Drill Press vs. Hand Drill: Which One to Choose?

Drill Press vs. Hand Drill: Which One to Choose?

Handyman's World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

If you have a job to do, then ensuring that you have the tools you need to finish is an important part of the process. You can’t do your best work when you aren’t using the right equipment. When you are handling a project that requires drilling, you want to have the right drill for the job at hand.

Two popular options are the drill press and the standard hand drill. These are both tools designed to create holes in materials, but they’re not the same. When you need to decide between these two options, knowing the differences between them will make your decision much easier.

Drill Presses and Hand Drills: The Basics

Before we talk about the things that make these drills separate from each other, we want to let you know what each of these drills is and what they were initially designed to do.

What is a Drill Press?

Drill Press A drill press is a large machine that is used for drilling straight and accurate holes into all kinds of materials.

This machine uses a spinning spindle to hold the drill and is then pushed into the workpiece. The piece that you are working on is clamped and held in place below for the duration of the job. Some large workshops can have options that come with multiple spindles.

Drill presses come in both a standalone, floor version, and a benchtop version. For a detailed description of what a drill press looks like and what parts it’s made of, read this article.

What is a Hand Drill?

Hand Drill A hand drill is a drill that relies on a trigger operation to intensify the circular motion of the drill’s crank into circle motions of a drill chuck.

It is found in most woodworker’s workshops, on most construction sites, and in most handymen’s work gear. Besides that, it is also commonly owned by homeowners and DIYers. In other words, it is one of the – if not the – most common power tools out there.

It is lightweight and portable. It comes in both a corded and a cordless version.

Drill Press vs. Hand Drill: What Are the Differences?

Now that you know the basics, let’s take a detailed look at the major differences between the two tools.


When taking a look at portability, the hand drill has the mobility that a drill press doesn’t allow for.

The hand drill is handheld and can be taken to job sites or workshops without much hassle. Many even have cases that allow for easier travel.

Since the drill press is stationary, it can’t be moved around as easily. In fact, in general, it stays in the same place for its entire lifetime.

Shape and Size

The shape and size of the drill press are large and taller since it allows room for a vise or clamp to hold the material, and also because it stands at typical waist height to make it easier to use.

The hand drill is much smaller and has an upside-down L-shape, resembling a large gun. The hand drill is often preferred for handymen and household projects while drill presses are used for more professional jobs in situations where consistency and accuracy are important.

Drill Press Is Less Mobile Than a Hand Drill


The price difference between these two kinds of machines is very different because of the scale and size of each model. The hand drill is smaller and can handle many jobs around the house, construction projects, and is great for jobs where you need to take tools with you.

Because of this – and other factors, it is generally considerably cheaper than a drill press.

The drill press, on the other hand, needs a stand, a vise, and is much larger than the hand drill. Because this option comes with more material and is bigger than the other options, its price is typically much higher.

You can find some of my favorite drill presses here.

Drilling Performance

The performance of the two tools is different and is based on different factors.

With the hand drill, the aim and precision of the drill are based on the user’s abilities. If they do not handle the drill properly, then the holes can be angled. However, with the drill press, the material is held in place and the drill does the work, not the user.

This makes the drill press much more precise, even with drilling at an angle, and allows the user to leave the work up to the drill.

Power Source

Each of these drills has different power sources that make each one capable of different amounts of work.

The hand drill typically runs on a battery, which limits how long the drill can work on one charge. The drill press, however, is plugged into an electrical socket. This allows you to use it whenever you need without it running out of power and needing to switch batteries.

Using a Hand Drill

Which of the Two Should You Use?

When you need to drill something, you will want to choose the best option for your project or job.

If you need your holes to be very precise, like when you doing professional work, you will want to use a drill press to ensure that the angle is just right and that there are no mistakes. By using a hand drill in such a situation, you would give yourself the chance of making the angle of the hole wrong.

If you need to go to another person’s home to fix a broken door or do repairs, then having a hand drill makes much more sense. It is lightweight and portable so you can carry it with you easily and be able to use it for high elevations like drilling into the ceiling for new light fixtures or repairing crown molding on the top of a wall.

Finally, if you are drilling into a wall or other large or stationary object that cannot be moved, you have to stick to a hand drill. In that case, you might want to use one of these attachments for greater precision and also read our article about drilling straight holes without a drill press.


When you need to find the right type of drill for the project you’re working on, you want to look at what each option has to offer. Knowing what the drills can handle and what their benefits make it much easier to make your final decision about which option to choose.

So, use all the information above to help you decide what drill you need, and which one you can put away for your current job.