There are several factors one should consider before buying a drill press. you might want to take multiple trips to the hardware store before you make the decision. When I bought mine i took many trips to various shops to find the best price machine that I could (while still getting a high quality drill press). It’s good to get some hands on experience looking at them before you buy, as online all you can see is a picture, which can mislead you into thinking it’s bigger or smaller than it actually is. Check out the points you need to pay attention to listed below.
Price & Budget
For those of you who are on a tight budget you need to look around in order to get the best value. Most of the time you won’t need to pay anymore than about 300 dollars or so, although you can always pickup a second-hand machine at a lower cost. The good brands like WEN and SKIL tend to be a bit pricier. In my opinion the extra cost is worth it because of the great quality. Also these brands usually offer a good warranty. As for which type of drill press is the best bang for buck? I would go with the benchtop drill press. They are basically the middle size, and are perfect for most people. The other more expensive option is the floor drill press, these are massive and usually only used by professionals.
Speed, gears, and power
Back when I first started using drill presses for woodworking my one had only one gear, and one speed setting that was fixed. However now days this is not the case. Most good drill presses come with multiple speed settings, allowing you to adjust the RPM from quite slow right up to very high speeds 1000+ RPM. This is a useful feature if you plan on working with more than one type of material (like both wood, and metals). Some material like steel don’t need a high RPM but rather require you to have a high powered motor. You should look for a drill press with at least 1/2 Horsepower if you want to work primarily with metal/steel/etc.
What height do you want your drill press?
If you have a lot of space and are a professional requiring a powerful machine, then you might go for something very tall like a floor standing drill press. Other wise, go for a benchtop drill press. The height is measured from the chuck to the table, and ranges from only a few inches with small drill presses designed for jewellery like the mini drill press, to 15 or more, for larger projects.
The chuck is the part of the drill press that secures a drill bit in place. what chuck size you need depends on whether you’ll need extra large drill bits for whatever you’re working on. If you want to drill a hole of 3/4 inches diameter then obviously you need a drill bit that is equally big. However, not all chucks can support such a large bit, so keep that in mind. Most drill presses come with a maximum chuck capacity of 0.5 inches, which for most people is enough. You can always replace the drill press chuck later, if you need to.
What will you use it for?
Although this is a vague question, it must be considered. What you use your drill press for will be the ultimate factor in determining which model to buy. If your use will be general purpose then something like the SKIL 3320 or Craftsman 12 inch is a great choice. If you will be using the drilll press in your workshop for huge objects then you will need something larger. Most of the time if you’re just a hobbyist, anything over 10 inches is over doing it, and a waste of money.