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Straight vs. Tapered Countersink Drill Bits?

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A reader recently wrote in about countersink drill bits, and I am hoping some of you can share your experiences to help in answering their question.

Countersink drill bits, as many of you I am sure are aware, are drilling accessories that are designed for drilling a pilot hole for screw threads as well as a countersunk recess for flatheads screw heads. They can also counterbore a recess hole for screws to sit below a work surface rather than simply flush. Countersink drill bits are designed for completing all of these processes in a single drilling operation.

Rich wrote:

I’m wondering if you have any info on countersink pilot bits? I bought a pack of three sizes from Dewalt recently and found that the pilot bits did not properly match the countersinks. If you drilled deep enough to achieve a proper countersink the pilot hole became too wide due to tapering in the drill bit. Returned them. So trying to figure out who is producing decent countersink pilot bits.

Shown above is a 5pc set of Snappy countersink drill bits, and it has always looked to me like they use straight drill bits for the pilot holes.

Dewalt Countersink Drill Bits
Dewalt Tapered Countersink Drill Bits

Shown here are Dewalt countersink drill bits, and their pilot hole drill bits are obviously tapered.

Snappy Tapered Countersink Drill Bit Set
Snappy Tapered Countersink Drill Bit Set

Snappy also has tapered countersink drill bits.

Snappy Countersink Drill Bit Example Use

Although Snappy’s other countersinks are not explicitly described as having straight drill bits, it seems to be a fair assumption based on appearances. With this brand at least, it seems that if their countersinks are not described as tapered, it should be fair to assume the pilot drills are straight.

Tapered countersink drilling accessories are said to be designed for use with traditional tapered wood screws.

Most if not all of the wood screws I tend to use have straight shanks and even threads, and so I have always assumed that tapered drill bits could cause problems when drilling deeper holes – exactly the type of issue that Rich has been experiencing.

But if straight countersink drills are better for modern wood screws (an assumption for now), why are there so many more tapered countersink drills on the market?

Some of you have expressed countersink preferences in the past, and so I’m wondering – do you prefer straight or tapered countersinks? Do you prefer a particular brand? Why?

As far as my own preferences, I have a couple of import bits that I use infrequently, and if I had a project coming up where I knew I’d need a good countersink drill, I’d get Snappy. Snappy also has a depth stop attachment that can aid in repeatability and consistency, something I occasionally have difficulty with when using drill bits or self-drilling screws with separate countersink bits.

@Rich – I would think that the Snappy set would be a good option, and readers might have alternate or even better suggestions and recommendations.

Buy Now: Snappy 5pc Set via Amazon
Buy Now: Snappy Tapered Set via Amazon
Buy Now: Dewalt Tapered Set via Amazon
More Options via Amazon

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