The 6 Best Arbor Presses

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This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Amateur jewelers, professional guitar makers, experienced gunsmiths, and DIY furniture repairers will find one of the compact, but powerful, tools on this list handy, if not invaluable. Using the basic principles of the lever and materials like solid steel and cast iron, these arbor presses are ready to generate considerable force with minimal effort, allowing for precise and efficient work. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Dake 901004

2. Palmgren AP10

3. Palmgren RP30

Editor's Notes

September 04, 2019:

Arbor presses are designed to handle a variety of press fit jobs, such as staking, riveting, and installing and removing bearings. Most can also be fitted with some kind of bit for punching holes in materials or stamping. Essentially, if it an item fits within the throat of the press, you can apply pressure to it. Because of this, the bigger the throat, the more versatility a particular tool will have.

If you want to be able to work with a lot of large items and need to produce a lot of force, a bigger model like the Palmgren RP30 or Jet AP-3 will be best. Both of these have a three-ton capacity, however the Palmgren RP30 has the edge because of its ratcheting mechanism that allows you to produce very consistent pressure. It also offers an impressive 17.75-inch maximum working height.

For precision work though, sometimes a large model can be overkill, especially on objects where too much pressure can cause damage. If you will only be working on small objects, you may be better off with a half-ton model like the Palmgren AP0 or HHIP 8600-0031, or a one-ton option like the Dake 901004 and Palmgren AP10. Of these, the Dake seems to be the best quality, but the Palmgren models aren't too far behind and offer better bang for the buck.

As with any tool, it is important that you follow safety rules when operating an arbor press. These include, but are not limited to, wearing eye protection, ensuring the tool is secured in place and your stock is lying flat on the anvil, and only using bits and other accessories specifically designed for presses.

Special Honors

Dake 1-220 This air-powered model has a non-rotating double acting ram that can be easily adjusted for speed, pressure, and stroke length. It is made in the United States, has a maximum capacity of 2,000 pounds, and as a safety precaution, requires two hands for operation. Also, it is equipped with a rust-resistant chrome-plated piston rod and a polyurethane wiper that helps to protect cylinders from dust and contaminants.

Greenerd No. 4 Capable of producing up to seven tons of force, this should be able to handle any need. It is an industrial-quality model that features a ratcheting mechanism to help the operator produce consistent pressure, and it is equipped with a pilot wheel for rapid ram advance when needed.

4. Jet AP-3

5. Palmgren AP05

6. HHIP 8600-0031

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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