Getting a proper floor standing drill press for metal seems unachievable nowadays. I mean, most metal workers have to face all sorts of problems with these machines, such as:
- Lack of speed: most floor drill presses don’t have the required number of speeds or don’t possess wide speed ranges to adapt to the drilling speeds required to drill on metal
- Low potency motors don’t offer the needed torque to drill on metal
- Bulky floor drill presses take too much space in the workshop without offering serious drilling power in return
- Quality issues: most of these machines are manufactured in countries where top-quality standards are not the first priority
In this context, it seems impossible to find a proper floor standing drill press for metal. However, I took the time to research and test dozens of these machines to finally arrive at the list of the best floor standing drill presses for metal I’m gonna share with you next.
List of The Best Floor Standing Drill Presses for Metal
This is the list of floor standing drill presses I found to work perfectly for drilling on all sorts of metals:
- 1. Powermatic PM2800B Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 2. Shop Fox W1848 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 3. JET 354170/JDP-20MF Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 4. WEN 4214 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 5. JET J-2550 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 6. Sunex 5000A Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 7. JET JDP-17 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 8. SHOP FOX W1680 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 9. Klutch Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- 10. JET J-2500 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
1. Powermatic PM2800B Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- Motor: 1 HP
- Speed Range: 250 to 3000 RPM
- Number of Speeds: Variable Speed
- Weight: 266 pounds
When reviewing a floor standing drill press that’s destined to drill on metal sheets one must ask how powerful is the machine in question.
This Powermatic floor drill press blew other competing floor drill presses out of the water thanks to its 1 HP motor that outputs enough power to drill on hard metal sheets and the sorts.
Moreover, it comes with a variable speed mechanism and a speed range of 250 to 3,000 RPM. This range covers the lower drilling speeds necessary to drill through all kinds of metals (steel, aluminum, you name it).
Even though some metalworkers like to complain about it not having a power switch, this floor standing drill press has some other impressive features such as its laser guides that make drilling on metal a very precise process.
- Drilling accuracy on metal is substantially improved with its laser guides
- 1 HP which delivers enough power to drill on hard material such as metal
- Wide speed range of 250 to 3,000 rpm which is not only enough for drilling on metal (at lower speeds) but also on other materials
- Mechanical variable speed coupled with a digital speed readout makes controlling and changing speeds a seamless process
- Given its weight of 266 pounds, one might need two sets of hands to assemble this machine
- Another small issue is that it has no power switch which might be annoying for some people
2. Shop Fox W1848 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
Isn’t it the best when you spend a good amount of money on a machine that actually does what you need it to do?
Well, this Shop Fox floor standing drill press comes with great attributes such as its 3/4 HP motor that provides a speed range of 250 to 2050 RPM in 12 different speeds. Such range speed is key for drilling on metal as it reaches really low RPM.
Additionally, this floor drill press has a spacious work table that tilts 90 degrees to allow drilling from different angles which might come in handy for various metalworkers.
- Sizeable working table is big enough to work on metal pieces of all sizes
- Its oscillating spindle makes the process of going from drilling to sanding really easy
- The 3/4 HP motor and speed range of 250 to 2050 RPM (with 12 speeds) offer the torque and speed necessary to drill from the softest to the hardest types of metal
- Worktable tilts up to 90 degrees to allow angle drilling which might be of use for some metal workers
- It has no built-in light which is a bit inconvenient for me as my workshop doesn’t have good lighting
- It’s definitely large (but powerful enough!)
3. JET 354170/JDP-20MF Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
Most low-quality floor standing drill presses come with low quality motors that don’t provide enough torque for drilling on metal sheets.
Luckily, this is not the case with this JET floor standing drill press as it has a powerful 1.5 HP motor which outputs an above-average drilling torque that’s enough to drill on metal. Moreover, its 3/4-inch chuck is big enough to hold drill bits of all sizes which is essential for metalworkers that only do big projects.
Although some people like to focus on the small inconvenience that changing the tensioning belts to change drilling speeds is, I prefer to point out its convenient features such as:
- The built-in led light lets the user clearly see the metal surface being drilled
- The spacious workbench that tilts in 45 degrees to allow drilling on metal from different angles
- And the 1/2-inch diameter external positive depth stop makes repeated drilling a seamless experience
- It’s rigid and stable
- Powerful motor outputs 1.5 HP (above average) with a speed range of 150 to 4200 rpm with 12 speeds
- Big 3/4 inch chuck
- Built in work light
- 45-degree tilting worktable
- 2-year warranty
- 1/2-inch diameter external positive depth stop
- Belt tensioning mechanism to change speeds can be tricky
4. WEN 4214 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- Motor: 2/3 HP
- Speed Range: 580 to 3200 RPM
- Number of Speeds: Variable speed selection
- Weight: 89 pounds
To provide a serious amount of drilling torque, this WEN 4214 floor standing drill press comes with a 2/3 HP motor that outputs a speed range of 580 to 3200 RPM coupled with a variable speed mechanism. These last two features give the user the possibility to set infinite low RPM settings which are vital for successfully drilling on all kinds of metals.
Even though it might make a low humming sound for a bit when it starts at low RPM, this floor drill press sets itself apart with its attributes. For instance, it comes with a precision laser that guarantees drilling-accuracy on metal sheets, which is a pretty difficult thing to do. Also, its tilting work table is big enough to handle metal pieces of all sizes and thicknesses, which is key for metalworkers that exclusively work on big projects.
- Drilling accuracy is improved thanks to its precision laser
- Very easy to assemble (not a common thing to say of a floor standing drill press for metal, believe me)
- Variable speed mechanism which lets the user adjust drilling’s RPM with a lever
- Speed range of 580 to 3200 RPM, enough for drilling on all metal types (steel, aluminum, etc)
- Work table is big enough and tilts to allow the metalworker to drill from diverse angles
- It makes a bit of a humming sound when set at low RPM (which is vital for successfully drilling on metal)
5. JET J-2550 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
Torque is essential for drilling on metal. Period. Without a strong motor a floor drill press is garbage.
That’s why I like this JET J-2550 floor standing drill press as it comes with a 3/4 HP motor and a speed range of 15 to 4,200 RPM which goes low enough to give metalworkers the possibility to drill on metal without breaking the drill bit.
Additionally, it comes with two other key features:
- Big workbench that tilts 45 degrees to allow drilling from different angles on large metal pieces
- Ball-bearing spindle allows a stable drilling experience with no vibrations which is important when drilling on metal at low velocities
I mean, some people like to focus on the fact that it might be a bit too big but, to be honest, if you have enough space at your workshop I would recommend it 100%.
- Speed range of 15 to 4,200 RPM which is perfect for drilling on metal
- Strong 3/4 HP motor outputs enough drilling torque to drill through any thick metal pieces
- Ball-bearing spindle guarantees maximum durability for drilling on metal for extended periods of time
- Work bench is spacious enough and tilts in 45 degrees
- Its size might be a bit too big for some metal workshops (make sure its dimensions are suitable for yours)
6. Sunex 5000A Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
No metalworker wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a floor standing drill press without the drilling torque necessary to cut through metal sheets.
This Sunex 5000A floor drill press surpassed all my expectations as it comes with a 3/4 HP motor that offers a speed range of 200 rpm to 3850 RPM with 16 different speeds. These features are essential for allowing the adaptation of the drilling speed to the thickness and type of metal being drilled (meaning aluminum, titanium, steel, etc).
Its assembly was a bit difficult as it came with confusing instructions. However, once one cuts across this issue, it’s easy to realize that this floor drill press is one of the most convenient machines to drill on metal. I mean, its tilting work table allows to drill from angles and work with sizeable pieces of metal which is something essential for metalworkers.
On top of that, this machine comes with a 5/8″ chuck which clamps big drill bits which is a vital advantage in some metal workshops which work with sizeable projects.
- Changing speeds is very easy
- Spacious work table that rotates 360 and tilts 45 degrees allowing drilling in angles
- 5/8″ chuck allows various sizes of drill bits to cut through metal
- Instructions are difficult to make sense of
7. JET JDP-17 716300 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
Thousands of dollars are wasted by metal workshops trying to find floor standing drill presses with the perfect amount of features to successfully drill on metal.
Luckily, I was able to avoid that as I quickly found out about this JET JDP-17 that thanks to its 3/4 HP motor and speed range of 210 to 3500 RPM let me enjoy the proper drilling torque and speed settings (16 in total) to drill through hard metals as if it was butter.
Moreover, this machine comes with convenient attributes such as its 5″ spindle travel and depth stop which makes drilling on a wide range of metalwork applications something very easy to do (especially when it comes to repeat holes).
Although some people like to focus on the fact that this machine comes with a pilot light that always stays on, I’d like to center on the fact that its spacious 14-inch by 19″ workbench makes drilling on metal sheets of bigger sizes something very achievable.
- 5″ spindle travel which is enough for drilling through thick metal pieces
- 3/4 HP motor with a speed range of 210 to 3500 RPM (and 16 optional velocities) provides enough torque to drill on all kinds of metals
- The spacious work table of 14″ by 19″ allows drilling on big metal units
- Built-in led light guarantees enough luminosity to see where one is drilling
- Fast speed changes thanks to its one-handed belt tensioning
- Depth stop makes repeated drilling easy
- The pilot light always stays on which is a bit annoying
8. SHOP FOX W1680 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
Getting a floor standing drill press with powerful torque is one of my first priorities as this machine is destined to drill on hard metal sheets.
Luckily that’s exactly what one gets with this SHOP FOX W1680 floor standing drill press as it comes with a 1 HP motor which stays above average in terms of the drilling power it delivers.
Additionally, this machine has a speed range of 140 to 3,050 RPM with 12 speeds which is perfect for drilling on all kinds of metal pieces as it gives enough flexibility to adapt the drilling velocity to different kinds of metals.
One of the biggest cons this machine has is its plastic knobs that feel a bit cheap. However, they work perfectly and have not broken yet.
This floor drill press is really convenient too, as it has a large cast iron work table that tilts 90 degrees allowing big metal sheets to be drilled in different angles. Its 3-1/4-inch spindle travel is also a great attribute as it allows metalworkers to take on big projects they might not be able to complete with less capable floor standing drill presses.
- Large cast-iron work table lets one work with metal pieces of all sizes and it even tilts 90 degrees to boost convenience
- 2-year warranty
- 1 HP motor provides reliable torque
- Speed range of 140 to 3,050 RPM with 12 speeds which is very convenient for adapting the drilling speeds to different kinds of metals
- The machine is very easy to assemble
- 3-1/4-inch spindle travel is sufficient for metalworking
- Drill press knobs are made of plastic which feels cheap at the touch (although are fairly durable, to be honest)
- With its 200 pounds of weight, it can be a bit heavy and bulky for some workshops
9. Klutch Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
- Motor: 1 1/2 HP
- Speed Range: 600 to 2,400 RPM
- Number of Speeds: 12
- Weight: About 220 pounds
The right floor standing drill press for drilling on metal must have a strong motor that delivers a potent drilling torque.
In that context, this Klutch floor drill press performs perfectly as it comes with a 1 1/2 HP motor which is powerful enough to deliver a speed range of 600 to 2,400 RPM in 12 different speeds. As a result, this machine stands apart in terms of drilling torque which is sufficient for drilling on the thickest metal sheets one might think of.
Even though its assembly requires two people to be completed, this is completely overshadowed by the machine’s roomy worktable of 14-inches by 14-inches which gives metalworkers enough space to drill comfortably on a wide variety of metal pieces, regardless of their size and thickness.
Finally, this floor drill press comes with a gooseneck led light that lets workers see where they’re drilling on, which solves an issue frequently present in workshops with bad lighting.
- Sizeable workbench (14″ x 14″) lets one drill on big metal pieces
- 1 Hp motor outputs enough torque to easily drill on dense metal pieces
- Gooseneck led light gives metalworkers good lighting to see where they’re drilling
- 12 speeds and a speed range of 600 to 2,400 RPM gives the drilling flexibility for drilling on metal (make sure you’re using cobalt drill bits though!)
- Digital speed readout makes the process of adapting the drilling speed to each metal type very easy
- Takes two people to assemble, no doubts
10. JET J-2500 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
Knowing one has spent their hard-earned money on a powerful floor standing drill press that easily drills through metal is a really good feeling, right?
Luckily, that’s the feeling I got with this JET J-2500 floor drill press as it comes with a 3/4 HP motor that, disregarding how bulky it is, provides the drilling torque one needs to drill on thick metal pieces.
Drilling on different kinds of metals requires different RPM settings which is why I love how this machine comes with 16 speeds and a speed range of 200 to 3630 RPM which is perfect for adapting the drilling velocity to successfully drill on a wide variety of metals.
To top things off, this machine comes with a sizeable work table that tilts to allow drilling from various angles which might be a vital quality for certain metalworkers.
- Tilting workbench lets metalworkers drill from convenient angles
- 16 speeds allow adapting the drilling speed to the type and thickness of the metal piece being drilled
- Very easy to put together (big props to Jet!)
- 2-year warranty (it’s always good to be covered)
- Top-quality materials used (such as its cast-iron head)
- Drilling precision is put at another level thanks to its large quill
- Powerful 3/4 HP motor
- A bit heavy for my taste, very durable though
- 3-1/8-inch drill stroke can be a bit restrictive for some metalworkers
My Verdict: The Best Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
JET JDP-17 716300 Floor Standing Drill Press for Metal
If you’d like to know the reasoning behind choosing this Jet floor standing drill press as the best of its kind for drilling on metal, please click the button down below and read its review.
Quick Comparison Table
How Did I Test The Best Floor Standing Drill Presses for Metal?
There are specifics, well-planned tests I performed when selecting the best floor standing drill presses for metal. These are the most important ones:
Torque becomes essential for drilling on metal as it’s a hard material that’s not broken easily.
That’s why (besides using cobalt drill bits) I made sure to stress-test each machine’s drilling torque on thick pieces of metal (thickest than the ones I would usually drill on at my workshop). Why? because it’s a pretty efficient way to make sure the motor is good enough for drilling on metal.
If the machine performed well in this area, then I proceeded with further testing.
If you’ve ever drilled on metal, you’d know that setting the floor drill press to a low RPM is essential for drilling on this material as it’s the only way to make sure the drill bit doesn’t “bite” on the metal and ruins your machine and finished project in the process.
Thus, I made sure to test if each floor standing drill press had the speed range and number of speeds necessary to properly set the machine to drill on metal without issues.
Nobody wants to waste money, right?
Well, this is why I made sure to test if the floor drill press being reviewed had a solid structure and was made with quality materials (such as steel and cast iron or ball bearing motors) as this is the best way to make sure that the hundreds of dollars spent on the machine are not wasted.
Must-Have Features of The Best Floor Standing Drill Presses for Metal
There is a certain group of features floor standing drill presses must have to be able to drill on metals. In case you wanted to pick a floor standing drill press yourself, here’s the list of those features:
When you’re trying to break metal (meaning when you drill on metal) with a harder metal (i.e. a cobalt drill bit) there’s a lot of torque needed to make this possible. It’s nothing like drilling on wood, in fact, metal has 15 times the density of regular wood.
This is why my recommendation is to get a floor standing drill press with at least a 2/3 horsepower motor which, in my calculations, provides enough torque to drill through most metals.
Metal is a tricky material to drill on. No doubts. I mean, you could easily break many drill bits and wreck an entire drill press if you don’t know how to drill on this material.
This is why it’s a great idea to make sure to:
- Use cobalt drill bits, both in their step and twirl versions as cobalt is a material that can deal with the high temperatures raised when drilling on metal
- Use a cutting oil to protect the drill bits from getting melted
- Set a low RPM speed (close to 300 RPM) in your floor standing drill press to make sure the drill is done properly
In that context, I advise metalworkers to select a floor drill press that has a wide speed range and a high number of speeds. They’ll want to have the flexibility to adapt the drilling speed to the thickness and type of metal they’re drilling on. In fact, different metals require different RPM settings, it’s not the same to drill on steel as it is to drill on titanium or aluminum.
Look, if you want to drill on different types of metals (i.e. steel, aluminum, etc..) and do this on pieces of different thicknesses you’ll need drill bits of different sizes. That’s a given.
Knowing this, the chuck size is the clamp in the floor drill press that clamps the drill bits. Thus, the bigger the chuck size, the bigger drill bits you’ll be able to use. See where I’m going?
My recommendation is to invest in a floor standing drill press with the biggest chuck you could afford as you’ll bulletproof the machine against needing to use bigger drill bits in your future projects. Remember: changing the chuck is not only expensive but a real pain in the you-know-what. Try to avoid it at all costs!
The reasoning behind this advice goes hand in hand with the previous one.
As you may know, the spindle travel is the vertical length in which the chuck and drill bit travel when the press is used. As a result, this feature limits the depth of the drilled holes you can make on metal pieces.
To have the peace of mind that you won’t regret your decision, I’d say go for a floor standing drill press with a spindle travel between 3″ and 6″ as it covers most projects metalworkers usually do.
A common annoyance metalworkers have to face is working on workshops with very little luminosity which affects the quality of their work.
This is why I like to recommend finding floor standing drill presses manufactured with a built-in led light as it’s the perfect solution for giving the proper lighting to the surface the metalworker is drilling on.
There’s nothing better than a machine that lasts you a couple of decades, right?
This is why making sure your floor standing drill press is made with top-quality materials (such as stainless steel, cast iron, and ball bearing motors) is a great idea in today’s world where everything seems to be made to last no more than a year.
Nothing beats sleeping well at night. And nothing keeps you up at night than knowing you spent hundreds of dollars (sometimes thousands) on a machine that didn’t last more than a few months.
This is where warranties and customer service comes in. Making sure you invest your hard-earned money in a machine that’s backed by a 2+ year warranty is a good idea nowadays. Additionally, looking at reviews to see how well the customer service is also a good tip to follow before spending that kind of money.
We all appreciate a powerful floor standing drill press that drills through metal as if it was butter, right?
Well, the thing is that the more powerful the floor drill press is, the bigger the machine will be and the less space you’ll have left in your workshop.
Thus, I recommend making sure to get the biggest floor standing drill press you can get, considering the dimensions of your workshop. Secondly, having an extra pair of hands to help you assemble the machine would be great too as these machines commonly weigh more than 200 pounds.
Drilling on metal sheets and other bulkier metal pieces is very annoying. The best solution is getting a floor standing drill press with a spacious work table that lets one drill on sizeable metal parts without any issues.
As a result, I would recommend getting a floor standing drill press with a work table that’s at least 14″ by 14″ as, based on my experience, this is the minimum size a work table must have to take on substantial metal sheets and pieces.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to drill on metal with a floor standing drill press?
Metal behaves in a totally different way than wood, which is why one has to know how to drill on metal to avoid ruining their floor drill press and drill bits. To help you save some time and money, these are the tips I follow to drill on metal:
- Use cobalt drill bits: Cobalt drill bits are made of steel and about 5% cobalt. If you didn’t know, cobalt’s melting point is at 1495°C. This means the drill bit will take on the heat coming from the breaking of the metal’s surface without being damaged. Furthermore, when drilling on thicker metals you might be fine with cobalt swirl drill bits as they are strong enough. However, if you want to drill on thin metal sheets then I’d recommend cobalt step drill bits as the drill tends to want to grab the metal and swirl it around. This, of course, is not going to happen with a cobalt step drill bit.
- Use cutting oil: Even though some people like to say that cobalt drill bits are enough to drill on metals such as steel, aluminum, bronze, cast iron, stainless steel, and titanium, I think that using a bit of cutting oil when drilling is vital for keeping your expensive drill bits undamaged
- Drill with low RPM: To properly drill on metal, you’ll set your floor drill press to low RPM to make sure the drilled hole is precise and the drill bit is intact. In my experience, I use my floor drill press at 260 RPM to drill on both metal sheets and thicker metal pieces. However, some people set their machines to 420 RPM and 510 RPM. Again, the common knowledge is that the floor drill press should be on low RPM to drill through metal.
What’s the advantage of a floor standing drill press for metal?
There are two essential attributes for drilling on metal: torque and precision. Guess what’s the biggest advantage of a floor standing drill press? You guessed it: torque and precision. What a coincidence!
All joking aside, the way in which a floor drill pressed is engineered allows it to provide maximum precision and drilling power as it has a strong motor and a sizeable chuck. Also, metal, being a hard and tricky material, requires precision, torque, and low RPM to be drilled which are all attributes you can find in this type of drill.
Thus, one would say the two biggest advantages that a floor standing drill press has (torque and precision) are exactly what is needed to drill on metal.
What kinds of metals can a floor standing drill press drill?
Metal comes in a wide variety of types. I mean, you have:
- Stainless Steel
- Cast Iron
All of these can be found around a metalworker’s workshop. Thus, in one way or another, a floor standing drill press must be able to drill through all of these.
The good news is that the best floor standing drill presses can drill on all sorts of metals. But, one has to consider various factors to do this correctly.
First, you have to consider the density of each metal. Then, the type of drill bit you’re about to use (is it made of cobalt? is it a step or a twirl drill bit?). Then, the thickness of the metal surface you want to drill on. And finally, you have to choose the RPM accordingly.
There are lots of online guides that help you with this. It’s easy. Once you have all those considerations, it’ll be very easy to drill through all types of metals.
How difficult is it to assemble a floor standing drill press?
Well, I’m not gonna lie. Floor standing drill presses are heavy and a bit tricky to assemble. The reason is that they have additional components to guarantee good torque and drilling stability. I mean, most of these beasts weigh 200+ pounds. It’s no joke.
However, it’s also true one only has to assemble it once. It’s a “set it and forget it” type of deal. So, getting an extra set of hands to help you transport and set the floor drill press would be very recommended.
How to clean a floor standing drill press?
I’m the type of guy who likes to keep their workshop well maintained. However, I’m also the type of guy that hates to constantly spend money to service my tools.
In that context, a floor standing drill press is the perfect combination of a tool that needs very little maintenance and, the small care it needs is very simple to do. I mean, once you see a bit of dust and metal shavings build-up, you take a clean cloth, spray it with WD-40, start cleaning the machine, and done! the floor drill press will look as good as new.
What is the “spindle depth”?
To answer this question one first need to explain what’s the spindle:
The spindle is the rotating shaft that contains the chuck which clamps the drill bits
Now, the spindle depth is the vertical length the spindle, chuck, and drill bit travel when the press is pushed downwards. Thus, the longer the spindle depth is, the deeper the drilled hole is
How big should a floor standing drill press for metal applications be?
Well, this is a tough one. I mean, it’ll depend on the amount of space you dispose of at your workshop.
Nevertheless, you must consider this rule:
The bigger the floor standing drill press, the bigger the motor, and the more powerful it is
On top of that, metal is a very hard surface to drill on. Based on this, one should look for the biggest floor standing drill press one could afford as, in theory, it would provide the necessary potency to drill through hard and dense materials, such as metal.
Do floor standing drill presses for metal need additional accessories to work?
If you don’t count drill bits as accessories (which I don’t), then no, a floor standing drill press for metal applications does not need additional accessories to work.