Router Bits: 1/4" VS. 1/2" Shanks.

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Forum topic by Micahm posted 261 days ago 841 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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135 posts in 360 days

261 days ago

When it comes to router bits, there are 1/4” and 1/2” shank sizes. What are the pro’s and con’s of each size? Are the 1/2” better in anyway than the 1/4” or vise versa?

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me. - Tony Konovaloff

10 replies so far

View Timmer's profile


1 post in 261 days

#1 posted 261 days ago

The 1/2 shank will vibrate or chatter less at high speeds for a cleaner cut

-- Tim

View Pete_Jud's profile


423 posts in 2380 days

#2 posted 261 days ago

Only use 1/2 inch shanks in my shop, unless the bit is less than 1/8 inch. Just my rule.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11299 posts in 1733 days

#3 posted 261 days ago

The 1/2” can have a larger max cutter on them. You can use a the 1/4” router bits in a 1/2” router with a split collet. Some real small cutters don’t come with the 1/2” shank, too. It is good to have a 1/2” router so you can use all of them. I really don’t notice any difference in using either of them. You just buy what need to get the job done. I started buying only 1/4” ones because that was all my craftsman router would take.

I have seen router bit extensions but I am really afraid to ever try one. If they are not perfectly concentric you will get some bad vibrations with a bit hanging out that far and spinning at 25,000 RPM. I would not think it is very good for the spindle bearing in the router either. I have never had a job that would need a bit sticking our farther than they normally do.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Loren's profile


7400 posts in 2275 days

#4 posted 261 days ago

Some nimble small routers only take 1/4” shanks and for
that they are useful. For handheld use a lighter,
more compact router is nice to work with if the
cuts aren’t too heavy. For router table work 1/2” shanks
are going to perform better.


View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

13741 posts in 965 days

#5 posted 261 days ago

Like any tool, both very useful for different projects. I use the 1/4” shafts with my compact router for doing signs, edging and small projects. I use the 1/2” shanks for heavy duty jobs. For instance the oak poker table I consider to heavy of job for small router tools. I am also lazy. I have 5 routers set up so that I have minimal time changing bits.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View knotscott's profile


5418 posts in 2003 days

#6 posted 261 days ago

1/4” breaks easier. The only 1/2” bits I’ve ever broken were those they to taper to 1/4” or less near the cutter end, but I’ve broken 1/4” bits right at the shank.

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

View teejk's profile


1208 posts in 1312 days

#7 posted 261 days ago

I notice longer life on 1/2” which I think is due to heat.

View bondogaposis's profile


2480 posts in 978 days

#8 posted 261 days ago

The half inch bits ,are definitely better and I use them whenever I can. I still have an old router that only takes 1/4” shank bits and for that reason I still keep a few 1/4” bits around.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BentheViking's profile


1752 posts in 1191 days

#9 posted 261 days ago

my bosch colt router only takes 1/4” my hitatchi 3 1/4” hp only takes 1/2” my craftsman will take both sizes so i guess it really depends on what I’m trying to do.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View laketrout36's profile


135 posts in 654 days

#10 posted 260 days ago

I’ve started using Whiteside 1/2” bits. From my recent experience I’ve got no complaints. The 1/4” bits I’ve used (Not Whiteside) I’ve had to keep a good eye on my work, not too fast, not too slow, no more than 1/8” cut for each pass of the router. Smaller bit, more care is needed in my experience. Just an observation.

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