Is There Anyone Selling Reasonably-Priced HSS Drill Bits?

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Forum topic by jonah posted 12-19-2013 12:56 PM 1619 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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687 posts in 2722 days

12-19-2013 12:56 PM

Anyone got a decent source for HSS drill bits that won’t break the bank? Lee Valley seems to be one of the only ones I’ve found, and while I really like those guys and have bought stuff there before in the past, the bits are pretty expensive. Anyone know anyone selling HSS bits any cheaper?

I’m tired of messing around with crappy $10-for-a-set-of-15 Home Depot bits. Thanks in advance for any help.

19 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


7125 posts in 2001 days

#1 posted 12-19-2013 01:16 PM

I’ve had good luck with Ebay. Machine grade cobalt bits are great as well.

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1175 days

#2 posted 12-19-2013 01:27 PM

Agreed on the Ebay route, and if you can afford it, go with cobalt alloy. Another source is Enco ( and they have good quality in both import and USA made drill bits.

The other thing with drill bits is learn how to re-sharpen them by hand. It will make your work better, and you will save money in the long run. Even a slight chip can cause the bit to drill off center, making an oversize hole. An angel gage for sharpening the point works well to get both the angle and centering right.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View johnstoneb's profile


2106 posts in 1596 days

#3 posted 12-19-2013 01:43 PM

With Drill bits you pretty much get what you pay for. For woodworking you would probably be better off with brad point bits. They’ll track better. If you are using them for both wood and metal The cobalt alloys are the way to go and they will last in direct proportion to the money you spend on them.
I once bought a cheap set of twist drill bits at a tool auction (1/16 to 1/4) The first one I used it caught and them wouldn’t drill again. I looked at it and it was so soft that the drill torque from a 1/4 in drill and reversed the twist on the bit. I no longer buy cheap drill bits. And as hydro suggests learn to sharpen them they will drill better and last a long time.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View helluvawreck's profile


22707 posts in 2290 days

#4 posted 12-19-2013 01:52 PM

If you are talking about regular twist drills there is probably no wider selection than MSC Industrial Supply. Their catalog is probably 4500 – 5000 pages. They may have other types of woodworking drill bits but they are primarily geared to the manufacturing, maintenance, and machinist trade. However, they still have lots of items that would be of interest to woodworkers and they have excellent service.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View jonah's profile


687 posts in 2722 days

#5 posted 12-19-2013 02:12 PM

I should have been more specific. I am talking about HSS brad-point bits used almost exclusively for woodworking. I will use my cheapo ones for drilling holes in plaster and drywall and such things.

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1175 days

#6 posted 12-19-2013 02:13 PM

If you are looking for brad points, Grizzly has a good selection. No need for the cobalt in drilling just wood.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View Ripthorn's profile


1402 posts in 2409 days

#7 posted 12-19-2013 02:28 PM

With HSS brad points, your options are most likely to be LV, Grizzly, Rockler, and Woodcraft. The latter two are far too expensive for what you get in my opinion. Then you have the choice of buying a set that will last for the rest of your life and then some (LV), or a cheaper option that may need to be replaced at some point. I have some of Grizzly’s Steelex HSS brad bits and they are perfectly serviceable, though I bet they do not leave anywhere near as clean a hole as the LV, which I would love to get at some point (though will probably have to go onesy twosy with them).

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2395 days

#8 posted 12-19-2013 03:05 PM

You can grind any HSS regular bit into a brad point yourself.
Once you learn how it is really pretty easy.
Just don’t get into too big of a hurry and try to keep the bit cool by frequently dipping in water.
I use a zip wheel mounted in an arbor on my bench grinder.

The Lee Valley style of bits are a little more difficult to grind with the extra spurs around the outside edges.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 1363 days

#9 posted 12-19-2013 07:17 PM

Look up the

CNC grade bits.

I have bought and used many. They are for metal and work wonders. they are great for hardwoods.

No affiliation, but happy as heck to recommend them.

View MrRon's profile


3898 posts in 2667 days

#10 posted 12-19-2013 11:34 PM

Most people use only a few sizes of drill bits. Just buy the bits that you use the most; maybe two of each of the smaller sizes. When you need to drill pilot holes for screws, us the cheap bits.

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2217 days

#11 posted 12-20-2013 01:33 AM

I saw what looked like a decent set at the local Costco the other day. Good price and a lot of bits. Don’t remember who made them.
I bought a set of brad points at HF. Some are good and some have a good bit of run out. Wouldn’t buy them again.
When drilling holes I mostly use Forstners. I’m with Mr Ron on pilot holes.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View waho6o9's profile


7125 posts in 2001 days

#12 posted 12-20-2013 01:59 AM

7 pieces for 80.00 plus shipping and handling.
These 7 pieces for 20.00

Personally, the set for 20.00 would be tough to beat as Colt is held in high regard.

Good luck on your decision.

View johnstoneb's profile


2106 posts in 1596 days

#13 posted 12-20-2013 02:57 AM

Watch Woodcraft for sales. I bought a set 1/16 to 1/2 from wood craft for about $30 last year on sale.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16820 posts in 2529 days

#14 posted 12-20-2013 03:21 AM

Check out Grizzly tools. they had a sale this spring for a complete set of Fraction, Number and letter drills for $44.
I thought they might be low standard, but I used some for drilling steel in the lathe and they worked great.

Here is a brad point set for $21 in HSS and with turned down shanks


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

View MontanaBob's profile


548 posts in 2108 days

#15 posted 12-20-2013 03:35 AM

I just bought metric size bits form Lee Valley… They are a little pricy, but not bad….What’s nice is you can buy just the size of bit you need…

-- To realize our true destiny, we must be guided not by a myth from our past, but by a vision of our future

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