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Thread: General use Twist Drill Bits

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Oskaloosa Iowa

    General use Twist Drill Bits

    I am needing to buy a Drill Bit set. I will be using them for general use...some wood and some metal. Twist drill bits are what I'm wanting to get.
    Any suggestions on a Good set of Twist Drill bits ?

    I have a set of Brad Point bits for my precision wood drilling...just wanting a good set of twist drill bits for general use.

    Last edited by Mike Burke; 11-17-2021 at 7:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
    I've got a 29 piece fractional set of Irwin/Hanson HSS drill bits that I've been very happy with. They drill steel well with no issues and have maintained their sharpness very well. I grabbed them off Amazon Woot for about 40 dollars. It calls them black oxide finish but they are bright HSS. There are other good options as well and I'm sure that you will get input from other members. Cleveland Twist Drill, and Triumph to name a couple. I've had good luck at work with Fastenal drill bits. I don't recall the brand. They have them with the flats on the shanks that prevent slipping in the chuck which can be a great benefit. Definitely get HSS. At least if you want to drill metal with good results. Good luck.

  3. #3
    The DeWalt (both black and gold) from Lowes / HD give me good service. But I wouldn't buy another set of Skill / Bosch bits, as they are just a little better than HF's bit set, IMHO. Sets are always cheaper. I wish they came with extra 1/8 and 1/4 bits.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Orwell, NY
    I have come to prefer screw machine length drill bits for the sizes I use all the time. I rarely have to drill deep holes, and these bits deflect much less since they are short. I buy them in 10 packs on eBay, and keep all the packages of extras in a box for future use. For general odd job use I have a couple of Harbor Freight sets that are OK, but not great.

  5. #5
    Viking/Norseman are the best I have used, USA-made in St. Paul. The side flutes are milled sharp enough that you need to be a little careful handling them

    Acme has a 29 piece fractional set for around $80 I just got for the family biz, but I haven't used it yet. In the shop, I use Viking bright finish bits I got in bulk from a local place no longer in business, unfortunately, although I did snag a 105 bit set for cost in their going out of biz sale.
    Last edited by Andrew Seemann; 11-17-2021 at 10:36 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    My preferred twist drills for the last few years have been cobalt drill bits.
    I find they last considerably longer than regular HSS or titanium coated bits, maintain their sharpness better, and also work excellent in metal, including stainless.
    HF has a 115 piece set that's quite comprehensive including lettered and numbered bits that at times fill the void between fractional bits.
    Not inexpensive at $115, but way less than a similar top name brand cobalt set. Other retailers also have cobalt bits, but are generally more expensive than HF.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    I started out with Hanson sets, probably 40 years ago. So many individual bits have been replaced, in the index boxes, so many times, that I couldn't tell you what brand they are now. I'm sure they're all mixed up brandwise. I would think the Irwin/Hanson set, that Ronald mentioned, would be plenty good enough.

    I keep some Cobalt bits, for drilling in stainless steel, and some carbide bits for hardened steel, but HSS will do most of what you want to do.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    I have had the best life with Cle-line bits from Acklands. Will probably get the ones by Viking next as my source for the others no longer exists.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Between No Where & No Place ,WA
    These days, I have no idea as to what is a good general use twist bit for metal.

    For woodworking use, I prefer the brad type bits. I have an old DeWalt set that works well. Prefer the bad point bits as I can easily align the brad point with the center mark. And there have been times when brad points bits did double duty as a transfer punch.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    I have a Triumph HSS Twist Drill set (29 piece Imperial) from Lee Valley that I like. Current price is essentially $120

    I also like my 60 piece number set (Triumph HSS Twist Drill) from Lee Valley, current price is $88.

    You already said that you have some brad point bits.

    Years ago, I purchased a carbide set (29 piece imperial) from Sears. I mostly use these when I want to drill steel, but they do work fine in wood. I do not have a good source for a nice set of these or even a recommended manufacturer. I do not see them there now.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    Viking/Norseman are the best I have used, USA-made in St. Paul. The side flutes are milled sharp enough that you need to be a little careful handling them
    Ditto the advice for Viking/Norseman drill bits. I first started using them over 30 years ago and still have a lot of the original bits.

    I have a lot of "machinist grade" bits such as Butterfield, Cleveland Twist, etc, but the Viking / Norseman are my favorites. Add a Darex Drill Doctor for keeping them sharp and you'll never need another set (unless you break or lose one).

  12. #12
    +3 for Viking/Norseman!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    I'm still using a Viking set that was my grandfather's.

    life in a mud hut

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    Personally I don't switch back and forth between wood and metal with the same bits. I use a lubricant when drilling metal, I don't want that on my wood. Lee Valley is a good place to buy.

  15. #15
    I don't do a whole lot of drilling into metal but when I have to I've found that Milwaukee bits work for me. They have several styles of bit available so you have a number of price points to choose from.

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