There is a vast and diverse variety of drill bits available in the market when it comes to drilling holes. Getting the right one according to the task you are doing can be confusing because of so many choices available. To make sure that you get your hands on the right drill bit, we have put together a buying guide that will leave you better informed and help you out in your work.
One thing to remember when buying drill bits is to never go for extremely cheap ones as its price might look attractive but they will burn out fast, make you stressful and cost more money in the long run. Make sure you get high-quality drill bits as they can do the work more efficiently and it is also worth paying some extra money to add something reliable in your toolbox.
Different Materials/Finishes Drill Bits Come In:Steel
Steel bits are inexpensive and excellent for softwoods but they won’t be able to work well with hardwood and may even break or get dull.High-Speed Steel (HSS)
HSS drill bits work great on hardwoods, fiberglass, PVC, and soft metals such as aluminum. HSS bits are the better version of simple steel bits.Cobalt HSS
Cobalt bits are extremely hardcore and do an excellent job in boring through aluminum and tough metals such as stainless steel. They can also dissipate heat quickly to prevent overheating.
For instance, CO-Z is a step drill bit set that is made of HSS cobalt to provide strong performance.Black Oxide-coated HSS
These types of drill bits are designed in a way to resist corrosion and increase durability. Their stronger built enables them to last longer and work on a number of materials such as hardwood, metal, softwood, fiberglass, and PVC.
For instance, DEWALT DW1177 is a drill bit set that is made of black-oxide HSS.Titanium-Coated HSS
Unlike simple HSS drill bits, Titanium-Coated drill bits provide stronger performance and produce less friction. They can work efficiently in drilling wood, fiberglass, metal, and PVC.
For instance, DEWALT DW1354 is a drill bit set that is made of titanium-coated HSS.Carbide-Tipped
Carbide-Tipped drill bits are tougher, stay sharp and can work much longer than all of the above-mentioned drill bits. They are highly recommended for drilling masonry and tile.
Types of Drill Bits
1. Twist Drill Bit
Twist drill bits are the most common type of drill bits for home use that work great for general-purpose drilling.
- Soft metal
Recommendations:BLACK+DECKER 15557 10-Piece Drill Bit Set
This set by Black and Decker contains a wide range of drill bits from sizes 1/16inch to ¼inch. This set should be used with a drill with a 3/8inch chuck.DEWALT DW1956 Pilot Point 16-Piece Twist Drill Bit Assortment
DeWalt DW1956 is a 16-piece drill bit set that contains different sizes of bits that you can use for different purposes as per your requirements. It has a no-spin shank that eliminates spinning in the chunk.
2. Brad-point Drill Bit
As its name refers, this bit has a brad on its tip at the center that helps it position precisely for more accurate drilling and producing a clean exit point in the workpiece. During the drilling, the flutes that wrap around the bit help it channel away all the dust and chips.
- Boring into wood
Recommendations:Colt & Riss Tools 10701812 Twin Land Brad Point Drill Bit Set 1/8″ to 1/2″ 7 Pieces in Pouch
This brad point drill bit set by Colt & Riss Tools has a TwinLand design that improves accuracy and reduces overheating. All the 7 drill bits in this set has a unique brad point design that produces cleaner holes and ensures pinpoint accuracy in wood for better results.
DEWALT DW1720 Brad Point Bit Set, 6-Piece
This set has 6 pieces of brad point bits manufactured by a leading power tool company, DeWalt. These bits offer precise cutting edges to reduce splintering while working on wood. With its unique flutes and brad point tip design, you will get clean results while removing chips.
3. Auger Drill Bit
Just like the brad-point bit, it also has a screw tip that produces a clean hole through the workpiece. Auger bits can be as long as 18 inches and its large flutes can help remove chips and dust. If you want deeper-boring into wood then you can use an auger bit with a hollow center that will easily remove more chip than a regular-sized one.
Recommendations:IRWIN Tools SPEEDBOR Max Speed Auger Wood Drill Bit Set, 6-Piece, 3041006
The 6-piece auger drill bit set by IRWIN tools offer great quality to users who want to bore into wood without any extensive effort. Its full screw-point tip grabs and pulls itself into the wood when the drilling starts, hence making it easy to drill holes without any problem. They have 40% thicker and 25% larger shank compared to previous bits.Drill Master 7 Piece Auger Bit Set
The 7 piece auger bit set by Drill Master is specially made with heat-treated alloy steel to resist damage from nails. The lead screw at the center of each bit makes the drilling easy and precise.
4. Self-Feed Drill Bit
Its tip is also similar to an auger bit. The screw tip helps the bit to position accurately on the workpiece and then drill through it precisely. The major difference is that it is more compact and doesn’t have those flutes like an auger bit. That is why you have to pull it back periodically to clear away dust and chips during drilling.
- Boring through wood
Recommendations:DEWALT DW1649 8-Piece 7/16-Inch Shank Self-feed Bit Kit
The DeWalt DW1649 contains 8 pieces including a 5-1/2inch extension and 7 different sizes of self-feed bits. Every self-feed bit has a one-cutter design for improved efficiency. They have a unique cutting and open-tooth design that can produce sharper holes.
5. Installer/ Bell Hanger Drill Bit
An installer bit is a specialized type of twist bit that is designed for installing wiring, especially for security or entertainment systems. You can get an installer bit up to 24 inches long. All you have to do is drill a slim hole with the help of the installer bit, insert the wire into the hole, and then draw the wire back through the hole you bored.
- Some masonry
- Ceramic Tile
Recommendations:QWORK 5 Pcs Set (6, 6, 8, 10, 12mm) Multi-Material Drill Bit
It is a 5piece set by QWORK that offers a tungsten carbide tip for more durability and performance. These are ideal to bore holes through tile and wall mirrors efficiently, and once it bores through a ceramic tile or wall mirror, it can then easily cope with any masonry behind it. Its tungsten carbide tip makes it easy to penetrate through various materials like butter without breaking out.
6. Spade/Paddle Drill Bit
A spade or paddle drill bit works great in boring large-diameter holes with the help of its flattened blade with a sharp point that also helps the bit to position accurately and make it steady on the workpiece. Some spade bits also have points on the edges to create neater holes and cleaner exit points.
Hobbyists may also utilize these drill bits to drill holes for holding candles etc.
- Boring through wood
Recommendations:IRWIN Tools SPEEDBOR Blue Groove Pro Spade Bit Set with Case, 8-Piece (341008)
This set consisting of 8 pieces of spade bits by IRWIN tools comes in a pro set case made of durable molded ABS resin to hold all the bits together in one single place. All the drill bits in this set features a blue-groove point and cutting edge for fast chip removal. These bits also use double-cutting spurs that scribe the outside of the hole without breaking out.
7. Forstner Drill Bit
A faster drill bit bores smooth and clean holes. If you want to create holes for receiving dowels then you can create flat-bottomed holes with it. Its design also lets you overlap holes. It also has a little point in the center to position it precisely on the workpiece. You have to pull it out periodically just like the self-feed bit to clear away all the dust and chips as you continue working.
A handheld power drill might not give enough force or control to use a forstner bit so you might want to consider using a drill press for better performance.
Recommendations:PORTER-CABLE PC1014 Forstner Bit Set, 14-Piece
This 14piece forstner bit set by a renowned brand, Porter-Cable, has optimized cutting edges for flat-bottomed holes. Unlike spade bits, these ones can create nice and clean holes rapidly with a smooth finish.
This set contains sizes ranging from ¼ to 2 inches.
8. Hole Saw Drill Bit
A hole saw drill bit allows you to drill large holes for installing door hardware or creating a space to pass wiring. While drilling, it creates a plug of waste material that is pushed out through the cut-out in the side of the saw cylinder. Most commonly, a hole saw drill bit connects to a mandrel which includes a shank. The mandrel also has a pilot bit that helps in centering and steading the cutting blade. Some smaller hole saw bits also have a built-in shank and don’t use a pilot bit
There are different materials in which hole saw bits are available that enable them to do various works. For instance, a bi-metal hole saw can cut through wood and metal, one with carbide edge can work easily on heavier materials such as masonry and ceramic tiles, and a hole saw bit with a diamond edge can even cut faster through the tiles and masonry than the carbide models.
- Ceramic Tiles
Recommendations:Bosch 25-Piece Master Bi-Metal Hole Saw Kit HB25M
HB25M is a 25piece Master Bi-Metal Hole Saw set by Bosch, which is one of the leading power tool companies. This kit works with standard or quick-change arbors. The pilot bit can easily be snapped into mandrel for working on wood and metal applications.
The teeth of all the bits in the kit are designed in such a way that they can cut more accurately and precisely. They all are made with 8% cobalt alloy for higher heat resistance and have a longer life. The hole saw has a reinforced shoulder for more strength and a positive lock to help minimize wobble during drilling.DEWALT D180005 14-Piece Hole Saw Kit
This 14piece hole saw set by DeWalt comes with 11 hole saw bits of different sizes, a small-size quick-change mandrel, a large-size quick-change mandrel, replacement parts and a sturdy case to put everything into. The kit can easily be used for plumbing, electrical, and door-lock installation tasks. The hole saw bits in the kit have a deep-cut design for more versatility and efficiency.
9. Countersink/Screw Pilot Drill Bit
A countersink or screw pilot bit can efficiently drill pilot, counterbore, and countersink holes in a single action so you can install plug over the fastener head or countersink a fastener without applying any extensive effort.
- Drilling in wood
Recommendations:Snappy Brand Quick-Change 5-Pc. Countersink Drill Bit Set
This 5piece set of countersink drill bits by Snappy Tools is one of the best sellers on Amazon because of its quality. You can efficiently drill countersink and bore with the help of these 5 bits for different sizes of screws including #4, #6, #8, #10, and #12.
Its 1/4inch hex shank can be used with power drills and quick-change chucks.
10. Plug Cutter
If you want to drill holes in wood and create wood plugs to use in concealing recessed fasteners then you can use a plug cutter bit. In other words, a plug cutter or maker bit hides the screws in wood by counterboring and then covering them with a wood plug. Later, you can sand the wood plug to finish it to the match.
- Boring holes in wood
Recommendations:Grizzly H7693 Deep Plug Cutter, 6-Piece
You get 6 pieces of deep plug cutters in this set by Grizzly that can cut plugs and long tenons up to 2-1/8inch. All the bits come packed in a wooden case for easy storage and care.
The shank size of the bits is 1/2inch.QST-CAIDU 8pcs Wood Plug Cutter Cutting Tool Drill Bit Set
This set contains 4 pieces of standard-size high-quality metal plug cutter bits and 4 pieces of four-toothed chamfered cutters. They can cut deep into wood up to 16mm. The chamfered cutters in the set can help you make tapered plugs to fill countersink holes.
11. Step Drill Bit
The step drill bits are designed in a way to drill thin holes. Every bit is marked with measurements to help you drill holes of various diameters as per your requirement. You can also use these bits to deburr holes and clear away waste material.
- Plastic board
- Steel sheets
- Aluminum sheets
Recommendations:Vastar Titanium Step Drill Bit Set, 3-Piece Set & Automatic Center Punch
This 3piece titanium-coated step drill bit set by Vastar offers 28 different sizes in these 3 bits for drilling holes of various diameters. This set provides automatic center punch when pressed against the surface.CO-Z 5pcs HSS Cobalt Multiple Hole 50 Sizes Step Drill Bit Set with Aluminum Case
This set has 5 pieces of HSS cobalt step drill bits coated with titanium for extreme durability and longer life. You can drill holes in 50 different sizes. All the bits have different shank sizes to ensure compatibility with ¼, 1/8, and 1/2inch chuck sizes.
The non-walking tip of these bits provides a smooth drilling experience on steel sheets, wood board, aluminum board, plastic board etc., but one thing to keep in mind is that the thickness of board must be less than the height of step drill bits for better results.
12. Glass and Tile/ Spear Point Drill Bits
As the name says, these drill bits are specially made for drilling into tiles and glass. They use a special carbide tip to drill through these delicate materials without cracking or chipping them.
Note: you must first check the packaging of the tile to determine if it can be drilled.
- Tiles (granite, porcelain)
Recommendations:DEWALT DW1649 8-Piece Shank Self-feed Bit KitBosch GT2000 Glass and Tile Set, 4-Piece
The GT2000 is a 4piece set of glass and tile drill bits with a precision carbide tip to reduce bit wandering and walking. If you want to drill relief holes for bathroom and shower installs, fastening mirrors, glass cutting or setting concrete screws in tile etc. then using these bits would be an appropriate choice.
Each bit is labeled to help you choose the correct one according to the type of task.
13. Masonry Drill Bit
A masonry drill bit has a twist bit design that is used to drill into materials such as brick, concrete, and other masonries. These are designed to be used with a rotary hammer or a hammer drill to provide effective performance but some masonry bits may also be used with standard corded or cordless rotary drills.
The hammering action of the carbide tip of the bit drives itself into the material while the rotary action clears away all the debris along the flutes.
- Mortar and other masonries
Recommendations:DEWALT DW5204 4-Piece Premium Percussion Masonry Drill Bit Set
The DeWalt DW5204 contains a premium set of 4 pieces of masonry drill bits with a rock carbide tip to maximize performance and life. The four flute design on each bit effectively clears away all the debris while drilling. Three flats on the shank also help in gripping the bit tightly to eliminate bit slipping in chuck.
You can use these drill bits primarily for drilling holes for mechanical anchors.
Hope this complete guide helps you in increasing your knowledge about the drill bits and choosing the perfect one according to the type of work you are or will be doing. Always make sure to get the right quality for more strength and power during drilling. Again, the major tip here is to get the right bit according to the surface you are working on. For instance, you can’t just use a hole saw drill bit on wall mirrors as it will break them with just a single punch.
Here are some more drilling tips you can consider while working:
- You can use the twist drill bit for general drilling but make sure you opt for a high-speed one for solid performance
- Use masonry drill bits at slow speed when drilling concrete, brick or plaster
- Use the step bit at slow speeds when working with metal
- When you are drilling tile or glass, use the spear point drill bit at low speeds to avoid chipping and cracking the material
- When making large holes using a hole saw bit, make sure you are using a drill that can easily handle the extra force or else you will burn out the motor very quickly.