I am sometimes asked to recommend general purpose drill bits that can be purchased locally. Although this condition rules out many of the great brands available at online industrial suppliers, there are still a few decent options out there. By far, my favorite locally-sourced drill bits are Dewalt’s Pilot Point drill bits.
Pilot Point drill bits 3/16″ and larger all have a leading cutting edge that creates a smaller hole ahead of the bits’ flutes and primary cutting edge. This eliminates the need to drill pilot holes in a 2-step process, saving time and effort, and resulting in a more accurate hole.
These bits are suitable for use in wood, plastic, and metal. I often use these bits to drill through-holes in metals (mostly aluminum) and plastic (non-brittle types), but not for wood. The bits have split points so they don’t walk, and also no-spin shanks with three flats.
You can find these bits at local home improvement stores, as well as online at Amazon and most major tool suppliers.
Dewalt Pilot Point Drill Bits via Amazon
Product Info via Dewalt
I don’t like these bits. They take excessive grinding to sharpen, and then they become a “regular” drill bit.
Glenn A Loss
I use for spot welds. Not heavy metals only need file to touch up
The Irwin TurboMax bits are similar in design, but think they’re far, far better.
Why can’t they be used in wood?
I found with my 29 piece Dewalt Pilot Point set, they end up screwing into the wood (not cutting holes but actually act as a screw) thus causing the back side of the wood to blow.
You might be using an excessive feed rate. If you feed these bits slowly they will not corkscrew at all. They will simply cut like an end mill. The slower you go he cleaner the exit hole.
These are among my favorite drill bits. I have had the Dewalt 29 pc. set for a couple years now and use them regularly. They all have stayed sharp for me.
They can be used for wood, I just don’t use them for that. For wood I use cheapo Irwin bits that are absolutely useless for plastic or aluminum (which is why I won’t ever buy any non-USA Irwin bits ever again).
I recently purchased a 29pc set after using a 14pc set for a while. Not because the first set dulled, but because it was on sale at a local Sears that was closing.
The TurboMax are USA made, and were originally branded as Hansen. They’re incredible in wood and metal. Ever since buying a set, I have put away my set of PilotPoint bits.
From what I can see, the TurboMax are standard 135° split points. If so, when using large-size bits, one should then still have to drill a separate pilot hole.
They’re definitely not standard split points! The tip is a variation on the bullet point idea. The description that says that is wrong. Really wrong!
I have to agree with poster Steve. While these bits may prove excellent at first, what happens when they begin to dull? Sharpening a bit like this is not as simple a task as it is for a standard bit. In fact, it would discourage most people from even attempting to sharpen their bits.
The self-centering design is pretty nifty, but I think if you want to get the best mileage out of your bits, you might be better off going with standard construction. On the other hand, there are certainly a whole lot of people out there that would simply go out and buy a new set of bits once theirs wear out, so there is definitely a market for these.
Bought a set from lowes a few days ago just because I needed some new bits and wanted to try these out. I’ve heard a lot of people say they love them and a lot of people say they’re junk. I will say that they do wander a tad when when starting in wood, but once they’re in the go through great. They drill through plastics really nice. Except brittle plastics. They will want to shatter. No matter how fast or slow the drill speed is. Haven’t tried them in metal yet. They work but they aren’t the greatest bits. If you’re looking for wood drills, go with a nice set of Brad points.
On another blog, Tool Guy says Dewalt’s Pilot Point drill bits “are NOT made in the USA.” The Amazon link shows the “origin” of the DEWALT DW1361 set to be the USA. With all the marketing hocus pocus today, I am not even sure what “origin” means. “Made in” is pretty clear, but these days, you seldom see “Made in USA.”
Where are these Dewalt Pilot Point drill bits made??? Any references? I have spent over 2 hours pouring over the Internet and have yet to find a clue.
Unless something has changed, these aren’t made in the USA. I wouldn’t have said that in another post unless I had seen such labeling with my own eyes.
If you think the Amazon description is accurate, you can order it, and if it is made anywhere other than the USA, you can return it due to the description being inaccurate. It’ll waste some time and result in trip to a UPS store.
I can’t find much COO info online, except for an MSC product listing saying it’s made in China, with the COO info subject to change. And while it is subject to change, it’s hard to believe that these drill bits would all of a sudden be made in the USA.
If you’re not in a hurry, you can email Dewalt customer service and see what they say.
Thanks for the great reply. I have had these bits for some time — from Amazon. The package is devoid of COO. I always believed (without evidence) that they were manufactured in China and was having a discussion with someone who believes Amazon’s statement that the “origin” in USA means that they were manufactured un the USA.
Personally, I don’t believe that because I KNOW Dewalt PROUDLY points that out whenever they can do so honestly as part of their marketing. There failure to even state a COO is evidence that they are NOT made in the US. I was just hoping to find out where the things are actually made.
I will email Dewalt.
I have inquired. My case number is: 06607857. I will post Dewalt’s response, if any. As they are sensitive about this sort of thing, I am expecting some sort of song and dance, but we’ll see.
I’m looking right at a DeWalt 5/16″ Titanium Pilot Point drill, in the shrink wrap, and the packaging clearly states Made In China
Okay we can now clear the air regarding the COO of the DEWALT DW1361 Pilot Point drill bit set. it’s China. I emailed dewalt and here it is from the horse’s mouth:
Thank you for contacting us.
I apologize, but the DeWalt bit set DW1361 is manufactured in China.
I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
In case this email does not fully answer your question, or you would like to contact us for any reason, simply reply to this email.
DEWALT Customer Care
Visit us online at http://www.dewalt.com
Thank you for the follow-up and info!
Don’t worry too much about the place of manufacture. Instead, look for the quality of the brand. I am not an expert in tools but I have had a fair amount of experience with ex-USA manufacturing. People in poor countries who will work for low wages are usually desperate for a job and work hard to show that they deserve to keep it.
When poor quality comes from China or other ex-USA sources, it is invariably due to upper management and/or poorly trained on-site managers. Low quality materials mandated by upper mgnt or excessive demands for output by on-site mgrs is usually the cause. Good brands don’t allow quality to slip when goods are made outside the US.