Drill Press Decison Time: Down to Two Models

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Forum topic by RobertStix posted 05-19-2013 07:58 AM 13460 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RobertStix's profile


19 posts in 1801 days

05-19-2013 07:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: benchtop drill press question drill press

Hi There,
New Guy – first post. Been lurking for answers and opinions here for a couple of months and finally jumped in. Hope I can sow at least as much as I reap.
So, I’m buying a benchtop drill-press; needs to handle large-bore holes for heavy mortising as well as metal-work for making jigs & shop stuff. Bench-top will work for me in lieu of floor because my shop is tiny. I’m gonna mount the post backwards to the base, and bolt it through 3/4” plywood and another 1/4” of plate steel to make the max work height as high as I can lift the thing and bolt it down.

My criteria were: Wide speed-range (16 speed class), 12” swing at least, 5/8” chuck, 3 1/4” stroke and cast-iron base & table.

My choices have been narrowed down to the:
Grizzly g7943
Woodtek 162-497

The difference is $100.00 or so, an inch of swing, a few pounds and a quarter of a horsepower. That I can see.

The differences that I CAN’T see are what their performance histories have been in the hands of my peers. I humbly request any experience and opinions ya’ll have on these (or comparable that I may not know about) models.


-- "I wear eye protection when using power tools because my blood stings my eyes and because I can't read braille."

12 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2496 days

#1 posted 05-20-2013 07:38 AM

I have the floor-standing model of that drill press (G7944), and it has been dependable and a good value.

Bad points:
- the knobs have all broken. Fairly cheap plastic, broke right above the thread. I’ll get around to turning some wooden ones some day, but for now, there’s no functional issue.
- the pulley cover rattles. There’s a simple metal tab catch to hold the cover in place, but it doesn’t put enough pressure on the cover to prevent rattling. A bit of masking tape in a couple of spots would make the noise go away. Again, not a functional issue.

The good:
- pretty easy speed adjustments. Way more speeds than I find useful in woodworking
- built in light is quite useful

Would I buy it again? Maybe. This drill press is good but I occasionally want something with a larger swing, so I’d probably step up a size.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2598 days

#2 posted 05-20-2013 10:56 AM

I too have the floor-standing version of that Grizzly DP (see reviews).
I mostly use it for woodworking and other general utility purposes. However, I have fabricated a few small brackets for my motorcycle. Its always got the job done- easily.
- I don’t remember how many speeds it has. But it can spin crazy fast and balls slow and everything in-between.
- The table size is adequete, but nothing more.
- The table elevation works pretty well.
- The depth-stop is kind of chintzy. It works ok, BUT is nothing more than a thin-guage L-bracket. If NASA presicion is required, you’ll need to address the depth stop.
- The service light is a nice feature, but the bulb is in a stationary fixture behind the chuck. A gooseneck light would be better.
Don’t get me wrong, its a great DP. I have no plans to upgrade as its all the DP I’ll ever need and more.

My (unsolicited) advice:
- Haunt Craigslist for a used DP. I see good, heavy duty DPs all the time for $100-150. Not to say that the models you’re considering are bad values. Afterall, they will likely last 30-40 yrs. So $350 isn’t bad. BUT, all else being equal, cheaper is better. And you very well might score an industrial-quality gem for peanuts.

- Reconsider the benchtop model. I too limited my DP search to benchtops, but stumbled upon my floor model Grizzly for $100. I figured I’d try it in my small shop. If it proved too big, I could always sell it for a profit. However, I found that the floor DP has about the same footprint as a five gallon bucket, is more versatile, and easier to use. That said, I’m glad I skipped the benchtop.

Good Luck

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2598 days

#3 posted 05-20-2013 11:01 AM

Oh, and between the two machines you cited, I’d go with the Grizzly. The specs appear to be superior.

And BTW. Are you sure about the $100 price difference? Won’t the freight charges make the Woodtek approximately the same price as the Grizzly?? If so, its a no-brainer. Go with the Grizz.

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 2150 days

#4 posted 05-20-2013 01:17 PM

I recently went from 1/2 hp to 3/4 hp and the difference was surprising. I would go with the grizz but i would scour craigslist first. Just make sure you check for runout on a used drill press!

View TheDane's profile


5399 posts in 3628 days

#5 posted 05-20-2013 01:38 PM

Robert … If you can make do with a 12”, let me throw out another option. Menards has the 12” Masterforce Drill Press for $229.00:

I went through the same process you are going through a couple of years ago, and ultimately settled in the Menards product. I posted a review a year and a half ago …
... and still stand by my purchase.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Mark's profile


901 posts in 1940 days

#6 posted 05-20-2013 02:01 PM

Rob. you should reconsider the bench top idea. That was my plan as well, but when I got to the store and saw that the floor model was only $30 more, well it’s a no brainer. Get the floor model and build a mobile base for it. Now it’s portable and easy to move out of your way. JMHO PS I bought a General 1/2hp machine. The 1/2 hp is fine for what I do, but as they say biggest is usually best.

-- Mark

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2542 days

#7 posted 05-20-2013 04:38 PM

I used to have the grizzly you mentioned; it was a solid performer, but the quill travel was limiting sometimes.
For $329, the porter cable sold at lowe's is the best value in presses right now. More travel (4”) and longer reach (15”). It is a floor press, but I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to how a floor model takes up more space than a benchtop model.

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

View MrRon's profile


4717 posts in 3209 days

#8 posted 05-20-2013 07:11 PM

When it comes to imports, I trust tools made in Taiwan over made in China. That said, my choice would be a Jet or a General. They cost more, but are well made. Jet today is where Delta and Powermatic were 50 years ago. If price is an issue, I would consider one from Harbor Freight. I’m pretty sure all the machines selling for about the same price are made in the same Chinese factories.

View RobertStix's profile


19 posts in 1801 days

#9 posted 05-20-2013 11:06 PM

Thanx ya’ll! A 90 degree table tilt is also critical for my needs, otherwise, I’d jump on that Porter Cable.

-- "I wear eye protection when using power tools because my blood stings my eyes and because I can't read braille."

View cabmaker's profile


1720 posts in 2774 days

#10 posted 05-21-2013 02:02 AM

Delta 16 inch floor model here. Paid 175.00 28 yrs ago. Slightly used then. Still going strong. It gets used regularly.

Just something to think about. JB

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2542 days

#11 posted 05-21-2013 09:30 AM

The porter cable does tilt…
5th bullet down: “Table Tilt: L and R: 45 °”

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

View Fresch's profile


204 posts in 1886 days

#12 posted 05-21-2013 06:50 PM

How about a shop smith mark V ?

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