I’m in the market for a bench-top drill press. I don’t want a cheap piece of junk, but it doesn’t need to be gold-plated, either. I recently lost access to the one I was using. (OK, I dropped my membership at the maker space, because it wasn’t very convenient.) Hence the search for a replacement.
So of course you turn to the web. For “reviews.”
My first beef: Most of the “review sites” just repackage the reviews from Amazon. (I did find a Popular Mechanics article, wherein they actually did a review, but it was from sometime back. I may in the end rely on its recommendation.)
My next stop was the “forums.” Someone, ahead of me asked, “What’s the Bench-top drill press to get?” Or “Does anyone have experience with these drill presses?” Immediately (on just about every site I checked) someone – not the same person – said,
Why are you looking at bench-top presses? You should buy a floor-height press!
Since everyone from Harbor Freight up to Jet sells bench-top presses, it is because some of us don’t have room (or the budget) or the need to be able to drill the end of 4 foot dowel. So when someone is shopping for a bench-top whatever, you might consider that they know more about what they need than you do. Of course you see this in every forum ever. I run across it in sailing, HAM radio, and woodworking. Someone has to leap to my aid because I can’t possibly know anything.
To the untrained eye, the Jet and WEN seem to be identical. The Jet (which I have seen in person) is a nice machine, that comes with a 5-year warranty. The WEN looks identical, but I know how things work with manufacturing. Even if it comes off the same assembly line the bearings might not be as good. The motor might not be as good. Which seems to be the case, based on the difference in the reviews.
The Grizzly – with shipping – is even more expensive than the Jet, but has a 9 amp motor in place of a 5 amp. The Jet uses the “variable pulley diameter” to change speeds, where the Grizzly uses the old standby of multiple pulleys to change speeds. And can go significantly slower. (Which can be important for some operations, but that isn’t my prime focus at this point.) The big thing is that “variable diameter pulley” system (Reeves Drive) is supposed to be hard on the drive belts, and seems – at least in the case of the WEN – to make a fair amount of noise.