Drills bit selection and variety

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Forum topic by Nick posted 04-22-2016 10:10 PM 1286 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1784 days

04-22-2016 10:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question drill-driver

Being new to woodworking, I am looking for advice on purchasing quality drill bits and the types/variety I should invest in. One of my friends is pushing me to buy a Ryobi drill bit set with something like 300 pieces to it. It has a full set of paddle bits, hole saws, metal/wood/masonry bits, nut driver bits… I’m just not sure of the quality of the product.

Is it better to get a big package like this, or is it better in invest in smaller sets? Any tips on what to look for and where I should invest?


22 replies so far

View Lee's profile


153 posts in 1892 days

#1 posted 04-22-2016 11:17 PM

Well, not sure about the quality of Ryobi bits, but for woodworking a set of forstner, brad point, and spade bits are more useful than regular twist drills. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a set of twist drills, because I do use them. hope this helps.

-- Colombia Custom Woodworking

View conifur's profile


954 posts in 2166 days

#2 posted 04-22-2016 11:53 PM

First ditto Lee,
but that kit depending on price and needs is a good starter kit, not just for wood working but to have around the house for other task.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View waho6o9's profile


8997 posts in 3591 days

#3 posted 04-23-2016 12:03 AM,180&p=42240,180,42240

Kudos on doing your homework first and purchasing quality vs quantity.

And a belated welcome to Lumber Jocks!

View jonah's profile


2136 posts in 4313 days

#4 posted 04-23-2016 01:23 AM

I have a set of Ryobi drill bits. They are pretty much garbage, on the level you’d get at Harbor Freight. They’re decent at first, but they dull, break, or just quit far, far too easily.

I’d probably get a set of cheapo twist bits for general use, but I would definitely spring for a decent set of brad-point bits as well. They’re much more useful in woodworking. I’d buy forstner bits as you need them, or spring for a set if you need more than one or two right away.

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3638 days

#5 posted 04-23-2016 01:31 AM

I bought an indexed set from ?? I don’t remember….....but they go from 1/2”-1/16” by 64ths. Invaluable. I use them constantly. It came with a plastic card with all the hole sizes. You can check the exact bit you need by first indexing the part. They are brad points. Bout once every two years I get a set of twist bits, what ever happen to be on sale usually. I got a set of Foerster bits from Woodcraft and they are ok. I just noticed the 3/4” bit is burned on one edge so Ill have to replace it.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View BurlyBob's profile


8512 posts in 3280 days

#6 posted 04-23-2016 02:17 AM

I’ve got agree with Lee. They all have their place and are invaluable when you need them.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


946 posts in 2476 days

#7 posted 04-23-2016 03:34 AM

A nice set of brad point bits, and a set of forstner bits should get you started.
I have the brad point set from MLCS. They seem to be good, have had them for a couple years.
I bought the harbor freight forstner bit set about 3 years ago on a budget. Expected to wear them out in a hurry,
But was new woodworker and figured they would get me started. I actually still use the set, though the couple bits I use most could use to be sharpened.
I would not get in a hurry to buy more till you see what you need. I have a hand full of tools that I bought as a new woodworker, thinking that I needed it, only to never use.
I think the best advice I can pass on that all the veteran woodworkers gave me was save your money and buy it when you need it.
Good luck.

-- John

View Woodknack's profile


13550 posts in 3394 days

#8 posted 04-23-2016 04:11 AM

I can’t answer your question directly but in my experience, the most important in order are twist bits (for general purpose), spade bits, brad points, then Forstner bits. Some people hate on spade bits but I’ve always had good results but they don’t produce flat bottom (sorta) holes like Forstner.

-- Rick M,

View davezedlee's profile


63 posts in 1839 days

#9 posted 04-23-2016 12:38 PM

the other biggest thing you’ll find with cheap bits is the amount of wobble (or runout)

sometimes its acceptable for wood projects, but if trying to drill harder metals at all, the bit just scrapes around in a circle slightly larger than the bit’s diameter, and never really cuts unless using overly extreme amounts of downforce from a drill press; almost impossible with a hand drill

the quality control and extreme precision are what drives up the price, but try drilling the center of a hub or wheel with a crappy bit and you’ll find out the hard way…

View Nick's profile


5 posts in 1784 days

#10 posted 04-23-2016 03:03 PM

This is great – thank you!

What about countersink bits? I’ve seen you can buy the countersink bits set OR you can buy a standalone countersink. Any tips on what to look for with those?

View Woodknack's profile


13550 posts in 3394 days

#11 posted 04-23-2016 05:02 PM

I have both but use the Dewalt countersinks with tapered bits the most.

-- Rick M,

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


8429 posts in 3213 days

#12 posted 04-23-2016 05:56 PM

Buy ‘em as you need ‘em. Twist bits are usually first as they are general all around bits that can be used everywhere. Next project you need to drill some stuff, if you don’t have the bits you need already, get ‘em. Over time, you will have a selection of bits you actually use, not just a set of bits that you may only use 10% of.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View oldnovice's profile


7700 posts in 4382 days

#13 posted 04-23-2016 06:07 PM

I do not like Ryobi products because they are rather poor quality.
I bought a set of Ryobi counter sinks and they are terrible.
My Ryobi detail sander is laying in a drawer, unused for nearly 10 years, because it vibrates way too much to hold it for any amount of time.

The problem with buying a complete set is that you probably will never use every bit in a set much like a complete set of router bits. You will replace ones you use more often and, again, there will be some never, or very rarely, used.
I have a fractional and number drill index that I populated with the bits need.
I do have a complete set of Forster bits I bought at Costco.
If you are only into woodworking a set of brad point bits is a good choice.

That my two bits worth!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View MrRon's profile


5994 posts in 4258 days

#14 posted 04-23-2016 06:21 PM

For woodworking, a set of brad point bits and a set of forstner bits are essential. With brad point drill bits, it is not necessary to have twist drills. Twist drill bits are fine for general use and metal, but get a good set of HSS twist drill bits. Cheap twist drills are not always straight, so when a hole has to be “right on”, you can only get that with a perfectly straight bit. Twist drills and spade bits will leave jagged edge holes which is ok as long as the hole will not be visible; a pilot hole for a screw for example. Ryobi is not quality bits, but better than nothing for general use. I wouldn’t depend on them for use on fine woodworking or cabinet making.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


946 posts in 2476 days

#15 posted 04-23-2016 07:38 PM

I have a fuller set of tapered counter sink bits.
Dewalt makes the same bit a little more affordable.
Not really anything you need right away.
I had the need to fill the screw holes on a few projects.
Got a set with a plug cutter. Nice to hide screw holes.

-- John

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

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