In-Depth Review: SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Mini Drill Press Bench
I don't recommend using this time for fine or heavy-duty drilling, but it's perfectly serviceable for general use. This inexpensive drill press performs as much as you'd expect. If you want something a little stronger, buy something above the $100 mark, all the way to the heavyweight drill presses that cost between $300 and $1,000. When you use for what it's supposed to be used for (general drilling and jewelry drilling), it's an excellent investment for your money.
Here are some alternatives to the SE 97511MDP Drill Press.
1) SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
The SE 97511MDP Drill Press is a little bigger than the SKIL 3320-01 even though it advertises itself as a mini drill press while the SKIL claims to be a normal sized one. However, there's definitely a discrepancy in terms of weight. The SE unit only weighs 12 pounds while the SKIL unit weighs at least four times than that at 52.2 pounds.
However, despite of this, the SKIL 3320-01 still has a slower top speed of 3,050 RPM versus the whopping 8,500 RPM of the SE 97511MDP. So they're the same size, the SKIL is heavier, and the SE is faster. They even share motor strength. If you want more stability behind your drill press, SKIL is the way to go. However, SE provides better specs for a more lightweight unit (although it takes a hit at the ratings).
2) WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
The SE 97511MDP Drill Press is smaller than the WEN 4214 by a couple of inches but outweighed by even more than the SKIL 3320-01 at 89 pounds. However, even at its slowest, the three-speed SE 97511MDP is always faster than the WEN 4214 Drill Press, which can only go up to 3,200 RPM. The SE is also cheaper than the WEN, costing less than $100 versus costing almost $200.
The WEN 4214 is however the second fastest drill press of them all and it delivers more torque per rotation at ⅔ HP (versus the ¼ HP of both the SKIL and WEN units), so even at 3,200 RPM it could probably drill through copper. It even comes with an LED light, laser guide, and LED digital readout to boot, so it has earned its 4.4-star rating in every way possible.
3) Grizzly G7943 12 Speed Heavy-Duty Bench-Top Drill Press
The SE 97511MDP Drill Press is several inches smaller than the Grizzly G7943 but it's not like it's half the size of the drill press. The thing that makes the G7943 feel like it's built like the grizzly bear version of a drill press isn't so much its size but its weight of 250 pounds. To give you perspective on how heavy that is, this unit weighs more than Mike Tyson during his prime fighting form. It's built like an anvil with a drill on it but it's just fast enough at 3,050 RPM (but still slower than the SE unit).
Meanwhile, the SE 97511MDP is more like a low-powered but high-speed version of a drill press that you can store, move, and pack with you for usage in woodworking detailing and jewelry creation. The SE has a high 8,500 RPM you'd expect the heavier Grizzly unit would have, but the Grizzly can go 12 speed modes, which ensures greater versatility compared to the SE's 3 speed modes. With that said, the $80 97511MDP outdoes the $350 G7943 in terms of price for sure.
4) Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press w/ Laser Trac
Yet again, like the rest of the drill presses on this list, the SE 97511MDP Drill Press has a faster top speed of 8,500 RPM versus the 3,100 RPM of the Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press. At the same time, the Craftsman unit weighs 61 pounds versus the 12 pounds of the more lightweight SE unit. However, curiously enough, the heavier Craftsman Bench Drill Press is smaller than the SE Mini Drill Press and it has a laser sight guide to boot.
Technically, in terms of size, the Craftsman Drill Press is the true miniature drill press compared to its SE counterpart if only it weighed far less. It has a weight that's closer to the 52.2-pound SKIL 3320-01, to be honest. Also, it has a better rating than the SE drill press at 4.2 stars. Then again, the $80 SE 97511MDP has half of the cost of the $160 Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press, so choose which one has the better quality versus the price.
5) Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
In terms of pricing, you can buy ten or more $80 SE 97511MDP Drill Presses for one $1,000 Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press. The Delta unit is the heaviest drill press on this list, with it outweighing the 250-pound Grizzly G7943 by about 11 pounds. However, the Delta also has the slowest top speed at 3,000 RPM, so again it's unusual to see the significantly lighter and smaller SE 97511MDP have the higher drill speed of 8,500 RPM.
However, considering the raw power and stability of this monstrosity of a drill press that probably requires help to be moved around, maybe possessing 8,500 RPM of speed is overkill for it. At any rate, the SE 97511MDP edges out the Delta 18-900L in terms of ratings by about a 0.1-star difference at the time of this writing, but this is subject to change in short notice. The SE has less power than the Delta, but the Delta might be too expensive for you to even consider.
Alternative Choices Comparison Table
SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press
WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
Grizzly G7943 12 Speed Heavy-Duty Bench-Top Drill Press
Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press w/ Laser Trac
Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press
The Final Cut
The SE 97511MDP Drill Press is one of the cheapest (but not necessarily low-grade) drill presses you can get your hands on with a speed rate that's unheard of in exclusively woodworking or even metalworking presses. Its 8,500 RPM top speed is tempered by its ¼-HP motor so that even when it spins its fastest the petit 12-pound drill press won't end up shaking uncontrollably. It's compact and lightweight but has a high RPM for the sake of making smaller holes on smaller gems. It caters specifically to a niche of specialty users since many other drills out-power its motor.