Metal-fashioning enthusiasts know how important it is to have the perfect drill press. You need a drill press that will give you precise and clean drills. This is possible if you buy a drill press that suits your metalworking needs. Some drills work best for smaller sized metal pieces while others are great for metal pieces that are larger in size. If you own a home workshop, you also need to take into account the space you have available. That being said, you don’t need to worry. You can make the most out of your projects with the best drill press for metal and you have come to the right place to find that!
Here, we have reviewed some of the top-rated metal drill presses. You will find both the floor models and the benchtop models in this list. We have also included some additional information at the end to help you find the best drill press for metalwork. It doesn’t matter if you are a hobbyist or a professional metal worker – you need the right drill press to get the job done perfectly. In this list, you will find drill presses with various features and different price tags. You can choose whichever one suits your needs and be assured of its quality.
- 1 Types of Metal Drill Press
- 2 Best Drill Press for Metal – Reviews
- 3 Additional Information for Buying a Metal Drill Press
- 4 FAQs
- 5 Conclusion
Types of Metal Drill Press
There are two most common metal drill presses used by metal-fashioning enthusiasts. One is the floor metal drill press. The other is the bench metal drill press. Both of these drill presses differ based on their size, power, performance, speed, and the like. The following are the detailed differences between the two types.
Floor Metal Drill Press
A floor metal drill press is perfect for large projects. You can use such a drill press to drill and shape huge metal pieces. These machines are perfect for all your heavy-duty work needs. They pack more power and sturdiness compared to the table-top drill presses. However, the larger size makes it difficult to move them around. As such, you need to make sure that you place your metal drill press at the appropriate spot. This way you will not have to move the machine around that much.
You can use a floor metal drill press at your home workshop. That being said, they are more suited for commercial or business settings. The best floor drill press for metal is one that is sturdy and durable. If you buy one from a top quality brand, the machine will last you for a long time. The strong frame of the machine provides accuracy for drilling deep holes.
You can use higher speeds on the floor metal drill press without getting any wobble. That is because the sturdy frame absorbs vibrations to the fullest. You can use these floor drill presses for all kinds of metal pieces. From smaller bars to larger blocks, a floor metal drill press will bore them all with ease.
Bench Metal Drill Press
A bench metal drill press is perfect for occasional hobbyists. It is also useful to beginners who are trying their hand out on metal drilling. As the name suggests, a bench metal drill press can easily be fixed on to your bench. These are lighter in weight than floor metal drill presses which also makes them portable. As such, you can carry them around your workshop or take your bench metal drill press to wherever your project is placed.
Bench metal drill presses offer similar features as the floor presses. However, they are lower in capacity when it comes to accuracy, power, and more. These metal drill presses are much more compact than floor metal drill presses. This smaller size makes them inefficient when it comes to larger projects as the table of these bench metal drill presses can take smaller pieces of metal. They also offer less power, leading to smaller depth when drilling holes.
Bench metal drill presses are also less durable than the other type of drill press. They can wear out even more easily if you use them to drill larger pieces of metal. That being said, if you want something for your home workshop, then a bench metal drill press is right for you.
Best Drill Press for Metal – Reviews
We have created a list of some of the top metal drill presses. You will find the best features and qualities of each of these products. Plus, we also tell you where the drill press lacks so you can trust our carefully researched reviews to make an informed choice.
1. Jet J-2530 Drill Press
The JET J-2530 Drill Press comes with a vast range of speed settings compared to other similar drill presses. It is made from cast iron which gives it stability for smoother drilling. This drill press comes with lubricated ball bearings that are in contact with the spindle unit to provide precision. It has a large quill which gives more accurate drills.
Furthermore, the worktable of this drill press is adjustable and can tilt 45 degrees. This helps you get angled drills with perfection. With the 3 1/8” stroke, you can get deep holes. The depth of these holes is made precise with depth stops. The drill press also offers safety features like the spindle guard to avoid mishaps. It comes with a 15” inch swing and 3/4 HP motor power. This allows the drill press to work on larger metal pieces with ease and gives a high-quality finish to the holes you drill.
2. Skil 3320-01 Drill Press
This drill press is perfect for beginners or hobbyists who do metalworking projects occasionally. If you want to drill some holes in a metal piece without spending much, then this is your best bet. This 2-stroke, table-top drill press will give you tilt from 0 to 45 degrees. Its half-inch chuck gives you the ability to work with larger metal bits. This ensures that you get a smooth drilling experience.
The Skil 3320-01 Drill Press comes with 5 speed settings that range from 570 to 3050 RPM. Its X2 2-beam laser will help you drill holes with precision. Parts of this drill press are made from cast iron. This makes them sturdy to give you stable operations. It also comes with a depth stop to help you make holes of the depth that you want. This drill press is battery powered and easy to assemble. When compared to other drill presses with similar features, it is also affordable.
3. Wen 4208 Drill Press
WEN 4208 Drill Press is affordable and compact. This makes it perfect for occasional metal workers or hobbyists. The drill press comes with a storage unit to help keep your drill bits and smaller parts in place. It is 8 inches in size and weighs 30 pounds. You can easily place it away in a corner for later use. It offers 1/3 HP, making it sturdy enough to drill through metal or wood with ease. It comes with an 8” swing and a 2” bore.
Not to mention, its depth stop is useful to set the size of the hole beforehand. This makes it perfect for repetitive tasks as well. The drill press comes with 5 speed settings that range from 740 to 3140 RPM. It comes with a half-inch chuck and gives smooth drills for your projects. This drill is smaller in size compared to other drills on this list. Still, it can bore through metal smoothly and precisely. This drill press is a great buy considering its features and price.
4. Shop Fox W1668 Drill Press
This drill press is two in one. You can use it as a metal drilling machine and also as a sanding machine. Shop Fox W1668 Drill Press is compact and sturdy. It will give you great value for your money. Its oscillating design combined with a 90-degree tilt table makes this machine perfect for hobbyists. It takes up minimal space but packs a punch.
Furthermore, the 3/4 HP gives you a stable working experience. It comes with 13” swing and 12 speed settings. You can control the speed and change it according to the different materials. Its 5/8 inches chuck size gives you the ability to work with different sizes of metal. The depth stop helps you to drill holes at your desired depth.
It also comes with a safety switch to keep you safe from mishaps of the workspace. While you are working with this drill press, your space will not get dirty, thanks to the 2” dust port of the drill press. With speeds from 250 to 3050 RPM, you can have more power for your thicker projects. This drill press provides great value for money at a mid-level price range.
5. Powermatic Pm2800b Drill Press
Powermatic PM2800B is the best floor drill press for metal. It provides easy and smooth drilling of large metal pieces. The drill press comes with an adjustable table that can rotate up to 90 degrees. This gives you the flexibility to drill angled holes in larger pieces. You can choose the speed that you want with its variable speed setting. This setting allows you to be free of the hassle to change the belts for different types of materials.
It also comes with adjustable LED lights and a laser guide to give you precise drills. This press shines when it comes to ease of use. It comes with a reversible handle that makes it easier for left-handers to use the machine. The 18” swing and 6” quill makes sure you complete your larger projects. It weighs 246 pounds which makes it difficult to move. However, this heavier size provides more stability during your metalwork. This drill is also the most expensive one on this list.
Additional Information for Buying a Metal Drill Press
Here is some more information to help you choose the best drill press for metal. Keep these factors in mind while buying a drill press and you will be good to go.
The metal drill press measures engine power in terms of horsepower. This is the force that the drill uses on the metal piece. Thus, the thicker the metal, the higher the power you need. A metal drill press with a good power rating can help you complete your projects quickly and efficiently. That is why a higher horsepower is desired by many metalworkers. More power means that your drill press can make precise and clean holes without taking up much time. As such, make sure to note the thickness of your metal and the power rating given on the machine’s box.
The speed of a metal drill press is measured in RPM. This is the number of times that the drill rotates in a minute. You need a machine with variable speed to work with different kinds of metals. As a rule of thumb, you need a slower speed for thick pieces of metal while for thinner pieces, you need a higher speed rating.
Many drill presses come with an adjustable speed setting. This is great for working with different kinds of metals with varying tension points. With this setting, you will not have to change your press for different projects.
The table of the drill press plays a role in the precision of your work. Most drill presses come with an adjustable table that you can move up or down to your preference. Some even come with the option of rotation in order to give you angled drills. You can rotate the table to 45 degrees and even 90 degrees with some high-end drill presses. This gives you precise and angled holes in your metal pieces.
The chuck is the part of the press where you place your drill bits. The size of the chuck determines the size of the metal bits you can drill holes in with the drill press. Therefore, you need to consider both the size of the chuck and the size of the bits you will be using. This will ensure that you can complete the whole project with just one drill press. Some drill presses come with customizable chuck pieces. You can change the chuck with the different metal bits you use.
The depth stop feature makes sure that all the holes you drill have the same depth. This comes in handy when you need several holes with the same length in a piece of metal. The depth stop comes with a depth setting that you can adjust to your liking. Once you set the depth that you want, the drill press will make holes of the same size in the entire piece.
Durability is another important factor to consider when buying a metal drill press. If you purchase a benchtop press but use it for larger pieces of metal, it will wear out easily. As such, it is important that you buy the best drill press for metal that suits the size of your piece. This will make sure that your drill press lasts a long time.
Portability is also important when it comes to ease of use. If you want to be able to carry the drill press around your workshop, then choose a lightweight machine. However, with lighter weight comes less stability. This gives rise to some wobble when you operate the machine at higher speed settings. On the other hand, heavier drill presses provide less portability but give you more sturdiness.
The spindle of your metal drill press rotates inside a quill. The maximum depth of the holes that the press can drill on your piece depends on the quill travel. Therefore, make sure to take into account the thickness of your metal piece and the quill travel of the press. This will help you achieve your desired hole-depth with accuracy.
Metal drill presses also come with accessories to help you perform your tasks efficiently. Some of the common ones are:
- Vises to prevent the metal from slipping while you work on it.
- Mortising chisels for drilling squares in metal pieces.
- Fences for increased accuracy while drilling.
Metal drill presses are very easy to maintain and don’t require much looking after. You can just clean it with a cloth if you see any dirt on the machine. Additionally, you can use some lubricant like WD-40 to clean it. Make sure that the lubricant is safe to use on a metal surface.
Size is a very important factor when it comes to drilling presses. The drill press’s width is divided into two parts. One half of the table width is called the throat – if the width of a drill press is 10”, it will have a 5” throat. If you want to make a hole in the center of a metal piece that is 12” in size, you will need a 6” throat on the drill press.
You can use bolt vises to bolt the base of your benchtop drill press to a stable surface. Otherwise, you can first fix the drill press onto a piece of wood and then bolt the wood to a sturdy table. Simple clamps and vice grips can come in handy. They will hold this base-mounted drill press on the table.
Titanium drill bits take the lead when it comes to strong and precise drills. Although High-speed Steel bits can be used for metal, titanium ones provide better results. These are steel bits coated in titanium. This makes them sturdy and gives them the strength to bore through metals, including sheet metal pieces.
Now, you have all the information you need to buy the best drill press for metal. You know what features to look for, what products to compare, and what things to avoid. If you want a heavy-duty drill press for metalwork, then the JET J-2530 is our best pick. It is durable, powerful, and perfect for larger metal pieces.
However, if you are looking for the best budget drill press for metal, then the Skil 3320-01 is your best bet. It gives accurate drills and is perfect for occasional metalworking projects. Most importantly, it is light on your pocket. You can pick any other drill press as well that suits your needs. You just need to make sure to follow the guidelines that we have provided to make your best pick.