forstner bit vs hole saw

Forstner bit and hole saw both are designed to create “big holes” in different materials. But people get confused thinking about which tool is ideal for which application.

Continue reading this Forstner bit vs hole saw the article in order to figure out the answer. I will discuss the fundamentals of both tools and share differences to let you determine easily of choosing any of the tools between these two.

Fundamentals of Hole Saw and Forstner Bit

Before looking at the comparison chart and key differences, let’s start with the definition of both tools.

What is the Forstner Bit?

Forstner Bit vs Hole Saw – Get the Drilling with the Right Tool 1

Benjamin Forstner first patented the design of Forstner bits in 1886. Forstner bits don’t pay attention to speed, efficient enough in providing clean and precise cuts.

In recent times, the design of a Forstner bit has changed a lot from earlier. They come with a split ring design along with a pointer tip. However, their responsibility remains the same.

Drilled holes using Forstner bits provide superior cleanliness and accuracy. You can use them with hand drills too. These bits can drill a hole with a perfectly flat bottom.

Key Features:

  • Extremely stable
  • Sharp
  • Made of sturdy materials
  • Easy to hone

What is the Hole Saw?

Forstner Bit vs Hole Saw – Get the Drilling with the Right Tool 2

Yes, you guessed right, hole saws are used to cut holes. The mandrel and the blade are the 2 major parts of hole saws. The blade is an open cylindrical attachment, and it is attached to the mandrel.

The teeth of this tool are similar to saws. The drill bits usually get held by the mandrel. The mandrel’s small portion restrains the saw.

When working with a hole saw, you will never experience wood chips because of their design. They can easily make holes through a wood piece.

Key Features:

  • Saw like teeth
  • Come with variable sizes
  • Cuts a wide range of materials
  • Offers neat and clean hole

Comparison Chart – Hole Saw vs. Forstner

Both tools are manufactured for specific jobs. Let’s take a glance at the comparison chart between the 2 drill types.

FeatureHole SawForstner
Hole typeCreates complete holeCreates holes in flat bottom
Cutting SpeedModerateSlow
Size1” – 6”¼” – 2 ¼”
CleanlinessNo wood chips means neat and clean holesCleanest compared to hole saw

What is Better Hole Saw or Forstner

Important Parts of a Hole Saw

Now you have gone through the fundamentals and comparison chart between the hole saw and Forstner. Let’s look at the in-depth discussion of the key differences.


Creating the cleanest holes is the main characteristic of forstners. When working for an extended period, the Forstner bit can heat up. As a result, the bit will damage. So, it is advisable to give some rest between operations.

Hole saws have higher torque compared to forstners. Due to this, it can create complete holes in plastic and wood. Also, woodworkers can use it for creating holes in iron and steel.


Between these 2 tools, Forstner bits make the cleanest holes. In terms of speed, it has less speed than hole saw but it drills neat and clean holes. Moreover, drilling at a specific angle is possible with Forstner bits. Additionally, woodworkers use this bit for decorating wooden decks. However, these bits are unable to create complete holes in wooden surfaces. It creates partial holes with flat bottoms.

Hole saw also creates clean holes, but not as much as forstners. It can create complete holes through various materials. With a premium-quality hole saw, you can avoid splinters. When working with a hole saw, remember to drill from the “finish side.” As a result, you will always get clean holes. Besides, when your project requirement is to create wider holes, you can go with a hole saw.

Workpiece Materials

Forstners are used for woodworking projects only. While hole saws come in a wide range of types. Therefore, hole saws are commonly used in woodworking jobs too, and at the same time, they can be used for drilling through metal and masonry.


Hole saws and forstners both are useful tools in drilling precise holes.

When drilling, more control is provided by both tools. It is because they don’t use much torque to create holes, and thus controlling gets easier.


The truth is, any tool’s price relies on the quality and manufacturer. So, it is quite challenging to tell which tool is cheapest than the other.

Generally, forstners are less expensive than hole saws.

If your budget is limited, choose forstners. They will not cost you more and fulfil nearly all your project needs.

Forstner Bit vs. Hole Saw – When to Use One

Using the bits is entirely depending on the project requirement.

Buy a Forstner when you need a neat and clean hole. As stated earlier, drilling precise holes with flat bottoms is the main characteristic of forstners. They are not speedy as much as the hole saw but perfect for making precise holes. Often perfectionists use them to boreholes.

Hole saws will definitely be the right choice because they have fair speed. Though you can’t make a partial hole using them, they will let you create a complete hole through wood, aluminum, iron, and steel. This characteristic makes them eligible for masonry tasks too.


Is it worth buying a forstner?

Undoubtedly, forstners will assist you in accomplishing your drilling task with a flat bottom precisely. Forstners will never dissatisfy you with their performance, and they are much consistent in delivering precise and clean holes.

Should I use any specific type of drill in hole saws?

You will get the best output if you decide to use cordless drills in hole saws. It is necessary because cutting precise holes requires adequate power. You will face fatigue in your hand if you use hand drills.

Last Thoughts

Both tools come with unique functionality. They are not alternative to each other. They are designed for specific purposes. When selecting between Forstner bit vs. hole saw, you should keep these points in mind.

Don’t select cheap items. Remember, you will always get what you pay.

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