Author Topic: Hole saws- which one is the best  (Read 9587 times)

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Offline donwon

  • Posts: 150
Hole saws- which one is the best
« on: December 29, 2014, 09:41 PM »
Looking for a set of hole saws and wondering what people recommend. Has to be a good set that will last and stay sharp.

Thanks!

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Offline handymanny213

  • Posts: 9
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2014, 10:04 PM »
Have few different sets but these have lasted quite long...

http://www.all-spec.com/products/31630.html?gclid=CLCMoKbj7MICFQ6paQodSnoAiw

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2834
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2014, 10:04 PM »
I have a Milwaukee set but have been replacing the blades with Lenox blades when they wear out and like them a lot.  Amazon stocks both.

Offline wow

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2014, 10:47 PM »
I think I have tried all of them. I like either Milwaukee or Lenox the best. Most recently I have settled on Lenox...
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 05:07 AM by wow »
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Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3569
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 10:55 PM »
Looking for a set of hole saws and wondering what people recommend. Has to be a good set that will last and stay sharp.

Thanks!

Starrett

Offline jaymon5

  • Posts: 87
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 11:08 PM »
starrett & lenox

Offline Linbro

  • Posts: 203
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 12:51 AM »
For timber/sheet materials I use 'Tornado' - http://www.tornadodrilling.com/product.php?pId=26

Offline Untidy Shop

  • Posts: 2745
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 02:54 AM »
Linbro, where do you get these from in Melbourne? 
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Offline rajuliano

  • Posts: 26
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 03:55 AM »
I have the Lenox 13-piece set from Lowes. Pretty happy with it.

Offline Linbro

  • Posts: 203
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 04:56 AM »
Hey Untidy Shop, - Nikpol and Lincoln Sentry have them. 'tradiesonline' also have them, on ebay. If you have a specialty joinery/cabinet hardware supplier nearby they should be able to help.

Offline DB10

  • Posts: 911
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 05:46 AM »
I've been using Bahco and also Sutton.  No complaints with either but the Bahco are the better set in my opinion.

Offline Tom Gensmer

  • Posts: 718
  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 11:18 AM »
Looking for a set of hole saws and wondering what people recommend. Has to be a good set that will last and stay sharp.

Thanks!

What application will these hole saws be used for?

For drilling in rough lumber (think: electrical and plumbing), you simply can't beat the 1- and 3- toothed, carbide tipped hole saws. I have a 4 5/16" Leonx 1-tooth hole saw that I regularly use for running 4" ducting. Most important for me is that it tends to not bind as badly as traditional hole saws, very important when you get into these larger sizes. Note that these saws tend to leave a rougher cut, sacrificing tear-out for speed and safety. I believe that Lenox, Milwaukee, and maybe Bosch make these low-tooth count, carbide tipped saws.

For more precision work, almost any brand bi-metal blade should hold up reasonably well. When my hole saws get dull I just take them to my local contractor supply supply and send them out for sharpening. Certainly not inexpensive, but it's cheaper than constantly buying new hole saws.

There are also high tooth count, carbide tipped hole saws, but I do not yet have experience with these.

There are also specialized hole saws for sheet metal, again from Lenox.

Knowing your applications and materials will help guide your purchase. Hope this helps!  [smile]
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Offline VW MICK

  • Posts: 881
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2014, 11:34 AM »
Have actually always used starett they are good .but have recently found the Bosch ones to be better for wood .

Offline neeleman

  • Posts: 1254
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2014, 01:06 PM »
I use a set of Pro-Fit Multi-Purpose hole saws. The best I ever used. And by the way it's a Dutch product.
The famous brand Famag also sells them under their own name and that says enough of the quality.
They use a special connector to the saw, which can easily detach the plug from the cylinder.
The saws have one or more Widia teeth which last forever. I once did around 400 holes in 18 mm MDF and the saw is still going strong=sharp.

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Offline Grasshopper

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2014, 05:15 PM »
I'm pretty happy with my Lenox hole saws.

I've found that if I cut through the hidden side until the arbor come through the finish side. I then line the arbor up on the other side and cut running the saw in reverse.

Doing this eliminated any tear out and gave a perfect hole.
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Offline rst

  • Posts: 2418
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2014, 05:45 PM »
I am a professional locksmith (and glazier, automatic door tech and plastics fabricator)... we use Milwaukee's Ice carbide holesaws.  I have tried Lenox and Bosch but the Milwaukee's last best for me.

Offline galwaydude18

  • Posts: 842
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2014, 06:02 PM »
I use the bosch multi construction holesaws. They are the best I have ever used.

Offline justinh

  • Posts: 165
    • Profiled Edge Woodworks
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2014, 06:07 PM »
Lenox carbide tipped.  High tooth count not the 3 tooth.  Long lasting and sharpenable.


Offline T. Ernsberger

  • Posts: 885
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2014, 11:53 PM »
I have bosch system and its awesome.   It has a quick disconnect that pops the hole saw on and off, very similar to the centrotec system.

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2020, 12:06 PM »
Reviving this topic. I am looking for a large set. Something on the order of the Milwaukee 28 pc or the Lenox 21 pc.  Cutting mostly solid and sheet goods.

I would prefer carbide ( I have one Lenox high tooth count carbide). But can't find any large sets and building one up of individuals becomes costly. I am not going to be cutting a lot of holes so how well do the Bi-Metal hold up? I have a couple that seem to fine after a few holes each. But how about on metal should it ever come up?

I have never used the one to three tooth saws. I think I will want cleaner cuts.  One thing about them is that @Tom Gensmer  said they bind less. It looks to me that that single or triple large tooth would catch / bind more than a higher tooth count?

Looking for input on the current brands / selections.


Seth

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2418
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2020, 01:31 PM »
I have and use the Milwaukee 28 pc set.  I am more than pleased with performance and I drill wood, plastic and metal from 18ga doors to 1/2" aluminum.  My gripe with hole saws is that there used to be pilot drills that only were ground for about 1/2" so that once you were through surface material the pilot would not run off and widen the pilot hole and allowing the hole saw to wander.  Craftsman and Milwaukee both had these.  I'm assuming some bean counting accountant that never drilled anything in their life decided that specialty drills like these were not optimal for the bottom line.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 01:37 PM by rst »

Offline TwelvebyTwenty

  • Posts: 86
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2020, 01:34 PM »
Reviving this topic. I am looking for a large set. Something on the order of the Milwaukee 28 pc or the Lenox 21 pc.  Cutting mostly solid and sheet goods.

I would prefer carbide ( I have one Lenox high tooth count carbide). But can't find any large sets and building one up of individuals becomes costly. I am not going to be cutting a lot of holes so how well do the Bi-Metal hold up? I have a couple that seem to fine after a few holes each. But how about on metal should it ever come up?

I have never used the one to three tooth saws. I think I will want cleaner cuts.  One thing about them is that @Tom Gensmer  said they bind less. It looks to me that that single or triple large tooth would catch / bind more than a higher tooth count?

Looking for input on the current brands / selections.


Seth

I favour Bosch in the UK - not sure how readily available they would be in your market - but they take a beating and keep on cutting.

Offline Maestronus

  • Posts: 12
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2020, 01:55 PM »
Bosch indeed has super durable carbide hole saw sets of 8 or 13 pieces. Marketing name is ‘Endurance for heavy duty’. Availability in US might not be great as usual.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bosch-Professional-2608594186-Universal-13-Piece/dp/B07H2D12QW/
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 02:23 PM by Maestronus »
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Offline Peter_C

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2020, 02:57 PM »
Not a big fan of Milwaukee bits and blades as they kinda suck, but last year I needed so many new parts it was cheaper to just buy another complete set for $129 while it was on sale at HD, see below. Lennox are better quality for cutting metal, but you can get the kit, pre-drill with a cobalt bit in metal, then switch to the hole saw setup to save the weaker Milwaukee center bit wear and tear. Replace bits with better quality as they wear out. I buy 1 3/4" bits often as they are used for fish mouthing DOM tubing, and get at least 6+ cuts, in a jig mounted to the drill press, so I don't use the center bit, but do use a lot of oil.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-Hole-Dozer-General-Purpose-Bi-Metal-Hole-Saw-Set-28-Piece-49-22-4185/203113585
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:01 PM by Peter_C »

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 6629
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2020, 03:00 PM »
For everything drilling or cutting I always go for Bosch consumables. Drills, bits, hole saws, jigsaw blades, sawsall blades, Bosch never lets me down.

Offline AstroKeith

  • Posts: 93
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2020, 03:21 PM »
Another vote for Bosch! I had a few odd Bosch hole saws but last year bought a set as it was on offer. They are the bimetal kind on a really effective quick change auger (powerchange). They have stayed sharp despite some hard use. Clean holes.They are labelled as 'progressor' as they have a progressive tooth design, whatever that is. Supposed to be good at chip removal. However this is their one weakness - in most hardwoods they do clog and bind if you are not careful. I've developed a technique to cope which is easy on a drill press but not so easy handheld.
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2020, 04:21 PM »
Don’t get these thin shell Spider carbide hole saws.

The shell is too thin. When the tooth hits a knot the shell distorts(bends even) and the saw becomes oval. The it either creates too much friction or cuts a larger than specified hole.

They do cut extremely fast, until they deform.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7511
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2020, 04:38 PM »
I have a collection of Milwaukee hole saws that go from 5/8" to 6" and span at least 20+ years. Besides wood I use them on aluminum, copper, plastic & rubber. The only issue I've had is getting the wooden plug out of the hole saw.




Here's one that's been used so much that all of the paint is worn away, but it's still sharp.


Offline Frank-Jan

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2020, 04:44 PM »
I use both the profit holesaws as the bosch bimetal holesaws depending on the material. When I got a few of the bosch quickchange holesaws I ordered a bunch of the adapters to make the standard holesaws I already had work with the quickchange chuck, and then I even made a systainer-insert for my holesaws (just drilling holes the size of the adapter made that easier.

The pro-fit saws work great on mdf, (on wood aswell, much less strain on the drill, but they leave a slightly more ragety edge) the bimetal saws teeth fill up fast, and I need to clean the teeth a lot to prevent burning otherwise.
I also tried the pro-fit saws on brick, and with the right centre-drill it works very well (better than I expected)

Offline Jiggy Joiner

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #30 on: July 02, 2020, 05:23 PM »
Most of my hole saws are Bosch, no complaints.

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Offline six-point socket II

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2020, 09:30 PM »
Hey Seth,

The one tooth (small diameter), or three teeth (larger diameters) carbide hole saws can absolutely do clean cuts. It's only crucial that they are up to speed before they make contact with whatever you want to cut. For this I prefer a center/pilot drill bit that protrudes the hole saw quite a bit. (Of course this only applies to/works with through holes)

It's a steep learning curve, once you anticipate/expect the "recoil" correctly - the cuts are perfect.

Another big advantage is that they won't cake as much, especially on MDF (and materials that use MDF as base/backing material), like the Bi-Metal ones. Because chips/shavings are much easier removed.

I also have used carbide hole saws that offer as many teeth as BIM do, they are a little harder to control and demand quite a bit of the drill that is used to power them. The results are not per se cleaner than those achieved with the one/three tooth/teeth carbide hole saws.

I only use BIM on sheet metal. Be aware that Bosch offers "progressor type" carbide hole saws now also, these are, according to my sources, of questionable quality and don't live up to the expected life span/number of holes you'd expect from carbide tools. I have not used them myself, because I also had mixed results with the newer carbide consumables. (This does not affect the mentioned "Endurance for Multi Construction, these are older/ a long standing quality product)

Additionally I do keep one of those multi diameter, sheet metal type hole saws around, that's sometimes useful for light use.

My experience with Bosch lies with what they used to call "Endurance for Multi Construction" over here in Europe, they were absolutely worth buying. I have no idea if that is what they call "Daredevil" in the U.S. . The available quick change adapters are another plus. When buying, ask for the newest version, the older one had trouble locking the pilot drill bit. Also the hole enlargement quick change adapter is worth if look, if you do retro-fits. (You can use a smaller hole saw for piloting with it.)

Another brand I have had great results with is MPS from Germany, but their hole saws are third party buyout products (Manufactured in/ COO: CHN).

Kind regards,
Oliver
Kind regards,
Oliver

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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7511
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2020, 11:49 PM »
Reviving this topic.

If you're exclusively cutting metal, some annular cutters would be a better choice. These are better than a traditional drill because they need to remove less material, in the same way that hole saws only cut the periphery of the hole.

There are small diameter ones for use with a conventional cordless drill and larger ones for use with equipment that will accept Weldon shanks.




Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2020, 01:06 AM »
Reviving this topic.

If you're exclusively cutting metal, some annular cutters would be a better choice. These are better than a traditional drill because they need to remove less material, in the same way that hole saws only cut the periphery of the hole.

There are small diameter ones for use with a conventional cordless drill and larger ones for use with equipment that will accept Weldon shanks.




No, almost exclusively wood.

Seth

Offline Tom Gensmer

  • Posts: 718
  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2020, 11:31 AM »
Reviving this topic. I am looking for a large set. Something on the order of the Milwaukee 28 pc or the Lenox 21 pc.  Cutting mostly solid and sheet goods.

I would prefer carbide ( I have one Lenox high tooth count carbide). But can't find any large sets and building one up of individuals becomes costly. I am not going to be cutting a lot of holes so how well do the Bi-Metal hold up? I have a couple that seem to fine after a few holes each. But how about on metal should it ever come up?

I have never used the one to three tooth saws. I think I will want cleaner cuts.  One thing about them is that @Tom Gensmer  said they bind less. It looks to me that that single or triple large tooth would catch / bind more than a higher tooth count?

Looking for input on the current brands / selections.


Seth

Hi Seth! Much like a band saw blade, the wider kerf of the low-tooth carbide tipped hole saws means the body of the tool is less likely to bind in the cut. That being said, I tend to only have a handful of these, typically a 2-9/16" and a 4-1/4".

Beyond that, I tend to acquire good-quality bi-metal hole saws (usually Milwaukee). Depending on cost I've had them resharpened for less than the cost of new.
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Offline rvieceli

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« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 01:13 PM by rvieceli »

Offline Cheese

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #36 on: July 13, 2020, 01:24 PM »
Hey Seth Home Depot has some seemingly good pricing on the Milwaukee hole saw kits TODAY 7/13. It’s the special buy of the day. So today only.

https://www.homedepot.com/s/milwaukee%2520hole%2520saw%2520kit?searchtype=suggest&NCNI-5

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-Hole-Dozer-General-Purpose-Bi-Metal-Hole-Saw-Set-28-Piece-49-22-4185/203113585

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-Hole-Dozer-General-Purpose-Bi-Metal-Hole-Saw-Set-20-Piece-49-22-4170/305966971

Those Hole Dozer blades are a lot easier to remove the wooden plug. That's the one thing I hate about hole saws.  [mad]

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #37 on: July 13, 2020, 01:36 PM »
@SRSemenza

Hey Seth Home Depot has some seemingly good pricing on the Milwaukee hole saw kits TODAY 7/13. It’s the special buy of the day. So today only.

https://www.homedepot.com/s/milwaukee%2520hole%2520saw%2520kit?searchtype=suggest&NCNI-5

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-Hole-Dozer-General-Purpose-Bi-Metal-Hole-Saw-Set-28-Piece-49-22-4185/203113585

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-Hole-Dozer-General-Purpose-Bi-Metal-Hole-Saw-Set-20-Piece-49-22-4170/305966971

Ron


Thanks for the tip. UPS  just dropped off the 28 pc kit that I ordered through Zoro.  There's timing for you.  ::)

However I was glad that when I opened the HD link that the Zoro price was still $30 less.

Seth

Offline Svar

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2020, 01:38 PM »
Those Hole Dozer blades are a lot easier to remove the wooden plug. That's the one thing I hate about hole saws.  [mad]
What's different about them? Geometry or access holes?

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2418
Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2020, 01:39 PM »
I've been using that 28 pc set for a couple years now, cut plastic, wood, steel and aluminum.  It's great, still haven't gotten around to putting into systainer however.

Offline rvieceli

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2020, 02:38 PM »
you gotta love algorithm based dynamic pricing.    [huh]

the 28 piece set is now $40 dollars cheaper at ZORO. Most of the other sets are about the same BUT the 15 piece set is now $360 dollars HIGHER at ZORO. 449 vs 89 at HD  [eek]

Ron

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #41 on: July 13, 2020, 02:54 PM »
you gotta love algorithm based dynamic pricing.    [huh]

the 28 piece set is now $40 dollars cheaper at ZORO. Most of the other sets are about the same BUT the 15 piece set is now $360 dollars HIGHER at ZORO. 449 vs 89 at HD  [eek]

Ron

Yes, $40 not $30 , I got it for the $129 price.


Seth

Offline Cheese

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2020, 04:04 PM »
What's different about them? Geometry or access holes?

Access holes, the early models had 3 narrow slots that a standard screwdriver wouldn't fit thru.


Offline ear3

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2020, 03:13 PM »
Thanks guys for liberating more money from my wallet.

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Offline rst

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2020, 03:59 PM »
He who dies with the most toys wins... [wink]

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Hole saws- which one is the best
« Reply #45 on: August 08, 2020, 12:14 PM »
Sooooooo.....

           I ended up going with Lenox over the Milwaukee. I was still undecided and hadn't used the Milwaukee yet. Reviews , videos, my own use of a couple older Lenox and Milwaukee indicated that they were very close. But I had noticed in the Milwaukee set that some of them looked a bit out of round. I wanted to be able to cut fairly precise, clean holes and disks. The Lenox being roughly twice the price of the Milwaukee it was a tough call without first hand knowledge.

          I decided to buy an individual 2 3/4"  saw from each since neither set included that size and try them myself. Anecdotal and non- scientific but it did the job on making my decision and I am glad I did my own testing. I used the PDC and cut several holes in 3/4" veneer plywood and solid poplar. I did not try them in metal. I didn't have any to test on and wood is my primary use.

    Both are quite good. And I don't think either brand would disappoint for general purpose use.

        The Milwaukee grabbed more than the Lenox. It seemed to take more downward force to get it to cut and also much more gentle rocking than the Lenox. I was able to easily cut holes without rocking the Lenox at all.

         The Lenox holes were more precise in size than the Milwaukee (even if I didn't rock the Milwaukee). Lenox holes were generally within 1/64th" of the correct size. Which I later confirmed with several different sizes after choosing to keep the Lenox. The Milwaukee holes were often 1/32" - 1/16" too large. Use in a drill press would probably halve those numbers.

        The Milwaukee ejected saw dust clearing the hole much better, which is a good thing, but in the end didn't seem to actually help the results. And the Milwaukee teeth clogged more.

       I suspect the Milwaukee tooth design would do better if hitting nails. It  appears to be quite sturdy. And may be better suited to construction lumber in general. I don't know I didn't do a comparison on those.

   
   In the end I decided the Lenox would serve me better.  The above makes it seem like it is a clear winner ( for me it is) but the Milwaukee is very good as well. I would not hesitate to buy the Milwaukee, especially at half the price, if my intended purpose was more general purpose and less woodworking. It isn't like the Milwaukee didn't cut well, just not as good in my own testing.


Seth