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Best CNC Router Bits For Wood

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CNC router bits are used on a Computer Numerical Controlled routers (CNC). CNC routers have revolutionized our woodworking craft. The biggest selling point for routers of this kind is that they allow one to make artifacts with a greater variety of designs than any other form of routers. For more information on CNC machines check out my previous article on the subject matter. CNC router bits are an integral part of CNC machines because they are the component which comes directly in contact with the wood. So how does one get to choose the right CNC router bits? Note: if you come to find a router bits guide, I’ve written a more detailed guide here.

The choice of CNC router bits is largely attributed to the intended function. For example, to make 3D carvings on a CNC you need Bull Nose CNC router bits, whereas for engraving you need a CNC router bit of type V-bit. In this article, I am going to give focus on CNC router bits for woodworking. I will first give an overview of some key factors to consider when choosing to buy CNC router bits for woodworking. The next thing I will do is to give a description of 6 types of CNC router bits. As I describe the 6 types I will take some time to go to the market and review the top CNC router bits for each category.

Factors to consider when buying CNC router bits.

Material: Determine the type of material you plan to work on before investing in CNC router bits. If you plan to work on wood, you have to bear in mind that there is natural wood. Natural wood is categorized as soft and hard. There is also synthetic wood or wood by-products. One has to consider that wood has a grain structure. The grain structure of wood can increase the risk of tear-out during routing and necessitates using climb cutting to reduce material damage. Wood also contains moisture and natural oils. These can affect the tool’s lifespan. Synthetic wood like MDF, plywood, particleboard and laminate stock have glues and resins to bind the materials. In addition to glue lines, laminated products have a top and bottom finish that should not be damaged. A compression CNC router bit will be the most suitable for man-made products.

Size and length: Another important factor to consider is the length and size of the router bit. Short and stout CNC bits produce cleaner cuts. Whereas, very long router bits invite tool vibration and deflection of your bit. Both of these conditions make for rough-looking cuts and greatly shortened tool life. In my workshop, I use a combination of ⅜” shank router bits and ½” shank bits. One observation I have made is that the larger the shank size of a CNC router bit the more noise it produces during use.

Best CNC Router Bits For Wood

Here is my list of best cnc router bits for wood by categories.

Category 1: Ball nose bit

Description:

CNC router bits of type Ball nose bit as I mentioned earlier are used for making 3D carving/contouring.

Recommended Router Bits

#1. Whiteside Ball Nose CNC Router Bit Set, 3-Piece

Category 2: Spiral CNC router bits

Application

Down cut spiral

CNC router bits of downward spiral style, bits push chips and wood fibers downward as they cut to protect the top surface of the material. Downward spiral bits are the ideal choice for grooves and dadoes in delicate materials or any other application where chip removal is not a concern. Solid carbide spiral bits provide maximum durability in abrasive materials and can be used with CNC routers.

#1. Freud 90-160 5 piece set

“The 5 piece set contains 5 down spiral bits of the following sizes ½”,¼”,5/16”,⅜” and ½”. The 90-160 5 piece set is the best choice for downward spiral bits that are used to create chip-free top surface mortises and dadoes.” 

Contains

Freud 76-101 3/16” Down Spiral Bit

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is 3/16”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ¼”.
  • The Carbide Height is ¾”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Freud 76-102 ¼” Down Spiral Bit

  • The Number of Flutes is 2
  • The Overall Diameter is ¼”
  • The Overall Length is 2-½”
  • The Shank Diameter is ¼’.
  • The Carbide Height is 1”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Freud 76-104 5/16” Down Spiral Bit.

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is 5/16”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-½”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ½”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Freud 76-106 Down Spiral Bit

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is ⅜”.
  • The Overall Length is 3”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ½”.
  • The Carbide Height is 1-¼”.

Freud 78-106 Down Spiral Bit

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is ⅜”.
  • The Overall Length is 3”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ½”.
  • The Carbide Height is 1-¼”.

Reasons to Buy Freud down-cut spiral CNC Router bits

Freud is an established brand that has become a force to reckon with in router bits. Freud had been making cutting tools for over 50 years. The CNC router bit set from Freud is the first choice to me because it fits a set of 5 router bits that allow one to do dozens of designs. In my experience, the 5 piece set is the perfect choice when one needs to create chip-free top surfaces mortises and dadoes in delicate materials. 

I am a huge fan of Freud router bits, the set of five has all the characteristics of a high-quality Freud router bit sets, durability, and quality. The Freud 5 piece set is made from solid carbide. What makes the Freud CNC router bits stand out is that Freud is the only manufacturer that makes its own carbide. Freud has advanced research and development culture which has made it an industry leader. All these efforts contribute to making sure that Freud 90-16-5 is the best set of down-cut CNC router bits for woodwork. Carbide is the best material for woodworking router bits due to the fact they stay shaper for up to twenty times longer than steel bits. When they get dull one can sharpen them or take them to certified Freud sharpening partners https://www.freudtools.com/partners/sharpening found across the US. I recommend taking your Freud CNC router bits to these Authorized Sharpening Service Centers. Freud has strict criteria and demands that the sharpeners maintain the “like new” tool performance.

The 5 piece set can also be used on hand-held and table-mounted routers. This makes it very versatile. Another huge feature I like is the fact that the Freud 90-160 5PC has the patented Perma-Shield Non-Stick Coating which protects against heat, gumming and corrosion. Corrosion, heat and gumming all reduce the router bit’s estimated useful life. This means that you will be required to replace them earlier than expected before you have realized the full economic benefits. 

Freud 90-160-5 set of 5 down-cut CNC router bits deliver twice the finish quality of down cut CNC router bits in the market. One of the reasons for this high performance is that each bit is computer-balanced and precision ground for the smoothest possible cuts.

The last impressive feature is that Freud’s down-cut CNC router bits for woodwork have very good back up including spare parts. 

Concerns

The biggest concern with the Freud 90-160 5 piece set is the packaging. My query is that the bit holders are too tight it takes a lot of effort to remove the bits. 

#2. Yonico Downcut Spiral Range

This part of the article is going to review 4 Downcut Spiral CNC router bits for woodwork from Yonico. The 5 Downcut CNC router bits are below. Downcut router bits are used for thinner materials which will be pushed down into the machine bed.

Yonico 32240-2C ½ inch diameter. 2 Flute Downcut Spiral End Mill CNC Router Bit 1/2inch shank.

“The Yonico 32240-SC is best used for Laminate or veneer-finish plunging dadoing.”

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Cutting Diameter 1/2”.
  • The Overall Length is 3”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ½”.
  • The Material Carbide.

 Yonico 32212-SC ¼ inch diameter. 2 Flute Downcut Spiral End Mill CNC Router Bit 1/4inch shank.

“The Yonico 32212-SC is best used for Laminate or veneer-finish plunging and dadoing.”

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Cutting Height ¾”.
  • The Cutting Diameter 1/4”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 1/4”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Yonico 32210-SC 8 inch diameter. 2 Flute Downcut Spiral End Mill CNC Router Bit ¼ inch shank.

“The Yonico 32210-SC is best used for Laminate or veneer-finish plunging and dadoing.”

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Cutting Height 1/2”.
  • The Cutting Diameter 1/2”.
  • The Overall Length is 2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 1/4”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Yonico 32230-SC 3 inch diameter. 2 Flute Downcut Spiral End Mill CNC Router Bit ⅜” inch shank.

“The Yonico 32210-SC is best used for Laminate or veneer-finish plunging and dadoing.”

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Cutting Height 1”.
  • The Cutting Diameter 3/8”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 3/8”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Yonico 32220-SC 3 inch diameter. 2 Flute Downcut Spiral End Mill CNC Router Bit 5/16” inch shank.

“The Yonico 32220-SC is best used for Laminate or veneer-finish plunging and dadoing.”

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Cutting Height 13/16”.
  • The Cutting Diameter 5/16”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 5/16”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Reasons to Buy Yonico down-cut CNC router bits for woodworking

Down-cut CNC router bits from Yonico are the second-best choice according to my experience. The first reason for this high ranking is that Yonico is a brand made by practicing woodworkers. The importance of this is that the woodworkers who designed these down-cut CNC router bits for woodwork bring practical experience into the manufacturing of router bits.

 I urge you to buy down-cut CNC router bits from Yonico because of the affordable price. Yonico router bits offer the best value for money. The quality of the CNC router bits is high because they are made from C3 micro-grain carbide. This type of carbide is a high-quality industrial-grade which can endure continuous use without overheating. There was a time one of my colleagues used the Yonico down-cut CNC router bits for 10 hours straight while trying to fulfill an order. He explained to me that the router bits kept their top performance without overheating. I find this to be something commendable. 

 Yonico CNC router bits also come in very good packaging as compared to Freud.

Areas of Concern

The reason why Yonico CNC router bits don’t make it to the top is that they are not high-end router bits. The quality is reasonable but it doesn’t meet the standard of high-end Freud CNC router bits.

2b. Category 2B Upcut Spiral Bits

Application

Upcut Spiral Bits are used for grooving or slotting, for upward chip evacuation and best finish on the bottom side of the part. These bits allow for rapid cuts since the tool clears the chips away from the material. While ideal for cutting thicker materials. Upcut spiral bits are not recommended for thinner or softer materials

#1. Freud 90-150 5

“The 5 piece set contains 5 Upcut spiral bits of the following sizes ½”,¼”,5/16”,⅜” and ½”. The 90-150 set is used for mortises, dado cuts, deep binding holes where chips must be pulled out of the cut and where the speed of cut is the primary consideration.

Contains

Freud 75-101 3/16” Down Spiral Bit

“Cutting parts, grooves and deep holes in wood, plywood, and composites.” 

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is 3/16”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ¼”.
  • The Carbide Height is ¾”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Freud 75-102 ¼” Down Spiral Bit

“Cutting parts, grooves and deep holes in wood, plywood, and composites.” 

  • The Number of Flutes is 2
  • The Overall Diameter is ¼”
  • The Overall Length is 2-½”
  • The Shank Diameter is ¼’.
  • The Carbide Height is 1”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Freud 75-104 5/16” Down Spiral Bit.

“Cutting parts, grooves and deep holes in wood, plywood, and composites.” 

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is 5/16”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-½”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ½”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Freud 75-106 Down Spiral Bit

“Cutting parts, grooves and deep holes in wood, plywood, and composites.” 

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is ⅜”.
  • The Overall Length is 3”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ½”.
  • The Carbide Height is 1-¼”.

Freud 75-108 Down Spiral Bit

“Cutting parts, grooves and deep holes in wood, plywood, and composites.” 

  • The Number of Flutes is 2.
  • The Overall Diameter is ⅜”.
  • The Overall Length is 3”.
  • The Shank Diameter is ½”.
  • The Carbide Height is 1-¼”.

Reasons to buy the Freud Up-Cut CNC router bits 

Freud’s 5 Piece up-cut spiral bit set has the best UP Spiral router bits in the market. I am going to mention some of the reasons why the Freud UP-Cit CNC router bits are ranked highly, 

Firstly, as I mentioned in an earlier review, Freud’ Up-Cut Spiral Bits offer maximum durability in abrasive materials. The Freud 5 piece set is made from solid carbide. What makes the Freud CNC router bits stand out is that Freud is the only manufacturer that makes its own carbide. Freud has advanced research and development culture which has made it an industry leader. 

All these efforts contribute to making sure that Freud 90-150 5 is the best set of down-cut CNC router bits for woodwork. Carbide is the best material for woodworking router bits due to the fact they stay shaper for up to twenty times longer than steel bits. When they get dull one can sharpen them or take them to certified Freud sharpening partners https://www.freudtools.com/partners/sharpening found across the US. I recommend taking your Freud CNC router bits to these Authorized Sharpening Service Centers. Freud has strict criteria and demands that the sharpeners maintain the “like new” tool performance.

The 5 piece set can also be used on hand-held and table-mounted routers. This makes it very versatile. Another huge feature I like is the fact that the Freud 90-150 5PC has the patented Perma-Shield Non-Stick Coating which protects against heat, gumming and corrosion. Corrosion, heat and gumming all reduce the router bit’s estimated useful life. This means that you will be required to replace them earlier than expected before you have realized the full economic benefits. 

Freud 90-150-5 set of 5 Up-cut CNC router bits deliver twice the finish quality of Up cut CNC router bits in the market. One of the reasons for this high performance is that each bit is computer-balanced and precision ground for the smoothest possible cuts.

The last impressive feature is that Freud’s down-cut CNC router bits for woodwork have very good back up including spare parts. 

Concerns

The biggest concern with the Freud 90-160 5 piece set is the packaging. My query is that the bit holders are too tight it takes a lot of effort to remove the bits. 

#2. Yonico Upcut Spiral Range

Yonico 31261-SC ½”

“The Yonico 31261-SC is best used for Standard milling, dadoing and boring”

  • The Number of Flutes 2
  • The cutting diameter is 142”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 1/4”.
  • The cutting height os ¾”.
  • Material Carbide.

Yonico 31262-SC ½”

“The Yonico 31261-SC is best used for Standard milling, dadoing and boring”

  • The Number of Flutes 2
  • The cutting diameter is 1/2”.
  • The Overall Length is 3”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 1/2”.
  • The cutting height is 1-1/4”.
  • Material Carbide.

Yonico 31215-SC ¼”

“The Yonico 31215-SC ¼ is best used for Standard milling, dadoing and boring”

  • The Number of Flutes 2
  • The cutting diameter is 1/4”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 1/4”.
  • The cutting height is 1”. *+
  • Material Carbide.

Yonico 31214-SC ½”

“The Yonico 31214-SC ½” is best used for Standard milling, dadoing and boring”

  • The Number of Flutes 2
  • The cutting diameter is 1/4”.
  • The Overall Length is 2-1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 1/4”.
  • The cutting height is 3/4”.
  • Material Carbide.

Yonico 31210-SC 3/8”

  • The Number of Flutes 2
  • The cutting diameter is 1/4”.
  • The Overall Length is 2”.
  • The Shank Diameter is 1/4”.
  • The cutting height is 1/2”.
  • Material Carbide.

Yonico 31250-SC ½”

  •  The Number of Flutes 2
  • The Overall Diameter 3/8”.
  • The Overall Length 1-1/4”.
  • The Shank Diameter 3/8”.
  • The Material is Carbide.

Yonico 31251-SC ⅜”

  •  The Number of Flutes 2
  • The Overall Diameter 3/8”.
  • The Overall Length 1/1/16”.
  • The Shank Diameter 1/2”.
  • The Material Carbide.

Yonico 31212-SC 3/16”

  • The Number of Flutes 2
  • The Overall Diameter 3/16”.
  • The Overall Length 3/4”.
  • The Shank Diameter 1/4”.
  • The Material Carbide.

Yonico 31240-SC ½”

  • The Number of Flutes 2
  • The Overall Diameter 5/16”.
  • Overall Length 1”.
  • The Shank Diameter 5/16”.
  • The Material Carbide.

Yonico 31211-SC ½”

  •  Number of Flutes 2
  • Overall Diameter 5/32”.
  • Overall Length 5/8”.
  • Shank Diameter 1/4”.
  • Material Carbide.

Yonico 31260-SC ⅞”

  •  Number of Flutes 2
  • Overall Diameter 7/16”.
  • Overall Length 1-1/4”.
  • Shank Diameter 1/2”.
  • Material Carbide.

Yonico 31213-SC 7/32”

  •  Number of Flutes 2
  • Overall Diameter 7/32”.
  • Overall Length 1”.
  • Shank Diameter 1/4”.
  • Material Carbide.

Reasons to Buy Yonico Up-cut CNC router bits for woodworking

Up-cut CNC router bits from Yonico have served me very well for the past 6 months. I bought them for a specific CNC project which required dadoing and boring. My budget at that time did not allow me to buy a Freud set. Even though the Yonico Up-Cut CNC router bits were a very capable second choice. 

The first thing I noticed is that during use the Yonico Up-Cut router bits perform very well when material removal and efficiency are required. As I mentioned earlier Yonico is a brand made by practicing woodworkers. The importance of this is that the woodworkers who designed these U=cut CNC router bits for woodwork bring practical experience into the manufacturing of router bits.

The up-cut router bits from Yonico are very affordable at around $14.95 per router bit. I advise you to invest in any router bits of the Yonico up-cut CNC router bits. As far as quality is concerned the Yonico up-cut CNC router bits for woodworking are made in high-grade C3 micro-grain solid tungsten carbide. The router bits are polished to a mirror finish further emphasizing the quality of the bits.

 This type of carbide is a high-quality industrial-grade which can endure continuous use without overheating. 

Yonico CNC router bits also come in very good packaging as compared to Freud.

Areas of Concern

The reason why Yonico CNC router bits don’t make it to the top is that they are not high-end router bits. The quality is reasonable but it doesn’t meet the standard of high-end Freud CNC router bits.

Category 3: CNC router bits of V bit shape

Description:

V grooving CNC router bits are used for engraving. For details refer to a previous article on CNC router bits for engraving.

Category 4: CNC Spoilboard Surfacing router bits

Description:

Spoilboard surfacing CNC router bits are used to resurface or plane, the top surface of the spoil board on a CNC router. This creates a surface that is perpendicular to the CNC router motor. When this is done one is guaranteed to make an accurate cut. The Spoilboard Surfacing CNC router bits can also be used to flatten live edge boards that may be too large to go through a planer.

Tools

#1. Whiteside 6220, CNC Spoilboard Surfacing Router Bit, 1/2″ Shank

“The Whiteside 6220 CNC Spoilboard surfacing router bit has 4 wings that make a fast, clean cut on material.

  • The Number of Flutes 4
  • The Cutting Diameter 2”.
  • The Cutting Length 1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter 1/2”.
  • The Material Carbide.

#2. Whiteside 6210, CNC Spoilboard Surfacing Router Bit, 1/4″ Shank

“ The Whiteside 6210 CNC Spoilboard Surfacing router bit proved to be useful to me when I used to level my 25”x40” maple spoil board.It only took me 23 minutes to level my spoilboard.

  • The Number of Flutes 4
  • The Cutting Diameter 2”.
  • The Cutting Length 1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter 1/2”.
  • The Material: Carbide.

Reasons to buy Whiteside range of CNC Spoilboard router bits 

I use the Whiteside 6210 to level my CNC spoil boards and I have a lot of good things to say about the Whiteside range of CNC spoil board router bits. The Whiteside 6210 CNC router bit for wood has served me well so far. The first major reason to buy Whiteside CNC spoil board router bits is the simple and bulky design. The simplicity of the Whiteside 6220 and 6210 router bits makes them suitable for use by both novices and professionals alike. When working with the CNC spoil board router bits from the Whiteside range I have very little to worry about. The bulkiness on the other hand greatly improves the precision and accuracy of these CNC spoilboard router bits.

The second reason to buy Spoilboard router bits from Whiteside is that they come with very sharp edges from the factory. During a job, the Whiteside router bits handle hardwood with ease. They are made from carbide so they also maintain the edge for a long time. To a serious woodworker, these are qualities one cannot ignore.

The fact that the router bits are bulky means that one can sharpen the router bits for a long time resulting in a much longer estimated useful life than other brands. This is great value for money. The Whiteside CNC spoil board router bits are reasonably priced too. With all this in mind, I definitely recommend buying Whiteside CNC Spoilboard router bits for both Industrial and recreational woodworkers.

Areas of Concern

The Whiteside CNC Spoilboard router bits are heavy if you are using a lightweight router make sure that you apply low speed. Otherwise, you may end up tearing up your spoil board and destroying your motor.

Secondly, the WhiteSide CNC Spoilboard router bits are very sharp so they produce a lot of fine dust. One has to make sure that their CNC has adequate dust collection.

#3. SILIVIN CNC Spoilboard Surfacing Router bits

#3.1 NITOMAK CNC Spoilboard surface Bits 1/2inch

“The NITOMAK CNC ½inch router bit is designed for desktop CNC machines. It performs very well during use and is well balanced”

  • The Number of Flutes 3.
  • The Cutting Diameter 1”.
  • The Cutting Length 1/4”.
  • The Shank Diameter 1/4”.
  • The Material Carbide.

#3.2 NITOMAK CNC Spoilboard surface Bit ¼ inch

  • The Number of Flutes 3.
  • The Cutting Diameter 2”.
  • The Cutting Length 1/2”.
  • The Shank Diameter 1/2”.
  • The Material Carbide.

Reasons to buy NITOMAK spoil board CNC router bit

When I first encountered NITOMAK spoil board CNC router bit in early 2019 I was very skeptical. The brand is not very well known. However, NITOMAK’s router bits proved to be very capable and adequate when it comes to surfacing a spoil board. The first reason is that the brand’s spoil board surfacing router bits are designed for use on a desktop computer. Using purpose made tools for any job gives one more room for success. Such is the case with the NITOMAK CNC spoil board surfacing router bits.

The second reason I regard these router bits is the 3 flutes design. As craftsmen, the three flutes make it possible to make precise and smooth cuts during use. Another big plus for the NITOMAK spoil board surfacing CNC router bits is the razor-sharp edges covered in plenty of wax for protection. The cutting tip is made from carbide while the body is made from hardened steel. I also like the fact that the NITOMAK spoil board CNC router bits come with anti-kickback design. This increases safety and precision. 

Another reason to buy NITOMAK spoil board CNC router bits is the Teflon coating. Teflon is a chemical that resists heat and is almost inert( meaning it does not react chemically with other substances). These properties prolong the life of the router bit by protecting the router bits from corrosion, thermal expansion, and resin build-up. The Teflon coating also makes the router bits easy to clean. 

NITOMAK’S spoil board surfacing CNC router bits are designed and suited for Industrial use. The manufacturer ensures that the router bits can meet the demands of heavy-duty use by inspecting each router bit 3 times before leaving the factory. Lastly, as a sign of confidence, the manufacturer has a Lifetime Warrant and 12 months money-back guarantee or exchange. 

Concerns

My only issue with NITOMAK’s spoilboard CNC router bits is that NITOMAK’s CNC router bits range is not large enough. The company produces very high-quality CNC router bits.

Partying Words

I hope the article will be of great help to you in your search for the right CNC router bit for woodwork. If you buy any of the router bits I have reviewed you will surely get good value for money.

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