WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

Last updated date: May 28, 2019

DWYM Score
9.0

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We looked at the top 1 Drill Presses and dug through the reviews from 8 of the most popular review sites including Cut The Wood, Wood Working Toolkit, Tool Powers, The Spruce, Drill Press Guide, Tool Crowd, Toolspeek, Pick Best Ones and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Drill Press you should buy.

Overall Take

A speed regulator automatically shifts between the WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press's 580-3,200 RPMs. The mechanical variable speed mechanism also provides consistent torque, ensuring all of your projects complete reliably. This drill does make it tougher to power through some sturdier metals. So it makes a better choice for those who plan to work primarily with wood. In our analysis of 65 expert reviews, the WEN WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press placed 3rd when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note June 12, 2019:
Checkout The Best Drill Press for a detailed review of all the top drill presses.

Expert Summarized Score
9.3
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.4
508 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The LED screen readout keeps track of how fast your drill is going, making adjustment a breeze.
- Cut The Wood
The WEN 4214 12-inch drill press can deliver a variable speed of 580-3,200 RPMS, which is very versatile and allows you to work with a wide area of materials.
- Wood Working Toolkit
January 20, 2019 | Full review
This power drill model has an inductive motor with 2/3 horsepower and a beefy rating of 5.0 amps. This provides sufficient power for drilling through any materials from softwoods to dense sheet metal as long as you equip the chuck with the appropriate drill bit.
- Tool Powers
The benefit of a variable speed dial is you can change the speed while maintaining the same power and torque you may need for denser materials.
- The Spruce
February 26, 2019 | Full review
It is also possible to set multiple speeds by simply turning the speed regulator. This is good because it provides drilling applications particularly for materials with different tensile strength, density and hardness.
- Drill Press Guide
May 12, 2018 | Full review
Another benefit is the fact that the variable speed mechanism is mechanical, and this has the advantage of keeping the power and torque consistent throughout the entire speed range, helping you achieve predictable results regardless of how you adjust the speed lever.
- Tool Crowd
The mechanical system of this machine is also impressive as the variable speed is convenient. You can set it in various speed range such as at 580 RPM or raise it up to 3,200 RPM whenever you need a quick hole to be drilled.
- Toolspeek
A good feature of speed as it provides you 580-3200 RMPs with the simple turn of the speed adjustment lever and torque, make you easy and tenderness during the period of activity as well as it doesn’t create any uncomfortable
- Pick Best Ones
What experts didn't like
The competing brands have a spindle lock but this one doesn't.
- Cut The Wood
Will have difficulty drilling through thick metal, especially steel.
- Wood Working Toolkit
January 20, 2019 | Full review
The main problem with this unit is that it struggles when drilling through thick metals, especially steel. Although the variable speeds and durable drill bits can in fact drill through metal sheets, you’ll need to exercise extreme patience when doing so.
- Tool Powers
The WEN 4214 can work on both metal and wood, but its speed system makes it more suitable for wood. It does not process very tough metals to satisfaction.
- Drill Press Guide
May 12, 2018 | Full review
The WEN 4214 does not feature a lockable spindle.
- Tool Crowd
The WEN 4214 does not have a spindle lock while the competing brands have this feature.
- Toolspeek
Locking Linear Depth Stop adjustment requires a wrench.
- Pick Best Ones

From The Manufacturer

Remember when power tools were actually powerful? WEN’s 12-inch swing, variable speed drill press with laser centering device, is a powerhouse for your shop. Packed with features that you’ll find in larger more industrial type drill presses. This bench-top, cast iron drill press has the power to drill through metal, wood and other materials. Max drill capacity is 5/8” in 1” thick cast iron. The variable speed feature allows you to target in the exact speed (infinitely from 580-3200 RPM) that works for your project. While you are working you simply move a lever and adjust the speed as needed. No pulleys and belts to change! Our design uses a mechanical variable speed which allows for the same power and torque through the entire speed range. A digital readout powered by LED’s displays the running speed. Constructed with a rigid frame consisting of cast iron: head, table, and base, ensures accurate holes. Its powerful induction motor features ball bearings for an extended life and it all comes together with smooth and balanced performance even at high speeds. The 5/8” chuck with MT2 spindle taper gives you versatility with a variety of bits and features on-board chuck key storage, so you never have to hunt around for it. Worktable bevels 45° left and right for those tricky operations for the perfect right angles consistently. Base has predrilled holes for mounting onto a bench or work stand. Slotted table allows for mounting clamps and vises for effective mounting. The X-pattern laser locks-on to your drill points saving on guesswork and sparing expensive materials. A versatile and valuable tool for any shop especially when you expand its range of use with optional accessories such as mortising attachments, drum sanders, circle cutters, etc. Since 1951, WEN has proudly produced innovative powered tools focused on value delivering meaningful features that will help you complete and enjoy the work as much as the project. Remember when you could drill with laser precision? Remember WEN. DO NOT use power tools in the presence of flammable liquids or gases.

Overall Product Rankings

1. DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 9
2. Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 8
3. WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 8
4. WEN 8-In 5-Speed Drill Press
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 8
5. JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 3
6. Dremel Rotary Tool Workstation Drill Press
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 5
7. Shop Fox Oscillating Floor Drill Press
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 7
8. SKIL 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Drill Presses

Drilling into metal, wood and other materials can be tough, especially if you have nothing to anchor it in place. A drill press helps you drill holes into almost any type of material both quickly and efficiently. There are two major types of drill presses: floor and benchtop. Although floor models can tackle bigger projects, benchtop drill presses take up less space and can handle most drilling tasks with ease.

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your drill press can handle the challenges you’ll put in front of it. That generally means versatility. Drill presses with speed control built in make it easy to switch from one speed to another to customize your drilling power. You should also look at how many options you’ll have for speeds. Some drill presses only have a couple of speed settings, while others give you the option of as many as 16 speeds.

Weight is another factor. Drill presses usually aren’t portable items, so heavier can actually be better. It will provide a sturdiness you’ll need when working with heavy-duty metals. But some bench drill presses are much larger than others, so make sure you have room for the model you choose.

Your first concern when you buy your drill press will be setting it up. Weight factors into this. You may invest in a heavier drill press due to the stability it provides when tackling tougher jobs, but keep in mind that you may need help when it’s time to set it up. A 300 pound-plus drill press will be tough to tackle alone.

There are many little things that add up to accuracy when drilling. One is the type of drill bits and chucks you use, but another is simply the ability to see what you’re doing. Many drill presses have lights to illuminate your work area. So be sure to look for that, especially if your shop isn’t well lit. Some drill bits have a built-in scale to help you choose the depth and keep things consistent throughout a project.

Lastly, there’s the issue of price. You can pay more than $1,000 for a drill press, but you can also find them in the low hundreds. Determine your budget and exactly how much you’re willing to spend. You may find some of the more advanced features aren’t worth the extra money.

DYWM Fun Fact

A drill bit is a specialized tool made to cut through materials in order to make holes. You can buy drill bits in a wide variety of sizes, geared toward the type of work you’re planning to do. When you’re choosing a drill bit, you’ll find that there are certain features that play into how they work. One of those features is shank size, with many shanks designed to fit into a 3/8-inch chuck. If you have thicker, tougher materials, though, a hexagon-shaped shank can make a big difference in your results. The length of the flute on your chosen bit also determines how deep it can cut into the material you’re using. At the same time, the length of the bit itself, minus the shank, will factor into how accurate your cuts are.

The Drill Press Buying Guide

  • One of the first factors to consider when looking for a drill press is versatility. Since you’ll probably be working with different materials, you’ll need a drill press versatile enough to shift from drilling a hole in a thin sheet of metal to handling an extra-thick piece of wood. The Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press offers a choice of 16 different speeds, letting you adjust according to the particular job you’re doing. However, to adjust the speed, you’ll have to change the relative position of the belts, which can slow you down. The DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press, on the other hand, has a quick-release feed handle to change the speed, even though you’ll only get two speed settings: 450 or 300 rotations per minute. The WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill ranges from 580-3,200 RPMs, building in a speed regulator that you simply turn when you want to adjust the speed. The WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill’s variable speed mechanism is mechanical, giving you consistent power and torque no matter what speed you choose. The LED screen on the WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill makes it even easier to control the speed since you can see how fast your drill is working at all times.
  • One of the key elements in your drill press is the belt drive system. The Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press has auto-tensioning for its drive system, which means speed changes flow seamlessly and your tension and motor alignment are consistent from start to finish.
  • Your drill press will be fitted with a chuck that will need to be changed from one project to the next. The DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press makes it easy to switch between a 3/4-inch and 1/2-inch keyed chuck – no tools needed. Some don’t like the looser fit they get with a quick-change system, though. The 5/8-inch chuck size on the JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press offers more options, making it easy to squeeze in various drill bit sizes.
  • The motor on your drill press also plays into how powerful it is. The Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press has a 3/4 horsepower motor that can handle a wide variety of materials. With the DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press, you get a 10-AMP motor that can power right through even heavy steels. The JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press has a 3/4 horsepower motor that can also tackle tough jobs.
  • The WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill’s 2/3 horsepower, 5-AMP motor struggles with metal sheets, which means it may take longer than you expect. It’s best for those who plan to primarily work with wood.
  • The table on the JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press tilts, which may give you more leverage while working.
  • Although powerful, the Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press is also much larger than many other bench drill presses, measuring 59 X 30.5 X 13 inches. Compare this to the DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press, at 22.4 x 6.5 x 19.3 inches, the WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill, at 13.5 x 36.6 x 16.8 inches and the JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press, at 22.5 x 12 x 32 inches.
  • Build contributes heavily to how long any tool lasts. But with a drill press, it also offers a sturdiness that helps with your projects. The Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press has a rugged build and a weight of 261 pounds, so you can rest assured that it will last through many jobs. In addition to a heavy-duty build, the DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press also has a strong magnet. The design can lead to some wobbling in the cutters and the drill chuck with certain jobs, though. The JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press weighs an astounding 150 pounds, which may not be good news if you ever need to move it, but it does ensure rigidity through even the toughest jobs.
  • Another factor impacting the DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press is the fact that it has a 4 3/8-inch drill travel that helps it reach even farther than competitors.
  • Chances are accuracy is a concern when you’re working on various projects. The Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press features micro-adjustable depth stops, as well as a scale that helps you precisely drill multiple holes to the exact same depth. The JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press has a large quill to achieve more accurate results than competitors.
  • If you’re looking for a low price on a drill press, the Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press may head toward the top of your list. It retails for between $200 and $300. The JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press and DEWALT 2-Speed Magnetic Drill Press are mid-range, selling in the $600s and $700s, respectively. With the Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press, you’ll likely exceed $1,000, although the advanced features may make it well worth it.
  • One bonus on the JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press is the fact that the cast iron head swivels. That means your items will have a better finish than with other drill presses.
  • The Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press has handy guides on the head of the drill. These guides make it easy to see what you’re doing, improving your accuracy while you’re drilling.
  • Another feature that can help you monitor your work is a light. The Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press, WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill and JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press all come with work lights to help with visibility.
  • As powerful as it is, the Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press has a tendency to overheat with more intensive projects. That could mean you can’t work for long periods of time without stopping to let the unit cool down.
  • Assembly can be a bit complicated with some models, so keep that in mind before your drill press arrives. The WEN 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill is easier to put together than most. With the heavier drill presses, like the Delta 18-Inch Laser Drill Press and the JET 15-In Bench Model Drill Press, keep in mind that you may need a second person to maneuver it while putting it together.