What Is a Tabletop Drill Press?


    A drill press is a much more efficient form of a regular hand drill. The primary purpose of this power tool is to drill holes of larger diameters and do a much better and more professional job than a hand drill. Drill presses come in two varieties, floor drill presses and tabletop drill presses. The latter is much more efficient because of its ease of use. 

    Tabletop drill presses are designed to be installed on top of workbenches and work tables, which is why they are also called benchtop drill presses. They usually feature a sturdy base to help keep them stable and planted during use. Some models also offer the option to bolt the drill to your bench, which allows much more stability as you work.

    What Does It Do?

    A man drilling a hole into a piece of wood using a drill press.

    Just like regular drills, you can use tabletop drill presses for various tasks. It is a cool and useful tool that you can use for various different tasks.

    1. Drilling Holes with Larger Diameters

    Tabletop drill presses are much larger and have a much more powerful motor than standard drills. These motors give them more power and torque that you can use to drive larger bits and accessories through different materials. 

    2. Drilling at a Specific Angle

    A standard attachment that comes with tabletop drill presses is a table that you can change to allow the clamped material to be drilled at a specific angle. Other accessories that can be used include a head that you can pivot to adjust the drilling angle. This accessory is commonly used with radial drill presses.

    3. Drilling to a Specific Depth

    Most modern tabletop drill presses have the option to stop at a certain depth. This feature makes it extremely easy to drill holes with uniform depth. 

    4. Smoothening Edges of a Hole

    Tabletop drill presses also allow you to smooth out the hole’s edges. You can also use a reamer bit to make the hole much smoother and finish at a specific diameter. 

    5. Enlarging Existing Holes

    Tabletop drill presses have a much more powerful motor than hand drills, so they can enlarge existing holes to a much wider diameter. 

    6. Drilling More Precise Holes

    If you want to drill more precise holes, a tabletop drill press is excellent because if you purchase a mini version, you can use smaller-sized drill bits. These allow you to make micro-adjustments which can help make your final product look detailed.

    7. Sanding Materials

    Most drill presses come with sanding drum accessories with a round shank. These can easily fit into the tool’s chuck, allowing you to sand different materials. 

    8. Cutting Squares or Rectangular Holes in Timber

    Another attachment that most tabletop drill presses come with is mortising bits. These can help cut square holes and even side-by-side holes if you need rectangular cutouts. 

    9. Polishing Materials

    Polishing tools are similar to sanding tools but are designed to polish materials and include accessories such as a polishing wheel.

    Variations of Tabletop Drill Presses

    Variation  Description and Use
    Mini Drill Press A mini drill press is designed to handle small-scale tasks. They are much lighter and portable, and these drills are also much less powerful and have a smaller drilling capacity.
    Radial Drill Press A radial drill press has a pivoting head that rotates both ways, making it much easier to drill at different angles. Some radial drill presses even come with a sliding head that increases its swing distance and drilling capacity.
    Magnetic Drill Press A magnetic drill press contains a strong electromagnet that allows it to attach to a ferrous metal surface. Using this feature, you can drill horizontally, vertically, and even upside down. Magnetic drill presses are some of the most expensive model types.
    Hand Drill Press A hand drill press is a frame that holds a regular drill driver in place. Using this, you can operate a standard drill driver as a drill press. It is the most inexpensive way to achieve the drilling accuracy and precision that is achieved through drill presses.

    What To Consider When Purchasing a Tabletop Drill Press

    A tabletop drill press

    Whether you are new to tabletop drill presses or want a new one, there are a few features that you need to consider before you purchase one. Doing so will help you purchase one that fulfills all your needs.

    1. Variable Speed

    Tabletop drill presses come in varying speeds ranging from 200 to 3600 rpm or revolutions per minute. The RPM of your drill press is important because it determines the kind of materials you can drill. Usually, harder materials require a slower speed or rpm, as this reduces the heat that is generated by the drill. Additionally, it also helps maintains a sharp cutting edge. 

    Other kinds of materials, such as pine, require a higher rpm. If you use a drill press on oak, you will require a medium rate; when using it on metal, you will need a low rate. Keeping a can of lubricant on hand is also a good idea. Spraying some on the drill can keep the heat down on the tip, helping maintain a sharp cutting edge.

    2. Drill Size and Travel

    The drill size and travel are the most critical measurements to compare various tabletop drill presses. Manufacturers measure the drill sizes by measuring the distance between the drill bits. This distance is known as the throat distance. It is common practice among manufacturers to double the distance to size their drill presses.

    For example, if a tabletop drill press has a length of 4 inches from bit to stand, it would be an 8-inch drill press.

    The travel of a drill pressure is how far up or down you can move the chuck. For example, if your drill press has a 4-inch travel, it means that you can lower the tip of the drill bit by 4 inches. The travel of a drill is essential if you are planning to drill through thicker materials. The greater it is, the easier it will be for you to drill through such a material.

    3. Horsepower

    Although horsepower is useful for judging a device with a motor, the speed variability is much more critical in a tabletop drill press. Usually, tabletop drill presses range from ⅓ to ¾ horsepower models. If you intend to work on projects within your workshop, both will serve you equally.  

    It is a common misconception that when a drill press weakens, it is because of the motor, but this mostly happens because of the pressure placed on the bit. The more pressure you put on the chuck, spindle, and bit, the easier the drill press will break. 

    4. Safety Features

    Drill presses are considered an older power tool, but in recent years, they have been updated to improve their safety. When purchasing a tabletop drill press, ensure that you choose one with ample safety features to protect yourself. These features include bit guards, large on and off buttons, and clamping devices. 

    Bit guards protect your hands and keep them away from the spinning drill bit and the scraps of wood or metal that may potentially hit you. 

    Oversized on and off buttons are extremely useful in helping shut off a machine if something goes wrong.

    A clamping device is another safety feature designed to hold your workpiece in place. Not only does it help in accuracy, but it also prevents the workpiece from flying off and hurting you or someone else. 

    5. Onboard Light and Laser Guide

    Whether you are new to drill presses or a seasoned operator, a bit of help can make using this power tool so much easier. When purchasing a tabletop drill press, choose one with an onboard light and laser guides. Onboard lights allow you to clearly see the piece you are working on, even if the tool is in a dark corner.

    Laser guides are usually crosshair-shaped lines aligning exactly where the drill point is touching the workpiece. You can adjust these to pinpoint precisely where the drill press will drop. Both of these lights greatly help in improving the accuracy of your work. 

    6. Accessories

    If you are in the market for a new tabletop drill press, ensure that you choose one with attachments. There are many handy attachments and accessories for bench-press drills that allow you to increase the number of tasks you can do with your device. Some standard accessories include sanding and polishing kits, mortising chisels, and more. The better your accessory kit, the more functional your machine will be.

    These accessories are easy to attach as they must be tightened in the chuck. Other accessories include jigs and clamps, which can be used to bolt the drill press to the table, which helps in safe and accurate drilling.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Table Top Drill Press 

    Advantages Disadvantages
    They are extremely accurate as they include features such as depth-stops. They are less portable owing to their weight and size.
    They are quick and efficient compared to other kinds of drills. Using these drills is a lot more time-consuming
    They are extremely powerful because of their large motors.
    Tabletop drills are much safer to use as they have a sturdy frame that provides much better control.


    A man using a tabletop drill press.

    When purchasing a new tabletop drill press, you must choose one made using good quality and durable materials. If you have the budget, then choose one from a well-known brand. Brands such as WEN, JET, and BILT design their products with care and consideration. They also use the latest technology and high-quality materials to ensure that their drill presses are the best in the market. 

    1. WEN

    WEN’s electric tools are some of the most powerful in the industry. Their tabletop drill presses use powerful motors with high horsepower, allowing them to work on projects of all shapes and sizes. Their drill presses are also quiet and have a long travel, making them extremely useful for more complex projects. They also offer variable speeds, making their tabletop drill presses popular in the industry.

    Some popular models include the WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press and the WEN 4208 8. 5-Speed Drill Press

    2. JET

    JET power tools, such as their tabletop drill press, are straightforward. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional, you will be able to use them efficiently and without much trouble. Most of their models have high-speed variability ranging from 200 rpm to 3630 rpm. Their benchtop drill presses are also some of the smoothest and quietest you will ever find.

    Some popular models include the JET JWDP-12, 12-Inch Benchtop Drill Press, and the JET J-2530 15-Inch Drill Press.

    3. BILT 

    The BILT tabletop drill presses are some of the best in the 12-inch category. They have an adjustable speed variable, which increases the device’s usability. It features lasers and is extremely quiet. Some popular models include the Best Adjustable Speed: BILT HARD 10-Inch Drill Press and the BILT HARD 5 Amp 12 in. Variable Speed Drill Press.


    1. Is a benchtop drill press worth it?

    Yes. Benchtop or tabletop drill presses are convenient tools as they allow you to make precise holes in various materials. They also make dangerous jobs a lot safer and more accurate.

    2. How do I choose the size of my drill press?

    To choose the size of your drill press, focus on what you will use it for. If it is for smaller, more accurate tasks, you can choose one that ranges from 8 to 12 inches. A drill press larger than that will be considered a heavy-duty floor-mounted drill press. These usually range from 12 inches to 22 inches. 

    3. What is good horsepower for a drill press?

    Horsepower allows you to gauge how powerful the motor of the tool is. Choose how powerful you want your drill press to be by focusing on your use. A ¾ HP is a great option if you are an occasional user. If you want to use it for heavier tasks, choose a drill press with ½ HP.


    A tabletop drill press is a tool every dad needs because it can be extremely useful for various tasks. You can use this precise tool to bore holes in different materials such as wood, metal, etc. 

    Due to their popularity, various tabletop drill presses are available on the market. The sheer number of options makes it challenging to choose the best one. If you focus on the safety features, drill size, and variable speeds, you will be much more successful in purchasing one that fits your needs. 


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