Floor drill presses are very useful workshop anchors for anyone needing consistently accurate hole drilling. While requiring more space than a benchtop model, floor drill presses are sturdier, vibrate less, and should last through several years’ worth of tough work. They can also accommodate much larger pieces to work on that smaller models simply can’t touch.
Standing drill presses aren’t all that portable however they can handle larger perforations in big, bulky pieces of material. They’re more precise than benchtop drill presses (unless bolted down) and handheld drills just can’t compare to the power, accuracy, and reliability that floor drill presses bring to the table.
We reviewed seven great floor drill presses that you can read below. Any of them would make a great fit for your shop or garage. Take a look at our list to find one that will be ideal for anything you need to blast holes through in your projects.
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1. Shop Fox W1848 Oscillating Floor Drill PressPros:
- Excellent dust collection feature
- Solid build quality
- Speed adjustment easy to change
- Only 3-1/4-inches of spindle travel
- Height control thumb knob doesn't do anything; it's a leftover component from a previous model
- Packaging is not suitable for such a large power tool
Like the Shop Fox W1668 Benchtop Drill Press, the Shop Fox W1848 Floor Drill Press provides a great feature for woodworkers: an oscillating feature that when triggered and used with the included three-piece sander drum kit provides an excellent sanding option for finishing. It runs smoothly with a superb dust collection feature when used as a sander.
The entire machine is cast with precision; it just looks and feels like a premium power tool that should cost a lot more. The chuck can accommodate a large 5/8-inch drill bit and the swing measures a generous 13-3/4-inches. There are twelve available speeds from 250 to 3,050 RPM. The base, table, and head are all made of strong cast iron. It’s heavy enough to prevent vibration and provide a solid working experience.
The oscillating sanding option is a great idea for a floor drill press and makes the W1668 stand apart from the crowd but for that price, you simply can’t argue that the Shop Fox isn’t an incredible value. Highly recommended.
2. Jet J-2500 15-Inch Floor Drill PressPros:
- 16 speed options from 200 to 3,630 RPM
- No quill runout to speak of
- Packaged and crated extremely well
- A larger worktable would have been nice
- Table surface is a bit rough
- Shallow depth capacity
Jet makes some quality drill presses including the J-2500 15-Inch Floor Drill Press. Featuring a cast iron head, large quill, and a permanently lubricated ball bearing spindle assembly, the J-2500 would make a great addition to your workshop. The 15-inch swing (size of material you can drill to the center of) is generous and the 3/4 HP motor is strong enough to get through pretty much any material you need it to. Sixteen speed settings from 200 to 3,630 RPM allow for slow drilling through steel and high-speed perforating through plastics.
The chuck can accommodate a 5/8-inch drill bit and the cast iron worktable is good enough for most projects. The machining could stand to be a little better but it’s certainly good enough to keep up with other models out there. Spindle depth unfortunately bottoms out at 3-3/8-inches. The depth stop is accurate and easy enough to set and change when needed.
Like other large drill presses, the Jet J-2500 is heavy and it’s meant to be in order to prevent vibration while using. Jet makes a universal mobile base that can be used with their drill presses in case you don’t have an abundance of floor space to devote to one tool. Unlike other large drill presses, Jet packages and crates the J-2500 very well and it should arrive at your workshop scratch-free.
3. Shop Fox W1680 17-Inch Floor Drill PressPros:
- 1HP aluminum finned motor
- Speeds up to 3,050 RPM
- Built-in work light
- Work light is incandescent, not LED
- No natural holder for the chuck key
- Some reports of damage during shipment
The Shop Fox W1680 17-Inch Floor Drill Press is a great addition to the mid-sized cabinet shop or small machine shop. It features a 1HP motor with aluminum fins to provide excellent power and 1,720 RPM. The morse taper #3 spindle makes the W1680 one of the most accurate drill presses on the market.
This baby is made of solid cast iron, sealed ball bearings, and rubber-coated, quick-adjust handles. The precision-ground table measures 14 inches and tilts in order to accommodate drilling angles from 90 to zero degrees. It can also be adjusted for height and rotation as well, offering a maximum 31-1/2-inch drilling depth from chuck to table.
An included chuck guard is great for safety. No one wants bits of splintered wood or metal shards flying all over the place. It’s spring-loaded to conveniently flip out of the way for your next bit change. A large paddle switch contributes to safe operation because of the easy slap-off ability to shut down power. Shop Fox power tools are high-quality machines that will do nothing but improve your workshop.
4. Jet JDP-17 3/4 HP Floor Drill PressPros:
- Roomy 14-inch by 19-inch worktable
- Built-in work light and laser are accurate, useful, and work well
- One-handed belt tensioning for quick speed changes
- Depth adjustment is somewhat awkward
- Reports of laser/worklight control panel not working from the start
- Outer chuck sleeve has a noticeable wobble
The Jet JDP-17 is a floor drill press that checks off a lot of the woodworking boxes with flair. It’s powered by a stout 3/4 HP motor that provides rotation speeds from 210 to 3,500 RPM, a very wide range to accommodate Forstner bits through hardwoods and drilling through thick steel. Chuck wobble (quill runout) is acceptable for precision work although there is some cosmetic wobbling that is disconcerting.
Maybe the best feature is a generous five-inches of travel with just one rotation of the wheel. Here’s another nice surprise: the worktable is a roomy 14 by 19-inches in size with T-track slots perfect for clamps and adding a fence if necessary. It also rotates a full 90 degrees either way which most other drill presses can’t do. Another nice touch is the MDF table insert so you don’t have to build one yourself or spend time finding scrap.
The LED work light is nice to light up the work area; someone thought about this and wisely decided to locate it back and out of way. Controls for this and the laser guide are located directly underneath the big paddle-style power switch. While this drill press isn’t a variable-speed model, changing it up is fairly easy without the use of tools and with just one hand.
Finally, while this floor drill press is close to $1,000, it’s still less expensive (as much as $500) than other models that have all the amenities that the Jet JDP-17 offers up. The Jet JDP-17 is a great value on a large, feature-rich power tool.
5. WEN 4225 8.6-Amp Variable Speed 15-Inch Floor Drill PressPros:
- Variable speed from 280 to 3,300 RPM
- Large 12x12 cast iron work table pivots up to 45 degrees in either direction
- 15-inch swing and four-inch stroke
- Changing speed on the fly tends to wear out belts more quickly
- Wing-style knobs are a little small
- Lasers difficult to configure
The WEN 4225 Variable Speed 15-Inch Floor Drill Press features a strong 8.6 Amp electric motor with the ability to change the speed of your drill chuck from 280 to 1,000 RPM on the fly. Speeds from 1,000 to 3,300 RPM can be changed with quick belt adjustments. There is an LED tachometer that brilliantly displays the current running speed.
This floor drill press is a full four inches of depth capacity; if you’re looking to drill clean through a 4×4 fence post, this floor drill press will allow you to do it. The 12-inch by 12-inch cast iron table pivots up to 45 degrees in either direction to accommodate angled perforations. The chuck features a Morse #2 spindle taper and will accept drill bits 1/12-inches to 5/8-inches in diameter.
There is an onboard laser accuracy guide however it takes a little work to dial this in to use effectively. There is also a work lamp included for illuminating the worktable. The base, table, column and head are all constructed of cast iron which is not only tough and sturdy but also limits vibration during use. The WEN 4225 Variable Speed 15-Inch Floor Drill Press is an excellent addition to any workshop and allows the user to get some serious production done.
6. General International 15-Inch Floor Drill PressPros:
- Sixteen speed options from 240 to 3,200 RPM
- Built-in work light
- Motor mount features an adjustable mechanism, not a bracket
- Significant quill runoff
- Really bad packaging
- Very short spindle travel depth
You could spend a lot of money on a floor drill press if you wanted. Premium models can run in the thousands of dollars but let’s be real: most do-it-yourselfers don’t have that sort of cabbage just laying around. And we like a great deal! If you want a tool that’s extremely well built with significant power, then the General International 15-Inch Floor Drill Press is going to work just fine for you.
It has sixteen speed options as low as 240 RPM to get through steel plate quickly and easily. This drill press looks and feels like something your grandfather might have owned. It’s made of finely-machined cast iron that’s stout, sturdy, and solid. Even though this is an off-brand that comes from a foreign country, the General International Floor Drill Press will surprise you with its attention to detail.
It has the typical amenities of a large drill press: a built-in work light, accuracy laser, large 15-inch swing, 5/8-inch sized chuck, and so on and so forth. It’s the quality build of all of these things at a price that’s less than $450 with free shipping that should make you take notice. This drill press is big and beautiful and it won’t break your bank.
7. Jet JDP-20MF 20-Inch Floor Drill PressPros:
- Capable of drilling in the center of a 20-inch piece of material
- Spacious worktable smoothly raises and lowers
- Pre-wired for 120 V but can be converted to 240 V power
- Assembly documentation is terrible
- Depth gauge adjustment needs to be redesigned
- Belt tensioning mechanism is difficult to operate
The Jet JDP-20MF Floor Drill Press is a serious piece of hardware bordering on a professional-grade tool that may be overkill for an average shop. That said, it’s seriously cool. First off, it’s heavy. It will take you and a partner to move this floor drill press around and once it’s set, forget about moving it around on your own. However, that means that you can drill into plastics, woods, and metals of all kinds without worrying about vibration or chuck wobble.
Not only is the JDP-20MF heavy, but it’s also big and offers a huge 20-inch swing to accommodate large workpiece access. It also sports a 1.5 HP motor that comes wired for 110 V but can be rewired to 220 V for efficient, powerful drilling. Jet markets this model primarily for metalworkers with that sort of firepower but it can handle your furniture project without any problem. Simply said: it’s got torque to spare.
Now, some things to consider: the worktable does not have a center hole so you’ll have to watch how much of that 4-5/8-inch spindle depth you use. The assembly instructions aren’t great, detailed, or informative. Third, the edges of the worktable can be sharp. You may have to grind them down a bit with a rotary tool so you avoid nicks and scrapes.
That aside, the Jet JDP-20MF Floor Drill Press is an incredible power tool for any professional shop, doubly so for any home-based workshop. Be warned however that this press is big, heavy, and will take you and a buddy to get it set up.
What is a Floor Drill Press?
Drill presses are ideal for making holes into whatever material you’re working with, be it wood, metal, or plastic. Sure, you could use your trusty handheld drill but the results you’ll get won’t be nearly as accurate as using a drill press. And who wants to be a reckless amateur?
Floor drill presses provide the most accurate method of drilling holes. Their weight helps prevent vibration to keep the spindle and chuck spinning straight. The large size makes it possible to drill a hole further into material anywhere from 13 inches to 20 inches or more.
The difference between floor drill presses and benchtop drill presses is somewhat obvious: floor drill presses need floor space and benchtop drill presses need worktable space. If you have a larger shop or have a need for consistent, reliable accuracy and perhaps do a little more in the way of production work, a floor drill press is probably what you'll want. That also means you won't have a power tool cluttering your benchtop.
Both types of drill presses are built with four main components: the head, column, table, and base. When you think of a drill press, the head is probably the first thing that comes to mind. The head contains the motor, the power switch, included work lights or lasers, and the chuck. The chuck holds the drill bit and quickly spins around to make holes.
Every drill press that I’ve ever used has featured a tool or key to be used with the chuck to tighten and loosen drill bits. Technology has gotten better to the point where a keyless chuck like I enjoy on my cordless handheld drill can be found on full-sized drill presses.
Keyless checks are so much quicker to use and, even better, can be just as safe as keyed chucks. You'll most likely not find keyless chucks on large floor models, however.
The head of your drill press is really the nerve center of the tool. It features all the moving parts, belts, and essential items required for you to enjoy the drill press.
The table is where your workpiece will reside to get a hole bored into it. Tables typically feature a crank mechanism that allows you to move it up and down to get your workpiece closer or farther away from the drill bit.
The column of your benchtop drill press is that metal cylinder that connects the head and the base. It will feature teeth for the table to interact with to move up and down. Most of the force and pressure will be applied to the column. There's a definite reason why they're universally made of steel or cast iron.
Finally, the base is the anchor for the entire tool. It must be stout enough to make the entire drill press sturdy. While it's certainly possible to bolt the base of a floor drill press to the concrete, they're typically so heavy that it isn't necessary. It's safe to say that a drill press that moves around is going to cause you no end of hassle.
What Should I Look For in a Floor Drill Press?
If you’re not familiar with floor drill presses, let’s go over some items that will help you choose the right one for your workshop.
First, a note about safety. Drill presses, and especially benchtop models, aren’t really thought of as dangerous in the same vein as table saws and reciprocal saws. But make no mistake about it: you’ll never forget a piece of steel spinning out of control at 3,000 RPM with your tender fingers in the path.
Avoid that situation by choosing a floor drill press with a bit guard. Bit guards keep your hands away in case you inadvertently stick your digits where they shouldn’t be. They also help with keeping shards of metal or wood shrapnel from flying into your face.
Other safety features include comically oversized power switches to quickly shut down your press if something goes awry and a clamping device to keep your workpiece steady. A clamp will also help prevent that 3,000 RPM piece of steel, too. No one wants that part your working on to fly loose and smack you in the head. It's also a good idea to have a press vise on hand.
Another safety tip: I'm sure that your workshop is well lit you might enjoy an onboard work light on your drill press especially with detailed work going on. An even better amenity would be a laser guide to get as accurate as humanly possible. Imagine a little crosshair target to help you align that bit exactly where you need it; now you’re playing with power!
Drill size is a term that you’ll see a lot of when looking for drill presses. Drill presses are measured by the distance between the drill bit and the base; tool makers call that drill size the throat distance. Take that measurement and double it, so a 15-inch benchtop drill press will have a length of seven and a half inches between the bit and the base.
Another term is travel. Travel is how much you can move the drill chuck up and down. The more travel a drill press has means the more material you can remove. A floor drill press with four-inch travel can lower the drill bit by four inches.
Speed is important to look at, too. You won’t need much speed to drive through steel but when it comes to softwoods like pine, it’s good to have a quick RPM so the wood doesn’t tear apart. It also saves time. A good rule of thumb is that the harder the substance is that you’re drilling through, the lower amount of speed you’ll want to do it. The average drill press will be capable of turning the bit from 300 to 3,000 RPM.
Speed can be raised or lowered on drill presses usually by opening the head and adjusting the belt pulleys. These adjustments may require special tools however premium models allow for tool-free adjustments. You may not need to change up the speed much if you’re only working with one type of material. Still, it’s a good idea to acquire a drill press that has the option to change speeds quickly and easily.
Many toolmakers stress how much horsepower their respective drill presses can provide. That’s great and all if you want to brag with your buddies about it, but for the average do-it-yourselfer, horsepower isn’t that significant to your projects. If you can get three-quarters of a horse or more, you’ll have a decent drill press that will punch through most everything.
Drilling through material has much more to do with speed than it does power. As long as your bit is sharp, your drill press shouldn’t slow down on you. That said, any benchtop drill press should have at least three-quarters horsepower to be of much use especially to get through hardwoods and steel.
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