Choosing The Best Floor Drill Press for the Money
Drill presses come in two varieties with benchtop models and ones that stand upright. These are known as floor drill presses and are what you want to have on hand for heavy-duty work. Looking for the best floor drill press for your money? Well, our experts are ready to lend a hand.
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Considerations before buying a budget floor drill press
Torque and adjusting the speed
Are you planning to use your drill press for the occasional hole in metal or will it reside in your rustic wood shop?
The best floor drill press for your money can sit anywhere you’d like but torque and power matter. As does the speed, but we will address that shortly. For this style of saw, power is generally is not a concern although there are plenty of models that dip well below 1 HP.
Needless to say, if you plan on making this machine your workhorse, look for one with a larger motor so you’ll have more power and torque. Speed varies across the board, but most models will have between 5 and 12 speeds which you can adjust at will.
You should also make sure the drill press can handle the type of bit you need to use. We’re not talking about what it’s made of, but the diameter of the bit. A good machine has a spindle that can handle almost any bit, so keep your needs in mind.
This feature is easy to use, and something you will find on all the best drill presses. It allows you to set the depth of your hole something that’s important unless you like destroying your stock.
While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to operate a depth stop, you should be comfortable using one. Some are fancier than others, so don’t feel the need to overdo it as sometimes simple is better. That said, the best floor drill press may have a quick release mechanism which is certainly something to shoot for.
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JET’s J-2500 drill press is a 15” machine with a 3/4 HP motor. It’s not as beefy as other models of this size although it comes with a few interesting features and is built to last.
JET spared no expense when it comes to the build quality. It has a column made from ground steel and a heavy table capable of titling 45-degrees. It also has a cast iron head with a lubricated ball bearing spindle assembly. That’s a mouthful, but trust us when we say it won’t let you down, and it is as smooth as silk.
The quill on the JET J-2500 will outlast others in its class and is permanently lubricated. That means less maintenance on your end, and we think you’ll be thrilled with the speed as well. It can hit a range between 200 and 3,630 RPM which makes it ideal for both metal and wood.
Tech specs for this drill include a 3-1/8” stroke, a drilling capacity of 5/8” into cast iron or 1/2” into steel. The column diameter is listed at 2-7/8” while the distance to the spindle from the column is 7-1/2”. It’s a stable machine at a little over 167 pounds and draws its juice from a normal 115-volt plug.
The JET J-2500 isn’t the most powerful floor drill press nor is it the prettiest. What it lacks in style, it makes up for in the performance department. As for the power, it should be able to handle almost everything you need as you can see by the specifications.
We also like the price tag on this one, but there is a small drawback. At only 2-years, we wish the warranty was longer although it’s par for the course in this class.
Shop Fox W1848
At first glance, it would be easy to get the Shop Fox W1848 confused with the J-2500. They have a similar style with Black, Silver, and Red. The tables are a different shape, however, and there are a few other key differences we need to point out.
While the Shop Fox W1848 has a 3/4 HP motor just like JET’s drill, it’s built to do contour sanding as well. That’s because it’s an oscillating drill press with a special spindle that converts to a sander in a matter of minutes.
The table on this model is round, which is a bit different. It tilts 90-degrees to both the left and right and is easy to adjust. Other standout features include a 2” dust port, 12 speeds, a JT-33 arbor, and a chuck that takes bits from 1/64” to 5/8”.
This saw stands 63-inches, so it’s a comfortable height for anyone to use regardless of adjustments. If you want to save space and don’t mind losing a few features, the company has a smaller benchtop model of this one available as well.
If you need a floor drill capable of working with wood, metal, vinyl or various other materials, the Shop Fox W1848 is well worth a look. It also comes with sanding drums, so you’re ready to rock right away.
It can go as low as 250 RPMs, or you can kick it up to 3,050 when you need to make a quick hole in wood. On the downside, we feel the belts/speed settings could be easier to deal with and could cause some issues for beginners.
Now we’re going to take a look at something different. The WEN 4227 is another 12-speed drill press but not one you will confuse with the first two. It’s bold in bright Orange with Black accents and provides plenty of bang for your buck.
Need a press with a large work area? This one has it with a cast iron table measuring 14” x 14,” and it can tilt 45-degrees to the left or right. With 12-speeds, any type of material is fair game although the motor and spindle may limit you to a degree.
The motor on the WEN 4225 is rated at 13 amps, which is powerful, but far from what we would consider a workhorse. It’s rated for speeds between 180 to 2,940 RPM as well which is a mixed bag of sorts. It can go lower than our other picks, but cannot go quite as fast.
This drill press is available in two sizes depending on your needs. We opted for the 17-inch model as most folks aren’t looking to save space if they need a floor model. Both models come with a flexible work light; a 5/8” keyed chuck, a locking depth gauge, precision laser, and a 2-year warranty.
Whether you go with the slightly taller model or the 15” variant, you’re getting a heck of a machine with the WEN 4225. Aside from the motor and a few measurements the main difference between the two is a coolant runoff channel on the 17” model.
Like the rest of our picks, we would like a longer warranty on this one, but it’s on average with the rest of the pack.
Floor drill presses aren’t like other shop tools as they won’t take up nearly as much space. They vertical wonders can fit almost anywhere with a plug but are tools to take seriously.
That means you should always keep safety in mind when using your drill press. That includes making sure your stock is properly cinched down and ensuring you have a sharp bit at all times.