router bits.. and lowes..

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Forum topic by joshtank posted 10-22-2011 08:12 PM 5126 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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224 posts in 2971 days

10-22-2011 08:12 PM

I don’t have a professional shop by any means, just hobby stuff here and there. I recently got a $100 gift card to lowes. and since i just got my first router table set up, i was thinking on getting some router bits. (the ones i have now are old craftsman from my grandfather, mostly just steal, no carbide, very easy to leave burn marks.)

i hear everyone talking about whiteside and even the cheaper woodcraft brand. BUT being a librarian by day and having a new addition to the family staying at a certain lower price range is nice. and with the gift card, staying at LOWES is nicer..

so.. Bosch bits? are they total crap?

Skil bits? am i just asking to lose an eye?

I saw other posts about bits, but none of them were sold at lowes.

lowes also has CMT bits, which means i can get.. maybe two bits for $100.


is anything else at lowes such a good deal i should just keep the card for that? finishes etc..?

-- Josh - Jacksonville, FL -

24 replies so far

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3071 days

#1 posted 10-22-2011 08:26 PM

Bosch and woodcraft bits are fine. Higher end bits will cut cleaner and stay sharp longer but for me that’s not always worth the higher cost. For things like roundovers I generally buy cheaper bits because it’s easy to sand. For things like raised panel sets and ogees I buy high end bits because those profiles are much harder to sand.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3958 days

#2 posted 10-22-2011 08:50 PM

Don’t rule out Grizzly for value in bits. Look ‘em up, it’ll be worth your while.
I don’t suggest you buy sets. Just buy what you want/need. There will be a lot of duplication in sets.
CMT bits are good, and Rockler often offers deals. Bosch bits are good, just pricey at a Borg.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 10-22-2011 10:47 PM

At the Lowes near me, almost all the router bits have a 1/4” shank. I really try to avoid 1/4” shank bits. They break too easily.

As Don says, Bosch and Woodcraft bits are okay, but stay away from the 1/4” shank.

If it were me, I would use the gift certificate for the disposable items you are always using up (e.g. sandpaper) and/or their Kobalt line. In general, I think the Kobalt brand is pretty good stuff at a reasonable price.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#4 posted 10-23-2011 01:16 AM

Bosch bits are pretty good though usually too expensive to bother with, but I’m definitely skeptical about the Skil bits. One possibility is to sell your Lowe’s card and use the cash towards bits that make the most sense without being limited to Lowes.

The basic 7 pc Whiteside set of the most commonly used profiles is ~ $80 shipped…top shelf American made cutters. The 15 pc MLCS set is $40 shipped, and are decent import bits. I would not buy a large set because the total cash outlay is still high, and you end up with a bunch of cheap near duplicate bits. Get 1/2” shank whenever feasible, assuming your router accepts 1/2” shank.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Jacob Lucas's profile

Jacob Lucas

100 posts in 2430 days

#5 posted 10-23-2011 01:26 AM

One thing to watch out for is if you are gonna be using them in a trim router, be sure the shank size is right. Most trim routers only accept a 1/4 inch shank. Personally I do most of my routing with a trim router, its just easier for me.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2996 days

#6 posted 10-23-2011 03:56 AM

I would say get one of the $100 30 piece sets of the Skil bits.

The rationale:

The bit difference between cheap bits and high quality bits is really the grade of carbide. The Skill bits are not bad bits, they are just not GREAT bits. There are a lot of profiles you won’t use often. Having them is nice to pull out once in a while. For occasional use, they are fine. As you replace them, replace the ones you use often with high quality bits. They will last and stay sharp longer.

I have a mix of bits myself. Some are the bargain bin from Harbor Freight. Some are pricey. Some outright painful to buy. If I am just going to use one for one piece, I get a cheap one. If I intend to use it often, I go ahead and get a good one.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2560 days

#7 posted 10-23-2011 05:00 AM

What David said. I got similar advice when I first started. I also got told (and mostly followed) was to keep track of the bits you use and how often you use a bit by making a pencil mark on the shaft when the shaft is all marked up go by a high quality bit of that profile as you know it will be worth it. If you are like most you will buy a straight bit, an ogee a round over and a trim bit

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2503 days

#8 posted 10-23-2011 05:52 AM

I bought a 50 bit set for $50 from a now defunct company called Blade-N-Bits. They are okay and prolly in line with Skill bits. Over the years I wait for the Woodcraft $5 sale and stock up on my most used profiles. I’ve looked at the Bosch bits in Lowes, but never used them. I think they look fine and I would buy one in a pinch.

The Whiteside 7pc set is a nice way to go too.

View grantlairdjr's profile


31 posts in 2588 days

#9 posted 10-26-2011 01:51 PM

Try Harbor Freight Tools store…

-- Grant Laird Jr - Garland, Texas

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4986 posts in 2491 days

#10 posted 10-26-2011 06:21 PM

I’ve never used Skil bits, but I have tried a couple of Bosch and thought they were pretty good. I might not rate them with Whiteside, but higher probably than MLCS. Remember, Bosch now owns Freud bits/blades (since ‘08)...they have some knowledge on this stuff somewhere in the corporate archives. BTW, I’ve also used quite a few of the Woodcraft bits, bought mostly when they have the $5/ea. sale. They are actually quite good, though again, I wouldn’t rate them with a Whiteside. But when you can buy 3-4 other bits for the price of one Whiteside what can you lose?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Guss's profile


94 posts in 2439 days

#11 posted 10-27-2011 03:40 AM

I really like wood line usa bits and there on the lower side of the router bits cut really clean. i have used some woodcraft bits there not to bad. I would not go for the harbor freight bits I have a set of 4 i picked up and they dont cut near as nice as any of the other bits that i have

View Rxmpo's profile


268 posts in 3743 days

#12 posted 10-27-2011 04:04 AM

Saw a great review from another jock harrywho about this site so I ordered a dovetail bit for my Leigh jig and I was very happy with the product, speed of delivery, and price. Not only that, the owner Alan personally sends emails and responds. Even followed up with an email a few weeks after to make sure all was well. I won’t buy a bit from anywhere else now.

CR1 just had a great experience as well. If you are looking for bits this is the site to go with IMHO.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3433 days

#13 posted 10-27-2011 04:28 AM

I have quite a few router bits, some are mid range for occasional needs and the rest are higher end bits. MLCS bits are good and fulfill the need for bits you don’t have any punishing daily long term usage. Bosch are good, as are Freud and Milwaukee (Freud’s). Whiteside are very good heavy duty bits. Amana, for me are the Rolls Royce of router bits, superb long lasting heavy duty precision bits – the best.

HF bits, I wouldn’t touch with a 10’ pole.

Probably the best deal around is Milwaukee, as they are the very same Freud bits with a different logo, made by Freud, and are cheaper than Freud.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#14 posted 10-27-2011 05:03 AM

Roger – I’d almost forgotten that Freud made several of the Milwaukee bits. About a year ago I bought a 3-1/2” horizontal panel raiser that has the Freud 2+2 “quadra cut” technology for $10 from Amazon! Haven’t tried it yet, but it was a whole lot cheaper than the red one!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View spamfilterman's profile


149 posts in 3020 days

#15 posted 10-27-2011 05:21 AM

Me too with picking up the Milwaukee/Freud bits when they were on heavy sale at Amazon… I think I got that same panel raiser, and a few other high quality bits. I with I would’ve picked up more.

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