Well, you can blame the guys at www.FamilyWoodworking.org for setting me off on this post. Member Doug Sinjem asked fellow woodworkers, “Looking to purchase some misc. router bits and was wondering what the majority of you guys were using. There are so many companies out there and several choices. I’m looking to purchase quality bits that will last.”
He got three pages of answers including an interesting lecture from Freud on “chip load” theory. (If that kind of stuff interests you definitely check out the thread… otherwise keep reading).
I found two other “best router bit” forum threads, one from SawmillCreek.org and one from RigidForum. I added these into the count as well to even things out. There do seem to be brand preferences skewed across the forums… check out the additions in the list below.
One quick note for those who are new to router woodworking – consider buying a large, low-quality 50+ router bit set for cheap. Figure out what you use frequently and then go buy nicer versions of these bits that cut the most wood in your shop.
This one for example… 80 bits, about $87 bucks with shipping. LOW quality, but you’ll find out quickly which bits you should invest more money in… Consider it an $87 investment in your router bit education.
Another consideration for the rank beginner who’d like to invest a bit more cash is the basic router bit set from Pat Warner. I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about him. What I like is the detailed illustrations he has for the bits he sells, which are made in California by PRC. Read through the page and see what his starter bit set can accomplish. If that meets your needs then put him on your list for consideration.
STARTER ROUTER BIT SET (from Pat Warner)
Without further ado, here are the most popular high-end router bits, followed by the most popular low-mid cost/quality range router bits. At the end you’ll find a number of resources that will help your quest for the best router bits for your shop.
High-End Router Bit Brand Favorites:
Whiteside Router Bits: 12 Votes
Freud Router Bits: 6 Votes
Eagle America Router Bits: 4 Votes
CMT Router Bits: 3 Votes
Amana Router Bits: 2 Votes
Lee Valley Router Bits: 2 Votes
Infinity Router Bits: 2 Votes
Woodtek Router Bits: 1 Vote
Mid-Low Range Router Bit Brand Favorites:
MLCS Router Bits: 5 Votes
Rockler Router Bits: 3 Votes
Woodcraft Router Bits: 3 Votes
Holbren Router Bits: 2 Votes
Woodline Router Bits: 1 Vote
Router Bit Brand Selection Resources:
Router bit brand selection (family woodworking forum)
Quality router bits (rigid forum)
Router Bit Sets (SawmillCreek)
Router Bit Comparison Chart from Fine Woodworking (pdf)
Router Bit Resources:
diamond duefold whetstone (recommended for sharpening router bits)
Straight Router Bits and Spiral Router Bits: Which are Better?
Router Bits 101
cleaning router bits
Ten Basic Router Bit Shapes