Spade Bit vs Hole Saw – Which Bores Better?

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

Spade bit vs hole saw, which tool better fits your drilling application?

A spade bit is a flat piece of metal with a round spindle that fits into the check of a drill. A hole saw has a steel cup machined around one edge with saw teeth (cutting blade).

The cutting blade is mounted to a center mandrel that holds a twist drill bit. The twist bit centers the hole, and the cutting blade cuts a circular cutout.

Spade bits are mostly ideal for woodworking, while hole saws are used more frequently for woodworking and metal cutting.

These are just the highlights of this battle. Let’s dig a little bit deeper and find out which of the two offers a better drilling performance.

Our top spade bits pick is the Dewalt DW1587 Spade Bits Set. This set comes complete with six different spade bit sizes. These bits feature extreme speed channels for the most efficient chip removal.
Our top hole saws pick is the Milwaukee 49-22-4105 19-Piece Hole Saw Kit. The ice-hardened hole saws offer up to fifty percent longer life compared to the competition. Not to mention that they cut deeper and more effective gullets for fast chip removal.

Spade Bit vs Hole Saw: Some Reviews

ProductDetails
1. Dewalt DW1587 Spade Bits Set

  • Six-piece spade bit set
  • Max life corner
  • Extreme speed channel
  • 1/4-inch ball groove
  • Heavy-duty shanks
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2. Dewalt DW1586 Spade Bit

  • Heavy-duty hex shank
  • Superior cutting spurs
  • Hang hole
  • Full cone tip
  • Contoured paddle
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3. Bosch DSB5010 Daredevil Spade Bit Set

  • Ten-piece standard spade bit set
  • Full cone threading
  • Speed wave paddle
  • Great spur and reamer
  • Hex shank with power groove
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4. Milwaukee 49-22-4105 19-Piece Hole Saw Kit

  • Set of 19 pieces
  • Ice hardened
  • Positive rake angle
  • Matrix II bi-metal teeth
  • Reduced tooth back
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5. Craftsman CMAH1SET13 Hole Saw Kit

  • Bi-metal construction
  • Comes with most popular sizes
  • Durable hole saw arbor
  • Comes with Heavy-duty kit box
  • Metal and wood cutting
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6. Dewalt D180002 Hole Saw Kit

  • Bi-metal construction
  • Innovative tooth and set guide
  • Toughened backing plates
  • Variety of sizes included
  • Comes with a rugged kit box
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1. Dewalt DW1587 Spade Bits Set – Overall Best

The Dewalt DW1587 is a good low-cost assortment that’s ideal for a DIY enthusiast or home carpenter.

Specs

  • Six-piece spade bit set
  • Max life corner
  • Extreme speed channel
  • 1/4-inch ball groove
  • Heavy-duty shanks

These bits are heat-treated, which is great because the heat treatment prevents compression to prolong operational life.

Another great feature is the ball groove shank, which is not only well-matched with most drills, but also allows for quick bit changes.

But the thing is, the set may arrive with some missing bits, which is quite annoying. So, remember to check the set before you open it.

Pros

  • Heat-treated for long operational life
  • Ball groove shank allows for quick bit changes
  • Multiple sizes available for versatility
  • Superior nail life
  • Extremely easy to use set

Cons

  • Set may come with missing sizes
  • Some sizes dull faster than others

Conclusion

A complete set of the Dewalt DW1587 comes with six commonly used sizes for your everyday applications.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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2. Dewalt DW1586 Spade Bit – Best 1-1/2-Inch Design

The Dewalt DW1586 Spade Bit features a heavy-duty shank that will withstand repeated use, making this bit ideal for professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

Specs

  • Heavy-duty hex shank
  • Superior cutting spurs
  • Hang hole
  • Full cone tip
  • Contoured paddle

The Dewalt DW1586 has a heavy-duty hex shank with ball groove, which is great for impact drills, large diameter rod, and reduced slippage.

I really appreciate the unique cutting spurs on this spade bit, considering the cleaner and more accurate holes it cuts through wood.

But you should know that it is possible to receive a model that is poorly designed and may fail to drill properly.

Pros

  • Strong shank boasts maximum durability
  • Hex shank is perfect for impact drills
  • Cutting spurs allow for, optimum hole finish
  • Its unique shank design reduces slippage
  • Hang hole allows for effortless storage

Cons

  • May receive a poorly designed model
  • Could drill better with a threaded tip

Conclusion

If you have been looking for a spade bit that will effortlessly drill through wood with minimum flaws, look no further than the Dewalt DW1586.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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3. Bosch DSB5010 Daredevil Spade Bit SetBest Threaded Tip

The Bosch DSB5010 Daredevil kit provides industry leading drilling performance for professional woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts. 

Specs

  • Ten-piece standard spade bit set
  • Full cone threading
  • Speed wave paddle
  • Great spur and reamer
  • Hex shank with power groove

These spade bits have a threaded full cone tip, which is great because the tip will pierce into wood quickly and effortlessly.

I really like the contoured paddle, considering how effective it shrugs chips in order to preserve the structural integrity of the spade bit.

But the thing is, the bits may not come with an extender as advertised, which is quite disappointing.

Pros

  • Threaded tip allows for faster and effective drilling
  • Contoured paddle preserves structural integrity
  • Hex shank allows for straighter drilling
  • Power groove eliminates slipping under high torque
  • Produces less vibration

Cons

  • May not come with the advertised extender
  • Can be a little aggressive for some drills

Conclusion

The Bosch DSB5010 Daredevil Spade Bits offer amazing speed, ease of use, and great resistance to heat and friction.

Overall Rating – 4.5

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4. Milwaukee 49-22-4105 19-Piece Hole Saw Kit – Overall Best

The Milwaukee 49-22-4105 is a unique generation of hole saws, which are engineered to offer up to fifty percent longer life compared to the competition.

Specs

  • Set of 19 pieces
  • Ice hardened
  • Positive rake angle
  • Matrix II bi-metal teeth
  • Reduced tooth back

These hole saws have undergone a proprietary cryogenic hardening process, which is great because they’re consistently hard and more durable than conventional models.

Another good feature is the positive rake angle, which cuts more aggressively and effectively while deeper gullets get rid of chips faster.

But the thing is, the latches of the case may be a little bit harder for some people to open for the first time.

Pros

  • Case is very strong and durable
  • Ice hardened design is highly durable
  • Positive rake angle cuts effectively
  • Kit offers a variety of sizes for different applications
  • Deep gullets remove chips faster

Cons

  • Latches on the case can be hard to open
  • Seller may fail to honor warranty

Conclusion

The Milwaukee 49-22-4105 is an amazing kit that comes with a heavy-duty case. The various sizes add versatility.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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5. Craftsman CMAH1SET13 Hole Saw Kit – Best Bi-Metal Design

The Craftsman CMAH1SET13 Hole Saw Kit allows for rapid changing of sizes. So, you can get your work done faster and move on to something else.

Specs

  • Bi-metal construction
  • Comes with most popular sizes
  • Durable hole saw arbor
  • Comes with Heavy-duty kit box
  • Metal and wood cutting

This kit has bi-metal hole saws, which is great because they’re compatible with wood and metal and they also reduce vibration during cutting.

Another good feature is the arbor, which is easy to use, smooth, has strong wear resistance, and removes chips effectively when cutting wood or metal.

What I don’t like about this set is the lack of instructions for putting together the hole saw bit, hole saw driver, and centering bit.

Pros

  • Bi-metal design cuts smoother and faster
  • Pitched teeth reduce vibration
  • Assembled arbor is wear-resistant
  • Removes chips effectively than conventional designs
  • Strong, durable kit box included

Cons

  • Could be easier to assemble with an instruction manual
  • Arbor doesn’t have dual metal prongs

Conclusion

The Craftsman CMAH1SET13 is really a great set for professionals and DIYs. Not to mention that you can easily switch sizes once you figure out how to put the parts together.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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6. Dewalt D180002 Hole Saw Kit – Most Rugged Kit Box

If you want to cut accurate round holes in metal or wood, choose the Dewalt D180002 Hole Saw Kit. This kit will do the job quickly and precisely.

Specs

  • Bi-metal construction
  • Innovative tooth and set guide
  • Toughened backing plates
  • Variety of sizes included
  • Comes with a rugged kit box

They have a bi-metal construction, which is good because they are long-lasting and the variable pitched teeth structure helps minimize vibration.

These hole saws can be used with or without the drill bits. So, if you want to cut a disc without a hole in the center, you can choose not to have the bits in the arbor.

But the problem is, you will need to have two different size drills in order to be able to use all the provided saw blades.

Pros

  • Bi-metal construction is very durable
  • Variable pitched teeth minimize vibration
  • Can be used without the drill bits
  • Toughened backing plates prevent marring
  • Rugged kit box is provided

Cons

  • May need two different size drills
  • Some saw blades are painted halfway

Conclusion

The Dewalt D180002 is a hole saw kit that will meet your expectations when cutting metal or wood. You may need to have two different size drills, though.

Overall Rating – 4.4

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How To Pick The Right Spade Bit

There are a few things to consider:

Shank

The shank is the smooth metal shaft in between. The best design to look for is a quick-change hex shank that has grooves for preventing falling off and reducing slipping. It also has to be a universal fit for most drill driver tools.

Cutting Spurs

Another important feature that a good spade bit must have is unique cutting spurs. You can look for scribing spurs on the corners for making cleaner entry holes or double side spurs for grabbing as well as carving wood away.

How To Pick The Right Hole Saw Bit

There are a few factors to take into account:

Cutting Blade

The cutting blade is one of the most important parts of a hole saw. It is the metallic cylinder with a wider diameter.

The cutting blade is available in different diameters, ranging from 1/2 to 8-1/4 inches. When buying a set, make sure it has all the important sizes you will need for your application.

Tooth Configuration

The tooth configuration of hole saws is selected mainly on the basis of hardness, resiliency, and abrasiveness of the materials to be drilled.

There are two popular configurations: serrated saw teeth and gulleted/square saw teeth. The serrated teeth provide penetrating bites, while gulleted teeth provide more aggressive bites.

 

Spade Bit Vs Hole Saw – What Are The Differences?

Design

Spade bits, as the name implies, have the shape of a spade. Their design makes them ideal for boring holes. They are best suited for rough work where speed is preferred over clean cuts. They can drill holes ranging from 1/4-inch to 1-1/2-inch in size.

Hole saws are primarily designed for making holes. Unlike a spade bit, the design of a hole saw consists of a cutting blade and a mandrel.

The cutting blades are available in different sizes for drilling different hole sizes. Hole saws produce cleaner cuts than spade bits.

Application

Spade bits are ideal for boring holes through wood. They are used to drill rough holes in areas that aren’t generally visible, or areas that will be covered up later. For example, plumbers and electricians use spade bits to bore holes in wood for inserting pipes or wires.

Hole saws are preferred for applications that require cleaner cuts. They can cut large-diameter holes. This is so, since they cut out a perimeter of a hole instead of drilling into the material.

Common applications for hole saws include: door hardware installation, installing light fixtures, installing drainage pipes, and cutting vents in masonry to mention a few. 

Forstner Bit vs Hole Saw

But there’s another player in the hole-boring game. What is a Forstner bit and what does it do differently from the standard hole saw and spade bit?

A Forstner bit is a cutting tool that is designed to drill smooth, flat-bottomed holes with no tear out at the rim.

While a standard hole saw and spade bit are guided by their centers, a forstner bit is guided by its rim. Because of its unusual design, a Forstner bit can bore overlapping holes.

If you try this with the other types of bits, they will wander into the adjacent hole and ruin your workpiece. 

Final Thoughts

Spade bits are perfect for making rough drill holes in wood, and that is why they are so popular among plumbers and electricians.

Hole saws; on the other hand, can make clean large-perimeter holes for a wide range of applications. They are useful to plumbers, electricians, woodworkers among other users.

The Dewalt DW1587 Spade Bits Set wins in shank and cutting spurs designs, which are useful for reducing slipping and producing cleaner entry holes.

The Milwaukee 49-22-4105 19-Piece Hole Saw Kit wins in the variety of cutting blade sizes and superior tooth configuration for a wide range of applications.

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