Conventional drill bits are versatile, but they have their drawbacks. Standard drill bits are very effective. But, their cutting action might result in irregular holes, especially when working with bigger drill accessories. Furthermore, drill bits might heat up and bind, resulting in fracture.
They generate holes with a corresponding v-shape in the bottom due to their pointed nature. Forstner bits are the answer to precise and clean larger holes. With forstner bits, you can drill overlapping holes, pocket holes like the angled holes on the surface of the workpiece or notches on the edges. These bits look very much similar to spade or hole saw bits. However, you can identify Forstner with the guide rim, i.e. the outer cylindrical rim that comes in different varieties.
While categorizing the best Forstner bit sets, we took into account their characteristics and adaptability for applications. In my opinion, Porter Cable 14-Piece Bit Set is a better choice. However, look at the rest to know more about the variety. Check out the buying guide too at the end.
Best Forstner Bits for Woodworking Overall: Porter-Cable Forstner Bits Set:
This best set of Forstner bits comes in bit sizes ranging from 0.25 inches to 2 inches.
Features PORTER-CABLE Forstner Bit Set, 14-Piece (PC1014)
- Piece/ Bits: 14 bits
- Sizes: 0.25 inches to 2 inches
- Material: Hardened Carbon Steel
- Shank: 3 inches
What I liked about the Porter-Cable 14-Piece Forstner Bits Set?
It has a one-of-a-kind open-tooth design. You can put the Porter-Cable bits into the hole and it will quickly remove the wood shavings. Thus, leaving behind smooth, flat-bottomed clean holes.
I liked the convenient carry case, but it seems very flimsy. However, it comes with an easy-to-read size chart. So you can choose the right size bit. Just be aware that some indicated sizes may not exactly equate to the relevant type of bit, which may create confusion. And remember that you cannot use it for cordless and hand drills. You can use it for a drill press. You can easily bore this without skipping a beat into cross-grain and end-grain.
What I didn’t like about the Porter-Cable 14-Piece Forstner Bits Set?
You need to have a slow speed to make use of this Porter Cable set otherwise it will dull quickly. You can try it as slow as say 620 rpm. Also, the case quality is not so good. It can break and I cannot say it is very durable.
- Set of 14 pieces.
- The design is open-toothed.
- Creates holes with a flawless flat bottom.
- reasonable price.
- Dulls quickly
- Poor case quality
Best Forstner Bits for Woodworking for Price: Irwin Marples’ Forstner Bits Set (14 pieces)
Another significant mention in our list of best Forstner bits is the Irwin Marples forstner bit set. This 14-piece set of Forstner drill bits is suitable for use with a hand drill. And it is one of the cheapest in our list!
Features of Irwin Marples’ Forstner Bits
- Piece/ Bits: 14 bits
- Sizes: 0.25 to 1.375 inches
- Material: Carbon Steel
- Shank: 3.5 inches
What I liked about Irwin Marples’ Forstner Bits?
These bits can fit 0.375-inch chucks, as well as bigger drills and drill presses. That’s because of their shortened shanks.
The offered sizes range from 0.25 to 1.375 inches. The best thing I liked about this one is that each of the pieces is of precisely built cutting edge. They drill through hardwood and softwoods quickly. Thus, if you want to make flat-bottomed or pocket holes, these are the best ones you can rely on. Also, they are fast. So, your overall time is reduced considerably. I would say it makes the chisel work simpler.
Furthermore, the price is fantastic for a 14-piece set, making it an excellent beginner kit for someone learning the basics.
What I didn’t like about Irwin Marples’ Forstner Bits?
With respect to the metal used for making the bits, they are not of high quality. You would find too much grinding done on the cutting edge. Another problem that I ran into was the sizes are written in a very small size on the bits. This may be a problem if you are too old to read very small letters.
- Good price.
- 14 pieces set
- Fits both hand drill and drill presses
- Stainless steel
- Build quality issues
- Hard-to-read sizes on bits
Best Forstner Bits for Woodworking for Durability Freud PB-107B
If you want to undertake precision then this Freud PB 107B is the best Forstner bits set for you. The quality of this product is also pretty justified for its price.
Features of Freud PB-107B 7-Piece Precision Shear-Edge Forstner Bits
- Piece/ Bits: 7 bits
- Sizes: 0.25 inches to 1 inch
- Material: hardened steel
- Shank: 0.25 to 0.375 inches
What I liked about Freud PB-107B Forstner Bits?
The bit does not slide due to the serrated edges and super-sharp central spur. So, the wood is removed in precise curls for a clean cut finish. I liked the quality of these Forstner drill bits by Freud. They are made of hardened steel. Thus, you can easily use them for softwood, hardwood, and plywood. Indeed the last cut is as good as the first cut.
They come in sizes ranging from 0.25 to 1 inch and can be used with a drill press or a hand-held drill. So, pocket holes, flat-bottomed holes, and overlapping holes are all effortlessly produced by this drill bit set.
I loved how this set accelerates the cutting process. The cutting edge’s design is really something that allows you to complete the project at a faster pace. The center spur tips are needle sharp. They are so strong that they can bend or break the metal that comes near it.
What I didn’t like about Freud PB-107B Forstner Bits?
I did not like the heat pressed plastic packaging. After you open the box, you would not be able to use it again to store the bits.
- Hardened steel
- Serrated edges
- Cuts all woods
- Heat pressed plastic packaging
Who can use Freud PB-107B Forstner Bits
These best Forstner bits set by Freud can be used for professional as well as personal use. It has no difficult starts, no tear outs, and also no burrs. It does not even wobble.
Also Consider Steelex D3573 Forstner Bits
This 16 piece Steelex D3573 is amongst the best Forstner bits set with a large variety. The Forstner drill bit won’t slip in the chuck because of the hex shape of the shank. It also implies that if you need a little extra power, you can have them in an impact driver.
Features of Steelex D3573 Forstner Bit Set with Hex Shank, 16-Piece
- Piece/ Bits: 16 bits
- Sizes: 0.25 to 2.25 (inches)
- Material: high-carbon steel
- Shank: 1.75 inches
What I liked about Steelex D3573 Forstner Bits?
The sizes for D3573 lie between 0.25 inches and 2.125 inches, so you will be set in terms of size variety. It’s like the full spread of 16 bits. Moreover, if you need bigger bits, it has hex cut shafts. It’s really worth the price because of the hex cut shaft.
The performance is pretty good. You have the enhanced back angles, combined with a better and cleaner cutting edge. So, this gives smoother and accurate holes every time.
Another best thing I liked is its high-carbon steel constructions. You don’t have to sharpen these often because of this build. Also, they operate well with hardwood and softwoods. But, you may see some tear out if you are using a hard drill on softwood like pine. So, be careful.
The entire set is placed in a durable wooden folding storage box.
What I didn’t like about Steelex D3573 Forstner Bits?
The only thing I did not like about this set is that it heats up pretty quickly. You literally have to tone it down to about 500 RPM to make it work without heating.
- Durable wooden box
- 16 piece drill bits set
- Great size range
- No heat resistance
Consider for Quality Freud FB-100 16-PieceDiablo Forstner Drill Bits
This is the second time Freud’s Forstner drill bits have appeared in the review. Although this 16-piece set may appear pricey to some, you are getting a dependable Forstner bits set with it.
Features of Freud FB-100 16PC Diablo Forstner Drill Bit Set
- Piece/ Bits: 16
- Sizes: 0.25 to 2.125 inch
- Material: micrograin carbide with titanium (TiCo)
- Shank: 1 to 3 inches
What I liked about Freud FB-100 16-PieceDiablo Forstner Bits?
This set has one of the widest size ranges of drill bit sets listed so far, ranging from 0.25 inches to 2.125 inches. I cannot appreciate Freud’s unique metal blend any less. It creates a super-tough alloy, which sets this kit differently.
Plus, you can see that it is made up of micrograin carbide with titanium (TiCo). That means it is a combination of cobalt and titanium. So, it does not give you the heat problem like the previous one. You can use this for longer. It is well-balanced and sharp.
You get a strong wooden box to store these when not in use. Keep it safe so you don’t lose the razor-sharp edge.
What I didn’t like about Freud FB-100 16-PieceDiablo Forstner Bits?
These ones come with short shanks. So, deep boring is a little difficult. Also, if you are planning to use it only for a couple of times then this one would seem quite expensive.
- Alloy blend
- Wide size range
- Wood storage box
- Quite expensive if you don’t use it regularly
- Short Shank
For Range Think about Grizzly Industrial H7694 Best Forstner Bit set
In terms of comprehensiveness, Grizzly Industrial H7694 Master is the best Forstner bits set available. If you are a professional, you will never be short on the right size Forstner drill bit. Due to its massive size range, the Grizzly Industrial H7694 Master Forstner Drill Bit set is suitable for small to medium use tasks. But since these ones have build quality issues, I wouldn’t recommend it for heavy use.
Features of Grizzly Industrial H7694-31-Piece Mega Forstner Bit Se
- Piece/ Bits: 31
- Sizes: 0.25 inches to 2.125 inches with 0.063-inch increments
- Material: high-speed steel
- Shank: 3/8-Inch
What I liked about Grizzly Industrial H7694
The bits have a diameter range of 0.25 inches to 2.125 inches, with 0.063-inch increments. That means, you will have all the bits you would need.
The shanks are hex-shaped for improved grip and 0% slippage. Plus, you also have chucks with a diameter of 0.375 inches. These can also be used in hex-shaped chucks, such as those seen on impact drivers. Moreover, the knife-edge teeth on these bits allow them to cut quickly and cleanly. This increases the drill cutting speed and reduces bit wear and tear. You can purchase this set for its variety. A good thing is that the sizes are mentioned on each bit but are hard to read. Also, let me repeat again that all bits have a hex shaft.
The bits come in a good wooden box for easy storage.
What I didn’t like about these drill bits
I did not like the quality of these drill bits at all. There is a small rattling sound when you use it. So, I won’t say that it cuts like better but there would be a few offs from the precise cutting journey. And, the wooden box that it comes in with is also not of good quality. It does not hold the bits very well.
- High-speed steel
- Comprehensive 31 piece set
- Knife-edge teeth design
- Bit and wooden box quality issues
I would always go with the Porter-Cable 14-Piece Forstner Bit Set if you ask my opinion. It offers a clean flat-bottomed hole. Plus it has an easy-to-read size chart. It is durable and has the necessary edge retention. And just Like the rest of the Forstner bits, it has a good carry case.
Most best Forstner bits are constructed of high-speed steel, also known as high-carbon steel. Forstner bits or pieces are normally sold in boxed collections of 8 or more, however, they are also available individually. The best Forstner bit sets provide a lot of mobility and versatility.
All the Forstner bits can look the same. Yet there are significant disparities in the design of the cutting edges and overall production quality. Let us look at some important factors that will help you make the best choice.
What are Forstner bits used for?
The main utility of Forstner bits is to drill holes into hard or soft woods and other material. Some good quality drill bits can be used for hard metal. Otherwise, usually, they can drill well on soft metals, I’ve written more article about drill accessories. They come in various sizes and shapes to make drilling possible as per the user’s desire.
The first and foremost criterion is a sturdy body and design. The quality of the drill bit must be appropriate for long-term use. It should be made of elements with stainless and rust-free properties. Not only will this boost its life span, but nullify any hindrance caused due to corrosion of metal. Plus, a superior quality material means lower wear, which also reduces any chances of maintenance cost or repurchasing. Usually, a brand renowned for its reputation manufactures great products. For instance, Freud FB-100 16-PieceDiablo Forstner Drill Bit Set is made up of micrograin carbide with titanium (TiCo).
Units of measurement
For each country or region, the units of measurement can differ from metric or imperial. The most common is the metric system. It is millimeters, centimeters, kilometers, etc. On the other hand, the imperial system includes feet, inches, and pounds. The United States follows the imperial measurement system, so choose the inch one. Otherwise, go for the metric units. You will need to understand this because it is where your Forstner bit will be measured.
The number of bits
If you already know how many bits you’ll need, then definitely find the one with that number. But, in case you’re unaware of how many bits you might need to get going, the ideal number to start with is five, all in different sizes. But, still, it will be more advantageous if you could do a bit of research as to what sizes you’ll need and in what numbers. It will only reduce your costs.
Remember that the Forstner bits must give smoothness and precision. It should offer you flat bottom holes even while drilling through a thick piece of wood. Plus, the cutting action should not wear out the bit faster. It will take you more time to repair than use. In addition, the center spur helps to enter the wood very easily.
There are two types of shanks, a round shank, and a hex shank. Round shanks are perfect for drill presses and standard hand drills, and the two come with adjustable chucks. The hex shank is mainly for impact drivers with easy-to-release chucks.
This might not be on the top of the list but is equally important. You surely don’t want to buy a drill bit that costs you a fortune. But, you might think that buying something cheap will get you through this without spending much. Actually, that will be even worse, because first, it will be of low quality, with poor performance, and less utility. Next, it also won’t be durable and might break sooner than you expected, which will only inflate your expenditure over a longer period of time. So, the best option is to get one at a reasonable price, in different sizes. You can get a good quality bit set for about $50-$100.
There aren’t many accessory options when it comes to Forstner bits. A case would be good though; it’ll keep all your bits organized and safe from getting lost. Also, it is easy to carry to different places.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Forstner Bits For Woodworking
Can I use a Forstner bit with a hand drill?
Yes, you can use the Forstner bit with a hand drill. I would suggest you to use them in combination with a drill press to obtain a clean cut. Forstner bits can efficiently drill holes on the edge or at any angle. However, ensure that while using a Forstner bit with a hand drill, the work surface has support and protection on the backside to prevent blowouts.
Then, align the Forstner bit perpendicular to the point where the hole is to be drilled. This avoids slipping. The alignment of the center mark of the workpiece and of the Forstner bit should be in the same line.
Can Forstner bits be used in a router?
I wouldn’t recommend using a Forstner bit in a router. Forstner bits are designed to work slowly, whereas routers are made to work rigorously and fast.
As a router works at a very high speed, Forstner bits are not suitable for them. Instead, carefully use a drill press or a hand-held drill with a Forstner bit. Forstner bits are excellent drill bits for drilling flat-bottomed holes, while a router is a beast tool that can plunge into wood and make joints, grooves, patterns, and inlays.
How deep can you drill with a Forstner bit?
A normal Forstner bit is 3-½ inches long. Certainly, the 1-1/8 inch long x 3/8 inch shank is chucked and deducted from the entire length, leaving around 2-3/8 inches of drilling depth available.
A Forstner bit measuring 2-3/8 inches can drill a hole of 4-3/4 inches entirely through. After drilling to full depth, another one inch can be drilled with the same bit by extending the shank a half-inch out of the chuck. But do this slowly. Avoid doing this before boring to the maximum depth, otherwise, the Forstner’s shank will spin in the chuck.
How big do Forstner bits get?
You can have Forstner bits in almost any size but not smaller than 1/4 inch. However, they do go up to very big sizes with diameters of many inches.
Several suppliers provide Forstner bits in diameters up to 4′′. Beyond 2′′, sizes usually rise in 1/8″ steps. The larger sizes, which are particularly cost-effective, are the true benefit of this type of drill bit.
How do you center a Forstner bit?
Fasten the Forstner bit in the chuck appropriately. Drill pilot holes significantly smaller in diameter from the top sheet. Then turn the board over and countersink the base with the Forstner bit. Flip the board back over again to its original position. Now use the 19/64s bit or whatever size of the Forstner bit you are using. Drill the hole as needed without disrupting the rest of the arrangement. As a result, the workpiece will be cut cleanly and straight with minimal chipping and flaking.
Make sure you look for all of these when looking for drill bits. These will be helpful for all. For instance, from handymen, woodworkers, plumbers, carpenters to homeowners or hobbyists. It’s always ideal to get one set ready for whenever you need it. My popular choice would be Porter-Cable 14-Piece Best Forstner Bits Set. It does not have 21 bits like that of Grizzly Industrial H7694 but is very well built with a variety of uses. But, the list of brands to choose from for your use is endless. There is Porter-Cable definitely along with Freud, Steelex, Grizzly, and many more.