Advantages of getting a great drill press under $200
First off you may still be unsure whether this is the ideal tool for you. We would suggest a budget drill press for almost any scenario because it helps with so many factors:
- It gives you better control and results in neat workmanship
- A budget buy won’t break the bank, but can help up and coming handymen to deliver better quality work in order to earn more
- You’ll break fewer drill bits thanks to more control of each job compared to using regular drills
- It creates a safer working environment thanks to exerting more control during drilling
- You’ll enjoy more effortless working sessions, since there’s less strain on your arms
Features to consider when choosing a drill press
So, what features create this beneficial work environment? We listed the most important ones that relate to this price range. You may find many more aspects in high-end drill presses, but these features already make for impressive products. Read through them so you understand why each one is important and how it applies to your scenario. Based on this you can gauge which of the models above will work for you.
Power is important no matter what price range you buy in. Of course, the more power you can have the better. With more power you can push through thicker, harder substances. Power is expressed in HP (horsepower) with 2/3HP being a common spec as can be seen on the General International DP2001 above.
Also make sure the model’s power settings and the power infrastructure of your workshop align. Research current and voltage ratings to ensure your new tools won’t accidentally cause short circuits or worse.
Speed is another popular vetting feature.
A drill press should preferably allow for different speed settings, because each job is unique. Drilling through some substances require speed, while others should be taken slowly to ensure precision.
Metal and wood require different speeds if you want the best outcomes. Or imagine working on an intricate piece of furniture. You’ll want to take it slow to prevent damaging it.
Measured in RPM, models such as the WEN 4210T offer great variety, making it practical for many different tasks.
Number of speeds
Of course, the different speed ranges are only practical if they’re easy to set. The higher the number of different speed settings in the range, the better. In this price range, you can expect about five different settings, but high end units may have up to 16.
Also consider how you pick these settings: it must be quick and easy to enhance your workflow, such as a simple turn of a knob.
What kind of materials can it cut?
Before you buy you should consider what you’ll work on in the future. Different drill presses are made for different purposes, with some more appropriate for metal while others do better on wood. You may even work on plastic?
Pick your drill press according to your type of jobs and if you know you’ll do a bit of everything, go for a more versatile unit.
Some experts would say quill travel rates as one of the top five aspects to consider before buying a drill press. Note that this feature also goes by the name of ‘stroke length’ or ‘spindle travel’.
It refers to the up and down movement of the chuck with the drill bit. The higher this distance, the thicker pieces of materials you will be able to work on. This also implicates the length of the drill bits you’ll be able to use.
In general, a 2-1/2” quill travel should be the minimum you aim for.
You need to research the chuck size and consider whether it caters for all the drill bits you intend on using. If you purchase one too small it won’t be able to take larger bits, limiting the type of work you can do.
When you look at different chucks the sizes may seem quite close to each other, but don’t be fooled by that: a slightly bigger chuck makes a huge difference in your drill press’ capabilities.
The norm is that you’ll find chucks in the following sizes: 1/4”, 3/8” or ½”. If you’re only buying for home use instead of professional use, a 3/8” is usually appropriate.
Important note: also consider whether you need a keyed or keyless chuck. While modern tools mostly have the keyless versions that only require you to tighten it with your hand, a keyed version is better for heavy duty work. The key allows you to tighten it more than simply using your bare hands, allowing for more stability in the bit when you work.
A lot about your workflow stems from how comfortable and ergonomic your work area is. Your new drill press can enhance this aspect if you get one with an appropriate work table.
It must be large enough to ensure the item you work on will be stable while under the press.
It must also be able to handle the weight of the items you usually work on. This gives you more control because you’ll spend less energy trying to keep items steady. This automatically allows for more focus on your work so you’ll improve your workmanship.
The larger the better applies here, but keep in mind how much space you actually have available. Buying a new drill press shouldn’t mean your workshop feels cluttered all of a sudden.
LED work light
Another factor that will enhance workmanship is if you can improve precision. Seeing your work clearer can help prevent mistakes. Leaning over a drill press can create some shadow, but if your unit has an LED work light, this isn’t a problem anymore.
Build and durability
You know working with a drill is no small job. The power these tools exert is impressive. So, can your drill press’ structure handle this?
To ensure you’re buying a long term solution that won’t break the first time you work on hard metal or work for hours on end, look for units with more metal parts instead of plastic. Even if they cost a little more, you won’t have to replace them soon, so they’re worth the investment.
Dimensions and weight
We already mentioned how important it is not to clutter your workspace. Measuring out your available space is vital before purchasing your unit. Now you can compare these dimensions to the models available on the market. Pick one that will easily fit into the spot you allocated. Believe us: it’s not ideal to ruin your workflow and space, simply to get a large, high end unit (unless you really need one). It may seem in the way and you may regret buying it.
Also look at the weight to ensure you can carry, move and handle it yourself without hurting yourself. This is especially important if you may not keep your drill press out at all times. If it goes in storage from time to time, make sure it’s easy to lug around.
The drill presses we reviewed are mostly bench top models. From time to time you may need your table’s surface area cleared. A lighter unit will make this much easier.
A drill press will be submitted to some stringent pressure and heavy duty work. Can it handle it? A factory mistake can prevent optimal performance and then a good warranty feature will help you get it repaired or replaced. Our models won’t offer longer periods than 2 years, as can be seen in the ShopSeries unit, but by that time you’ll know whether there’s a factory mistake that’s affecting your workmanship.