Offering the second lowest price in this test group, Craftsman’s 12″ drill press comes well equipped. A digital readout on the pulley case allows you to evaluate drilling depth in imperial (decimal) or metric readouts easily while drilling, and it’s intuitive to use. An LED articulating light helps brighten up the drilling area — always helpful — but the beam strength is pretty dim.
Laser crosshairs are gaining popularity on drill presses, and Craftsman’s battery-powered version is easy to adjust when needed. I also appreciate the steel table fence provided here (the only test tool with one). My favorite gizmo is the horizontal quill handle that allows a more normal range of wrist motion when drilling (it was a big plus for making 100 holes!).
A couple of concerns surfaced: the table’s rim was cracked (the replacement was flat and defect-free). Its tool base also seems undersized for a top-heavy machine, so be sure to bolt it down. The single pulley drive belt was thinner on this machine than others, but it still kept the press from slipping during testing. All in all, Craftsman offers a user-friendly, affordable machine.