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Good drill bits?

4141 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  SCOTSMAN
We have a HF store and a Northern Tool store in Chattanooga. I just got some coupons for NT and have some for HF. I'm needing a good quality drill bit set. Both stores have titanium bits plus NT has cobalt bits. I don't get into exotic metals, just mild steel and aluminum. I have small set of brad point bits but would also like to get a larger set for WW. Need your advice as which way to go. Thanks!
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I do very little with metal but when I do I've gotten excellent results every time with Milwaukee Thunderbolt Titanium Drill Bits. For drilling into wood, I like Lee Valley brad point bits. Both Milwaukee and Lee Valley will be more money than the offerings at HF or NT but the quality will also be much higher.
cant speak to Northern tool, but I would pass on the harbor frieght bits. I have used them and got rid of them. I have a small set of Dewalt brad points that I am happy with, some bigger bits from Bowmalloy left over from my metal working days.
+1 for Hoosier0311 they are like drilling with solder wire.
Don't waste your time with cheap drill bits. They will break, chip, and wander, and you'll spend more time wanting to throw them out the window than actually working. The HF ones are a waste of time for any kind of work you actually care about. I'd pass.

I also have a set of Dewalt brad-point bits that are my "floor" drill bits - they are the cheapest ones I will tolerate. Dewalt's pilot point bits also aren't horrible.
I've been having really good results with fisch drill bits as of late. Not cheap, but not the most expensive either.
Many thanks for the advice. We have Ace, HD, Lowe's here so I'll see what they have in what brands are mentioned by the forum members here.
The cheap made in china drill bit sets are semi usable, but, buy the plain black oxide sets.
The gold color plated, or supposed Ti coated, are beyond bad.
HF drill bits are ok if all you need is a pilot hole or just a hole for say starting a saber saw or jig saw blade. Their bits are usually bent. The larger size bits may be a little bit straighter. I have a good set of industrial quality HSS bits and keep the HF bits for rough work. NT would probably be the same as HF. Looks like they get their tools from the same factory in China, based on their price similarity. Go to a place like McMaster Carr for quality. And BTW, black oxide coated drills are NG for drilling aluminum. Use only bright finish, HSS. Ti or cobalt is ok for steel or aluminum.
I got brad point and regular drill bit sets from sears when they had them on sale real cheap, which is often I do not work with any hard metals normally so these have been fine so far. I agree that if you need heavy quality, these wouldn't work, but they do fine for what I needed and all the bits were straight. For the price I paid I don't mind throwing them out and replacing them as they dull and the common sizes can be upgraded later. I also liked the selection and metal box the craftsman sets came in. Have every size you could possibly need normally covered.
I've had really good luck with this set :

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I hate buying "sets" of bits. I always end up with bits that are never used. I try to wait until a supplier puts things on sale and then buy multiples of the bits I use the most.
If you buy cheaper drill bits you'll need to test them to see if they are straight. If so, they can be sharpened into brad point bits. They probably won't work well out of the box. Bent ones may as well be tossed.

I think there's a Fine Woodworking article someplace by Michael Fortune regarding making brad bits from a standard set.
I have a decent set of brad points. I'm needing some regular twist drill bits. I have a couple of places in mind to check out. Anyone had any experience with Lowe's bits? I don't get into real heavy metals.
I have the Craftsman 29-piece titanium-coated drill bit set for drilling metals. It's $99 but I think I picked it up on Black Friday or something, because I remember paying around $50. They have a 21-piece set for around $25 (the math boggles the mind).

I don't drill too much in metal, but I've used these for everything from 1/16" aluminium up to 1/4" steel plate. They get the job done and leave a nice clean hole. I'm sure there are nicer sets out there, but for the price, these are a decent set. I've only broken one, and that was my fault, not the bits. I've had this set for at least 5 years now, and no complaints.
As said for metal drilling you really need to get a good set of drill bits.Of course cheapies will do fine for wood though I prefer better ones for wood too, and usually get brad point drill bits with tungsten tips for wood.I don't recommend you buy the very best for wood drilling unless you have a lot of excess money and it is burning it's way out through your pocket. Of course you can buy the very cheap plastic bits made of playdough and when you drill one little hole you need four of them, which have to be thrown away.I bought a set like this they were just a joke and I never tried to save money on drill bits in such a cheapskate and disasterous way again.I don't actually know what they were made of I think they were made of the slag from cast iron but JUNK is JUNK Alistair
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