This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. If you think a drill bit is a drill bit is a drill bit, you’ve never tried piercing glass with a brad point bit. Or wood with a diamond encrusted tile bit. There is a wide spectrum of drill bits out there and each has its niche. Today, however, we’re focusing on spade bits. Specifically, Bosch Daredevil spade bits. There are plenty of others on the market, but when you want no holds barred, balls to the wall spade bit action, Daredevil is in a class of its own. Let’s admire at its advantages. And recognize its limitations.
19-Piece Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits – Dare Accepted
The Home Depot sent us this 19-piece kit to put to the test. If you count the roll-up storage pouch, it’s actually a 20-piece kit. There are 17 different sized bits plus an extra 1/4” and 5/16”. Other kits are available as well.
Before we go any farther, let me make it clear that what Bosch Daredevil spade bits do, they do exceptionally well. But don’t expect them to replace your traditional spade bits in every application. That expectation has led to mixed reviews. Like some other drill bits, they are a somewhat specialized item. They happen to be especially well suited for electrical and plumbing work, but they can be used elsewhere as well. With that out of the way, let’s dive a “bit” deeper.
Calling A Spade A Spade
Spade bits (also known as paddle bits) are a type of hole induction doohickey. They’re an inexpensive way to drill fairly large holes through wood. They also have the well deserved reputation of being rough tools that produce rough results, and tend to tear out fibers upon exiting the wood. It’s of no surprise that Bosch Daredevil spade bits live up to the stereotype.
Spade bits are the perfect tool for the electrician or plumber needing to blast holes through construction lumber, where a pretty hole is far less important than getting the job done. If the wiring in your walls is routed through ugly holes in the studs – and believe me, it is – no one cares. It doesn’t diminish the quality of the work. And no one will ever see it anyway.
Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits – Hungry For Wood
There are several things that separate Bosch Daredevil bits from other spade bits. One is the conical feed screw, similar to those on manual brace-driven auger bits. Most spade bits require you to apply force – sometimes a lot of force – to drive it through the wood. Bosch Daredevil spades pull themselves through. You pretty much just hold the drill and squeeze the trigger.
The self-feeding feature is great for drilling framing lumber. But you definitely do not want to use them on your drill press. To verify my suspicion, I tried the 1/2” bit (I chose a small one to minimize the danger) on a drill press set to 800 RPM (fairly low speed, also to minimize the danger). As expected, it immediately lifted the wood upward and pulled the quill downward. Abort! Abort!
I can only imagine the chaos if I had tried running at the bit’s maximum rated speed of 1,500 RPM. So, unless you like your tools getting away from you while you precariously teeter on the precipice of personal injury, only use these bits in your handheld drills and drivers!
Check out the monstrous appetite on these things:
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Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits – Hungry For Power
Because the bits are so aggressive – and they are aggressive – you’re going to need a drill/driver with a decent amount of power. You may get by with your compact 12V driver for the small bits. But anything larger than, say 3/4” will likely stall weaker drills. For the largest bits, consider an impact driver.
I was able to run the largest bit (1-1/2”) through pressure treated 2-by lumber with no problem using the DeWALT drill from the 20V MAX combo kit (in regular drill mode, in both high and low gear). Harder woods might be a different story. The impact driver from the same kit also ran the bit with no hesitations at all. Same with the 18V Ridgid drivers from a while back.
Stylin’ And Profilin’ With Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits
In addition to the Bosch Daredevil bits’ threaded cone, the paddle geometry has been completely reimagined. Most spade bits have flat leading edges (save for the center point) with little to no scoring spurs at the outer corners. But Daredevil dared to be different. Instead, they have more pronounced, more aggressive spurs.
There are also curved leading edges that change the angle of attack and, I imagine, reduce heat build-up and the torque required to make the cut. But given that the aggressive feed rate increases the torque required to drive the bits, this is kind of a wash.
More Chips And Less Shavings – Aggression In Action
Spade bits produce a lot of shavings that have to be cleared from the hole. Otherwise, they greatly contribute to heat buildup. You’d normally evacuate the chips by raising the bit while it’s still spinning. However, with Daredevil spade bits, you’ll quickly discover this isn’t an option. To retract the bit, you’d have to stop and reverse direction, which would become tedious in no time.
To solve the problem of chip clearing, the wavy contours continue down the paddle, acting like the spiral flutes of a twist drill bit. It actually works remarkably well, especially with the larger bits.
Regular spade bits overheat at the drop of a dime. The Daredevils barely got warm. I contribute this to several factors: Efficient chip clearing, more cutting and less scraping, the bit produces larger chips, and finally, it just doesn’t linger in the hole long enough to get very hot.
Unfortunately, I did notice that the factory left burrs on a lot of the cutting edges after sharpening. It’s a missed, easy opportunity to make the bits perform even better. Hopefully they’ll address that in the future.
Marked For Clarity – The Devil Is In The Details
You know how a lot of times it’s really hard to read the size markings on a drill bit? Well that’s not the case with Bosch Daredevil bits.
Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits – A Breakout Success?
In the construction trades, spade bit tearout is accepted as par for the course. The picture above shows the back side of a hole by both a 1” Daredevil bit and a generic 1“ spade bit. In this soft spruce, both had about the same amount of wood break out of the back side. The regular bit looks worse in this particular example because I was pushing extra hard, trying to get through the material before I reach retirement age. The actual results of both varies. But the Bosch Daredevil bits fared a little better on average.
With Daredevils, you hand over control of the feed rate to the bit. And it’s a faster feed rate than you’ll generally be able to achieve with a normal spade bit. But that’s precisely why you might choose the Bosch Daredevil over standard spade bits. You get meaner aggression with little effort on your part. Besides the speed, there’s real benefit to not having to push with all your might while drilling at an awkward angle, or overhead.
They’re Great – But They’re Not For All Projects
The accelerated feed rate is an awesome time saver when knocking hundreds of holes in rough construction framing. However, it may not be desirable for some projects. When you need a nice clean hole on both sides of the wood, you’d typically drill from one side until the center point pierces through. Then withdraw the bit and finish the hole from the other side. That trick isn’t so easily accomplished with Daredevil bits.
Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits – The Hole Story
So there you have it: the good and the bad. It may seem at times like I’m picking on Bosch Daredevil bits. I’m not. Daredevil is a different kind of spade bit and your expectations should reflect that. They truly are superb at what they do. They’re hungry beasts that, like you, want to get the job done: now.
Would I recommend Bosch Daredevil spade bits? Absolutely! They’re great bits at a great price (about $1 each!). They get the job done in less time and with less effort. But like all drill bits, they have some limitations; that’s why so many different kinds exist. So don’t buy these to replace your standard spade bits, because in many cases they won’t. Instead, buy these to compliment them. And because they just may be the best at what they do.
Get the Bosch Daredevil 19-piece high carbon steel spade bit set w/pouch for under $20
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.