Delta or Powermatic Drill Press

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Forum topic by Blakep posted 09-12-2011 04:55 PM 7925 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 2829 days

09-12-2011 04:55 PM

I am looking to buy a new drill press probably around the first of the year. I like to do a lot of research before I make big tool purchases so I am already looking at the different drill presses. I have pretty much narrowed it down to the 18” Delta and Powermatic. What are your experiences with these two? From what I have been reading most people seem to like the Delta with the only plus to the Powermatic being the speed change without having to move the belt. Any coments on these two or any other comparable drill presses are greatly appreciated.

10 replies so far

View Steve Rosenlund's profile

Steve Rosenlund

30 posts in 2824 days

#1 posted 09-16-2011 11:52 PM

I too am in the market for a drill press. After I get my table saw that is. I love powermatic but in this case, I am definitely going to get the delta. The powermatic has the quick change speed and a better table, but the 6” throw with one revolution of the handle and the $200 less price tag is a real game changer for me.

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3425 days

#2 posted 09-17-2011 08:58 AM

I have the Powermatic and have been using it for a couple years now in my shop for both woodworking and metalworking so it is getting thrashed pretty regularly. I have not had an issue with it yet, like the power, the expanding table is great to have. It has easily done everything I have needed. I should also say that I have not used the Delta so can’t speak to that machine directly.
I do have a review of my Powermatic on my metal site at the link below if photos details and video would be of help to you.

-- Tom Hintz,

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2799 days

#3 posted 09-17-2011 09:47 AM

I had the same debate the features that I found different where:
Powermatic has variable speed motor that is super easy to adjust.
Delta table can be adjusted to complex angles much easier.
Delta can drill slightly deeper holes, 6 inch stroke vs 4 1/2 inch on the powermatic.

I thought about which of these features was more important. Considering my height it was very inconvenient for me to change the speed on the delta, and changing the speed is something you are supposed to do for every bit.

I weighed that vs the amount of times I thought I would need to drill the complex angled holes the deltas table makes very easy and the need for a deeper hole.

For me the variable speed control feature was too much of a plus so I went with the powermatic and it has been a great drill press and every time I change my bit and match the speed to the bit I know I made the right choice for me.

Your situation may be different if you are tall enough moving the belts on the delta may be easier for you and if you drill a lot of compound angles or often find 4 inches isn’t deep enough the delta may be better suited for you.

In the end they are both great drill presses it depends on which features are more important to you.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4950 posts in 3988 days

#4 posted 09-17-2011 06:04 PM

Have you looked at Grizzley? Lotsa bang for the bucks there.


View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 2829 days

#5 posted 09-19-2011 01:51 PM

Thanks for all of the responses. I will definitely consider all of your recomendations before I purchase one. Bill, I have looked at the Grizzly and I own a Grizzly bandsaw. I like my bandsaw and Grizzly customer service has been great but if I had it to do over again I would have bought a Rikon most likely. As for the drill press I don’t want to be saying if I had it to do over again I would have bought the Delta or Powermatic so I plan on buying one of these two to start with and hopefully will have no regrets.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2720 days

#6 posted 09-19-2011 02:07 PM

I’m more of a PM guy too but aside from a nice vintage radial, I’d choose the table flexibility over the speed change flexibility in this case. I’ve got a cheap Delta right now that’s held up well for me. I think Delta knows drill presses pretty well by now;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 2829 days

#7 posted 09-19-2011 04:32 PM

Thanks Bertha. I am leaning a little bit toward the Delta and I am probably more of a Delta guy than a powermatic guy but i’m sure both are great. I have looked at both in person but maybe I will get the chance to use both before I actually buy.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2863 days

#8 posted 09-20-2011 05:48 AM

I’ve got the delta 950l and really like it; it also requires manual belt adjustment which I find doesn’t take all that long and with the chart glued to the underside of the lid it’s easy to determine current speed and where to go. Having two directions of tilt on the table has proven to be beneficial.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View PatHarris's profile


8 posts in 2469 days

#9 posted 09-20-2011 06:16 AM

I did the same research and wnet down to my local woodworking equipment store and test out both the Delta and Powermatic. Frankly it was a hard decission, boht have special features that the other doesn’t. I bought the Delta, brought it home and the within a few days I had to change the speed and belts and found I had a lemon in that the release to move the belt pulley’s wouldn’t work correctly and I couldn’t get enough slack to change the belts. I called the store and changed it out for the Powermatic which I like very much. However, you can’t bring the speed dwon below 400rpm and I find there is no positioning lock to cneter the quill back when you’ve move turned the table.. You can tighten a handle to secure the table , but you have to eyeball the drill chiuck into the center of the hole in the table. I usual have to secure a pen vise on the table and chuck up a drift puch and tigher the pen press jaws around it to line it up. The PM has a lot of power, runs quite, ver nice table and extensions, fence and hold downs. However it cn’t accept a stand dirll press clamp as there is only the cneter hole in the table. Pat

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2604 days

#10 posted 09-20-2011 06:27 AM

I’d get the delta for the extra quill depth, tensioning system, better table and IMHO nicer overall design.

At this point I can’t recommend grizzly anymore. The price gaps are getting too close for the same imported tools with a different coat of paint. Not a big deal, but what is a big deal is grizzly’s 1 year warranty, while most other manufacturers are around 5 years for their machines.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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