buy?

The best drill press depends on your needs and budget. Research brands, read reviews, and consider features to find the right fit. for tips, read this drill press buying guide.

Is it worth buying a drill press?

Yes, buying a drill press is worth it for precision drilling and versatility in woodworking, metalworking, and more.

What size drill press is best for woodworking?

A 10-12 inch drill press with variable speed options is typically suitable for woodworking tasks and projects.

What is a good horsepower for a drill press?

A good horsepower for a drill press is between 0.5 to 1 HP, depending on the material and tasks you are handling.

What are the three 3 different types of drill press?

The three main types of drill press are benchtop, floor-standing, and magnetic, each serving specific purposes. For more info, check this article.

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I hope this guide on how to buy a drill press was helpful, and that this blog inspires you.

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