Router Bits: 1/4" VS. 1/2" Shanks.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Micah Muzny posted 12-05-2013 04:33 AM 2445 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Micah Muzny's profile

Micah Muzny

185 posts in 2061 days

12-05-2013 04:33 AM

When it comes to router bits, there are 1/4” and 1/2” shank sizes. What are the pro’s and con’s of each size? Are the 1/2” better in anyway than the 1/4” or vise versa?

10 replies so far

View Timmer's profile


1 post in 1962 days

#1 posted 12-05-2013 04:43 AM

The 1/2 shank will vibrate or chatter less at high speeds for a cleaner cut

-- Tim

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 4081 days

#2 posted 12-05-2013 04:53 AM

Only use 1/2 inch shanks in my shop, unless the bit is less than 1/8 inch. Just my rule.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22318 posts in 3434 days

#3 posted 12-05-2013 04:54 AM

The 1/2” can have a larger max cutter on them. You can use a the 1/4” router bits in a 1/2” router with a split collet. Some real small cutters don’t come with the 1/2” shank, too. It is good to have a 1/2” router so you can use all of them. I really don’t notice any difference in using either of them. You just buy what need to get the job done. I started buying only 1/4” ones because that was all my craftsman router would take.

I have seen router bit extensions but I am really afraid to ever try one. If they are not perfectly concentric you will get some bad vibrations with a bit hanging out that far and spinning at 25,000 RPM. I would not think it is very good for the spindle bearing in the router either. I have never had a job that would need a bit sticking our farther than they normally do.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3976 days

#4 posted 12-05-2013 05:12 AM

Some nimble small routers only take 1/4” shanks and for
that they are useful. For handheld use a lighter,
more compact router is nice to work with if the
cuts aren’t too heavy. For router table work 1/2” shanks
are going to perform better.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30289 posts in 2666 days

#5 posted 12-05-2013 06:34 AM

Like any tool, both very useful for different projects. I use the 1/4” shafts with my compact router for doing signs, edging and small projects. I use the 1/2” shanks for heavy duty jobs. For instance the oak poker table I consider to heavy of job for small router tools. I am also lazy. I have 5 routers set up so that I have minimal time changing bits.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View knotscott's profile


8267 posts in 3704 days

#6 posted 12-05-2013 10:09 AM

1/4” breaks easier. The only 1/2” bits I’ve ever broken were those they to taper to 1/4” or less near the cutter end, but I’ve broken 1/4” bits right at the shank.

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

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3013 days

#7 posted 12-05-2013 12:42 PM

I notice longer life on 1/2” which I think is due to heat.

View bondogaposis's profile


5323 posts in 2680 days

#8 posted 12-05-2013 01:18 PM

The half inch bits ,are definitely better and I use them whenever I can. I still have an old router that only takes 1/4” shank bits and for that reason I still keep a few 1/4” bits around.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2892 days

#9 posted 12-05-2013 02:49 PM

my bosch colt router only takes 1/4” my hitatchi 3 1/4” hp only takes 1/2” my craftsman will take both sizes so i guess it really depends on what I’m trying to do.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View laketrout36's profile


200 posts in 2355 days

#10 posted 12-06-2013 02:32 AM

I’ve started using Whiteside 1/2” bits. From my recent experience I’ve got no complaints. The 1/4” bits I’ve used (Not Whiteside) I’ve had to keep a good eye on my work, not too fast, not too slow, no more than 1/8” cut for each pass of the router. Smaller bit, more care is needed in my experience. Just an observation.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics