Best Drill Bits for Wood – Buyer’s Guide

Buying the best drill bits for wood is not an easy process. In this article, we help you make this decision by exploring the best options available on the market. The choice will generally come down to the type of hole you intend to make.

How Do You Pick The Right Drilling Bit For Wood?

Understanding the various types of wood available is key in picking the right drill bit. The two types of wood are hardwood and softwood. The general principle is that hardwood comes from trees that only contain leaves while softwood comes from those that bear cones.

Examples of hardwood include beech, ash, cherry, maple, ebony, mahogany, rosewood, oak and teak. Softwoods include pine, larch, redwood, hemlock, yew, spruce, and firs. Hardwoods are much harder to drill than softwoods and hence requires more drilling effort.

For a regular cordless or corded drill, there are various drill bits that can be acquired. It’s important to understand how each of these drill bits can be used so as to choose the right one. The drill bits designed for wood are generally made from softer metals and have tips and flutes for a better drill in wood.

Not all bits will work for hardwood. This means you have to make sure you get the right bit that will support your project. Some of the different types of drill bits that can be used with wood include spoon bits, wood spade bits, lip & spur bits, Forstner bits and auger bits.

Picking the right drill bit for wood, therefore, requires some basic understanding of what is available on the market. You then need to determine the quality standards required as well as the type of material to choose.

Some of the available bit materials include steel, black oxide, titanium, zirconium, carbide, and cobalt. Choosing high-speed bits may be an added advantage since they stay sharp for a longer period of time.

Black oxide bits gives you a good balance between durability and hardness and are used for many applications.


1

Auger Drill Bits – Pit Bull 9-Inch 

These bits have a screw tip for starting the hole and pulling the bit through to generate a clean hole. They have large flutes for removing chips and dust. A hollow center also helps in removing more chip.

This auger drill bits from Pit Bull comes as a set of six pieces each measuring 9 inches. It comes with a screw tip thread for drilling the hole and a large flute for removing the drilled wood.

If you need to create clean and deep holes in either hard or soft wood, then this is the ideal choice for you. The lead screws help in pulling the bit into work hence minimizing the strain and eliminating the use of extra pressure.

These bits can be used by both electric and hand drills. It also comes in various sizes ranging from 0.375 inches all the way to 0.78125 inches.

PROS:

  • The connection between the chuck and the bit is firm and secure as a result of its hexagonal shank
  • The large flutes helps in removing the wood chips as the bit cuts through the wood
  • Good quality tool

CONS:

  • Smokes and stalls out especially when drilling a thicker piece of wood
  • Customers have complained about missing parts like grinds once bought
  • The six-sided design is not ideal for bit races


2

Spade Drill Bits – Black & Decker 71-536 1/4-Inch to 1-1/2-Inch

Spade drill bits are also known as paddle bits and help in drilling large diameter holes in wood. They have a flattened blade and a sharp point for positioning the bit on the wood. Some have points at two edges for creating a neater hole and exiting the wood.

Stanley Black & Decker company has set an excellent standard for the building, repairing and protecting valuable objects since 1843.

Its spade drill bit has been designed to fit many wood drilling brands available on the market. The bit measures up to 1.5 inches. A soft storage convenient case is also included.

The set contains an assortment of 13 spade bits. This bit is compact for portability and quite durable. In fact it comes with a two year warranty.

PROS:

  • Quality tool for light and medium duty tasks
  • The fabric carrying case has a nice touch
  • Value for money

CONS:

  • The size of the drill bits are in inches while that of the shank is in millimeters
  • A number of customers have complained about the wobble on the bits
  • Some of the bits come slightly off center and this makes it hard to drill a hole


3

Spade Drill Bits – DEWALT DW1587 6 Bit 3/8-Inch to 1-Inch

The DEWALT DW1587 6 bit includes six high performance commonly used drill bits. It’s a Cubitron-based tough and durable Regalite.

The Cubitron sol-gel is self-sharpening and abrasive on a Y-weight cloth. The bit features a Max Life corner and an Extreme Speed Channel.

The Max Life corner preserves the nail life whereas the Extreme Speed Channel enables efficient chip removal. These bits have been designed using a heavy duty shank for longer life.

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Comes in six common sizes for increased versatility
  • Steel construction

CONS:

  • The edge tip isn’t that strong and wears off easily
  • Customers have complained about missing parts and pieces during purchase
  • They are ideal for casual work as they become dull quickly


4

Boring Drill Bits – Klein Tools 53932

Boring drill bits are specialized bits used in installing concealed hinges. They have a unique design that allows them to make large diameter holes without going through wood.

The wood-boring bits are much superior when compared to the auger bits. The Klein wood boring bit allows you to change the direction of drilling in a much easier way.

This enables you to modify the size of the hole much easier. The unique head design enables you to customize the shape of the hole.

Its low torque design minimizes the wrist fatigue while drilling flutes optimizes the chip removal. The unique shape of the head reduces the vibrations during drilling.

The pilot screws that come with this drill are extra durable and hardened for longer use. You can use it on both 3/8” and 1/2” drills.

PROS:

  • The pilot screws are easily replaceable
  • The cutting blades are easy to sharpen
  • Sharp and durable

CONS:

  • The shaft and the cutting head are less durable and likely to break quickly
  • Hasn’t been designed to carry out heavy duty tasks
  • The shaft is long and gets stuck in the wood regularly


5

Ship Auger Bits – Irwin Industrial Tools 47416

Ship auger bits are specialized drill bits that are long and can make lengthy holes even in thick wood. They are solidly constructed to cut through nails without causing any damage to the bit itself.

This is a tubed long ship auger drill bit that produces clean and exact holes in a short period of time.

It has a side lip and a single cutter that effortlessly drill holes in wood even where nails may be encountered.

Even in full-length heat treatment, this bit is guarded against bending. A hollow center flute helps in an efficient clearing of the chip out of the holes.

It comes with a medium-fast screw point which is ideal for general drilling applications.

PROS:

  • Quick clearance of the chips through its hollow center
  • The wide lands helps in keeping the bit straight during drilling
  • It can be re-sharpened

CONS:

  • The edge of the flute is rounded and hence dulls quickly
  • Poorly designed and gets stuck in wood quickly
  • Getting it started can be troublesome and may lead to wobbling if not properly handled


6

Forstner Drill Bits – PORTER-CABLE PC1014, 14-Piece

Forstner drill bits can be used to create flat-bottomed smooth holes in wood. They also create a neat exit hole for going through wood. They have a nice design that enables you to overlap holes.

This is a set of 14 pieces that includes varying Forstner bits. They include a 1/4 inch bit, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch, 3/4 inch, 7/8 inch, 1 inch, 1.125 inches, 1.25 inch, 1.375 inches, 1.5 inches, 1.625 inches and 2 inch bit.

These bits have been optimized for cutting angles in flat bottom holes. It’s also designed to last long and create smooth finishes.

PROS:

  • Made well and holds sharpness
  • Cuts fast
  • Quality tool

CONS:

  • The cutting edge is rough making the cutting process not easy
  • Requires lots of cleaning to maintain it for long
  • Customers have complained about missing pieces within the set


7

Brad Point Drill Bits – DEWALT DW1720, 6-Piece

Brad point drill bits have been designed for boring through wood. They have a brad at the bit’s tip center that helps in precise positioning and accurate drilling.

These 6 piece drill bits have precise cutting edges that help in limiting the splintering process. Each bit has an engineered flute and a brad point tip that helps in removing chips and prevent drill walking.

The set includes a 0.125 inch piece, a 3/16 inch piece, 0.25 inch piece, a 5/16 inch piece, a 0.375 inch piece and a 0.5 inch piece. The bits are ideal for precise drilling of holes in wood and doweling.

PROS:

  • Quality and affordable
  • Allows for drilling of overlapping holes hence good for drilling out tendons
  • The shipping process is fast

CONS:

  • The larger bits can be quite aggressive on softer wood
  • Cleaning up the exit side is not easy
  • Requires eye protection as there is some bit of screaming involved


8

Self Feed Drill Bits – DEWALT DW1648, 5-Pieces

Self feed drill bits have a screw at the tip just like that of the auger bits. This screw helps in positioning and drawing the bit through wood. They don’t have the standard flutes for removing chips and hence have to be pulled back periodically for cleaning.

This self-feed bit uses a unique two cutter design of aggressive and replaceable spurs to efficiently cut rough holes in wood. The engineering of these bits makes it possible for them to last long.

The open tooth design saves you money by allowing extra sharpening. It comes with a flat sided groove shank that prevents the bit from sliding from the chuck. It allows for quicker switching between applications.

PROS:

  • These are excellent bits that can chew through a 2×4 wood quickly
  • They are solid and offers smooth drilling
  • It’s sharp and able to cut through nails without much struggle

CONS:

  • Despite the nice cutting teeth, the chips tend to clog the bit quickly hence slowing you down
  • Customers have complained about ordering a two cutter tool only to get a one cutter tool delivered
  • You need a stud drill and full size joist to enjoy the full functionality of this bit


9

Taper Point Drill Bits – W L Fuller 10349003C

Taper point drill bits are primarily meant to be used with wood screws. Having been milled from high speed steel, they are solid and long lasting. They come with highly polished flute surfaces to enable easier ejection of chips.

This is a set of 3 Countersinks and matching HSS drills that have been made in the U.S.

They are probably the best tools available on the market for pre-drilling threads of screws and head shank. The set includes a cutting diameter of 3/8 inches in three sizes of #6, #8 and #10.

The countersink has been designed for clean cuts and to remain hardened for a long time. The taper point drill has been made from high speed quality steel.

PROS:

  • Holds up well and are long lasting
  • Gets you near perfect holes
  • Quality set

CONS:

  • Doesn’t have a set/stop collar which is an essential component of a countersink cutter
  • The bits oscillate hence may make larger holes than required
  • It works well but comes with some wobbles


10

Countersink Drill Bits – DEWALT DW2535 3 Piece

Countersink drill bits are also called screw pilot bits and are specifically meant for drilling wood. In one action, these bits can drill countersink, pilot and counter bore holes to allow you install a plug and countersink a fastener.

This bit helps you to countersink, counterbore and drill in one step. It comes with replaceable tapered drills and four cutter countersinks for superior finish and speed.

A universal 0.25-inch hex shank system locks the bits and prevents them from slipping. It includes a #6 (9/64 inch) countersink, a #8 (11/64 inch) countersink and a #10 (3/16 inch) countersink.

PROS:

  • Simple and easy to use kit
  • Ideal finish and superior speed provided by its countersink and tapered bits
  • The tapered bits are replaceable

CONS:

  • The shaft bends easily
  • The screws don’t hold well and the bits are slightly off-center
  • The shaft has a flat ground which makes spinning quite difficult

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