Reasonable quality drill bits for home use
June 25, 2016 2:43 PM   Subscribe

What set of drill bits should I get for general purpose drilling needs around the house? I only use them occasionally and typical materials include sheetrock, wood, and plastic.

The set I have now I bought because it was cheap and well reviewed on Amazon but I am not happy with the quality, so I'd like to replace them with a better quality set.

I'd like to pay enough to get good quality bits that will last but I don't need bits a professional woodworker would be envious of, which is a distinct possibility if I start trying to research this on my own. Basically I'm looking for the "good value for the money" price point.
posted by unus sum to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Any drill bit will get dull, especially if you use it on sheet rock. It's possible to sharpen them, but given your stated requirements, and the price of a sharpener, I wouldn't bother. For general purpose around-the house use, I'd just buy a couple packs of high-speed steel drills from a reliable manufacturer, and replace them as needed. If you find yourself using the same size a lot, you can probably buy that one size in quantity from an industrial supplier & save some money.
posted by mr vino at 3:16 PM on June 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

I’ve found Montana brand bits to be an incredible value for money. They’re not really more expensive than name-brand bits at the hardware store, but I think the quality is noticeably better. It’s probably no coincidence that they’re the only brand I know of not made in China.
posted by musicinmybrain at 3:41 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

These are my go-to bits for general drilling in anything other than metal. That set has all the common (US) sizes, including spares of the sizes that typically get dull/lost/broken first. They're titanium coated, which is not sharpenable but which will keep them factory-sharp for longer. The brad points on the larger bits help to prevent walk. The price is reasonable. They make holes real good.

The brad point tips make them worthless for metal, though. I don't drill a lot in metal, so I just have a basic set of twist bits in high-speed steel for when I do need to drill metal, and they work totally fine for my limited needs.

Also, drywall will ruin your bits. Save your dull bits for drywall drilling, sharp ones are wasted there.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:45 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I may not be the guy you are looking for, woodworker's drills?? HA! I have a hobby machine shop. Steel. Alloy steel. etc.
All that aside, here's a 100 buck made in USA set from Rushmore.

general advice, though, you are probably wearing out a few sizes. Buy quality replacements for those sizes as you need them. I have pretty good results with the supplier linked above.
Guhring, M A Ford, Precision twist, T&O, Viking, Nachi are all good brands. I don't buy Irwin because they make the majority of the c**p drills at the big box stores, though the ones sold through tool supplies may be better.
posted by rudd135 at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2016

Thank you everybody, that gives me several good options to choose from.
posted by unus sum at 5:18 PM on June 25, 2016

One other thought, with the soft material you are working with, the 135 degree point is probably better than the 118 degree option.
posted by rudd135 at 5:55 PM on June 25, 2016

i would suggest following vino's general advice (start with cheap hss - which it sounds like you already have), but then when you find you're using something enough to buy again, take care to buy the right drill for the job. hss (high speed steel) is the general workhorse, but if you're working in wood, for example, you can get a neater finish with a dedicated wood bit (assuming you have a variable speed drill), while a masonry bit is going to work better for concrete etc. so don't try finding a better "do it all" kit, and really don't bother too much about particular makes - just specialise in whatever you need for the job in hand. over time you'll end up with a collection of bits appropriate for the work you do, and still have the "odd sized" hss for when you need something else.
posted by andrewcooke at 7:44 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just to add on to what others have said: get a name brand set, don't spend too much, and consider them disposable. They will get dull. In fact, get 2 sets so you always gave a new set on hand.

I've done a lot of home improvement projects, and drill bits are one of those things that are easy to neglect until you realize you're taking forever to drill something. The dulling sneaks up on you, and when you swap your old bit for a new one, you realize how much difference a new bit makes!
posted by The Deej at 7:58 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Sweethome's pick might fit the bill.
posted by roomwithaview at 7:22 AM on June 26, 2016

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