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How to Choose a Router Bit

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How to Choose a Router Bit

When choosing a router bit, there are several
things to consider to get the most value for your money.
Here are some tips to choose a quality Router Bit:


Router Bit Shank Size

The shank size of the router bit has an affect on the overall value.
Choosing a 1/2" Shank over a 1/4" Router Bit may be more beneficial
because 1/2" Router Bits are more sturdy, and less likely to break.

Router Bit Material

There are 3 different materials from which Router Bits are made: 
High Speed SteelCarbide Tipped, and Solid Carbide.
Choosing a carbide Router Bit over a high steel router bit is usually
your best bet to get the most for your money.


High Speed Steel Router Bits are generally the least expensive and are fine for softwood and light plastics, but tend to dull much faster than carbide.


Carbide Tipped Router Bits are usually more expensive than the high speed steel router bits, but they stay sharper longer and work better in hardwoods and other hard materials, so they may save you money in the long run.


Solid Carbide Router Bits are the most expensive, but are typically meant for specific applications where other router bits may not perform as well. You may want to choose a Solid Carbide Router Bit for Mortising, Laminate Trimming, and Pattern Cutting.


Use a Sharp Router Bit

Using a Sharp Router Bit is much safer, cuts better, and requires less power than a dull router bit.


Choosing the right grind

The grind of the router bit can greatly affect the performance.


Maintaining a good balance

Reducing the vibration is very important not only to safety, but to the quality of the cut. Make sure the Router Bit you are using has a good spin.


There are many Router Bit manufacturers to choose from, and it can be hard to know which company makes a quality Router bit. We have been in the industry for a while, and we really like: Whiteside and Southeast Tool. Whiteside is known for their quality, and Southeast is a great value. Both Whiteside and Southeast Tool were ranked in the top 5 and rated excellent by Fine woodworking Magazine in their head to head router bit challenge.


If you want to take a more objective approach to choosing he best Router Bit, it's a great idea to check-out Fine Woodworking Magazine. They frequently Test many different Router Bits from a wide spectrum of manufacturers. They test the performance of many different router bits to see which company produces the sharpest, most durable, and best value and award the top performing router bits.


Whiteside Machine Company has come out on top as being "Number one in head-to-head Router Bit Tests". We sell the entire line of Whiteside Router Bits at a discounted price, so feel free to test them out yourself without having to pay the full retail. Buy Whiteside Router Bits.


Also see "Router Bit Glossary" for more helpful information on Router Bits.


Router Bit Type

Application/ Uses



Cutting Dados and Grooves



Cutting V-Groove and Patterns


Edge Forming

Cutting Edge Profiles

*Keep in mind that higher quality bits have Ball Bearings Pilots



Cutting Rabbets in flat Stock

* Note: Most Rabbet Bits have Ball Bearing Pilots



Can be recognized by sharply twisted flute for quick chip removal. Spirals are available in Upcut and Downcut versions:

*Upcut- used for mortising

*Downcut- Used for cutting completely through stock.



Have cutting slots for "T" Molding or recieving splines

*Most Slotting Bits have Ball-Bearing Pilots and 3 wing cutting surfaces.


Flush Trim

Works well for cutting laminate on countertops

*Keep in mind that higher quality bits have a ball-bearing pilot


Dove Tail

Have cutting Tails and Pins for Dovetail Joints

Used for Cutting the groove and tongue in sliding dovetail joints

Manufactured in different degrees of slope for joining different wood species.


Door and Drawer Pull

Used for making Door and Drawer Pull grooves in blocks for handles


Panel Raising

Used for Raising the Panel Edge in a Raised Panel.


Stile Cutter

Used for cutting the inside groove and beading on stiles and rails in frame, and frame & Panel construction.


Molding Cutter

Good for cutting multiple molding profiiles

*Only use Molding Cutters in table-mounted routers. Molding Cutters are large and can be dangerous if used in handheld routers.