Drill Press Recommendations?

Looks like I need a drill press. Keeping price low, robust and durable, any recommendations?

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know someone that has one - borrow theirs. or rather go to their place and use it

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Haha that’s helpful…

sorry I should have added. If you only need it for a one time thing or infrequently. Reasoning - they are sort of spendy if buying new - they take up some space in your shop if you are cramped

I don’t have a spot for one in my current garage - but I also don’t need one right now.

Hence where I was going with my short abrupt statement.

Otherwise if you really think you need to have your own - and you have a truck - I highly recommend looking for local estate sales. many people have drill presses collecting dust - older drill presses are fantastic simple machines. If I had the space I’d have bought a 1980’s vintage craftsman floor standing drill press last month. would have been less than 200.

TO that end I would also recommend you not get a bench top one - as they often don’t have enough depth to be that useful

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Toolguyd had a post on this topic:


I commented about my - now very dated - experience buying a drill press at an auction:

“I bought my home shop Walker Turner Radial Arm drill press in 1977 at an auction – no Craigslist or eBay back then. Brought a dial indicator and a known true drill rod with me to check runout – which was a bit out as I recall. I also had a straightedge with me (was looking at other machinery too) and checked the table for flatness.The motor starter was also a bit sketchy – but the belts and pulleys (16 speed) were good – motor had been replaced a few years back to run on single phase 220, The cast iron base was really rusted but otherwise in good shape and there was no play in the radial arm – and I got it with the opening bid of $100. Once loaded in a truck and home – pulling the “Jacobs chuck” – cleaning the chuck, spindle, Morse taper and doing some fiddling with the orientation when remounting the chuck I got it to run pretty damn near true. The starter was a different issue and I ended up replacing it – I Think it cost me more than the $100 I paid for the drill press- but it was still a bargain. Considering that this WWII vintage drill press is older than me, it still runs pretty good – certainly not as well as a new Claussing – but great for a home shop woodworker”.

My dated experience seconds what Napalm says - but you need to be prepared to check out what you buy at a private sale. As Napalm also commented you need a truck, maybe hand-truck or rigger’s dolly too plus some helpers to load a heavy piece of machinery. When I bought the WT - I brought along a box truck with a lift gate plus a few buddies - and I recall we still did a batch of swearing. We were all glad that I did not bid on some of the other machinery that was being auctioned off.
I also think that eBay and Craigslist have changed the landscape of buying. You may still find some bargains - but sellers are often more savvy about prices having searched the internet to find what they think may be comparable tools and prices - sometimes inflating both their expectations and asking prices.

Reading some of the reviews of inexpensive drill presses with names like Porter Cable, Jet, Wen, Skil etc. - and even more costly new Delta machines, there seems to be lots of variability. That may suggest that the reviewers may have very different expectations - or possibly that QA/QC at the factories in China or Taiwan may not be what they need to be to turn out a consistent product.

If you want to buy new, maybe you can take a look at the $379 Porter Cable if you have a Lowes nearby - and see if you can return it if yours has a vibration/runout problem:



Do you want a new one or is used ok? Floor standing or bench top model? Older Craftsman can be had for great prices either on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. I was able to purchase and restore a 1948 Craftsman drill press for no more money than a Ryobi bench top model from home Depot.

I don’t know why people always say you can find great deals on craigslist. Maybe it’s just my area, but 99.9% of the tool listings are overpriced junk which could be bought brand new for the same price or less.

I was deep into research about drill presses a few months ago and ended up buying the PC floor press they sell at Lowe’s. The one I bought was the display model and they sold it to me for < $200, but I forget the exact price. It was missing the little plastic “key” that allows the on/off switch to work so I had to rig something until I ordered a replacement switch for $16 (you can’t just order the key apparently).

Anyway, the big takeaway I learned while researching drill presses is the QC is all over the place even on drill presses of the same model. What you need to determine is how deep of a press you want (a 15" press gives you 7.5" of space between the center of the chuck and the support tube), how deep you want to drill holes, and your budget and put a lucky rabbit’s foot in your pocket when you go to pick up or order a press. What you are hoping for is 0 runout, and I guarantee you the range of intra-model runouts is wider than inter-model runout (meaning, you could get a cheap harbor freight 0 runout press or an expensive powermatic shitty runout press, although the later is extremely unlikely). Ideally, you would go by harbor freight and buy a cheap dial indicator and magnetic base and take it with you when you buy your press and test the runout throughout the press range.

Drill presses are not complicated machines and durability of the working components will probably never be an issue (the quality of the knobs, levers, brackets, on the other hand, probably scales with price).

@dave , Are you talking about which kind of drill press you’re looking for? Tell us the purpose of that drill. So we can understand and suggest you the best drill press for you.