Magnetic Drill Vs Drill Press: Which One To Get

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Written By Scott Angel

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There are some duels between magnetic drill vs drill press. It may seem like similar instruments. However, they are totally different from each other. A mag drill and drill press indeed have the same functionality, which is to cut through sturdy material. As a matter of fact, they can both drill metal surfaces, but one is better than the other and more effective at it. To clear out the confusion, we will look at the mag drill and drill press. I will also take you through their functions and differences. Afterward, you will be in a better position to choose the equipment best suited for your work.

What Is A Mag Drill?

A magnetic drill is a special machine used to cut metallic surfaces. Since it is portable, mag drills are used when the material is stationary or too heavy to move. Hence, they are suitable for on-site drilling. For instance, if you want to cut a hole into a large and heavy I-beam material, it will be very hard to move that from the site. In this case, a portable magnetic drill will come in handy because you can take it to the site and drill the hole.

Basically, a best quality  magnetic drill press is made up of four parts. These include a motor, arbor, magnetic base and drill stand. As I had already mentioned, this machine is different from the drill press in that it is portable and can access areas that are hard to reach. These can be vertical metal parts that are hard to reach because they are stationery.

Mag Drill Press Benefits

  • They are protected from overload.
  • Have a quick chuck change.
  • Extremely portable drill press as it can be used wherever it is needed. Just fixing this magnetic drill press on job location through magnetic power.
  • The motors are powerful to make precise drilling on metals.

Mag Drill Press Cons

  • Chuck switching needs some changes because it can be improved.

What Is A Drill Press?

A drill press is a machine used to cut holes into wood and metal parts. It consists of a base that supports a column. On the other hand, the column supports a table. When working, you have to hold down the material using a vise or clamps.

The main difference between the drill press and mag drill is in terms of portability. A drill press functions from a workbench or table. Therefore, the material to be cut must be brought to the workstation. The magnetic drill can be used anywhere and in various positions such as vertical, horizontal, or overhead.

Drill press of its best one is most suited for woodwork. It cuts holes into large planks of wood easily and with precision. However, it is not that effective when it comes to boring holes in heavy metal.

General Drill Press Benefits

  • Drill press do precision drilling tasks pretty well.
  • The other pro is that these machines can be made to make smaller holes smoother and bigger.
  • They make smooth holes especially when you compare them to other drills.
  • They drill holes to a precise depth.

Drill Press Disadvantages

  • The machines are not very portable.
  • Time consuming to align the material properly.
  • It may be very difficult to drill precisely near curves and bends.

Magnetic Drill Vs Drill Press: Some Comparisons


Accuracy mainly depends on the application.  If you are working on wood, a drill press will do a good job at boring identical holes into large planks of wood. This is something a handheld drill cannot do. A drill press allows you to set the exact angles, depth and width. For this reason, you can easily make many holes without worrying about the angle or depth.

A magnetic drill works best on ferrous metallic surfaces. This machine is powerful enough to make precise cuts into tough and heavy metal. This is why it’s mostly used in construction.


A drill press has the speed you need to work on various surfaces fast enough. As a matter of fact, you will put in less effort. The machine comes with settings such as depth and angle. For this reason, there is no need to slow down because you are trying to be careful. The machine automatically does most of the work with little strains.

A mag drill adheres onto the metal surface when you are working. Since it is stable and lightweight, speed comes naturally. Furthermore, even though it cuts holes at a faster speed, they are all accurate.


Magnetic drills are considered the most versatile machines.  For starters, it can be used on several locations such as horizontal or overhead.  In addition, this machine is able to access those areas that are difficult to reach.

A drill press may not be portable or easily maneuverable like the mag drill, but it has its own merits. For instance, you can change the motor speed and even fit it with other tools like spindle sanders and rotary sanding disc.


Safety will always come first when working with heavy machines. With a drill press, you can easily adjust speed and control the machine. This lowers the chances of the drill tip breaking. Also, you can use clamps to secure the material in place.

Why You Should Choose Drill Press Over Mag Drill And Vice Versa

A mag drill has an electromagnetic base which enables it to lock onto metal surfaces. As long as the power does not go out, you are safe and can work on overheard positions. However, for safety purpose you have to secure the drill with a safety chain just in case the power goes out.

Drill Press on the other hand will offer all the functionalities when you are drilling wood. This is particularly important for wood drillers. On the question of which of the two is better, it depends on the specific tasks you are about to undertake.

Wood Drilling

In this case, Drill Press is the best choice. It has all the functional units to drill smooth and precise holes on wood.

Metal Drilling

Drill press doesn’t have the same power to hold and drill on metals. For this reason, it’s always a nice thing to go for the best magnetic drill press.

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