Craftsman 8-Inch Benchtop Drill Press Review

For people interested in the Craftsman series of drill presses, the Craftsman 8” is the most affordable solution that does not sacrifice performance or features. In this in-depth review of the Craftsman 8” drill press, we will go through the features and benefits of this budget drill press. In order to make it easier for you to make a purchase decision, here is a breakdown of what to expect from this review.

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Craftsman 8-Inch Drill Press Review

#1. Features

Power

Craftsman 8-Inch drill press

source: craftsman.com

The Craftsman 8” drill press is equipped with a 1/3 HP motor that is ideal for wood and other low-density material. At 1/3 HP of power, this model will struggle when piercing through tough metal like hardened steel. While we do not expect it to stall, we think that at this low rated power it is more suitable for woodworking rather than metalwork.

Additionally, it can also be used as a performing sander when fitted with a sanding pad bit. Basically, this drill press will perform above and beyond when it comes to working with wood or plastic. But since this is a budget drill press, we do not expect more out of it.

Speed

We are happy to note the presence of a 5 operating speed of 740 to 3140 RPM. When compared to the 620 to 3100 RPM of the bigger Craftsman 10” model, we can see how craftsman is subtly guiding users to use the Craftsman 8” for woodworking rather than metalwork. The lowest speed of 740 RPM in the 8” model is a little bit too high for drilling in metal, especially tough metal like hardened steel. Keep it only to wood! Finally, changing the speed remains a manual process by adjusting the belt tensioning system.

Size

This model has a swing size of 8” making it more suitable to work with smaller material as it can perform a drill at only 4 inches from the edge of the stock. However, despite it being a smaller drill press, it will still offer very generous space for those who work mostly with small objects of no more than 4” in width.

Furthermore, the spindle travel of 2” provides a respectable distance for boring holes in most commercially available materials that are usually not thicker than 1”.

The cast-iron table of 6-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches is not excessively big but provides adequate surface area to hold various types of stock.

Lastly, the chuck uses a standard 1/2” to accommodate 1/2” shank drill bits for compatibility and versatility.

Construction

To be fair, the construction quality is what we like the most about this model. It is solidly built from metal which means that it will last a long time. The build quality is very important to keep up with the daily challenges of a busy workshop. This is not a model that will let you down that easily despite its small price.

We like how Craftsman made the table and base with solid cast-iron while still providing a sturdy metal column. It does a great job providing a lot of stability and limit vibration during heavy duty drilling. Furthermore, the motor pack is encapsulated in a thick plastic shell and all the knobs and handles are made from high-quality plastic for durability.

​Angle

The table inclination is very important when performing angular drills. This model allows you to adjust the table 45-degrees to the left and 45-degrees to the right. What this basically means is that it is extremely versatile when making angular drills and will not limit you in any way. The only caveat is that this model does not come with a fence like the more expensive Craftsman 10” or Craftsman 12" models.

Other Functions

  • Front on/off switch offers better ease-of-use as well as security. The power switch is located right at the front of this unit.
  • The drill bit depth is very easy to adjust with an Allen wrench. It is not the easiest method to adjust bit-depth but at this budget price, we are happy that Craftsman did not forget about this important feature.

User Friendly

If you have never used drill press before, the Craftsman 8” will make you feel right at home. It is a very straightforward drill press that does not have exaggerated or unnecessary features. Everything on it simply works and in general this unit works very well, as long as you use this drill press on wood.

We like how easy it is to operate the handle and adjusting the table tilt is child's play. The on and off switch is at the front of the unit providing both security and convenience for powering this device. Changing speed with the belt tensioning system is not as convenient as in other automatic models, but it is still quite easy with a very low learning curve. Additionally, moving the table up and down the column is equally easy and all it takes in unscrewing a knob.

#2. Price

Price is definitely where this model shines the brightest. It is situated at the lowest price point in the whole Craftsman drill press series and still offer some very competitive features like a variable speed and table tilt. You can’t expect something too powerful at the price point, and it is definitely not as polished as the Craftsman 10” or Craftsman 12” but it gets the job done when drilling through wood, plastic, and other low-density material.

#3. Pros/Cons

Pros

  • 5 Variable speed of 740 to 3,140 RPM.
  • Easy to use and very user-friendly.
  • Table can be tilted at both the left and the right at 45-degrees.
  • Solid and sturdy base and table made of cast-iron. Metal alloy column.
  • Delivered with 13 pieces HSS drill bits.

Cons

  • It is difficult to adjust the bit depth in this unit.
  • Does not have laser tracking or LED lights.
  • Speed needs to be changed with the belt tensioning system.

Who Should Buy?

It is not hard to recommend the Craftsman 8” drill press to any budget conscious buyer in need of a woodworking drill machine. It is versatile and its 1/2” chuck allows you to easily convert it to a performing sanding unit when fitted with a sanding bit. The only problem we have is the small and less performing motor of 1/3 HP. It works well with wood but will underperform with metal. Therefore, we recommend this model as a woodworking drill press for those who work with material that does not exceed 4” in width.

Last Updated on

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.