Types of Drill Bits (2023)

What Are Drill Bits Used For?

Types of Drill Bits (1)

Drill bits make holes in a variety of different common materials. These include different types of wood, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, porcelain and concrete. Different types of drill bits made for steel, aluminum, copper, cast iron, sheet metal, fiberglass, brick, vinyl flooring and more are also available.

Sized for their diameter, drill bits types are constructed in a range of styles to help with specific tasks. You can purchase a drill bit set that includes many of the standard bits needed for home repair.

Drill Bit Construction

Types of Drill Bits (2)

When it comes to drills, there are two easily identifiable parts you need to know about - the shank and the chuck. The following information explains how drills and drill bits work:

The shank is the end of the drill bit that fits into the drill and is secured by the chuck. A round shank centers a bit in the chuck more accurately. The flat surfaces on a hex shank allow the chuck to grip the drill bit securely.

Quarter-inch hex shank bits are used on 1/4-inch impact drivers and can be quickly changed. SDS (slotted drive system) shanks are used for concrete drills and demolition bits and work specifically with SDS-Plus and SDS-Max rotary hammer drills.

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The chuck is the part of the drill that attaches the drill bit. Most power drills for home use have a 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch chuck. Larger chucks come in 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch sizes, but are usually fitted on heavy-duty and industrial power drills and drill presses.

Twist Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (3)

Twist drill bits, also called fluted bits, are used on light metal, wood, plastic, metal, ceramic and masonry. This type of drill bit is works well for holes up to one inch in diameter and are useful for home repairs, maintenance and building projects with metal, wood or ceramics. This is the most common type of drill bit type for home use.

Brad and Pilot Point Bit

Types of Drill Bits (4)
  • Brad point drill bits can be used on wood.
  • This type of bit is useful for furniture making, cabinetry and general woodworking.
  • These bits have a W-shaped centered point and produce a clean exit hole.
  • This is often the best drill bit for wood DIY projects.

Auger Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (5)

Auger drill bits can be used on wood and are ideal for large woodworking and building projects. Their screw-tip helps draw the drill and requires less pressure to perform.

Spade Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (6)
  • Spade drill bits can be used on wood.
  • This type of drill bit works well for drilling holes in wall studs for framing, electrical, plumbing and fine woodworking projects.
  • A spade drill bit bores holes with a large diameter.

Forstner Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (7)

Forstner drill bits can be used on wood and are useful for woodworking. This type of big creates a clean hole with a flat base. It also works better in a drill press than a handheld drill.

Countersink Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (8)
  • Countersink drill bits can be used on wood.
  • These drill bits are useful for general woodworking and cabinetry.
  • A countersink drill bit drills pilot holes and more to the right depth and creates a recess to countersink flush the head of fasteners.

reates a recess to countersink flush the head of fasteners.

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Installer Bit

Types of Drill Bits (9)
  • Installer bits can be used with wood.
  • These bits are used for woodworking and cabinetry projects.
  • They create wood plugs that are used to conceal countersunk fasteners.

Step Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (10)
  • Step drill bits can be used with metal and wood.
  • This type of drill bit is useful for drilling pilot holes in woodworking and sheet metal-based projects.
  • A step drill bit allows you to drill holes of multiple sizes with same drill bit and can be used to clean away waste material in holes.

Tile Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (11)
  • Tile drill bits can be used with ceramic and porcelain tile.
  • Use a tile drill bit for flooring, backsplash and tile wall installations or renovations.
  • A carbide-tipped bit reduces chips and cracks when drilling various types of tile.

Glass Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (12)
  • Glass drill bits can be used with non-tempered glass and ceramic.
  • This type of bit is useful for DIY home renovations and repairs.
  • Glass drill bits drill holes in glass and ceramic; use with rotary drill only at slow speeds.

Masonry Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (13)
  • Masonry drill bits can be used with concrete, brick or masonry.
  • This drill bit is ideal for home building and repairs.
  • A masonry drill bit is best used with a hammer drill; some models are designed for use with a rotary drill but they are slightly less effective.

Hole Saw

Types of Drill Bits (14)
  • Hole saws can be used with wood, metal, tile and masonry.
  • A hole saw is a multi-purpose bit for building, renovation and repairs.
  • This type of bit attaches to a shank to connect to drill and drills large cut-out holes, often used to fit piping.
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Screwdriver Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (15)
  • Screwdriver drill bits can be used with many materials depending on tip type.
  • A screwdriver bit works well for building projects, renovations and machine work.
  • Use this type of drill bit with handheld drills and impact drivers depending on type.

Coring Drill Bit

Types of Drill Bits (16)
  • Coring drill bits can be used with masonry, brick, wet concrete, concrete, concrete blocks and more depending on tip type.
  • These are useful for heavy-duty building projects.
  • Coring drill bits are often used with a rotary hammer and impact tools.
  • This is usually the best drill bit for concrete work.

Bit Holders and Extensions

Types of Drill Bits (17)
  • Bit holders and extensions can be used with many different bit types.
  • A bit holder extends your tool's reach for hard to access work.
  • A bit holder and extension work with handheld drills and impact tools.

Specialty Drill Bits and Accessories

Types of Drill Bits (18)

Among the variouswood drill bits,glass drill bitsandconcrete drill bits, there are other options and accessories for more specialized tasks:

  • Installer bitsare designed for installing wiring. The drill bit has a hole in the side used for feeding wiring through the drilled hole.
  • Self-centering drillbit accurately center the drill hole each time the drill is applied. This type of bit is useful for pre-drilling holes for screw-mounted hardware.
  • Drill saw bits cut irregular holes in metal or wood. They are best for small jobs; can't replace a jigsaw.
  • Pocket hole bits, when used with the proper jig, let you drill angled holes for screws and are best used for making wood joints.
  • Scaling chiselsare used for scaling and chiseling masonry in hammer drills.
  • Right-angle drill attachmentsgive you access in tight spaces where the drill might not fit.
  • Screw extractorslet you remove stripped or damaged screws with a reversible drill/driver.
  • Depth stopslet you set the depth to which you drill.

Materials and Finishes

Types of Drill Bits (19)

Drill bits are classified by the materials they are manufactured from and the coatings applied to them.

  • High-Speed Steel (HSS) drill bitsare used for drilling wood, light metals, fiberglass and PVC.
  • Black oxide-coated drill bitsare more durable than standard HSS bits and the coating helps the drill bit resist rust. These are best for hardwood, softwood, PVC, fiberglass and steel.
  • Titanium-coated drill bitshave reduced friction, require less effort and last longer than black oxide-coated bits. These are best for hardwood, softwood, PVC, fiberglass and steel.
  • Cobalt drill bitsare used for drilling hard metal and steel. They dissipate heat quickly and are highly resistant to abrasions, making them better for drilling into hard metals than black oxide- or titanium-coated drill bits. When considering a cobalt drill bit vs titanium, cobalt bits are usually the best drill bits for stainless steel.
  • Carbide-tipped drill bitsstay very sharp over long periods of use and are used mainly for concrete, tile and masonry. These are often the best masonry drill bits for your project.
  • Bi-metal drill bits are useful for a range of materials like light metal, wood and PVC; bi-metal drill bits cut fast and smooth with greatly reduced vibrations.
  • Diamond drill bits are ideal for cutting into glass, sea glass, fused glass, rocks and minerals.
  • Alloy steel drill bits are typically used in machine shops for cutting sheet metal of varying thicknesses. These are often the best drill bits for metal if you're working exclusively with thin materials.

Always follow the manufacturer's use and safety recommendations for drill bits and accessories. Make sure the drill bit is compatible with the specific drill you are using, even if they are the same brand.

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Drill Bit Drive Styles

Types of Drill Bits (20)

Drill bits come in a range of drive styles, and different options can be useful depending on the work you're doing. Here are a few common types to know:

  • Hex bits: Designed to work when an Allen key won't fit, hex bits are often used for furniture construction and disassembly.
  • Square bits: Similar to hex bits, square bits are often used in commercially made products and furniture. They're often replaced by hex products in modern production.
  • Torx bits: Shaped like a six-sided star, these are often used on vehicles and for some electronics.
  • Phillips and slotted bits: A common type of screwdriver bit useful for basic at-home building and repair projects.
  • Combination drill bits: A useful multi-purpose bit set that can help handle more building and repair tasks.

Tips for Proper Drill and Drill Bit Maintenance

Types of Drill Bits (21)

Proper drill bit maintenance is not much different from maintenance for most tools, and it helps prolong the life of your drill bits and keeps them ready for the next job. Caring for your drill bits can also be a matter of safety; dull or damaged drill bits can create problems both in the work and for the worker.

Drill bits are cutting tools. If you do a lot of home projects or heavy-duty construction work, periodically sharpening your drill bits will be necessary. Dull drill bits can increase time and effort needed to complete work and possibly damage the materials you're working on, and may even cause injury. A sharpening tool can be a good investment to keep your drill bits in top shape. More experienced DIYers can accomplish the task with a good set of grinding tools.

Most drill bit sets are sold in a case with space to hold each bit in place. This keeps the drill bits from being nicked or scratched and also provides excellent organization. Each spot is marked for the bit's size and type, making it easy to quickly find the right bit for the project you are completing. If your set didn't come with a case or you've been buying individual drill bits, add a storage box with dividers to your tool set. Don't store more than two bits together and use a permanent marker to mark each space with the size and type of drill bit stored there.

Following are tips for proper drill and drill bit maintenance:

  • Let the drill bit cool off after you have finished your project.
  • Wipe the drill and drill bit with a clean, dry towel or cleaning cloth.
  • Use a clean, dry toothbrush to brush off any shavings or other debris that may cling to the tool.
  • Apply machine oil lightly with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe up any excess oil with a new paper towel.
  • Inspect drill bits for any extensive damage and remove damaged drill bits from the set so they can be replaced.
  • Place drill bits back into their case and store in a cool, dry place.

For most home projects, twist or brad point styles are usually the most useful types of drill bits. You can always add other sizes and specialty drill bits as you need them as well. Choosing the correct drill bit size may seem like a challenge at first, but it gets easier the more you use your drill.

Need help finding the right drill bit for your project? Find products fast using The Home Depot Mobile App. Snap a picture of an item you like and we'll show you similar products.

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Types of Drill Bits? ›

Drill bits are generally classified as Twist Drill, Counterbore, Countersink, Flat Bottom Boring, and Specialty.

How many types of drill bits are there? ›

Drill bits are generally classified as Twist Drill, Counterbore, Countersink, Flat Bottom Boring, and Specialty.

What type of drill bits are strongest? ›

Carbide: The hardest and most brittle of the drill bit materials, it's used mostly for production drilling where a high-quality tool holder and equipment is used. It should not be used in hand drills or even drill presses. These bits are designed to drill into the hardest materials.

What is the name of the drill bit answer? ›

A unibit (often called a step drill bit) is a roughly conical bit with a stairstep profile. Due to its design, a single bit can be used for drilling a wide range of hole sizes. Some bits come to a point and are thus self-starting. The larger-size bits have blunt tips and are used for hole enlarging.

What are the main types of drilling bits? ›

How many types of drilling bits ? Currently in the drilling industry, there are two main categories of drilling bits: rolling cutter bits and fixed cutter bits. Plus, bit sizes vary from 3-7/8 inch to 36 inches.

What are the different types of drill bits and what are they used for? ›

You can find high-speed steel drill bits for wood, fiberglass, PVC, and soft metals, or you can opt for carbide tipped bits for working with tile and masonry. There are also cobalt drill bits to bore through metal, or more general-use products, like black oxide-coated bits or titanium-coated bits.

What is the most commonly used drill bit? ›

A twist bit is the most common type of drill bit for home use. It works for general-purpose drilling in wood, plastic and light metal.

What drill bit stays sharp longest? ›

Titanium (Coating)

This type of drill bit lasts longer than black oxide. Titanium drill bits tend to drill faster than black oxide and chips move through the flutes better.

What drill bit is best for metal? ›

Titanium drill bits are high-speed steel drill bits (HSS) that have a titanium oxide coating. They are very hard, and corrosion-resistant. They last much longer than regular HSS drill bits, and they are good for cutting through any metal, including metal sheeting.

What is the hardest drill bit for metal? ›

Carbide is the strongest drill bit for metal and is typically reserved for professional-grade tools. Black Oxide is a coating added to HSS drill bits that helps reduce friction and speed up drilling through hard metals.

How do I choose a drill bit? ›

You want a drill bit that's big enough to drill a hole in the wall, and easy to push the anchor in with your thumb,” Donahue explains. “You don't want to have to force it in there. The drill bit should be the same size as the body of the anchor you're using.”

What is the best drill bit for rock? ›

If you know that you'll be drilling through rock like shale, hard limestone, or granite for a serious distance, a tri-cone bit (also called a roller-cone bit) should be your go-to. A PDC bit would also work as long as the rock doesn't get too hard — in that case, it's best to stick with a tri-cone bit.

What kind of drill bit for hardened steel? ›

Go to a hardware or home improvement store for a cobalt bit that is designed specifically for drilling through steel. You want a cobalt bit, as it's a type of high-speed steel (HSS) that has more cobalt in it and is strong enough to cut through hardened steel.

What are the 3 common grades of drill bits? ›

There are three commonly used angles in consumer drill bits: 90-degrees, 118-degrees, and 135-degrees. 90-degree bits are only used for soft materials such as plastic and aluminum, they get dull very fast.

What type of drill bit is used for most materials? ›

Twist drill bit: this is the most common type of drill bit, it is used to make holes in wood, metal, plastic and many other materials. Most are made of high speed steel (HSS). However, they are not suitable for masonry.

What is the difference between drill bits? ›

The part that differs between drill bit types is usually the cutting lip. Their different designs make some more suited to cutting through certain materials than others. There are also different designs depending on the power drill they need to fit, and the type of hole being drilled.

What are universal drill bits? ›

Universal drill bits (aka: all-purpose drill bits) are a new trend where ALL drilling tasks are united in a single drill bit, especially for smaller diameters. So rather than separate drill bits for wood, metal and masonry, this is a bit for ALL materials.

Which drill bit for which material? ›

Metal drill bits with a partially ground tip are suitable for non-ferrous metals. These include aluminum, copper, brass, zinc, iron and non-alloy steel. Drills made of cobalt-alloy High Speed Steel (HSS-E) or even drill bits with a titanium coating are needed for stainless steel.

What do different color drill bits mean? ›

Polished steel, black oxide, or titanium nitride (or cheap imitation gold-colored stuff pretending to be TiN) However, by inspection (looking at the business ends of the bits) I can see that the "silver" ones are wood and/or plastic bits, the "black" are masonry bits, and the "gold" are metal/general purpose bits.

What do drill bit numbers mean? ›

Number drill bit gauge sizes range from size 80 (the smallest) to size 1 (the largest) followed by letter gauge size A (the smallest) to size Z (the largest). Although the ASME B94. 11M twist drill standard, for example, lists sizes as small as size 97, sizes smaller than 80 are rarely encountered in practice.

What is the big drill bit called? ›

Augur Bit – Explained

Auger bits are capable of drilling large holes into thick timber with ease. The screw thread at the tip draws the bit into the material while the single spur scribes the circumference of the hole into the timber before the flute gets there to actually make the cut.

What size drill bit is best? ›

The diameter of the hole you drill should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw. So, for example, if you're using a 3.5 mm screw, use a drill bit with a diameter of 3 mm. If you're using wall anchors as well as screws, the drill bit and anchors should have the same diameter.

What is the best drill bit for screws? ›

Cobalt bits are more durable than black oxide and titanium nitride bits. Cobalt drill bits are best for drilling metal. DIYers looking for general-purpose drill bits prefer cobalt drill bits over black oxide and titanium nitride bits for improved durability.

What are the oldest drill bits? ›

The first drill bit was invented long before the first drill. Experts have dated drill bits back to prehistoric times and believe that homo sapiens were using these tools as early as 35,000 BC. These tools were used to bore into multiple types of materials.

What is the best drill bit for ultra high strength steel? ›

Made of Tungsten Carbide this 8.0 mm, special multi-layered coated, 3-fluted drill bit is the only bit that is tough enough to drill through and survive Ultra High Strength Steel, aka Boron Steel. The three cutting edges help spread cutting forces over a greater area, thus helping prevent premature breakage.

Which drill bit for plastic? ›

Drilling holes in plastic is best done with spur-point drill bits. Also known as dowel bits, they have a center point and two elevated spurs that help keep the bit straight. The point and angle in front of these bits guarantee smooth cutting and reduce the stress in front.

Which drill bit is better carbide or cobalt? ›

Not only does carbide provide cutting speeds at least four to eight times that of cobalt, but far higher feedrates as well. And because carbide drills also support a feature unavailable with their cobalt cousins—coolant through-the-tool—there's no need to peck.

Can I use wd40 for drilling metal? ›

Pro Tip: Drilling into metal materials can add extra wear and tear on bits, even those designed for metal. Adding a lubricant such as WD-40® Multi-Use Product can reduce friction and allow for easier drilling and cutting into metallic parts.

How do you drill through stubborn metal? ›

Drill at a Slow Speed

In general, it's a good idea to drill through metal using as slow a speed as possible using a drill bit for metal. Hard metals like steel and larger drill bits require even slower speeds. With a small twist bit (1/16 in. to 3/16 in.), you can drill through most metals at 3,000 rpm.

What metal is easy to drill? ›

Standard metal drill bits are fine for drilling in soft metals like copper and aluminium. But for hard metals such as stainless steel, it's best to use drill bits made of chrome vanadium, cobalt or titanium carbide. The HSS label indicates that the drill bit is made of a harder grade of metal.

Do you drill stone fast or slow? ›

Keep a slow and steady pace when drilling. High speed generates friction, friction causes heat, and heat damages both your drill bit and the material you're working on. A heat-damaged drill bit will exhibit color changes at the tip.

What bit is best for concrete? ›

The best drill for concrete is a masonry bit drill due to its shape and design. The strongest drills for concrete are those with carbide tips. When drilling through concrete, the sharper the drill, the better the performance. Masonry bits drill holes through concrete in two stages.

What drill bit is good for concrete? ›

Drill bits made to drill through concrete are called masonry bits. These are typically thicker and sturdier than carpentry bits in order to bore through thick concrete, brick or stone without warping and snapping.

Are cobalt drill bits worth it? ›

Cobalt drill bits are incredibly strong. They can be operated at much higher speeds than a standard HSS drill bit. The ability to withstand heat means that cobalt bits perform for long periods without cooling or the need for cutting fluid. They are most often used to cut through hardened and abrasive materials.

Which is better cobalt or carbide? ›

Cobalt Drill Bits Pros. As we have seen, both drill bits are made from high-grade materials and perform well. But in terms of strength, solid carbide drill bits are superior, with a hardness of 75 HRC and cobalt's hardness of 65 HRC on a Rockwell scale.

What are the 4 classification sizing methods for drill bits? ›

  • 1.1 Bit body material.
  • 1.2 Cutter density.
  • 1.3 Cutter size or type.
  • 1.4 Bit profile.
Jan 19, 2016

Are there different drill bits for different materials? ›

Drill bits make holes in a variety of different common materials. These include different types of wood, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, porcelain and concrete. Different types of drill bits made for steel, aluminum, copper, cast iron, sheet metal, fiberglass, brick, vinyl flooring and more are also available.

What is the strongest drill bit for hardened steel? ›

Carbide bits are the strongest drill bits material and can cut through hardened steel. But if they are not available, titanium and cobalt drill bits can also be used. However, drilling with either of these bits will take longer than drilling with a carbide drill bit.

What drill bits are best for metal? ›

High-Speed Steel (HSS) or Titanium-Coated Drill Bits are suitable for most metals. Cobalt Drill Bits are preferable for harder metals like stainless steel or cast iron. Carbide Drill Bits are for tough metals but can be brittle. Always match drilling speed and coolant use to the material to prevent premature wear.

What is the best drill bit for deep holes in wood? ›

Auger Bits are the most common drill bits to drill wood holes. Auger bits consist of a sharp point on their tip, which assists in drilling efficiency. This tip easily pulls the bit through the wood. An auger bit is a spiral-shaped drill bit intended to drill deep wood holes.

What is a number 3 drill bit? ›

US Tap and Drill Bit Size Table
TapFractional Drill BitNumber Drill Bit
24 more rows

What are black drill bits used for? ›

black oxide. Both cobalt and titanium drill bits are used to make holes in hard, tough materials like metal. Cobalt drill bits are the toughest you can get, and have no coating, unlike titanium drill bits. Titanium bits are coated with titanium nitride or carbonitride to reduce the effects of heat.

Does any bit fit any drill? ›

If you are using a standard drill, bits will fit, whether they are specialised or multi-material bits. If you are using an SDS drill, on the other hand, you will need SDS bit sets.

Is there a difference between impact bits and drill bits? ›

Ti-N impact driver bits have two main advantages over regular driver bits – a greater torsional strength and a larger breaking angle which gives them greater flexibility and cushioning under impact, increasing their average service life.


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