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Regardless of whether you’re a milling professional or hobbyist, you know that the quality of the milling machine makes all the difference in the world. The best milling machines will allow you to mill and drill through a variety of materials with precision and ease, while the not-so-great ones will torture you with a bunch of slack along the x and y axes or by underperforming in a simple drill.
But with so many products on the market, how can you know which ones are really best? How can you tell the good from the bad?
Well, to ensure that you don’t end up with an inadequate milling machine, we scoured the market, selected the best milling machines, and carefully reviewed them in detail, so that you can find the best option for your needs. Regardless of whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, whether you need a new unit for your home workshop or your business, whether you need a small milling machine or a big, powerful, heavy-duty beast, and even regardless of your budget limitations – you’re sure to find what you need out of our top recommendations.
Don’t leave this page without reading over the essential buying advice at the end, where we’ll guide you through the most important factors you should keep in mind when shopping for the best milling machine!
|JET JMD-18 350018 Phase Milling/Drilling Machine||$$$$|
|Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill with Stand||$$$|
|Proxxon 34108 Micro Milling Machine||$$|
- Best Milling Machine: Reviews (2020)
- How To Choose The Best Milling Machine
- What’s Next?
Best Milling Machine: Reviews (2020)
1. JET JMD-18 350018 Phase Milling/Drilling Machine: Best Overall
“It comes with a lot of innovative features that will allow you to mill and drill the hardest of materials with perfect precision.”
The JET JMD-18 makes its way at the top of our lists time and again. This strong, durable model is the most powerful and versatile milling machine we came across. It comes with a lot of innovative features that will allow you to mill and drill the hardest of materials with perfect precision. While it’s not a very budget-friendly option, the quality more than makes up for it. The JET JMD-18 is ideal for heavy-duty work, which is why we especially recommend it to professionals.
The JET JMD-18 features a user-friendly, innovative design that will give you a lot of versatility in operation. The 360-degree swiveling head will allow you to practice the optimal flexibility and precision in your work at the same time. The hinged belt cover provides you with a quick and easy way to go through speed changes. The easy-read dials and easy-read internal depth gauge will ensure that you’re always fully informed and aware of the settings as you mill. And, last but not least, the JET JMD-18 features an integrated work lamp which will illuminate your work as you go!
In fact, the JMD-18 features the most versatile speed settings out of our recommendations, too. There are 12 preset speed settings, which is great since all you’ll have to do is specify the type of material you’re working with rather than go through finding the ideal RPM yourself. These 12 speed setting range from 150 to 3000 RPM, which is the highest speed out of our recommendations.
“It comes with a 2 HP motor, which can mill and drill through just about any material, from hardwood to the hardest of metal.”
The JET JMD-18 isn’t only the fastest milling machine on our list, it’s also the most powerful. It comes with a 2 HP motor, which can mill and drill through just about any material, from hardwood to the hardest of metal. The 2 HP motor makes this machine ideal for large projects and heavy-duty use. We think it’s a must-have for professionals and businesses.
The JET JMD-18 is also versatile when it comes to where you want to place it. You can use is as a benchtop milling machine if you’re got your own sturdy table, or you can add another $300 and get a floor stand along with the JET. Keep in mind, however, that when we say sturdy we really mean sturdy – the JET weighs south of 700 pounds!
You’ll love how sturdy and durable the JET is. It comes with a cast-iron column and a heavy-duty roller bearing which improves support and stability. Plus, the JET is backed by a 2-year warranty.
The JET JMD-18 is the heaviest and priciest recommendation on our list due to its high quality. If you’re a hobbyist or a beginner who needs a milling machine for small projects, you may prefer to choose something that’s smaller and cheaper, as you won’t really need all the specialized features and horsepower.
2. Grizzly G0704 Drill Mill with Stand: Best Value-For-Money
“Although it has fewer features and less HP than the JET, it’s also cheaper, and it still has quite enough power and versatility for large projects and hard materials.”
The Grizzly G0704 is another beast of a milling machine – but certainly a more mellow beast than the JET JMD-18. Although it has fewer features and less HP than the JET, it’s also cheaper, and it still has quite enough power and versatility for large projects and hard materials. In fact, the price of the Grizzly combined with everything it has to offer made it our favorite value-for-money pick. It’s also lighter than the JET, but heavy enough that you’ll want to find it a permanent place in your home, workshop, or office. The Grizzly is great for milling professionals, hobbyists, and beginners alike!
The Grizzly offers great value for your money as it’s powerful and versatile. It features a 1HP motor, which places the Grizzly in the mid-power range of our recommendations. While this may not be enough for heavy-duty use, it’s still plenty powerful for most hard materials.
Another feature that really comes in handy and is included in the price is a robust stand. While with the JET you’ll have to add more money to an already hefty price, with the Grizzly, a sturdy, dependable stand is included in the purchase.
The Grizzly also gets points for being space efficient and powerful at the same time. It comes with a 1HP motor, which is not the best choice for heavy-duty use, but still powerful enough for a variety of hard metals. It’s also lighter than the JET, weighing about 350 lbs. This makes the Grizzly a great addition to a busy workshop.
“It comes with a 1HP motor, which is not the best choice for heavy-duty use, but still powerful enough for a variety of hard metals.”
This milling machine comes with some additional cool features that will add precision to your work. It has a 90-degree tilting head in both left and right directions, as well as a dovetail column with variable speed. The adjustable speed ranges from 50 to 2250 RPM. If you’re a milling hobbyist, you’ll enjoy using these features on the Grizzly.
Last but not least, this machine is sturdy and durable. The Grizzly has a very well-built construction with metal gears that will ensure years of hard work!
As we’ve already mentioned, the Grizzly is not great for heavy-duty use, as the motor may overheat.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it will take a bit of work to tram the head and smooth out the travel along the table, but this process can still be pretty fun for beginners learning the craft.
3. Proxxon 34108 Micro Milling Machine: Best Mini Milling Machine
“This machine is the lightest, smallest, and cheapest of our recommendations, so it’s a good choice for a tighter budget and great for beginners to milling.”
The Proxxon 34108 is the way to go if you’re looking for a mini/benchtop milling machine for a small garage or workshop. The motor isn’t as powerful as that of the JET or the Grizzly, but it’s quite enough for any DIY projects or hobby milling. This machine is the lightest, smallest, and cheapest of our recommendations, so it’s a good choice for a tighter budget and great for beginners to milling.
The Proxxon is the perfect size for cramped workshop or forgotten rooms in your home. It’s only about 20 inches tall, and weighs about 40 pounds – a fraction of the weight of the JET and the Grizzly. The light weight of the machine will allow you to stow it away when you’re not using it, so it’s pretty much an ideal option for milling hobbyists and beginners.
The Proxxon offers great value for your money thanks to the added features. To begin with, it comes with a complementary work table, so you’ll have a place to set this mini milling machine as soon as it arrives.
“It comes with 6 preset speeds which you can adjust based on what material you’re milling, and they range from 280 to 2500 RPM – quite the range for such a small machine!”
Despite the small size, the Proxxon offers a lot of versatility. It comes with 6 preset speeds which you can adjust based on what material you’re milling, and they range from 280 to 2500 RPM – quite the range for such a small machine! You can control the fine mill feed and adjust the height using a hand wheel, and the head swivels 360 degrees, allowing you to reach greater precision in your work.
The Proxxon comes with 3 collets of 6, 8, and 10 mm, so that you can choose the optimal size for precise milling on small-scale materials. It’s perfect for small projects, like making scale models.
If you’re looking for a milling machine that can handle heavy-duty work or hard materials, the Proxxon is not your best bet.
The overall best milling machine is the JET JMD-18. This machine has it all – it’s powerful, versatile, and very durable. The 2HP motor and maximum RPM of 3000 make the JET suitable for everything up to and including heavy-duty work. Milling professionals and serious hobbyists will love using this machine.
You get the best value for your money with the Grizzly. It has less power and speed than the JET, but it’s also significantly more affordable, and powerful enough for most milling projects (short of heavy-duty use). The Grizzly is very well-built, which ensures that it will serve you for years to come.
Our favorite mini milling machine is the Proxxon 34108. It’s by far the smallest and most lightweight machine out of our recommendations, and the cheapest, too! This model is best suited to milling beginners and hobbyists. The 360-degree swivel head will allow you to work with precision on DIY projects such as scale models.
How To Choose The Best Milling Machine
If you’re still not sure which milling machine is best for you, read on to the most important factors you should consider when choosing:
Power & Speed
If you’re doing heavy-duty work, make sure you go for something with a powerful motor of about 2 HP. Motors with 1 HP are good for hard metals, but not powerful enough for heavy-duty work. Anything below 1 HP is suitable for softer materials and hobby milling.
Similarly, the higher the speed range of a milling machine, the more versatility you’ll have in what types of materials you can cut. Consider the RPM values of each milling machine before picking the best choice for you.
Q: What safety equipment do I need for milling?
A: The main safety equipment you need for milling is eye protection, so make sure to get a face shield or goggles. The fast RPM of milling machines means that when something flies off, it flies off pretty fast.
Q: What should I consider when setting the cutting speed?
A: When setting the cutting speed you should consider the material that you’re cutting, the depth of the cut, the type of cutter the machine employs, and most important of all – if all these are something your machine can handle (1). Some milling machines come with preset speeds, which will make it easy to adjust the settings according to the material.
Q: Is a milling machine the same as a drill press?
A: A milling machine is not the same as a drill press. Milling machines can both drill and mill – they’ve got both a vertical and a horizontal axis. Drilling machines only have a vertical axis, and can only be used to drill holes rather than cut from the side, like milling machines.
Hopefully, you were able to find the best new milling machine for your needs out of our recommendations. For more information on each product, follow their title links.
While you’re here, you can also find more reviews of woodworking tools to get the complete set-up for your workshop!