Drill Presses - Why floor stand model

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Forum topic by Eric posted 11-16-2011 06:24 AM 2952 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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221 posts in 2745 days

11-16-2011 06:24 AM

I see floor standing drill presses on all the woodworking shows… NYWS, Woodsmith, WoodWhisperer. What’s the advantage of a floor model over a benchtop model. Sure larger chuck, motor and mouth, but for an average garage shop, why bother? The cost difference doesn’t seem to be worthwhile. Am I missing anything here?

-- Eric

11 replies so far

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 3256 days

#1 posted 11-16-2011 06:34 AM

the distance you can bore a hole from the edge to the middle of the board. That being said, the only reason I bought a floor standing model was because I found a Ridgid on clearance in HD and after my military discount, I got it for $135. I wasn’t even planning on buying a drill press at the time but at that price I just couldn’t pass it up.

-- Greg, Severn MD

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3630 posts in 3114 days

#2 posted 11-16-2011 06:44 AM

I am sure most decent bench top models can handle just about every woodworking task you will need it to.. I have a floor standing only because I bought a used delta and thats what it was… I guess one advantage would be you don’t have to take up bench space or build a stand for the floor models…

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3232 days

#3 posted 11-16-2011 06:48 AM

The real difference come in with larger bits. Big bits tend to be longer and by the time you have the chuck, bit, any clamping, and the work piece you end up with very little room for drilling on a bench top drill. The big drills also have a longer quill and allow a lot deeper holes to be drilled.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3205 days

#4 posted 11-16-2011 08:07 AM

David hit it on the head.
There are exceptions though; some benchtop models have enough capacity.
But, there are floor models that have more capacity and sell for less.

The capacity I’m talking about here is the vertical space under the chuck to the table.

Example: I bought a 10”, 1/2hp, 12 speed benchtop.
It was much bigger and heavier looking than those little 8” models most stores sell as home shop drill presses.
Just about every time I went to use it, I found that by the time I put my bit in the chuck and tried to get my workpiece under it, there was no room for a flat drill press vise, or a backer board.
Also, it only had 2 1/8” stroke.
I often want to drill through holes in a 4×4. Can’t do it. Won’t fit, too thick, not enough stroke.
I hate this machine.

Some folks point out you can turn the head to the side and drill parts over the side of the work bench.
True, but then you don’t have the table to adjust your workpiece up and down.

My conclusion is the small drill presses would be fine for drilling in metal.
Who drill holes in 3” thick metal in a home shop?
2” stroke would be fine.
Wood workers need more.

My solution: I bought another benchtop simply because it was on sale, but I made sure it had enough stroke to drill through a 4×4 and that it had at least 16” between the chuck and the table. I found it at Harbor Freight for $140 with coupons and membership discount ( normally $249). It has 3/4 hp and works just fine.

A very similar drill press is made by General and sold at my local Woodcraft, but it’s normally $349. In all honesty, the General is a much more finished and higher quality machine, but it should be for twice the money.

Some day, when I hit the lottery, I will get me a big Delta with 6” stroke, variable speed and floor stand.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2811 days

#5 posted 11-16-2011 09:41 AM

IMHO the price difference isn’t that big. A floor press doesn’t take up a lot of space. A benchtop press takes up benchtop space, or you need a stand for it.

There’s some benchtop presses that are pretty much floor models with a shorter column (jet, grizzly and general international make em).

That said, I used to have a grizzly G7943 benchtop press, and it was great, but I sold it. The press I got last year is a ridgid. No complaints; it’s done everything I’ve needed. EVentually I might get the delta 18-900.

For the typical hobby shop, my minimum requirements would be 1/2 HP and the longest quill stroke that I can find.

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

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3002 days

#6 posted 11-16-2011 04:28 PM

I had a small Craftsman bench top drill press and it worked pretty well for most things. I was occasionally frustrated by it not being big enough to handle what I wanted to do. The stroke was to short. I really wanted a larger floor model.

Then I bough a used Jet 20” and it’s plenty big. In reality it’s to big, too tall. It’s not a comfortable height to operate.

I’m keeping my eye open for a larger bench top model. If I find one I’ll push the big boy into the corner and reserve him for if and when and if he’s needed.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3101 days

#7 posted 11-16-2011 05:13 PM

There is nothing wrong with getting the biggest that you can afford. First, a floor standing model will take up less room because it is usually stable enough with the base that that comes with it so it essentially takes up not much more floor space than it’s base. If you have a table model the table will have to be a good bit bigger for stability. Second, floor models are generally going to be heavier and more powerful. Third, it’s nice to have as much distance as you can get from the column to the center of the spindle. Fourth, it’s nice to have a model that allows you to turn the drill press table vertical or at any angle in between. This comes in handy for drilling the edges or ends of various parts or angled holes. Fifth, If you have a heavy enough drill press with a range of speeds you can safely do things like rosettes which takes a special cutting head and of course you can drill larger holes. These are off the top of my head but I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons. I know that I use my drill press every time I turn around. I probably paid about $350 or so for it. Now I wish that I had bumped it up for a slightly better model but I sure am glad I didn’t get one any lighter.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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Bill White

5148 posts in 4195 days

#8 posted 11-16-2011 05:52 PM

Lack of bench space, and I bought an excellent King Seely built Craftsman (1952 I think) floor model for a song. That thing is a beast.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3309 days

#9 posted 11-16-2011 06:49 PM

There are three reasons to get a floor model: (1) the clearance from the post to the bit, (2) the amount of quill travel and (3) the availability of a low RPM speed for large bits.

Now – It is entirely possible to make a bench top drill press that does well on all three of these criteria – but no one does.

A floor model is not inherently superior. It is just that no one makes a bench top model that does well on these 3 criteria.

You might note that I do not consider power to be very important because as long as you are drilling in wood (even hardwood) power is not that important. The ability to gear down to a low RPM is.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3349 days

#10 posted 11-17-2011 05:57 PM

Shoptinker : can´t you lower the hole topsection on the columm so its fit you and what you do
I have the oppesit problems do to my hight I can´t realy find one here that is high enoff
but I gess I just have to ask for a higher one in a place that sell to maschinistshops ….

one more advance to a floormodell can be they don´t seems to have all that woble and sloop
in the drillinghead and mooveble colomm as many benchmodells seems to have
speciel if you go for one that is dedicated to mashinistshops …. but they are a little expencive :-(


View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3466 days

#11 posted 11-17-2011 06:06 PM

I got my floor model DP on accident. I stumbled upon it on Craigslist just as I was putting my coat on to go to Home Depot to pick up a Ryobi bench top model. In my case…

#1. If buying used, it seems most used bench top models I have come across, not every one, but MOST are beat to death, have tons of runout. Not sure why but the floor models seem to come up in better shape. Maybe bench tops get used more who knows…

#2. Quill travel. Bench top drill presses are not known for having lots of quill travel. A short throw floor model will still throw the quill 3”. That for me is very important.

#3. Ability to accurately end drill long stock. Yes you CAN rig a bench top to do this, but it is more work…

#4. Power. Most bench top DPs stop at 1/2 HP, most floor models START at 3/4 HP.

#5. capacity, capacity, capacity…. That’s what it’s all about…

#6. Ability to go to lower RPMs. I agree with Richgreer on the low RPM thing, but not about the power thing. I personally think you need both… Most bench top drill presses just don’t spin slow enough to reasonably run larger bits like hole saws, or more importantly, forstner bits…

If you are buying new, the price difference between bench top, and floor model can be substantial, but in the used market, there is very little difference. I got my floor model for $75.00. Sure it needed a couple of belts and some cleanup, but it has been working smooth as silk for 3 years no problems so far… At least none that weren’t user error.

If you have the shop floor space for a bench, and a benchtop drill press, then you have the shop floor space for a floor model with a cabinet that sits on the foot of the drill press, buy used, and you won’t be that far behind in the bank account, and you will never regret the extra capacity…

Mind you, take a look at my posts, and my shop. You will see I am not a fan of going overboard financially, or space wise if I don’t see a very clear, and distinct advantage to it… A drill press is one of those areas where bigger is better. A floor model, given the right cabinet design doesn’t really take up any more space than a bench top, and bought used through careful shopping, you can buy a nice used floor model for about half of what you would pay for a new bench top that lacks the capacity that you are going to want.

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