Last updated: September 3, 2021

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A drill press is the combination of a manual drill and an electric drill. This tool takes drilling wood and other materials to another level and is a must for all workshops. They are very precise tools that are made to help you with difficult tasks. In this article, we will delve deeper into what a drill press is exactly, how to use it, and why you should have one.

Key Facts

  • Drill presses are very exact, meaning that they can drill a hole at the exact angle you want. This makes these tools very useful but they should be used with caution.
  • These drills are very fast as well. They can help you finish the task at hand much faster than traditional drills.
  • Manual electric drills, especially if they are cordless, are much more limited. Drill presses have much more power. You can also change the speed which gives you a lot more control of the tool.

Our Selection: The Best Drill Presses

Drill presses allow you to drill perfect holes at the exact angle that you want. Buying one of these tools will make your small workshop much more professional as you will be able to do a lot more things with it than with a traditional drill. As there are a lot of options on the market, we have made a list of our favorites to help you with your purchase.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Drill Presses

Today, Drill presses are much more affordable than before. A few years ago, these tools were only for professionals, but now you can get one of them for your workshop for much less money. To help you understand everything about these tools we have answered some of the most common questions from buyers like you.

Portrait of Pretty Young Woodworker

You should always clean your drill correctly after every use.
(Source: Konstantin Pelikh: 85540606/

What is a drill press exactly?

A drill press is a stationary drilling tool that can be moved vertically. This drill is set up over a table or workbench secured to a column and can be moved up in down along this column. It also has a base where you can put the material that you are working on. These drills make very precise and clean holes and can work very deep into a piece of material. They are great when working on delicate or large materials or repetitive tasks.

Why should I use a drill press over a manual drill?

These tools used to only exist in professional workshops; they were huge, powerful, and also very expensive. Currently, these tools have been made to be much more affordable. Below we have made a list of the reasons why you should use these tools instead of manual drills:

Characteristic Advantage
Exact They are much more exact than manual drills allowing you to create holes at the exact angle you need.
Quick The movement of the chuck and spindle allows you to work much faster. The rack and pinion lever make the job much easier.
Powerful Manual drills are very limited. Drill presses can give you much more control as their speed and power can be adjusted.
Precise The spindle helps you choose how deep you want the hole to be. You can adjust the depth and angle of the drill.
Safe Manual drills can slip out of your hands and fall, which can be very hazardous. Drill presses are much more stable. You can keep the material fastened to the table.

How does a Drill press work?

Drill presses belong to the vertical drilling machine or drill press machine group of tools. This group is very simple and affordable. The way it works is quite simple; there are two main movements:

  • Rotating movement of the drill: made by the machine's electric motor.
  • Drilling of the material: You can drill manually or automatically.

Closeup Drilling Screw

It is important to lubricate your drill press due to the heat and friction of the moving parts.
(Source: Mackoflower: 112360813/

What types of drill presses are there?

There are two basic types of drill presses: sensitive and non-sensitive. Sensitive drills are used manually. They are called this because the user "feels" the drill going into the material. Non-sensitive drills are used automatically. In the following table, we will explain the main differences between these two types of drill press:

Type of drill press Movement Recommended use Characteristics Drills size
Sensitive Manual. For simpler tasks. Metal, plastics, and other softer materials. If it has a workbench, it will have a short column. If it doesn't, it will use a short column. 15.5 mm in diameter.
Non-sensitive Automatic. To drill larger holes. For harder tasks. Bigger and heavier with a large column. Drills up to 50 mm in diameter.

What parts make up a drill press?

All drill presses are made up of a series of parts: the column, base, drill head, workbench, and crank. Depending on the type of machine and how complex it is, there can be even more parts.

In the following section below, we will explain each of these parts to help you understand how drill presses work:

  • Base: The base helps keep the machine in place. It offers stability and can be attached to the column. It can support a lot of shaking, as it is made out of molten iron. It has many holes that let you screw it into your workbench.
  • Column: The column is made out of cast steel and is the most important part of the machine. Most of the other parts are attached to the column, like the workbench and drill head. The column can be box-shaped, round, or tubular, although most models are tubular. The height of the column determines if it is a bench drill or a floor drill.
  • Workbench: This bench can be round or rectangular, and it is used to support the material that you will be working on. The surface is rectangular and perpendicular to the column. You can move it up and down and also turn it.
  • Drill head: The drill head is attached to the upper part of the column, this helps the drill turn. It is made out of a spindle and a motor that are both connected to the upper part of the machine.

DRILLING MACHINE, Employee drilling machine in flat steel plate

All drill presses are made up of a series of parts: the column, base, drill head, workbench, and crank.
(Source: Pramote Polyamate: 107650004/

How should I keep my drill press clean and in good condition?

Just like any complicated machine or tool, no matter what the price or the quality that you purchase, you will need to keep it clean and in good condition, especially if you want it to last you a long time. A drill press is no exception. Although the steps are quite simple, you should not overlook them. Below we will explain the basic steps of keeping your drill press clean and ready to use at all times.

  • It is important to lubricate your drill press due to the heat and friction of the moving parts. To do this you should check the instructions. They should tell you the best way to lubricate your specific tool.
  • You should always clean your drill correctly after every use, and when doing this you should pay special attention to the slots and holes in the machine.
  • Make sure to remove any chips or dust from the belts, pulleys, spindle, and sleeve. Do so in a way that will not hurt the moving parts of the machine.
  • Once the machine is clean, put a small layer of oil on all of the unpainted surfaces. This will help prevent your tool from rusting.
  • If you are working in a carpentry shop, which means that there will be a lot of dust, you should use the machine at the lowest speed. This will help you avoid scuffing the moving parts of the tool. If you find yourself in this situation, you should also lubricate the machine with oil much more often.
  • If you are working in very cold conditions, you should start your machine at a very low speed. Then, let the tool and its parts warm-up before speeding it up. When working in extremely cold weather, the metal can break much easier, so you should be very careful.
  • If you are working in extremely hot weather, the motor can overheat and burn out. Do smaller parts of the task and turn the drill off in between to let it rest.

DRILLING MACHINE, Employee drilling machine in flat steel plate

Drill presses belong to the vertical drilling machine or drill press machine group of tools.
(Source: Pramote Polymate: 107650005/

How do I stay safe when using a drill press?

When working with power tools, like drill presses, there is always the risk of getting hurt. In the following section: we will provide you with a few safety tips:

  • Always use security gloves.
  • Use boots with a reinforced toe to help prevent any injuries from the machine falling on your foot.
  • If you have long hair, tie it up or use a hat.
  • Don't wear any jewelry.
  • Don't secure the material with your hand.
  • Don't start the machine if the drill heads are not covered
  • Before turning on the drill, the workbench should be cleared.
  • Turn the machine off after every task.
  • Use compressed air to remove any wood shavings.

Shopping Criteria

If you love doing work at your home or you are a professional, your tools are your best friends. You need to choose the best tools for your work. There are a variety of drills on the market. So, we have made a list of shopping criteria to help you with your purchase:


When working with drill presses, the tool needs to be powerful. The power of the machine will determine its performance. If you are working with carpentry or construction, you should not get a drill that has less than 400 or 500 W. With this level of power you will be able to finish the task at hand with precision and you will see professional results. A higher level of power will let you work with different types of materials. If you are not a professional, 200 W will be more than enough.

Workshop Worker Drilling Metal Parts

There are two basic types of drill presses: sensitive and non-sensitive.
(Source: Dmitrii Shironosov: 76766261/

Adjustable Height

It is also very important that the height of your drill can be adjusted. Most models have an adjustable workbench that you can move up in down. In some models, you can even twist the workbench. This will allow you to be much more comfortable when working.


Drill presses are very large tools. Although most of the models on the market are meant to mount to a table, you can find even bigger types. These drills are called column or non-sensitive drills, and you must place these machines on the ground.

The bigger type of drill is also much more powerful. Therefore, you need to think about how you will use your drill before deciding which size you need to purchase. If you are just using the drill at home, you don't need to get a professional, expensive drill.

Students watching man use drill

These drills make very precise and clean holes and can work very deep into a piece of material.
(Source: Auremar: 77731275/


The design of your drill press is another factor that is very important to consider when making your purchase. Many of the tools are designed to be portable; although they are usually still very heavy machines, you can still move them around. As a general rule, you should purchase a drill press that is made out of high-quality, sturdy material like cast steel.


Drill presses are very powerful tools. They are made to help you finish difficult tasks quickly and proficiently whether you are at home or your professional workshop. These machines are meant to stay in one place and will help you get professional results.

In this article, we have provided you with the information you need to make the best purchase possible. Don't forget to pay attention to the important factors that we mentioned. We are confident that you will make the best choice.

We hope that you have enjoyed our article about drill presses. If you liked this shopping guide and review, don't forget to share it with your friends on social media. Have you tried using this item? Tell us about your experience; we want to hear from you. Thank you so much.

(Source of featured image: Auremar: 107650005/