Inspiring Ideas for Modern Home

Forstner Bit vs. Spade Bit [All You Need to Know & Winner]

As you are reading this article, we are going to presume you know a thing or two about drilling holes.

Mature carpenter using drill press in workshop. Wood working. Carpentry workshop routine. Engineer in workshop

Forstner bits and Spade bits are extensively used for this purpose. But which one does a better job? If that is the question on your mind, then welcome to our blog.

In this article, we are going to find out which tool does a better job. Apart from taking you through the basics, we will go into the details and comparison of these two tools, the purposes they serve the best, and how they differ from each other.

We are confident that you will have a clear knowledge of both these wood-cutting tools after reading this article.

So, what are we waiting for? Let us dive right into it.

What Is A Forstner Bit?

Forstner bit is one of the most popular wood drilling machines. It was named after Benjamin Forstner in 1886, the person behind the invention of this tool. Forstner bits allowed woodworkers to make big holes without the lead screw and ensured that the workpiece was not damaged. In simple words, Forstner bit offers woodworkers cleanly drilled flat-bottom holes.

Moreover, Forstner bits are designed quite differently in this day and age than they used to be. You will find a sharp tip in modern Forstner bits instead of the lead screw and a split ring design. However, the purpose remains the same.

That’s not all; Forstner bits are used in places where the drilled holes demand absolute precision and neatness. For this, they are used with drill presses. Forstner bits can also be used with hand drills to gain further precision.

What Is A Spade Bit?

Spade bits are drill bits that are famous for boring holes in wood and have also been known as paddle bits in the past. They are mainly used for rough purposes where the speed is more important than the accuracy and neatness of the hole created.

Furthermore, Spade bits tend to splinter the wood while drilling through it. As a result, it is always recommended to drill the wood from both sides to achieve a cleaner finish. Spade bits are also used for making larger holes than those made by conventional twist drill bits. They usually come in sizes ranging from 1/4 inch to 1-1/2 inch.

Differences Between Forstner Bit And Spade Bit

Concentrated bearded carpenter explaining his attractive apprentice how to use drill press machine, interior of spacious workshop on background

There are a whole lot of differences between Forstner Bit and Spade Bit. We strongly recommend you go through this part to have a detailed understanding of both these tools.

  1. Availability Of Sizes

Knowing how to choose a wood drilling machine is not enough; you need to be aware of the sizes they come in. That said, the size ranges of the tools mentioned above vary greatly. Forstner Bits come between 1/4 inch and 2-1/4 inch, whereas spade bits come mainly between 1/4 and 1-1/2 inches.

In general, however, Forstner bits give you a wider variety of options than Spade bits do.

  1. Uses Of Forstner Bit and Spade Bit

The uses of both these products are quite different from each other. Forstner bits are used for drilling holes in hard material wood because Forstner bits are firm and solid. Forstner bits also come in handy in professional uses where the wood needs to be cut in a precise and decorative manner.

When it comes to Spade bits, they are mainly used for utility installation purposes that require drilling holes such as plumbing or drilling holes for electrical wires. Furthermore, spade bits prove to be more useful when one needs to drill a lot of holes in a limited amount of time.

  1. Cost

All these products come from different brands, and that is why the prices vary greatly. This makes it almost impossible for us to tell which one of them is the most expensive and which one is the cheapest.

In general, however, spade bits are considered cheaper as there are no outer rims in spade bits, requiring fewer materials to be produced. Forstner bits are more expensive than Spade bits because it drills way better than Spade bits do, ensuring the accuracy and neatness it needs.

  1. Neatness And Accuracy

If neatness and accuracy are not your priority while drilling a hole, we suggest going with a Spade bit as it facilitates drilling through the thickest of wood pieces. Also, it drills way faster than a Forstner bit. However, keep in mind that you need to take care of the workpiece as drilling it through spade bits is likely to make it prone to splinter.

And finally, if you are looking to drill only halfway through wood, we recommend going with a Forstner bit. Using it correctly with the help of a drill press will get you the neatest of cuts of the two options. A Forstner bit comes in very handy, especially when you are looking to make a flat-bottom hole.

  1. Speed Of Forstner Bit and Spade Bit

When it comes to speed, Spade bits win the race by a mile. No doubt, Forster bits cut better with precision, but they are slow as it has a larger surface area.

On the other hand, spade bits have a lesser surface area, giving rise to less heat during drilling, leading them to be a lot faster than Forstner bits.


So, those were all the important details and comparison of the two products. But, don't you want to know which tool is the winner? Before we get to that, let us rewind a little bit and look at their differences if you are still not sure which one to choose.

Let us start with Forstner bits - they are useful in making flat bottom holes and also tend to deliver the neatest holes of the two.

Coming to Spade bits, they are the cheapest of all the two and are helpful in drilling rough holes through thick pieces of wood. Keep in mind; however, they do not deliver precision or neatness.

Keeping all the above points in mind, we suggest you go with Forstner bits because they are more efficient in cutting wood accurately. Even though they take a little bit of time and money, they are totally worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Here are some frequently asked questions about Forstner Bit and Spade Bit that need answering.

  1. Which tool provides better results with a drill press?

Forstner Bit does a better job than spade bit when used with a drill press. Forstner Bit cuts precisely with its fine blade; it is much like a table saw. On the other hand, spade bits cut more like a chainsaw. When it comes to overlapping holes, you can drill them better with a Forstner bit.

With a drill press, the spade bits perform a lot faster, but they cannot match the versatility, neatness, and precision of Forstner bits. All these factors make Forstner the clear winner when it comes to drilling with a drill press.

  1. Which wood-cutting tool is the most efficient?

Both Forstner bit and spade bit are efficient. However, spade bits are meant explicitly for high-speed use, and they also can be used to cut materials like aluminum and copper. Since they do not overheat quickly, they can also be used on plastic. The best part about spade bits is that they can be sharpened and even tuned up to create a cleaner cut.

On the other hand, Forstner bits are not meant for high-speed uses. They do not handle pressure very well, so you should be extra careful and use them at the slowest speeds. Forstner bits work well with drill presses because a drill press can control the downward force better.

So, while working on a rough construction, you must use spade bits, and for fine wood-cutting, go with Forstner bits.

  1. Which wood-cutting tool cuts faster?

Hand downs, Spade bits do a better job in cutting wood faster. Since Forstner bit cuts wood precisely and accurately, they demand longer times. In contrast, Spade bits do not take as much time as Forstner bits because they have a lesser cutting surface area. They chop the wood with minor abrasion, so they have a faster cutting rate.

  1. Which tool can drill slantwise?

Forstner can drill slantwise; the outer rim allows for that to happen. The rim blade gets stuck into the wood, which prevents any kind of movement or shifting.

On the other hand, you get only a pointy tip in the middle when it comes to the spade bit. This is why you have to apply extra pressure to ensure it does not move away from its position.

  1. Which woodcutting tool does a better job in modifiable drilling?

While Forstner bits come in handy in drilling slantwise and precision drilling, Spade bits do a better job in modifiable drilling. A Spade bit lets you modify the form of the hole by simply tilting the sides. This adds to the customization as it enables you to sculpt a spot and even drill a very small hole.

Skillful woodworker in eye and ear protectors explaining his female apprentice how to use drill press, she listening to him with attention

Final Thoughts

So, that was pretty much all the details about Forstner Bit and Spade Bit. We are pretty sure that now you are confident enough to choose the best tool for wood cutting purposes. As a woodcutter, these tools are a must-have in the arsenal.

We hope this article has provided some valuable insights regarding these two popular wood-cutting tools. Each of these products performs better in their respective applications, so that is one thing you need to keep in mind before buying.

For further feedback or questions, drop a comment down below.

With that, we wish to take your leave. Until next time!

11 Best Auger Bit

11 Best Multi Tools  

13 Best Screwdriver Sets on the Market Today

13 Best Brushless Impact Driver 

Tekton Tools Review | Craftsman vs Husky vs Tekton vs Gearwrench

11 Best Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Alternatives To Consider [Reviewed]

5 Best Electric Ice Auger