Nothing is more annoying than a drill press that cannot do its job. Yes, the best drill presses are powerful machines that offer accuracy and reliability. But it isn’t enough to get the best drill press.
You must also acquire the right drill press. Most of the models you find on the market these days have the versatility to drill into a variety of materials. But if all you want is a drill press for metalworking, then you should get the best drill press for metal.
While some woodworking drill presses have the power required to punch through metal, a woodworking drill press cannot replicate the efficiency of its metalworking counterpart.
This is because metal is harder than wood and metalworking drill presses were designed to take that difference into account. Not only are they more powerful but they have special cooling and lubricating systems that will prevent the overheating that normally happens when you drill into thick metal.
Their torque and accuracy make them an essential tool for any metalworking establishment. While you could always make do with a woodworking drill press if you have no other choice, there is nothing better for your metalworking projects than a drill press that was specifically made to drill into metal.
Best Drill Press for Metal
1) Jet 716200 JDP
This is a solid, steady drill press that drills cleanly through metal without the need for sanding down burrs. Boasting a chuck that can contend with bits of any size,not only are the adjustments easy to make but it delivers the power efficiently once you start boring holes through half-inch sheets of metal.
The product is known for its stability, keeping your workpieces in place using clamps. It is also surprisingly quiet. The machine is still disruptive but it doesn’t stress the ears as thoroughly as some of its rivals.
Most people have nothing but good things to say about it. They like the one-handed belt tensioning that allows you to change speeds rapidly. They like the large key and paddle-style off button that has been added to make switching the machine on safer.
They also approve of the precision ground worktable with its twin t-slot grooves and 4 table slots that can accommodate a variety of projects. Assembly is difficult, particularly because the head assembly is heavy.
2) NOVA 58000 Voyager DVR
Even though it has a default speed of 3000RPM, this drill press for metal comes with a variable speed direct drive motor with an RPM ranging from 50 to 5500 RPM. Using customizable software, you can raise the speed to 5500 if that is what your workpiece demands.
If you permit it, the interface will help you with the speed selection, taking the guesswork out of the equation. If you tell it the drill bit you want to use and the material you want to work on, the interface can even tell you the power to use.
It has features that observe your performance, making adjustments along the way to improve efficiency. You can use it to set the depth setting. Once you specify the depth, the drill will stop working the moment you reach it.
Besides saving power by only drawing the energy it needs for the project, it has a tilt/vibrator sensor that will stop operations the moment the drill press tips or falls, a download feature that keeps the software up to date, and functions like auto handle start and a pilot hole that make it more convenient than many of its competitors.
Because there are no belts or pulleys to cause vibrations, the machine’s operations are quiet and smooth despite the power it generates.
3) WEN 4208
This is a small but powerful 5-speed drill press that has the power to contend with the toughest metals. It comes with onboard key storage, a spindle that travels up to 2 inches, locking linear depth stops that are easy to read, and a 1/3HP induction motor that generates ample torque and power.
The table can bevel left and right up to 45 degrees. The machine’s compact design shouldn’t be ignored because it allows you to work with limited space. But, as was mentioned above, the drill is no less powerful, capable of punching a ½-inch hole through heavy-duty cast iron.
The ball bearing construction will extend the life of the powerful induction motor, not to mention delivering balanced performance at high speeds. The JT33 (1/2-inch) chuck works with a variety of drill bits which adds to the machine’s versatility.
The rigid frame and cast-iron head, table, and base guarantee the durability of the drill press. It can remain operational for a long time.
4) Jet 354170
This professional 288-pound drill press gives you 12 speeds, an RPM ranging from 150 to 4200, and a powerful 1.5 HP motor. The 20-inch floor press has a crank that allows you to raise and lower the table. Boasting a 2-year warranty and a built-in work lamp, the worktable can tilt up to 45 degrees to enable angled drilling. It comes with a quick-release clamp.
You can change speeds by slipping the belt onto a different pulley after opening the hinged metal cover and disengaging the motor. Compatible with metal and woodwork and medium to large drilling jobs, it comes with a large production table (19 inches x 16 inches) that can secure large pieces in place.
Because it is so heavy, the machine is not easy to assemble. The depth gauge is also difficult to accurately use. The price tag is very high.
5) JET J-2530
This is a fairly simple 157-pound drill press with a 3/4HP motor that delivers accuracy and stability. Promising a wide range of speeds designed to meet the demands of the different metals through which you want to drill, it has a stable base.
The accuracy and precision come from the four permanently lubricated ball bearings that support the spindle assembly. The head is cast-iron. It is durable and long-lasting, capable of surviving several years of extensive use.
The accuracy is further augmented by the large quill whereas the large ground steel column strengthens support for the head and table.
The worktable is designed to tilt left and right up to 45 degrees. This allows you to tackle some of the more complex angled drilling tasks that might arise.
6) SKIL 3320
If you want the best drill press for metal, you don’t have to look any further than this model which has a bump-off switch for additional safety, 5 speeds, and a laser that promises precise hole alignment.
If you like the power of a handheld drill but you want better precision, this drill press has everything you need, including a depth adjustment system that allows you to maintain consistency when drilling, a worktable that can tilt 45 degrees, and a 3-year warranty.
The adjustable depth stop allows you to make accurate measurements and repetitive drilling. The base and worktable are durable cast iron.
7) Shop Fox W1668
Metal drill press reviews normally speak well of Shop Fox. The company has a reputation for producing a diverse collection of drill presses that fit all needs. The W1668 is just one among many high performing models.
Boasting a 3-piece spindle sander drum kit, 3/4HP, and an RPM ranging between 250 and 3050, this is a rigid unit that is supposed to remain in service for many years without the need for extensive servicing.
It has 12 speeds that are suitable for light and heavy use. The worktable can tilt 90 degrees to the left and right to suit complex drilling and sanding angles. You can adjust the height to accommodate the needs of your workpiece.
Because it doubles as an oscillating sander, it has a clearance hole and a dust collection port that will make your jobs less messy. Weighing 130 pounds, it can drill ¾ inches into steel. This makes the machine suitable for most drilling jobs.
8) WEN 4227
This is a 12-speed standing drill press with a stroke capacity of 4-3/4 inches. That is more than sufficient for the metal workpieces you might have on hand. You can change speeds by making simple belt adjustments.
The table is cast iron. It measures 14 inches by 14 inches and it comes with a coolant runoff channel that will prevent overheating.It is capable of tilting 45 degrees to the left and right.
The fact that it is 26 inches away from the chuck makes the table suitable for large workpieces. It comes with a flexible work light that improves visibility, a precision laser that creates an X at the center of your target, and a 13-amp motor.
You should be gentle with the table clamp spring. It is flimsy and you could break it if you move it too quickly. At 214 pounds, this is a heavy unit.
9) Shop Series RK7033
This 6.2-Amp drill press has a cast-iron worktable that tilts 45 degrees in either direction. It comes with a 2-year warranty and 1.3Ah lithium-ion batteries, not to mention a battery capacity indicator.
You should expect 200 in-lbs of torque and 16+1 clutch positions, variable speed control, and an LED light that allows you to work in darker conditions. The ½-inch chuck is suitable for woodworking and metal drill bits. It is also compatible with sanding drums. The keyed safety switch enhances the safety and security of the operator. It only weighs 48 pounds which makes it more maneuverable than many of the units on this list.
Q. How Do You Choose the Right Speed for Your Drill Press?
The speed you choose will depend on the material used. The harder the material, the slower the speed required. The softer the material, the higher the speed.
Q. What are the best brands for drill presses?
There are many reliable brands for drill presses on the market, including Dewalt, Jet, Porter, Shop Fox, Delta, and Ryobi, to mention but a few.
Q. How to Use a Drill Press for metal?
- Get a suitable drill bit, one that is strong enough to cut through the metal you have on hand.
- Lubricate the drill bit. The coating you use will depend on the material. You have to think about how high the temperature will get, not to mention any chemical reactions that might occur.
- Align the drill and ensure that the press cannot move.
- Mark the point where you want to drill. Use both hands to hold the drill at the relevant angle. Start drilling. Do this slowly if the metal is hard. Increase the speed if the metal is soft.
- Take breaks in between the drilling if the metal is thick. This will prevent overheating.
Q. What are the differences between drill presses for metal and wood?
The drill presses for woodworking and metalworking are similar in many ways. However, because metal is harder than wood, drill presses for metal have more powerful motors.
They can withstand higher loads, hence the bulky floor-standing design that many of them use. Their minimum speeds are also lower. They come with features that can lubricate and cool the system.