Is a drill bit sharpener worth buying?

We get asked many questions on this website about drill bits. One of the most popular questions we get asked "Is a drill bit sharpener worth the money?" Drill bit sharpeners cost anything between £18 -100 depending on the quality of the sharpener that you want to buy.

Something like a basic Silverline drill bit sharpener costs around £20 whereas something like the Drill Doctor drill bit sharpener will cost pretty close to £100. So clearly, not all drill bit sharpeners are made to the same standard, and the quality of the engineering and effectiveness of these is massive.

A drill bit sharpener is worth buying if you are a serious DIY person who invest in good quality drill bits, or a professional such as a woodworker or a contractor. Over time a drill bit sharpener will keep your bits in the best condition and also extend their lifetime.

That said, we think a slightly better way of answering this question really comes down to how much use the drill bits you own are actually going to get.

Understanding Drill Bit Use

Some home owners will never use a drill or drill bits as they prefer to pay other people to do work around their home. Likewise some people hate the thoughts of any type of DIY so again will not ever have a need to buy a sharpener.

The Casual DIY Person

There are plenty of casual DIY people who are happy enough to put up a shelf, assemble some furniture and when required to drill the odd hole or two. They will likely own a drill/driver and a few drill bits, usually bought in an inexpensive drill bit and screwdriver bit set.

They may be tempted to buy a drill bit sharpener, but we would advise them not to do this. Typically the drill bits they own will last them for a long time if they are only being used a few times a year. When a particular drill bit gets worn out, it will only cost a few pounds to buy a replacement bit. That will always be cheaper than buying a sharpener.

The Serious DIY Person

Then we have the serious DIY person who is always doing jobs and tasks around the home, garden and yard and uses a drill on a fairly regular basis. By regular we mean a few times every month. That type of person is always willing to spend a little extra money to buy better drill bits in the first place. If you are prepared to do that, then you will also be more willing to keep them sharp, so as they do the job when you need them.

The Professional/Contractor

The professional or trades person will definitely benefit from buying and owning a drill bit sharpener. At the end of the day they will know the pitfalls of buying cheap drill bits. Cheap drill bits do a really bad job at drilling holes and they quickly become worn out and useless.

They tend to buy much better quality drill bits which of course cost more. By keeping them sharp it means that they can work faster. It also means the bits will last longer. Finally in the longer term they save money as you don't have to constantly keep buying new drill bits.

Drill Bit Sharpeners Explained

As we mentioned earlier drill bit sharpeners vary in price. We are going to look at five options below and explain the differences. We are also going to summarise what buyers thought of their purchases and what they had to say about them.

Multi-Sharp Universal Drill Bit Sharpener

This is the cheapest one and not surprisingly because of that also the biggest seller online.

This model grinds tip and relief angles and restores cutting edges on drill bits and small tools.

It is suitable for HSS, masonry, SDS-plus, centre-point, brad-point and flat wood, 3-13mm in diameter.

It can also sharpen hand tools such as punches, cold chisels, screwdrivers, etc.

It uses a small jig that has all the angles for correct tip geometry built in. It positions each type of bit over the wheels to give the correct tip and relief angles.

You then attach it to an electric corded or cordless drill to do the sharpening

82% buyer satisfaction based on 900+ online buyer reviews

Pros

  • 53% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review  
  • Buyers say this works well once you get the knack of using it but that takes some patience
  • Sharpening hand tools is very easy and works really well
  • Many buyers said this is a handy little item to own and is extremely good value for money

Cons

  • 11% of all buyers gave this a poor review  
  • Buyers say this is awkward and very fiddly to use
  • Some buyers say this is hard to get used to

Silverline 312279 DIY 95W Drill Bit Sharpener

This is a stand alone drill bit sharpener and the style of this is more how people identify with what a sharpener actually looks like

This model uses 95 watts of power and has a built in drill guide

It can sharpen HSS and carbon steel bits 3 - 10 mm diameter

You should be aware that does not sharpen any type of drill bit with an unusual point such as Forstner bits or masonry bits

82% buyer satisfaction based on 500+ online buyer reviews

Pros

  • 54% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review  
  • Buyers say this can be fiddly at the start but it does sharpen standard drill bits well
  • Buyers say that using this is so much better than attempting to sharpen by hand or on a grinding wheel
  • Many buyers said this is an affordable sharpener that does a reasonable job

Cons

  • 12% of all buyers gave this a poor review  
  • Buyers say this is really only for metal drilling bits
  • Some buyers say it doesn't sharpen well and eventually breaks down

KATSU 95W Electric 3-10mm Drill Bits Sharpener

This Katso model is really similar to the Silverline model shown above

This model also uses 95 watts of power and has a built in drill guide, an ABS body and the electric cable is 2 metres long

It can sharpen HSS and carbon steel bits 3 - 10 mm diameter

You should be aware that does not sharpen any type of drill bit with an unusual point such as Forstner bits or masonry bits

86% buyer satisfaction based on 100+ online buyer reviews

Pros

  • 58% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review  
  • Buyers say this works well on smaller drill bits and is quite fast
  • Buyers say this is very easy to use once you have had a little practise
  • Many buyers said this is good value for money

Cons

  • 11% of all buyers gave this a poor review  
  • Buyers say this is no good for drill bits above 8mm in size
  • Some buyers say it is very noisy

Sealey SMS2008 Drill Bit Sharpener

This is from the well known Sealey brand known for good quality products

As you can see much more expensive and uses an 80 watt motor with a running speed of 4200 RPM, and can be bench mounted

It can sharpen up to 118° HSS Titanium, Cobalt, Carbon Steel and Split Point bits in range 3-13mm, so a wider size than the others we have reviewed so far

Suitable for drill bits used for wood and metal (not masonry)

84% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer reviews

Pros

  • 59% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review  
  • Buyers say the instructions are very good and some great YouTube videos on how to use this properly
  • Buyers say this is a good quality sharpener as long as you set it up and use it properly
  • Many buyers said they were glad they paid the extra money to get a better quality of sharpener

Cons

  • 8% of all buyers gave this a poor review  
  • Buyers say works well but poor design
  • Some buyers say only really for drill bits for metal

DRILL DOCTOR Drill Bit Sharpener

This is the most expensive one and the price puts many buyers off though it also has a 100% buyer satisfaction rating

This is the ideal sharpener for the home workshop, serious DIY people and the professionals

It sharpens HSS, Carbide, Cobalt Tin Coated and Masonry bits in less than 48 seconds

It sharpens to a 118-degree point angle - It has longer chuck jaws that hold bits more precisely, and jaw guides eliminate jaw twisting on small bits

They also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 3 year warranty

100% buyer satisfaction based on 10+ online buyer reviews

Pros

  • 100% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review  
  • Buyers say this is the daddy of drill bit sharpeners and well worth the investment
  • Buyers really like that it can sharpen masonry drill bits as well as metal and wood
  • Many buyers said this is expensive but a sound investment for any one who does a lot of drilling

Cons

  • No buyers so far have given this a poor review  
  • Buyers say this is just too expensive

Sharpener Buying Tips

We always like to include some buying tips based on the information we found when doing our research.

Spare or Replacement Grinding Wheels

If you use these often enough the grinding wheel will wear out. We found that with the cheaper models that we couldn't find where to buy spare grinding wheels. That is a big concern as the sharpener essentially become useless after that. The better brands like Sealey and Drill Doctor all have replacement parts.

Masonry Drill Bits

If one of your concerns is sharpening masonry drill bits then only the Drill Doctor sharpener can do that. That is because of the cutting angle of 118 degrees.

To summarise the reality is that for most people they will never need to buy a drill bit sharpener. That is because it will simply never need to be used.

For those who do a lot of DIY around the home and garden, then if they do a lot of drilling, a drill bit sharpener would be a very good buy for them. They keep your drill bits sharp and in good condition and ready for use as and when you need them.

For most professionals they too would benefit from a drill bit sharpener for the same reasons as we have explained above. Professionals and contractors do tend to buy better quality drill bits as they have to work quickly, so there is even more reason to look after them.

Many of them will however not do this due to perceived time restrictions. They pick up drill bits as and when they need them. If they took 15 minutes and had the right drill bit sharpener, then they could easily sharpen all their bits.

About the author cordy

I am a retired construction worker and I also happen to love power tools. I have used hundreds over the years and offer my opinions on them here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}