Bench Top vs. Floor Drill Press

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Forum topic by Anthony Finelli posted 12-23-2010 08:09 PM 13219 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Anthony Finelli

52 posts in 2986 days

12-23-2010 08:09 PM

Im looking to add a drill press to my shop soon and was wondering if you alll could help me decide. I was thinking about a bench top because anything I would be drilling would not require the height that a floor model would offer. When i build rustic furniture, i normally have been drilling any holes for blind mortises by hand and that seems to be working just fine. Am I missing anything that would be important when thinking about which one to get? I HATE to buy equipment, only to have to upgrade later because I was uninformed, I dont mind spending the money but I just dont want to spend more than i needed. any help would be appreciated!

-- Salem, New York "Find something you love to do and you will never have to work another day of your life"

22 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3853 days

#1 posted 12-23-2010 08:21 PM

Floor models make end-drilling of longer pieces more convenient. For
woodworking tolerances, benchtop drill presses are alright. A flimsy
benchtop unit may not perform acceptably in metal working situations,
but nor would a flimsy floor model. The floor drill presses usually have
a thicker support column which contributes to a stiffer relationship
between the drill quill and the work table. Under metal working loads,
this stiffness is important. For woodworking, it’s less so, but if you intend
to use one of those mortising attachments a floor press might be better.

View griph0n's profile


68 posts in 3549 days

#2 posted 12-23-2010 08:31 PM

I need the storage space in my crowded little shop more than anything. Here’s what I did with my benchtop:

I can’t think of any real need for a floor model… I’m quite curious now. Drilling the front of a long drawer after assembly? The only trouble I’ve had is cracking or chipping the bottom of a lathe turned knob because I didn’t drill the hole in the drawer front perfectly perpendicular. I made a towel rack with turned maple pegs and cracked the bases on half of them. I’ve since left my eggbeater behind and gone back to the drillpress. I also learned that cursing does not accelerate the learning curve.

View Anthony Finelli's profile

Anthony Finelli

52 posts in 2986 days

#3 posted 12-23-2010 08:53 PM

For the extra $100 it sounds worth it to just get the floor model….thanks for the help

-- Salem, New York "Find something you love to do and you will never have to work another day of your life"

View EEngineer's profile


1117 posts in 3819 days

#4 posted 12-23-2010 08:56 PM

I’ve been getting along for years and years with only a table top drill press. Both the first one I ever had plus the latest one are mounted to fairly narrow stands to bring them up to usuable height. The one time in the last 20 years that I needed the depth to drill in the end of a long piece I simply turned the head so that it was over the floor and drilled it that way.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3304 days

#5 posted 12-23-2010 09:01 PM

I like the GRIPON idea with one addition. Put locking casters on and you can move it anywhere in the shop. And the storage space never hurts.

View JuniorJoiner's profile


488 posts in 3646 days

#6 posted 12-23-2010 09:15 PM

My two cents on drill presses would be to look for a vintage model. there is not much to go wrong on a drill press, but vintage models are quite sturdy, significantly less, and no plastic parts. Older models such as waker turner and atlas are light industrial quality, and often available on craigslist, or other sites in the 200 dollar range.
you can’t beat the quality of these old machines. I picked up this radial drill for 50 bucks.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

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Rick Dennington

6308 posts in 3400 days

#7 posted 12-23-2010 09:24 PM

I’ve had both models. My fisrst one was a Delta 10 or 12” ( I forgot). I sold it and bought a 16” Delta. I’ve had it now for about 10-11 years. You can do SO much more with a floor model than with a benchtop. And you have the stability in a floor model, the quill drive is deeper, bigger chuck, etc., etc., etc. For the difference in price, I’d go with the floor model if you have the room… won’t regret it. !!!!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....!!

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3189 days

#8 posted 12-23-2010 09:27 PM

There was a time that I would have said a floor model without thinking about it. With the improvements that I have seen in bench top models today it leaves room for debate these days. So let me say that if I were to make this choice again today, that I would be more inclined to say a bench top model.
As a floor model owner there have been some disadvantages to having one in a small shop. Mobility being one of the disadvantages. Another disadvantage is the amount of space wasted under and behind the drill press. While a cabinet can be built to store under the drill press table for storage this can at times be a pain when needing to lower the table to a height lower than the cabinet. While these may seem like small or minor disadvantages they still pose a problem.
Advantages to the bench top models is that today many are the same as the floor models with the exception that they are made to set on the bench instead. Another advantage is that you can build a rolling cabinet that will allow you mobility and storage. Still allowing you to turn the head and still have the ability to drill longer pieces as you can with the floor model. Many of the bench models also accommodate mortising attachments as their floor models of that model.
So depending on the amount of space you have, or the use most needed is what it comes down to. Like I said if I had to make the choice again I would be looking more to the bench top model. I could have bought the same drill press I have, in the bench top model. If I only knew then what I know now kind of deal. As for which model to get, my advice would be find what you like in a floor model that has the bench top version. That way you will have the features you’re looking for in either model.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3304 days

#9 posted 12-23-2010 09:27 PM

You got the buy of the year!!!!!

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3304 days

#10 posted 12-23-2010 09:44 PM

C’mon Charlie,
we’d miss it. HA!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18394 posts in 3881 days

#11 posted 12-24-2010 08:47 AM

I vote for floor with Charlie :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Anthony Finelli's profile

Anthony Finelli

52 posts in 2986 days

#12 posted 01-05-2011 05:37 PM

Hey charlie, i was not looking for a pissing match, i was wondering about the pros and cons, it always seems that you are the one who has the issue with a pissing match or people asking questions so keep your comments to yourself and I’ll get advice from those who do not mind offering it.

-- Salem, New York "Find something you love to do and you will never have to work another day of your life"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3879 days

#13 posted 01-05-2011 05:54 PM

I have a hitachi benchtop drill, I kind of wish I had an older but this will do for now.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3364 days

#14 posted 01-05-2011 06:06 PM

It’s funny, but I’ve been trying to find excuses for upgrading my $100 HF benchtop drill press for years, if only because it doesn’t carry with it much cachet. But it pretty much does what I need it to do. At some point, if I have some disposable income (wishful thinking, I know), I’ll probably opt for a large benchtop model for increased capacity and stability (for a larger table surface). But other than that, I’m unclear on the advantages of a floor model myself.

-- jay,

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3092 days

#15 posted 01-05-2011 07:12 PM

I have a bench top Delta in my shop. It works great and I can move it out of the way when I need to. I don’t have any issues with accuracy or anything like that.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

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