My apologies. Thought I made that clear when I said the drill press I have meets my needs though it doesn't have that. It's a luxury that I believe is well worth the little bit extra.Id also argue that a rack and pinion table height mechanism falls more on the 'luxury' side of things
Again, that depends on what you use your press for. With a heavy cross feed table and drill press vise or or some other big object on the table, I would not want to set height by hand. It also holds the weight while you are adjusting the table side to side. I would not consider a larger press, like my 14" floor model, without this feature. On some little table model, I could see getting by without it. Quill travel is also important. Having to change table height in the middle of a deep hole is a PIA.As with most tools, go with the largest you can afford bost money- and space-wise. No matter what you go with, it always works out that you need an extra inch of throat depth for whatever you happen to be working on. Might as well make sure that youve got as much as you can to start with.
As far as everything else goes, drill presses are pretty bog-simple machines. Once you get off the ground floor, theyre all pretty much the same mechanically, from the second to the top shelf. Stay away from the suspiciously cheap deals, but focus more on the useful features. Variable speed with the widest range possible is always a plus, electronically variable speed is the best but im actually fond of the classic 3 step pulley setup that gives you something like 20 speeds. Quill travel is also handy, more is better so you can reduce the number of times you have to move the table.
Opposite side of the table, feature-wise, are the additions that dont do much but jack up the price. Laser crosshairs, while cool, dont really add much beyond price. RPM readouts fall here too, unless the readout is built into an electronic speed control, theres not really a point beyond being able to go "ooo, look, a number!". Before someone points out metalworking, im aware that speed control is more important there, but honestly, you dont need to have the RPM perfectly exact. Id also argue that a rack and pinion table height mechanism falls more on the 'luxury' side of things, its handy but if you have to choose between R&P and more speed settings or throat depth, go the latter