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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Michael Press wrote:
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.
I own bits from several different companies. I buy them as I need them.
All the following are excellent router bits:
Ridge Carbide Liberty <http://www.ridgecarbidetool.com/
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.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.