Why Buy BIG? (When Benchtop Will Do)
Why buy? Even if you make a lot of mission furniture, a benchtop mortiser will serve you just fine, thanks. The argument for a benchtop model is so one-sided, in fact, that even professional production shops rarely have floor-standing mortisers these days.
Cost savings: about $700
Go big instead if you'll routinely bore mortises larger than 1/2" (for bed rails, posts, and the like). You'll need to step up to a floor-stander--or another method, such as a drill press--to get that kind of capacity.