Choosing The Best Drill Bit Sharpener
If you currently have a drill or are thinking about buying one, there is one accessory you’ll need above all others. That would be drill bits, and you’re bound to burn through a few if it’s your first time behind the trigger.
Buying new bits when old ones get dull can get expensive, and some specialty bits are already pricey out of the gate.
That’s where a sharpening system comes in handy, and we’ve put together a guide to help you find the best drill bit sharpener to suit your needs.
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Considerations before buying a drill bit sharpener
Do you need a drill bit sharpener?
That depends on how often you use your drill more often than not. If you only pull it out to occasionally drill a pilot hole for a screw, you may still need a sharpener, just not necessarily a high-end model.
Considering the cost of bits, a good sharpener will pay for itself in no time if you deal with construction, woodworking or even DIY projects. It can bring new life into a dull tip, and some models can even put an interesting twist on things.
What types of drill bits do you use?
If you pick up your drill bits off the rack for a few bucks at the hardware store, almost any drill bit sharpener will do.
We don’t mean that in a negative sense, you just won’t require any special stone to sharpen your bits unless they are made from exotic alloys. Those bits are also available at hardware stores around the globe, but generally cost more than just a few bucks.
If you’re in an industrial trade or have a lot of bits to sharpen, you will want to look for a professional sharpener. The stones will last longer, and they will sharpen a wider array of bits.
Drill bit size and Material
Whether your favorite bit is built for getting through metal or just something for pocket holes in wood, you have to consider the size of the bit itself.
Even the best drill bit sharpener may not have a chuck large enough to accommodate your bits, so check that statistic before the rest. Finding a consumer-friendly model that can handle 1” bits is difficult, but 3/4” is a common size on the high end.
Some of the common materials drill bit sharpeners can handle include high-speed steel, masonry bits, and split-point bits. TiN-coated bits are a possibility as well, but some materials may not work with the stone on your machine.
Drill Bit Sharpener Buying Guide
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Top Choice: Drill Doctor 500x
Our top option for the best drill bit sharpener comes from Drill Doctor, a company who obviously knows a thing or two about drills.
Ease of use
This sharpener is one of the easier to use which makes it perfect for beginners that have never used a machine of this nature before. That’s because it does everything for you, so sharpening a bit is as simple as putting it in the chuck and setting things up.
It’s a versatile machine as well. The Drill Doctor 500x can handle titanium bits, steel, carbide, and cobalt just to name a few. Size is the only real limiting factor as the chuck can only handle bits from 3/32” to 1/2”.
Whether you are sharpening a small wood bit or something to drill through metal, the 500x is what we call a workhorse. The diamond sharpening wheel is going to take a while to wear down, and when it does, the quick change system makes swapping it out simple.
The machine itself is solidly built as well. It’s lightweight at only 4.2 pounds, so it’s portable although not necessarily small at 13.8” x 5.8” x 11.8”.
Whereas some manufacturers only offer up a 1-year or 90-day warranty on a sharpener, you’ll get a 3-year warranty with the 500X.
While more expensive than similar models, the Drill Doctor 500X is the last sharpener you’ll need to buy. It performs as advertised, so as long as you don’t have anything too exotic or too large, you’re good to go on.
We also like the variable alignment on this machine and the fact you can swap out the diamond wheel in seconds if you need to work with different types of bits.
Mid-tier choice (runner-up) Drill Doctor 750X
Our second option is for consumers that like what the 500X can do but need something that can handle just a little bit more and don’t mind paying up for a sharpener.
The Drill Doctor 750X is essentially the same machine as the 500X, but it can do 115° to 140° and bits up to 3/4” in size. The 500X needs an optional chuck to do that although they can both sharpen the same type of bits.
The other key difference would be the adjustable material take-off feature.
This allows you to set the amount of material you take off the end of the blade which can bring an ancient drill bit back to life in a matter of seconds.
Built for professionals that demand the best, the Drill Doctor 750X is their top-tier machine. It’s the only way to go if you have a large arsenal of bits that vary in size. It’s also the best option for rough, older bits as well.
Another perk of this particular model is the fact it comes with a carrying case that’s roomy enough for a few accessories, and you don’t need to buy an additional chuck for 3/4” bits.
Budget Choice: F
Last but not least is an affordable option from Woodstock. It’s not a standalone tool, but one that will be of great use if you happen to have a bench grinder in your shop.
The Woodstock D4144 works with a bench grinder to refresh your tired old bits. As you can see, it’s not an automatic unit, so you’ll need to set this one up and adjust things accordingly. That said, it can sharpen a wide array of bits from 1/8” to 3/4”.
The big advantage of this model aside from the price is the fact you can sharpen any type of bit. Using a grinder allows you to swap out wheels, so the material you’re not limited by the sharpening stone that comes with the kit.
At only 7.9” x 5.2” x 1.8”, the Woodstock D4144 is a solid option if you want something affordable and already have a grinder on hand.
It’s not going to be ideal for everyone, and does require some work, but will sharpen bits just as well as automated models with some practice. The major downside is the fact it isn’t as stable as other models and needs to be tethered to a bench.
You don’t need an overly complicated machine to put a new edge on your bits, you just need something that’s easy to use and will hold up well over time.
That’s where Drill Doctor stands out from the rest with machines that are simple to use and an outstanding 3-year warranty. It’s one of those rare occasions where a brand lives up the hype, and we feel confident recommending their sharpening systems.
You still need to think about the sizes of the bits you use and what they are made from first and foremost, but your decision should be simple now that you have some knowledge and know where to turn for a quality machine.
You should also check our guide about safety and you are ready to use your tool.