Compare router bit brands?
I've pretty much narrowed my router bits to Whiteside and Freud but recently came across references to American Eagle and their #2 line MLCS (replacing their Price Line bits). I know Whiteside and Eagle are both made in America, and MLCS are from China/Taiwan. Not sure where the Freud bits come from (Italy and Switzerland?).

Just wondering how the WNers rank these four - best for quality, best for the money (not exactly the same thing), and durability. Any other comments you would like to add.


I've not used American Eagle, so I'll leave them out of my rankings:



There's a pretty big gap between Freud and MLCS, IMO.  MLCS are OK, but Whiteside delivers the best performance and best finish.  Freud is very high quality and a very dependable brand.  My first router bit set was MLCS, based on a magazine review which cited them as best value.  I don't know if that would be the case today.  I'd rather purchase bits as I need them, and stick with Whiteside.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
About where I stand right now with Whiteside and Freud. Had not heard of Amercan Eagle and MLCS. The blurb was idolizing AE.

Here is the last review that was done by Fine Woodworking in case you want to read it.  I'm obviously partial to Whiteside but all the major players are listed in the review for braised carbide router bits.  If you introduce solid carbide spirals other players come into play.

FWW Router Bit Review
I don't have whole sets of bits.  I've bought what I need as I needed them--sometimes with a little forethought.  Most of my bits are MLCS or are from one of the discount vendors at The Woodworking Shows.  They've been OK.  On a couple occassions, I've bought a Bosch bit from the Borg and they definitely cut nicer than the MLCS/discount bits, but the Borg has limited profiles available.

Over a year ago, I was installing a wood kitchen countertop and wanted a really nice edge for the undermount sink.  I cut the bulk of the material with my jigsaw/tracksaw but then I made a template and did a finishing pass with a Whiteside piloted spiral carbide bit.  Holy cow!  The shavings coming off the bit were so clean and looked like shavings you'd get with a really, really sharp hand plane on end grain.

That was the last bit I bought, but if I need to buy another one or want to replace an existing MLCS bit, I am going to strongly consider getting a Whiteside bit next time.
IMO, MLCS are junk, worst cutting bit's I've ever owned.

Freud #1, nothing can compete with a Quadra-cut for smoothness, especially on end grain. I like the "double grind" on the straight bits also.

Whiteside #2

Grizzly "green bits" have been a decent investment, good bang for the buck.

I too would rate them Whiteside, Freud and MLCS. I also would consider adding Infinity Bits as they are of the same quality and price range as Whiteside in my experience.
Unless it's a giveaway price, or I can't get the profile I need from one of my regulars, my choices are Whiteside, Freud, and Infinity.I've bought some of the Woodcraft bits for $5, and they are worth $5. I've used a few MLCS but don't really care for them. What I really miss is the old Jesada. I alos like the CMT (Italy) bits a lot, but the run quite a bit more generally.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
The last I knew most of the Eagle America profiles were actually made by Whiteside.  A few years back MLCS got involved with the EA line, so things might have changed.   Whiteside bits are excellent...extremely well made.  Infinity bits are made in Italy, and are right up there with Whiteside IME.  Freud Industrial Quadra-cut bits are excellent too.  

IMO it's hard to go wrong with any of those.  I'm not sure I'd pay much of a premium of one over another, so look for the best deals in one of those brands.

MLCS is a bargain brand. It's been a while since I bought any, but their basic sets used to be a decent deal for ~ $45.....not in the same league as the premium bits, but ok to get started with.
Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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