What to Look For in a Drill Press

A drill press, also known as a pillar drill, is the stationary form of a hand-held drill. The advantage of the drill-press over the hand drill is the tool’s accuracy and power. A drill press is a very valuable tool with several different types and models of drill presses to choose from. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing your own drill press.

Floor vs. Bench-Top Model

A floor model is set directly on the floor while the bench-top model of a drill press is set on a table top. The floor models are typically better buys with more accessories and attachments and are able to handle larger projects than the bench-top models. The floor model is always a good pick unless you are looking for something that is a bit more compact to save space for a smaller shop.

Multiple Spindle Speeds

If you plan on using your drill press for woodwork and metalwork, it is important that your drill press has several speeds to suit the project you are doing. When working with metal you will want to use lower speeds while wood projects need to be in the medium to high range of speeds. For maximum versatility, look for a drill press that can operate between 500-4,000 RPM (a machine that only reaches to 2,000 is suitable if you will only be using it for drilling and not for other projects).


Just like with a car, you want a power tool that has some power. Greater horsepower allows you to drill larger holes through tougher material. You should look for a machine that has at least 3/4 HP.

Drill Press Table

Good drill presses have tables that can be raised, lowered, and swiveled 360 degrees around the column of the drill press. This allows greater flexibility with your work.


The depth-stop manages the depth of the hole being drilled by controlling how far the quill descends into the

material. Depth-Stops are a must for projects with repetitive boring in order to keep consistency. Look for a drill press with the “Easy-to-Stop” drill feature.


If you have two drill presses that are equal in every aspect except for mass, always go for the heavier one. As with most stationary shop tools there is an advantage with weight. The weight absorbs the vibration from the drill press allowing the machine to run more smoothly.

Useful Accessories

There are some accessories and attachments that can improve the use of your drill press. Something to look for is a drill press clamp. This keeps your material firmly in place while you are working. You should always avoid holding the project by hand when you are working with a drill press. Fences are also useful attachments that help keep the project in position during drilling.

A drill press can be used for a lot more than drilling if you have the right attachments and accessories. These

extra uses include sanding, grooving, and mortising. Mortise attachments are very popular, allowing you to drill precise mortises with your drill press.

Ability to Be Serviced

As with all major power tools that are purchased, one should make sure that the tool can be upgraded and serviced. Are there repair parts readily available? It is important that your drill press can be easily serviced when needed.

When making an investment in a drill press, you want to purchase a tool that is suitable for your needs. Do your research and find out what products are available what they have to offer. Make sure to look at the above features of a drill press in order to select one that is right for you.