The Best Router Bits in 2021 – Buying Guide and Reviews

You can use a router for various things: cutting different woodworking joints, trimming laminates, and decorating edges are just a few examples. However, if you haven’t got the right router bits, you’ll struggle to get your woodworking projects off the ground.

To save you some time, I’ve examined what’s currently available and narrowed it down to ten of the best router bits. If you can’t wait to get started on your next woodworking project, you should jump straight to my top pick. The Hiltex 10100 Tungsten Bits Set is one of the best currently available. 

My Top Picks for the Best Router Bits

After examining factors such as bit types, materials, size, compatibility, coating, woodworking tasks, and value, I’ve settled on the following top-quality products. 

If you’re in a hurry, here a quick rundown of the top ten router bit sets in 2021:

Top Pick – Hiltex 10100 Tungsten Bits Review

First impressions of this set were positive ones. I liked how you can organize the bits in a sturdy wooden case and the fact that it includes all the essential bits you might need for a routing project. The case is indexed, which means you’ll never have to hunt around for a bit you want.

The bits all have universal 1/4 inch shanks, which makes them compatible with all routers. 

Another feature I love is the precision-machined, sharp YG8 tungsten carbide blades. Whatever wood you’re working on, these blades will deliver accurate and clean cuts. Each bit also has a bearing roller, which provides for smooth and well-aligned operations.

Solid steel alloy is used to manufacture these router bits, which provides durability and ensures longevity.

There’s a small issue with the durability of these blades if you use them on hardwood. However, they hold up exceptionally well if you’re working on softwood. 

Pros

  • Enclosed bearing roller.
  • Tungsten carbide blade tips.
  • 15 bits made from hardened alloy steel.
  • Wooden storage case.

Cons

  • Not super durable for cutting hardwood.

The Hiltex router bit set is very convenient for any carpenter to have, whether you’re a professional or an amateur. The universal 1/4 inch shanks means you can use it in any router, and they come in an attractive wooden box, which means you can keep the bits tidy and well-organized. You get a consistent and accurate cut, and the bits are very durable.

For more details or to make a purchase, click on the following link. 

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Top Premium Pick – Freud 91-100 Router Bit Set

While I liked the idea of the wooden storage box that comes with the Hiltex set, Freud takes the concept one step further with a shadow box case you can hang on the wall or mount on your workbench. All the router bits you need will be nearby and handy.

A feature of the router bits themselves is the titanium and carbide tips. Manufactured using high-quality materials and a tri-metal blazing hardening technique means they make short work of all kinds of wood and are long-lasting. 

Another feature worth a mention is the anti-kickback design. Kickback can be a serious problem. Not only can it cause injury, but it could also potentially damage your work, cutter, or router. A common cause of kickback is the router bit cutting deeply into the material and then becomes stuck. The bit will continue to try and spin and can fling your work away from it. 

You can find out more about kickback by watching this video:

This premium router bit set comes with the most commonly used bits but lacks some of the more unusual ones, which I would have expected when paying a higher price. Nevertheless, it’s possible to buy any others you need as single pieces.

Pros

  • Titanium and carbide tips for longevity.
  • Shadow box case.
  • Anti-kickback design for increased safety.
  • Tri-metal blazed tips can tackle all kinds of wood.

Cons

  • Lacking some of the less common router bits.

The price is a little higher than some of the sets on my list, but you should be pleasantly surprised with the quality you get. They should stand up well and last for many of your woodworking projects. There is an excellent selection of styles and sizes, but it’s one of the best starter sets for beginners. You’ll find more details by clicking on the link below. 

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Top Value Pick – Neiko 10115A 80-piece set

If you’re just starting your woodworking journey, you might be worried about blowing all your budget on a router bit set. This is where my top value pick comes into its own because it contains a wide range of bits that are good at cutting. It’s better suited for softer wood but still performs well on hardwood.

If you want a kit that contains a good number of router bits, the Neiko 10115A set has eighty to choose from. The quality won’t match a higher-priced set, but you get 80 different bits at an affordable price.

These value router bits are hardened alloy steel, which means you’ll be able to use them on countless woodworking projects. It also makes them resistant to heat. 

Having to store as many as 80 router bits would be a problem, but Neiko has overcome this problem by providing a sturdy aluminum box. 

Professionals may find this set frustrating to use as it doesn’t hold up quite as well when used on hardwood. To get around this issue, professional woodworkers would be better off choosing a better quality set with fewer pieces. 

Pros

  • Wide range of profiles to try out.
  • Affordable price.
  • Aluminum storage box.
  • Hardened alloy steel construction.

Cons

  • Not as hard-wearing as others on the market.

Anyone starting out will be pleasantly surprised with what they get for such an affordable price. The price also makes it a good buy for anyone taking on a woodworking project around the house. For further details or to make a purchase follow the link below. 

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Yonico 17702 70 Bits Set

The Yonico 17702 set is another excellent set that stands out because of the range of bits included in the set. Included are bits you can use for various projects, making it a good starter set for beginners. Also, it comes with a sturdy wooden case to keep the bits tidy and prevents unnecessary damage. 

This set comes with a lifetime warranty, so the manufacturer must be confident of its quality.

Unlike many other router bit sets, this one from Yonico comes with 1/2 inch shanks. The tip of which is industrial-grade carbide that has been silver induction brazed for improved longevity. With an anti-kickback design, these bits are safer to use.

The one downside with this set is that the bits are a little tricky to remove from the case the first time you use them. Luckily, the more you remove them, the easier it becomes. 

Pros

  • Wide range of bits for a variety of tasks.
  • Solid construction.
  • Universal 1/2 inch shanks.
  • Secure and solidly built storage box.

Cons

  • Foam filling inside the storage box makes getting the bits out tricky at first.

The Yonicao 17702 set is sturdy enough for beginners and includes many bits you can use for many different woodworking tasks. The bits are well made, and you can use them to make accurate and clean cuts. Click on the link below for more information or to make a purchase.

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MLCS 8377 Router Bit Set

If you’re anything like me, you like to get the most bang for your buck. This 15-piece router bit set from MLCS should tick all the right boxes. The set includes the most commonly used, so you can use them for practicing different cuts before you progress to the next level.

A feature of the bits that you’ll be looking for is the carbide tips. These increase their longevity and allow you to cut softwoods flawlessly. 

Each of the bits has a 1/2 inch shank, which reduces the chance of a tear out during use. A tear-out happens when a bit encounters grain that isn’t supported by its own structure. Curved pieces are particularly prone to it happening. 

Find out more about tear out by watching this video:

When it comes to cutting hardwoods, the performance is just about average. You might need to finish the cut with a sander or trim the edges for a perfect finish. You can also reduce the risk of this happening with careful handling and the correct maintenance.

Pros

  • A good selection of pieces for increased versatility.
  • Attractive wooden box for storage.
  • Carbide tips for added durability and longevity.
  • Affordable price.

Cons

  • Lets itself down when used on hardwoods.

This router bit set from MLCS is one of the more affordable sets in my top ten, and it stands out because of the wide selection of pieces. The bits are manufactured using high-quality materials, making them very durable.

The 1/2 inch shanks make them a safer option because there is a reduced chance of tear-out or vibrations. Click on the link below for more info or to purchase from Amazon. 

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Whiteside 401 Basic Router Bits

I wouldn’t consider it essential to have as many bits as possible. Many times, woodworkers only end up using a few of them anyway. This seven-piece set from Whiteside is more than adequate as it includes all the commonly used bits. 

A feature of the design that provides excellent balance is the precision grinding of the tips. Even at high speeds, there is little chance of tear-out or vibration.

The bits are designed to be used with a router table or a handheld router and feature a standard 1/2 inch inch shank and carbide tips for improved durability. They hold up well when you use them regularly and are acceptable for high-speed cutting. 

Now, the only downside is the price. The hobbyists among you might not have the budget to spend on this set. However, it’s worth finding the extra money because you won’t need to replace them for a long time. 

Pros

  • Carbide tips for long-lasting service.
  • Excellent balance at high RPM thanks to the precision grinding.
  • Sturdy plastic case for storage.
  • Vibration-free operation because of the 1/2 inch shank.

Cons

  • A little on the pricey side for seven pieces.

If you want a budget set of router bits, this might not fit the bill. However, they are worthy of the price tag because they hold up to repeated use, are balanced, sharp, and cut all material types.

This set will last many years whether you use it professionally or for a hobby. For pricing information and other details, make sure to click on the link below.

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CMT 800.505.11 Router Bit Set

If you’re a busy woodworker like me, durability is critical when choosing accessories. High-quality, high-density carbide ensures this is what you get with this set from CMT. Some of the bits also have anti-kickback features, making them easy, comfortable, and safe to use. Template work is also easy because some bits have a bearing. 

You can use these drill bits on ply, softwood, and hardwood because their performance has been enhanced with copper-silver-tri-metal brazing. You get improved longevity because of the mirror finish resulting from multi-axis grinding.

This 13-piece set comes in a hardwood storage box, which keeps the bits in an accessible and well-organized manner. 

The only real downside of this product is there is no way to mount the storage box on the wall near to your workbench. However, it is a minor point because the case is made from hardwood and looks attractive and unique. 

Pros

  • Chrome carbide tips for longevity.
  • Anti-kickback feature for safer working.
  • Some bits have a bearing for improved flexibility.
  • High-quality hardwood case.

Cons

  • The storage case is not wall-mountable.

As you’d expect when paying a premium price, this drill bit set from CMT provides performance that is durable and long-lasting. Safety features, such as the anti-kickback design, make using the set easy and comfortable. For more information about this product, click on the link below.

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Bosch RBS010

I wasn’t blown away by the fact that this set looks little different than most other sets on the market, but its name implies something different. “All-purpose professional router bit set” is a lot to live up to, but you should be impressed. The set includes ten of the most popular profiles for a versatile selection of routing applications. 

The set features several types of micro-grain carbide-tipped pieces, with 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch shanks. The 1/2 inch shanks provide improved stability and less vibration, while the 1/4 inch shanks are better suited for thin woodwork profiles. 

Don’t let the professional badge put you off if you’re a hobbyist. The set requires no professional knowledge to make the best use of it. Set up is relatively easy, and for everyday work, you’ll enjoy bits that last longer.

With ten pieces, this set of not the most varied in my list but is more than adequate for most woodworkers. Experts might be a little disappointed after a while as individual complex bits are missing. You could find yourself looking for additional pieces for your more unique work. 

Pros

  • Suitable for a wide variety of routing applications.
  • Micrograin carbide tips deliver improved durability and wear resistance.
  • Precision finish generates little vibration.
  • 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch shanks for versatility.

Cons

  • Selection is not as varied as some other sets.

This set from Bosch comes with general profiles in 1/2” and 1/4” shanks. The bits are manufactured for excellent wear-resistance and provide a smooth finish thanks to the high-sharpened blades. For additional info and pricing details, click on the following link.

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MLCS 6077

The 6077 is the second router bit set I decided to feature from MLCS. The brand has an excellent reputation for producing economically priced accessories and is a trusted brand for router bits. 

This set comes with fifteen pieces that you can use for any woodworking task. There is also a bearing included in the set. Use it to convert a round over bit into a beading bit and when the work is finished you can tidy everything away into a wooden storage box.

The tips of these router bits are carbide tipped which means they’ll make sharp, clean, and precise cuts through most kinds of wood or material. They also resist high temperatures and high speeds.

This is a lower-priced set than some of those on my list, so you shouldn’t expect that to last forever. They will, however, provide precise cuts until the carbide tips start to wear. You can increase the length of these bits by carefully choosing the materials you use and how often you use them. 

Pros

  • Good selection of bits with 1/4” shanks.
  • Attractive wooden storage box.
  • Bearing included converting from roundover to a beading bit.
  • Affordable price.

Cons

  • Not the most durable.

This set from MLCS has value for money on its side. 15 different carbide tipped router bits at such an affordable price makes them one of the best buys for a beginner. Durability is disappointing, but if you use them wisely, they should last a fair amount of time. Click on the link below if you want more information or to purchase from Amazon. 

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KOWOOD Router Bits Sets of 24A Pieces

This set from KOWOOD suits a complete novice and contains 24 of the most common bits you can use for various beginner woodworking projects. 

The body of these blades is solid hardened steel, and the tips are steel alloy with carbide. The bits have a 1/4” shank, which fits most table or handheld routers and reduces vibration. Ball-bearing guides on some of the bits prevent marring and burning.

If safety is an issue, you should find the anti-kickback design and stable 1/4”shank reassuring. These factors not only reduce vibration, but also ensure stable fitting. 

These router bits come in a handy organizer case, but there are issues with removing them from the box for the first few times. They are seated very firmly, but they do get easier to remove.

Pros

  • Price makes it a good option for beginners.
  • 1/4” shank for safe woodworking operations.
  • Carbide tips for long-lasting durability.
  • Anti-kickback design for safe operation.

Cons

  • Pieces can be challenging to remove from the box.

This 24-piece set from KOWOOD comes in a labeled wooden box, including some of the most commonly used router bits. You’ll be able to rely on it for trimming, grooving, and several other applications. You can find out a whole lot more about this product by clicking on the link below. 

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Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Router Bits for Your Job

There are several factors to consider before you start looking for the best router bits. This buyer’s guide should help you better understand what to look for. With a good grasp of the options available, you can make an informed choice and pick the right set for your workshop.

What Are the Most Common Types of Router Bits?

You can use a wide range of bits in a router: each is intended for a specific purpose. The ones you are most likely to use will depend on how you plan to use your router and the materials you’ll be working on. Let’s look at some of the most common bits and their uses. 

Straight Router Bits

You’re likely to use this router bit more frequently than any other. Typically, you’ll find it in various diameters, ranging from 3/16” to 1 ½”. Its primary use is for making a groove or a dado straight down into the wood. You can also use it for hollowing out an area if you want to include an inlay or mortise. 

Flush-Trim Router Bits

You can use a flush-trim bit for trimming the edges of a workpiece so you can create an edge to match up with another piece. This piece is essential if you plan to work with plastic laminate or wood veneer regularly. You can also use the straight cutting blade for trimming down overhanging material. 

A flush-trim bit has a pilot ball bearing that guides it. The diameter of this bearing is usually the same as the cutting blade. The bearing can be at the tip or the base of the bit. 

You’ll find a great explanation of how a flush-trim works in this video. 

Rabbeting Router Bits

One of the easiest ways to cut a rabbet is with a rabbeting router bit. A rabbet is a dado, notch, or shoulder on the edge of a workpiece. A rabbet router bit usually has a bearing tip and rides along the edge of your stock. 

Chamfer Router Bits

With a chamfer router bit, you can make angled cuts across a corner. It’s also possible to use one to remove a 90-degree edge, create an attractive design, or for removing a banged-up edge. You can also use a chamfer bit to form a beveled edge you can use in a joinery woodworking project. 

Edge-Forming Router Bits

Edge-forming router bits are for cutting decorative edges and come in a range of profiles. There are various types, but the most popular include round over bits, edge beading bits, cover router bits, and ogee bits. 

Molding Router Bits

Molding router bits are for creating architectural molding profiles. This router bit is a larger version of edge-forming router bits. Because of their size, you’re best using them with a table rather than a hand-held router. Some types of molding router bits combine several edge-forming profiles in one bit. 

Stile and Rail Bits

The most common use of stile and rail bits is in the construction of frames and panels. Features of these bits include a straight profile, which you use for cutting a slot in the stile, or a vertical piece of the frame. There is also a decorative edge profile. 

You can use these bits to make a matching cut at the end of the rail or cut a horizontal piece of the frame. Such a cut allows the rail to slot into the stile.

Stile and rail bits tend to come in pairs, but you also find them as a single bit that performs both types of cut. 

Raised Panel Bits

You use a raised panel bit with stile and rail bits if you want to create a profiled edge on the door’s panel. There are two types: horizontal and vertical.

A horizontal-use raised panel bit has a large diameter, so it’s better if you use a table router. When you cut the material, make sure it’s laid flat on the table. 

A vertical-use raised panel bit has a small diameter and is easier and safer to use. The material should be lying on its edge, allowing the bit to form a new, decorative profile.

Joinery Bits

You use a joinery bit to produce a precision joint to attach two types of material. Examples include joints in a coffee table or a drawer. There are various specialized types, including drawer lock router bits, dovetail router bits, lock miter bits, and finger joint bits. 

You can find some more tips on choosing your types of router bits by watching this video. 

Features to Consider When Buying Router Bits

When you’re shopping for router bits, the most obvious difference is the color and price. However, there are many other features to consider if you want to pick the best ones and get the best value for your money. 

Shank Size

The cylindrical and solid part of a router bit is called the shank. It’s the component that fits into your router’s collet. The most common sizes are 1/2” and 1/4”. You can only use some routers with 1/4” shank bits, but some accept both sizes.

A 1/2” shank is preferable to a 1/4” shank because it’s more stable and has less vibration. The shanks often have a longer cutter life and produce a smoother cut. A 1/4” shank is typically better if you’re using a laminate trim router, or you’re limited to 1/4” cutters.

Material

Router bits are commonly made using one of three different materials: solid carbide, carbide tipped, and high-speed steel. 

Solid carbide tips tend to be the most expensive and are for specific applications such as laminate trimming, mortising, and pattern cutting. 

Carbide tipped router bits are usually a little cheaper and stay sharp for a relatively long period. Carbide tips also perform better when you use them to cut hardwood and other hard materials. 

High-speed steel router bits are generally the cheapest option. They work well with light plastics and softwood but are likely to dull quicker than bits made using carbide.

Cutting Edge

The cutting edges of router bits tend to be high-speed steel. You can also find them with carbide tips fused to the bit. Most profile bits have carbide cutters. Carbide is harder than steel and holds an edge longer.

Carbide tips can also be more brittle, which means you must store and handle them carefully if you want to avoid chipping them. This is where a storage box can come in handy. 

Project Type

A good indication of the kind of bit you need is the type of project you want to work on. If, for example, you want to create a new profile for the edge of a table, or you’re building a door frame, a stile and rail router bit is preferable. The same goes for an edge-forming bit. 

The type of material you’re going to work with is another deciding factor. If you’re going to be working predominantly with hardwoods and metal, a solid carbide bit will be better matched for the task. You’ll also get a cleaner finish. For softwoods, a carbide-tipped router bit or one made using high-speed steel should tackle the job. 

Type and Number of Bits Included

An excellent way to avoid breaking the bank is to pick a router bit set compared with purchasing single pieces. You’ll get a variety of router bits you can use on your projects. However, when looking at the different sets, pick one that has all the pieces you need.

The more pieces you have in the set, the better flexibility. But a fewer number of pieces will be sufficient as long as you’ve got the router bits you need. 

Conclusion

If you’ve got a router in your workshop, having the right router bits means you’ll be able to complete your projects efficiently, safely, and correctly. As you now appreciate, there’s a massive variation in what’s available, and the range of projects you can use them for is vast. 

The ten products in my list come highly recommended, but if I had to nail down on a set and the best of the bunch, I’d recommend picking the Hiltex 10100 Tungsten Bits set.

This 15-piece set offers great value for money. It includes all the essential bits you need for most routing projects. The blades are tungsten carbide tipped and come in their own sturdy wooden index case.

I'm a mechanical engineer by trade but my passions are woodworking, tools and DIY.

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