If you’re reading this, you may be considering buying a drill bit sharpener. There are a few different types to choose from, depending on your needs.
The question is, how do you find the right one for you? In our guide to the best drill bit sharpeners, we’ll take a look at what drill bit sharpeners are, how they work, and the best models out there, helping you to decide which one is the best fit for you.
If you’re renovating your home, or you’re a DIY enthusiast, you’ll probably find yourself using a drill quite often. It’s one of the most-used power tools – if you want to build furniture or make basic repairs, a drill is an essential piece of kit.
You’ll probably also own a lot of drill bits. Having a collection of drill bits is excellent, as it increases the versatility of the tool and allows you to complete lots of different projects. Over time, however, the drill bits can become dull, decreasing their effectiveness. If you’ve found yourself with a lot of blunt or broken drill bits, now may be the time to invest in a drill bit sharpener.
So what are they, and how do they work?
What is a Drill Bit Sharpener?
The name is pretty self-explanatory: a drill bit sharpener will sharpen blunt drill bits or even sharpen up broken ones, helping you to get more use out of them (and hopefully, over time, saving a bit of money on buying new ones). If you use your drill often, it could be a great addition to your workshop or toolkit. There are a few different ways you can sharpen drill bits:
Drill bits can be sharpened with a grinding wheel – this was the primary method people used before dedicated drill bit sharpeners came about. Many people still sharpen their drill bits with a bench grinder – it takes some practice, but it is doable. However, it can give inaccurate, uneven results, especially if you’ve never tried it before. It’s precise, fiddly work – making it a little dangerous for beginners.
A Drill Doctor is a handy, easy-to-use machine that you can use with a variety of drill bits of different shapes and sizes. They’re great for producing professional results – it uses the same process to sharpen drill bits as they use in factories when they are manufactured, which means your drill bit will look brand new once you’re done. They can sharpen all kinds of drill bits, including drill bits with tough coatings.
Multi-Purpose Tool Sharpeners
There’s also the Dremel tool sharpening station and other similar products. This is a multi-purpose machine that can sharpen drill bits, knives, chisels, and scissors. It does have mixed reviews, however, so you may want to check it out before you decide to buy it. Other companies offer similar multi-purpose tool sharpeners, but you may prefer to have a sharpener that is dedicated to drilling bits. It could be a good purchase if you have other items you wish to sharpen, however.
Drill Sharpening Tools
You can also buy smaller (and usually cheaper) drill bit sharpeners which work using the power of your drill itself. You simply insert the drill into the machine as though you were going to use it, and switch it on. These do not produce the same impressive results as a Drill Doctor or a bench grinder attachment, but if you’re on a budget they could be a great option – and they’re a lot easier to carry around, making them a good choice if you’re working away from home.
Bench Grinder Attachments
There’s the option of bench grinder attachments – these are simple attachments for your wheel grinder that allow you to safely and easily sharpen your drill bits. This may work better than using your bench grinder manually, as it allows you to work with more accuracy. If you already have a bench grinder, this could be the choice for you.
Professional Drill Bit Sharpeners
You can also get larger drill bit sharpeners – these are technologically impressive, giving great results, but they’re normally used by professional engineers or manufacturers.
Finally, you could hand-sharpen your drill bit using a diamond file. This practice is for the truly dedicated – it takes a long time and a lot of elbow grease to get this right. It’s a good skill to learn if you have the time and motivation, however.
How Do I Use a Drill Bit Sharpener?
Here’s a quick rundown on how you can breathe new life into your drill bits. We won’t talk about manually sharpening them here – that process is a bit more complicated and requires more depth. We’ll cover the basic types of drill bit sharpener and how to use them.
Recognize When Your Drill Bits Need Sharpening
How do you know when it’s time to sharpen a drill bit?
For one thing, a drill bit may get chipped over time. This will cause uneven, inaccurate results when you try to use it. You may also notice your drill bit working a little slower than usual, and not giving clear, neat results – you might see splintering in wood, for example. If you compare the bit to a newer one, you should be able to see the difference.
It’s important to be safe when sharpening drill bits. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to see what they recommend – and be aware that the drill bits can heat up quite significantly as they are sharpened, so you’ll need to avoid touching them with your bare hands until they cool down. Wear gloves if you are hand-sharpening drill bits. Safety is really important – make sure you follow instructions properly.
Using a Drill Doctor
To use a Drill Doctor, you first have to insert the bit into the chuck (this process will look slightly different depending on which type of drill doctor you’re using – ultimately, you want to make sure it’s clamped in properly. It can take some time to get used to this process). Then, you switch the power on, and insert the chuck into the sharpening port, rotating clockwise until the grinding noise stops.
Sharpening a masonry bit involves using a carbide insert – it depends on which model you decide to use.
Using a Drill Sharpening Gadget
These are the types of drill bit sharpener that use the force of your power drill to work. To use these, you need to insert your drill into the sharpener (with the desired drill bit safely inserted), and then turn on your drill. The power behind the rotation will then sharpen your drill bit. However, these can be tricky to use properly and may take a little practice.
Using a Dremel Tool Sharpening Station
This works in a similar way to the Drill Doctor. You insert the drill bit into the drill-bit sharpening section, which clamps it into place and sharpens it.
Using a Bench Grinder Attachment
First, you need to safely clamp the attachment onto your bench grinder. Then, following manufacturers’ instructions, you can clamp the drill bit into place and begin sharpening using the bench grinder.
Practice Makes Perfect
Like many tasks, sharpening drill bits takes a little practice. You might want to save your oldest, most beaten-up drill bits for practicing with – as it may take a few goes to get it right.
Maintain Your Drill Bit Sharpener
In terms of maintenance, regular cleaning will help your drill bit sharpener to last longer. You cannot use cleaning fluids on a drill bit sharpener – you’re better off cleaning away the shavings using a damp cloth. This stops the shavings from rusting over time. It’s also good to make sure that the sharpening element is changed regularly – the Drill Doctor models, for example, have a wheel that needs to be replaced every 200 uses.
What to Look for in a Drill Bit Sharpener
If you’ve decided you definitely need a drill bit in your life, here are the main things you need to look out for:
Drill Bit Size
This is probably the first thing you’ll need to consider. What size are the drill bits that you need to sharpen? Consider the drill bits that you use the most- is it possible to get a drill bit that can deal with those sizes?
If you want to sharpen spade bits, you’ll need a sharpener that can accommodate that – a lot of them only work with twist bits, so make sure to check that before you start. Not all drill bit sharpeners can accommodate split points, either, so you may want to keep that in mind too.
Another thing to consider is the size of the machine itself. A Drill Doctor is great, but it takes up a lot of workspaces. If you’re tight on space, a smaller drill bit sharpener may be your best bet.
Most drill bits have a 118-degree point angle or a 135-degree point angle, with both producing different results. Make sure your drill bit sharpener can work with the angle of drill bit that you need.
What kind of materials can you drill bit sharpener work with? Basic bits are usually made from high-speed steel (HSS). If you have cobalt or titanium drill bits, you’ll need to make sure your drill bit sharpener can deal with those, as they are made from incredibly tough, resistant material. Bear in mind that, if you sharpen a drill bit that is coated, it may begin to lose that coating. It will still work, however – it just might not be quite as tough as it was when it was new.
Drill bits have to be sharpened at a specific angle, due to the shape of the tip. Inaccurate sharpening can impact the results you have later on while using your drill to complete projects – so check the reviews to see how accurate users have found the drill bit sharpener to be.
Some drill bit sharpeners are multi-purpose, able to sharpen bits in a variety of shapes and sizes. They may cost a little more, but you will probably get more use out of it in the long run – and you may find the cost is worth it, to save you having to spend out on replacement drill bits.
Some tool sharpeners offer flexibility in terms of being able to sharpen scissors or knives, too. If you’re looking for something that can have more than one function, these could be a great option.
Best Drill Bit Sharpeners Brands to Look Out For
When it comes to drill-bit sharpeners, a few brands stand out. Here’s a quick overview:
You’ll hear Drill Doctor mentioned a lot in this article – that’s because they’re one of the leading drill bit sharpener manufacturers. Drill Doctor is part of Darex, a four-generation family-owned company founded in 1973. They’re passionate about reducing waste, and they have a lot of expertise when it comes to drill-bit sharpeners.
Neiko is another good brand, based originally in Taiwan and China. Neiko Tools USA sells products in the US, and they sell a range of tools. There’s also Neiko Pro Tools USA, which sells more expensive, professional-quality tools.
Dremel has been going for over 85 years so you know you’re getting expertly designed tools and products. They recently began to focus on 3D printers, but they create a variety of tools for DIY enthusiasts, too.
Best Drill Bit Sharpeners – An Overview
Now, let’s take a look at a few models of drill bit sharpener that we’d recommend. Here’s the basic information you need to know:
Accepted Drill Bit Size
Accepted Drill Bit Shape
Accepted Drill Bit Materials
Drill Doctor 750X
3/32” – ¾”
Twist bits, masonry bits
HSS, carbide, TiN coated bits
Dremel 6700-01 Sharpening Station
7/64” – 3/8”
General Tools 825
¼ – 1 ½”
Twist bits, spade bits, masonry bits
Prazi Drill Gadget PR-1500
Up to ½”
Drill Doctor 500X
3/32” – ½”
Twist bits, masonry bits
HSS, carbide, TiN coated bits
Best All-Rounder – Drill Doctor 750X
We’re starting our recommendation list with a great model. The Drill Doctor 750X is built to fit larger drill bits – up to ¾”. It can sharpen 3/32” to ¾” bits with just one chuck – and the replaceable diamond sharpening wheel can also cope with tough materials like HSS, carbide, and TiN-coated bits.
It can sharpen split point bits, too – this is a great feature, as not all of the models on this list offer split point sharpening. It can also sharpen masonry bits. It can even sharpen broken drill bits – giving them a new lease of life.
The drill-point splitting port has something called the “Push to Stop” feature – this stops you over-splitting the bit point. Another great feature is that it doesn’t overheat your drill bits – the sharpening wheel is designed to keep them cool. The wheel itself lasts for around 200 sharpenings – so it won’t last indefinitely. Find the 750X here on Amazon.
It also comes with a handy case, which is great if you need to move it around.
The downside is that users report it does take a bit of practice to get it right – and smaller bits, in particular, are tricky to sharpen.
Specifications for the Drill Doctor 750X
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Size: 13.8 x 5.8 x 11.8 inches
- Bit size: 3/32 – ¾”
- Voltage: 120 volts
- Warranty: 3 years
Pros of the Drill Doctor 750X
- Versatile – can use for different shapes and sizes of drill bits
- Has a diamond wheel that keeps bits cool as they are sharpened
Cons of the Drill Doctor 750X
- There’s a learning curve involved – it takes practice
- Small bits are difficult to sharpen
Best for Other Tools – Dremel 6700-01 Sharpening Station
As we mentioned earlier, the Dremel 6700-01 Sharpening Station not only sharpens drill bits, but also knives, scissors, chisels, and planer blades. It’s compact, so you don’t need to worry about creating much space for it.
The diamond-coated steel sharpening wheel can sharpen most HSS drill bits, from 7/64” – 3/8”. It cannot accommodate a ½” drill bit, however.
It’s also pretty quiet, which is an added bonus.
The main feature of this is obviously the fact that it can sharpen other objects, too. The drill bit sharpening itself takes some practice, but if you can get the hang of it, you can get some great results. If you need a drill bit sharpener but you could also do with being able to sharpen your knives and scissors, this could be the pick for you. Find the Dremel 6700-01 here on Amazon.
Specifications for the Dremel 6700-01 Sharpening Station
- Weight: 4.4 pounds
- Size: 10.3 x 9.5 x 8.1 inches
- Bit size: 7/64” – 3/8”
- Voltage: 120 volts
- Warranty: Unknown
Pros of the Dremel 6700-01 Sharpening Station
- Runs quietly
- Can sharpen other household objects
- Lightweight and easy to transport
Cons of the Dremel 6700-01 Sharpening Station
- Takes some practice
- Some found it to be a little flimsy
Best Drill Grinding Attachment – General Tools 825
The General Tools 825 Bench Grinding Attachment is a little different than the others – it doesn’t run on electricity, and it looks a little like a microscope. It’s incredibly lightweight, designed to be attached to your bench grinder. It can match the point angle of nearly any bit and has a pivoting neck which allows you to get to both sides.
It uses an adjustable clamp to hold the bits in place – users report good results sharpening 3/8 or 1 ½ inch bits with no problems. Users suggested that you do not attempt to sharpen anything under ¼ inches, as then it becomes too fiddly and imprecise.
However – it doesn’t come with the best instructions. You’ll probably need to look up a tutorial online to figure out how to use it properly, which is a shame.
It’s very cheap, however – and if you already have a bench grinder, it could be a really smart choice. Find this Bench Grinding Attachment here on Amazon.
Specifications for General Tools 825
- Weight: 0.32 ounces
- Size: 4.9 x 4.9 x 7.4”
- Bit size: ¼” – 1 ½”
- Voltage: None
- Warranty: None
Pros of General Tools 825
- Very lightweight
- Super cheap – great if you already have a wheel grinder
- Works really well on bigger bits
Cons of General Tools 825
- Instructions are unclear
- Cannot be used if you don’t have a wheel grinder
- Takes some practice
Best for Sharpening On-the-Go – Prazi Drill Gadget PR-1500
This is a manual drill bit sharpener – meaning you have to use it with the power of your drill itself. It’s really suited for super-quick touch-ups: for example, if you notice that your drill bit is a little blunt but you only have a couple of holes left to drill, it will sharpen it enough to make a neat job of it.
If you’re a handyman and you’re on the go a lot with your drill, this could be a really good option for you – or if you’re on a budget and you’re not ready to invest in a more expensive model. It can sharpen split-tip bits, too – and it has a 2-year warranty, which is great.
It does have its limitations, however – it’s only designed to sharpen bits that have dulled slightly. Excessively blunt bits will need sharpening using a different tool or device. It’s also not meant to reshape broken bits. You can find this Prazi Drill Gadget here on Amazon.
It can sharpen up to 1/2” inch twist drill bits.
Specifications of the Prazi Drill Gadget PR-1500
- Weight: 1.6 ounces
- Size: 5.9 x 3.6 x 1.4 inches
- Bit size: Up to ½”
- Voltage: None
- Warranty: 2 years
Pros of the Prazi Drill Gadget PR-1500
- Small and lightweight
- Great if you’re on a budget
- Can be transported around
- Acts as a quick fix for slightly dulled drill bits
Cons of the Prazi Drill Gadget PR-1500
- Doesn’t work with spade or masonry bits
- Won’t sharpen excessively blunt or broken bits
Best for Serious Hobbyists – Drill Doctor 500X
The Drill Doctor 500X is designed to be used with tough bits – and it’s made to be easy to use again and again. If you’re a serious DIY enthusiast or you’re a professional, it could be a great choice for you.
It can sharpen carbide, cobalt and masonry bits, and can sharpen split point bits – in fact, you can create split points from standard points using this tool. It can be used for anything between 3/32” – ½” – and you have the option to go bigger with an extra chuck accessory (which you will need to purchase separately). It can work with both 118 and 135 degrees.
Users report that they enjoy using the Drill Doctor 500X and that it has more than paid for itself due to the new lease of life it can give to old, blunt or broken drill bits – so it’s a good investment.
It also has the option of creating back-cut split points – this gives you an extra-narrow chisel point, which enables the bit to penetrate a surface faster and with more accuracy. You can find it here on Amazon.
Specifications of the Drill Doctor 500X
- Weight: 1.92 pounds
- Size: 13.8 x 5.8 x 11.8 inches
- Bit size: 3/32” – ½”
- Voltage: 110 volts
- Warranty: 3 years
Pros of the Drill Doctor 500X
- Can work with TiN, HSS, and carbide bits
- Can give broken drill bits new life
- Adds the option of back-cut split points
Cons of the Drill Doctor 500X
Takes a bit of getting used to – the instructions look simple but it may take a bit of practice before you get it right
Frequently Asked Questions About Drill Bit Sharpeners
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about drill bit sharpeners:
It depends on the model – some of them, like the Drill Doctor series, offer a left-handed drill attachment that you can use.
Yes! This stops debris from interfering with the mechanism and can prevent rusting.
The 118-degree point angle is used for soft materials, like wood, whereas the 135 can be used with tougher materials. Make sure you’ve set your drill bit sharpener to the right angle for your bit.
It can get easier with practice. However, there is a learning curve – and it may take a few attempts before you can do it right.
We think so, yes. If you’re into DIY as a hobby or you’re completing a lot of home improvements, you’ll be reaching for your drill a lot – in which case, it’s better to sharpen your drill bits than to throw them away and buy new ones, which is both costly and creates unnecessary waste.
Hopefully, this has helped you to decide if you need a drill bit sharpener and which type you would like.
It’s difficult for us to pick the best one from this list because it really depends on your needs. The Prazi Drill Gadget PR-1500 is great for on-the-go sharpening – if you work with drills and you’re always on the move, or you don’t want to have a big machine dedicated to sharpening your drill bits, it could be a good choice for you. It might be what you want if you only occasionally use a drill – as long as you’re working with standard twist bits, it should sharpen them just fine. It’s only if you’re using them to the point of extreme wearing down that you would want something more professional to fix it.
If you use a drill a lot, however, and you want to be able to save money by rescuing broken and blunt drill bits, we’d definitely recommend the Drill Doctor 750X. Although it’s more expensive, it should pay for itself soon enough, because it will prevent you from having to replace costly TiN or carbon drill bits. Having the option of sharpening split bits is great, too – and all Drill Doctors come with a 3-year warranty, so if anything does go wrong, you should be able to get it sorted easily.
Ultimately, the choice is down to you – you may decide to give hand-sharpening a go, or you may already have a bench grinder, in which case an attachment for that might be your best bet. Whichever method you choose, you’ll be able to learn a new and useful skill, increasing the longevity of your drill bits – and hopefully saving you money in the long term.
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