Drill Press vs Drill: What are the Main Differences

You will struggle to find anything that matches the accuracy and power a drill press provides when working with metal and wood.

Whilst a standard drill is much more portable it relies on your own hand eye co-ordination to provide accurate drilling, this allows for a margin of error.

The drill press doesn’t suffer with this problem as the smooth fixed movement of the drill bit is controlled by the operator turning the spindle to lower the drill bit into the material you are working with.

This gives you a much more control over the accuracy and how much power you want to use whilst drilling, this is a big advantage when working with different materials because it doesn’t take as much force to drill soft wood as it it does to drill hardened metal.

There are 3 main types of drill press, they all operate in the same way but are different in the way they are mounted or not mounted in the case of the portable design model.

Bench drill press

Exactly as it sounds this is a drill press that you would fix to your own workbench or solid table via the mount on the base of the drill press.
Bench drill press

This is normally in the form of a mounting base with holes for you to screw or bolt it to your workbench or table.

The bench drill press are the most commonly seen type of drill presses and they are built by a large number of power tool manufacturers making for a competitive market that gives the customer a wide range to choose from across all the different price categories.

Some of the stand-out brands to look for when buying a bench drill press are Dewalt, Shopmaster, Delta and WEN.

There are of course many more good brands you can go for but our research suggests these are time tested and very popular among previous buyers and users of these brand drill presses.

The advantages of the bench drill press are probably a big part of the reason that it is the most popular drill press in terms of sales. The massive choice available is also testament to that.

One of the advantages of the bench drill press are that you can install them in small areas and they won’t take much space up in the workshop or even in the shed on a solid workbench, they just sit nicely on the edge of the bench ready to go.

Portable drill press

These are very useful for woodworkers and metal fabricators who are working on various sites in varied destinations.

The portable drill press is normal secured to a metal workbench or table using magnet to hold it in place whilst drilling.

I’m not a massive fan of this design because it isn’t as powerful or sturdy as a bench drill press or floor standing model and they are quite expensive.

They do have their uses though and some contractors or tradesmen will use there’s on a regular basis.

They come in a solid case to transport it about safely and are quite heavy machines at 35lb and over.

Floor standing drill press

These the drill presses have there own metal supported frame, they can often be found in engineering and woodworking manufacturers workshops and are the big daddies of the drill press models.
Floor standing drill press
These are the most powerful of the 3 design types and are normally engineered to a higher specification because they are expected to stand up to heavy and constant operation and keep on going time after time.

This type of drill press is normally going to be overkill for the average user who just wants it for his/her own DIY or engineering projects. A bench drill press is going to be the best option for the large majority of users.

Drill press bits

Using good quality drill bits with your drill press is a very important part of getting the best possible drilling results.

Your drill press will only ever be as good as the drill bits you use with it, this is where many people make the mistake of purchasing the cheapest drill bits they can find when it is a false economy in the long run.

The money you save on the drill bits will quickly be lost when your bits are dull and useless after only a few uses, good drill bits last much longer and perform much better which saves you money over the long haul.

You can sharpen your drill bits yourself using a bench sander but you will need to learn the process, Youtube can be a good place to start when you want to learn how to sharpen drill bits.

Drill press safety

This is the boring part where I tell you about how important it is to wear PPE and follow safety procedures when using a drill press.

I wouldn’t be doing you any justice if I didn’t explain why you should take safety serious when operating machinery.

Always wear goggles whilst operating a drill press because you can receive serious eye injuries if a little particle of metal or wood is projecting into your eye.

Always use any safety screens provided with the drill press, many people leave these off intentionally so they have a better view of the work piece this is a big mistake and can lead to serious injury of the hands and eyes.

Always have an emergency stop button within reach so if you get snagged and cant get untangled you can quickly stop the drill press.
Drill press safety
This could save you from serious injury and is the reason that many machenery tools have to have a safety shut off close by law.

Dust masks should also be worn as the fumes and small dust particles caused by the drilling of metals and woods can be seriously dangerous for your health and can lead to long term lung problems.

Drill press warranty

Always make sure if you are buying a drill press to check if they have a good warranty and return policy to cover any problems that may arise.

You can also get extended warranty from many power tool brands if you register your product on there site when you have purchased it, it is of course common sense to take 10 minutes to go and register your power tool so you are covered for an extra 1-2 years.

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