Quality Difference of "Branded" Driver Bits

After my first 'real' workshop project I somewhat expected burnt through 4 or 5 pozidriv bits from the various cheap and freebie kits over the years. This is even with about half-the-length predrilled, only limited by the length of the drill bit too. Since the majority of the fastener sets I own are from Aldi and thus PZ2, I figure it might be time to finally buy some branded ones of that particular bit. I only have one spare cheapie left anyway.

Does anyone have any comments on how much better branded bits are, say Irwin or Dewalt (they seem to have ok value packs $2~$3 per bit) over generics? I get all drill/driver bits are somewhat consumables when eventually used enough, but aside from the usual "cheap bits are crap", it would be handy to know if anyone has any running experience with using cheap ones then moving onto branded ones. Usual cost/benefit stuff and also how many. Irwin x5 or Dewalt x15 seem to the best value, but I dunno 15 seems overkill if they do last a lot longer per bit.


  • +3

    I have randomly bought a discounted this set from Milwaukee. Will never buy the cheap bits again.

  • +1

    Make sure you are using the right bits for the right jobs. There are 3 different bits that all look the same or similar. Pozidrive is not really compatible with Phillips or quad/fearson, etc… Also make sure you are using the right size bit, I see a lot of people using the wrong size bits and it can strip the toops of the bolts/screws or ruin the tools.

    The best bits I have used are the ones that came with my Snap-On ratchet screwdriver. It has undone and done up so many screws over its 10+ years of work and has never failed or even gone blunt.

    My go to bits for my power tools or for other screwdrivers that have lost their tips is to go with the Irwin ones. They are pretty cheap and I think I’ve gone through maybe 2 or 3 over the years with pretty heavy usage.

    The only other bits I use are in in my Wiha screwdriver, and they are every bit as good as the SnapOn ones, but are double ended and only fit the Wiha driver…

    • +1

      Thanks for the topic dufflover
      I've had a good experience with Irwin bits from the big green shed and in the past used and wasted no brand/generic bits very quickly. I'll stick to branded bits I think, and try Milwaukee or Snap-on from the recommendations below.

      This bit from pegaxs is true too; use the correct bit. And for what it's worth, screws from ALDI are as soft as buttter. Ok if you're hand tightening, but don't expect it to withstand power tools; you'll strip the head very quickly and spend the next half hour trying to remove it.

      • I've found the screws heads have held up pretty well. Then again I guess if the bit fails before the screw I might find differently with a better driver bit lol.
        But nah overall they seemed ok. Definitely better than other screws that I've had noticeably start deforming even with a low powered screwdriver. They probably are crap compared to more proper brand fasteners but I don't think I'll ever be building anything so big or serious or heavy-duty.

        I'll probably always predrill out of habit which'll help too regardless of the wood type, even though the depth usually only goes about half-way only for the longer screws.

  • +5

    There's a bit of difference.

  • Nice post, my husband literally just saying he is going to return his drill bits from Aldi as they can't drill anymore after doing 8 holes (brick), the resulting holes are all gross looking (not neat).

    • Are the masonry drill bits or just high speed steel? One is designed for brick, the other is not.

      • It has 3 types in the set, 1 for wood, 1 for steel and the other he uses for brick. He uses the one in your picture for the bricks.

        • Just sounds weird. Masonry drill bits have tungsten carbide tips in them and will not go blunt drilling brick. Although they do like to be used in hammer drills rather than regular drills. And drilling into brick is never going to produce neat holes anyway due to bricks being super crumbly when drilled.

          • @pegaxs: He is using a regular drill, but he said it took him 30 minutes to drill 1 hole (when it should take 2 seconds!). We must have super hard bricks or something. FYI, drilling hole into wall for curtain holders.

            • @redpump: If he is using a "regular drill bit" and drilling into bricks, it will go blunt in about 10 seconds of drilling and stay blunt. That is why it is possibly taking 30 mins to drill one hole.

              • @pegaxs: I think he definitely was using the masonry bit, see image I circled and description here. Sorry I know the image is poor. We will be getting new drill bits though, too much of a struggle with these Aldi ones.

          • @pegaxs:

            Masonry drill bits have tungsten carbide tips in them and will not go blunt drilling brick.

            I dunno .. tried drilling a few holes with a Ryobi cheapie which claimed the same. Didn't count the previous usage or anything. But I did struggle with it but as soon as I said enough and bought a new set the job was way easier.

            Maybe not SDS easy that I've read about, but the original drill bit was obviously kaput from the previous odd jobs.

            • @dufflover: Oh, sure, if you drill enough holes with them or get them too hot or get a crap brand, they may not cut well, but they seldom wear out. They also don't cut well in conventional drills and work best in hammer drills.

              We use Sutton and Irwin masonry drill bits at work, and after years of abuse, have never had to replace them or sharpen them.

              Hell, I have a couple of masonry drills resharpened to cut steel plate, and they just keep going and going and going and have never needed to be sharpened.

      • I used a drill bit that looks like that, broke half of it trying to drill a brick……are sure they're made for drilling bricks?

        • Depends on where it broke and what brand it was. The picture I liked to is a masonry drill bit. It's the correct drill type for drilling concrete and bricks.

          • @pegaxs: I was gonna show you a picture of it but i guess it must have gotten thrown out as i cant find the bit anymore…. but i found one thats as close as i can get it to for my illustration purposes: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/broken-masonry-drill-bit-arm... except imagine the break point being somewhere between half way and three quarters way to the tip(instead of it being close to the thing(theres a name for it but i forgot what its called - wait no shank, thats what its called right?) where you insert this into ur drill, and the so called "carbide tip" you call it was worn down and mangled up pretty badly that it doesnt look like a drill bit at all but as a stabbing weapon for someone….

            cant remember what the brand was though…

            • @Zachary: No, shank is the park the drill grip onto, flutes is the part that has the spirals on it. (For future reference)

              That part of a masonry bit (the shank and flutes) is not tungsten carbide. That part is usually steel and if the drill gets leaned on at and angle, it can break like it has in that photo. This type of break is from a lateral force applied to the drill.

              And sometimes the carbide bit can either shatter (crap quality) or the bonding from the tungsten bit to the fluted section can get too hot and melt and let the tip fall out. Tungsten is almost as hard as diamonds (9.5 Mohs vs 10 Mohs) and house bricks are around 7, so they don't worry tungsten.

              • @pegaxs: I guess I must have used too much sideways force….

                Maybe should have the whole drill bit made in tungsten…..instead of just the tip which can crumble, melt off or break off….

                • @Zachary: It would be too brittle to make the whole drill out of tungsten. And if they did, the drill bit would be $400 instead of $14.

  • I used Ryobi bits. Didnt think much of it. Didnt think it makes difference.

    … then I got a set from Milwaukee. Noticeable upgrade.

    In a pickle, i bought a Detroit set. I rather not work and wait til i got my proper set back.

  • This seems to be pretty unbeatable value, assuming it's legit and DW make decent drivers
    2 x 15 bits for $20

    (I'd put this in the overkill bucket lol)

    • If you are using it assemble furniture or to mount a few things, you just need one.

      They last between 500-2000 screws depends on how accurate you are.

      • I was building a workbench lol, so typical pre-drill then impact driver stuff. For assembling stuff like IKEA yeah never had an issue even with cheap bits. Like I said, first "real" workshop style use of them.

        I've priced up some others like RS sell "Wera" which apparently is quite reputable too, but whether it's Irwin or Wera it's roughly $15 for 5 bits. The OzBargainer in me thinks that's pretty lame compared to this lol. I am after 2 or 3 as I've burnt through a couple typically let in other sets.

        Total Tools sell DURUM brand which I could pick up a handy combo of bits for around $10, but not sure if they are any good. They kinda look generic …

  • +1

    Does anyone have any comments on how much better branded bits are, say Irwin or Dewalt

    There's definitely a difference, even between branded bits. Here's an interesting comparison by Project Farm.

    • Thanks for the link. That was nice watching.
      Given I don't have any "impact" rated driver bit sets maybe I'll re-look into a proper impact ready set then. If just the one bit from a decent brand will go a long way (considering how many screws he did) in the impact driver then may as well have the variety.

  • I have the cheap Ryobi sets, use them for jobs I don't really care about but they are chalk and cheese compared to my expensive Sutton Tools set, good sets are worth the money imo, they can last a life time for just home use.

  • My typical technique with this stuff is to by a reasonably cheap set, then when replacing buy a decent brand. Depending on the job and bit required will buy a multipack to replace worn out cheaper bits.

    I’ve got good life out of Irwin stuff for heavy duty DIY.

    Phillips and impact drivers don’t play well, it is a lot easier to get off angle and strip the screw. Haven’t found many uses for posi-drive, decking screws and large screws tend to be hex or square head.

  • For anyone still playing along at home, I ended up getting this Milwaukee mixed set from Total Tools. $16.95.

    Seemed to be the cheapest for a branded set of impact bits which had pozidriv at all. This one has 2x of them too which fits my use case perfectly, if each one lasts for as long as branded ones to seem to go.

    • Late to the convo but the Shockwaves are a great setup, and would say they are lower mid range. I've used cheapo Ryobi/Craftright / Masters (RIP) bits for home DIY which are fine for low toque jobs.

      Low-mid range bits: Irwins/Supabits (Suttons)/Shockwaves/Bosch Blues are significant step up in terms of the hardness and wear.

      But if If youre doing a paid project / job that is time sensitive its better to invest in better bits.

      High end bits: Wiha Terminators, Wera Impaktor diamond, Felo Industrial - I've got these and other than the wear life, its more about the features and precision fit of each of the bits, esp Pozi / Torx bits you will find they wont cam out and have some features such as holding onto the fastener without magnets.

      If you know the fastener types your going to be using, its more economical to get a pack instead of a mix of every thing
      e.g. Whia 25 x Pozi #2

  • While we're on the subject here, anyone know where we can get 1 inch chuck drills? You know for using those bigger than 13mm drill bits that dont have a tapered or milled shank for smaller sized chucks(Or small enough anyways)? Only occurred to me when someone was looking for large drills bits….and that got me thinking…what if I were to get one of these bigger bits and dont have a large enough drill for it to go with? All the cordless drills I've seen are only 13mm or 1/2" inch chucks….

    • Get drill bits with a reduced shank. I have one bit that is 24mm and fits my cordless drill.

      • What if you can't or as mentioned before, the shank is still too big?

        • I think 13mm is by design. Its the typical max shank thickness them to to snap at the shank vs snap your wrists.

          If access to these bits is an issue, its always good to know a machinist with a lathe (my crazy neighbour) :)

          • @pegasusx: Damn, wish I had a lathe…..

            • @Zachary: No you dont. All your mates will be over to have a "chat" all the time. lol

              But yeah. Its a crazy damn good tool to have. Cant believe the things you can do with them, e.g. make bearings fit, manufacturing your own fasteners, turning your own seat tubes/ bike tubes, resurfacing rotors, modifying chucks, rifling gun barrels (lol), sharpening / modifying drill bits

              • @pegasusx: You can sharpen drill bits with a bench grinder or a dedicated drill sharpening machine…..

                How much are lathes? They're like hella expensive right? I just only remember using them during high school in metal work…. And I'm guessing you would also need room for it to be somewhere….and pay extraordinary shipping and handling to get it posted to your house and installed…

                • @Zachary: Neighbour is a 2 gen mechanic/machinist. Their property use to be a Sydney bus repair terminal. So its a 250m2 shed just where the lathe sits. I'd imagine itd be worth in excess of of 100k 😅.

                  • @pegasusx: Ooooooooooooooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkaaaaaaaaayyyy I guess I won't be getting one any time soon then…………….