In this guide we’ll look at the best pillar drills.
We’ve compared power, performance, build quality and cost
to give you our top recommendations.

What are the best pillar drills?

  • Features
  • Magnetic base
  • Magnetic base
  • Small compact size
  • Cost
Rating
9.8/10
  • Features
  • Solid and strong
  • Good table
  • Nice size for deep holes
  • Cost
Rating
9.5/10
  • Features
  • 5 speeds
  • Tilting table
  • Good safety features
  • Cost
Rating
9.0/10
  • Features
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • More accurate than a handheld drill
  • Cost
Rating
8.9/10

More Detailed Pillar Drills Reviews

Evolution Power Tools EVOMAG28 Industrial Steel Magnetic Drill, 28 mm (230 V)

The Evolution Power Tools EVOMAG28 Industrial Steel Magnetic Drill, 28 mm (230 V) is the best pillar drill because, it has a magnetic base, a 1200-watt motor and is small and compact.

The magnetic base is very powerful and creates a solid contact between anything you want the drill to rest on. It allows you to put the pillar drill straight onto larger workpieces or to securely position it on a workbench.

This drill has a 1200-watt motor giving it enough power to get through even thick and strong metals with relative ease.

The unit is small and compact due to its magnetic base saving space on a traditional base. This is great if you need to use this product on site or move it around your workshop.

Overall this is the best pillar drill thanks to its power and adaptability.

Sealey GDM120B Pillar Drill Bench 16-Speed 1000mm Height 550W/230V

The Sealey GDM120B Pillar Drill Bench 16-Speed 1000mm Height 550W/230V is another good option because it is well built, has a solid adjustable table and enough power to drill through tough materials.

This pillar drill is built very solidly and weighs 52kg. This is ideal if you are going to position your pillar drill in the workshop and leave it there. The weight allows the unit to stay sturdy and lowers vibration which makes it safer and easier to use and improves the final finish.

The metal table is strong and make it easy to clamp your work to it. Due to the height of the machine, you have lots of space to lower the table all the way down and then drills nice deep holes if that is what you require.

This is a good heavy and strong option for a workshop environment.

Wolf Bench Pillar Drill Press 9 Speed 16mm Chuck Bench Top Mounted Yellow/Black - 2 Years Warranty

The Wolf Bench Pillar Drill Press 9 Speed 16mm Chuck Bench Top Mounted is a good choice because it’s small and light, powerful relative to its size and has a depth gauge.

This is a good-sized pillar drill if you want a smaller hobbyist option for use. It is accurate and easy to use on smaller tasks. Relative to its small and light size this is still a powerful drill capable of 400-3500rpm which means it can drill even heavy materials easily.

This pillar drill also has a depth gauge which isn’t often found on smaller models. This is very handy especially if you are using this for small intricate tasks where accuracy is imperative.

I think this is a great option for a small hobbyist workshop where accuracy is key but big tasks are not required.

CLARKE CDP5RB 5 SPEED BENCH MOUNTED PILLAR DRILL RED

The CLARKE CDP5RB 5 SPEED BENCH MOUNTED PILLAR DRILL RED is another good option because it has 5 speeds, a tilting table and good safety features.

This pillar drill has variable speeds in 5 steps ranging from 620rpm to 2620rpm. This is good as you can work on a wider range of materials by tailoring the speed to suit the material you are using.

Having a tilting table is very handy and not often found on bench mounted pillar drills. This feature allows you to either cut angled holes in square workpieces or cut straight holes in angular workpieces.

This pillar drill has a good electrical cut-out if anything goes wrong making it nice and safe. The ‘on’ button is also shrouded to prevent it from accidentally being turned on.

This is a good option for anyone who requires a bench mounted pillar drill with a tilting table.

KATSU® 100080 Mini Bench Drill Press 180W 220V 50Hz 7000RPM Fit Max 6.5MM Drill Bits

The KATSU® 100080 Mini Bench Drill Press 180W 220V 50Hz 7000RPM Fit Max 6.5MM Drill Bits is a good option for someone that needs small, compact model, lightweight design and enough power for small to medium duty tasks.

This product is designed to be an accurate replacement for a handheld drill. It’s not going to be able to tackle big tasks or heavy-duty things that a normal handheld drill wouldn’t be able to tackle.

This pillar drill is compact allowing you to tuck it away in a corner and even store it in a cupboard. It’s lightweight at 5.3kg allowing you to easily move and store it. However, it’s still powerful enough for smaller jobs.

I think this product is perfect for someone that needs it to work on small pieces of work, but they require more accuracy and precision than a handheld drill.

Pillar Drills Buyer’s guide

Powerful motor

The motor of a pillar drill is the one of the key components. The motor powers the drive belt and controls the speed of the chuck. Therefore, you want to get as powerful motor as your budget can allow. You will not always want to use the most powerful setting you can, but you will want to have it available.

As an example, if you are cutting a very hardwood such as walnut you will need a very powerful motor and to have the drive belts set up to create the most speed in the chuck. However, if you used this same setting on pine it wouldn’t be effective as it would be too fast and would cause the wood to split.

So, in summary, you want the fastest motor your budget can spare but you don’t always want to use it. If you know you will only use the drill on softwoods, then you can reduce the size and power of the pillar drill you purchase.

No load speeds

The no-load speed is the rating of how fast the chuck of the pillar drill can spin when under no load. This is a simple way to measure the speed and effectiveness of a pillar drill. However, when cutting different materials the load speed will change depending on how hard they are to cut.

Chuck capacity

The chuck of your pillar drill is a key component. It is what the drive belt will spin. You insert the correct drill bit into the chuck and then they will turn together. You can get different sizes and shapes of chuck that can hold different drill bits. However, having a good chuck included that can handle multiple different drill bits is a big bonus as it allows your machine to tackle multiple tasks right out of the box.

Chuck guard

Chuck guards cover the chuck and hopefully drill bit. They normally have a spring-loaded portion that can be lifted so that you can still access the chuck and drill bit. When the chuck guard is down, and you are drilling, the debris from the piece of wood will be caught by this guard protecting you from flying debris.

Base and table material and sizes

Having a solid base is very important for a pillar drill. They vibrate quite a lot when cutting and if the base is not sturdy and secure it can become dangerous as the machine will move which can lead to accidents. Having a solid and heavy base that is large and made of a heavy material like steel is a good choice when choosing a pillar drill.

The table is what supports the material that you are going to be drilling. Similar to the base you want this to be of solid construction. A good heavy grade steel is good choice as it can withstand vibrations and keep the piece you are cutting steady for you.

The overall size of the machine effects how sturdy and secure it can be as with added size you will normally find added weight. The table size you require will also depends on how large the piece you want to drill is. For example, if you are drilling a large piece such as a door you will need a pillar drill with a large enough table to hold it. Size also often effects how deep the holes you can cut are. Having a large drill enables you to cut deep holes if that’s what you require.

Tilting table

Sometimes you will want to drill diagonal holes in pieces of work. Having a table that can tilt allows you to easily drill these angular holes. So, if you often find yourself wanting to drill holes at different angles, a pillar drill with a tilting table will be very useful.

They also come in handy when you want to drill a straight hole in an angled piece. As the tilting table can negate the angle of the piece and allow you to drill normally.

Dimensions and weight

Pillar drills are often quite large and heavy. This is often a good thing because a large and solid pillar drill will reduce the vibrations caused by the drill and allow you to work safely. However, you obviously want to ensure that the pillar drill will fit in the available space you have. When purchasing a pillar drill you often want to look for a large and heavy option rather than a lightweight small option unless you only have light tasks in mind.

Depth gauge

A depth gauge allows you to set how deep the drill will go before stopping. This is great if you want to drill to a certain depth based on the screws or fixings you will be using. The depth gauge is also handy for repeating the same depth holes in multiple pieces that are going to be assembled together. Looking for a pillar drill with a depth gauge can really help you when you need to repeat the same task accurately.

Electrical cut out.

Electrical cut outs are a good safety feature for pillar drills. They can determine when something is dangerous and turn off the machine. These are often linked to override buttons so you can easily press the button to stop the drill in case of an emergency.

FAQ’s

What is a pillar drill?

Pillar drills are bench mounted or freestanding machines that are used to drill holes. They can cut holes in a variety of woods, metals and plastics. They are powerful and are very effective at drilling consistent holes. They are also a safe and secure way to drill holes as everything is held secure and steady as you drill. This makes it easy to achieve precise holes in your work in a way that would not be possible with a handheld drill.

What is a pillar drill used for?

Pillar drills are used to safely and securely drill holes in a range of products such as wood, plastic and metal. They drill vertical holes and can help you keep consistency with how deep you drill the holes thanks to depth gauges. You can change the chuck and the bits to drill a very wide range of holes depending on what the task requires.

What safety precautions should I take when using a pillar drill?

Proper safety wear is important. Eye protection, gloves and suitable clothing and footwear are a must.

It’s also important to ensure you know where the stop button is before you start using the drill.

You should read the manual that comes with your pillar drill and follow any safety instructions. You should also ensure you know exactly how to use your drill and the correct procedure for changing settings, attaching bits and so on.

It’s important to ensure you are using the correct speed. If you use the fastest speed for a soft wood it will be too fast and can cause the wood to split, splinter or spin. Conversely, if you use a speed that is too slow for a hardwood you can end up trying to use too much force yourself which can be dangerous.

Remember to remove the chuck key before you start using the machine. This step is often overlooked but can be very dangerous as this key can fly out once you start drilling.

It is wise to mark out an area around your pillar drill that no one, apart from the operator, enters when the machine is in use to avoid distractions and accidents.

How do I use a pillar drill?

The first step is deciding what size hole you will require and then choosing the correct bit for that hole. Then you will need to put the selected drill bit into the chuck of the machine. The machine will come with a chuck key to loosen the chuck. Once the chuck is loosened you can insert the drill bit inside and re-tighten the chuck. Ensure the chuck is properly tightened and make sure you remove the chuck key from the chuck, or it will fly out once you start drilling.

You then need to adjust the speed. Some machines have dials or switches to adjust the speed. On some machines, you will need to manually adjust the drive belt. For soft and medium density woods you will want to choose one of the lower speed settings.

Then you need to position and secures the piece you are working on to the drill table to ensure it is properly supported and stable. I would advise practising on a scrap piece of wood to get the hang of your new pillar drill.

Next set the depth gauge to ensure the depth of the hole is correct. If you don’t have a depth gauge you can put a little bit of tape on the drill bit at the correct depth so you know when to stop drilling.

Now you bit is in; your depth is set and you piece is aligned and secured properly on the table you can turn the machine on.

Once the machine is running, slowly turning the handle to lower the drill. Remember to work slowly and let the drill do the work. Once you have reached your depth leave the drill on and slowly raise the handle to remove the bit from the piece. Then turn the machine off.

How does a pillar drill work?

Pillar drills work thanks to a few key components.

Firstly, you have a motor that will create power. The size of the motor will affect the amount of power the drill can achieve. This motor powers a drive belt. The drive belt then turns the chuck at speed. The drill bit inserted in the chuck then also turns. So now you have a spinning drill bit that you can use to drill holes in wood, metal or plastic.