Before you grab your wallet, it’s worth having a good think about what exactly is the best drill bit set for you and your needs. For the average homeowner who only wants to put up a few pictures or the odd shelf, a small but useful kit is the right idea. However, if you’re planning on renovating your property or you know you’re going to be doing a lot of drilling, make sure your kit has multiples of the same drill bit, so you’re not caught short when one inevitably snaps.
The vessel that holds all your drill and driver bits might not seem important, but it really is. If you live in a flat and you’re a light DIY user, just get yourself a small and compact kit that fits in the kitchen drawer. You’ll be thankful it’s easy to store, and if you need to take it with you, you can. A honking great case will just get in the way, and you probably won’t use most of it anyway.
For those of us that need to go “on-site”, a flimsy little plastic box isn’t going to last in the back of a van or rattling around in a big tool case. The blow-moulded cases with metal clasps like you’ll find on the trade level drill bit sets are much stronger. They won’t break if you drop them a couple of times and the hinges can usually take a good beating.
The contents of the best drill bit set are down to you and what you need it for. If you want a little kit to get you out of a jam, there are a few basic things to look out for. The one that often gets left out is a screwdriver. It sounds simple, but a lot of “advanced” kits supply you with hundreds of bits but nothing to drive them with.
Some drill bit sets are designed for DIYers or tradespeople who already have the basics with them and need a more specialised set of accessories to get the job done. They leave out the entry-level kit because for the prepared user, a screwdriver or tape measure is just taking up more space.
So, if you’re planning on getting a kit and nothing else to leave at home in case of an emergency, look for these items in your set. These are my personal go-to tools if I could only choose a few: A screwdriver, a craft knife, a tape measure, a spirit level, a small selection of quality drill bits, a hammer, and a set of pliers.
Buying Drill Bits – Quality or Quantity?
The old saying goes “you buy cheap, you buy twice”, and in most cases this is true. It takes a few hard lessons to know if you’re saving money by buying the cheapest drill bits or driver bits on offer. If a cheap drill bit breaks after a couple of uses and you’re forced to buy another one, is it worth it?
I would, however, suggest that most DIYers don’t need to buy professional level consumables like drill bits and driver bits though. Unless you’re using them all the time and putting them under a lot of pressure, save your money and get something that’s good enough.
A decent set of drill bits and driver heads will last for a long time, make short work of most materials and really grab on to screw heads. But don’t forget that there’s a lot to be said for technique. Practise the proper way to drill holes and learn to use the right amounts of pressure when you’re drilling or screwing, and you’ll probably find you chew through a lot fewer drill bits.
Signs of a Good Quality Drill Bit Set
It’s fine for me to tell you to buy the best quality drill bit set, but how can you tell if a drill bit is any good? There are a few things to look out for in a quality drill bit:
- The grind on the tip of the drill bit is uniform. The normal grind angle is around 60°, but it’s more important that the grind is equal on both cutting surfaces. Cheap drill bits might be uneven.
- The plastic used to make the case itself needs to be rigid, but not brittle. Some low-quality drill bit set cases are made from hard plastic that easily shatters. Look for cases made from plastics like high-density polyethylene. They’re hard-wearing but won’t snap.
- Driver bits aren’t all made equally. The best driver bits are hardened by heating them to a high temperature then quenched in a cold liquid. They’re then tempered to make them extremely hard and difficult to break.
- Another way that manufacturers make strong driver bits is with coatings of things like titanium and tungsten carbide. These bits are extremely hard, but they can also be brittle. Rather than bend, they’ll shatter under extreme pressures.
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