When it comes down to quality workmanship, you need quality tools to do the job right. Drill bits come in various shapes, sizes and are made out of a wide array of materials. Some bits have a coating on the tips that allow for the bit to stay sharper over time and also reduce friction when drilled at high speeds.
So, how do you know which drill bit is right for your job? The truth is that most people don’t know and they end up using the wrong size or the wrong type for the material they are drilling into. In this guide, I will give you all the necessary info you need to make sure that your next job is a success by using the correct drill bit.
Drill Bit Materials
There are 3 main types of materials that drill bits are made out of and each one has a specific purpose for the type of material you will be drilling into.
- HSS (High Speed Steel): One of the most popular types and is good for soft steel, wood and plastics.
- HSCO (Cobalt): This type of drill bit is a HSS bit with approximately 5-8% of cobalt added to the base material. If you are planning on drilling into hardened steel, this is the bit for you.
- CARB (Carbide): If you need a drill bit that can drill into the hardest materials, then this is the one for you. Carbide drill bits are made for production drilling and should only be used under close supervision. Do not use these types of bits in hand drills or drill presses.
Drill Point Angles
The most common drill bit angle is the 118 degree angle which has two cutting lips at the tip.
The 118 is generally used for drilling into soft material like wood, plastic and soft metal. You can use it to drill through steel, but this will cause it to dull quicker.
The next most common drill bit angle is the 135 degree angle, typically called the self-centering angle.
This has four cutting lips that cause the bit to drill faster usually good for stainless steel and hard metal.
Choosing The Right Drill Bit Size
Most drill bit sets come with a pilot hole chart to help you figure out which size you need. One thing to keep in mind is that the charts are designed by measuring the size of the screw shank. The charts are not exact science and are really to be used as a guide. Here are a few guidelines to get you started:
- If you are drilling into soft wood, you will need to choose a drill bit that is 1/64 smaller than the intended target hole size.
- If you are drilling into hard and dense substances, you will need to choose a bit that is exactly the same size as the target hole size.
Choosing The Right Drill Bit Type
The type of drill bit that you will need is determined by the type of material that you will be drilling into.
Here are the most common types of drill bit types:
- Wood Drill Bits: These types of bits have small and narrow tip with small spurs on either side that allow the bit to carve away at the wood without splintering it. Most of the wood bits are stainless steel and are good for soft wood. If you are drilling into hardwood, you will want to purchase titanium coated drill bits which will last longer and stay sharper.
- Metal Drill Bits: These types of bits have an angled and wide tip and are commonly painted black. These very versatile bits can be purchased with HSS (High Speed Steel) and the more expensive types can have cobalt and titanium coating to help keep them sharp and reduce dulling.
- Masonry Drill Bits: If you need to drill through concrete or brick, you will need a bit with gentle sloping on the end. Because drilling into cinder blocks and stone will dull a bit easily, you can purchase highly durable carbide tipped drill bits that can help prolong its life.
Best Drill Bits For Wood
DEWALT DW1354 14-Piece Titanium Drill Bit Set
The DEWALT DW1354 is one of DeWalt’s best selling titanium drill bit sets for wood. This set features 14 drill bits from 1/16th inch up to 1/2 inch, no spin shanks, tapered web for increased durability and reduced breakage and cleaner drilled holes.
The strong point is the titanium drill point that allows the bit to start on contact allowing for cleaner drilled holes and reduced walking. You also get a heavy duty and long lasting case to store your bits so they won’t get lost.
Strong and Versatile
This set includes bit sizes used for most common projects and can be used on a wide range of wood, plastic and metal material. The titanium coated drill tips make this drill bit set strong enough to tackle most any job.
Great For Any Project, Especially Woodworking
Every job is easier when you have quality tools and the DEWALT DW1354 is definitely a set of drill bits you can be proud to own. If you work with wood and want clean, no splinter drill holes, this is the only set of drill bits that you will be proud to display in your toolbox.
Best Drill Bits For Metal and Stainless Steel
DEWALT DWA1240 Cobalt Drill Bit Set
If you work with hard metals, you know how hard it is to find a set of bits that tackle that type of job and hold up under pressure. The DEWALT DWA1240 can handle just about any type of hard metal that you can throw at it and then some.
This 14 piece set includes bits from 1/16th up to 3/8th of an inch and each drill bit is made with cobalt making them strong, tough and one of the best drill bits for hardened steel for the money. You also get a hard as nails locking carrying case to keep neatly organized for the next job.
Long Lasting and Tough
These industrial quality bits are made for drilling though tough material such as stainless steel, angle iron and I-Beams with precision and ease. The split tip design means that it starts drilling on contact and reduces walking for greater control. The added cobalt means longer bit life and reduced breakage.
Excellent For Demanding Jobs
If you are looking for a drill bit for metal that is designed for speed and durability the DEWALT DWA1240 is for you. With features like split tip, pilot point design and cobalt construction you will be hard pressed to find another set of drill bits that can stand up to the strength of stainless steel and iron and walk away still as sharp as when you started.
Best Drill Bit For Concrete and Masonry
DEWALT DW5207 Masonry Drill Bit Set
When it comes to drilling into concrete and masonry you need a drill bit that is as strong as one that can drill through stainless steel. DeWalt’s DW5207 masonry drill bit set is as tough as it is versatile and can tackle the most demanding masonry job with ease.
Rock Solid and Durable
This is a 7 piece set with bits that range from 3/16th up to 1/2 inch and includes a rock carbide tip for added strength and durability which increases the lifespan and use dramatically.
You also get a four flute carbide head and special enlarged flute design that allows for debris to be channeled out of the hole faster and cleaner than most masonry drill bits.
Great For Any Masonry Job
No masonry job is too demanding for this set of bits. Cinder block, concrete, artificial stone and rock are all no match for the no spin shank and rock carbide tip of these excellent bits. Great for making nice and smooth holes for mechanical anchors too.
Best Cobalt Drill Bits
Irwin Tools 3018002 Cobalt M-35 Drill Bit Set
Professional drilling jobs call for a professional drill bit to get the job done clean and fast. The Irwin Tools 3018002 cobalt drill bit set is an exceptional set of bits built for the drilling professional and can tackle the most demanding drilling job, hands down.
Heat and Abrasion Resistant
This 29 piece drill bit set is made from industrial high grade stainless steel with an added 8% cobalt alloy making this one of the strongest drill bit sets on the market. The added cobalt makes each bit heat resistant and with the added 135 degree split point tip you get immediate drilling with precision control and reduced work surface walking.
You get 1/16- to 1/2-inch bits that are organized in 1/64-inch increments all carefully organized and indexed in a metal index case for easy access.
Great For Alloy Metal and Hardened Steel
These drill bits are excellent for drilling into the toughest metal including heavy duty and abrasive alloy metals and hardened steel. I like the fact that you get the 135 degree tip which requires less pressure to drill the hole. Don’t spend money buying one off bits that ultimately break under constant use. It’s better to spend the money on a great set of bits than to spend on cheap ones.
Best Titanium Drill Bits
DEWALT DW1361 Titanium Pilot Point Drill Bit Set
When it comes to drill bits, it’s hard to beat DeWalt products, especially when it comes to the titanium drill bit sets. While there are some other good titanium drill bit sets on the market, the DeWalt DW1361 always comes out on top in customer satisfaction and use.
Tough As Nails For Everyday Use
There are 21 drill bits in this set and everyone is as tough as they come. You get a variety of bits ranging in size from 1/16th to 1/2 inch all neatly organized in a hardened case and clearly indexed and labeled.
Each bit has a titanium tipped pilot point that allows for greater start on contact and clean drill holes for that professional finished look. The no spin shanks allow for greater control and reduced surface walking.
Each bit has a tapered web design that gives it greater strength and durability and reduces the dreaded bit break that so many of us have experienced with lesser quality drill bits. The DeWalt DW1361 are great for commercial and residential uses and can be used to drill into a variety of materials including wood, plastic and soft metals.
Best Black Oxide Drill Bits
DEWALT DW1177 Black-Oxide Metal Drill Bit Set
As far as black oxide drill bits are concerned, its going to be hard to beat a set of DEWALT DW1177 bits.
Rust and Corrosion Resistant
Black oxide coated drill bits are relatively cheaper than titanium ones and offer decent heat resistance for the money. If you have a need to use drill bits outside in the rain or on wet surfaces, the black oxide coated bits are going to hold up better against rust and corrosion.
The 20 piece set comes with 3 extra bits ranging in size from 1/16 inch to 1/2 inch and have a parabolic flute for greater strength. They also have a bit head that is 135 degrees that reduces slipping and surface walking.
Works Great On Wood, Plastic and Soft Metal
These drill bits will work just as good on wood as it will on soft metal materials. You don’t want to use these on stainless steel, but they are really good for aluminum and other softer metal surfaces. If you are working with metal, they perform a bit better when used on a drill press as opposed to a hand drill.