Deal on carbide hole saws

Lee Valley is selling a 7-piece (plus two pilot bits and a mandrel) carbide-tipped hole saw set, 1 1/4" to 4", for $46.50.

For comparison, this Milwaukee 8-piece carbide set (which they call 12-piece because of the arbor, etc.) goes for $145.

Does the Lee Valley set look like a good deal?

This is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Carbide hole saws seem to exist in three types.
The first is like a normal hole saw but the teeth are carbide, like the Milwaukee set you linked. Those are good for general purpose work, they work like a normal hole saw but they stay sharp a lot longer and they can cut materials that a normal hole saw couldn’t. They leave a nice quality cut, at least as far as hole saws go.
The next type resembles a normal hole saw but has a much lower tooth count and big gullets for each tooth. These are for rough work in wood. They cut fast but do not leave a nice quality cut. For example:
And finally you have the industrial type, these are basically like the first ones but are much better quality, instead of being made from sheet metal rolled up and welded into shape they are machined from billet. For example:

The Lee Valley saws look like a fairly cheap brand of the second type I described. I haven’t used them but I’d expect a really rough cut quality given how few teeth they have and also the teeth appear to have a negative rake angle. Personally I’d steer clear of those. If I want a hole saw for general purpose use I want the high teeth count. On the other hand if I was doing a bunch of rough work then I’d look at either the Dewalts I linked above or the Milwaukee Big Hawgs. I have seen those go on sale often–especially HD having sales on the Big Hawgs–and I am sure that either are much better quality than those from Lee Valley.

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Thank you! That’s really helpful.

I went ahead and ordered the set, thinking it would be easy to return. I’ll look at the teeth. Wouldn’t a negative rake angle make for a smoother cut, at least at entry?

I think a small bimetal set would be best for me, given that I won’t use them often, and the carbide sets are pretty expensive.

I checked them out and, I think you’re spot on. The first linked set looks really cheap.

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