mega router bit set vs one offs

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Forum topic by treesner posted 06-22-2016 01:35 AM 3520 views 0 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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167 posts in 2017 days

06-22-2016 01:35 AM

i have no router bits and know i need a hand full of them for dados, simple round overs, bevel, flush trim

should i buy one of these mega sets and replace as needed?
there’s a lot of highly amazon rated (sure could be rigged)

or should i buy the ones i think i’ll need to get started

or buy some higher end small sets

whats the good brands, freud?

44 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


17272 posts in 2191 days

#1 posted 06-22-2016 01:51 AM

Freud, Amana and Whiteside for the often used ones and ones that require precision like rail and stile. I like Yonico and Roman Carbide for ones that I’ll probably only use on occasion. I definitely recommend AGAINST the “mega sets”. 75% of them will probably never get used.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Loren's profile (online now)


11147 posts in 4701 days

#2 posted 06-22-2016 01:58 AM

I recommend a set of round overs, a rabbet set with
a set of different bearings. If you have a plunge
router, you might get a few different spiral upcut
bits for mortising.

Mostly the bits in kits you won’t use. Aside from those
I mentioned, I would recommend you buy fewer and
choose them carefully, though these days some pretty
decent ones can be had for not much money. Where
surface quality matters as in raising panels (reduced
sanding time), brands like Freud may be worth
the investment due to the extra quality measures
and greater mass in the bits.

1/4” bits, especially roundovers (coves you may not
use much) can be used in a laminate trimmer, so
don’t assume you’ll only ever use 1/2” bits.

View BurlyBob's profile


8704 posts in 3319 days

#3 posted 06-22-2016 02:02 AM

I totally agree with Ken. Whiteside are my favorites. Their customer service is outstanding. Consider the advice I received from a woodcarver in Oberammergau, Germany some time ago, “buy a cheap tool and you buy it several more times. Buy the best tool and it lasts you a lifetime.”

View Loren's profile (online now)


11147 posts in 4701 days

#4 posted 06-22-2016 02:08 AM

I find MLCS offers good value. If they were around when
I started I would have bought those instead of the
premium 1/2” CMT bits I thought I needed because
I thought I should always invest in the best tools.

Spend on chisels, plane irons and stuff like that if your
budget is limited.

View runswithscissors's profile


3129 posts in 3078 days

#5 posted 06-22-2016 02:26 AM

The sets I have seen are all 1/4” shank. Of course there may be exceptions. This is okay for smaller bits, but you’ll need 1/2” shank bits for more demanding tasks—big or wide bits or deep plunges.

You didn’t mention the router. Again, I would certainly not limit myself to a router with 1/4” collet. This leaves out many Craftsman routers (especially the ones you’re likely to find used), and most of the Ryobis. A router with 1/2” collet may weigh little more than a lesser one, and they all have either a 1/4” option for the collet, or an adapter sleeve.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Kirk650's profile


735 posts in 1801 days

#6 posted 06-22-2016 02:27 AM

My router bit collection is a random bunch of mostly good bits. White side, to me, is best, but I have bits from everybody. And, on a whim, I bought a mega set a couple of years ago. And like everyone says, I’ve only used a few of them. But…when I need to do something weird with a router, I’m sure I have the bit I need. I really don’t regret buying the mega set of bits. They’ve turned out to be decent bits for what I need them for, but would not be good for a small production shop that used them daily.

My ‘serious’ bits are mostly 1/2 inch shank. And all my routers, except for the Bosch Colt, will handle both shank sizes.

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 4120 days

#7 posted 06-22-2016 12:26 PM

Rather than one mega set, decide what you want and get it. Those sets generally cheaper, not allways better.

I have diff vendors. My preference is whiteside first, amana, I like MLCS and Eagle america.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View johnstoneb's profile


3167 posts in 3226 days

#8 posted 06-22-2016 01:16 PM

I was buying as I needed when I just had a 1/4” chuck. When I installed a new router and lift I had a 1/2” chuck I wanted to use as mush as possible. I bought a 80 bit carbide set off ebay. It was $90. The bits are reasonably good bits. As I wear or break the bits I am replacing them with better quality bits. This gave me a good assortment of bits for a little over $1 a bit. Many of the contours I may only use once or twice but I have them and don’t have to spend $20 or more for a one time use. The bits I use a lot I can replace with better quality as I need.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


9016 posts in 3630 days

#9 posted 06-22-2016 01:24 PM

View joey502's profile


558 posts in 2571 days

#10 posted 06-22-2016 01:34 PM

My preference is also Whiteside.

I agree with the folks that say no to sets. I would advise you to buy the bit or two you need for your curent project and the same on your next. Before long you will have a nice set of top quality cutting tools.

Keep them clean and protect the edges from damage when not in use. A good clean carbide but will last a very long time.

View Loren's profile (online now)


11147 posts in 4701 days

#11 posted 06-22-2016 01:40 PM

View bigJohninvegas's profile


978 posts in 2515 days

#12 posted 06-22-2016 01:59 PM

I would buy good bits like whiteside, amana, as needed. If I was going to buy a set, it would be a set of round overs. Always 1/2” shank when I can. Of course some smaller bits only come in 1/4”. You can easily spend alot of money on really cool router bits that you will never use.
Ask your self what do I want to do. Rabbits, dados, and buy that bit.
Good quality bits will last you for years, where the cheap sets will have bits thst never get used, and the one that do will wear out right away.

-- John

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3452 days

#13 posted 06-22-2016 02:14 PM

I’m with John. All of those combination router bit sets contain a number of bits that you will rarely (if ever) use. Put your money in buying the quality bits that you need from Whiteside or Freud. You will be much more pleased with the overall results from your router. Always bear in mind that you generally get what you pay for. High quality router bits cost more for a reason. They are sharper. They stay sharper. and they are made from much higher quality materials.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View knotscott's profile


8415 posts in 4429 days

#14 posted 06-22-2016 07:17 PM

I’m not really a fan of either extreme….the huge sets of cheaply made bits can still cost a lot, usually have several profiles that you won’t use and several more that are near duplicates in multiple sizes…. they basically leave you with sizeable expenditure and lower grade bits that tend to leave a rougher cut, dull faster, and have bearings that are more likely to go bad. And buying bits one at a time can be very expensive, and not always convenient…the plus side is that it prevents you from buying bits you won’t use.

Strategies for buying router bits

I prefer a hybrid approach of getting a smaller set of essential bits – Whiteside and Infinity both offer top grade basic sets of the most common profiles in the $100 range…there’s good savings on great bits that you will use. For a tight budget there’s nothing wrong with something like the 15 piece MLCS set for ~ $50. Then you can add specialty bits as you need them. None of the sets are going to offer a raised panel set or a thumbnail, and there are hundreds of obscure architectural profiles you can add if you deem it necessary.

Freud, CMT, Amana, Katana, Eagle America are also really good bits. I’m not a fan of most Ryobi, Skil, HF, or Craftsman cutters, but it’s really hard to generalize because the actual manufacturer can change frequently…sometimes they’ll stumble into decent grade bits depending on who they’ve contracted with.


Panel Raiser:

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View lrushing's profile


12 posts in 1893 days

#15 posted 06-22-2016 08:18 PM

I just ran across a great deal at one of the big box stores. I bought 80 Bosch router bits that were being discontinued. I did have duplicates of some but most were one of each. I have used several of them and am very happy with them. I paid around $200.00 for the lot with the regular selling price was over $500.00. That being said, right after I bought them, I had a project to do. Guess what I had to buy a router bit. Buying one as needed is in my opinion the best way to go. Check the big box stores and if you see some on sell, negotiate with them on price. There is a tremendous markup on things like that especially if there are clearance items.

-- Larry, Georgia

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