Last updated on November 30th, 2021
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Do you get upset when you’re drilling holes in your beautifully cut piece of DIY and your hand wobbles, making a hole go all askew? A pillar drill (aka a drill press) takes all the irritation and guesswork out of drilling holes in wood, metal and plastic. Replace your hand drill with a bench mounted drill sitting atop a column on a steady base. There’s nothing to wobble and you control the depth of the hole, its angle and how fast the drill bit goes through the material. It’s almost too easy to drill perfect holes with a pillar drill.
Our Best Pillar Drill review looks at a range of pillar drills, from models for starting DIYers through to drills for serious hobbyists and professionals. We list the pros and cons of each model and discuss their features. Our Buyer’s Guide highlights the issues to consider before making the leap and purchasing your pillar drill.
Our Best Pick of the pillar drills is the Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill. This is a top-of-the-line model from a world-renowned company. The drill is of high quality and has a range of unique features that matches its not-insignificant price. This is an investment tool that lasts for years.
Our Runner-up selection is the Sealey GDM790BR 5-Speed Radial Pillar Drill Bench. This is perfect for lighter industrial use or the serous DIYer and has all the features, including five speeds and radial feature which allows off-table drilling and angle drilling.
The Best Pillar Drills Which Are Included In Our Review Are listed Below
- Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill – BEST PICK
- Sealey GDM120B Pillar Drill Bench – RUNNER-UP
- Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill
- Wolf 5 Speed 13mm Pillar Drill Press Bench Top
- Silverline 262212 Drill Press
Top 5 Best Pillar Drill Reviews
1. Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill
The Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill carries the reputation and the high quality of all other Bosch products – it’s an impressive piece of kit. Bosch really have though of everything. This hard-hitting drill is designed with only the best features, including some not often found on standard pillar drills. These include an electronic speed control, a laser guide for precise drilling and a two-speed gearbox design for better control. Yes, this is not an inexpensive drill, but look at what you’re getting for your money.
The first thing you notice about the Bosch PBD 40 pillar drill is how well built this it is – you can tell this machine is made to last. This drill comes with a two-speed gearbox that enables you to control how much power is dispensed. The convenience of having this gear box is that you closely control the depth of the boring depending on the type of material. The 730 watt motor boasts of 200-850rpm and 600-2500rpm speeds depending on whether you have it in first or second gear. You adjust the speed by turning a simple dial. The motor is also protected from electrical damage that can be caused by overloading.
This pillar drill has an optimum drill stroke of 90mm which is actually 40mm more than some of the cheaper models on the market. Its maximum drilling diameter is 40mm in wood and 13mm in steel. The drilling depth is highly as accurate thanks to the digital display, which means no more old-fashioned depth stop. You easily set and confirm how deep you want to go before activating the drilling process.
This machine has been designed with ease of use in mind. Bosch have done a fantastic job at making it as easy as possible to setup and use with simple controls and an easy to read display.
Other premium features include a keyless chuck to hold the bits in place, so no more messing around tightening and loosing drill bits with a chuck. We really like the laser drilling guide that aids with precision drilling and is particularly for drilling multiple holes in succession. The LED power light which brightens up your working area is useful for working in dimly lit spaces. Another clever part of this drill’s design is the non-slip, quick clamp which holds the material in position.
- High quality features and the latest technology for accurate and efficient drilling.
- Ideal for drilling wood, plastic and steel, for all your projects.
- Drilling stroke of 90mm.
- Electronic speed control and torque setting for close control over how deep and how fast the drill goes.
- Keyless TwinSleeve chuck for changing bits in seconds without tools.
- LED cross laser for accuracy of drilling in all materials.
- Two-speed gear box to suit the speed to the material and your experience.
- Three-year extended warranty when you register online.
- Not recommended for more demanding metals.
- Very loud.
The Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill is by far one of the best pillar drills we have seen for use in a workshop and is ahead of its time in terms of technology, features and performance. It has the usual high quality associated with Bosch products, and premium features not often found on home pillar drills. Make use of the electronic speed control, the laser guide and the two speeds to drill holes highly accurately and efficiently with the 750W motor. As always,with Bosch products, this quality and functionality comes at a premium price.
The Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill is our choice for Best Pick of the pillar drills in this review. We consider its higher price an investment in a quality drill that lasts years and provides features for serious DIYers to produce equally high quality projects.
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2. Sealey GDM790BR 5-Speed Radial Pillar Drill
Best Professional Pick
The Sealey GDM120B Pillar Drill Bench is a serious pillar drill that is perfect for lighter industrial, agricultural and woodworking applications. This heavyweight unit has a 350 Watt motor with an input power of 550 Watts. This is the motor performance level that the industry uses for smaller units like this one.
Working with thick or resistant materials requires a drill that can produce a high speed. This model has 5-speed settings that you control according to what you are working with. The maximum speed at which this pillar drill can work is 2450 rpm and a minimum of 500 rpm. This is a wide range that should cover most, if not all, of the types and thicknesses of materials you work with.
The maximum chuck size that is recommended for this model is 16mm, which is larger than on models of pillar drills for domestic use. The spindle travel distance is an impressive 80mm which is longer than any other drill on this review. The distance between the chuck and the column is 162mm with the overall height of the unit being 82cm.
This Sealey GDM790BR comes with a tiltable table that is convenient when drilling angled holes as well as a Radial Arm which can travel 285mm to give you more flexibility. This pillar drill also features an active depth control mechanism and mouse taper mechanisms. All these features make working a bit more convenient.
- Perfect for lighter industrial, agricultural and woodworking applications.
- Power input of 550 watts.
- Spindle travel distance is an impressive 80mm.
- Radial arm controlled by rack and pinion assembly allowing fine positioning of drill bit.
- Allows off-table drilling and angle drilling thanks to radial arm.
- Features 5 controllable speeds from 500 to 2450rpm for precise drilling of diverse materials and thicknesses.
- Strong and stable construction for long-lasting service life.
- 12-month warranty for full peace of mind.
- Quite noisy.
- Not cheap.
The Sealey GDM790BR Pillar Drill Bench is the only model we recommend for lighter industrial, agricultural and woodworking applications. The top speed of the model is higher than the other models we review, and it has 16 different speed settings. This lets you accurately select the correct speed for the material you’re working with. Interestingly, as well as being a professional quality drill, it’s approved for use in educational environments. That should give you confidence in its strength and durability.
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3. Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill
The Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill is an impressive piece of kit, perfect for the DIY enthusiast and hobbyist. The bright red colour catches your eye at first. This pillar drill has top-of-the-line features and a high build quality. The model is powered by a powerful 350 watt motor that to offers consistent energy as you drill through materials with ease.
The model is equipped with a maximum chuck capacity of 13mm so it can hold most drill bits. Drill through metal, wood and plastic as well as most other materials. Adding to its versatility is a B16 spindle taper so you can use taper shank drill bits. The solid construction assures you of durability and accuracy every time, right down to the mm.
For safety and control purposes, this drill is fitted with the usual cut out function. It has a multi-functioning start/stop switch and NVR. Speed is an important consideration in drilling through thick materials. With this model, you have a choice of 5 speed settings, ranging 620 to 2620 RPM for better control and accuracy. Choosing the right speed ensures that you have complete control whatever material you are working on. This is especially handy for drilling metal as you can use a slower steady speed.
Additional safety is provided through the clear chuck guard to ensure you can always see what you are doing, a simple but important feature. If you are wearing gloves or get distracted for a second, you won’t get injured.
The dimensions of this pillar drill are: general height- 586mm; chuck to table is 167mm; chuck to column is 104mm. The tiltable, height adjustable table with clamping slots will be good company in your home workshop.
- Ideal for hobby workshop or light professional use
- Ideal for drilling wood, plastic and metal, to suit most DIY needs.
- Powerful 350W motor offers plenty of power when needed.
- Large 13mm spindle capacity makes this drill very versatile.
- Comes with a tiltable table that is height adjustable for comfortable working.
- 5 speeds ranging from 620 – 2620 RPM for accurate drilling.
- Twelve-month guarantee for full peace of mind.
- Not really up to professional applications.
The Clarke CDP5RB Bench Mounted Pillar Drill has a small and portable size that makes it adaptable to domestic situations such as a home DIY workshop or a hobbyist working in the shed. This is an affordable drill with top-of-the-line features including a tiltable table and a powerful 350W motor that lets you drill through metal, plastic and wood.
We chose the Clarke CDP5RB Bench Mounted Pillar Drill as the Runner-up in our review for its budget-conscious price and its sturdy construction and range of features. While it’s not the most powerful pillar drill in our review, its certainly enough for domestic DIY tasks.
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4. Wolf 5 Speed 13mm Pillar Drill
The Wolf 5 Speed 13mm Pillar Drill Press Bench Top is armed with a 350w motor. This pillar drill delivers effective drilling performance on most materials. As with most other models, it has a 13mm chuck capacity and a strong and durable construction. It’s perfect for anyone looking for their first pillar drill without jumping straight into buying high performance models or those that provide extreme accuracy.
This pillar drill, like all good drills, comes with a sizeable table that you can trust to hold your material in position. The table is adjustable to allow you some control over the angle of the hole you want to make. The table can tilt up to 45 degrees left or right making it more versatile. The dimensions for the table are 158 x 160mm with a clearance of 325mm from the base to the chuck. From the chuck to the table it is 200mm with the overall height being 575mm.
The maximum drilling depth is a good 50mm which gives you plenty of depth to play with. This model has a depth control so you can drill to a precise depth and avoid over drilling. Not all pillar drills have this extremely useful feature. However, some online reviewers report a slight wobble between the chuck and the bit which affects the degree of accuracy you can obtain.
For safety purposes, a clear chuck guard has been installed and you can adjust it according to your needs.
This drill model has five speeds to select from for even more accurate drilling and variation depending on the materials you want to drill. The speed ranges from 580-2650 rpm. As mentioned before, speed helps the drill get through the material faster and more effectively.
Finally this unit comes with a two-year warranty for full peace of mind which is a bonus as most cheaper models only include a one-year guarantee.
- Motor has 350w power to handle most materials in home DIY projects.
- Tiltable table moves 45 degrees left or right and has a depth stop to help you drill the holes as you want to.
- Durable construction and very well made for a long service life.
- Adjustable speed with five choices in the range 580-2650 RPM for different materials and thicknesses.
- Two- year warranty for extra peace of mind.
- Limited drilling depth.
- slight movement between the chuck and the bit may affect accuracy.
The Wolf 5 Speed Pillar Drill Press is a less expensive model than some of our other recommendations. The machine is constructed with durable materials and is very well made for the price. The 350w motor has plenty of power for most jobs you might find yourself tackling around the home. The unit comes with an adjustable table that you can tilt at a 45 degree angle in two directions. However, some online reviewers report a slight problem with the accuracy of this drill.
The Wolf 5 Speed Pillar Drill Press is a good choice as a starting out drill, It’s budget friendly and has all the basic features that a home DIYer needs.
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5. Silverline 262212 Drill Press
The Silverline 262212 Drill Press is another affordable drill and comes packed with a variety of features. But don’t expect the quality of, say, our Best Pick, the Bosch Bench Drill PBD 40. This Silverline unit relies on a 350 Watt motor (which is pretty standard) to run smoothly and to give the much needed force. Depending on the thickness of the material you are working on, you will be able to get through the material fairly well with a good set of drill bits.
We understand that speed is as valuable as the motor itself so it’s good to see this drill has five speed settings to make certain that you have full control no matter what materials you’re drilling. The maximum speed recorded for this unit is 2560 rpm. It has a manual chuck and can take drills bits up to 13mm, which is also pretty standard.
The base is made from cast iron so it fairly heavy but very durable. To know how deep you want the drill to go, you can select between 0-50mm in depth.
- 250 watt motor with maximum drill diameter of 13mm and a 50mm drilling depth.
- Drills into most materials with ease.
- Features five speed settings for better control depending on the material.
- Easy to assemble.
- Switches are a little flimsy.
- Only good for basic jobs.
The Silverline 262212 Drill Press offers basic features for a basic price which means it is great for doing odd jobs here and there. With this unit, you don’t get the quality or the features of the Clark or Bosch Drill Press. However it caters to the basic functions that you need around the house or in a workshop where accuracy does not need to be perfect. This model is an alternative starting-out drill to the Silverline 262212 Drill Press reviewed previously, but has a less powerful motor.
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Pillar Drill Buyers Guide
Looking for the best pillar drill involves considering the technical specifications and comparing prices. But it’s also about being honest about what features you need and what you can handle given your current skill and experience. In this Buyer’s guide, we highlight the main considerations for you to think about before you go out to buy your pillar drill.
What this video by Winkey’s workshop where he explains what to look for when buying a drill press
Type of pillar drill
You are likely to meet with two kinds of pillar drills – floor and bench drill presses. Aside from their size and positioning, they are not much different.
If you are a DIY enthusiast who needs to drill accurate holes from time to time, then you can rely on the bench press type that sits on top of a workbench. A good bench drill press can easily be moved to make space when needed, stored in small areas and transported with ease. That is why they are usually preferred for home DIY workshops and light professional handed work.
Floor pillar drills are perfect for heavy duty work. They have the ability to drill bigger holes and handle a wide range of thickness of the material. However, they take up space and portability may be a struggle.
Look at the size
Consider the amount of space that you have available and then look at a model that fits the bill. You will find that the small pillar drills are not as powerful and they only cater to small jobs while larger heavy-duty models will drill through some serous materials with ease and accuracy.
The depth at which the pillar drill can go through a piece of material will also be limited by the size of the unit. Gauge the amount and intensity of the work to be carried out and pick a sizeable machine. Check the dimensions of the unit before purchasing.
The power produced
Almost all of the tools that we have access to now depend on electricity. You want a machine that has a powerful motor. In most cases, you will find that the output is measured in watts which refers to the power of the electric motor. It goes without saying that the higher the power produced, the more likely you will be able to bore holes in thick or dense materials. Consider the depth of the holes to be drilled as well. Remember you also need good quality drill bits designed for the material your drilling through.
The speed and the depth stop
Speed on a pillar drill, measured in revolutions per minute (rpm) serves two functions. The faster the rpm, the thicker or more dense the material you can drill through. And the more control you have over the speed (in the number of speed choices and the actual speeds) the more accurate your holes can be as you choose the most appropriate speed for the material and its thickness that you’re drilling through.
Another useful function for controlling the accuracy of the holes you drill is the depth stop. Before you start drilling, set this feature to the depth that you want the hole to be. the drill automatically stops at that depth. No more guessing when you’ve gone down deep enough!
Between variable speed and the depth stop, your drilled holes should have the accuracy worthy of your project.
What you really need
As with any new tool (especially power tools, it seems), it’s easy for the hobbyist or ardent DIYer to get carried away buying those with the maximum number of features that they may use sometime in the future. Plus there’s the whole range of drill bits that you’ll probably need, at some point, maybe.
Be honest with yourself about what what you want to use the drill for, how often you’ll use it and your skill or experience level. It’s no use buying a precision, powerful drill if you are at the stage of making kid’s wooden toys. Press drills are not cheap, and the top-of-the-range ones are more like investments than a tool that you get out only occasionally.
A pillar drill could be an essential component in your DIY tool box if your projects involve making many holes in various materials. These power tools allow you to drill holes more accurately and precisely than with a handheld drill, and faster too. The models we review range from budget friendly models suitable for those just starting out in DIY or for occasional use, through to models with all the features anyone, even professionals, could want.
Our Best Pick is the Bosch Bench Drill PBD 40. This premium pillar drill comes with Bosch’s usual high-quality construction and features many DIYers only dream of, including electronic speed control and a laser guide.
The Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill is our Runner-up. This is a more affordable drill than our Best Pick and, with five-speed settings, you have close control over drilling through the materials that you use.
Now that you’re enthusiastic about your pillar drill, you need to have quality drill bits to get the most from it. We have reviews on the Best Drill Bits for drilling into metal, the Best Drill Bits For drilling into wood and the Best Drill Bit Sets for drilling into a range of materials.
Last update on 2021-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API