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Even the best power tools are only as good as their accessories. Getting the most optimal bits, blades, batteries and other accessories for all your powers tools is key to up your DIY game and effectively finish every project.
This article is for those who want to get the most out their power tools, complete their projects efficiently and effectively, reduce use errors and mid-project hiccups, and improve their knowledge of what accessory is right for the job they need to complete.
Knowing the proper power tool bit or blade to use on your project makes all the difference in the final product.
Avoid pitfalls and multiple trips to the hardware store mid-project in a desperate search for the bits and accessories you need to finish the job.
Starting with all the proper power tool accessories is key before beginning any project. It saves time, money, reduces stress and makes DIY the fulfilling experience we all know it can be.
Let’s take a look at all the major accessories available for the most popular power tools, their intended uses and the optimal applications.
These bits allow the drill or impact driver to drive fasteners, like screws and bolts.
They’re generally sold in sets that vary greatly in size depending on the amount of bits included. You can find sets as small as 10 to 20 pieces to large ones into the hundreds.
Bit sets are generally categorized and classified by the grade of material they’re milled from.
General purpose sets tend to be made from Chrome-Vanadium Steel (Cr-V) or High-Speed Steel (HSS). Cr-V is generally harder than HSS and keeps its structure better, making Cr-V bits a better choice in general.
If you’re curious about what material a bit is made from, it’s usually printed on the sides of the bits.
The bits themselves tend to have matte or chrome metallic finishes. These sets are great for use with drills, but they tend to disintegrate when used with high-torque tools like impact drivers.
A step up from (Cr-V) and (HSS) sets are impact-rated bit sets made from S2 Steel (S2). These bits are designed for use with an impact driver.
Impact drivers create an immense amount of instant torque when activated. This instant torque can destroy softer bits and damage the fastener being driven.
To solve this issue, impact-rated bits are harder and have a small amount of flex when instant force is applied to them, preventing them from disintegrating.
S2 impact rated sets can generally be identified by their black finish. Unlike the Cr-V or HSS bit sets, these are coated with a black phosphate corrosion-resistant finish that helps maintain the integrity of the bits.
Increasingly though, there are more and more impact rated bits without a black finish, so just be sure to check the specs of the set before purchase.
Pro Tip: Be careful when buying bits for impact drivers. There are some manufacturers that will coat non-impact rated Cr-V and HSS bits in a black finish to make them appear as though they’re designed for use with impact drivers.
Those sets are not actually impact rated, so just be sure to verify the material construction and impact rating before purchasing.
Drill bits allow drills to bore into a given material and create a hole. Putting holes in drywall to hang fixtures would be impossible without them.
Drill bits mostly differ based on the type of material you’re trying to bore into.
There are bits designed for metal, wood, masonry and other specialty classes of materials.
The most common bit used by homeowners and DIY consumer is the twist drill bit. It fulfills multiple duties and functions on a wide array of materials – wood, plastic, metal, dry wall and more. They commonly come in sizes up to ½ in.
After the twist drill bit, the next more common would be the spade drill bit, which is designed to bore larger holes in wood. These bits commonly get up to the size of 1-1/2 in. or slightly larger.
The third most used bit would be the masonry bit, designed for use with only hammer drills. These have a chisel tip that helps break material in conjunction with the chiseling impact function of the hammer drill.
Pro Tip: Always know what sort of material you’re drilling into. Outside of masonry work, twist drill bits are the best choice to have around for most jobs.
Intended Power Tool Use: Circular Saws, Reciprocating Saws, Jig Saws
Blades are needed for all types of saws – circular, reciprocating, jig and more.
They’re generally rated by the material they’re designed to cut (wood, metal, all purpose, tree pruning, etc.) and the amount of teeth per inch (TPI) on the blade.
Since this tool is generally designed for cutting flat materials, most blades come in wood, masonry and tile blades.
These blades are long and pulse back forth like a traditional saw. Reciprocating saws have a wide variety of uses, from demolition to light tree trimming. Blades come in varieties for metal, wood, demolition (wood with nails embedded) and longer varieties for tree trimming.
These come in two varieties, T-Shank and U-Shank. Some jig saws can accommodate either, or they either take one or the other. Jig saws come in varieties for wood or metal. Since jig saws are often used for intricate work, wood blades can vary from lower to higher cut quality.
Pro Tip: Depending on the job, you’ll want to make sure you pick the right blade for the job.
For the most part, the higher the TPI, the finer and higher quality the cut will be. The lower the TPI, the lower the quality of cut.
If you need to make precision cuts that will be visible on a finished project (i.e. – furniture or carpentry projects), you’ll want a higher TPI blade to give a cleaner cut.
If you’re simply preforming demolition work or need to break down materials for disposal, a lower TPI blade would be optimal.
Keep in mind as well, the higher the TPI on a blade, the harder the saw has to work to cut through the material being cut.
This makes lower TPI blades an ever better choice for demo work since not only are you able to cut through the material faster, but it will also help extend the tool’s battery life and work time since less power will be expended.
Intended Power Tool Use: Oscillating Multitools
These bits vary greatly, as oscillating tools can accommodate multiple types of bits for different jobs.
This head makes the tool function like a small finishing sander. It’s great for re-finishing furniture or getting into small spots traditional sanders can’t reach.
These can cut through different types of materials (primarily wood and metal), similar to tradition saws. They differ in that the blade cuts from the front, not side of the blade like a reciprocating saw.
These allow the user to make quick work of paint, tiles and flooring removal through a scraping motion.
Pro Tip: Oscillating tools have some great specialty time saving blades. Blades exist that can cut a perfect outlet hole with one bit. The bit is the shape of the outlet hole and cuts them perfectly compared to cutting each edge on its own.
Intended Power Tool Use: Angle Grinders
Angle grinders are designed primarily for cutting metal, hence most discs are designed for use with metal. Angle grinders vary by the size of disc they’re designed to work with. The most common size is 4-1/2 in.
These are designed for cutting through metal. They are flat solid discs made of one abrasive material. These are perfect for cutting rebar and bolts.
These are made from overlapping smaller abrasive flaps connected to a central hub. They can cut metal, but can also be used for grinding. These are generally higher grit and are better at leaving a scut smoother surface for finishing. They’re good for cleaning up and smoothing out welds.
Being prepared with the proper power tool accessories is key for a successful, fulfilling DIY experience.
All the major power tools have different types of bits and blades for a wide variety of jobs. As we have seen, having the proper bits and blades is of utmost importance when starting any DIY project.
We’ve learned what bits and saw blades to use on specific materials and what application each major type of bit or blade is best suited.
Whether you’re driving screws into a deck with an impact driver, ripping out an old vanity with a reciprocating saw, scrapping up old flooring with an oscillating tool or cutting pavers with a circular saw, you now know what accessories are required to get the job done.