Milwaukee Self-Feed Bits: A Switchblade That’s Legal Everywhere
Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bits Let You Switch Instead of Sharpen
We worked with Milwaukee on accessories for our epic 50+ drill shootout to cover light and heavy load testing. On the light side, their Red Helix Titanium Twist Bits gave us a benchmark for high-speed work. To put our drills under a heavier load, we turned to Milwaukee self-feed bits, particularly their SwitchBlade bits that give you the ability to change the blade instead of the entire bit.
- Threaded tip pulls the bit through
- Inside cutting plane smooths out the hole better than hole saws
- Replaceable cutting edges
- Replaceable feed screws
- Cleaner holes with less bind up than spade bits and hole saws
Milwaukee Self-Feed Bits Design
The dominant feature on these Milwaukee self-feed bits is the replaceable blade. Self-feed bits aren’t cheap, and many Pros sharpen them several times before tossing them. Milwaukee SwitchBlade bits let you do away with sharpening and just swap out the blade.
Making the switch is pretty simple. Grab a 3mm hex wrench to remove the set screw on the shaft. That releases the threaded feed bit that slips straight out. Once it’s out of the way, you can pull the blade out and change it for a new one. Slide your feed screw back in, tighten the set screw down and you’re ready to go. In practice, it takes about 45 seconds without rushing.
Replaceable Feed Screw
Feed screws don’t need to be replaced as often as the cutting blades, but the design allows for that, too. It’s another easy swap since removing it is already part of the blade replacement process.
- 7/16″ hex shank
- Inside cutting plane smooths out holes
- 1-3/8″ to 2-9/16″ diameters available.
We set up a pretty aggressive test series using OSB subflooring to give us a consistent material. Between it and gluing up the layers, it’s a much tougher material to drill through than untreated SPF or other softwoods.
With that material choice, nearly every drill we tested had to work in low speed with a 2-9/16″ Milwaukee self-feed bit. The exception is Hilti’s 4-speed monster that was able to make it through in its 2nd gear.
But many Pros that use this type of bit are working rough-ins in softwoods and there are plenty of drills, like Milwaukee’s Gen 3 M18 Fuel, that have the ability to make that hole in high speed. Between the horsepower of its brushless motor and a bit that’s sharp more often because of its simple replacement, you’re getting through that stage of your work faster and without having to turn to a Hole Hawg.
One of the major benefits of using a self-feed bit is its self-feeding tip. The threads Milwaukee uses hold well as it pulls the bit through. The cutter designs shave out the sides, leaving a cleaner hole and reducing bit bind up significantly.
In drilling hundreds of holes in our shootout, the only stops we experienced were when the motor shut down because the load was too great—not because the bit bound up. We were drilling straight down, and the bind up risk goes up if you’re attacking at an angle. However, this bit is going to bind up less often than spade bits or hole saws.
Milwaukee SwitchBlade self-feed bits come in 6 common diameters and a set. They’re more expensive than other self-feed bits on the market, but their usable life is much longer and you don’t have the downtime and cost of sharpening them. Over their life, you’ll save money over standard self-feed bits.
- 1-3/8″: $26.29
- 1-1/2″: $26.59
- 2″: $29.39
- 2-1/8″: $29.89
- 2-1/4″: $29.89
- 2-9/16″: $31.99
- 5-Piece Plumber’s Set: $169.99
Replacement blade vary depending on the size. There are singles, 3-packs, and 10-packs (includes 2 feed bits, set screws, and a hex wrench). There’s also a feed bit (2)/set screw (2)/hex wrench set available.
The Bottom Line
Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bits drill efficiently, give you longer useable life than other self-feed bits, leave a cleaner hole, bind up less often, and save you time and money over the long haul. They’re the perfect fit for Pros that do a lot of repeat drilling for rough-ins or installs.