Drill press-Benchtop vs. floor

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Forum topic by Tyrone D posted 07-06-2012 04:29 AM 7464 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tyrone D

314 posts in 3408 days

07-06-2012 04:29 AM

I am wanting to replace my POS Jobmate drill press. The thing really sucks, the depth stop is broken and it didn’t work very good when it was new. The piece that holds onto the collar snapped in half so it doesn’t stop when it’s supposed to. It’s accurate to about 3/4” and then some depending on how hard I push. Everything works good on the drill press, it’s just that depth stop.

Anyways, on to my original question:
Benchtop vs. Floor?

All the drill presses that come for sale in my area are always benchtop models.
I can’t tell you exactly what type of work I do because I haven’t exactly done much fine furniture in my workshop; still setting up.

How often do you use the full capacity of your floor drill press?

Thanks for any advice.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

29 replies so far

View Bobmedic's profile


383 posts in 3877 days

#1 posted 07-06-2012 05:30 AM

Not very often do I use the full capacity of my floor standing drill press. I recently upgraded because I got a killer deal. If I were to choose and money was not an option I would buy the new Delta drill press because of it’s quill travel. The Delta gets like 6” with a single rotation of the handles. Mine is 3-⅜” My current floor standing drill press has the same quill travel as the bench top version. You do get more powerful motor with a floor standing unit.

View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3446 days

#2 posted 07-06-2012 08:44 AM

I think a bench model makes the most sense where space is limited and said drill press would be set up on the bench, used, removed from the bench, and put away so another bench tool could temporarily occupy the same piece of valuable real estate in the shop.

A bench-top drill press permanently set up on a stand occupies space, just as a floor standing model would…...However, an exception would be a bench-top DP mounted on a platform attached to a wall, thus allowing the floor space under it to be used for something else.

If you particularly like a bench-top unit you have, or if bench-tops dominate your market, consider fabricating a stout stand out of heavy metal to compliment the DP and to add mass to it – one of the benefits of a floor standing unit is the extra weight and mass inherent in its construction.

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3637 days

#3 posted 07-06-2012 10:08 AM

This has been discussed many times…and the general (and personal) consensus is floor. I’ve never heard anyone with a floor model say “I sure wish I had a bench model” but I have heard many with bench models wish they had a floor model.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View ajosephg's profile


1897 posts in 4636 days

#4 posted 07-06-2012 10:12 AM

I’ve had both and the standing dp wins hands down.

Longer quill travel, better bearings (less run-out, slop, etc.), greater capacity (up/down, depth), more speeds, and more rigidity.

-- Joe

View Don W's profile

Don W

20041 posts in 3642 days

#5 posted 07-06-2012 12:36 PM

I don’t use the extended length very often, but when I do, I’m sure glad I have it. I bought a rigid floor model from home depot for about $200. Looking for used it would be less. I use my drill press a lot, and I would buy this one again.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View NiteWalker's profile


2742 posts in 3652 days

#6 posted 07-06-2012 01:29 PM

Having had both, I’m in the floor model camp as well.
Benchtop space is more important than floor space, and a benchtop model on a dedicated stand takes up more space than a floor model.

I’m in love with the new delta too (being extra good for “santa”), but for now I have the ridgid. It works great for what I need and what I paid ($211 out the door). They raised the price on it so it’s not a very good deal any more.
Lowes has the porter cable drill press for under $300 and even less if you can get them to accept an HF coupon. It’s a very nice press.

But if you have the cash, that delta is dreamy. :)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4061 days

#7 posted 07-06-2012 01:34 PM

I use the full length of my standing drill press fairly often! I discovered I could easily make lamps when I had a way to drill a 18” hole. Just do it in steps on the drill press. Cake.

I have a couple of bench top drill presses and they get used, occasionally… but honestly… it’s only ever when somebody is using the standing one. I even converted one of them into my pen finishing station because it just never sees any drills in it anymore.

If you have the shop floor space and the ability to move something kinda heavy, it’s worth considering, for sure.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View JayT's profile


6424 posts in 3286 days

#8 posted 07-06-2012 02:22 PM

Because of space constraints, I use a benchtop. It does everything I need as far as quill travel and power, YMMV. My one frustration is the speed control. The slowest my benchtop will go is 550rpm, which is too fast for larger Forstner bits. If you have space, I would recommend a floor model. If you do go benchtop, make sure the available speeds on the unit you are looking at will work for what you want to do.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4046 days

#9 posted 07-06-2012 02:47 PM

I have had two benchtop DPs. The first only had 2 1/8” quill travel (stroke) with 8” between chuck and table and I hated it. Way too limiting. I turned it into a mortising machine.

My second benchtop stands 42” tall, has 3 1/4” quill travel and 16” between the chuck and the table. It’s not too bad, and is the minimum I would recommend. These machines weigh about 75# so they are not all that portable and typically cost about $200 to $300; the same as the cheapest of the floor models.

At the time I got mine I had no way to transport the floor model or that’s the way I would have gone. I would love to have a big delta with 6” quill travel, but can’t afford the $900 they cost. Variable speed would be nice as well, but be sure it can slow down to at least 200 RPM for drilling big holes.

View RKaste's profile


144 posts in 3231 days

#10 posted 07-06-2012 02:56 PM

In my shop i had in Virginia 15X20 shed i had a Craftmans bench top drill press and it worked out quit well, i not only used it as a drill press but used also as a drum sander. I built a cabinet which i installed my miter saw on top and on the left side i would store my bench top drill press under it when not in use.

-- --May you have fair winds and following seas--

View Don W's profile

Don W

20041 posts in 3642 days

#11 posted 07-06-2012 03:00 PM

the only thing I miss from my benchtop is reverse.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4026 days

#12 posted 07-06-2012 03:18 PM

I purchased a bench top for cheap because I operate on a tight budget for this stuff. I hated it, but that’s because it was a cheap one—-underpowered, short quill travel, and not tall enough for numerous projects. Then I found a good floor model for $80 and life’s been good. I hope CL turns up a floor model for you soon!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View MrRon's profile


6020 posts in 4318 days

#13 posted 07-06-2012 03:33 PM

Floor model hands down; even for small shops. If you are not taking up valuable floor space, you will be taking up valuable bench space.

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4026 days

#14 posted 07-06-2012 03:36 PM

Plus, I usually uitilize the space on top of the floor model stand for a trashcan or something else that takes up space.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5349 posts in 5035 days

#15 posted 07-06-2012 03:39 PM

Floor model here. An old C’man by King-Seely, cast iron, heavy, accurate, and ya can’t have it. I think I paid $100.00 for it, and all I had to do was wipe it down, put on a new belt, and put it to work.

-- [email protected]

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