9 Best Small Drill Presses of 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide
For most situations where you need a small hole, a drill is the ideal tool. But sometimes, you need to make very precise holes or you have to make holes in a small piece that would be difficult to achieve with a hand drill. For these instances, a drill press is the perfect tool, with a table to hold your work steady and a straight throw that’s repeatable every time.
Whether you’re drilling holes in plastic, wood, metal, small electronics, jewelry, or another material, a good drill press has you covered. You can even make multiple identical holes thanks to great features like a depth stop. And when it comes to accuracy, your hand won’t ever be able to match the precision of a drill press.
We’d never run out of uses for our drill press, but we wanted a smaller version than the giant one sitting on our shop floor. So, we set out to find the best small drill presses on the market, comparing each of them in a series of reviews along the way.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press||
|Best Value||WEN 4208 Drill Press||
|Premium Choice||RIKON 30-120 Drill Press||
|Genesis GDP1005A Drill Press||
|Proxxon 38128 Bench Drill Press||
The 9 Best Small Drill Presses – Reviews 2021
1. SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press – Best Overall
Equipped with a 3.2-amp motor that allows for speeds ranging from 570-3,050 revolutions per minute (RPM), the SKIL 3320-01 drill press is our favorite small drill press of all. You get precise control over the speed of the drill with 5 speeds to choose from. To help line up your holes correctly, this machine features an X2 two-beam laser system that will show you exactly where the bit will touch down.
This drill press plugs into a standard 120V outlet, though you’ll also need 2 AA batteries to power the laser. The worktable is on a rack and pinion system that allows for easy height adjustments. Furthermore, it can be tilted 45° to the left and right so you can easily drill precisely angled holes.
You do get a depth stop on this drill, though it was unreliable at best in our testing. It tends to move and often releases entirely, which can cause you to drill through the face of your material. On the other hand, this machine is protected by a 3-year warranty. Considering its affordable price, this warranty makes it an incredible value in our eyes, which is just one of the many reasons why it’s our top choice.
2. WEN 4208 Drill Press – Best Value
WEN is known for making affordable alternatives to expensive tools. But just because they’re affordable doesn’t mean they’re inferior. In fact, the WEN 4208 drill press is one of the best small drill presses for the money. It’s dirt-cheap compared to some of the other models we tested but is still packed with all the features you expect from a good drill press.
This machine offers variable speeds ranging from 740-3,140 RPM with 5 speeds to choose from so you can have great control over how the drill handles. The ⅓-horsepower (HP) induction motor offers plenty of power and torque, especially for the low price.
Like many similar devices, this one features a worktable that bevels 45° to the left and right. The ½-inch keyed chuck provides a firm grip on your bits, though there is a small amount of chuck wobble present. In our experience, it didn’t have any major effect on our work, though it might be more of an issue if you’re expecting to drill super precise holes.
3. RIKON 30-120 Drill Press – Premium Choice
RIKON makes high-quality tools that generally come with a higher price tag as well. The 30-120 drill press lives up to this description with one of the highest prices on this list and some of the best build quality we’ve seen. You also get more variability out of this machine than others by quite a large margin. With 16 speeds to choose from, you get a lot of control over this machine, which is capable of 200-3,630 RPM.
This drill press is crafted from solid steel and cast iron. You won’t find cheap plastic parts adorning this tool. Of course, that means it’s a pretty hefty beast as well at just over 100 pounds. At this weight, it’s very stable, but it’s also starting to lose some portability and take up more space in your shop.
Running this machine is a stout motor pushing ½ HP, making it one of the strongest drill presses on this list. It’s also got one of the longest throats at 6.5 inches, allowing you to drill a hole in the center of a 13-inch disk. Altogether, it’s a sizable investment, but well worth the cost if you’re looking for a precision tool with top-tier capabilities.
4. Genesis GDP1005A Drill Press
The Genesis GDP1005A drill press offers some impressive specs and decent performance with a few flaws that prevent it from cracking our top three. There’s plenty to like here though, such as the ⅝-inch chuck that allows you to use much larger bits and get better torque application. We also really liked the built-in work light that illuminates your work.
At just 52 pounds, this machine is still light and portable, though it’s stable enough not to vibrate too much while working. The worktable tilts 45° both directions for angled holes and there are 5 speeds to give you control over how the drill functions. It’s a well-built machine overall, but if something should happen, there’s a 2-year warranty keeping your investment protected.
However, there were some notable flaws holding this machine back. There’s too much movement in the quill, which translates to sloppy holes from too much play. Adjusting the worktable is also a pain that always requires two hands, eating up valuable time every time an adjustment is necessary. It’s a nice tool, but with a few improvements, it could be a top-three candidate.
5. Proxxon 38128 Bench Drill Press
If you’re looking for a machine that will allow you to drill ultra-precise holes, particularly micro holes down to 1/64-inch in size, then the Proxxon 38128 bench drill press is worth considering. For most uses though, this is too small of a machine with somewhat limited capabilities at a price that’s higher than more capable units. Still, there’s plenty here to like, even if we also have quite a few complaints.
To start, this machine is lightweight and compact. It’s just 14 inches long, nine inches tall, and 10 inches wide and weighs just 17 pounds. You can easily move this anywhere when needed and put it away when it’s not.
The spindle on this unit has a feed of just 1 3/16 inches with a maximum distance of 5.5 inches from the worktable to the spindle. You’re not going to fit large materials in here, but it’s great for jewelry or other small items. There are also no slow settings on this machine. The lowest speed is 1,800 RPM and it goes up to 8,500 RPM with three speeds to choose from. We found that the weak 85-watt motor gets very hot during use as well.
6. GENERAL INTERNATIONAL 75-010 M1 Benchtop Drill Press
We’ve used several GENERAL INTERNATIONAL tools in the past with great success. They’re known for making quality tools, though their 75-010 M1 benchtop drill press didn’t impress us much. It’s still got some worthwhile features though, such as the ⅓ HP industrial-quality motor. It offers speeds from 500-3,000 RPM with variable adjustment.
The whole machine weighs just 75 pounds, which is pretty light for a 12-inch drill press. Anti-vibration technology is integrated into the design, so it won’t move while running. There’s also a laser pointer for easy alignment of the drill bit, and this one doesn’t require additional batteries to power it.
When the unit first arrived, we started assembling it, only to discover that there were hardware pieces missing. They were quickly replaced by GENERAL INTERNATIONAL, so we could get back to our testing.
Our first problem is that the chuck won’t take very small bits. It doesn’t tighten enough. We also found that the work platform isn’t stable. Light pressure causes it to deflect, which exacerbates the existing runout issue. Runout is bad enough to make this machine useless for drilling precise holes, so it’s not going to earn a recommendation from us.
7. SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Small Drill Press
We liked the small footprint of the SE small drill press. It won’t take up much space on your worktable, though it also won’t offer you a lot of functionality. To be fair, it’s a very affordably priced tool, but it’s not going to be useful for most people in need of a drill press.
This machine offers three speeds; 5000, 6,500, and 8,000 RPM. You don’t get anything slower than 5,000 RPM, which can make it difficult to drill into some materials. At least the machine is plumb accurate.
But we found another problem with the chuck. It won’t accept bits over 6 millimeters, which is just below ¼-inch. If you need to drill holes larger than this, then you’ll need a different machine.
The chuck travels just 1 inch. Naturally, this means you can’t drill holes deeper than an inch. Even in that short distance, the quill doesn’t feed smoothly. Overall, we have a lot of complaints about this drill press, though it’s still practical if you only drill tiny holes and can work with the high speed.
8. EuroTool Mini Benchtop Drill Press
The mini benchtop drill press from EuroTool is not something we’d recommend to anyone. It’s a tiny machine with a footprint that’s less than 7” x 7” inches and weighs a mere 13 pounds. You’ll have no problem moving it anywhere you want, but you will have problems trying to drill precise holes with it.
This drill offers variable speeds up to a max of 8,500 RPM. We’re not sure what the lowest speed is, but it’s still too fast for many applications. You’re not going to get 200 or 500 RPM speeds from this as we got from several other machines we tested.
Worse, you can forget about straight holes since the chuck isn’t even installed straight from the factory. We also couldn’t get the handle to mount, which meant we couldn’t control the drill. After a phone call, the handle was replaced, so we were able to locate the net problem. Our press had no set screw for depth adjustment. It’s supposed to, but the quality assurance is so lacking that our tool came with several issues from the factory.
9. Ogrmar BG-6117 Drilling Collet Drill Press
The Ogrmar BG-6117 drilling collet drill press is a novel concept and we like the idea, though it’s not a great tool in the real world. It is dirt-cheap, though. This device might be the cheapest way to get a drill press in your workshop. But you probably won’t be satisfied with the experience.
This tool lets you clamp your existing drill into it, converting it into a drill press. Of course, it’s not as accurate as a real drill press since you’re relying on additional tools and adjustments. Speaking of the adjustments, they’re all made with hex screws, which is quite an inconvenience.
We never managed a truly straight hole with this drill press. Since the instructions were in Chinese, they weren’t any help. In the end, we think it’s a great idea that needs better execution.
If you just need a hole and precision isn’t that paramount, then you might as well get a regular drill. But if you need precise, repeatable holes or you’re drilling in small items that are hard to manage with a handheld drill, then a drill press is the perfect tool for your needs.
But choosing a drill press can prove to be more complicated than you might think at first. This is even truer if you don’t have much experience with these tools. Luckily, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide that should help to simplify the process, ensuring you pick a tool that offers all the functionality you need and none of the frustration that we’ve experienced with some sub-par offerings.
Choosing the Right Small Drill Press
Drill presses come in different sizes with varying levels of performance. While there are plenty of traits to compare them on, we think the following features and functions are the most important. Determine what you’re looking for in each of these categories, then look for the tool that best fits those needs.
Throat length is the distance from the column of the drill press to the center of the chuck. Essentially, this is how deep into your material from the edge that you can drill a hole.
Drill presses all state their size as a measurement in inches. Common sizes include 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch drill presses, among others. This measurement is double the throat length and it represents the largest size disc you could drill a hole in the center using that drill press.
For instance, a 10-inch drill press has a five-inch throat length. You can drill a hold in the center of a disc with a 10-inch diameter using a 10-inch drill press.
These tools have powerful motors and they spin pretty quickly. This can result in lots of vibration, which could make it difficult to line up your holes precisely. For this reason, stability is a major factor to consider.
Generally, heavier machines are more stable. A drill press can be made more stable with a heavier base. If your drill press is unstable, it might even vibrate so much that it walks along your benchtop while you work!
Drill presses must be able to drill precise holes. If your holes are off, then it’s not going to do you much good. It’s important to find a machine with a plumb chuck and little to no runout.
If you’re looking for a small drill press, then you probably want something portable that can be easily moved or put away when it’s not in use. A light machine is easier to move, though you’ll be sacrificing some stability. Most of our favorite machines weigh between 50-100 pounds, so this is a good range to stick in.
Most drill presses offer variable speed for drilling in different materials. Some materials require low speeds while others work best at high speeds. Make sure the machine you pick can drill slow enough and fast enough for the materials you work with.
The motors in these machines range in power pretty drastically. We’ve seen them as weak as ⅛-horsepower and as powerful as ½-horsepower. This might not matter so much for drilling in soft materials like plastic or wood, but if you plan on drilling through metal, you’re going to want the extra power of a higher horsepower unit.
We often tend to think that more expensive means better. After all, you get what you pay for, right? Well, sometimes that is true, but not always. We’ve gotten great performance from affordable tools and dismal performance from expensive tools.
We suggest looking for the machines that meet your needs, but don’t get a more expensive option just because the price is higher. If a cheaper machine seems to meet your needs and it has a good track record, then it might be a better option.
For the most part, every tool you purchase will come with some type of warranty. That might be just 30 or 90 days, or it could be several years. We highly value a good warranty as it’s protection for your investment. The longer the warranty period covers your machine, the longer you can be certain that the machine will be around to perform the work you need.
If you’re in the market for a small drill press, you have many options. We’re hoping to help you avoid making a purchase you regret, which is why we’ve covered these machines so thoroughly in our reviews. As a final effort, we’ll leave you with our top recommendations.
With a great blend of performance and longevity, the SKIL 3320-01 10-inch drill press is our favorite overall. It features 5 speeds that range from 570-3,050 RPM with a 2-beam laser that makes it easy to align your drill bit for creating precise holes. Best of all, it’s protected by a 3-year warranty, so you won’t be replacing it anytime soon.
If you’re in search of the best deal possible, we suggest the WEN 4208. This drill press is priced more affordably than the competition, though it still offers excellent features that rival more expensive options. You get 5 speeds for control of the entire speed range from 740-3,140 RPM, and the ⅓-horsepower induction motor offers plenty of power for most situations.
For a professional-quality product, we suggest the RIKON 30-120 13-inch drill press with 16 speeds for precise control over the 200-3630 RPM range and a stout ½-horsepower motor.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 9 Best Small Drill Presses – Reviews 2021
- 1. SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press – Best Overall
- 2. WEN 4208 Drill Press – Best Value
- 3. RIKON 30-120 Drill Press – Premium Choice
- 4. Genesis GDP1005A Drill Press
- 5. Proxxon 38128 Bench Drill Press
- 6. GENERAL INTERNATIONAL 75-010 M1 Benchtop Drill Press
- 7. SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Small Drill Press
- 8. EuroTool Mini Benchtop Drill Press
- 9. Ogrmar BG-6117 Drilling Collet Drill Press
- Buyer’s Guide