In-Depth Review: WEN 4208 8-Inch 5 Speed Drill Press

Summary

WEN 4208 8-Inch 5 Speed Drill Press
90 %
Review

I like this drill press. It's nice and simple. Its simplicity is mostly due to its low cost. Rather than being cheap and low-grade, it's cheap and high-grade for a drill press of its price, which is certainly a pleasant surprise. It works amazingly when it comes to machining 6016 aluminum for the sake of finishing lower AR receivers.

We Like

  • One of the best drill presses for the money.
  • The powerful 120-volt, ⅓-HP motor translates its strength well to the drill.
  • You can control the drill completely since you can switch from 5 different speeds.

We Don't Like

  • Certain more expensive drill presses with bigger tables and more powerful motors outdo the WEN 4208 by leaps and bounds.

Introduction

The drill press (also known as the bench drill, pillar drill, or pedestal drill) is the power tool version of a hand drill the same way a chainsaw or table saw is the power tool version of a handsaw. The drill press is best used for controlled and accurate drilling of an object or thing, especially when you want it as a precise location so as not to end up with something misaligned or askew. This is something that's harder to do with a hand drill because human error and the rule of thumb can get in the way of getting something numerically accurate.

The drill press is composed of a table supported by a column that in turn is supported by a base. A motor-powered drill sits atop the whole contraption that drills in ways that are more precise and incremental than manual drill while at the same time enjoying the weight, balance, and stability of a base and column. The head containing the motor is in turn supported by the column as well. This motor spins the spindle at speeds controlled by a dial that the user can adjust accordingly.

This spindle supports a drill chuck that holds the cutting tools, which includes deburring tools, center drills, drill bits, and so forth. It also includes hold-down clamps or vises and the table could have its height adjusted through a lift crank with table lock or it could instead be swiveled away in case you need to deal with a huge work piece that had to be supported by the base directly.

Who Is It For?

A drill press is something used by woodworkers, metal workers, machinists, and mechanics. This drill can drill through wooden work pieces for furniture creation or parts of a machine for the sake of fixing vehicles or factory equipment. One of the most important jobs of a woodworker is drilling holes in wood (as well as cutting them with the appropriate saw).

The drill press is one of many implements that carpenters and hobbyists use to drill holes accurately. Hand drills may require less storage and showcase effectiveness in immediate drilling, but if you want your chair, cabinet, or shelf to work with the proper measurements without after-the-fact adjustment so as not to waste timber or wood, then the stable and accuracy of the drill press in terms of woodworking cannot be matched.

The drill press lacks the precision problems of the hand drill or even the power drill, plus it's also easier to use when all is said and done. In fact, you can make the case that the drill press is the drill equivalent of the table saw. It features a heavy base and table that allows mobile work pieces to be cut, while power tools like the band saw or jigsaw as well as the power drill are best used on work pieces that are too big to fit unto their stationary counterparts.

Buyer's Guide

What Benefits Should This Drill Press Have?

All drill presses worth their salt should have the following benefits.

  • Accuracy

If you just want to bore holes into wood, a hand drill will suffice. If you instead wish to add a dimension of accurate calibration, widths, depths, and so forth to whatever structure you're attempting to build, then the drill press is the way to go. Woodwork requires precision drilled holes with even spaces between them, especially structures that are more complicated than a wooden box or a birdhouse.

  • Speed

A drill press should work quickly as well. The speed of an average drill press is typically variable, but you can get a much cheaper drill by having it go just one speed (at the expense of limiting its applications). You should also be able to limit its depths and angles in an automated fashion so that you won't have to worry about mistakes.

  • Power

Naturally, your drill should have enough power to drill holes on even the hardest and densest of hardwoods without it ending up wearing down your drill bit sooner rather than later because it's not spinning with enough strength. It requires less effort to use a drill press compared to a handheld power drill, especially on the hands. Also, the more power you have the larger the drill bits you can use.

Things to Consider When Buying a Drill Press

Before buying a drill press, consider the following.

  • Functionality

While drill presses do require more space in order to work, they nevertheless provide better functionality in other areas, such as streamlining the drilling part of furniture making or putting work pieces together. You're also more accurate with your drilling and you can vary speeds to take on different types of woods. Buy a drill press that allows you to work faster.

  • Versatility

Also search for a drill press that allows you to be more versatile when it comes to drilling wood. What this means is that the piece of equipment you ultimately buy should be able to handle all kinds of jobs, different types of drilling techniques, and various types of wood thanks to its settings, specifications, capabilities and benefits.

  • Safety

A woodworkers shouldn't only get a drill press for the sake of assembly line machine accuracy and measured efficiency. He should also find one that's perfectly safe to use. While you can use other tools to do the functions of this equipment, your drill press of choice should be able to do things quicker, easier, and safer than those other pieces of equipment. Its build and workmanship should reassure you of quality results every time.

Product Details

WEN 4208 8-Inch 5 Speed Drill Press

Description

The rugged and strong WEN 4208 Drill Press is able to keep up with its more expensive competition by delivering consistent quality in the form of an 120-volt and 60 hertz induction motor that has ⅓ HP of power and torque and a wide enough work table that has the size of 6½ by 6½ inches. You can accommodate bigger and taller work pieces thanks to the table's height adjustability and the beveling feature that allows it to go 45° allows for more complex drilling action. The drill also has a swing of 8 inches to boot.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 22.9 x 11 inches
  • Item Weight: 38.1 pounds
  • Top Speed: 3,140 RPM
  • Horsepower: ⅓ HP
  • Voltage: 120 volts

Features & Benefits

  • Locking Depth Adjustment

To make your drilled holes evenly spaced and precise, you can use the locking depth adjustment in order to limit the movement of the spindle and control spacing better.

  • ½-Inch Keyed Chuck

The chuck of the WEN 4208 Drill Press accepts ½-inch drill bits so that you can do various drilling applications and jobs because you can shift from a multitude of drill bits and hole sizes to suit your specific needs every time.

  • Onboard Key Storage

The chuck key is immediately accessible to you thanks to the key storage room found right on the machine itself, allowing you to get it whenever there's a need for it every single time.

  • Beveling Worktable

The work table of the WEN 4208 Drill Press can do 45° beveling to the left and right. This will allow you to get the most accurate angular holes required for more advanced woodworking and furniture creation.

Pros

  • The 120-volt, 60-hertz induction motor has a third of a horsepower of power to ensure that it could drill through various materials and thicknesses.
  • The table is big enough to be workable at 6½ by 6½ inches.
  • The table could be beveled up to 45° left and right then adjusted height-wise to accommodate different stock.
  • The swing is eight inches.
  • The spindle moves up to two inches for better flexibility.
  • Readable locking linear depth stops ensures repeatable and precise drilling every time.
  • It operates at different speeds ranging from 740 RPM to 3,140 RPM.
  • Extra accessibility is assured with its onboard key storage and ½-inch keyed chuck.

Cons

  • Small table compared to other drill presses.
  • It tends to bog down.
  • It doesn't index properly.
  • Slow drilling on moderately hard woods.

Alternative Choices

1) Grizzly G7943 12 Speed Heavy-Duty Bench-Top Drill Press

The only drill heavier than the 250-pound Grizzly G7943 is the 261-pound Delta 18-900L (which coincidentally also share the same customer rating), which means these heavy-duty drill press monsters is heavier than the cruiserweight division of a given boxing or wrestling promotion. In terms of how it compares to the WEN 4208 Drill Press, it is way larger (or at least way taller dimension-wise) and more powerful plus it has a wider variety of speeds.

Granted, its top speed of 3,050 RPM (which is comparable to the top speed of SKIL 3320-01) is way below the 3,140 RPM of the WEN 4208 and the 3,200 RPM of the WEN 4214, but 3,050 RPM for drilling is more than serviceable (plus it has more weight and balance with its every drill work compared to the smaller and probably shakier WEN drill press offerings). This is a heavy-duty rugged drill in every sense of the word that sacrifices mobility for raw strength.

2) Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press w/ Laser Trac

As for the Craftsman 10-Inch Bench Drill Press, it compares more or less favorably with the WEN 4208 Drill Press despite weighing a little under twice as much as the WEN drill press at 61 pounds versus 38.1 pounds. The WEN 4208 is a little bigger in certain aspects or dimensions and delivers about 40 RPM more than the Craftsman's 3,100 RPM.

Actually, in terms of those specs, the WEN 4208's price totally blows those expensive drill press out of the water. However, there are other specs and conditions to take into consideration, like the Craftsman's twin crosshair laser guide, auto-tensioning belt system, and micro-adjustable depth stops that the WEN lacks, so the Craftsman is probably heavier and more expensive than its lightweight counterpart due to its extra level of accuracy.

3) WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

The WEN 4214 is in many ways the heavyweight version of the WEN 4208 Drill Press. The 4214 is the second heaviest drill press on this list. It's also about twice as big (or at least bigger in certain dimensions) as the 4208, which could be a plus or a minus depending on whether you value mobility over a balanced base. The 4214 is also about 60 RPM faster than the 4208, delivering a top speed of 3,200 RPM. 

On the other hand, the WEN 4214 is more than twice as expensive as the 4208. Is the 4214 necessarily twice the drill press as the 4208 to necessitate being double the price as its lighter counterpart? You decide if 60 RPM or the addition of a laser guide is worth the price.

4) SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press

Regarding the SKIL 3320-01, it's lighter than the Craftsman and WEN 4214 but heavier than the WEN 4208 and (definitely) the Dremel 220-01. It's smaller than the Craftsman 10-inch drill press dimension-wise and it's also the second slowest drill press featured on this article with a top speed of 3,050 RPM. It's like a lighter than slower version of the Craftsman, to be honest.

In regards to how it fairs with the WEN 4208, it's too heavy and too slow to really compete. It has a laser guide for hole alignment too, but all its other specs are found in superior drill presses with better sizes or better top speeds. On the other hand, it has a favorable price of about $100 to $130 and more consistent construction than the cheaper 4208, so it has that going for it.

5) Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press

Last but not least is the low-rated Delta 18-900 that got a 3.8-star rating on Amazon.com. Common complaints about this drill include shoddy workmanship, a base that breaks out, and a lack of quality control and/or customer support. Those who do like the Delta 18-900 feel like its expensiveness is justified by its largeness and how its table surface allows for bigger and thicker work pieces to get drilled.

The caveat being that instead of 1% to 5% of the customers complaining about faulty units, there's instead about 12% of all customers giving this drill press a 1-star review (which has clearly dragged its score down). It weighs even more than the average healthy 6-foot-tall American at 261 pounds and it has the slowest top speed at 3,000 RPM, which means its size is literally its best feature for a heavy-duty drill press.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Price

Grizzly G7943 12 Speed Heavy-Duty Bench-Top Drill Press

Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill Press w/ Laser Trac

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press

Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press

The Final Cut

It's a press that brings out the most out of your investment. It's strong enough for most applications. Just increase the torque as much as possible and the drill press can drill down quite a number of materials.  However, up to a certain point, it might be better to buy a stronger press if you're seeking to do more industrial-level or commercial-grade drilling beyond medium-level hard woods and metals. There are several drill presses that outdo it in the speed or girth department, but like with the Goldilocks story with the Three Bears, its specs are just right. It's not too big, not too slow, and not too shaky. It's the best drill press for your money, in my humble opinion.

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