Recommendations for bench top drill press??

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Forum topic by JoeBrent posted 11-24-2014 06:53 PM 2362 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1544 days

11-24-2014 06:53 PM

I’m wanting to buy my first bench-top drill press…I’ve done a lot of searching on the internet and reading reviews and always seem to be left wondering which one to get. I’ll read a review and be leaning towards one or two, then keep reading more reviews and there are always some awful ones mixed in threre too. Not wanting to spend more than $350 or so. Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

9 replies so far

View jacquesr's profile


342 posts in 1417 days

#1 posted 11-24-2014 08:28 PM

Someone had the very same question 1-2 weeks ago…
Check around…

View Clouseau's profile


58 posts in 3027 days

#2 posted 11-24-2014 08:35 PM

I would buy an older Craftsman 15” (probably medium gray color with an aluminum band). Some of these had a third pulley and some had a 6” throw. The 6” throw is super for woodworking. If you want more speeds then look for the 15-1/2 with the 6 step pulley belt (dark charcoal color). Don’t shy away from a floor model. If you want to mount it on a bench, you can lower the head and table if you have ceiling room. I have had a good import with the three step pulleys and it was great for metalworking, but not woodworking. I wouldn’t buy anything less than 15” for woodworking. The only down fall of these is they don’t have a rack and pinion to adjust the table.
Dan Coleman

-- Dan Coleman, retired Welding Inspector and past IA Teacher

View JayT's profile (online now)


5623 posts in 2205 days

#3 posted 11-24-2014 08:43 PM

My advice. Go with a floor drill press instead of a benchtop if at all possible. There are a lot of advantages and you can build a mobile storage cabinet to straddle the base that will utilize the space better.

If, for some reason, you have to have a benchtop, look for a larger model with at least 12 speeds. Too many of the entry level drill presses have only five speeds and don’t go slow enough for some woodworking tasks, like using larger Forstner bits. You need to be able to get down to the 200rpm range. These units also are very often underpowered.

There are a few models of 12-16 speed benchtop drill presses out there that are very similar to floor units, just with a shorter column. These also tend to have larger motors and longer quill strokes. Something like this Grizzly or this Shop Fox. I don’t have either one (Delta floor model here) to know if they are quality units or not, but those are the right idea as far as size and speeds.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Waldo88's profile


188 posts in 1291 days

#4 posted 11-24-2014 08:55 PM

I plan on mounting my benchtop drill press on a mobile cabinet with clearance on one side to rotate the head for oversized work. I just have an el cheapo 10” Craftsman; good enough for what I need it for, the occasional precision hole. My shop/tool $$ is better spent elsewhere than getting a Cadillac drill press; wood is easy to drill into.

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Mainiac Matt

8029 posts in 2323 days

#5 posted 11-24-2014 09:04 PM

I have the Grizzly G7493 that Jay linked and it is very Robust. I have it mounted on a bench with a fairly large table that I fabricated to facilitate typical woodworking use. I personally have yet to find an application where I wished I had the greater distance afforded by a free standing press…. and it’s been many years.

I wouldn’t want to go any less than a 14” swing, however.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View bandit571's profile


19962 posts in 2677 days

#6 posted 11-24-2014 09:07 PM

The drill press I’ve used for a few years, came from…..Harbor Freight. 5 speeds, 1/2” Jacobs chuck, 12” of room.

$70 +tax.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View knotscott's profile


8007 posts in 3370 days

#7 posted 11-24-2014 10:08 PM

I don’t know much about DPs, but a 3/4 hp 13” Central Machinery 38142 DP replaced a Grizzly 8”....I’m very happy with it. It’s smooth, powerful, and has decent stroke. The fact that it was $144 is just icing on the cake.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3238 days

#8 posted 11-24-2014 10:25 PM

I’ve responded to several other similar posts and my response has always been the same. Floor model. A bench model will take up workbench space and get in the way. Even if you put a DP on a separate bench, it will still take up the same amount of floor space as a floor model DP. A floor model is very versatile and can b set up for special jobs that a bench model would not be able to. A DP is not a very precise machine, but for drilling holes in wood, it is perfectly adequate. Even a Harbor Freight DP is better than no DP at all. They can be improved upon by replacing the chuck with a better one.

View Holbs's profile


1863 posts in 2023 days

#9 posted 11-24-2014 11:29 PM

I found a 10” delta benchtop drill press for $50. This served to fill an immediate need. I have it on a fliptop: drill on one side, grizzly disc/belt combo sander on the other. In my 2 car garage, a benchtop vs floor drill press… the benchtop wins for getting 90% of wood working jobs done and since on fliptop, takes up 50% less precious real estate. I am unsure how big benchtop models can go. Wouldn’t mind a 12” version.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

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