router bit advice

I'll be buying a new router soon (PC 890) and I'm looking for general advice on what quality router bits to buy. Generally I buy only very good quality equipment, but I'm wondering how much difference there is between brands of router bits.
The extremes are 1) Individual bits as needed by a high-end manufacter (Freud? CMT? Jesada? I'm looking for recommendations). or 2) a starter set of 13 or 20 bits from any old manufacturer (Woodcraft?). I even saw a 30-bit set for $40 at Costco this weekend. Will I be satisfied with an inexpensive starter set, or will I have problems, like inferior cutting, overheating, vibration, etc?
My bit usage will be tend to be light - occasional weekend projects, though my first project will be to mill 3/4" by 1/2" deep dados in at least 60' of oak handrails.
Thanks, Michael
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You will always get what you pay for.
The more expensive bits have three things going for them:
1. A higher and thicker grade of crbide, resulting in a better cutter
2. Better bearings. I had a Grizzly bit fly apart on me years ago. I understand they are better now.
3. A properly balanced bit. Balance is important for a better cut and the life of your router.
The PC router is a great machine. It's so called lower horsepower rating does preclude you from the largest panel cutting bits, the ones that should scare the daylights out of anyone; I use it for middle size panel cutters, with small cuts, and the results were excellent.
I've had excellent results from Freud, Amana, Eagle, CMT, I know Jesada is excellent. Eagle is a great compromise. They are reasonably priced, very high quality, and their service is excellent. I go tho them first in fact. Amanas have been the best I've found.
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For the bits I use all the time (especially straight cuts) I get Whiteside. If there's a bit that I need but know that I won't likely use it very often then I get something cheaper like Woodcraft. I've used a fair number of cheap bits, like Harbor Freight, and they work okay but end up getting thrown away more quickly. Also, I'd never use a cheap bit on a piece of wood that was worth more than an expensive bit (worth = time and materials). I haven't had a huge problem with cheap bits trashing a piece, but it is more likely to have a problem with the cheap one.
HTH, Matt
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Stay away from the high-speed steel (HSS) type and get carbide-tipped cutters. For your use, all-carbide bits are overkill.
Some time last year Fine Woodworking published a test on bits. The tester used only straight bits from each company, but had each cut about 640 linear feet of material. He had an experienced operator of a CNC routing machine do the actual work. His assumption was that a manufacturer's bit quality was the same across their line. His tests found the Whiteside bits to produce the fewest chipouts, particularly at the end of the run.
Given all that, if you go to professional tool suppliers (I have two locally from whom I buy) and ask their advice you'll probably not go wrong. They won't sell a brand that produces returns or dissatisfied customers. I can get Whiteside, Freund, CMT and one or two more locally so I assume that for us casual users they're all equivalent.
Rich
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the brands you mentioned should all be fine. I have one suggestion to add: DON'T buy any Woodline bits. They are the worst brand I've tried so far. I bought a set of ply bits while at a WW show last year. They don't cut nearly as effortlessly, nor as cleanly as CMT or Bosch bits. I also have Amana: they are great.
dave
Michael Press wrote:

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My preference is to not buy the bits in sets since you will most likely not use several of them in the set at all. Spend the equivalent amount of $ on higher quality bits as you need them and you will be better off in the long run. And definately run like hell from the $40 set from Costco.
Frank
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I usually buy good stuff as it irks me to rebuy something that hasn't been worn out. I'd say stick with Whiteside Amana Freud CMT Eagle America Bosch and you won't feel like you've wasted your money.

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I own bits from several different companies. I buy them as I need them. All the following are excellent router bits:
Whiteside <http://www.whitesiderouterbits.com/ Jesada <http://www.jesada.com/ Amana <http://www.amanatool.com/ Ridge Carbide Liberty <http://www.ridgecarbidetool.com/ Eagle-America <http://www.eagle-america.com/ CMT <http://www.cmtusa.com/ Freud <http://www.freudinc.com/ Paso-Robles Ocemco Her-Saf <http://www.hersaf.com/ MLCS <http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/ Oldham <http://www.oldham-usa.com/ Velepec LRH <http://www.lrhent.com/
Andy

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I like Freud and Whiteside. The first 3 bits I bought were Jesada. Jesada is the only bit I've owned where the carbide blade has broken, they were overpriced and they are the only bits I own whose shanks are starting to rust. But, it seems that a lot of people like the Jesadas. I definitely have more Freuds because there's a local supplier that has great prices on them.
Greg

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