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Keep Your Drill Bits in Prime Condition with the Best Dill Bit Sharpener

Anyone who really uses a drill is bound to end up dulling their drill bits, especially if they ever have to drill into harder materials such as metals. You can probably drill in softwoods for years without any problem, but any serious craftsman is not going to limit themselves to working in softwoods.

For most of us, a dull drill bit entails a trip to the hardware store for a new one. All too often this ends up being a special trip because we don’t realize we need it until we’re already in the middle of a project. Having the capability of sharpening your own drill bits at home doesn’t eliminate the interruption, but it can certainly make it so you lose less time taking care of the problem. At the low end of the scale, you can actually sharpen drill bits freehand, using a bench grinder or honing stone. However, you’re not likely to get a very accurately ground bit that way. I remember trying to sharpen 1/2 inch bits on a handheld grinder for an emergency repair and it was a joke.

Some bench grinders have a groove on the tool rest, intended for use in sharpening drill bits. While this can work, it takes an extremely light touch, as well as a good bit of luck to make it work out. The biggest problem in trying to sharpen a drill bit this way is trying to make the point come out in the center of the bit. It’s all too easy to end up offset to one side or another. That’s why it’s worth investing in an actual drill bit sharpener. Being made specifically for the purpose, they will give you the best possible grind, often as good as what you would find on a factory ground drill bit. In other words, used properly, these tools can make your drill bits as good as new.

How much you spend on a drill bit sharpener depends on how many drill bits you go though. Ultimately, these tools pay for themselves by saving you on buying new bits. However, you would have to resharpen a lot of bits to pay for some of the more expensive units.

There are two basic categories of drill bit sharpeners; self-powered which have a motor to drive their own grind wheel and those that depend on working with a separate grinder. We have an assortment of the two types here. While all of these tools do essentially the same thing, there are some differences which may make your decision for you. You can also check out our list of the best drill bit sharpeners in 2021. Depending on your personal needs, you want to pick one that will do what you need.

The first thing to look at is the drill bit sizes the sharpener can be used for. Generally speaking, the more expensive the sharpener, the larger the bits it can be used for (however all of them will sharpen small bits). If you use large bits frequently, this is an important consideration. The second thing to look at is the types of grinds the sharpener can put on the bit. Some can only do one while others provide different types and point angles.

One thing to remember with any drill bit sharpener is the very act of sharpening a bit will remove its coating. If you’re accustomed to buying drill bits with exotic coatings electroplated onto them to make them last longer, you won’t have that coating on the re-sharpened bit. However, the fact your bit needs sharpening essentially dictates the coating is no longer there anyway.

Best Drill Bit Sharpeners Worth Considering in 2021

Darex Industrial Drill Bit Sharpener

Darex makes a number of commercial shop drill bit sharpeners and this one is actually their smallest unit. I've included it here, despite the high cost of this unit, mostly because of the high quality. If you do a lot of metalworking or other work where you’re going to need to sharpen a lot of drill bits, this unit is well worth your attention. It will handle drill bits from 1/8 to 3/4 of an inch, providing points from 118 degrees to 140 degrees. They give you two different point styles, the standard conic point or a split point for those that use split point drills.

At 25 pounds, this machine is definitely heavy duty, meaning you’re not going to drag its 4.5 amp motor down when trying to grind larger bits. An optional vacuum system helps eliminate grit so you can keep a clean work area. If you have a professional grade workshop at home, this one might not be out of your reach.

Drill Doctor Drill Bit Sharpener

Drill doctor has just about taken over the market for home drill bit sharpeners. While not as heavy duty as the Darex, this is Drill Doctor’s largest unit. It can handle drill bits ranging from 3/32 up to 3/4 of an inch and can also be used for sharpening split point drill bits and masonry bits. Broken bits are no problem either, as you can re-point them and keep on drilling.

A “push to stop” design on the drill point splitting port makes sure you can’t over split the bit point, an important feature for those who don’t sharpen all the time. Its angle range is just a smidgen larger than the Darex, allowing you to sharpen your drill points anywhere from 115 degrees up to 140 degrees. An optional accessory allows you to sharpen reverse twist (left-handed twist) drill bits as well.

Drill Doctor DD350X Drill Bit Sharpener

This sharpener is unique in that it has a separate wheel and guide for sharpening spade bits, used for boring out holes in wood. It can sharpen the pointed pilot spade bits or the threaded pilot ones with equal ease. With the way it operates, I don’t think there would be any problem sharpening bits that have cutter points on the ends of the blade either, although you would have to be careful not to grind the point off.

The spade bit portion has a maximum capacity of 1-1/2 inches, and the regular drill bit part a maximum capacity of a 1/2 inch as well as still able to sharpen masonry bits on the standard bit part of the machine as well. It doesn’t seem to have the capacity for split point drills, having given that up to be able to handle the spade bits. If you use a lot of spade bits, you know how rough a beating they take so this could be the sharpener for you.

GOODSMANN Electric RPM 9923-0110-01 Drill Bit Sharpener

Grizzly’s professional bit sharpening machine uses collets for the drill size. It comes with 11 collets in the most popular sizes from 1/8 of an inch through 1/2 inch, which is the maximum size for this machine. Onboard storage keeps the collets organized and right with the machine. A manual machine, the H8203 sharpens bits in a three-step, error-proof process. This sharpener handles both cobalt and carbide bits, as easily as high speed steel ones, with the optional tungsten grinding wheel. Operation is smooth, with surprisingly low vibration.

Grizzly G1081 Drill Bit Sharpener

Grizzly’s professional bit sharpening machine uses collets for the drill size. It comes with 11 collets in the most popular sizes from 1/8 inch through 1/2 inch, which is the maximum size for this machine. Onboard storage keeps the collets organized and right with the machine. A manual machine, it sharpens the bits in an error proof, three step process. This sharpener can handle both cobalt and carbide bits, as easily as high speed steel ones, with the optional tungsten grinding wheel. Operation is smooth, with surprisingly low vibration.

Buyer's Guide

What Should You Consider When Buying The Best Drill Bit Sharpener?

Features

When you are out in the market looking for the best drill bit sharpener to take home, the primary thing you should be looking out for is the type of drill bits you need to sharpen. If you are a craftsman that takes on a variety of projects then the most sound decision would be to buy one that can easily help you sharpen a wide variety of drill bits.

Size

Drill bit sharpeners come in every shape and size you could think of. While this is almost always a good thing, it can sometimes become tedious to go through all sizes when figuring out which one you need to purchase. But don’t worry, the answer is quite simple. You should always go for the size of a drill bit sharpener that can be easily accommodated in the space available on your workbench. However, if you end up getting an oversized drill bit sharpener that is also overweight then you’re going to lose out on precious working space; something no serious craftsman can tolerate.

While most drill bit sharpeners are equipped to handle small to mid range bits, you will need a specific one if you have big bits that require sharpening. Since bits over ½ inch can be quite heavy on the pocket, you should ensure that the sharpener you have chosen has actually been designed to handle them.

Moreover, you should also keep a lookout for sharpeners that have been specifically designed for smaller bits. Since the small bits tend to become dull, losing their performance in a short period of time, you should invest in the best drill bit sharpener for your needs in order to make the most of your money.

Versatility

You might be surprised to know but versatility plays a huge role in the kind of drill bit sharpener you should purchase. One that is capable enough to sharpen and also re-edge other house tools such as knives, scissors and chisels is better than one that can only sharpen drill bits. If you opt for one that can be adjusted to several angles, you will have the perfect all-purpose sharpening device for every kind of project.

Durability

Something that is often overlooked is the durability of the tool. While powerful tools tend to vibrate more, this also means that their components are durable and rugged. If that is not the case, your device is likely to fall apart after a certain period of time. And that’s something none of us want, is it?

Power Source

The power source of a drill bit sharpener is another personal preference matter. Everyone is likely to have different opinions as to which is better for them; a manual drill bit sharpener or an electric one.

When it comes to drill bit sharpeners, electric ones are quicker of the two as they can be plugged into any standard 120V power source which means you don’t have to wait in order to use the tool.

Why Do You Need A Drill Bit Sharpener?

Quality

If you are a craftsman who has been hired to do a construction job then you would want all your hard work to be reflected by the completed project. This means that your work needs to be high quality and dull drill bits can get in the way of that. Not only can they jeopardize the quality of your work but they can also tarnish the reputation of your company.

The damage and tear that happen to drill bits over time lead to the point angle being affected that ultimately affects the penetration of the tip into the wall or wood. The heat that is then produced from the friction between the drill bit and the surface that you are penetrating through can end up softening the sharp edges and affect the rings of the drill bit’s cutting lip. When something like this happens, there is generally more torque required in order to penetrate through steel or wood. When a worker puts this extra pressure on a flat drill bit at a construction, he is more likely to have his drill bit break right in his hands.

Expense

Using tools manually to penetrate new holes when your drill bit has failed you can mean wasting precious resources. Not only would you have to bear the extra expense of buying new materials that you are penetrating through but you will also have to pay for unnecessary additional labor. Not to mention the time that will be required in order to re-bore new holes, ultimately causing a delay in the completion of your project, leading to not only having to pay your crew to stay longer but also a massive dump on the image of your company.

Safety

It’s no secret that a construction site can be a dangerous place for one to be. Therefore, it is best to always remain alert and be on the lookout for anything that might increase the amount of risk and danger you and your construction can be in.

When you put pressure on a dull drill bit to forcefully get it through your material, it generates a lot of heat which can cause the drill bit to break. And when a drill bit breaks, tiny pieces of metal tend to fly about in every direction. And you can only imagine the threat of physical injury this can pose to workers. Not to mention how much riskier using a manual drill bit can be as it can easily get lodged in the fingers and faces of workers when it smashes.

FAQs

What is the most standard point angle on a drill?

Generally a 58 degree or 118 degree point angle is the best for your drill. However, there are many other variations depending on the material.

Can titanium drill bits be sharpened?

Since titanium is only a coating over the drill bits, you should keep in mind that sharpening it will no longer retain the same surface.

Do I need to clean the machine after sharpening?

Yes, you should always remember to clean the machine after every use as it can help in extending the lifespan of the drill bit sharpener. Moreover, try to avoid exposing your sharpener to outdoor factors such as rain and wind. A good tip is to use a vacuum cleaner to help get the tiniest dust particles out from the inner parts of the sharpener.

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