Craftsman 12-Inch Stationary Drill Press Review

The drill press is an indispensable power tool in the workshop for both casual and professional users. It allows you to perform accurate and speedy drilling in material without much effort. If you are on the lookout for an affordable and quality drill press, the 12-Speed Craftsman 12-In Drill Press has been a longstanding candidate that offers versatility, power, and ease of use. In this review, we will cover the features and benefits of this model to see what it can bring to your day-to-day drilling activities.

In case you are wondering, this model does not have a specific manufacturing name or code, and is simply known by the generic name of “Craftsman Drill Press”. However, it bears all the resemblance, build-quality and Craftsman’s manufacturing know-how as any other Craftsman power tool.

Without further ado, let us get started with the review of the Craftsman 12-In Drill Press.

You may also like to read other product reviews such as benchtop drill pressCraftsman drill pressWEN drill pressShop Fox W1668

craftsman 12- Inch drill press review

Model: ZJQ4116D
Motor:1/2 HP
Table size (L x W):10-1/8" Dia
Chuck capacity:5/8"
Speeds:12 Speeds, 355RPM - 3,065RPM
Weight:80.47 lbs.
Spindle travel:2.44"
Warranty:1 years
Learn more:Check reviews & rating on Amazon

Craftsman 12-Inch Drill Press Review

#1. Feature


The Craftsman 12-Inch has an agile 120V 1/2HP 4.8 Amp motor that is adequate for most general purpose drilling, including drilling mild steel. It is no PowerMatic PM2800B in terms of power, but it definitely gets the job done with relative ease and efficiency, especially when boring soft material like wood or plastic. Power is one of the most important factors to take into consideration in a drill press. You do not want an under-performing power drill, as it will have difficulty drilling tough material and deliver a poor, inaccurate and unprofessional drill finish. By outfitting an appropriate drilling bit, this model will perform very well for general purpose drilling and will not feel “under-powered” under any circumstances.


The Craftsman 12-In has a variable speed of 355 - 3,065 RPM. The generous 12-speed setting of this model allows you to adapt to your material, whether you need to drill at a low-speed setting or a high speed. A fast drill speed like 3,065 RPM is great for boring holes in soft material like wood and leaves a polished machine-finish hole.

On the other hand, a low speed of 355 RPM is ideal for drilling tough material like mild steel. This Craftsman power drill has great versatility when working with different materials and a speed of its lowest speed setting is enough for professional metal drilling. The 12-speed setting makes it very versatile for almost any type of drilling, really.


Size quickly becomes a concerning factor if you have a limited space in your workshop. We like how Craftsman was able to pack so much in such a compact benchtop drill press.

Despite being compact, the 12" swing size allows you to work with relatively large materials for any general purpose drilling. The chuck capacity of 5/8” is also a standard size and fit most commercially available drill bits. Out of the box, this drill press should accommodate drill bits you already own.


This drill press is made from solid steel with a 10-1/8" cast-iron table. The table will easily hold heavy and thick materials while the table-tilt still remain fully functional. It is fairly heavy at 80.47 lbs, but one advantage of the heavyweight is that it helps absorb vibrations - which in turn boosts your overall accuracy. It will not consume a lot of space on your workbench as it is very slim - at only 9". The relatively low height of 35.43" makes this unit even more stable with fewer vibrations than taller drill presses.

Furthermore, the steel base is large enough to provide even more stability to the unit. The only caveat is the fairly short power cord of 6 feet. However, you can easily use a power cable extender. It is 18 gauge so can withstand a power draw for extended periods of time. Overall, the construction quality is decent.


The table tilt is important when you want to bore material at odd angles. The tilt inclination of the table is 45-degrees to both the left and right. You can quickly and easily adjust the angle of the table by using the tilt-swivel situated at the bottom of the table.

Furthermore, it is equally easy to adjust the height of the table with the pinion. Both the table angle and the table height can be securely locked in place so that you do not lose your calibration. Neat.

Other Functions

  • Adjustable LED: Not only does it have a LED light to illuminate your work, it can conveniently be adjusted. You can now work with full accuracy in darkly lit workshops, no problem.
  • Safety Guard: The pulley safety guard can easily be opened to perform maintenance or change the motor belt.
  • Fence: Craftsman includes a fence with the table. Not the greatest quality, but it gets the job done and allow you to get more accurate drills.
  • The power switch is located right at the front of the unit and as a security feature, it can be keyed and locked. Some manufacturers place the power switch to the side, and a while operating this unit you can easily see why a front power switch is much more user-friendly.


One of the main objectives of the drill press is to be more user-friendly than other drill press types. It sacrifices mobility and portability, but it definitely has great user-friendliness. The feed lever is easy to use, the quill distance has a nice travel and the base even has pre-drilled holes. Moreover, the 12-speed variable speed control as well as the easy pinion and rack adjustment make this model very user-friendly.

#2. Price

The price is this drill press’ strongest suit. It is not the most powerful model out there, but also not the weakest. We feel that this model touches a "sweet-spot" in terms of power and versatility. While most of its competitors are busy adding features that most users will not use, thus inflating their prices, Craftsman included only the useful ones at a very affordable price. Everyone will use the 12-speed control, will need a robust motor and enjoy the accuracy it can provide. Check current price here.

#3. Pros/Cons


  • Speed: The 12 electronic variable speed makes this drill very versatile on the job. The speed knob is also intuitive and easy to use.
  • Power: 1/2 HP 4.8 Amp is a popular general purpose drilling power and drills both hardwood and softwood quite easily.
  • Price: Definitely worth mentioning a dozen times. The price department is really where this drill press shines.
  • Beginner-Friendly: It is a very straightforward and easy to operate power tool that even absolute beginners can start using right away. Even if you never used a drill press before.


  • This model cannot compete with more premium model both in terms of features and performance.

#4. Expert Reviews

Despite being an affordable drill press, many experts have bought and reviewed it. Its low price is most likely responsible for its popularity and growing interest amongst expert wood and metal workers. Here is a review of PCRoger Reviews. The result is very interesting as you can see in the video below:

Who Should Buy?

The relatively low price, decent performance, and versatility of this drill press make it an excellent choice for beginners. If you have never owned a drill press before, this is a great model to get. It is also a great bang for buck for DIY enthusiasts and weekend warriors, who require casual and yet accurate drilling in a wide variety of material. For professionals who make a living off a drill press, we recommend a more performing and premium model like the Powermatic PM2800B which will run circles around this one.

Last Updated on August 7, 2020 by Tom Bradly

Our Score
Tom Bradly

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise. See more at

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