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Self Centering Drill Bit Sets For Woodworking

Updated: July 24, 2023
A self-centering drill bit will prevent wood grain from changing the course of your drill bit and damaging the wood. Learn what bits professionals use in this guide and what is best for your projects.
Self Centering Drill Bit
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Self Centering Drill Bit Sets For Woodworking










A self-centering drill bit will prevent wood grain from changing the course of your drill bit and damaging the wood. Installing hinges and wondering what the best brand is? Not sure if you need one bit or a self-centering bit set? This article will review what makes these bits unique, the best self-centering drill bits, and how to use them.

After days of careful making, I’ve experienced the frustration of damaging a project when the hinge holes were drilled out of alignment. 

With this piece, it happened to be a full-size oak interior door that I didn’t grab a Vix bit for.  And it resulted in a hinge hole that wasn’t perfectly aligned. Fortunately, I had four other holes to fix the alignment, but not using a self-centering bit was almost costly.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • Types of self-centering drill bits
  • Classic vix bits for hinges
  • Brad-point bits with centering pilot tips
  • Tips on how to use a self-centering bit
  • Manufacturers (yes, brand matters)
  • And a guide to the best self-centering drill bits

What is a Self Centering Drill Bit?

Let’s start with understanding the differences between a self-centering drill bit and standard bits:

  • First, a self-centering drill bit is encased in a metal sheath with a spring-actuated design that conceals the bit.
  • Then, when the drill bit is placed on a hinge, door strike plate, or other metal piece with a hole, the tip of the self-centering bit will recess into the metal and naturally self-center.
  • Last, once the bit is in place, the hole is drilled as usual, with the user ensuring enough pressure is maintained to keep the drill bit and guide in place.

Who Makes Them: Manufacturers

You’ll find dozens of options if you’ve spent time looking for these bits.

So who’s been around a long time and is an industry name? Well, you’ll want to start with:

So does brand matter? 

With this type of bit, it does – primarily because of the springs and the need for future drill bit replacement.

Also, you’ll want to remember drill bits don’t last forever, and a self-centering bit is unique in that:

  • The drill bits can be custom-sized (length)
  • You’ll want a design with a replaceable bit (not all are)
  • Quality of the drill bit is key, and brand names don’t skip quality for rock-bottom prices
  • More isn’t better. most hinge holes are #6, #8, or #10. 

And not to mention, brands like those mentioned above all have other excellent woodworking tools.

Lastly, a Vix bit is the same as a self-centering drill bit.

Alternatives to a Self Centering Drill Bit

If you’re not drilling hinge holes, you might still look for a self-centering bit set with different needs. 

As an alternative to the classic sleeve design, you can consider the following:

  • Brad-point bits
  • Spade drill bits
  • Forstner flat-bottom drill bits
  • Hole punch and standard drill bits

However, you don’t want to skimp when it comes to hinges, as the slightest misalignment will often create unrepairable damage.

Best Self Centering Drill Bits

While you might not spend a lot of time reviewing a self-centering drill bit, for this article I’ve combined years of use and hours of research to provide this list of the best self centering drill bits:

1. Best Self Centering Drill Bits: Snappy Tools 40050

Snappy Self Centering Drill Bit

See on Amazon: Snappy Tools 40050 


While most drill bits aren’t too exciting to review and compare (let’s be honest), there are a few things about self-centering drill bits that make them different:

  • Shank design – requires a hex design for maximum power
  • Quick change – if you only have one cordless driver
  • Adjustable depth – for thinner material to avoid  drilling thru your stock
  • Size of chip escape port – to ensure adequate dust removal to not burn the drill bit


First, Snappy Tools bits check the box on all core requirements. Plus, as a set, they offer all the sizes you’ll likely need.

Other brands offer some of the same capabilities but not all in one package. With solid-quality springs, a chip-clearing design, and five bits to match almost any hardware project, this will keep you drilling centered holes for years.


  • Five bits for any size hole or hardware
  • Top quality springs
  • Chip-clearing design


  • Price

2. Bosch CC2430 Clic-Change Self-Centering Bit Set

Bosch Self Centering Drill Bit

See on Amazon: Bosch Clic-Change 


When paired with the (optional) Bosch clic-change chuck  you’ll find these bits will drop out of your drill with one hand, and then simply insert the driver bit for fast installation of:


  1. Price – with these bits being the most affordable of the top three manufacturers
  2. Clic-change – makes the bits easy to swap for driver bits for garages with only one cordless drill.
  3. Brand – Bosch is a name brand in woodworking power tools and these self-centering drill bits.


  • Three bits for any size hole or hardware
  • Top quality springs
  • Chip-clearing design


  • Doesn’t include larger bits vs. 5-piece sets

3. Original self-centering drill bit set: S. E. Vic

SE Vick Self Centering Drill Bit

See on Amazon: S.E. Vick Original 


As you can see, this self-centering bit set is very similar to the Bosch set but with two critical changes.

First, this set offers an adjustable depth control perfect for thinner material. By adjusting a set screw, you can avoid drilling thru your workpiece – and be confident you’ve reached a proper screw depth.

But second, if the power of grip is a concern, you’ll find the drive shaft is smooth. And that requires a higher-quality chuck to grab onto these bits.


Key features:
  1. Depth control – versus the Bosch, you can adjust depth for your projects with the S.E. Vick set. 
  2. Brand – S.E. Vick is an old and trusted brand in drill bits.


  • Three bits for any size hole or hardware
  • Top quality springs
  • Chip-clearing design
  • Hex depth adjustment


  • Doesn’t include larger bits vs. 5-piece sets

4. Brad Point Drill Bit Set

Steelex Brad Point Drill Bit

See on Amazon: Steelex Brad Point Drill Set 


While not as fast or arguably as precise, a Brad point bit is a trusted way to self-center holes. The cons of this bit set, though, are course grained woods like oak can still throw your bit off-center if a hole punch isn’t used.


  • Precise size options for a wide variety of screws
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive for a large, quality set


  • Slower to use than a traditional self centering drill bit
  • Point can wander in grain and crease mis-alignment

How to Use a Self Centering Drill Bit

How to use a self centering drill bit
Hinges should be drilled with a self centering drill bit - not a regular bit...

As you’d expect, these types of drill bits are pretty straightforward.

And they are a must for concealed hinges or drawer slide installation to place holes correctly. Not to mention door hinges.

But there are a few things to keep in mind to use them correctly to avoid damage to both the bit and your workpiece:

  1. Speed & pressure: make sure you use a proper speed and drill pressure for the wood you’re using.
  2. In & out: for deeper holes in harder woods, drill 1/4″, pull back, blow chips, and repeat.
  3. Depth control: for thinner wood, you’ll want to use depth control for precise holes.
  4. Clean bits: lastly, for sappy woods like pine, you may need to clean the bits with a bit cleaner  to remove sap that interferes with the barrel operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a vix bit the same as a self centering drill bit?

Yes – a Vix bit and a self-centering drill bit are the same.

How do you center a drill bit?

You’ll need to use either a self-centering drill bit or a hole punch and brad point bit to center a drill bit. For hinges, it’s best to use a self-centering vix bit; in open spaces, a punch and brad point is usually best.

What is the best self centering drill bit?

The best self-centering drill bit combines three things. First, it has a high-quality spring that will last for years of use. Second, it will have an adjustable depth control. And lastly, the best self-centering bits have large chip-clearing ports to ensure dust is removed during drilling.


Are you looking to learn more about self-centering bits? See our guide to Vix bits for alternatives.

  • About the Author
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Eric Trion
( Woodworker )

Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.

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