Would you believe me if I said it was all just marketing? It’s not ALL marketing, but the industry has shifted from 118 to 135 drill bits for more marketing appeal than anything else.

As you scan the shelves at your local Home Deopt or Lowes you’ll find a limited selection of point angles, with the majority of drill bits being 135 degrees now. This common point angle is described in a variety of ways. “Quad edge”, “Pilot Point”, “Split point, no walking”, “Drills on contact”. These are some nice marketing words to say it’s a 135 degree point. An angle that was hardly marketed at all 10 years ago and now it’s hard to buy anything else. Is it fluff or is it actually a better drill bit?

Let’s start with the difference between a 118 degree and 135 degree drill bit. Obviously the angles are different, a 118 degree bit has a sharper point which results in less walking and does not require a split tip like a 135 degree drill bit. 118 degrees makes a great hole and is considered by many to be a universal standard drill bit angle for the mass majority of your drilling needs. Only when drilling with a 118 degree bit in hard metal is a pilot hole recommended. This is an extra step while using a 118 degree drill bit, it will actually create a better finished hole.

A 135 degree drill bit needs to be split. A split point drill bit has two additional edges ground into the chisel edge, which make the entire point of the drill one long cutting edge. This reduces the amount of pressure needed to make the drill cut. This 135 degree point is also self centering which means the drill starts cutting without the need of a pilot hole. Although on delicate jobs like automotive body work, a pilot hole is still recommended. This may sound like the perfect bit angle, but a slower drilling bit is not always necessary, especially in wood.

So which is better? They are both good bits but 135 gets more credit than it deserves. A 118 degree point will do a great job for the majority of projects that most people will encounter. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy 135 bits but it means that when that 135 bit dulls, you shouldn’t shy away from resharpening that bit down to 118 degrees instead.

The Drill Doctor drill bit sharpeners can sharpen to both of these 118 and 135 common point angles, with the 750X offering the capabilities to sharpen to any point angle from 115 degrees to 140 degrees. The 500X and 750X can also create and sharpen split points.