The Best Benchtop Milling Machine – Complete Buying Guide & Reviews

Any handyman’s garage, whether hobbyist or professional, needs to feature the best benchtop milling machine available to them for maximum productivity. It is easily one of the most significant and imperative tools for projects that require high precision and difficult mining operations such as drilling and keyway cutting.

However, now there are literally hundreds of different options to choose from depending on how much you are willing to churn out.  Making things a little more complicated. Don’t worry though. We’re here to help you decode all the options and pick a product that’s best for your needs.

In this guide, we’ll help you sift through all the junk and guide you as you search for a suitable milling machine that will give you lifetime service.

Quick Overview: Our Best ​Benchtop Milling Machine Choices

​OTMT Variable Speed Milling Machine

If you’re in the market for a compactmachine that marries all the features that one would want to have in a high-quality device with normal operation, the OTMT Variable Speed Milling Machine is the next best thing.

Its functionality is configured in such a way that it can perform nearly all operations carried out on larger sized devices. The tool also features a coarse feed for drilling, variable speed control settings, a gear drive, a tilting head and a fine feed for milling.

Some users have raised concern that it slacks in the axes that cause inaccuracies but once you rig up the table with some effort, it’s good to go.

Things We Like:

  • You can use it for both drilling and milling.
  • It includes a gear drive and variable speed control that help save you time when milling.
  • It has an easy to read dial with .0001 increments, so you get the right setting.
  • It’s handy for both amateurs and professionals.
  • It’s a compact model that saves space.

Things we don’t like:

  • The measurements might not always be accurate.

​Shop Fox M1110 Variable Speed Mill and Drill

This is probably one of the most popular milling machines on the market. A monster of a mill that’s built for small to mid-range jobs. It’s also very easy to use and can mill the toughest and heaviest structures you canthink of. And although it’s quite heavy, it works perfectly well for basically all types of rigging.

Things we like:

  • The headstock height is adjustable to accommodate large workpieces.
  • It features an easy access control panel whose functions includea motor speed dial, emergency stop button, main power switch, forward and reverse switch and fault indicator light.
  • It includes a dovetail column that allows a seamless tool change.
  • It’s built provide years of service.

Things We Don’t Like:

  • It is a bit too noisy.

Zen Toolworks CNC Carving Machine

Zen seems to have a great understanding of how to marry functionality with the modernity. The tool has a total weight of 16.9 pounds which makes it fairly easy to move the mill around and dimensions of 10.7*5.7*16 inches.

Things We Like:

  • It includes an anti-backlash brass nut design that virtually eliminates backlashes.
  • It’s easy to install.
  • Assembly takes about 3-4 hours.

Things We Don’t Like:

  • It’s not equipped with batteries and so it can’t work in offline mode.

Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill

As we said earlier, the Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill is the best benchtop milling machine for you if you’re on a budget. It’s a vertical milling machine with variable speed settings of up to 20000 rpm.

The tool is built to provide you with years of service and includes adjustable slides that make milling both efficient and seamless.

Also, it has a fantastic build and structure that makes it ideal for labs, optical work, jewelry making and other delicate work.

Things We Like:

  • Extremely affordable.
  • Optimal for delicate work.

Things We Don’t Like:

  • There’s some amount of error in as far as precision goes.
  • It’s a bit too small for many tasks.

​Jet 350017/JMD-15 Milling/Drilling Machine

Jet is one of those brands that are synonymous with quality and the Jet 350017/JMD-15 Milling/Drilling Machine is certainly no exception. The tow in one lathe machine includes a durable iron column, an easy to operate knob, a variable motor speed and a depth gauge that’s ridiculously clear. Apart from having a slightly problematic speed gear, it’s almost perfect.

Things We Like:

  • It features a quick slide latch that facilitates faster belt adjustment.
  • It includes a one-piece cast iron column for extra support.
  • It has a tapered base that facilitates easier cleanup.

Things We Don’t Like:

  • Altering the speed can be a bit of a pickle thanks to the slightly problematic speed gear.

Features to Consider


When shopping for a milling machine, you need to find something that does it all for the multitude of jobs you may need it for, not just for the product at hand. After all, the best benchtop milling machine is a machine that can do a little bit of everything. If it doesn’t offer that versatility, it’s simply not the product for you.

Spindle Motor Horsepower

Naturally, this goes without saying. Any decent milling machine out there is only as good as its horsepower. The more the horsepower the spindle motor possesses, the more powerful the milling machine is going to be. So, if you’re working with heavy materials such as steel, having a machine with more horsepower is definitely essential.

Here’s a handy little tool to calculate your milling horsepower. With this, you’ll be able to predict the horsepower you need from your machine as well as calculate a machine you may already have.


When it comes to control, you have one of two options. Automated or manual. Automated machines as the name implies are powered by a Computer-aided design software whereas the manual machines are controlled by the operator.

Make sure your product has heavy-duty tapered roller bearings for support to the spindle. This allows for more accurate drilling depth and a durability of your machine.


This feature, I can really get behind. The truth is, size will have a direct impact on the capabilities and performance of the milling machine. Bigger milling machines have the ability to create more force and can be used to drill through the toughest of materials with ease. Also, most of the larger milling machines are made of steel which tends to be more durable and more rigid.

Make sure to get something that can fit in your workspace. There’s no use in hauling an entire milling machine into your garage if you don’t have a proper place for it, so be sure to keep those measurements in mind.


When looking for the right milling machine for you, make sure it encompasses all needs that you may have. It’s extremely important for this machine to be ubiquitous to your needs, or you will have wasted all of that money for something that can only partially get the job done. 

You want a power packed machine that delivers superior milling and drilling operations, but you don’t want to break the bank. That’s completely understandable. Find the machine that does it all for you without having to spend a unneeded penny more. However, this is definitely something that you want to invest in, so don’t be afraid to look at slightly pricier options if it means higher quality output for a lifetime of high-grade projects.

There is a HUGE variability in the prices of these machines, so be well informed before locking in.

Wrap Up

Milling machines are becoming an extremely crucial tool to have at your disposal and since it’s a one-time purchase that costs a ton of money, it is important to get one that will give you value for your money. It’s our hope that the information we’ve provided in our guide is enough to help you pick a suitable bench top milling machine for your needs without completely going overboard on the spending. 

Our top pick is OTMT Variable Speed Milling Machine, which is efficient, highly decorated, and worth the money you are going to be putting towards a benchtop milling machine.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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