Self Centering Vix Drill Bits

Choosing the best vix bits for self centering holes (buying guide)

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Ever tried installing door hardware and center a pilot hole? Unless you used a vix bit for self centering the hole, you probably ended up with mis-aligned hardware. Or worse. In this article we’ll cover this unique drill bit, how to use it, what makes for the best vix bits and recommendations on what to buy for your style of woodworking.

One of the more tedious but perfectionist jobs I’ve done was installing dozens of hinges on solid oak passageway doors. 

Since we made these doors from scratch in the small cabinet shop I started my woodworking career in we did everything from shaping the panels to sanding them … and of course installing the hardware and setting them in their jambs.

And this was where I was introduced to the vix bit. While at the time I thought of it as a self-centering drill bit, I knew one thing: it let me put the hinge exactly where I wanted it.

But, this style of self-centering bit is useful for any and all hinge and other hardware:

  • Large, passageway doors
  • Piano hinges
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Strike plates
  • …and many more

Getting started, if you’re just looking for recommendations on the best vix bit sets then here’s what I recommend:

What is a Vix Bit?

Snappy Tools Vix Bits

A vix bit is a self-centering drill bit that uses a spring and shield around the drill bit to accurately drill holes. It is commonly used in woodworking projects to drill hinge, handle and drawer slide holes to maintain alignment. By use of a tapered head spring loaded guard the drill can be placed in the center prior to and during drilling.

Of note, drill bits can be replaced and some sets allow for depth adjustment of the drill bit.

How Does a Vix Bit WOrk?

Every tool has a job, and the vix bit fits a very specific job: drilling small holes in the center of metal hardware. 

While the design is simple, these bits are used by:

  1. First, choose a vix bit with a drill diameter the same as the shaft of the screw it will drill a pilot hole for
  2. Next, set the hardware in place and clamp as necessary
  3. Then, place the bit over the hardware and find the center with gentle force
  4. Slowly start to drill until the hole is set
  5. Drill to desired depth
Lastly, not all vix bits have a depth stop. Though some woodworkers will choose to customize the drill bits (or use a drill press) it’s generally easy to manage depth.

Key Features of Vix Bits

As I’ve used this type of bit over the years I’ve found a few features both with the bits themselves and also with the cases that come with them.

Here are key features to look for in the best vix bits:

  • Drill bits are replaceable
  • Quality of the drill bit
  • Spring quality (usually found in reviews!)
  • When purchasing a set, variety of sizes
  • Size is clearly marked on the drill casing
  • Depth adjustment
  • Quality carrying case that fits in a toolbox 
After decades of use and reading hundreds of comments the #1 feature to watch for is the quality of the spring. Since the spring will drive the vix bit closed when the drilling is done a poor spring will lead to poor performance. 

Best Vix Bits

So how do you choose the right set?

Can’t I just grab whatever’s cheapest?

Like most tools, there are differences in features, quality of the materials and reputation. Here are my recommendations for the best vix bits:

Editors Choice
Snappy Tools 5pc Self Centering Hinge Drill Bit Set, Spring Loaded. Proudly Made in the USA.
Just One Bit
Bosch CC2255 Clic-Change Number 8 Self-Centering Bit
Best Value
Set of 3 Vix Bits
Snappy Tools 5pc Self Centering Hinge Drill Bit Set, Spring Loaded. Proudly Made in the USA.
Bosch CC2255 Clic-Change Number 8 Self-Centering Bit
Set of 3 Vix Bits
Number of Bits
5
1
3
Bit Sizes
5/64″, 7/64″, 9/64″, 11/64″, 13/64″
#8 or #10 (Sold Separate)
5/64″, 7/64″, 9/64″
Quick Change?
Editors Choice
Snappy Tools 5pc Self Centering Hinge Drill Bit Set, Spring Loaded. Proudly Made in the USA.
Snappy Tools 5pc Self Centering Hinge Drill Bit Set, Spring Loaded. Proudly Made in the USA.
Number of Bits
5
Bit Sizes
5/64″, 7/64″, 9/64″, 11/64″, 13/64″
Quick Change?
Just One Bit
Bosch CC2255 Clic-Change Number 8 Self-Centering Bit
Bosch CC2255 Clic-Change Number 8 Self-Centering Bit
Number of Bits
1
Bit Sizes
#8 or #10 (Sold Separate)
Quick Change?
Best Value
Set of 3 Vix Bits
Set of 3 Vix Bits
Number of Bits
3
Bit Sizes
5/64″, 7/64″, 9/64″
Quick Change?

Last update on 2020-06-26 at 06:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Snappy Tools 5 Piece Vix Bit Self Centering Drill Bits

Editor's Rating: 4.8
4.8/5
Set of 5 Snappy Tools Vix Bits

Snappy Tools, Inc. is a premier manufacturer of drill bits and supplies. This five bit set will cover all the standard (and larger) hardware needs of a self-centering drill bit.

Recommended For...

If you have years of woodworking projects in front of you, then this five piece name-brand set will be a high quality bit set with sizes to fit all hinges, drawer slides or other hardware.

Description and Features

Most woodworkers can purchase a self centering drill bit set once and be set for decades.

And, while you can purchase these individually, there is economy in buying a set.

So why choose Snappy and invest in a set? Here’s what I like about this set:

  • Brand name and Made in USA
  • 5 sizes in the set to handle all hardware screw sizes
  • Larger 11/64″ and 13/64″ bit that most sets don’t have (eg. exterior door hinges)
  • Wide openings for chip clearance
  • Drill bits made from high speed steel
  • Replacement drill bits available (something generic tools won’t always have!)

The only cons? There’s no pouch included. But, keep reading and we’ll show you were to find one.

Editor Review

Good:

  • Performance
  • Wide taper at tip
  • Made in USA
  • Brand name with replacement bits available from manufacturer

Cons:

  • Quality comes at a price, but better than buying twice by trying a cheap brand
  • Carrying case optional

Accessories and Where to Buy

2. S.E. VIck Tool Co. 3 PIece Vix Bits

Editor's Rating: 4.8
4.7/5
Set of 5 Snappy Tools Vix Bits

From S.E. Vick Tool Co. these tools are from the original manufacturer.

Recommended For...

All types of DIY and professional use. Note, with this set, the shafts are round and not tapered so you’ll want to make sure your cordless drill has a quality chuck.

Description and Features

These bits are similar in design and quality to the Snappy tools, but just come as a 3 set of the main bits. 

Here’s what I like about this set:

  • Brand name
  • Comes with the 3 popular sizes for most hardware screws
  • Double sided chip clearance
  • High quality drill bits

Pouches are again optional. 

Editor Review

Good:

  • Performance and brand name with quality reputation
  • Wide taper at tip

Cons:

  • Premium price
  • Carrying case optional

Accessories and Where to Buy

3. Bosch Self-Centering Bit With One Handed Quick Change

Editor's Rating: 4.5
4.5/5
Bosch CC2257 Clic-Change Number 10

This Bosch bit features a fast disconnect to swap out multiple sizes with just one hand.

Recommended For...

Professionals or serious DIY’ers needing quick change bits will like the quick removal of this bit set. Simple click the tip of the drill bit out, and insert a new drill without removing the bit.

Description and Features

  • Available in #8 and #10
  • Power hex head size
  • Bosch Clic-Change system for fast changing
  • Large housing with wide chip clearing slots
  • Large tapered head

Editor Review

Good:

  • Fast changing
  • Buy just the size you need
  • Wide taper at tip

Cons:

  • Not available as a set
  • Carrying case optional

Accessories and Where to Buy

4. Werkzeug Self Centering Core Drill Bits

Editor's Rating: 3.7
3.7/5
16 piece self centering drill bit set

More isn't always better, but for the widest variety of bits this 16 piece set (with 8 drill bits) is a value pack. And includes a bonus space drill bit set.

Recommended For...

Specialty applications only as the bits do not have a large enough taper to properly center.

Description and Features

This set goes for quantity with 16 pieces and spare drill bits. 

And, with standard sizes plus a 5MM and 1/4″ (16/64″) you’ll have options for larger hardware.

Here’s what I like about this set:

  • Economy for occasional DIY projects
  • Large variety of sizes
  • Replacement drill bits for extended use … or learning how to drill without breaking the bit.
  • Two of the more popular 9/64″ bits.

Review

PROS:

  • Wide variety, replacement bits
  • Price
  • Lastly, carrying case is included

CONS:

  • But despite the quantity, the basics of this set don’t work as the taper isn’t large enough to self-center the bits.

Accessories and Where to Buy

Manufacturers

Interested to learn more about the manufacturers of vix bits?

Well, I’ve found in my years of tool buying there are often tools niche vendors produce that never hit the mainstream.

And of course the main-stays like Bosch.

Manufacturer Links

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a self centering drill bit?

This type of drill bit is a custom bit fit within an outer sleeve. This sleeve is tapered at the tip and fits the counter of the hinge (doors, cabinets) or drawer slide and with slight pressure locks the bit in the center of the hole. Then, the drill bit is slowly and steadly used to allow for removal of the chips through special vents in the vix bit.

What is a vix bit?

A vix bit is a self centering drill bit that allows for cabinet hinges, door hinges, hardware and drawer slide holes to be pre-drilled easily.

Resources