What is the Best Drill Press for Woodworking This 2022?

adjustable depth stop of WEN 4208T

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

The accuracy of the drill press makes woodworkers wonder how they ever functioned without one. Of course, you need the right one, or you could be contending with a product that is unstable and flimsy. Our woodworking team tried different ones to find products with the best drilling accuracy and durable construction and listed them below.

Premium Pick
JET JDP-17MF
Editor’s Choice
WEN 4214 T
Budget Option
WEN 4208T
JET JDP-17MF
WEN 4214 T
WEN 4208T
• Variable speed
• ¾ HP motor
• Depth stop
• Built-in worklight
• 5-amp induction motor
• Variable speed
• Overhead light
• Digital display
• 2.3A induction motor
• Onboard key storage
• 5 different speeds
• Adjustable work table
Premium Pick
JET JDP-17MF
JET JDP-17MF
• Variable speed
• ¾ HP motor
• Depth stop
• Built-in worklight
Editor’s Choice
WEN 4214 T
WEN 4214 T
• 5-amp induction motor
• Variable speed
• Overhead light
• Digital display
Budget Option
WEN 4208T
WEN 4208T
• 2.3A induction motor
• Onboard key storage
• 5 different speeds
• Adjustable work table

Reviews of the Top Drill Presses for Woodworking

1. WEN 4214T

The WEN 4214T is a workhorse with a 5-amp induction motor. The 4214T has various speed settings from 580 to 3200 RPM to accommodate your needs. The exact speed is displayed on the digital speed readout to help with accuracy.

Aside from the digital display for the speed range, the WEN 4214T also has an array of other onboard features such as a working light built in, an adjustable depth stopper, table roller extension, and onboard storage that helps with efficiency and more accuracy. 

The drill press also comes with a 2-year warranty that gives consumers peace of mind when purchasing these expensive investments. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

2. JET JDP-17MF

Will a more expensive drill press deliver better performance? The Jet JDP-17MF variable speed woodworking drill press has a ¾-HP motor with an amazing 16 different speeds ranging from 200 to 3630 RPM.

This Jet drill press is perfect for repeatable drilling operations thanks to the adjustable tension spindle that can continue creating the same depth. Of course, there is also a depth stopper that will help you make accurate adjustments. 

Keep your eyes on the prize with the built-in work light that illuminates the tiny tiltable table that is crank-operated to reach angles of 45 degrees. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

3. WEN 4208T

WEN makes another appearance on our construction engineers’ list as the most budget option. WEN as a brand in general creates affordable product options that do not cost too much. The WEN 4208T is a benchtop drill press that saves space. The 2022 model features a 2.3A induction motor and includes a ½-inch keyed chuck with onboard key storage.

The speed ranges from 740 to 3140 RPM. The table on the WEN drill press can be adjusted to suit various heights and it bevels at 45 degrees in either direction.

Our experts consider the WEN 4208T a portable drill press due to its compact measurements. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

4. Shop Fox W1848

Shop Fox is no stranger to woodworking projects our experts carry out. The W1848 is an excellent floor-standing drill press that has oscillating features. As a floor drill press, you can expect the W1848 to take up more space, so we recommend making sure you have room for it.

The Shop Fox W1848 can reach speeds up to 3050 RPM and it even includes sanding drums. The sanding drums come with the drill press because the unit can be converted to a sander in just a few simple steps. The tiltable table adds more versatility to the drill press as you can use it for more types of workpieces. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

5. Grizzly G7944

Grizzly tools offer a ton of reliability, and the G7944 is the same. It’s another floor-standing drill press that is incredibly heavy duty. It has a ¾ HP single-phase motor, with an astounding 12 speeds of adjustment. One of the most outstanding features of the Grizzly G7944 is the table tilt angle that can reach 90 degrees.

The cast iron table is centered on precision that is supported by a built-in work light to illuminate your workpiece. The table has a vertical rack and pinion movement that is crank operated. Keep the table in place with its lock levers and there is even a coolant trough.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

6. JET JDP-20MF

The Jet floor drill press is a much more powerful model than some of the previous units before it. The JET JDP-20MF features a 1-½ HP powerful motor with 12 speeds. The high speeds offered can reach an astounding 4200 RPM – more spindle speeds than many other machines of its class.

Built for repetition, the Jet JDP-20MF drill press has an external depth stop and a 3-nut locking feature that allows for quick adjustments. The quick-release crank table can tilt in either direction up to 45 degrees. The work light will light the way for your drill press to make sure every move is precise.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

7. Jet JDP-15B

Jet has consistently created amazing drill presses and our expert woodworkers are continuously impressed by their products. This 16-speed drill press has a cast iron table with 4 table slots and twin T-slot grooves to help you control your workpiece.

The spindle travel can reach a full 3-⅛ inches. What makes the Jet JDP-15B an even more efficient model is the one-handed belt tensioning system. You can switch speeds faster than ever before to get the job done.

The onboard X-shaped XACTA laser will guarantee precise drilling every time. Work from dawn until dusk without losing visibility thanks to the built-in LED work light. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

8. Grizzly Industrial G0925

If you’re looking for an ultimate portable model, the Grizzly Industrial G0925 is the one our experts recommend. It’s a tiny 8-inch drill press that can reach a surprisingly high speed of 3140 RPM [1]. The ⅓ HP small drill press powers the unit quietly even at the highest speed setting.

Benchtop drill presses are the best substitute for the larger models for small jobs, one that this 8-inch drill press for woodworking can do better than most. The small unit still features all the capabilities a large model does, such as speed ranges, 45-degree table tilts, and a cast iron table and base. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

Drill Press for Woodworking Buyer’s Guide

Benchtop vs Floorstanding Drill

The first consideration you need to think about when buying a drill press for woodworking is whether you want a bench or floor model. Woodworking drill presses can come in a wide range of sizes befit for various spaces. Floor drill presses are generally larger, with a swing of anywhere between 12 to 20 inches and a height of around 5 feet. 

Of course, a larger machine is also heavier, so make sure you have the strength and the space to handle a floor-standing model. The best floor-standing drill on our list is the Shop Fox W1848.

A portable bench model, such as the tiny 8-inch Grizzly drill press, gives woodworkers much more portability, and therefore versatility for various applications. A benchtop model can be more mobile, and is our team’s suggestion for those who have a smaller workshop.

Another consideration is that the larger floor models may cost more, but they can also give you more swing, and therefore give you more value for your money for certain purposes. If a benchtop unit can meet your needs, then our team suggests going with it for a smaller footprint and cheaper price.

Variable Speed

All the drill presses our woodworking team has assembled on the list have variable speeds. How many speed options the units offer is the key. The more RPM (rotations per minute) a drill press offers, the more materials you can work with.

Make sure to check if the drill press you have your eye on can work at the speeds you need. Drill presses of old had a manual adjustment function to change speeds, but thankfully, modern units have made this process more streamlined.

Look at how the machine allows for quick speed adjustments. You may see knobs or levers that can change speeds with a simple push, or ones that already feature preset speeds. The recommended range will include 500 to 3000 RPM. If you can find ones that exceed this range, then that’s even better. 

Power

The power usually refers to the motor, which is measured in HP (horsepower). Our woodworking engineers strongly suggest looking for ones that offer ¾ HP at the very least. The purpose of a drill press is for drilling holes your handheld drill cannot do. If you go for a power HP motor than ¾, you will find that you are extremely limited in your woodworking options.  

Table Dimensions

The table is where you would rest your workpiece, so it can’t be too small. In general, the size of the drill press correlates with the size of the table; the larger the drill, the larger the table. 

We definitely suggest looking for tables that have extra features such as T-slots grooves and table slots but definitely ones that can tilt. The standard angle is 45 degrees, but our experts have included an option that can go up to 90.

You could find a table with supported edges, but this can make clamping more difficult. Mid to high-end units now may also include adjustable fences and even dust ports. The key is to finding the right table dimensions and features for your drill press is to look at the type of projects you undertake and what you need from the drill.

Laser Guide

Aside from a work light for illumination and precision, the best drill press for woodworking should also have a laser guide. It’s just a very handy feature to have for people who create repetitive movements and need more help with alignment. Even if you have a steady hand, it’s still useful to have a laser guide on your drill press.

The laser guide is a light that shines onto your workpiece to help you line up the machine with the mark. There are also X-shaped lasers to make the mark even more visible.

Accuracy

The work light and laser guide help with accuracy, but what else does the best drill press for woodworking include to help with precision? The answer is extra drill bits and attachments. Your drill press should come with standard attachments, but there are units our experts have included on the list that can also handle the sanding, which will require more attachments.

For repetitive movements your drill machine is expected to carry out, a stop for the depth is highly useful. This feature will determine how far you can lower the quill of your best woodworking drill press. There are many units that claim to be the best drill presses that don’t offer the depth stopper. Our experts suggest steering clear of these units – especially if you are required to produce uniform results. 

Spindle Travel

Spindle travel is so important. Not only does it allow for accurate drilling, it also dictates the drilling depth the best drill presses can produce. Regular drill presses give around 2-½ inches of depth, while other drill presses may offer more or less. In general, floor-standing units will offer more travel than benchtop ones. 

In fact, you may even find some machines that can offer a full 3 inches of travel plus the ability to create angled drills, square holes, and more.

Swing

What is the swing? The swing basically tells you how large of a workpiece the best drill presses for woodworking can handle and drill a hold in the middle. Of course, the swing has a lot to do with the size and the model you choose. A benchtop model with a rigid frame usually offers anywhere between 10 to 12 inches of swing, but a larger floor drill press will offer up to 20. 

Our woodworking team says the swing is easy to determine by just looking at the type of materials you work with, the size of the pieces, and the projects you do.

Ease of Use and Versatility

Most drill presses are easy to use. Throughout the years, manufacturers have strived to create products that not only drill precisely but have the smoothest operation with no fuss. You can find options that can work with your existing power drill and applicable hole saw set, come with various drill bit options, and have fast speed adjustments.

To determine whether a machine is easy to use and versatile, look at all its capabilities, construction, and bonus features. For example, you will be surprised by how much a unit with an onboard tool holder is preferred. It offers you quick access to tools you may need on the job.

Another important feature is the safety switch. Having this small but indispensable feature will guarantee peace of mind when working with a drill press.

FAQ

What size for a drill press is best for woodworking?

A 12 to 20 inch drill press is best for woodworking. It really depends on what type of projects and materials you work with, as well as the space you have. Benchtop drill presses will be smaller and more portable, while floorstanding ones are larger but offer more versatility. 

What should I look for in a benchtop drill press?

You should look for the right size, swing, spindle travel, power, and extra features in a benchtop drill press. What’s right for you may not be the best choice for someone else. Assess the type of projects you have to decide on the best benchtop drill press for you.

Our Top Pick For a Drill Press for Woodworking:
WEN 4214T

Our team had no debate when it came to our top choice amongst the best drill presses for woodworking. The WEN 4214T outshone the others with its powerful 5 amp induction motor, mechanical variable speed adjustment for ease, digital readout, and all the bonuses including a worklight and laser guide. 

The work table can bevel which allows you to create angled holes, and the iron construction is proven to be very durable.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen and women. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson