Bench Top vs Floor Model Drill Press

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by rlamb007 posted 02-28-2012 09:15 PM 11154 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rlamb007's profile


76 posts in 3454 days

02-28-2012 09:15 PM

I am looking into purchasing a drill press, and cannot decide between floor or bench top model.

My shop space is relatively small, and I am thinking the Bench top model would be just fine. I cannot really understand the big advantage of having a floor model. Of course the bench top are cheaper, which would be nice.

What do you guys think?

11 replies so far

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4148 days

#1 posted 02-28-2012 09:32 PM

I have a floor model and there are some advantages, of course the advantages vary by model, but offhand, compared to a similar bench top model by the same MFG my floor model…

#1. Floor models tend to have a greater quill travel distance, meaning you can drill deeper without having to raise / lower the table.

#2. Floor models tend to have a greater speed selection capacity.

#3. Floor models tend to have a deeper distance between the quill and the post.

#4. Floor models tend to have more powerful motors.

Of course YMMV depending on what models of what you are looking at. And even with the advantages, the disadvantage of the amount of space a floor model eats up can be substantial. HOWEVER, this can be offset. A bench top drill press is far too heavy to stow elsewhere and lift into place every time you want to drill, so it will need to be mounted on a cabinet. Likewise cabinets that attach to the foot of a floor model drill press can be constructed to make use of the gobs of space under the table on a floor model…

IN all honesty, I have never needed to lower the table below 18” from the chuck, even when drilling with LONG bits… It’s just not something I have ever done. I do want to build a cabinet to fit on my mobile base, that way, I can have my big capacity drill press, and badly needed storage space too! The idea of the cabinet that would go below the table would be to store all my drilling accessories, and possibly my handheld drills too… But it would have to be removable in case I needed / wanted to use a deeper depth on the column…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

732 posts in 3697 days

#2 posted 02-28-2012 09:57 PM

There is a compromise between the two, which mainly covers the ‘throat’ limitations on most bench drills, as shown here:


However, it does take up quite a lot of depth on the benchtop, but I have been pleased with my UK version after previously being frustrated on many occasions by not being able to drill holes anywhere but near the edges of large flat boards.

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3887 days

#3 posted 02-28-2012 10:00 PM

There are two distinct classes of benchtop DPs. The ones that are about 28”- 30” tall and the ones that are about 40”- 42” tall.

I started with the small one. Big mistake.
It had 12 speeds, 1/2 hp motor, 5/8” chuck, cost about $100 and I thought I was good to go. NOT.
It only had 2” of quill stroke. That’s probably okay for metal. PITA for wood.

Also, these models usually only have about 8” between the chuck and the table with the table in its lowest position. Try to put a 4” thick piece on the table and drill a 1” hole through it. To start with the drill bit has to fit in the 4” space between the chuck and the work piece. True, you can find stubby drill bits, but that’s just more hassle. Then you can’t get but half way through the piece and you are out of stroke. Stop and raise the table. Then drill some more but don’t go through the back side or you will have tearout. There wasn’t room to put a backer board under the piece due to the short clearance. So now you have to stop and lower the table and get your workpiece out and flip it over. Now you realign and drill to meet the hole you started from the other side. Can this work? Yes. Is it way more hassle than it needs to be? Yes again.

If you go with a benchtop drill press, please get one of the >40” tall machines. And be sure it has at least 3-1/2” stroke. These machines usually have 16” to 18” between the chuck and the table. They are too tall to set up on a normal bench. I put mine on a 24” tall base I built for it. They don’t really save any space in the shop but they usually sell for $350 or less. I paid $150 for mine at HF with a sale and a coupon.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12263 posts in 4345 days

#4 posted 02-28-2012 10:06 PM

I agree with crank49. My DP is probably the same HF one he bought. It does the job, but I still wish I’d have spent the $$ and gotten a floor model Delta or similar.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View gerrym526's profile


290 posts in 4725 days

#5 posted 02-28-2012 11:59 PM

Buy the floor model, at the end of the day, even in a small shop (mine’s only 350 sq ft) the footprint of the bench and floor models are the same. And, you can never have enough bench space for hand tool work, assembly, layout, etc., so why clutter it up with benchtop tools?

-- Gerry

View Dusty56's profile


11861 posts in 4604 days

#6 posted 02-29-2012 12:29 AM

I have both a small bench top ($50) and a large floor model ($800). Both used for different needs.
We don’t know what your budget is or what your needs are.

Your posting seems to have your answer within.

”My shop space is relatively small, and I am thinking the Bench top model would be just fine.
I cannot really understand the big advantage of having a floor model.
Of course the bench top are cheaper, which would be nice.”

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View rlamb007's profile


76 posts in 3454 days

#7 posted 02-29-2012 01:58 AM

Thanks Everyone…I think I am leaning toward a good Bench top model. I will make a roll around cart to set it on. If it turns out to be something I use a lot, then I can move up to the floor model.
Thanks again to everyone for shedding some light on this.

View doninvegas's profile


334 posts in 3824 days

#8 posted 02-29-2012 02:52 AM

I have the 12” Delta bench top. I put a good (Woodpecker) table on it and for what I do it works great for me.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3213 days

#9 posted 02-29-2012 03:08 AM

Tons of benchtop DPs on CL. My benchtop is a 1950s Craftsman (King Seeley) I paid $15 for and refurbished with new quill bearings, chuck jaws, switch, cord and paint and polish, so about $100 into it and much better than a HF . My floor model is a 1940s Delta I paid $40 for. What I don’t have is a table that cranks up – I have to manually lift it. If that kind of convenience doesn’t really matter to you than go used and buy good bits and accessories with what you’ve saved.

View Richard's profile


1944 posts in 3607 days

#10 posted 02-29-2012 04:07 AM

My HF benchtop has 5 inchecs from the coloum to the center of the bit and I never really need to go more than that for any hole. but then it depemds on what your needs are, if you need more distance from coloum to the bit then a floor model may be your only option other than more $$$ for a benchtop with more room.

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 3298 days

#11 posted 02-29-2012 10:43 AM

I converted my benchtop drill press into a floor model by finding a metal pipe that was the exact diameter of the one it came with. Then I found a flange that would work with my base and “walah” I had a floor drill press. It only cost me about $45 for the materials. I knew I wanted a floor drill press to begin with but this drill press was a gift and at first I thought I would be okay. I quickly realized I needed more depth. In the end I wish I would’ve returned the gift for a actual floor drill press but still I’m happy converting it went so smoothly otherwise I would have felt bad returning a gift that someone gave me. So basically I think in woodworking you want a floor drill press.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics