Best Benchtop Milling Machines 2019 – Top 5 reviews

Benchtop milling machines are the best feature of any handyman’s garage that provides them with the maximum productivity in any project. They are significantly useful in projects that involve high precision, accuracy, and various milling operations.

In today’s world, there is no lack of variety as we have a wide range of options to choose from with different features and prices. It eventually all comes down to how much you are willing to invest in an imperative tool like this. Having a lot of options can also get quite difficult for the buyer when it comes to buying the best benchtop milling machine that will cater to their needs.

The Best Benchtop Milling Machines

We have tried to make things a bit less complicated in this guide for all the potential buyers by listing down our reviews of the best benchtop milling machines below. Keep on reading to find our best tips and considerations for buying your machine at the end.

Best overall: Jet JMD-18 350018
“accurate drilling depth and excellent tolerance”

Best mini mill: OTMT OT2213 X2
“It is perfect for people who want a small, compact machine with high performance.”
For heavy duty jobs: Erie Tools Mini Milling Machine
“It has been designed for deep milling, face milling and drilling”
Most for the money: Grizzly G0704
“loaded with features that are often found in large, high-quality, expensive mill and drill machines”
Perfect for home use: Proxxon FF 230
“the most lightweight machines out there with great performance and accurate results.”

Best Overall – JET JMD-18 Milling Machine

This powerful benchtop milling machine tops our list because of its high performance, ability to tackle difficult tasks and long lifespan. It’s a very tough machine perfect for professionals. However, it is on the higher end of the price range, but considering its performance, it is worth investing in.

Following are some of its core features:

Power

The JMD-18 has a 2-hp, 250-volt, one-phase, UL-listed motor that gives enough power to operate at a range of 12 spindle speeds varying from 15 to 3000 rpm. In addition to that, the motor is covered with a hinged belt cover that helps minimize delays while transitioning to different speeds, thus providing faster speed changes.

Support and Stability

This machine is well-designed and provides ample support and strength. For additional support, it has a one-piece cast-iron column that makes working with heavier materials easier. For accurate drilling depth and excellent tolerance, heavy-duty roller bearings are used that provide support to the spindle.

Convenience and Flexibility

The machine helps tackle large-scale projects by providing ample space to work on. It has an extra-large worktable, measuring 9.5 x 31.75 inches, with a work lamp for extra illumination to provide flexibility and convenience.

Furthermore, it has a positive quick-stop knob, easy-to-read depth gauge and user-friendly features. For increased precision and flexibility, it is equipped with a 360-degree swiveling head.

Pros:

  • Powerful 2-hp motor
  • Cast iron column for extended life
  • Fast speed change
  • Capable of handling large-scale projects
Cons:

  • Quite heavy
  • Expensive

Best mini mill: OTMT OT2213 X2

This is a compact machine that is loaded with features of a high-quality machine. It has variable control settings, tilting head for precision, coarse feed and fine feed for both drilling and milling.

The OTMT machine has the ability to perform almost all operations that are usually carried out with large machines. It is perfect for people who want a small, compact machine with high performance.

Following are some of its core features:

Versatility

Its gear drive and variable speed control offer great versatility. Its speed has two ranges. The low range goes from 0 to 1100 rpm, and the high range provides 1100 to 2500 rpm. In addition to that, it has two feeds: one for drilling and the other for milling. This makes it capable of performing both functions effortlessly.

Precision and Accuracy

The machine has an easy-to-read dial for both coarse and fine feeds with increments that are as small as 0.0001 inch, hence offering great precision. Moreover, the head tilts at 45 degrees and delivers excellent accuracy while working along with greater control.

In addition to that, it has ½-hp, 110-volt motor with two spindle speeds as mentioned above.

Pros:

  • It can be used for both drilling and milling
  • Variable speed settings and gear drive save time while working
  • Dial is easy to read
  • It is very compact and saves space
  • Provides ample space for large-scale projects
  • Handy for professionals as well as amateurs
Cons:

  • Over time, it gets some slack
  • Some users had complaints regarding the accuracy of measurements

For heavy duty jobs: Erie Tools Mini Milling Machine

The Erie Tools milling machine is our top pick for providing the best value. It is perfect for heavy-duty projects and is designed for deep milling. It is very much capable of drilling as well. In addition to that, it has safety features, such as a shut-off button and spindle guard, which ensure safe and sound work. However, it does have a smaller table as compared to other models on the list.

All in all, it offers great value for money with amazing features and high performance. It is perfect for both professionals and amateurs.

Following are some of its core features:

Versatility

It has been designed for deep milling, face milling and drilling. Furthermore, it has gear drive and variable speed control, which allow you to get high precision, accuracy and versatility

Moreover, the machine comes with an adjustable depth stop with four hand wheels: fine feed, cross feed, lifting, and longitudinal feed. Other than that, the machine has a useful forward/reverse switch that gives more control to the user.

Power and Safety

The Erie Tools mini milling machine’s motor has an output power of 150W. It offers a spindle speed from 0 to 1000 rpm in the low range and 0 to 2000 rpm for the high range. In addition to that, it has a drilling capacity of 3/8 inches, an end mill capacity of 3/8 inches, and a face mill capacity of 5/8 inches.

It also has safety features that include a clear guard on the spindle, rubber chip guards on ways, and a safety shut-off button.

Pros:

  • Great for heavy-duty jobs
  • Capable of deep milling and drilling
  • Easy to use with safety features and forward/reverse switch
Cons:

  • Small table space

Most for the money: Grizzly G0704

The Grizzly G0704 has been considered the sister machine of JET JMD-18, which tops our list, because of its performance. However, unlike the JET JMD-18, it falls in a reasonable price range.

Of course, there are a few differences between the two. For instance, the Grizzly G0704’s motor is 1 hp unlike JET’s 2 hp, and the former has a smaller speed range than the latter. Despite these differences, these two have been compared quite often due to Grizzly G0704’s excellent performance and affordable price.

Following are some of its core features:

Versatility

It is loaded with features that are often found in large, high-quality, expensive mill and drill machines. It has a dovetail column, variable speed settings, a 1-hp motor, safety shut-off controls, a R-8 spindle with digital read-out, a large table, double locks and tapered gibs. It also has its own stand.

The Grizzly G0704 drill/mill machine is an amazing product that offers great value for money.

Accuracy and Precision

This machine offers a 2-speed gearbox and variable speed settings that provide great accuracy and save time. In addition to that, the forward/reverse switch is quite handy and gives control to the user. Furthermore, it has a fine feed control head that, along with other aforementioned features, gives all the more control and accuracy.

Lastly, it has a precision-ground cast-iron table with a large space and easy-to-read dial. Hence, you can work without any hassle.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Safety features
  • Ample space for large-scale projects
Cons:

  • Plastic gear

Perfect for home use: Proxxon FF 230

Proxxon 34108 is one of the most lightweight machines out there with great performance and accurate results. It is great for those with limited space in their workshops. The speed ranges with six different intervals from 280 to 2500 rpm.

It is capable of handling fine detailed work with accuracy and precision. For increased accuracy, the headstock rotates 360 degrees. In addition to that, it is pretty easy to use and operate.

Following are some of its core features:

Accuracy

It has been considered one of the most accurate milling machines. Its 360-degree swiveling headstock ensures accuracy and precision in every project. The headstock and quill are capable of being locked in position, which is useful and important during milling.

Power

The machine has varying speeds of 280, 550, 870, 1250, 1700 and 2500 rpm. The 110-120 V, 60 Hz permanent magnet motor is capable of yielding high torques at low speeds. It is driven by a Poly-V belt.

Versatility

It has a large table that provides ample space for heavy-duty large-scale projects, making it an ideal machine for all handymen. For milling, it has a splash guard and chip collecting tray that reduces post-production cleanup. In addition to that, it has milling cutter sets of varying diameters, precision machine vice, fine feed for mill/drill, 5-piece collet set, drill chuck, clamp sets, and edge finder sets.

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight, making it perfect for home use
  • Provides excellent accuracy
  • Versatile and powerful
  • Good for scale models
Cons:

  • Cannot work with really hard materials
  • Not ideal for commercial projects

Find the best benchtop milling machine for you

A benchtop milling machine is a big investment, so you need to do deep research and question yourself whether you need it or not. Here are some of the tips and considerations to help you with your purchase:

Power

The power of the motor is one of the essential things to consider when buying a milling machine. If you work with heavy materials and commercial projects, you will need a powerful motor. Look at the horsepower of the motor. It should be not only powerful but reliable as well, which will ensure a prolonged lifespan of the machine.

Range of Motion

The basic operation of the drilling and milling depends on the locations where you want holes and their diameters. You will need specific placement and diameter, which is why you will need a machine that accurately does that. You will also want room between the table and headstock for the accommodation of large pieces.

Versatile

When you are spending a lot of money on a milling machine, you might as well spend it on a versatile machine that does it all. A versatile machine is not only loaded with features, but it also offers excellent performance for all kinds of tasks.

Size

Size can have a direct impact on the results as well as capabilities of the machine. Large milling machines have the ability to generate more force and can handle even the toughest materials. On the other hand, small machines can only produce limited power and cannot take on commercial projects.

What Can You Do with a Benchtop Milling Machine?

The work you do with a benchtop milling machine depends on your needs. You can do everything from small home jobs to huge commercial-scale jobs. Tools like the Proxxon milling machine work really well for small projects, while the JET JMD-18 is perfect for large-scale projects.

While trying to save money, if you end up getting a wrong-sized machine, it will only limit your work and cost you even more. Hence, you need to prioritize your requirements and choose a machine accordingly.

Conclusion

We would encourage you to first think about whether you need this tool or not as it is quite a big investment that requires several hundred dollars. After you have identified your needs, you will need to do deep market research to gain better insights into what kind of benchtop milling machine would be a perfect fit for you. Before buying the tool, always compare different models and take into account the aforementioned tips and considerations.

Our top pick is the JET JMD-18, which offers excellent performance and strength. Our second top pick is the Erie Tool milling machine because of its value for money. Although all the products above are some of the best tools, these two are worth investing your money in and are capable of catering to all your needs.