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So, you want to take your hobby to the next level. That usually means you want better quality in your work and more options of what you can do in your workshop. Drilling is part of many DIY projects, making the best drill press under $200 a wise investment. It won’t break the bank but you’ll still get a lot out of using it.
Simply know that the budget friendly models we discuss below will have some limitations when compared to high end models. For one thing, they’re all benchtop models, but for some people that’s a benefit, as not everyone has the available floorspace, right?
Shopping on a budget doesn’t mean you’re not getting value for your money. On all the items listed below we looked at a variety of factors such as motor specs, speed settings and range as well as practical aspects such as weight. We found some pretty impressive units, such as our Editor’s Pick, the WEN4210T. Despite being cost-friendly buys, you’ll expand your workshop activities phenomenally with a model such as this.
To make sure we provide you with accurate information in our reviews, we scoured the market and then asked a few professional handymen to try out the different models. We rated the models based on their feedback as well as some general comments from consumers. After all, you may not be a professional—we want to help DIYers, handymen and hobbyists to all find the most appropriate buy. For those who aren’t experts in the field yet, our buyer’s guide will help you discover what will work for you and our comparison table gives answers at a quick glance. Ready to work?
Extra features: beveling worktable; inbuilt laser, work light, and key storage
This made it to the top of our list because for a drill press under $200, it’s surprisingly sturdy. That’s thanks to the work table made of cast iron. This not only adds to its durability, but you’ll enjoy how stable it will feel while you’re working. You know that will lead to better workmanship, so it’s a budget buy that even professionals can consider as an investment.
For a lower end model there are still enough features to make it easy to work with, such as five different speeds to pick from. This also makes it appropriate for various types of work, so if you work on different materials this is one of your best options. Its versatility is further enhanced by the fact that you can remove the table if that will allow for a more appropriate work setup for a specific project.
There are even some high-end features, such as the work table’s ability to bevel up to 45°. And yes, this model will give you a work light. You can work precisely even in low light conditions, or when the angle of the workshop’s light results in shadows falling across the work area.
Know that this isn’t the quietest of items, but that’s to be expected in lower end models. Some users have also seen that it takes a while before the laser is calibrated correctly to make it 100% accurate. But these are manageable factors, making this a favorite in the industry today.
Extra features: features a laser and LED light; beveling 45° worktable
From Bucktool you get another versatile unit, incorporating many high end features such as an LED light. This will ensure a user-friendly work space no matter where you’re working, as there will be enough visibility. Combined with this, there is a laser that will serve as a guide. You’ll know exactly where the drill bit will hit, making it easy to deliver precise workmanship. One tip to the brand would be to make the light brighter in future models as it is a bit dim.
These features also make it a safe press drill as there is less chance of you accidentally placing your hand under the drill bit, thanks to seeing clearly. What makes this an even safer model is that it has a safety switch. This can be operated with a key and this prevents unauthorized use. If you have curious kids that you want to protect from accidentally hurting themselves, these features come in handy. This same feature also provides you with a quick stop option if you need to halt in the middle of a job.
The one area where the manufacturer can improve is the design, as it seems to be top heavy. This can hamper ease of use. In part, this is because of the heavy motor, but you benefit from how strong it is. This is a smart buy for hobbyists, but maybe not for pros as it may not handle daily rigorous use. But you do have a warranty to fall back on, so perhaps this is your dream tool?
Extra features: 45-degree tilting cast iron worktable; includes an LED light
We labelled this as our most durable drill press as you can see its construction is impressive. But the proof of durability is in its long warranty period. Unlike many others, you get a two-year warranty period during which the brand says both the materials and workmanship won’t disappoint. For lower end models, that’s not bad.
The RK7033 also impresses in functionality as you can enjoy its many handy features, ranging from five different speed settings to the work table that can bevel a maximum of 45°. That allows for diverse working options for the hobbyists. During testing it was found that it will work for metal, wood and some other substances.
One drawback with lower end models like this is that they’re smaller than many professional tools. That does limit you in how large your project would be. Drilling holes in the center of a piece of wood only works for items 10” or smaller. This makes it a bit impractical for pros, but its features are ideal for hobbyists.
Know that you have to assemble this one yourself on arrival. While it’s simple, don’t expect much help from the provided manual.
One thing to note: this is one of the models without a laser. But this isn’t a deciding factor for everyone.
Extra features: safety switch with removable security key; precision laser light
Ease of use is essential when picking out tools, especially if you’re working by yourself most of the time. Users appreciate this unit that is durable and performs well, but doesn’t weigh as much as the models featured above. At just over 31 pounds, it is more manageable, making for easy setup.
It is considerably cheaper than some others on our list, but still comes with handy features such as a guiding system incorporating the brand’s laser technology. This cross pattern system is patented globally and one of the features this established company—in the industry since 1946—has developed. It’s not 100% accurate, but still impressive for a lower end model. Purchasing from a well-known brand also means you’re more likely to have access to parts or services in future. You’ll need that if you want to use the promised two-year warranty. Users also remark on how dynamic the customer service is, offering replacements without too much of a hassle.
We have to mention the stylish red and black design: this will make your work area look smart. If you have to impress clients – every bit helps.
There is a smart layout working in your favor as you have easy access to the controls to manage speed. This will enhance your workflow.
Despite its limited size, you can consider using this for wood, metal and more. The one thing it does require is better depth control.
Thanks to a safety switch you can also create a safe work area.
Looking at this model from Gino Development, you can immediately see that it’s much simpler than some of the other models above. The fewer features make it super affordable, but don’t think this Budget Pick won’t still impress you. It still offers various speeds you can work at, with a surprisingly large speed range. The only drawback is that you can only select from three speed settings, unlike most of the others that offer five.
The weight also counts in this model’s favor. If you know you’ll often move it around, this drill press will allow for an effortless experience each time. The 11.8lb is more than manageable. The design also makes it a sensible option for hobbyists with small work spaces. This can easily fit in a cupboard and won’t take up too much space on your workbench. Newbies may even appreciate the compact design, making it less intimidating to work with. And yes, it’s super easy to get used to. Just know that the provided manual isn’t very helpful, so you may have to ask a local expert or do some research online if you’re unsure about something.
Many users comment on how it enables precision work, and thanks to a durable construction you can expect to enjoy that feature for years to come.
A welcoming factor is that this one isn’t overly noisy—not something you can often say when it comes to drilling.
Not sure which one to pick yet? We’ll help by giving you simple guidelines and tips to understand this niche better. We look at a variety of factors that would affect your new drill press’ value, depending on your unique application.
Advantages of getting a great drill press under $200
First off you may still be unsure whether this is the ideal tool for you. We would suggest a budget drill press for almost any scenario because it helps with so many factors:
It gives you better control and results in neat workmanship
A budget buy won’t break the bank, but can help up and coming handymen to deliver better quality work in order to earn more
You’ll break fewer drill bits thanks to more control of each job compared to using regular drills
It creates a safer working environment thanks to exerting more control during drilling
You’ll enjoy more effortless working sessions, since there’s less strain on your arms
Features to consider when choosing a drill press
So, what features create this beneficial work environment? We listed the most important ones that relate to this price range. You may find many more aspects in high-end drill presses, but these features already make for impressive products. Read through them so you understand why each one is important and how it applies to your scenario. Based on this you can gauge which of the models above will work for you.
Power is important no matter what price range you buy in. Of course, the more power you can have the better. With more power you can push through thicker, harder substances. Power is expressed in HP (horsepower) with 2/3HP being a common spec as can be seen on the General International DP2001 above.
Also make sure the model’s power settings and the power infrastructure of your workshop align. Research current and voltage ratings to ensure your new tools won’t accidentally cause short circuits or worse.
Speed is another popular vetting feature.
A drill press should preferably allow for different speed settings, because each job is unique. Drilling through some substances require speed, while others should be taken slowly to ensure precision.
Metal and wood require different speeds if you want the best outcomes. Or imagine working on an intricate piece of furniture. You’ll want to take it slow to prevent damaging it.
Measured in RPM, models such as the WEN 4210T offer great variety, making it practical for many different tasks.
Number of speeds
Of course, the different speed ranges are only practical if they’re easy to set. The higher the number of different speed settings in the range, the better. In this price range, you can expect about five different settings, but high end units may have up to 16.
Also consider how you pick these settings: it must be quick and easy to enhance your workflow, such as a simple turn of a knob.
What kind of materials can it cut?
Before you buy you should consider what you’ll work on in the future. Different drill presses are made for different purposes, with some more appropriate for metal while others do better on wood. You may even work on plastic?
Pick your drill press according to your type of jobs and if you know you’ll do a bit of everything, go for a more versatile unit.
Some experts would say quill travel rates as one of the top five aspects to consider before buying a drill press. Note that this feature also goes by the name of ‘stroke length’ or ‘spindle travel’.
It refers to the up and down movement of the chuck with the drill bit. The higher this distance, the thicker pieces of materials you will be able to work on. This also implicates the length of the drill bits you’ll be able to use.
In general, a 2-1/2” quill travel should be the minimum you aim for.
You need to research the chuck size and consider whether it caters for all the drill bits you intend on using. If you purchase one too small it won’t be able to take larger bits, limiting the type of work you can do.
When you look at different chucks the sizes may seem quite close to each other, but don’t be fooled by that: a slightly bigger chuck makes a huge difference in your drill press’ capabilities.
The norm is that you’ll find chucks in the following sizes: 1/4”, 3/8” or ½”. If you’re only buying for home use instead of professional use, a 3/8” is usually appropriate.
Important note: also consider whether you need a keyed or keyless chuck. While modern tools mostly have the keyless versions that only require you to tighten it with your hand, a keyed version is better for heavy duty work. The key allows you to tighten it more than simply using your bare hands, allowing for more stability in the bit when you work.
A lot about your workflow stems from how comfortable and ergonomic your work area is. Your new drill press can enhance this aspect if you get one with an appropriate work table.
It must be large enough to ensure the item you work on will be stable while under the press.
It must also be able to handle the weight of the items you usually work on. This gives you more control because you’ll spend less energy trying to keep items steady. This automatically allows for more focus on your work so you’ll improve your workmanship.
The larger the better applies here, but keep in mind how much space you actually have available. Buying a new drill press shouldn’t mean your workshop feels cluttered all of a sudden.
LED work light
Another factor that will enhance workmanship is if you can improve precision. Seeing your work clearer can help prevent mistakes. Leaning over a drill press can create some shadow, but if your unit has an LED work light, this isn’t a problem anymore.
Build and durability
You know working with a drill is no small job. The power these tools exert is impressive. So, can your drill press’ structure handle this?
To ensure you’re buying a long term solution that won’t break the first time you work on hard metal or work for hours on end, look for units with more metal parts instead of plastic. Even if they cost a little more, you won’t have to replace them soon, so they’re worth the investment.
Dimensions and weight
We already mentioned how important it is not to clutter your workspace. Measuring out your available space is vital before purchasing your unit. Now you can compare these dimensions to the models available on the market. Pick one that will easily fit into the spot you allocated. Believe us: it’s not ideal to ruin your workflow and space, simply to get a large, high end unit (unless you really need one). It may seem in the way and you may regret buying it.
Also look at the weight to ensure you can carry, move and handle it yourself without hurting yourself. This is especially important if you may not keep your drill press out at all times. If it goes in storage from time to time, make sure it’s easy to lug around.
The drill presses we reviewed are mostly bench top models. From time to time you may need your table’s surface area cleared. A lighter unit will make this much easier.
A drill press will be submitted to some stringent pressure and heavy duty work. Can it handle it? A factory mistake can prevent optimal performance and then a good warranty feature will help you get it repaired or replaced. Our models won’t offer longer periods than 2 years, as can be seen in the ShopSeries unit, but by that time you’ll know whether there’s a factory mistake that’s affecting your workmanship.
As mentioned above each drill press is unique. Some are designed for metal while others are more appropriate for wood. Specs such as power and speed will determine this. You may also consider using a keyed chuck for metal work, as this creates more stability to enable you to do more heavy duty work. The key allows you to tighten more than you’ll be able to with brute force, keeping the drill bit securely in place and minimizing vibrations. The latter will ensure more accurate work too.
In most models you should be able to remove the tables, as they’re often fitted with fasteners you can loosen. But research this aspect well before you buy. Other options include drill presses that allow you to spin the table away. If you’ll often require the drill press without its table surface, investing in one where removal is quick and easy will be a worthwhile investment. It will enhance your workflow unlike having to unscrew nuts and bolts each time.
Some drill presses have lasers that will shine onto the surface you’re working on. That beam shows you exactly where the drill bit will hit the piece of wood, metal or plastic. Because the laser takes the guess work out of drilling, you’ll have better workmanship, effortlessly.
An important factor is to determine if the brand’s laser is accurate. If not—and if it’s not adjustable—this will be more bothersome than helpful.
When purchasing tools, you need to think long term so you invest in items you’ll use for years. We believe the WEN4210T deserves its 9.8 rating in part because it will cater for so many uses. Thanks to its power and durable build you can work on almost any material without damaging it. The removable table also offers versatility.
Of course safety is a high priority too, which is why the BUCKTOOL should be on your list of options. As our second choice and with a rating of 9.7, we know you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with tools designed to help you with real challenges: such as protecting people who use them, or children that may walk by. For hobbyists working at home, this one comes with all you need.
At a rating of 9.4 we loved the ShopSeries RK7033 for its durability. Just because you’re considering a budget buy, looking for the best drill press under $200 shouldn’t require a repurchase in the near future. This one will serve you well and you’re covered by a two-year warranty.
So now all you have to do is pick. Consider your future projects, order yours and see how a drill press enhances your work. You can do more than you think you can.