Freud Forstner Bits Review: The Best Set for (Not Only) Professionals?

Freud Forstner Bits Review: The Best Set for (Not Only) Professionals?

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REVIEWED PRODUCT

Freud 7-Piece Precision Shear Forstner Bit Set

1/4-inch to 1-inch. Serrated edges for a smooth finish.

In a hurry? You can’t go wrong with Freud – whether you buy just an individual bit or one of its sets. However, for the best value and versatility, I recommend getting the seven-piece precision shear Forstner bit set. It includes most of the commonly used sizes and – while it’s pricier than some of its competitors’ products – is of excellent quality.


If you’ve been a handyman for a while or if you are a woodworking aficionado, chances are you heard about Freud, an Austrian manufacturer of cutting tools including router and Forstner bits.

When it comes to the latter, there are dozens of different sets on the market. However, the Freud 7-Piece Precision Shear Forstner Bit Set and is arguably one of the best ones. While I wrote about it briefly in my ranking of the top Forstner bit sets, I’ll be taking a more detailed look at the set – as well as its 16-piece counterpart – in this review.

 

Freud Forstner Bits: The Basics

Without a doubt, Freud is one of the most recognized Forstner bit manufacturers. It makes its bits available both as individual pieces as well as in a number of different sets. They are available both in black oxide as well as carbide versions.

Overall, while the carbine version’s cutting edges tend to last longer, I recommend getting one of the black oxide ones – on which this review is focused – as they offer a cleaner cut and are considerably cheaper.

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Specifications

All Freud sets consist of Forstner bits with 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch shanks. In other words, they are meant to be used with regular drills and drill presses with at least a 3/8-inch chuck rather than impact drivers. That said, they can be used with impact drivers combined with a chuck conversion tool.

The bits feature Freud’s signature serrated edge design which allows for not only fast drilling but also precise and clean holes. Their tip is also sharper than on many other products. That helps with placing starting holes accurately. As mentioned earlier, the bits manufactured from black oxide steel.

7-Piece Set

The smaller, 7-piece set contains bits ranging from 1/4-inch to 1-inch in 1/8-inch increments.

It comes in two versions – one with a wooden storage box and the other without it. Unfortunately, the latter seems to be the more widely available one. However, that’s not much of an issue since, if you are at least a bit handy (which I assume you are), you can easily make your own custom stand or a box.

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16-Piece Set

The “ultimate” 16-piece set contains all the bits that are in the 7-piece set and then some. More specifically, it includes sizes ranging from 1/4-inch to 2-1/8-inches in 1/8-inch increments. That covers the most commonly used sizes. The only unfortunate thing about this set is that it doesn’t include 1/16-inch-increment bits.

With this set, you don’t have to worry about storage as it comes with a nice wooden box that neatly fits all of the bits. If you plan to use the bits in your workshop – and plan to use them often – you might still want to build a custom “exposed” stand for them, though, so that you don’t have to keep opening and closing the box all the time.

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Quality

The black oxide steel Fred Forstner bits are of excellent quality – both in terms of the quality of work they do as well as the quality of manufacturing.

At a time when many other companies are outsourcing their production to countries like China, Freud remains committed to making these bits where they were originally made – in Austria. It also remains committed to – and actually manages to – maintain the quality it is known worldwide for.

Its products not only last longer than those of its competitors but – as mentioned numerous times – they also drill some of the cleanest holes.

All of that, as you might expect, comes with a high price tag, though. In fact, Freud bits can be twice as expensive as those of many of its competitors.

Usability

Whether you are a professional or an amateur, you will find either of the two sets extremely useful for countersinking and other similar purposes. In most cases, you will do just fine with the 7-piece set which contains some of the most commonly used sizes. However, if your job requires holes larger than 1-inch, you will have to opt for the 16-piece set.

The one downside when it comes to how versatile the sets are is that they lack 1/16-inch-increment size bits. However, those are not as commonly used – and if you ever find yourself in need of one, you can just buy an individual bit.

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Should You Buy a Freud Forstner Bit Set?

By this point, you likely already know that Freud Forstner bits are some of the best ones out there. That does not, however, necessarily mean that you should buy it.

After all, if you don’t need multiple sizes then getting a set might not make a sense. Similarly, if you are a hobbyist that only occasionally needs to use this type of bits, you might not be able to justify Freud’s price.

That said, if any of the below applies to you, you should get a good value out of buying this product:

  • You are a professional handyman: With the 16- or even 7-piece set, you will have the right sized bit for most jobs. As such, you will not need to run to a hardware store in the middle of a project, saving you time and embarrassment.
  • You want the best possible quality: If you – regardless of whether you are a professional woodworker or someone who enjoys DIY projects – like quality products and don’t mind splurging a bit, you should consider getting one of the sets as well.

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What Are the Alternatives?

There are dozens of Forstner bit sets on the market ranging from cheap ones that won’t last long but might get the job done all the way to higher-end professional sets. Also, if you do a lot of repetitive work and only need a certain size or two, you can buy the bits individually rather than in a set.

In either case, I recommend checking my article about the best Forstner bit sets to get a better idea of what sets are available and what brands make this type of bits.

 

Summary

Whether you need to countersink a bolt or put a hinge on a cabinet, Forstner bits can come in very handy. While they come in many shapes and forms, if you are a regular user, you should opt for a high-quality set.

The sets made by Freud definitely meet that criteria and should be top on the list of products you consider.

REVIEWED PRODUCT

Freud 7-Piece Precision Shear Forstner Bit Set

1/4-inch to 1-inch. Serrated edges for a smooth finish.

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