Best Drill Press for Metal 2021(Reviews & Buying Guide)

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.

Editor’s Pick

Our top pick

If you want a drill press that cannot fail to meet your expectations, try our Top Pick:

NOVA 58000 Voyager – Most metalworking drill press reviews you encounter have nothing but good things to say about this model. Not only does it have an RPM ranging from 50-5500, an 18-inch swing, and a 6-inch quill stroke, but it has an amazing interface that automates its many functions.

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Our budget pick

If Money is a problem, you should give our Budget Pick a Look:

WEN 4208 – Despite being so affordable, this unit still delivers five speeds with an RPM ranging from 740 to 31410, 1/3HP, a worktable that bevels 45 degrees in both directions and locking linear depth stops that augment the accuracy of repeatable drilling operations.

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Our best pick

If you want the best drill press for your metalwork projects, try our Overall Best Pick

JET 354170 – When you buy this unit, you get a 1.5HP motor, an RPM ranging from 150 to 4200, and a 45-degree tilting table. You can change speeds by simply slipping the belt under the hinged metal cover onto a different pulley.

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What to Look for in a Drill Press for Metalworking

If you want to purchase a drill press that can deliver the precision and accuracy you need regardless of the material of your workpiece, you should take the following into account:

1) Motor

The power a drill press delivers is determined by its motor. It is represented by the Horsepower rating. A higher HP translates into a more powerful motor. A higher HP also means that the drill press will give you more torque.

The more power a drill press has, the easier it becomes to drill into metal.

2) Speed

The speed is expressed in RPM. The best drills have a wide range of speeds from which you can select depending on the metal you want to work on. The wider the range, the more options you have with regards to the speed you can use. This also affects the types of metal you can work on.

3) Type

If you want to drill into metal, you must choose between benchtop or floor-standing drill presses. Benchtop models are popular because they are lighter and more compact. They don’t consume as much space.

But if you want a lot of power, you should opt for the heavier floor-standing presses. They will do a better job of cutting into metal.

4) Voltage

The supply voltage you target will depend on the setting. A drill press meant for household purposes, for instance, can make do with a regular 110V supply. But 110V drill presses do not perform as well as commercial voltage options.

5) Drilling Capacity

This parameter is concerned with the diameter and accuracy of the holes. It is determined by the type and size of the bits a chuck can accept. This, in turn, will tell you whether a drill press can do light, medium, or heavy-duty jobs.

6) Depth

This is concerned with how deep a drill press can penetrate particular metals. It will depend on the power of the drill press and the hardness of the materials. Some machines are better at drilling certain materials than others.

7) Warranty

Every drill press needs a good warranty. Drill presses have too many moving parts. As such, they are vulnerable to wear and tear and they could fail at any time for any number of reasons. A decent warranty policy will reduce your replacement and repair costs.

8) Dimensions

You should always take your machine’s dimensions into account because they will affect your comfort and ability to operate optimally. A bigger, heavier drill press takes up more space and it is more difficult to move. This doesn’t matter if the drill press was intended for commercial purposes and you have no intention of moving it yourself.

It matters if you have limited space and the drill press requires frequent lifting.

9) Durability

Because drill presses perform physically intensive work, they need strong bodies made from durable materials that are unlikely to break from excessive use. Cast-iron is popular for this very reason.

10) Light

The best drill presses have a built-in light that they use to illuminate your workpiece. This allows users to maintain their efficiency even when they are working in darker environments.

11) Worktable

The size of the worktable matters because it will determine the size of the metal pieces you can work with. The maneuverability matters as well. That is to say, you need a worktable whose height can be adjusted and which can tilt to suit complicated drilling angels.

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.

Jet 716200 JDP review

Key Features:

  • Large 12-1/2×17 inch precision ground table
  • Spindle travels 3-1/8 inches with one revolution of the handle
  • 210-3500 RPM
  • Integrated depth stop that makes repetitive drilling quick and easy
  • Sturdy Cast-iron Head

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.

Pros
  • You can make rapid speed changes
  • Power switch features a safety key
  • Integrated depth stop makes repetitive drilling quick and easy
Cons
  • Assembly is somewhat difficult

Expert Tips

This drill press is suitable for people that want to perform large-scale furniture and construction projects. It appeals to people that want a tool whose precision exceeds that of a handheld drill.

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.

NOVA 58000 Voyager DVR review

Key Features:

  • 1.75HP/2HP
  • 50-5500 RPM
  • 18-inch Swing and 6-inch quill stroke
  • Bit Selection Assistance
  • Constant monitoring and feedback
  • 307 pounds

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.

Pros
  • Smooth and quiet operations
  • Helps you select the best drill bit for your workpiece
  • Helps you select the best speed and power for your workpiece
  • Stops operations if the press tilts or falls
Cons
  • There is no light
  • Heavy

Expert Tips

This is a heavy-duty machine that is also surprisingly smart. It gives you all the power you need to drill into metal. It has a software interface that provides a variety of functions that simplify its use.

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.

WEN 4208 review

Key Features:

  • ½-inch chuck
  • Onboard key storage compartment
  • 740-3140 RPM
  • 1/3 HP Induction Motor
  • 120V, 60Hz
  • Worktable bevels left and right, 45 degrees
  • 31 Pounds

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.

Pros
  • Rigid, durable frame
  • Onboard storage compartment for keys
  • Lightweight
  • JT33 Chuck compatible with a variety of bits
Cons
  • Chuck wobbles a bit
  • You need a wrench to adjust the worktable tangle

Expert Tips

This isn’t necessarily a heavy-duty drill press. You can’t rely on it to exceed expectations were large and extensive projects are concerned. Its price tag will tell you as much. However, it can still drill into heavy-duty cast iron. The little it can do, it does well.

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.

Jet 354170 review

Key Features:

  • 1.5 HP Motor
  • 150-4200 RPM
  • ¾-inch Chuck
  • Built-in Work Light

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.

Pros
  • Work light will illuminate your work
  • Speed can be changed easily without tools
  • The table can be raised and lowered at the turn of a crank
  • The worktable can rotate to make angled drilling possible
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to assemble

Expert Tips

This drill press is primarily suited to professionals that are looking to do medium to big drilling jobs. It delivers more power thana hobbyist would normally require.

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.

JET J-2530 review

Key Features:

  • 3/4HP
  • 157 Pounds
  • 115V
  • 2-Year Warranty
  • Telescoping safety spindle guard
  • Worktable bevels 45 degrees

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.

Pros
  • Durable, solid cast-iron head
  • Large quill delivers greater accuracy
  • Ball bearings guarantee smooth operations
Cons
  • Heavy

Expert Tips

This is a large, beefy, solid drill press that is quite basic in its functions. Straightforward in its assembly, it won’t blow you away with its power. But it won’t disappoint either. The speed changes are quick and you get a bulb that illuminates your work.

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.

SKIL 3320 review

Key Features:

  • ½-inch keyed chuck
  • 570-3050 RPM
  • Adjustable Depth Stop
  • X2 2-Beam Laser
  • 120V, 3.2 Amps
  • 50 Pounds

The adjustable depth stop allows you to make accurate measurements and repetitive drilling. The base and worktable are durable cast iron.

Pros
  • Bump-off switch provides added safety
  • Tilting table makes angled drilling possible
  • Laser improves precision
  • 3-year warranty
Cons
  • Short quill travel

Expert Tips

This is a light-duty drill press that will appeal to hobbyists. It promises smooth, quiet, and precise operations. You cannot rely on it to perform heavier tasks.

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.

Shop Fox W1668 review

Key Features:

  • 3/4HP
  • 250-3050 RPM
  • 5/8-inch drill chuck
  • 130 pounds
  • The table can tilt 90 degrees

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.

Pros
  • Doubles as a sander
  • 90-Degree tilting table accommodates special drilling and sanding angles
  • Table height adjusts to suit workpiece height
Cons
  • Changing speeds is not always easy
  • The work light is absent

Expert Tips

This is the unit to buy if you want a drill press that doubles as a sander. The machine is best suited to hobbyists and smaller undertakings but it has the power to tackle moderately heavy tasks.

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.

WEN 4227 review

Key Features:

  • 180-2940 RPM
  • 5/8-inch chuck
  • Cast iron worktable that pivots 45 degrees
  • 13-amp induction motor
  • Onboard Work Light

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.

Pros
  • Work light illuminates your work
  • Laser pointer improves precision
  • Cast-iron base prevents walking and wobbling while you work
  • Coolant runoff channel prevents overheating
Cons
  • Table clamp spring is flimsy
  • Instructions are not clear

No work lights

Expert Tips

This is a heavy drill press. You should only buy it if you are willing to go through the trouble involved with assembling it. It still does a decent job and it is worth every penny spent. The build is solid and the 13-Amp Induction Motor gives you all the power you need.

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.

Shop Series RK7033 review

Key Features:

  • 6.2 Amps
  • Cast-iron table bevels 45 degrees
  • 620-3100 RPM
  • 1/2-inch chuck
Pros
  • 2-year warranty
  • Light
  • Keyed safety switch prevents accidental starting
  • LED Light illuminatesthe workpiece
Cons
  • Instructions are vague and not useful
  • The pulley chart provided is misleading

Expert Tips

This is a small, lightweight drill press that is compatible with homeowners with DIY projects they want to perform. The machine is reliable, precise, and easy to use.

FAQ

Q. How Do You Choose the Right Speed for Your Drill Press?
ANSWER:

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?
ANSWER:

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?
ANSWER:

  • 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?
ANSWER:

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.

Final Verdict

Regardless of the product you select from the list above, you cannot fail to secure the best drill press for metal. As you have probably noticed, the list is littered with brands like WEN and JET that have a reputation for producing high performing drill presses with powerful motors, incredible accuracy, and unrivaled precision.

Whether you are looking for a versatile tool like the JET 354170 that can drill through various materials or a machine like the NOVA 58000 known for its considerable power, this list has a little bit of everything and one of these items is bound to fit your situation.

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