7 Best Router Bit Sets of 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Whether you are setting up a woodworking workshop or you are just beginning to learn the trade, there are various tools that you will need. You’ll quickly find (if you haven’t already) that the router is up there on the list as it is one of the handiest and most versatile woodworking tools available.

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You can use a router for various things in the woodworking world — from decorating edges and trimming laminates to cutting different woodworking joints. But this is only true if you have the right router bits for the intended task.

Best Router Bits

What Are The Best Router Bit Sets to Buy?

There are dozens of router bits out there, each one slightly different and used for a specific purpose (or two). Because of this, you will often find a shelf or two (or even a vast assortment spread across a wall) of router bits in most woodworking workshops.

Router bits will vary in aspects such as their profile, tip types, shank sizes, and more. Finding the best router bit set can seem a little challenging at first glance.

However, if you know the uses of the standard router bits and the roles they play, as well as the different materials used in these bits and the top brands selling the pieces, you shouldn’t have too tedious a time picking the right set for your workshop.        

You can also read other product reviews if you have not yet decided on the best router or router accessories for your workshop, such as the wood router, router lift, and router table

Image

Product Name

Quantity

Shank

Rating

Current Price

Freud 91-100 Router Bit 1. Freud 91-100 Router Bit Set

13 pcs

1/2 in

4.0

 
MLCS 8377 15-Piece Router Bit Set 2. MLCS 8377 Router Bit Set

15 pcs

1/2 in

4.0

 
CMT 800.505.11 13-Piece Router Bit Set 3. CMT 800.505.11 Router Bit Set

13 pcs

1/2 in

4.5

 
Whiteside Router Bits 401 Basic Router Bit 4. Whiteside 401 Basic Router Bit Set

7 pcs

1/2 in

4.5

 
Stalwart Router Bit Set 5. Stalwart Shank Router Bit Set

25 pcs

1/4 in

4.0

 
Yonico 17150 Router Bit Set 6. Yonico 17150 Shank, Multi-Profile Router Bit Set

15 pcs

1/2 in

4.2

 
Hiltex 10100 Router Bit Set 7. Hiltex 10100 Tungsten Carbide Router Bit Set

15 pcs

1/4 in

4.0

 

12 Essential Types of Router Bits

There are hundreds of router bits available on the market, but there are some essential ones that every woodworking workshop needs to have. They are ideal for most routing projects you will encounter.

While some of them will be ideal for a specific purpose, in many cases you have to use more than one router bit to create complex shapes or finish more stylish pieces of furniture and cabinetry.

Here are 12 of the essential router bits you’ll want to have in your workshop.

1. Edge Beading Bit

Edge Beading Bit

As the name implies, the edge beading router is for shaping the edges of pieces such as tabletops, chair arms, shelves, and any other places that you need to enhance the edge.

This router bit is similar to the round over bit to some extent because it will also apply a rounded shape to the edge of the workpiece.

Edge beading bits can cut a quarter or half circle profile along the length of a piece of wood, which is what woodworkers refer to as a bead. It adds an attractive appearance to what might otherwise look like a sharp-edged plank.

2. Ogee Bit

Ogee Bit

The Roman ogee bit is among the most popular edge shaping bits. You will find it in almost all woodworking workshops as it is part of the most basic wood router bit sets.

This bit will create a compound, s-shaped profile. It comes in different variations, but the most common ogee bits are those with points in the middle of the profile or shoulders on the edges.

Like most other edge bits, they will come with a bearing tip.

3. Glue Joint Bit

Glue Joint Bit

The glue joint router bit is a handy type of bit. Its primary role is to create a joint in wood to make it possible to connect one piece to the other to form a larger panel.

The most significant advantage of the glue joint bit over other joining systems such as dowels and biscuits is that it creates a large gluing area for more secure adhesion.

4. Rabbet Bit

Rabbet Bit

It is possible to cut a rabbet with a table saw when using a dado blade or even with a straight cutting bit. However, you can also use a rabbet router bit for this specific purpose.

In definition, a rabbet is just a dado but on the edge of the workpiece. The rabbet router bit will ride along the edge of your stock. In most instances, it will have a bearing tip.

5. Raised Panel Bit

Raised Panel Bit

Some router bit types, like the raised panel, are for specific purposes. This router bit is for creating a profiled edge on the smaller door’s panel.

These router bits will often be used with the stile bits to create door panels.

6. Stile and Rail Bit

Stile & Rail Bit

Stile and rail bits will also come in handy when creating frames for cabinets. They are bit types that are used to make frame assemblies in small doors and cabinetry.

In addition to cutting the panel slot, these bits can also make some decorative profiles in the workpiece.

7. Dovetail Bit

Dovetail Bit

Among the different router bits that you can get, the dovetail is among the most famous ones. This is because it is also one of those you are likely to use a lot.

It is meant to create “tails” for dovetail-styled joinery. However, you can also use a dovetail bit to make rabbets and tapered dadoes.

This router bit will feature a flat bottom with angled sides that will be wider at the base. The result is a solidly joined piece, which comes in useful for various woodworking projects.

8. Round Over Bit

Round Over Bit

Roundover bits are among the edge forming router bit types. The bit is handy for complex design tasks. They will often be used for creating smooth, even curves to create a rounded edge of a particular radius on the workpiece.

This bit has a ball bearing for controlling the width of the cut. You’ll find it useful for shaping the edges of bookshelves, tabletops, and any other place where you would like to round over a sharp edge for decorative purposes.

9. Flush Trim Bit

Flush Trim Bit

A flush trim is a must-have if you tend to work with wood veneer or plastic laminate a lot. The flush trim bit is a straight-cutting bit whose main aim is to trim any overhanging material flush to the workpiece.

It uses a ball-bearing pilot, which makes it ideal for flush cutting. It will be a handy bit when making tabletops, cabinets, and drawer faces.

10. Cove Bit

Cove Bit

The cove bits are, in essence, the opposite of the round over bit. Instead of rounding over the edge of the stock, it cuts a concave radius on the edge.

The result that you get when using the cove bit is a decorative edge that will enhance the appearance of a cabinet door or furniture legs.

11. Chamfer Bit

Chamfer Bit

A chamfer bit is a kind that you use to make a 45-degree cut on a square edge of a workpiece. These bits are very versatile, and they can create various chamfer sizes, depending on the size of the cut.

Like the beading bit, some chamfer router bits will also have a bearing tip that can ride along the edge of the workpiece.

12. Carbide Tipped Bit

Carbide Tipped Bit

Straight carbide-tipped bits are what make your router one of the most versatile tools in the workshop. And they are also one of the types you will use the most.

These bits will be for cutting square bottomed straight grooves, and they will come in various diameters and lengths. The most common and useful ones are 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 diameter bits.

The straight carbide tipped bit will be useful for cutting dadoes, rabbets, and grooves in plywood when making furniture. However, this is a non-piloted bit, so you will need a router bit guide to get straight and precise cuts.

How to Buy the Best Router Bit Sets

Your choice of router bit set will determine the tasks that you can use your router to accomplish. While seasoned woodworkers will have dozens of router bits, buying that first router bit set is not always easy.

But whether you are starting out or want to add a new set to your workshop’s router bit collection, there are some essential points to keep in mind to make sure that you make the right choice.

#1. Brands

As with all other woodworking tools, some companies stand out when it comes to the manufacture of router bit sets.

These companies we’re talking about have been in the business for long enough to know what woodworkers and hobbyists look for in a router bit set. Some of these highly reputable brands include Freud, MLCS, CMT, and Whiteside.

Router Bit Brand

  • Freud Router Bit: Freud is famous for making some of the most technologically advanced blades. They also make their own unique micro-grain titanium and cobalt combination. And this means that their wood router bits are among the best quality as they tend to provide maximum cutting life.
  • MLCS Router Bit: Any list of the best router bit brands for beginners is never complete without MLCS. Their top-quality carbide-tipped bits are also relatively affordable when you compare them with what you get from other brands.
  • CMT Router Bit: CMT is another brand that you can trust to make some high-quality router bit sets. Although CMT might not be as famous as the other, their bits have a relatively long cut life. In most cases, they also lean a little bit on the pricey side.
  • Whiteside Router Bit: Many professional woodworkers will have a Whiteside router bit set as part of their collection. Their sets come with a variety of bits, and they are famous for leaving smooth surfaces on the workpiece that will require almost no sanding at all.

#2. Common Shank Sizes – 1/2-Inch Shank vs 1/4-Inch Shank

1/2 vs 1/4 Router bit shank

Shank size is another vital point to keep in mind when trying to pick the best quality router bits. In most cases, woodworkers will have to choose between the two standard measurements which are 1/4 and 1/2-inch.

Many routers from different brands will come with interchangeable 1/4 and 1/2-inch collects to allow you to use either size of bit. However, some routers will only accept the 1/4-inch bit.

Whenever possible, you should always use bits with the 1/2-inch shanks. They are more stable than the 1/4-inch ones and with minimum vibrations, produce a smoother cut. They also tend to have a longer cutting life.

#3. Materials

The materials matter a lot because it determines everything from the performance of the router bits to how long they maintain a sharp edge. There are three different types that many brands will use to make their bits.

  • Carbide Tip: Carbide is the material that you get on carbide tipped router bits. These bits hold a sharp edge for longer than other materials, such as high-speed steel. They will also cut harder woods and metals.
  • Solid Carbide: The solid carbide router bits are by far the most robust and durable router bits in the marketplace. They are ideal for heavy-duty tasks, especially when you are working with hard types of woods and other tough materials.
  • High-Speed Steel: When you are looking for affordable router bits for use with softer materials, high-speed steel ones will be sufficient. These routers are ideal for recreational users, but they will not maintain their edge for as long as carbide tip and solid carbide bits.

#4. Commonly Used Bits

While there is nothing wrong with having a wall full of dozens of different router bits types, there are some types that you will rarely use.

This is the case because some router bits are very versatile and will perform the tasks that are meant for others. Hence, these are the bits that you are likely to use a lot.

The commonly used router bits include the straight cutting bits due to their versatility, round over bits, flush trim, cove bit, and the dovetail.

7 Best Router Bit Sets – Reviews

1. Freud 91-100 Router Bit Set, 1/2-Inch Shank, TiCo Hi-Density Carbide, 13 Pieces

Editor’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Freud 91-100 Router Bit

  • 3 double flute straight bits
  • 1 mortising bit
  • 1 round nose bit
  • 1 V-groove bit
  • 1 dovetail bit
  • 1 cove bit
  • 1 rabbeting bit
  • 1 rounding over bit
  • 1 roman ogee bit
  • 1 chamfer bit
  • 1 bearing flush trim bit

Freud is famous for its technologically advanced and high-quality bits and their 91-100 model is at the top of our router bit reviews.

Despite this 1/2-inch shank bit set also being one of the priciest on our review, it is still one of the best router bits sets out there.

Each of the 13 router bits on the set features a TiCo (titanium and carbide) tip, which is a high-quality material, tri-metal blazing, and an anti-kickback design.

The computer-balanced bits offer vibration and chatter-free operation even when operating at high speeds. Each of the router bits come with a high shear angle to produce fewer tear-outs and minimal chatter marks.

This 13-piece set might not come with the most router bits but what you will love about it is that it comes with the most commonly used bits.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting micro-grain TiCo tips
  • Unique shadow box case
  • Cuts a variety of materials
  • Computer balanced bits for vibration and chatter-free operation
  • High shear angle for fewer tear-outs and minimal chatter marks

Cons:

  • Case quality is not the best
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#2. MLCS 8377 Router Bit Set, 1/2-Inch Shank, Carbide-Tipped, 15 Pieces

Editor’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

MLCS 8377 15-Piece Router Bit Set

  • 4 straight bits
  • 1 round over bit
  • 1 cove bit
  • 1 roman ogee bit
  • 1 45-degree chamfer bit
  • 1 flush trim bit
  • 1 rabbeting bit
  • 1 dovetail bit
  • 1 V-groove bit
  • 1 hinge mortising bit
  • 1-panel pilot bit
  • 1 round nose bit

If you are a beginner woodworker searching for a cheap router bit set, the MLCS 8377 will be an excellent choice. What makes it stand out is that it comes with more pieces than most other sets in our review.

It is the most affordable set on this review, but the bits are still high-quality and durable enough, thanks to the carbide tip construction.

These starter bits use 1/2-inch shanks, so you will not have to worry about vibrations and tear-outs when using them. Although they perform well, they will not last as long as the more expensive router bit set.

To make this an even more attractive router bit set, it also comes with a classy wooden box for storing all the bits.

Pros:

  • 15-different router bits in the set
  • Classy and attractive wooden bit storage box
  • Relatively affordable router bit set
  • High-quality carbide tips

Cons:

  • Not as durable as the high-end and more expensive sets
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#3. CMT 800.505.11 Router Bit Set, 1/2-Inch Shank, 13 Pieces

Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

CMT 800.505.11 13-Piece Router Bit Set

  • 3 double flute straight bits
  • 1 mortising bit
  • 1 round nose bit
  • 1 V-groove bit
  • 1 dovetail bit
  • 1 cove bit
  • 1 rabbeting bit
  • 1 rounding over bit
  • 1 roman ogee bit
  • 1 chamfer bit
  • 1 bearing flush trim bit

This 13-piece router bit set by CMT is the priciest item of our reviews. But it is worth every buck you spend on it as it comes with different router bits for a variety of applications and all feature top-notch construction.

These bits feature high-density chrome carbide cutting edges that ensure you always get a long-lasting performance. The bits maintain a sharp tip for a long time.

Some of the bits have an anti-kickback design to provide safety and also make them more comfortable to use. Also, others have a bearing to make your templating tasks easy.

Like the MLCS set, this one also comes with a unique and highly durable hardwood case to make it easy to store and organize your router bits.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting chrome carbide tips
  • Anti-kickback design for safe working
  • Bearing on some of the bits for easy template tasks
  • Unique and highly durable hardwood case

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive router bit set
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#4. Whiteside 401 Basic Router Bit Set, 1/2-Inch Shank, 7 Pieces

Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Whiteside Router Bits 401 Basic Router Bit

  • 2 straight bits
  • 1 cove bit
  • 1 rabbet bit
  • 1 round over and beading bit
  • 1 chamfer bit
  • 1 flush trim bit

While it is always a good idea to have as many bits in the workshop as possible, sometimes it is not necessary. After all, as mentioned earlier, many woodworkers end up using just a few of them.

What this means is that this 7-piece basic router bit set can still work just fine for you as it comes with all the commonly used bits.

Additionally, the set including the most useful router bits are sturdy and highly durable, thanks to the premium carbide construction.

The bits also feature a precision grinding design that provides excellent balance even at high speeds. Lastly, when you buy these 1/2-inch shank bits, you will also get a small, durable case for convenient storage.

Pros:

  • Premium carbide bits for long-lasting service
  • Precision grinding ensures excellent balance at high RPM
  • Comes in a small and durable case for convenient storage
  • 1/2-inch shank for vibration-free operation

Cons:

  • Few router bits in the set
  • A little pricey for a 7-piece router bit set
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#5. Stalwart 1/4-Inch Shank Router Bit Set, 24 Pieces

Editor’s Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Stalwart Router Bit Set

  • 4 straight bits
  • 4 radius round over bits
  • 2 dovetail bits
  • 2 round nose bits
  • 2 cove bits
  • 1 mortising bit
  • 1 combination bevel bit
  • 1 90-degree V-groove bit
  • 1 trimming bit
  • 1 panel pilot bit
  • 1 flush trim bit
  • 1 45-degree chamfer bit
  • 1 roman ogee bit
  • 1 slot cutter bit
  • 1 rabeting bit

With a total of 24 pieces, this router bit set has the most pieces on our list; however, the most impressive element about it is that it is also one of the cheapest in this review.

The kit comes with almost every bit that you can possibly need for your projects, and they are universal 1/4-inch shank bits that will fit all routers.

Despite their affordable price tag, the bits are also relatively durable thanks to their carbide tips. They come in a sturdy wooden box that makes them easy to organize, store, and transport.

Just like the MLCS 8377, this router bit is a great choice for someone just starting out with a router and looking for a basic bit set to augment their purchase.

Pros:

  • Durable carbide tipped router bits
  • 24-piece kit for multipurpose use
  • Comes in a sturdy wooden case
  • Highly affordable for a 24-piece set

Cons:

  • Not ideal for heavy-duty use
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6. Yonico 17150, Multi-Profile Router Bit Set, 15 Pieces

Editor’s Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Yonico 17150 Router Bit Set

  • 3 dado straight bits
  • 2 radius round over edging bits
  • 2 radius cove edging bits
  • 2 slotting bits
  • 1 flush-trim straight bit
  • 1 template trim bit
  • 1 dovetail joint bit
  • 1 bevel trim bit
  • 1 roman ogee edging bit
  • 1 chamfer edging bit

Yonico makes their 17150 bit set for a starter looking for a 1/2-inch bit to use with their router in the workshop.

It is a 15-piece set that comes with premium micro-grain carbide cutters that feature a silver induction brazing for maximum strength.

The bits have high-quality and fully-enclosed lubricated radial ball bearings that help to make them high-performing, reliable, and long-lasting.

The set also includes a lovely solid wood case to protect your valuable bits when not in use. Finally, it will come with a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros:

  • Premium micro-grain carbide cutters
  • High-quality and fully enclosed lubricated ball bearings
  • Top-notch workmanship on each bit
  • Beautiful solid wood storage case
  • The set comes with a limited lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Some essential bits not included in the set
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7. Hiltex 10100 Tungsten Carbide Router Bit Set, 15 Pieces

Editor’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Hiltex 10100 Router Bit Set

  • 5 straight bits
  • 2 Cove box bits
  • 1 Grooving bit
  • 1 roman ogee bit
  • 1 flush trim bit
  • 1 cove bit
  • 1 Panel pilot bit
  • 1 45-degree chamfer bit
  • 1 corner round bit
  • 1 dovetail bit

It is hard to get a similar quality 15-piece router bit set that is cheaper than the Hiltex 10100. It is a great pick for any woodworkers looking for something that offers excellent value for money.

The set has all the essential bits that you will need for most of your routing projects. They come with the universal 1/4-inch shank to ensure they can work with any router

Each of the router bits has precisely machined and sharp YG8 tungsten carbide blades that will always deliver clean and accurate cuts on any wood type.

Also, the hardened solid steel alloy construction provides durability and longevity for the bits. They also have an enclosed bearing roller to provide smooth and aligned routing.

This router bit set also comes with a wooden index case that will make them easy to store and organize to minimize the likelihood of losing any of the bits.

Pros:

  • Precisely machined tungsten carbide blades
  • Durable alloy steel overall construction
  • Universal 1/4-inch shanks to fit all routers
  • Highly affordable bit set
  • Comes with a sturdy wooden index case

Cons:

  • Not as sharp or durable as the more expensive router bit sets
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Tips on Installing a Router Bit

Once you have purchased your router bits, here are a few tips to help you in the process of placing a bit on the router.

  • Choose the right bit for the job.

In case this hasn’t been stressed enough throughout the article, you’ll want to double-check that you have the correct router bit for the task at hand.

  • Ensure that both router and bit are clean.

Nothing can damage both router and bit like grime, dirt, or rust. If needed, wipe down your router and router bit before beginning the job.

  • Place the bit inside the collet.

Ensure that the bit reaches the base of the collet and fits snugly. 

  • Create a little bit of space between the bit and the bottom of the collet.

This might seem counterintuitive, but once you have placed the router bit inside the collet, pull it out just slightly … no more than 1/6 – 1/8 of an inch.

This little margin of space will keep the friction from growing too great and causing possible damage to the bit.

  • Make your collet nut as tight as necessary.

Once you’ve allowed for the space mentioned above, tighten the nut with a wrench. Make sure you tighten it firmly enough to keep from it loosening while you work. 

Conclusion

The router is one of the handiest power tools you can have in the workshop as it makes it easy to shape and decorate your workpieces. But, to get the best service from it, you need to have the right router bits.

There are dozens of router bits out there, and each has a purpose or a shape that it can create. While it might seem essential to have as many as possible, the wiser choice is to focus more on getting the best quality router bits.

With our reviews of seven of the best router bit sets available and the in-depth buying guide above, you should have a good idea of what to buy.

Reference: woodmagazine.com, popularmechanics.com, carbideprocessors.com, pmcrouterbits.com

Last Updated on September 17, 2020 by Tom Bradly

Tom Bradly
 

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise.