Best Router Bits – The Ultimate Guide to Helping you Choose the Best Router Bit Sets

Finding the best router bits or router bit set can be a challenging task - not only is the router itself an intimidating tool (especially for beginners), there is a seemingly endless variety of bits, and it can be confusing deciphering which ones you need, and which ones you don’t.

The difference between router bits ultimately comes down to the different profiles they cut out, and there are thousands of different varieties.

In this article we’ll break the whole thing down like a fraction, and recommend a few of the best router bits and router bit sets to get you off and running with every style and profile that you need.

Our picks will include all the most common bits that you definitely need, as well as some more specialized varieties adding a whole new dimension to your router and woodworking capabilities.

Quick Look: Top Router Bit Sets

Product Summaries: Best Router Bit Sets

The MLCS 8000 Series 15 and 30-piece router bit sets represent the best value for those beginners looking to get their first starter set.

These all-purpose sets provide a few each of the best router bits. Such as, the most common straight, roundover, rabbeting, chamfering, and ogee bits, so you can be sure that you’ll have what you need no matter what it is you plan on doing with the router.

In terms of pure quality, the Freud 91-100 13-piece TiCo set represents the finest professional-quality router bits, in our opinion.

These are fantastic woodworking bits that produce a fine, professional quality finish, and are the perfect step up in quality for DIY’ers looking to perhaps move on from their entry-level set.

Lastly, for those looking for the most wide-ranging, do-it-all set, the Neiko 10115A 80-piece tungsten kit is a quality pick that you can be sure will provide you with a solution for every router situation you might find yourself in.

If you’re trying to save yourself the headache of making sure you’ve got this specific style bit or that one, the Neiko is a great one-stop option.

Reviews of the Best Router Bits: Quality Sets for Beginners and Experts Alike

Best Router Bit Set for Beginners

MLCS 8377 15-piece Carbide-tipped ½” Router Bit Set

best router bits

You might not find a set like this in Carter Oosterhouse’s woodshop, but for beginner ‘routerers’ looking for the perfect starter set, you really can’t beat the value of the MLCS 8000 Series - the most popular and best-reviewed bits available for the price.

15 Piece 1/2" Set Includes
  • 4 straight bits 
  • round-over bit
  • cove bit
  • ogee bit
  • chamfer bit
  • flush trim bit
  • rabbeting bit
  • dovetail bit
  • v-groove bit
  • mortising bit
  • panel pilot bit
  • round nose bit
  • 1 bearing to convert the round-over bit to a beading bit

We’re not claiming these to be the best router bits on the planet by any means, but many reviewers (and even plenty of professionals) have commented on how surprisingly nice of a finish they produce.

The bits will dull out and wear down over time more quickly than better-quality bits, but for the novice who doesn’t use their router all too often, this is the perfect economical starter set.

Things we liked

  • Economical price; easily the cheapest option for setting yourself up with a good, full-ranging entry-level router bit set

  • Has all the standard bits that you’ll need (including straight, ogee, roundover, and chamfering)

  • Comes with a nice wood storage case

Things we didn’t like

Best Router Bit Set for Beginners

MLCS 8369 30-piece ½” Bit Set

best router bits

These are essentially the same bits that come in the 15-piece MLCS 8377 set, there’s just more of them.

Again, the 8000 Series represents the best entry-level bits in terms of value for the price, and this is a good option if you want a larger range of bits to choose from than the 15-piece, and are willing to spend a few more bucks.

The set basically comes with all the same profile bits as the 15-piece (straight, ogee, chamfering, roundover, dovetail, etc), there’s just a couple more varieties to choose from for each one, giving yourself a much wider range of options in the shop.

Things we liked

  • Excellent value at only $3.33 per bit

  • Gives a lot more variety than the 15-piece set, for not that much more money

  • Includes 6 roundover and 5 straight bits (these are by far the most common profile bits you’ll be using)

  • Wood storage box

Things we didn’t like

  • Again, not the best router bits in the world

  • Only one bearing size

Best Pro-quality Woodworking Router Bit Set

Freud 91-100 13-piece TiCo High-Density Carbide 1/2" bit set

best router bits

The MLCS 8000 series bit sets above are great values for beginners and represent the best entry-level router bits for the money, but they can’t be trusted for professional-quality work, and would probably be shunned by most expert woodworkers.

If you’re a skilled hand at the router table, know what you’re doing, and know that you can only get by with the absolute best quality router bits, you need something of fine quality like this Freud set.

What's Up With The Price?​

Sure, it’s expensive, but the best router bits are well-machined, finely-tuned tools that are constructed of only the finest quality materials - drastically superior to anything else we’ve used.

Entry-level sets are fine for beginners who won’t notice a huge difference in performance anyway, but once you learn your way around the router and develop a more skilled hand, you’ll be blown away at how much better quality bits (like these) perform.

The set doesn’t come with a ton of bits (only 13), but they made sure to include at least one each of the most commonly used ones. In fact, the set by itself would serve just fine for 99% of DIY’ers needs - there’d be no need to go out and buy additional bits

Things we liked

  • Best quality and best-reviewed bits we’ve seen on the market; TiCo construction is built for ‘long life and a flawless finish’

  • Perfect for woodworking but can be used on any composite materials as well

  • Freud’s PermaShield coating resists dulling from intense heat

  • Comes with a padded, hangable or mountable storage box to keep bits safe and protected

  • Limited Lifetime Guarantee

Things we didn’t like

  • They are not cheap - this is an investment

  • Does not come with extra bearings (6 of the 13 bits have included bearings)

Best All-Purpose Router Bit Set

Neiko 10115A Premium 1/2" Tungsten 80-piece set

best router bits

This 80-piece Neiko set won’t be near as good of quality as the Freud set, but if you’re looking to drastically increase the range of your router’s capabilities, or perhaps are wanting to play around with new and unique profiles, this is a good buy at a really good price, considering the amount of bits that come in the kit.

The bits themselves are constructed of machined YG8 tungsten with carbide-tipped blades, so they resist heat relatively well and will last long before needing sharpening.

Of course, most buyers simply like the kit because of the sheer amount of bits that come with it -- like we said, a good choice if you’re looking to drastically broaden your routering capabilities.

Things we liked

  • 80 bits with tons of different profiles to play around with

  • Good price

  • Nice quality padded aluminum storage box

  • Plenty of different bearing sizes

Things we didn’t like

  • Warranty is not great (1-year limited, 90-day return guarantee plus restocking fee)

What are the Most Common Router Bits that You’ll Use Most Often?

If you’re asking yourself “what router bits do i need to get started”, you’re certainly not alone -- the #1 thing that new router owners want to know is what the most commonly used bits are, which ones they’ll be using most often, and the best router bits for the money.

Most Common Bits 

There are literally thousands of different router bit profiles out there, but by far the two that you’ll use the most are straight bits and roundover bits.

The straight bit is an absolute woodworking staple, and is used to cut grooves and dados (a dado is just a groove that’s cut across the grain), as well as hollowing out mortices and inlays of different depths.

Roundover and rabbeting bits are guided by a bearing that rolls along the edge of the wood, and cuts a smooth, finished curve into the edge or cuts a shoulder (rabbet) for joinery.

Other popular bits include flush trim bits that are used to trim the edge of one material flush with another (like veneers glued onto a substrate), chamfering bits that are used to smooth or bevel 90-degree edges, and edge-forming bits that can be used to create elegant designs in a range of material (trim, molding, etc).

Most Common Sizes

Like we mentioned earlier, the most common router bit size is ½”. ¼” bits are also common and popular, but ½” is the more recommended size for standard use - they provide much better stability, performance, and a lot less vibration which is crucial for obtaining desirable results.

If you’re wondering what size bits your router takes, most all that we know of will accept both ¼” and ½”. The only time that ¼” bits are preferable is when you need a really slight or minimal edge formed.

Final Things to Consider

Lastly, before you decide on what the best router bit set for you and your needs will be, consider the following:

  • Look for carbide-tipped blades

These will last up to 50% longer than standard hardened steel (HSS) bits, which is important because router bits are very prone to dulling from excess heat and friction.

  • Price is often the best indication of quality

Keeping this in mind, it’s very easy to find super cheap router bit sets online, or even in your local hardware store. Unfortunately the hard truth is, the vast majority of them are garbage bits that are borderline useless.

Questions to Ask Yourself​

In this Ultimate Best Router Bits Guide, we made it a point to recommend the only the best router bits available, that have consistently proven to perform well at an inexpensive price.

Make sure and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a specific job or project in mind? Or are you just looking for an all-purpose set?
  • Are you going to be using your router a lot, or only occasionally?
  • What’s your budget? How much are you willing to spend?

Taking all of these things into consideration will no doubt help you pick out the best router bits or router bit set for you and your specific needs.

Best Router Bit Set: What’s the Bottom Line?

Bottom line is, if we had to recommend one all-purpose starter set containing some of the best router bits for beginners, we’d go with the 30-piece MLCS 8369 kit.

This kit will set you up with every single profile that you’ll need at the router table, and it also has all the things you’ll want in a quality set that’ll perform well and last long, including ½” shanks and carbide-tipped blades on all bits.