The Best Drill Bit Sharpeners (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Keep your tools in prime condition with these top-rated drill bit sharpeners
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BY William Irvin Lewis / LAST UPDATED ON October 22, 2020
Good drill bits are expensive, but they still dull over time. To get the most out of a good bit, a sharpener is required so that bit can regain a cutting edge. Instead of going through several bits a year, you can keep a single bit working for years with help from a bit sharpener. The cost works out in the sharpener’s favor pretty quickly, and essentially any professional who drills regularly will get a lot of use and savings out of a good drill bit sharpener.
Instead of trekking to the store every few months to get yet another suitable bit, just keep your bits sharpened and they’ll never slow you down. You’ve invested in quality drill bits. It only makes sense to find a sharpener of the same caliber. To help you track down the best drill bit sharpeners on the market, we’ve broken down the top selections. Let’s investigate the options and learn some helpful facts about these important tools.
A powerful attachment that lets you sharpen all your drill bits, this tool is both user-friendly and precise.
- Sturdy base prevents movement while you sharpen
- Knobs are easy to turn and provide the necessary level of resistance
- May be difficult to hold steadily at certain angles
Tough grinder attachments to quickly sharpen drill bits. It comes with six sharpening stones for lasting benefits.
- Sufficient supply to sharpen bits for long periods
- Safe design to work with
- Stone material grinds drill bits efficiently
- Includes only the grinding stones, not the device itself
- Works best when used with another tool
Versatile sharpening tool that works on knives and drill bits. Runs on an abrasion-based belt structure that works at multiple angles.
- Useful on more than one tool
- Comes with different belts for customized abrasion
- Operates on 110 volts and is compatible with a 12-volt adapter for vehicles
- Can be challenging for beginners
- Requires practice to achieve consistent sharpening effects
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Benefits of Drill Bit Sharpeners
- Optimizes drill performance. When your drill bits are as sharp as possible, the drilling works more efficiently. This prevents wear on screws, saves you time, and improves your overall precision. Properly sharpened bits prevent damage to the drill, the attachments, and the material on which you’re working.
- Adds convenience. Instead of having to hustle to the store every time your drill bit gets dull, a sharpener can save you a lot of time. Generally compact, drill bit sharpeners tuck away in your garage for when you need them most. These tools help avoid inconvenient trips to the hardware store since you can keep using the same bits.
- Saves money. Since you don’t have to rush off to buy new pieces every time something gets dull, it also reduces your overall costs. Though drill bits are relatively inexpensive, they’re used so often that the price adds up.
- Requires limited power supply. Another benefit is the environmental advantage of drill bit sharpeners. Instead of contributing to an excess of waste, a sharpener lets you reuse your tools (one of the key tenets of recycling). They draw limited power and work quickly, preventing waste and adding efficiency.
- Sharpens multiple tools. In many cases, you can use your drill bit sharpener on more than one tool. Often, these devices work for knives and other small pieces. It helps you preserve multiple small appliances, making work less expensive and time consuming overall.
Types of Drill Bit Sharpeners
This is a less common type of drill bit sharpener, but it’s definitely worth noting. These analog tools are made of an abrasive surface. You can find this type of sharpener in different styles, either as a standalone rock with a hole in the center or with a separate grip. By using a little bit of elbow grease and repetition, you can grind down the surface of your drill bit.
Probably the most prevalent type on the market, powered sharpeners are popular for many reasons. With multiple different shapes and forms, these sharpeners are fairly easy to use. Simply insert the drill bit into the slot (at the proper angle) and turn the unit on. The motor moves the abrasive surface around the bit. It produces an evenly sharpened bit quickly. There are options that plug into an AC outlet and others with 12-volt compatibility.
This type of drill bit sharpener is fairly prevalent since the ability to sharpen drill bits is one of many features. Usually, these tools will also sharpen knives or other small, handheld tools. While a manual sharpener could technically count as a multi-purpose tool, this category refers to those using power. These electrically operated devices are usually larger than the other two types. That said, they can be fairly durable and tend to be very efficient.
Founded in the 1930s by a World War I veteran, General Tools prides itself on creating precision equipment for all workshop needs. One of its most-favored offerings for drill bits is the General Tools 825 Drill Grinding Attachment.
An international retailer of woodworking tools, Woodstock has many quality sharpening devices. Since 1989, this business has crafted equipment that’s retailed through third-party merchants. A top offering is the Woodstock D4144 Drill Sharpener.
Beginning operations in 1973 in Oregon, Darex put all of its focus into crafting sharpening equipment. Its leading brands include Drill Doctor and Work Sharp, both with diverse selections of sharpening equipment like the Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener.
Drill Bit Sharpener Pricing
- Under $20: For this range, you’re likely to find either a manual sharpener or the attachment stone as a standalone item. These sharpeners tend to be long-lasting, though they require more effort to use.
- Between $30 and $50: In this category, you’ll find both manual and powered sharpeners. Usually, they’re of reasonable to high quality and work efficiently while drawing minimal power.
- Over $50: Options in this price range are all motorized and can be expected to have multiple functions. Sharpeners in this range tend to be quite heavy-duty and tout quality performance.
Determining how efficiently the bit will sharpen, proper placement is essential to the overall function of the sharpener. Most have a hole in the center, and the abrasive surface moves around it circularly. The bit clamps into the machine. How tightly it holds the bit, and the amount of space between the bit and the sharpener, impacts the end result. While all units share this feature, some are more resistant to vibration and slipping.
Critical to the actual sharpening, the abrasive surface is what actually wears down the dull bit. The fine particles whisk away unseen pieces of metal and leave behind a sharp surface. They’re made out of different materials, but diamond is the top option with a hardness of 10. Other stones that are also high on the hardness scale work well, too. The device will look like a stone or a belt, with small pieces of the stone embedded into the structure.
The difference between manual and electric sharpeners is the power source. On some, it takes elbow grease to move the sharpener. However, most options use a cord and an AC outlet. Be sure to identify the ideal voltage for the unit and provide it with a safe power source. Many are compatible with a 12-volt adapter, which can help prevent over-surges.
While the sharpener is important, it’s secondary to the drill and bits. For this reason, preferred sharpeners are reasonably lightweight and compact. The small size enables improved storage and helps prevent the sharpener from incurring damage between uses.
- Stability. You want a sharpener that’s easy to control both when it’s on and off. If it’s a handheld unit, consider the quality of the grip. Does it offer enough traction? For tabletop selections, make sure the base is sturdy and it isn’t top-heavy. This way, you can use it as easily as possible.
- Elbow Grease. Another thing that’s worth noting is how much effort it requires. Sure, even the manual options aren’t too hard to use, but powered selections limit the amount of energy you have to spend. Typically, the two options are reasonably close in price and last almost equally as long.
- Compatibility. Make sure the unit is compatible with your drill bits, both in size and quality. Opt for an abrasive material that fits with the quality of your drill bits. Standard options used for construction and woodworking are generally compatible with both belt and stone-type abrasive materials.
- Durability. Whenever you buy a tool, you want to make sure it will last as long as possible. Consider the design and motor of the powered selections. This will dictate both its effectiveness and the likelihood of it burning out. Opt for a reasonable RPM to err on the safe side. Also think about how long the abrasive material will last.
- Maintenance. Worth a thought is the amount of upkeep that your machine will require. Is it prone to damage? Will you need to frequently replace the belt or stone? Does it have extensive cleaning needs that may be inconvenient? All of these considerations speak to the overall user-friendliness of the sharpener.
- Storage. Especially if your stones come separately from the sharpener, they’re subject to wear and tear. The material can get scraped away by surrounding pieces (not to mention it scratching surfaces). Opt for something more compact, since it usually doesn’t impact function but improves its ease of storage.
- Other Features. Some drill bit sharpeners also work on other tools. By choosing something with multiple functions, you can save both money and storage space. Some sharpeners work on everything from lawn-care equipment to screw extractors to kitchen knives.
Best Drill Bit Sharpener Reviews & Recommendations
- Clean the drill bit before you sharpen it. By making sure it’s clean and dry first, you can get a more effective sharpness with less debris.
- Wear gloves when you sharpen the drill bits. This improves your grip on the bit and the machine, and protects your hands from injury.
- Be sure the abrasive surface matches the material of your drill bits. Cobalt bits are compatible with most sharpeners.
- Keep the sharpener in a dry environment to prevent rust and corrosion. Store it away from delicate surfaces to avoid unwanted scratches.
- Maintain it properly by cleaning the surface and unplugging it in between uses. This prevents damage to the motor and internal circuitry.
- Check the quality of the abrasive surface before you start sharpening. It can damage the bit if the grinder is too dull.
- Slow and steady wins the race of sharpening. A gentler approach does the job more effectively.
Where can I get a drill bit sharpened?
A: Some hardware stores offer drill bit sharpening as a service. As personal sharpeners grow more popular, however, these services get more challenging to find. You can approach your local retailer, get new bits, or opt for a sharpener if you use drills often.
What is the best way to sharpen drill bits?
A: The best way to sharpen your drill bits depends on how much time you have and how many bits you need to sharpen. If you need to sharpen several bits, it’s usually easier to use a power sharpener. This limits strain and gets the job done more quickly.
How do you sharpen a drill bit without a grinder?
A: You will always need an abrasive surface. It can be a belt, a stone, or a standard sharpener. It’s the friction between the grit and the drill bit surface that leaves it sharp. So if you don’t have a grinder, simply use another abrasive material.
Now that you’re familiar with the ins and outs of drill bit sharpeners, you can make your pick. Both the General Tools 825 Drill Grinding Attachment and the HOMOO Art Portable Drill Bit Grinder are solid picks. There’s an option for everyone.