In-Depth Review: WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

Summary

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
90 %
Review

The WEN 4214 Drill Press brings me much joy because as a retired carpenter and avid DIY home improvement hobbyist, I get the most bang out of my buck with the $100 to $200 drill press unit. Cost-effectiveness is the name of the game for the WEN 4214, which explains why it's filled with features yet the light isn't the most prominent one on the list (because it offers more than just a standard laser guide versus other drills that are dependent on that "gimmick").

We Like

  • The WEN 4214 Drill Press is the complete package drill press product with its ⅝-inch keyed chuck plus key, table roller extension, mechanical variable speed, and tools for assembly.
  • Its cast-iron worktable has the dimensions of 9½ inches by 9½ inches, so you have plenty of room to work with.
  • The induction motor has ⅔ of an HP of power, ensuring ample torque after every stroke.
  • Variable speed has a range of 580 RPM to 3,200 RPM.

We Don't Like

  • No spindle lock
  • Works great with wood. Mediocre when drilling steel.

Introduction

A drill press can either be a stand that you can insert a hand drill into so that it can be transformed into a stationary drill that looks like a microscope from far away or a stationary press with a built-in drill (or in another point of view, a drill that comes with its own non-detachable stand). A drill press is typically composed of a base that supports a column that supports a table that hold the work piece that is drilled by the drill above it.

It's called a press because you press or pull a lever that in turn lowers the drill to a designated work piece (a la a printing press). Many drill presses enable you to determine the depth with depth stops and automatically ensure even spacing between holes. However, more advanced drills can show you readouts of how fast your drill is going and the exact positioning of the hole through laser or light guides.

The motor-powered drill of a drill press is also a lot more stable than a hand drill because you don't have to brace yourself and hold the drill with your arms to keep it steady. The weight and design of the drill press allows you to get balanced and cleanly bored holes every time with the precision of a computer or a factory assembly line, which is one of the main strengths of this bench-top power tool.

Who Is It For?

The WEN 4214 Drill Press in particular is more of a woodworking tool than a metalworking one, although it is capable of mediocre performance in the latter category in accordance to the reviews it has received. However, drill presses in general can be used by mechanics, woodworkers, machinists, metalworkers, hobbyists, and construction workers. It's most commonly used by woodworkers and most drill presses are marketed for the demographic.

You can create furniture with the evenly spaced holes you can create with this drill or help create holes on certain machine parts to make them fit better on automobiles and heavy machinery. Drilling holes is the second most common woodworking jobs around, right behind cutting wood with a saw. The drill itself is a common implement among carpenters and hobbyist for drilling holes on cabinets, shelves, chairs, and tables.

This former hand tool that was once hand-cranked manually by carpenters of yesteryear for boring purposes has come a long way. It's now easier to use, whether you want to drill surfaces that won't fit on a drill press with a power hand drill or drill accurately, evenly, and perfectly in alignment with a drill press, you have many modern drills that will get you covered in more ways than one.

Buyer's Guide

What Benefits Should This Drill Press Have?

Here are the benefits of a drill press.

  • Functionality

The most basic function of a drill is to bore holes on wood. It doesn't end there though. In order to judge the functionality of a drill press, you should be able to know the amount of applications and materials they can bore through. It should also have extra features to ensure drilling accuracy like a laser light guide to enable you to know where you're drilling in advance or a depth stop so that you won't drill too deep.

  • Versatility

The versatility of a drill press is directly related to its functionality. The more useful features a drill press has, the more versatile it ends up because it's able to do more things, like drill through metal, plastic, and different grades of wood as well as drill in varying depths and spacing. The drill should also allow you to do varying drilling techniques. Of course, some assisting functions of a drill won't necessarily make it more versatile, like the light guide.

  • Safety

The safeness of a drill press is apparent in two ways. Number one, the less flimsy the drill is, the less likely you'll end up having an accident with the drill. Number two, the drill press should be designed as safe. Your hands should not need to come anywhere near the drill. You shouldn't end up injured trying to replace drill bits. There should be no design flaws that lead to potential injury.

Things to Consider When Buying a Drill Press

Before buying a drill press, please remember the following.

  • How accurate is your drill press?

A drill press lives and dies by its accuracy. An inaccurate drill press is as useless as an inaccurate ruler. The main appeal and claim to fame of a drill press versus an ordinary power drill that you have to hold steady in order to use is its machine-perfect accuracy that allows you to produce results worthy of a factory assembly line complete with conveyer belt.

  • How fast is your drill press?

A drill press is typically judged by the top rotational speed of the drill (in relation to the power of the motor) and the different variable speeds it has (some can go three speeds, others can go five speeds, and still others only has one speed), whether it's bigger and softer stock at 500 RPM or smaller and denser hardwood at 3,000 RPM and beyond (with some metalworking drills powerful enough to go 8,000 RPM).

  • How powerful is your drill press?

Too much power will result in a work piece, especially a wooden one, to break or crumble. You should just have enough power or torque to enable you to penetrate through a given stock with a clean hole, whether it's ½ HP, ¼ HP, ¾ HP, ⅓ HP, or ⅔ HP. Very rarely does a drill have a full HP of power in light of the materials it penetrates through (excessive force can lead to unnecessary cracks or breaks on the surface of certain materials).

Product Details

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press

Description

The WEN 4214 Drill Press proves itself as a helpful and powerful variable speed drill press thanks to its ⅔-HP motor that can drill through metal, wood, plastic, and the like (though it mostly drills through wood). On cast iron surfaces, it can drill a ⅝-inch hole. You can also go from 580 RPM to 3,200 RPM depending on whether you're working with mild steel or soft to hard wood. You can shift speeds with a lever turn a la shifting gears on a car plus there's a digital readout keeping track of the speed.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 36.6 x 16.8 inches
  • Item Weight: 89 pounds
  • Top Speed: 3,200 RPM
  • Horsepower: ⅔ HP
  • Voltage: 120 volts

Features & Benefits

  • Guiding Lights

The WEN 4214 has both a laser guide that allows you to aim the drill on where you intend to make a hole and an LED onboard work light that enables you to see what you're doing, especially on irregular work pieces that tend to cast shadows or obscure your view of the drilling action. They work hand-in-hand to guide you to drilling accuracy.

  • Variable Speed and Digital Readout

You can vary the speed from 580 RPM for softer materials and 3,200 RPM for harder and denser materials without cracking the stock or destroying the cleanness of the resulting hole. Meanwhile, the LED screen readout keeps track of how fast your drill is going, making adjustment a breeze.

  • Gauge for Adjustment of Depth and Table Roller Extension

The depth adjustment gauge shows you how far you've adjusted the depth with the knobs in order to limit spindle travel and ensure precision drilling that's repeatable and automated. Meanwhile, your work piece is ensured of full support thanks to the fact that you can extend your table with the table roller extension for about 17 inches.

Pros

  • It has an LED readout display that shows how much speed you're using, which is a feature unique to the WEN 4214 Drill Press.
  • It has a ⅔-HP induction motor that can go from 580 to 3,200 RPM.
  • It's capable of repeatable and precision hole drilling thanks to its many features.
  • Equal torque is offered from one speed range to the next.
  • The beveling or tilting work table is made of cast iron and has a spacious area of 9½ by 9½ inches.

Cons

  • The competing brands have a spindle lock but this one doesn't.
  • The unit works better with wood than with steel, which highlights that it isn't the best metalworking drill press.

Alternative Choices

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

Right off the bat, ⅔ HP is more than ¼ HP. That means the WEN 4214 is better than the SKIL 3320-01 in terms of overall power and torque. The 4214 is also superior to the 3320-01 in terms of its top speed (3,200 RPM versus 3,050 RPM), weight stability (89 pounds versus 52.2 pounds), and size. However, the SKIL unit is easier to move around than the WEN unit.

The main claim to fame of the SKIL 3320-01 Drill Press is its relative lightness and decent rotational speed that's comparable to even bigger and heavier units like the 261-pound Delta 18-900L (that has a 3,000 RPM top speed) and the 250-pound Grizzly G7943 12 (that has a 3,050 RPM top speed), proving you don't need to be excessively heavy to work excellently speed-wise or size-wise.

2) SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Mini Drill Press Bench for Jewelers & Hobbyists

The SE 97511MDP is the smaller drill press compared to the WEN 4214 Drill Press. However, it does have superior mobility than the WEN unit by weighing only 12 pounds versus the 89 pounds of the 4214. It's certainly much lighter than the likes of the 61-pound Craftsman 10 in Bench Drill, 250-pound Grizzly G7943, and the 261-pound Delta 18-900L. It's the lightest drill on the list.

What's more, for something so compact and lightweight, it packs a punch in terms of the top rotational speed. It clocks in at 8,500 RPM, which is also many leaps beyond the capabilities of the other drill presses (that all average to around 3,000 RPM, give or take a hundred RPM). Alas, this 3.9-star wonder has the obvious detriments of shaking and vibration when used due to its high RPM and low weight, but this is tempered by having the right amount of horsepower.

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

The Grizzly G7943 lives up to its name by being about as heavy as a grizzly bear (cub) or a human heavyweight boxer at 250 pounds. Only the Delta 18-900L is heavier at 261 pounds. So you might be wondering to yourself why this huge monstrosity of a drill press has only about 3,050 RPM while the smaller SE 97511MDP has the 8,500 RPM when it should be the other way around. It's all about stability to be honest.

In regards to how the Grizzly G7943 compares to the WEN 4214 Drill Press, it compares rather favorably, with an RPM that's only about 150 RPM short than the 89-pound WEN unit. The Grizzly is not much larger than the WEN in some dimensions but larger than the others, but when you add up the area, they occupy the same volume of space probably. At any rate, the Grizzly outdoes the WEN in stability while having similar specs on everything else otherwise.

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

The WEN 4214 Drill Press outdoes it in almost every metric imaginable, although it's mostly in slight discrepancies rather than an outright gulf of difference. The Craftsman drill press shares a laser guide feature with the WEN 4214 as well as the LED onboard work light. What's more, even though it weighs less at 61 pounds versus the WEN's 89 pounds to ensure it's more mobile, it falls apart on every other aspect.

To be more specific, the lighter Craftsman has 3,100 RPM as its top speed while the WEN drill press offers 3,200 RPM or 100 RPM more. Furthermore, the smaller bench drill has a lower rating versus the WEN drill. It's more bang for your buck although otherwise the Craftsman is inferior to the WEN.

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

Last but not least is the Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press. Is it worth the money? Is bigger necessarily better? Of course not. While the WEN 4214 proves to be much smaller and much lighter than the heaviest drill press on this list, it also has a faster top speed and superior Amazon ratings than the Delta 18-900L. Furthermore, its fellow titan Grizzly G7943 has a better top speed as well.

Then again, behind that 3,000 RPM lies a lot more torque (but probably not as much torque as what a 8,500-RPM drill press like the SE 97511MDP can deliver). 

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Price

SKIL 3320-01 3.2 Amp 10-Inch Drill Press

SE 97511MDP 3-Speed Mini Drill Press Bench for Jewelers & Hobbyists

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 WEN 4214 Drill Press has a lot going for it. For example, the depth stop is easy to read and locks in a linear fashion. Also, the spindle offers 3⅛-inch of travel (which is controllable despite the lack of a spindle lock). It even comes complete with assembly tools. The worktable is also adjustable in terms of height thanks to its rack and pinion adjustment plus it can tilt for up to 45° from the left to the right. It has both a laser guide showing where you'll drill and an LED light to show your drilling progress in low-light conditions. This is why I think it's a worthwhile buy.

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