Checked and updated on October 8, 2020 by Aaron Barnett
The best drill bits for metal are made from Cobalt and are made by Irwin, Milwaukee, and Dewalt. If you get the best drill bits for metal then they will also perform as wood drill bits as long as they don’t have a split point tip. Consider also making sure you have a range of all the different types of drill bits so you can transfer wear-and-tear onto cheaper bits when you can.
There are 2 different philosophies for buying drill bits.
Best metal drill Bits
#4 Best drill bit set for stainless steel
#5 Best Dewalt drill bits
Dewalt steel drill set (21 Pieces)
#6 Best Drill America drill bit set
Drill America Cobalt steel drill bits (29 Pieces)
#7 Best steel and wood drill bits
Cobalt Drill Bit Set (29 Pieces)
Pair with drill bit sharpener
Best wood drill bits
Best hole saw kit
#3 Best Dewalt hole saw kit
Dewalt 14-Piece Hole Saw Kit
#4 Best wooden hole saw set
Hole saw kit, Eonlion 16 pieces
Best drill and impact driver set
#3 Best Dewalt impact drill driver set
Dewalt DWA2T40IR impact ready, (40-pieces)
#4 Best Makita drill driver set
Makita B-52370 impact gold torsion bit set (38 pieces)
Best step drill bit
Drill bits are useful for anyone who needs to do any kind of building, construction, repair, or DIY work. There are so many different drill attachments you can use in your Makita, Dewalt, Milwaukee cordless hammer drill to drive screws and drill different sized holes in different building materials.
If you do a lot of drilling, you will probably be going through drill bits like crazy. It is worth spending for the best quality drill bits you can buy. Even though they are more expensive, they tend to last longer, so you won’t have to keep buying a new set every couple of weeks.
Don’t forget to get a good, sturdy case as well. In addition to keeping you from losing bits, they will also help you transport your equipment and make it easier for you to find the bits you need when you need them.
If you are going through a lot of bits you might want to get a drill doctor to resharpen your drill bits when they get blunt.
What to first consider
Before you buy a drill bit set…
Consider the brand?
Irwin and Milwaukee drill bits are among the best made and most reliable drill bits available. Most Irwin drill bits are ideally-suited for drilling into metal, and the best are even able to penetrate hardened steel fairly easily. The cobalt alloy construction is resistant to heat and abrasion, and retain their sharpness for a long time.
Milwaukee matrix carbide drill bits are equally durable, and they are especially resistant to impact. These drill bits are designed to absorb peak torques, which prevent them from wearing out too quickly.
Have you got bits that are durable enough?
The materials from which the drill bits are made have a lot to do with their durability. Cobalt is an especially reliable and hardy material, and you will find that drill bits made from this material are extremely hard and long-lasting. Cobalt also dissipates heat quickly, which reduces the risk of overheating when drilling through metal.
Consider purchasing drill bits with a black oxide coating. These are very resistant to corrosion and will bore through most any material efficiently.
Titanium-coated drill bits are even more resistant to friction, and they stay sharp even with frequent use. For maximum longevity though, carbide-tipped drill bits are among the most durable you can buy.
Is the drill bit long enough?
The length of your drill bit will affect how efficient and how effective it is for specific tasks. Shorter drill bit’s tend to be stronger than long bits, and they are less likely to go off-center. However, they may not provide the depth needed for certain jobs.
Have you got a range of widths and sizes in a kit?
Size is an equally important factor. Drill bit size is usually measured in fractional inches, wire sizes, letter sizes, and metric decimal millimeters. It is a good idea to get drill bits in a few different sizes so you can drill holes of varying diameters.
Consider tip styles
Drill bits also come in different tip styles. Twist drill bits usually come with standard drill points, which are suitable for most general drilling tasks. You may also see twist drill bits with split drill points, which ensure more stable operation and better penetration.
Then there are V-point bits, which are used for drilling thru-holes in sheet metal, brad point bits, which are useful for drilling blind holes, fishtail bits, which are ideally suited for drilling at an angle, and taper point bits, which are used for drilling tapered holes.
Counter-bore drills come with tips that have flat blades that extend from the center to the outer edge. They may come fitted with outer spurs or “teeth” which help prevent chipping and splintering.
Countersink drill bits also have similar flat blades that extend from the center to the outer edge. These have angles that range from 60° to 120°.
What price point to expect
The best drill bits can be quite expensive, but spending on the cheapest bits is rarely a good idea. Cheap drill bits tend to break easily and lose their sharpness quickly, so you will have to buy new bits more frequently. Even if you have a drill bit sharpener, cheap bits will require more frequent sharpening and will become totally useless sooner or later.
Get the best drill bits you can buy, and you will get longer use out of them if you also sharpen them periodically.
When to use metal drill bits
Metal drill bits are really the only serious choice, whether you are a hobbyist/DIY’er, or a professional builder/steelworker. Standard wood only drill-bits might work for wood, plastic, and softer metal, but they will be pretty much useless for anything else.
On the other hand, metal drill bits will work equally well for softer materials and steel, so you can use them for pretty much anything. There are a few different varieties of metal drill bits. The most popular are made of cobalt, giving them the ability to bore through aluminum and stainless steel.
There are also drill bits that have black oxide coatings. These are very durable, stay sharp for longer, and can bore through most any type of material.
Titanium-coated drill bits are also very durable and produce very little friction. For sheer strength and durability-though, carbide-tipped drill bits are the ones to beat. These stay sharp for much longer than any other type of drill bit and are ideally suited for drilling holes in tile and masonry.
Irwin drill bits vs Tpp Hard
The Irwin 3018002 is a 29 piece-set of heavy-duty drill bits, each designed to drill into the toughest materials. Made of 8% industrial-grade cobalt alloy, these drill bits can bore through-hardened still as if it was butter.
The set includes drill bits in various sizes, ranging from 1/16” to 1/2”. This gives you a good range of options in hole sizes, which is suitable for woodworking and even metal fabrication. It even comes with a rugged over-molded case made of rubber, which keeps your drill bits secure and organized.
These TTP bits have excellent heat and abrasion-resistant properties and are equipped with tips that penetrate steel readily. You don’t even have to push very hard to penetrate the material, and the drill remains steady and centered on the drilling point.
When to use a step drill instead
When you want to step up a hole to a bigger and large size a step drill can be used as a way to grow a hole in the metal and keeping a tidy centered finish. This is very useful when installing new hardware on aluminum doors and windows.
The Milwaukee 48-89-9257 Impact Step Drill Bit Set is a 3-piece set of high-speed steel drill bits that have a unique futuristic design. Made of Titanium-Aluminum-Nitrite, made to have 5X longer life than its competitors. The Rapid-Strike-Tip™ and dual spiral flute are made to also drill 2X as faster than its competitors.
These drill bits are tough enough for electricians. The Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiAlN) coating further enhances edge retention and ensures the long life of the bits.
The unique design of the Milwaukee step drill bits enables you to drill a wide variety of differently-sized holes, even with a fairly modest number of tools. The shanks are compatible with chucks and impact drivers. So you have a great deal of flexibility with regard to the drills that you will use with them.
The drill bits have non-walking tips that help you keep them centered when drilling on slick and glossy surfaces such as steel and aluminum sheets. These drill bits are also equally effective on plastic, and a variety of other materials, although the material should be thinner than the height of each step on the drill bits.
How to quickly drill larger holes in wood
Auger bits look pretty much like twist bits, with the main difference being a large flute that clears out wood or metal chips from the drill hole. They also have screw tips that help keep the drill bit centered.
Like spade bits, auger bits are best suited for wood and soft materials. They do make cleaner and smoother holes than spade bits and don’t end as much torque to operate.
If you are in the market for auger bits, look into the Irwin brand. They are inexpensive, very versatile, and their performance is flawless. They will also keep you from damaging your more expensive drill bits.
For quick and easy drilling into wood, consider purchasing a set of High-Speed Steel (HSS) bits. These will drill into a wide variety of materials including wood, PVC, fiberglass, and even aluminum.
Irwin’s Speedbor Max set offers high performance and precision in an affordably-priced set. It consists of ten 6” long drill bits in sizes ranging from ½” to 1 ¼”. Three of the bits are fitted with three cutting spurs that enable you to drill holes faster and cleaner, with reduced risk of a breakout. This design also ensures a longer drilling life.
The drill bits have full screw-point tips that enable self-feeding, making drilling faster and more efficient. They also have a tapered tri-flute design that helps eject chips faster and reduces incidences of binding.
Speedbor Max drill bits have ¼” quick-change shanks that prevent slipping when used with standard chucks. These bits are compatible with all ¼” quick-change chucks on the market, and they can be used in impact drills as well.
A cheaper option is the Irwin Speedbor set of 16 spade bits plus a canvas case. The bits range in size from ¼” to 1 ½”, giving you a wide range of options for drilling holes of various sizes.
The Speedbor bits are designed for durability and enhanced cutting performance. They feature a patented “Blue-Groove” design that clears away chips from the drilling surface as you are working, improving speed, and enhancing efficiency.
The bits also have shanks that are 25% larger than that of other brands’ drill bits. This makes them a lot more resistant to heavy use and helps increase their usable life. They also have thicker cutting edges for better performance and double cutting spurs that help you drill cleaner holes in any material.
Irwin spade bits are a cheaper also-must-have as they let you drill and bore-holes for checkouts in timber framing for cables, pipes and wires quicker than setting up any Makita or Bosch wood router.
How to keep your drill bits sharp?
No matter how strong and durable your drill bits are, they will get dull at some point, particularly if you often work with steel or other hard materials.
You can use an ordinary bench grinder for sharpening, but something like a Drill Doctor is a more convenient and fail-proof solution. The best models can sharpen pretty much any type of drill bit, and they are very easy-to-use even without prior experience.
Sharpening your drill bits will spare you the expense of having to buy a new set of drill bits every time yours wear out. Over time, you can save a considerable amount of money by purchasing a bit sharpener.
What tool to use to sharpen drill bits?
The Drill Doctor 750X can save you a great deal of time and money when your drill bits inevitably get dull. A convenient and effective solution that will save you the expense of having to purchase new drill bits every few weeks, the Drill Doctor is quick and simple to use, yet provides professional quality results.
The 750X accommodates a wide range of drill bit sizes, ranging from 3/32” to 3/4”. Ideally-suited for sharpening frequently used bits, it can also restore the edge on even broken bits that you otherwise might have thrown away.
The 750X is so versatile and powerful that it can sharpen most any type of drill bit. From high-speed steel bits to cobalt bits, and even masonry and titanium-tip bits, the Drill Doctor does it all with consistently excellent results.
When to use a hole saw?
Ever wondered how builders and woodworkers drill perfectly round and smooth holes in wood? In most cases, they probably used a hole saw for the job. These are cylindrical blades with a rigid cutting-edge that work pretty much like a rotating saw. When attached to a typical drill, they can be used to create knob holes indoors or cut holes for wiring.
Like drill bits, hole saws come in a variety of sizes. The larger the diameter of your hole saw is, the larger the holes you will be able to cut. Most hole saws have a pilot bit that helps keep the blade centered.
The Milwaukee 49-22-4185 set consists of 22 hole saws, three drill bits, and three arbors. The hole saws are made of ice-hardened steel that makes them last 50% longer than similar products. They also have the strength and durability to cut through wood and even metal, which makes them an excellent choice for electrical, plumbing, HVAC installation, and various other and maintenance and repair tasks.
The cryogenic hardening process is a large part of what makes the Milwaukee hole saws so durable. Unlike heat-treated saws whose coatings tend to wear out quickly, these are actually strong to the core due to the unique manufacturing process. The Matrix II bi-metal construction further ensures durability and long life, and the cutting-edge has a precision-ground geometry that makes cutting tasks quick and easy.
What brand makes the best drill driver bits?
The Milwaukee Shockwave 48-32-4006 is a huge 40-piece set of drill bits that should cover you for most any need. Whether you need to drill 3/16” screw holes or you need to rout out wire holes for an electrical system, there is sure to be something in this set for you.
The Shockwave drill bits have a unique geometric design that absorbs impact, reducing wear-and-tear on your drill, and reducing shock to your hands and arms. This not only prevents damage to your drill but lets you work for longer periods as well.
The Shockwave drill bits are made of heat-treated steel, which gives them the strength to cut through even the toughest materials. This also ensures that the sharp edge is retained for longer periods, and minimizes the risk of breakage.
Who uses drill bits?
Builders, typically use countersink bits to create conical holes. These enable the screwing in of fastener heads that are flush with the surrounding surface. These types of bits also create an angled hole that matches the shape of the screw head.
This prevents splitting when the screw is tightened.
Steel fabricators, often use twist bits to drill into metal. They may also use countersink bits to create holes that allow screws to sit flush with the surface of the surrounding metal.
For drilling into sheet metal, steel fabricators usually use step bits. These have a stepped design that allows the user to drill holes of different diameters without having to change drill bits.
DIY’ers will find plenty of uses for brad point bits, which are especially useful for drilling into wood. These types of bits can drill very cleanly, and they are able to drill holes with very smooth edges and flat bottoms due to their sharp cutting points.
They also have center spurs that aid in positioning and keep the drill centered.
May also use twist bits for drilling into metal when they need to attach fixtures to plumbing systems. More frequently, they use masonry bits that can efficiently cut through brick, mortar, stone, and concrete.
Carbide-tip masonry drill bits are especially useful for this purpose, particularly those with deep fluting.
Electricians use for fast speed drilling, timber auger bits, which they can use to drill holes for pass-through wiring. These are especially for cases wherein the wiring has to be concealed.
And running wires through walls is a common repetitive task drilling needs to be quick and fast.
Tips for drilling jobs
The importance of using the right equipment can’t be stressed enough. As mentioned previously, you will get better overall results by using metal drill bits. These are the only ones that will bore through steel and other metals effectively, and they are just as effective on wood, plastic, and fiberglass.
Safety equipment is just as important as the drill bits you will be using. Goggles, gloves, and even overalls and footwear will protect you from the metal and wood chips and sawdust that will come flying out every time you push the drill in.
Make sure your bit is sharp before starting. Dull drill bits aren’t only ineffective; they can also jam up and break and be a safety hazard.
Avoid overheating your drill and drill bits. When working with steel, use a lubricant such as CRC and keep your speed fairly low, this will reduce the likelihood of your bits breaking.
Did you also know you can drill square holes in wood using a mortiser drill bit? Read my square hole drill bit review for more info.
Comparing drill bit kits
|TPP Hard M35||Irwin Tools 3018002||Irwin Fast Timber Drill Bits||Irwin Timber Spade Drill Bits||Milwaukee Holesaw Kit 49-22-4185||Milwaukee Impact Driver Set||Milwaukee 48-89-9257|
|Tip style||Twist Drill Bits||Twist Drill Bits||Twist Speed Drill||Spade Drill Bits||Hole Saw||Screw Driver Bits||Step Drill|
|Material||Cobalt||Cobalt||Metal||Steel||Stainless Steel||Steel||Titanium Aluminum Nitride|
|Sizes||1/16” - 1/2” x 1/64”||1/16”-1/2”||7/16 - 1, 3/8||0.125” - 1.5”||3/4" - 4-3/4"||3/16" - 2”||1/8" - 1/2"|
It’s important that you have all the drill bits you will need ready to go at a moment’s notice so a simple drill bit isn’t holding you back from your workload. As you can see here and below here are the best drill bit sets, for drilling both metal and wood.
ake sure that the drill you are using operates with power and consistency, with a chuck that doesn’t require any tools when changing drill bits. If you need a new cordless drill check my review here.
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My name is Aaron, and welcome to Bangingtoolbox.
As a qualified builder and DIY’er, my goal with Banging Toolbox is to provide the #1 building and DIY resource on the internet for my readers.
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