A file is a hand tool used to remove portions from the surface of various different woods, metals or plastics. It’s generally a steel tool constructed from one piece, with a series of fine, sharpened teeth across the surface of one end and a pointed tang on the other.
Files come in a wide variety of different shapes (for example pillar, square, half round, taper, round, etc.). For this reason, and to make the sets I have included below more valuable in regards to how many different applications they can be used for, each set I have listed has at least two different file shapes represented.
There are two different kinds of file patterns: American and Swiss. For the purposes of keeping things simple for this list, all the different file sets below consist of American pattern files. This is because American pattern files consist of fewer grades of cut (how fine the teeth are) than Swiss pattern files.
While I’m on the subject of cuts, each set I have listed is comprised of one, but no more than two, different varieties of cuts on the files to ensure uniformity in the jobs you work on. This is so that you don’t have to work on materials with multiple different kinds of cuts, which could result in strange final surface textures on whatever you’re working on.
The Warrensville Combination File Set, American, 10 Pc is the top file set because of the large number of pieces you get, which makes the set more valuable, the lack of handles, which allows you to customize each handle for whatever job you’re working on, and the carbon steel construction. Read Full Review
The Warrensville Combination File Set, American, 10 Pc is the best file set available because it has a lot of different pieces. This gives you a variety of differently shaped files with your purchase, which is great because it makes the set that much more valuable. The files in this set don’t come with handles, but I actually count that as a positive because it means you can customize the type of handle that you put on each tool depending on what jobs you use them for. I also like that the files in the set are made from carbon steel, which makes the files harder and last longer. These combine to make this an excellent set to buy if you’re a professional.
The Simonds Steel File Set w/Handles, Black, 8 In, 5 Pc is a top file set because the files are coated in black oxide, which makes them corrosion resistant and reduces glare. The files also have ergonomic handles and the set comes with a cloth roll storage pouch. Read Full Review
The Simonds Steel File Set w/Handles, Black, 8 In, 5 Pc is another top file set because the files are coated in black oxide. This makes the tools very rust resistant, which is great if you plan on storing them in a garage or truck bed toolbox, where exposure to the elements is more common. It also cuts back on the glare produced from the sun, which lowers the heat the tool generates. This is great if you live in a super sunny or hot place (like Arizona). I also love the fact that the files in the set have ergonomic handles. This makes them a lot more comfortable to use because the amount of fatigue the tool generates in your hand is lessened. My final favorite thing about this set is that it comes with cloth roll pouch for storage, which further helps to protect the files.
The Westward Hand File Set, Bastard/Smooth, 11 Pc is on this list of best file sets because of the sheer number of different files you receive, which makes it more valuable. It also features fatigue reducing, non-slip ergonomic handles that make the files safer to use. Read Full Review
The Westward Hand File Set, Bastard/Smooth, 11 Pc is one of the best file sets because like the Warrensville set, you get a lot of different files, which again, increases the overall value of the set. Like the Simonds set, this set also features ergonomic handles, which decreases the fatigue generated in your hands. The handles in this set though are non-slip as well. This means you don’t have to worry about the tools accidentally slipping in your hands during use, which can be very unsafe.
The Nicholson File Set, 9 Pieces is a good set to mull over because it has round, rubber ergonomic handles that make each file more durable and comfortable to use. It also comes with a storage pouch that helps protect your files when they’re stored in your toolbox. Read Full Review
The Nicholson File Set, 9 Pieces is a great file set to think about buying because it has handles made from round, ergonomic rubber. This makes the files more comfortable to use, which I’ve talked about above. Rubber is also durable and will last quite a long time. Like the Simonds set, this set also comes with a storage pouch. This helps to protect your files when stored in your toolbox, which makes your investment last longer.
The Stanley Hand File Set, Amer, w/Handle, 6 In, 4 Pc is the final set on this list because it’s incredibly cheap. Each of the files in it is made from carbon steel, which is harder and stronger. It also comes with a vibration reducing handle that cuts back on hand fatigue. Read Full Review
What if you need a decent set of files, but don’t have the amount of money to drop that some of the other sets I have listed cost? Well, lucky for you, the Stanley Hand File Set, Amer, w/Handle, 6 In, 4 Pc is the perfect budget set of files. Each of the files is made from carbon steel, which makes them harder and thus stronger. The set also comes with an interchangeable handle that cuts back on vibrations. This reduces the amount of fatigue in your hand while in use. The best part though is that it’s cheap and can be bought for under 20 bucks. If you’re a hobbyist or home DIYer, this is the ideal set for you.