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There are plenty of pillar drills to choose from in the UK, but only a few of them are worth your hard-earned money.
We’ve spent hours filtering the good from the bad to find the best pillar drill in the UK.
To avoid making a costly mistake, both in time and money, keep reading to find out which pillar drill is best for you.
Best Pillar Drill Reviews – The UK’s Top 3 in 2022
These are our picks as the best pillar drills currently on sale in the UK.
1. Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill
- The digital system displays drilling speeds and depths
- Quick clamp mechanism
- Keyless chuck automatically retightens drill bit
- Two-speed gearbox: high power (first gear) and high speed (second gear)
- Adjustable speed control
Despite being marketed as a bench drill, Bosch’s acclaimed PBD 40 is undoubtedly a pillar drill.
The PBD 40 is the most expensive pillar drill due to its long list of additional features. For example, this is the only drill in our reviews to offer a digital display and an integral LED light.
It’s also the only drill to sport an integrated laser for ensuring marked holes perfectly align with the bit. However, some reviewers have noted the crosshairs can be a millimetre out of alignment.
The PBD 40 oozes quality, from its polished table to the dimpled three-spoke wheel used to adjust the motor’s height.
The quick-release clamps can support circular workpieces, while the table is a substantial size.
With a powerful 710W motor, this drill can cut through 13mm steel and 40mm wood. There’s also the option to replace the standard 13mm chuck with larger sizes.
The PBD 40’s main drawback is its cost, which makes it a machine for professionals rather than hobbyists. It’s also a massive machine, weighing more than twice the weight of the KATSU reviewed below.
|Powerful motor||Far more expensive than the other options|
|Solid and sophisticated design||Laser crosshairs can be 1mm off-centre|
|Includes a variety of digital features that improve drilling accuracy|
2. Clarke CDP5RB
- 13mm chuck capacity (spindle taper B16)
- Five Speeds from 620 – 2,620 RPM
- Powerful 350W motor
- Safety features include an electrical cut-out on the belt guard, NVR switch and clear perspex chuck guard
- 160 x 160mm tilting work table
- Includes depth gauge and user reference chart
While the Bosch has a high-end look with its familiar green motor housing and prominent wheel, Clarke’s CDP5RB is a far more industrial-looking machine. In some respects, it’s reassuringly British, with a cast iron motor housing covered in stuck-on reference charts and safety notices.
The finish is inferior to the Bosch, with exposed springs and a basic three-spoke handle for raising and lowering the motor. Yet, considering that the Clarke costs around one-third as much as the Bosch, its aesthetic shortcomings are more forgivable.
Weighing almost 15kg, this is a chunky and robust device powered by a 350-watt motor. It has a 13mm capacity chuck, while the motor offers five speeds for slicing through wood, metal and plastic.
The worktable is 160mm square, and the chuck can support taper shank drill bits. These bits are ideal for cutting ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Some reviews describe difficulty ensuring drill bits are fully vertical, leading to wobbling during operation. The worktable isn’t the strongest, and several owners have reported chassis screws not coming out or plastic pieces breaking off.
The Clarke CDP5RB might need delicate hands, but it’s a solid pillar drill at a competitive price.
|Five-speed motor||Question marks over build quality|
|Affordable price||Lacks sophistication|
3. KATSU 100080 Bench Drill Pillar Press Stand 100W
- 【Powerful】 Provides great power (100 W motor), durability, and accurate drilling in wood or metal
- 【Adjustable Speed】 Adjust speed from 0 to 8500 rpm to meet your requirements
- 【Ergonomic】 Easy to handle while performing any desired drilling
- 【Convenient】 Includes a handle lock to hold the drill press in place thus having precise drilling measurements
- 【Efficient Design】 Has a maximum drill capacity of 6 mm, making drilling more efficient and effective
KATSU is an unfamiliar brand in the UK, but its mini pillar drill represents an interesting alternative to the Bosch and Clarke models reviewed above. For one thing, it weighs just 5.28kg – barely a third of the Clarke!
Where the Bosch’s height is adjustable with a wheel and the Clarke’s with a three-spoke handle, the KATSU uses a simple plastic latch.
Powered by a modest 100-watt motor that runs up to 8,500 rpm, the 100080 won’t win any prizes for raw power but can cut through most timber and metal materials. Its chuck only expands between 0.6mm and 6.5mm, meaning it can’t produce larger-diameter holes unless you use a tapered drill bit.
It’s also notable in the official product photography how much blue paint has bled onto the worktable. Overall, this machine receives less favourable reviews than its competitors, with people describing the metal casting as flimsy and the case as uneven.
Nonetheless, it’s impossible to ignore KATSU’s rock-bottom price, making this a tool that hobbyists can experiment with before trading up. The 100080’s portability is also handy for people on the move, and the lack of additional features might be an advantage to users who simply want a dependable pillar drill with no bells or whistles.
|Highly portable||Poorly finished|
|Excellent value||Lacks power|
Best Pillar Drill in the UK – 2022 Comparison Table
|Model||Power||Laser/light||Max chuck size||Weight||Rating|
|Bosch PBD 40||710W||Yes/Yes||13 mm||11.2 kg||8|
|Clarke CDP5RB||350W||No/No||13 mm||14.7 kg||7|
|KATSU 100080||100W||No/No||6.5 mm||5.28 kg||5|
Pillar Drill Buying Guide – Key Features & Benefits
Below are the key points to consider when buying the best pillar drill in the UK:
- Pillar drills come with varying levels of sophistication. Cheap models create perpendicular holes in wood and metal but lack the lasers and LED lighting on more advanced pillar drills.
- Occasional users are typically OK with models costing less than £100. In contrast, carpenters who regularly construct furniture may spend three times as much on a model from a premium manufacturer.
- If you plan on taking your pillar drill on-site for property refurbs, look for compact models that travel well. Remember, all pillar drills are mains powered, so you’ll need to find a nearby socket or a long extension cord.
- A bad workman blames his tools, and pillar drills tend to get blamed for holes that aren’t perfectly perpendicular. Common causes include; workpieces not being clamped in place tightly enough, drill bits inserted at a slight angle, and even the quality of the drill bit itself. We recommend buying premium drill bits as they tend to fit better and last longer.
Final Thoughts – Best Pillar Drill in the UK
These three models all appeal to markedly different markets, so direct comparisons are difficult to make.
The Bosch is a heavyweight machine with its 710W motor and array of digital features aimed at the professional market. If money is no object, the Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill stands head and shoulders above its competitors.
The KATSU is entirely different – inexpensive, portable and lightweight, yet poorly manufactured and limited in its cutting abilities.
The Clarke CDP5RB represents a good compromise. It might be heavy and rather uninspiring to look at, but it does a fine job of delivering accurate cuts through various materials. As such, it might not achieve our highest rating, but it’s an excellent machine for those who want the accuracy of a powerful pillar drill without paying for professional extras.