Choosing the best router bits or bit sets is a tricky job for a beginner. You have to consider many variables. But, it's safe to say a basic router bit set will do the job. We have gone through 17 basic router bit sets and picked Freud 91-100 as the most suitable bit set for a beginner, why? Because it got all of the must-have bits with a decent pricing and Freud is one the top rated brand that provides the top-notch quality bits. Below is our reommended top 5 router bit set.
5 Best Router Bit Set
Router Bit Set
Best for professional
Best for hobbyist
Best 1/4 inch set
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Woodworkerslab's Top Rated Router Bit Set
Best for beginners: Freud 91-100
Freud’s 91-100 set reminds us why Freud has become synonymous with quality. Say goodbye to chipping and vibration.
This 13-piece set contains superior quality hi-density carbide bits that make great cuts even after months of heavy use. The price is a bit steep and fewer pieces are included than in some of the cheaper sets, but you can rest assured you won’t need to replace these bits any time soon.
The only thing we don’t like about this set is the packaging. The wooden storage box that comes with the set is rubbish quality, and mine was broken upon delivery.
Also note it’s extremely difficult to remove the bits from their original packaging. Once you get past this, it’s smooth sailing.
Best for professionals: Whitside 401 Basic
Whiteside’s 401 Basic takes the work out of woodwork. This fine professional-grade set allows you to put all the frustrations of burning and chipping behind.
These bits will leave your routed surface so smooth that even sanding won’t be necessary. There are only seven pieces in this set, but they are probably the seven pieces you need the most.
It’s not the cheapest set, but its quality, durability, and edge retention are all top-of-the-line.
For professionals, Whiteside is a no-brainer. Since getting this set, I find myself looking for any excuse possible to do more routing!
Best for hobbyist: Neiko 10115A
With the Neiko 10115A , you’ll have an assorted selection of 80 bits right at your fingertips and at a price lower than just one bit sold separately.
It doesn’t get cheaper than this, folks. But don’t expect to be dazzled by the quality.
This is your “just-getting-started” set because you can expect these bits to wear away in short time.
Even so, this versatile set will give you the chance to explore a wide range of cuts with minimal investment. This set works well if you’re just looking to experiment with a new hobby.
Best budget pick: MLCS 8377
5 Must Have Router Bits For Beginners
As the name suggests this bit cut straight into the wood. It’s the workhorse of a woodworker and comes in various sizes mainly ¼ inch, ½ inch and ¾ inch. Can be used as flush trim bit too.
Woodworkerslab recommended straight router bit: Freud 91-102 6-Piece Double-Flute
Round Over Bits
You can use these bits to round over sharp edges.It also has a bearing that guides the depth of cut.
Woodworkerslab recommended straight router bit: MLCS 6084 Round Over-Beading Router Bit
Roman Ogee Bit
Roman ogee bit will provide you a distinctive decorative edge and it’s very popular. It has a bearing at the end of the bit to guide the depth of the cut.
Woodworkerslab recommended straight router bit: Freud 1-3/8″ Classical Roman Ogee Bit
These bits cut at an angle on the edge of a wood board. It comes in different sizes and angles.
Woodworkerslab recommended straight router bit: Freud 1-5/8″ (Dia.) Chamfer Bit With 1/2″ Shank
Yonico 17702 can be a cheap alternative router bit set for a beginner. You can learn a great deal, as it’s giving you 70 bits to play with. These bits are most commonly used so you won’t need to look for other bit set at starting.All the bits are carbide tipped and heat resistant that make them last longer. Yonico provides a nice wooden bit storage box that is fully encased by foam gives them more protection from shipping damage.
In addition, to make you learn more easily the back of the box shows each bit and its cut profile.
Overall, it’s the best router bit set if you are looking to learn and build your collection of bits in a tight budget.
Freud 91-108 offers you 9-piece of high quality basic router bit set that every DIY woodworker needs to own. These are the cornerstone for any successful woodworking projects.
Bosch RBS010 this high-quality 10-piece set contains all the essential bit profiles for the most common furniture and woodworking projects. Edge-retention for these high-grade carbide bits is right on point.
With this set, you’ll enjoy full stability and consistently find your routed surface smooth almost to a shine. These bits are made from quality material and perform quite well even after long periods of heavy use. Vibration and kickback are minimal, which makes routing less aggravating.
This set may not be cheap, but if you expect you’ll be routing often, you may find this set pays for itself since you won’t need to replace the bits any time soon.
The versatile 30-piece MLCS 8369 bit set contains all the essentials along with some of the more nice bits that a beginner may rarely use.
These bits hold fairly well even against hardwoods like maple and walnut. Durability and edge retention are decent for what you pay, though certainly not best in class.
Personally, a few pieces of my set broke after months of repeated use, but overall, I find this set strikes a good balance between price and quality. This set is another budget-friendly value option.
With the Stalwart ¼” Shank Router Bit Set, you get what you paid for, which is not much. This versatile 24-piece set comes at an unbeatable price, but the bits are more prone to breakage and may occasionally snap off.
This set may be suitable for you if you’re a beginner looking to test the waters before shelling out a fortune on the more expensive sets.
If you don’t know if you even like woodworking or will have the time for it, you’ll find a rock-bottom deal in Stalwart.
Things you need to know before buying router bits
Router bits cutting edge material
Router bits tip is used to cut out the wood. It’s usually made of either Carbide or HSS. Though Carbide bits price are higher than HSS, I prefer to use Carbide tipped router bits for following reasons-
- Carbide bits last longer, 15-20 times compared to HSS bits. That means you will end up costing more with HSS bits, as you have to buy them frequently.
- It doesn’t get blunt quickly. HSS tip gets dull in very short time and then they tend to burn the wood instead of cutting it. On the contrary, carbide bits provide smooth cut. Sure, you want an elegant cut and smooth finish, aren’t you?
- As HSS tip, get blunt very quickly. You need to replace them frequently. I find it very irritating and time wasting.
- The only minute drawback one can consider is this the Carbide bits are brittle. However, I don’t count it, as we are all well grown up to handle them carefully, aren’t you?
Say “YES” to Carbide tipped router bits it worth the price.
Shank of router bits
Besides the router bits material you need to know that, there are two typical sizes of a router bit shank ½ inch and ¼ inch. Router shanks are used to join the router bits to Router. Many routers come with collets that accept both size shanks but some accept only ¼ inch. Whenever possible try to use ½-inch shank as it gives you-
- Less vibration and
- Smooth cut.
Use ¼-inch shanks only for finer cuts, polishing and laminating.
Router bits diameter and Speeds
Router bit speed depends on the diameter of the bit. To stay safe and get an accurate-smooth cut you should use-
- Smaller diameter router bits on higher router speed and
- Bigger diameter router bits on lower router speed.
You should check your router speed before choosing any router bits. If you own variable speed router you can easily adjust the router speed, that’s cool huh!
Router Bit Speed Guideline
Up to 1″
1″ to 2″
2″ to 2-1/2″
2-1/2″ to 3-1/2″
(Note: You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using)
It’s safer to use long router bits if you are planning to mount your router on a router table.
If you have a particular woodworking project in mind, or you are trying to build a starter set, choose the bits that best suit your need.
What to look for to get the best bit set?
Average price per individual router bit.
I look at the price of bit set and number of bits I’m getting. Then, quickly calculate how many bits need to be used to breakeven the price considering the price of high quality bits.
Does it include basic individual router bits?
Every woodworker should own some basic bits such as straight router bits, chamfer bits, etc no matter what project they will work on.
Having those basic bits in the sets, will ensure that you will get to know what size and diameter you will need and be comfortable. Therefore, you won’t be confused when choosing high quality bits and be cost effective.
Price & Quality of the bits.
You may be tempted to go for cheap bits, as eventually you will replace them with good quality bits. If you are thinking like that, you will lose few good bucks. I did so, cheap bits won’t last enough time to give you chance to learn the bits and some of them aren’t even round can you imagine!
From then on, I usually go for mid-price router bit set. Most of them last good enough to serve the purpose. In addition, you will be amazed to know that a good number of them last close to high quality router bits.
When I was starting out, I use to wander around woodworking sites like Popular Woodworking and YouTube channels (woodworking TV) to get ideas about new projects and list the tools they are using. I usually pick the bit set that have some of the bits on that list, to make sure that I practice and learn the bits on which I’ll work in future.
What are the best router bits brands?
Freud is an Italy-based manufacturer known for producing quality products, which perform just as you might expect for descent industrial-grade tooling. Packaging asie, we have no complaints about the Freud 91-100, which, months on, still retains its sharpness. I like this set, and I’d even say I’d love it if I hadn’t already met my match in Whiteside.
American manufacturer Whiteside is hands-down the winner among these brands in terms of performance and durability. If woodworking is your regular thing, Whiteside is what you want to upgrade to when you’re ready to get serious. Whiteside may be more expensive on a per piece basis, but for professionals and avid hobbyists, the price is well worth it. Consider Whiteside’s 401 Basic set if you are a professional or just looking to treat yourself to some excellent bits.
CMT is another Italy-based company producing high-performing tools with prices roughly similar to what you can expect with Freud. Its products are also of comparable quality, though its bits are noticeably thinner than those of the other brands. This doesn’t affect the cut, but it does limit resharpenings, so personally I don’t see any advantage with CMT unless you stumble across a great deal.
Eagle America is debatably the only brand that can compete with Whiteside. It produces some top-notch stuff. Its 70-piece P-19 7001 Price Cutter Router bit set covers every profile under the moon. You’ll want to know what you’re doing before you lay down a fat sum on this set, but its is an absolute treasure trove for those looking for variety without compromising on quality.
MLCS is known for value. If you’re looking for a balanced middle ground between price and quality, MLCS is for you. Brand durability isn’t the best, but MLCS is still perfectly acceptable for the occasional hobbyist. It’s 8369 30-piece bit set will get the job done and offers good variety for those keen on experimenting.
You have three factors to consider to get the best router bits or set : price, quality, and variety.
But our personal favorite is the Freud’s 91-100, which we find is the best set around in terms of quality and durability and an overall joy to work with.
Now we’ve already done all the heavy-lifting for you, so stop procrastinating. What are you waiting for?