Drill bits aren’t cheap, but they do seem to dull quickly. Whether you’re drilling through dense hardwood or hardened steel, some drill bits seem to lose their edge within minutes of coming out of the package.
Instead of throwing dull drill bits in the trash, you can restore their cutting edge with the best drill bit sharpener. These tools can help put a sharp point on an older drill bit, grinding the tip at the perfect angle. The result is a fast-drilling, clean-cutting drill bit that works as well, if not better, than new.
Whether you choose an electric benchtop sharpener or a grinder attachment, there’s a solution for your dull drill bits. Your drill bits will last much longer if you choose the best drill bit sharpener for your needs from this guide.
- BEST OVERALL: Drill Doctor 750X Drill Bit Sharpener
- RUNNER UP: Drill Doctor DD500X Drill Bit Sharpener
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Drill Doctor DD350X Drill Bit Sharpener
- BEST BENCH GRINDER ADD-ON: Tormek DBS-22 Drill Bit Sharpener
- MOST VERSATILE: Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener, Ken Onion Edition
- ALSO CONSIDER: General Tools 825 Drill Grinding Attachment
What to Consider When Buying the Best Drill Bit Sharpener
Let’s get to the point; there are some things you need to know before shopping for the best drill bit sharpener. Not all models have the same capabilities or uses, so you need to be sure the one you choose will get the job done. Here are some factors worth considering.
Purchasing a drill bit sharpener that can handle all of the bits you commonly use should be a priority. While almost all sharpeners can handle small to mid-range bits, only certain models can handle the big stuff. Bits over 1/2-inch are expensive, so make sure that your sharpener can handle them.
You should also look for a sharpener that can handle your smaller bits. While these bits are rarely expensive (depending on the material), they dull quickly and lose their performance right away. Instead, keeping one of the best drill bit sharpeners on hand will allow you to put a quick edge on a bit as small as 3/32-inch.
Finding a drill bit sharpener that works with your drill bits of choice is important. For most homeowners, a standard drill bit sharpener will accommodate most of the bits in your workshop. These bits usually consist of steel or cobalt, and standard grinding wheels will sharpen them with ease.
If you purchase high-end carbide drill bits, then a standard grinding wheel won’t work. Carbide is extremely hard and requires a diamond wheel to sharpen correctly. If you keep carbide bits on hand, look for a sharpener that comes with diamond wheels. Or, purchase a bench grinder jig that you can set up with a diamond grinder wheel.
Various types of drill bits use differently-angled cutting edges at their points. Bits reserved for wood have aggressive cutting edges to allow them to get through the material quickly. Bits for metal have flatter angles, allowing them to take off smaller bits at a time without overheating or chipping the bit.
While you can sharpen every drill bit to one consistent angle, certain styles of bits work best at specific angles. It’s better to have a sharpener that you can adjust to the drill bit. Standard angles are between 118 and 135 degrees, so look for a sharpener that allows you to switch between the two for the best versatility.
There are two popular power sources for sharpening your drill bits; plug-in electric and drill-powered (which may be electric or battery).
Plug-in electric powered sharpeners come in benchtop sharpeners and adapters for bench grinders. The best benchtop sharpeners are quick and accurate, leaving little room for error. Grinder attachments can become misaligned with your grinder, so it’s essential to check for accuracy before you begin. A combination square will most likely do the trick. Once you check them, the grinder attachments are also quick and accurate.
Drill-powered sharpeners are great in a pinch, or if you’re on a job site and need to sharpen a bit. Simply chuck the grinding stone’s spindle into the drill, and place your bit in the appropriate groove, and you’ll be back to cutting in no time. There is some room for mistakes here as they’re not incredibly accurate, but they do an excellent job if you’re in a pinch.
Tips for Buying and Using Best Drill Bit Sharpener
Drill bits aren’t cheap, but neither are sharpeners. If you’re not going through bits constantly, it may be useful to purchase an inexpensive, drill-powered sharpener to put an edge on your bits. You’ll find that they do a decent job, and if you’re not drilling precision holes, they’ll grind a useful edge.
If you already own a bench grinder, an attachment may be the best route to go. They’re far less expensive than a benchtop model, and you can achieve the same angles. They take a little longer to set up, but you won’t sacrifice any quality once you do.
If ease of operation is important, you should consider purchasing an electric benchtop model. These are the most foolproof of the drill sharpener designs, and they will allow you to put a sharp edge on a drill bit in no time at all.
- Choose a drill-powered sharpener if you’re not going to sharpen bits often.
- A bench grinder attachment is a great option if you already own a grinder.
- A benchtop model is the most foolproof, so choose one of them if ease of use is important.
Our Top Picks
There’s a lot that goes into shopping for one of these tools. Now that you know what to look for in the best drill bit sharpener, the machines on the list below are worth considering. They’re easy to use, accurate, and can help you from throwing out the best (and occasionally expensive) drill bits in your collection.
If you’re looking for an electric benchtop drill sharpener that allows you to get the most out of your old drill bits, the Drill Doctor 750X is worth a look. You can adjust the 750X for any angle between 115 and 140 degrees, which means this sharpener can handle almost any angle. It will also create an edge on the end of the bit called a “split” bit, which creates a sharp point to drill accurate holes. The Drill Doctor 750X will sharpen drill bits as small as 3/32-inch and up to 3/4-inch, making it versatile for any drill bit a DIYer is likely to use. It also comes with a diamond wheel, so grinding fresh edges on carbide bits is not a problem.
- Sharpens bits ranging from ³⁄₃₂ to ¾ inch
- Can repair edges on broken bits
- Upgraded model for bigger drill bits
- Takes practice to achieve correct angle
- Split point feature is challenging to use
If you’re looking for a foolproof drill bit sharpener, the DD500X from Drill Doctor is as close as possible. This drill bit sharpener has two angles presets of 118 and 135 degrees. These presets allow you to choose the right angle for your drill bit without worrying if you’re off a degree or two. It comes with a diamond grinding wheel to handle high-speed steel, cobalt, or carbide bits with ease. It can also “split” the end of the drill bit, producing a more accurately drilled hole. It can sharpen drill bits between 3/32-inch and 1/2-inch to handle most drill bits in a standard set.
- Great model for average-size drill bits
- Sharpens bits ranging from ³⁄₃₂ to ½ inch
- Can create back-cut, split-point tip
- Takes practice to achieve correct angle
- No mounting holes to anchor it
Sharpening your drill bits is all about saving money, and the Drill Doctor DD350X will do that time and time again. This low-priced drill bit sharpener allows you to put fresh 118-degree grinds on your old, dull drill bits. It can handle any drill bit size between 3/32-inch and 1/2-inch, and it comes with two diamond wheels to help you get the most out of your sharpener. Since it doesn’t create split points, Drill Doctor made it more compact so it can sit on a shelf without getting in your way. There are no angle adjustments, which makes this a great tool if you’re looking for a simple, straightforward drill bit sharpener.
- Keeps drill bits cool as they’re sharpened
- Sharpens bits ranging from ³⁄₃₂ to ½ inch
- Limited adjustments make it easier to learn and use
- Might not work well on impact drill bits
If you’re shopping for a bench grinder attachment that will help take your expensive drill bits from dull to unbelievably sharp, the Tormek DBS-22 is worth checking. This drill bit sharpener allows you to adjust your angle from 90 degrees to 150 degrees and features an adjustable split angle. The result is a completely custom drill bit that’s both incredibly accurate and fast-cutting. It can handle drill bits as small as 1/8-inch and as large as 7/8-inch, providing an excellent range to work within. You can use this jig with any type of drill bit, but you must be sure that you use a diamond grinding wheel for carbide bits.
- Predetermined angles help improve precision
- Symmetrical cutting edges every time
- Makes four-facet points for extra performance
- Sharpens bits ranging from ⅛ to ⅞ inch
- Somewhat complicated to learn at first
The Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener can bail you out in a pinch. While not specifically a drill bit sharpener, this model can put a quick edge on a drill bit and get you back to work in a hurry. It features a 6000 grit belt that spins up to 2,800 RPMs, allowing you to put a serviceable edge on a high-speed steel or cobalt drill bit. Though you may not be able to replicate the exact angle by hand, you’ll come close enough to drill effectively on larger drill bits. It will also handle all of your knife and scissor sharpening needs, as well as chisels and other cutting tools, though carbide bits are probably too much for this tool.
- Customizable angle settings
- Variable speed control of up to 2,800 RPMs
- Flexible abrasive belts for honing drill bits, chisels, and blades
- Requires practice to nail the technique
If you already have a bench grinder, the General Tools 825 Drill Grinding Attachment is an affordable way to take care of a pile of dull drill bits. This jig bolts to your worktop and uses the side of your grinding wheel to create sharp edges on old drill bits. It will work for bits between 1/8-inch and 3/4-inch and is adjustable for many different drill point angles. It has several adjustments, one of which adjusts the height of your drill bit. This adjustment allows you to creep up on the perfect angle slowly for maximum accuracy. To create a perfectly centered point, simply roll the bit over between every pass.
- Works at any angle and on countersinks
- Pivoting neck grinds both sides of the bit
- Works on drill bits from ⅛ inch to 1½ inch
- Only works as attachment to electric bench or surface grinder
- Instructions might not be adequate
For a powerful drill bit sharpener that can sharpen a wide range of bit sizes, choose the Drill Doctor 750X model that can sharpen ³⁄₃₂‑ to ¾‑inch bits. We also recommend the Drill Doctor 350X if you need a drill bit sharpener that sharpens the most common bit sizes at a lower price point.
How We Chose the Best Drill Bit Sharpeners
These recommendations have a range of capabilities to sharpen drill bits of varying sizes. Some drill bit sharpeners can accommodate bits as small as ³⁄₃₂ of an inch or as large as 1½ inches. Since users have unique needs, this list includes sharpeners that offer a solution for almost every commonly used drill bit.
We narrowed our research to include drill bit sharpeners that have only a select number of angles to drill at or a range of adjustable angles—though the extra adjustments can make it tricky to operate as well. Each selection on our list has online videos that can be used to help users learn how to properly use the sharpener. Finally, we included recommendations that had a number of different price points and levels of professional quality for both hobbyists and professionals.
The Advantages of Owning a Drill Bit Sharpener
If you’re continually working in your shop or on a job site, having your own drill bit sharpener can save you quite a bit of money. Instead of throwing your old bits out, you can grind a new edge on the spot, or place them to the side and spend an hour grinding a whole set until they’re like new.
Sharp bits drill faster and more accurately. When the tip of a drill bit becomes dull, it won’t dig in exactly where you’d like it and will also drill crooked or elongated holes. A sharp bit will bore straight down and create a perfectly round hole in almost any material. Having your own drill bit sharpener will allow you to keep your bits in top condition.
Drill bit sharpeners can make using drill bits safer. If you’re drilling with a dull bit, you’ll have to use more force to make any progress. A smaller bit can easily snap under pressure, which sometimes sends pieces of drill bit flying. While you should always wear safety glasses, flying bits of metal are never safe. A sharpener will help ensure that you don’t need to put much power behind the bit.
- Having your own drill bit sharpener will save you money on new bits.
- Sharpening your bits makes them more accurate.
- Keeping your bits sharp makes them safer.
If you wish that you knew about drill bit sharpeners a long time ago, you’re not alone. Many have wasted money on new bits when the old became dull. Now that you do know a bit about the best drill bit sharpeners, you might have some more questions. Below are the most frequently asked questions and answers about drill bit sharpeners. If you don’t find your answer here, contact the sharpener’s manufacturer.
Q: Are drill bits worth sharpening?
All bits are worth sharpening if you already have a sharpener. However, it’s not worth buying a sharpener to put an edge on a 1/8-inch steel drill bit.
Q: How do you use a drill bit sharpener?
Each sharpener is different, but you, or the jig, hold the bit at a specific angle relative to a grinding wheel. The grinding wheel removes metal from the tip of the drill bit until the edge is sharp.
Q: What is the right angle to sharpen drill bits?
The two most common angles are 118 degrees and 135 degrees, though there are bits that use other angles.
Q: Can you sharpen Titanium drill bits?
You can, but they’ll never be quite as effective again. Titanium bits have a coating that the grinding wheel will remove when sharpening. That’s not to say the bits are no good; they just won’t have the hard coating that makes them so useful.