The Best Drill Press for Metal (Metalworking): Buying Guide and Reviews

Ingenuity in the workshop is the backbone of society, and for you to be able to put your best foot forward, you’ll need the best tools. Drill presses are a crucial tool for your workshop tasks. Out of the many materials you’ll be drilling holes in, metal can be the most difficult to precisely drill into. If your goal is accuracy with metal in the shop, you’ll need the best drill press for metal on the market.

Top Rated Drill Presses for Metal. Our Picks

Editor's Pick
WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed...
Budget Pick
Dremel Drill Press Rotary...
Upgrade Pick
WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable...
SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp...
Gino Development 01-0822...
Model
WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed...
Dremel Drill Press Rotary...
WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable...
SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp...
Gino Development 01-0822...
Drilling Depth
4 inches
2 inches
3-1/8 inches
2-3/8 inches
1.5-2 inches
Pulley Speeds
5 (620, 1100, 1720, 2340, 3100) RPM
N/A
530-3,100 RPM
5 (570, 900, 1390, 2050, 3050) RPM
3 (5000, 6500, 8500) RPM
Table Size
6-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches
6 x 6 inches
9-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches
7-5/8 x 7-5/8 inches
6.750 X 6.750 inches
Chuck Capacity
12.7
3.18mm
15.88mm
1.5-13mm
6mm
Price
$83.51
$44.97
$247.31
$114.97
$75.99
Customer Rating
Editor's Pick
WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed...
Model
WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed...
Drilling Depth
4 inches
Pulley Speeds
5 (620, 1100, 1720, 2340, 3100) RPM
Table Size
6-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches
Chuck Capacity
12.7
Price
$83.51
Customer Rating
Budget Pick
Dremel Drill Press Rotary...
Model
Dremel Drill Press Rotary...
Drilling Depth
2 inches
Pulley Speeds
N/A
Table Size
6 x 6 inches
Chuck Capacity
3.18mm
Price
$44.97
Customer Rating
Upgrade Pick
WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable...
Model
WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable...
Drilling Depth
3-1/8 inches
Pulley Speeds
530-3,100 RPM
Table Size
9-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches
Chuck Capacity
15.88mm
Price
$247.31
Customer Rating
SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp...
Model
SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp...
Drilling Depth
2-3/8 inches
Pulley Speeds
5 (570, 900, 1390, 2050, 3050) RPM
Table Size
7-5/8 x 7-5/8 inches
Chuck Capacity
1.5-13mm
Price
$114.97
Customer Rating
Gino Development 01-0822...
Model
Gino Development 01-0822...
Drilling Depth
1.5-2 inches
Pulley Speeds
3 (5000, 6500, 8500) RPM
Table Size
6.750 X 6.750 inches
Chuck Capacity
6mm
Price
$75.99
Customer Rating

Our Editor's pick for the best drill press for metal is the WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed... This drill press is affordable, powerful, and consists of many useful features that we believe would be beneficial for every consumer. The drill can operate under 5 speeds and features a beveling work table for holes that are angled accurately according to your project

Drill Press for Metal Reviews

1. Editor's Pick: WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed Drill Press

(1111)

Specifications

  • Motor: 120v, 60Hz
  • Horsepower: ⅓ HP
  • Motor Speed: 620 - 3100 RPM
  • Swing: 8 inch
  • Drilling Depth: 4 Inches
  • Chuck Capacity: ½ Inch
  • Pulley Speeds: 5 Speeds (620, 1100, 1720, 2340, 3100)
  • Table Size (inch): 6-1/2 x 6-1/2"
  • Dimensions (inch): 18 x 13.5 x 9.2

Key Features

  • Drill operates at 5 different speeds
  • Adjustable work table
  • Base with pre-drilled holes for work stand mounting
  • Slotted table

Features and Benefits:

  • This drill press comes with a two-year warranty, a network of service technicians, and a phone line to customer service.
  • Its base has holes drilled previously into it so that you can clamp the drill to your work table for added stability, which is a great safety precaution.
  • The drill press was made with a specific place for the feed handles and chuck key so they’re properly stored and not loose around your shop.
  • It’s smaller in size and weight, which makes it a great drill press for transporting to various job sites.
  • The 5-speed operation ranges in power so you can properly drill holes in various woods, plastics, metals, and other materials.
  • The work depth, or the maximum width of metal you can drill, is 4 inches which makes this machine suitable for a range of metals.
  • The frame and base of this drill press include cast iron, which makes it more durable and tough for a long-lasting drill.
  • Even at the higher speeds, the motor runs smoothly which keeps the drill press from becoming wobbly while you’re working.
  • The worktable has the ability to tilt 45 degrees both right and left so your holes are more accurate.
  • The assembly of the drill press isn’t complicated and only takes about 5 minutes to put together, which give you more time for work, and less time for frustration.
  • It’s powerful enough to cut through ranging metals, from aluminum to steel.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Effortless setup
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth operation

Cons:

  • Light duty, not for heavier-duty projects

2. Budget Pick: Dremel 220-01 Drill Press Work Station with Wrench 

Sale
(1463)

Specifications

  • Pulley Speed: Variable speed
  • Drilling Depth: 2 Inches
  • Table Size (inch): 6” x 6”
  • angle-right
    Dimensions (inch):  6" x 6" x 12"

Key Features

  • Tool holder
  • Cord clips
  • Marked inch and metric base
  • Depth stop and markings

Features and Benefits:

  • The drill press can be articulated to your work needs. It can drill angled holes up to a maximum of 90 degrees.
  • It features a tool holder so you can store your wrenches and drill bits. This is great for keeping your tools in one place so they’re easy to find and not scattered about your workshop.
  • Power cord clips are attached to this drill press so you can safely and effortlessly put the loose cords away. This is also great for organization in your shop.
  • There are markings on the base of the drill in the inch, as well as metric, unit which is useful for measuring your drilling accurately on the material you’re using.
  • Additionally, this drill press includes a depth stop and markings for precise measurements and control.
  • The base of this drill consists of 4 areas for clamps. This is great for clamping the material you’re working on in place.

Pros:

  • Built-in tool storage
  • Clips to store power cords
  • Markings for accurate drilling
  • Metal base with areas for clamps

Cons:

  • Assembly instructions not clear
  • Not very sturdy

3. Upgrade Pick: WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press  

Sale
(534)

Specifications

  • Motor: 120V, 60Hz
  • Horsepower:  2/3 HP
  • Swing: 12 inch
  • angle-right
    Drilling Depth: 3-⅛ Inch
  • Chuck Capacity: ⅝ inch
  • Pulley Speeds: Variable Speed (530-3100 RPM)
  • Table Size (inch): 9-1/2 x 9-1/2 inch
  • Dimensions (inch): 29-1/2 x 20 x 11-3/4

Key Features

  • LED display of drill speed
  • Laser for marking points
  • 45-degree beveling worktable
  • Lever to adjust drill speed

Features and Benefits:

  • This drill press features a laser in the form of an X, which is extraordinarily helpful when you’re working with very precise measurements.
  • It has a built-in LED display of your drill speed. This is a great addition that allows you to take note of the speed that works best on each project, or on various materials.
  • The drill contains a ⅔ HP motor which is powerful enough to take on heavier duty projects. This is great if you work with thicker or harder materials.
  • The drill press’ frame - including the base, head, and worktable - is made with durable cast iron, which makes for an overall sturdier drill and more precise cuts.
  • It’s very easy and self-explanatory to assemble, taking only about 15 minutes total to get it out of the box and running.
  • This drill press has a depth gauge, depth stop, and a retraction stop. Setting both of these would be great if you are working on a material that requires several holes. The bit can be easily and rapidly moved up and down.
  • The power cord is long, which gives you more options of where to place your drill press.
  • It comes with safety glasses to protect your eyes from the laser or any material that may splinter off.

Pros:

  • Laser for precise cuts
  • Displays speed of the drill
  • Good quality for the price
  • Quick assembly
  • Heavy duty machinery

Cons:

  • No spindle lock

4. SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press  

Sale
(541)

Specifications

  • Motor: 120V, 60Hz
  • Drilling Depth: 2 3/8" (6 cm)
  • Chuck capacity: 1/16"–1/2" (1.5–13 mm)
  • angle-right
    Pulley speeds: (570, 900, 1390, 2050, 3050 RPM)
  • Table size: 7 5/8 x 7 5/8”

Key Features

  • Bump-off switch
  • 45-degree tilting work table
  • 5 different speeds
  • 2 beam laser

Features and Benefits:

  • This drill press has a built-in laser that is precise and will only need very little or no adjusting to your project.
  • It runs smoothly and is sturdy. The drill press doesn’t wobble, which is great for the precision of the holes you make.
  • The 5 speeds are easily adjusted, which is ideal for someone who has trouble adjusting the speeds on other drill presses.
  • The worktable, laser, and drill head are positioned correctly to one another right out of the box, which keeps you from having to make any major adjustments in an attempt to align them.
  • The frame and various parts of this dress press are made with steel, cast iron and sheet metal, which makes for a sturdy machine that may last you years.
  • The base consists of a clamping system, which lets you firmly attach the drill press to any reliable surface. This is great for those who do very precise work.
  • Though the motor gets hot quickly, it’s reliable for lighter work within reason and runs quietly. This is great if you’re looking to do crafts at home.
  • There’s a storage clip for the chuck key on the side of the drill press, which is useful for keeping organized.
  • The chuck key of this drill press ejects itself from the chuck, which is a decent safety feature for those new to using drill presses.

Pros:

  • Decent quality for the price
  • Built-in laser
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Motor gets hot after about 15 minutes of usage, even under light loads
  • The depth stop isn’t the easiest to set

5. Gino Development 01-0822 0-8500 

(134)

Specifications

  • Motor: 110 V, 60 Hz
  • Swing: 8 inch
  • Chuck Capacity: 6 mm
  • angle-right
    Table Size (inch): 6.750” X 6.750
  • Dimensions (inch): 13.5” x 7.5” x 10”

Key Features

  • Three different speed ranges
  • Permanent magnet motor
  • Accommodates 0.79 mm to 6 mm diameter drills (¼”)

Features and Benefits:

  • This drill press accommodates very fine drills, which is suitable for projects that require small holes. It makes incredibly precise holes that are nearly perfectly circular and causes little to no burring.
  • It includes a variable speed knob which would allow you to adjust your speed within the three available speed limits of the drill press.
  • The drill press has a cast iron base and is made of decent quality materials for a lasting machine, and doesn’t wobble when running.
  • The depth of the drill plunge is 25mm or 1”. This makes the drill press great for project materials that are thinner.
  • This drill press comes with an extra set of brush springs for the motor, as well as three allen wrenches, for quick fixes.
  • The overall size of the drill is small, which makes it easy to move from one place to another. This is great for people who may have a limited workspace or for those who may need to transport their drill press to various locations.

Pros:

  • Variable speed knob
  • Drills small, precise holes
  • Made of good quality materials
  • Smooth-running motor
  • Great for small projects

Cons:

  • No replacement drive belt
  • Motor heats up quickly

Buying Guide

What does a drill press do?

A drill press is a machine that is used to drill holes into materials such as woods, or metals. Its purpose is to drill perfect holes precisely and accurately to make the best possible item. Drill presses are generally used by engineers, however, home-crafters, woodworkers, and artists often use them for “do it yourself” projects or to craft their artworks. A drill press is really for anyone who is mechanically inclined.

Along with the drill press, other tools like electric saws may make your workshop more efficient if you work on a varying range of projects.

How does a metal drill press work?

Drill presses are made with on/off buttons, so they work starting with the power supply on. From here, a drill press works by using a chuck key, adjusting the speed of the drill press to properly drill into the material you’re working with, and by raising and lowering the drill bit to your workpiece.

How to choose the best drill press for metal

Every drill press is different and can carry out different tasks. For metals, you’ll need a heavier-duty machine. Here are a few things to consider:

Quality 

When looking for a good drill press for metal, you should look for a drill press of dependable quality. A red flag is a drill press made with many plastic parts. A more suitable machine would be made with sheet metal, cast iron, or other similar sturdy materials. A sturdy drill press will likely handle drilling into metal materials better than a drill press made of lesser quality materials.

Motor power

For metal, especially thicker metals, you’ll want to choose a drill press that has a rather heavy-duty motor. Ideally, a ½ HP motor would be suitable for drilling metal projects.

Variable speed of the drill press 

When choosing the best affordable drill press, you should consider the speed or speeds the drill press can operate under. 

Drilling capacity

You’ll need to consider the thickness of the metals you’ll generally be working with. Drilling capacity is very important when looking for a drill press for your projects, because this determines how deep your drill bit is able to penetrate materials. As a loose rule of thumb, a 4-inch drilling capacity is likely enough for most metals.

Table size

When drilling into metal, you’ll want to be sure that you have enough area to work on, especially if your projects are large. Choosing a table size for metal really depends on the projects you work on most. On average, a decent size table for most metal projects is a 6” X 6”. However, if you work primarily on larger projects you might want to consider a 9” X 9” table.

Drill press size

The overall dimensions of a drill press used for metal also varies according to the thickness, length, and width of your projects. If you work primarily on smaller projects, a more petite 6” x 6” x 12” drill press will get the job done. On the contrary, if your projects are usually large, you might want to consider a bigger machine, such as an 18” x 13” x 9” drill press.

Types of metalworking drill presses

Upright Drill Press

Upright drill presses are mainly for heavy-duty jobs. Drilling metal with these drill presses is the most efficient, as these machines are built for the work load.

Sensitive Drill Press

These drill presses are made primarily for lighter work loads. Thinner metals may be used on these machines, however, the work load of thicker metals is not ideal for upright sensitive drill presses.

Radial Arm Drill Press

battery powered drills type of drill press is ideal for very large materials, and is strong enough to drill holes into virtually any material. This machine is suitable for all types of projects, ranging from light to heavy-duty.

Best floor drill press for metal. Advantages

Contrary to a hand battery powered drills, a drill press allows you to steadily drill a hole into whatever material you’re working on. Drill presses are precise, which will add efficiency to your workpiece and make the work easier for you along the way. They are heavy-duty machines, and have the ability to cut through dense and hard objects without missing a beat.

Steel drill press. Safety and Precautions

safety when using drill press with steel

As with all machinery, drill presses can be dangerous. Knowing the health risks and precautions before using a drill press is beneficial in the long run.

The drill press has many moving parts such as the chuck and cutter. Before you begin using a drill press, you should always be sure your clothing is suitable for the job (which means covering vulnerable parts of your body) and that you have the proper eye protection. Eye protection is crucial because it helps you avoid getting chips into your eyes as you’re drilling.

You should always avoid getting your fingers or hands too near the drill bit. Lastly, when you’ve finished operating the machine, don’t forget to remove any hazardous parts such as the chuck key. Remember to store the chuck key properly on the side of the drill press.

Best drill press for metal work care and maintenance

If you’re wanting your drill press to be reliable and last you years, then you’ll need to properly care for it. This includes:

  • Lubricating the moving parts of the machine, such as the chuck, to reduce friction and keep your drill press running smoothly.
  • Changing the drill press belts when they’re wearing out. This keeps from unwanted wobbling in the machine.
  • Cleaning the machine’s work table after you’ve finished using it, which will keep chips from building up on the drill press.
  • Properly storing the power cord, which keeps the cord from bending or tearing.

Best metal working drill press. Tips

When using your drill press, you want to be sure you’re using it efficiently for the most effective outcome. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Be sure you’re using the correct drill bit size for your project. Different materials require different drill bits. Thicker materials that require bigger holes will need larger drill bits, and vice versa.
  • Find the right drill speed for the project you’re working on. Thicker and thinner materials will need different drill speeds to effectively drill holes into them. Knowing the right speed for your project will keep you from splitting your material (or breaking your drill bit).
  • Read the manual that comes with your drill press. No one will understand the workings of your drill press as well as the manufacturer. Reading the manual will help you to further understand your machine and use it properly.

FAQs

Q: How do I use a drill press on metal?

A: First, you need to mark where you want the holes to be. Then you’ll center the drill bit onto the metal, clamp the metal firmly in place, and ease the drill into it. After you drill a few times, lift the drill bit to remove metal parts that have been chipped off. Then, begin drilling again until you’ve completely penetrated the metal piece.

Q: What speed do I use when drilling in metal?

A: Usually when drilling in metal you should use a speed of 500rpm or slower.

Q: Can I use a drill press as a milling machine?

A: It’s generally not a good idea to use a drill press as a milling machine. Drill presses run a lot slower than milling machines, so you may destroy the material you’re working with if you try to use the drill press for something other than what it’s made for.

Q: Can I use a drill press as a router?

A: You can use a drill press as a router but primarily only with smaller router bits. For larger router bits, drill presses simply don’t run fast enough for efficient use.

Q: What size drill press do I need for metal?

A: You’ll need a larger, more heavy-duty drill press for metal materials. A 17”, ½ HP drill press is likely suitable for metal projects.

Q: What does a drill press do?

A: A drill press is used to drill perfectly round holes into a workpiece.

Q: How do I remove the drill press chuck?

A: Drill presses come with a chuck removal tool. You remove the chuck by placing the removal tool into the spindle window on the drill press. As you gently hammer the tool into the spindle window, the chuck will fall out.

Q: Do drill press bits differ from one another?

A: Yes, drill press bits can differ in width, as well as length. They also differ in style: some are twisted, spade, forstner, or step drills - all of which fulfill different purposes.

What is the Best Drill Press for Metal: Our Pick

WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed...

Our top pick is the WEN 4208 8 in. 5-Speed... In terms of reliability, quality, and task capability, we believe this machine is the best drill press for metal for anyone looking to work with metal materials. This machine is capable of drilling under 5 different speeds to suit any project you may be working on. It’s made from sturdy materials which makes for a reliable drill press that will last you years, and has efficient motor strength for drilling into metals.

Dremel Drill Press Rotary...

Additionally, the Dremel Drill Press Rotary... is a great tool for those who are on a budget

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable...

The WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable... is suitable for those who are more proficient in their skills.

Resources & Further Reading

Last update on 2019-08-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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