When I bought my first Router, I was super excited and in a hurry to mount it on Router Table to start working on my long cherished dream. But, hold on! I haven’t bought any router bits and without them Router is like a toothless tiger. Without much ado, I dove into the quest to find the best router bits.
Then came the nightmare, as I was a beginner, the various profiles (shape of the cutting edge) of router bits available made me confused. Which of them should I choose to start with? Which one is used for what? What shank size to consider? What material router bits are good is it carbide-tipped or HSS (High-Speed Steel)? And so on…Literally, I felt dizzied as most of you beginners out there do feel like this, don’t you?
Keep calm, after years of woodworking, you can bet I got the answers. Read on to see them unfold.
Top rated router bits
How to choose the best router bits?
Router bits cutting edge material.
Router bits tip is used to cut out the wood. It’s usually made of either Carbide or HSS. Though Carbide bits price are higher than HSS, I prefer to use Carbide tipped router bits for following reasons-
- Carbide bits last longer, 15-20 times compared to HSS bits. That means you will end up costing more with HSS bits, as you have to buy them frequently.
- It doesn’t get blunt quickly.HSS tip, gets dull in very short time and then they tend to burn the wood instead of cutting it. On the contrary, carbide bits provide smooth cut. Sure, you want an elegant cut and smooth finish, aren’t you?
- As HSS tip, get blunt very quickly. You need to replace them frequently. I find it very irritating and time wasting.
- The only minute drawback one can consider is this the Carbide bits are brittle. However, I don’t count it, as we are all well grown up to handle them carefully, aren’t you?
Say “YES” to Carbide tipped router bits it worth the price.
Shank of router bits
Besides the router bits material you need to know that, there are two typical sizes of router bit shank ½ inch and ¼ inch. Router shanks are used to join the router bits to Router. Many routers come with collets that accept both size shanks but some accepts only ¼ inch. Whenever possible try to use ½-inch shank as it gives you-
- Less vibration and
- Smooth cut.
Use ¼-inch shanks only for finer cuts, polishing and laminating.
Router bits diameter and Speeds
Router bit speed depends on the diameter of the bit. To stay safe and get an accurate-smooth cut you should use-
- Smaller diameter router bits on higher router speed and
- Bigger diameter router bits on lower router speed.
You should check your router speed before choosing any router bits. If you own variable speed router you can easily adjust the router speed, that’s cool huh!
Router bit speed guideline-
(Note: You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using)
Working on Router Table
It’s safer to use long router bits if you are planning to mount your router on router table.
If you have particular project in mind, or you are trying to build a starter set, choose the bits that best suit your need. Aren’t you clear about your needs? Read on to know the best router bits you must own.
5 of the best router bits you should own
Straight router bit
As the name suggest this bits cut straight into the wood. It’s the workhorse of a woodworker and comes in various sizes mainly ¼ inch, ½ inch and ¾ inch.
- Cutting groove and dado.
- Hollow out particular area of wood for mortise or inlay.
When it comes to straight router bits, my pick is the Freud 91-102 6-Piece Double-Flute Straight Router Bit Set.
Freud bits ranked in top 5 on router bit test conducted by Finewoodworking.
It contains bits from 1/4-inch diameter to 1-inch diameter in 1/8-inch increments. That gives you versatility and scope to experiment.
These bits come in a great wooden box that’s handy, if you don’t have any place to store your bits to keep it safe and clean.
It’s an excellent starting point for those who are beginning to get a router bit collection together.
Rabbeting bits are used to cut a rabbet (L-shaped cut along the edge of the wood board) and have a spinning bearing at the tip to guide the cutting. You should go for a set that has different diameter bearing; it will be cost effective, as it will allow you to cut different depth rabbet with a single rabbeting bit just by changing the bearing.
- Mainly to joining two wood boards such as for cabinet making, Photo frame, etc.
My #1 pick is the Freud Rabbeting Bit with Bearings that features different size of bearings that will allow you to cut different depth rabbets as well as flush trim.
It provides you great versatility, just by changing the bearings you can easily turn rounding over bit into beading bits, change the profile of molding bit etc.
However, I would have like to get it on a wooden box rather than in a see-thru plastic box. Overall, it was an excellent buy.
Round Over Bits
You can use these bits to round over sharp edges.It also has a bearing that guides the depth of cut.
- Rounding over the sharp edges.
For round over bits, my top choice is MLCS 6084 Round Over-Beading Router Bit that consists of 4 popular sizes round over bits and comes in a very nice wooden box.
It’s very affordable and does a good job of producing rounded over decorative edges for the price. The lower depths of the bits allow you to create a decorative bead.
It’s a great deal to make especially for those who are on budget.
Roman Ogee Bit
Roman ogee bit will provide you a distinctive decorative edge and it’s very popular. It has a bearing at the end of the bit to guide the depth of the cut.
- Decorative edge.
One of the favorite bits of my woodworking community is Freud 1-3/8″ Classical Roman Ogee Bit (Quadra-Cut).But, why it’s so popular? It’s the quality and uniqueness of Quadra-cut feature.
Instead of traditional two-blade cut, this one uses 4 blades, 2 of them cut upwards and 2 of them cut downwards simultaneously giving you smooth finish and you need not to do any rework.
However, the packaging could have been better as carbide tips are brittle and may damage the tip.
These bits cut at an angle on the edge of wood board. It comes in different sizes and angles.
- Removing square and sharp corner.
- V-shaped grooves between boards.
The best chamfer bit out there is Freud 1-5/8″ (Dia.) Chamfer Bit.
It gives you an accurate 45-Degree cut and you can adjust the chamfer by changing the height of the bit. I couldn’t find any cons of this bit. Surely, it will be the best buy.
That’s it! Now you know what to look for to get best router bits and what bits you must own, along with the help of short-router bit reviews you are empowered to make the right choice hopefully. Now it’s your turn to get into action!