Types of Drill Bits – Choose the Best One

Drill bits are available in different types and various sizes. Each type has its significance and performs a specific kind of role that the other cannot.

One needs to know which drill bit to use for any drilling object. If wrong drill bit is used, then you will not be able to complete the task properly.

Here we are with this guide that teaches you everything about the drill bits, their types, construction, and what they are used for.

By the end of this write-up, you will be able to choose the right drill bit to accomplish your task.

Table of Contents

Types of Drill Bits1. Twist Drill Bit

2. Brad-Point Drill Bit

3. Auger Drill Bit

4. Self-Feed Drill Bit

5. Installer Drill Bit

6. Spade Bit

7. Forstner Drill Bit

8. Hole Saw

9. Countersink Drill Bit

10. Plug Cutter

11. Step Drill Bit

12. Tile Drill Bit

13. Masonry Drill Bit

14. Glass Bits

15. Coring Bits

16. Multi-Purpose Bits

17. Steel

18. Titanium Nitride HSS Bits

19. Reduced Shank HSS Bits

Conclusion

Types of Drill Bits

Let us have a look at the different types of drill bits based on their construction, size, material, and their usage. Here is a complete guide on these bits:

1. Twist Drill Bit

Twist drill bits are the most common type of drill bits that we see and use regularly. And the best part, you can use these bits to drill into any type of material.

Construction

Twist drill bits come in different length specifications and different sizes. They come in different tip styles to suit various applications.

Material

The twist drill bits are mostly available in carbon steel or high-speed steel materials. The latter is good for drilling into different surfaces and has high resistance to high temperatures.

The carbon steel drill bits are brittle than the high-speed steel ones and hence, are the best bet for drilling wood.

Use

You can use twist drill bits on light metals and other materials like metals, plastic, wood, ceramic, and even masonry.

Ideal For

The twist drill bits are most suitable for regular home repairs. You can also use them for other maintenance and building projects with materials like metal, wood, etc.

2. Brad-Point Drill Bit

The brad point drill bit looks similar to the twist drill bit in shape.

Construction

Also known as spur point drill bit, it has a W-shaped center-pointed tip. This shape helps in producing a clean exit hole. The outer edges of the brad-point bit help in creating holes that are straight and do not wander. The center pin helps in keeping the edges aligned properly for precision hole drilling.

These bits are available in different sizes ranging from 3 mm to 10 mm.

Material

You will find brad-point drill bits made from different materials like carbon steel, high-speed steel, carbide, etc.

Use

You can use a brad point drill bit for precise drilling in both soft and hardwood. You can use it for drilling other soft materials like plastic.

Ideal For

The brad point drill bits are ideal for drilling accurate and neat holes in the wood. You can use them for various woodworking activities like making furniture, carpentry, etc.

3. Auger Drill Bit

Auger bits are those types of drill bits capable of drilling larger and deeper holes.

Construction

Auger drill bits feature a hexagonal shank and a screw-thread tip. The shank helps in creating a firm and secure connection between the bit and the chuck. The latter assists in drawing easily into the material with minimum effort. As a result, you do not have to put much pressure when drilling. These bits have a length of up to 18 inches.

Material

Auger drill bits are usually made from carbon steel material.

Use 

You can use auger drill bits for drilling large holes into timber applications. You can also use them for other building projects and large woodworking.

Ideal For

The auger bits are ideal for cutting wood.

4. Self-Feed Drill Bit

Just like the auger drill bits, even self-feed drill bits are for drilling holes into the wood.

Construction

They have cutting edges and a similar screw-thread tip like that of an auger bit. This tip is of an open-tooth design that helps in positioning the bit and allows it to draw easily into the material. However, it is a bit more compact than the auger bit.

Unlike a twist bit that has standard flutes, these bits do not have anything of that sort. To clear the chips and dust while drilling, the user needs to pull the bit back periodically.

Material

These drill bits are usually available in high-speed steel material.

Use

You can use a self-feed drill bit for wood cutting, faster and more accurate drilling, and for clean holes.

Ideal For

A self-feed drill bit is ideal for drilling large holes in the wood.

5. Installer Drill Bit

As the name says, an installer bit is exclusively for installing wiring.

Construction

This is a specialized twist bit exclusively designed for pulling wires easily through the ceilings, walls, and floors. They have a straight shank, and the length of the bit is up to 18 inches.

After you drill a hole on the surface, you insert the wire into the bit’s hole in the flute. This allows easy wire pulling and wire installation.

Material

The installer drill bits contain either carbon steel or high-speed steel materials.

Use

You can use the installer drill bits for drilling through wood, plaster, and some masonry.

Ideal For

The installer drill bits are ideal for smooth drilling in wood and wire installation.

6. Spade Bit

Spade drill bits are the best bet when you have to drill large holes through wood.

Construction

Coming to the construction, the spade bit has a crude, hex shank, a paddle-shaped tip, and a long spike with two spurs. The hex shank of the spade bit is about ¼ inch, and the tip helps in drilling easily into softwoods.

The spade drill bits have a diameter ranging from 6 mm to 38 mm.

Material

A spade drill bit is available in hard tungsten carbide material.

Use

You can use a spade drill bit on surfaces like wood, plywood, plastic, fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). You can use these drill bits for boring holes in plumbing and electrical projects.

Ideal For

The spade drill bits are ideal for drilling holes in soft materials like wood and plastic.

7. Forstner Drill Bit

Forstner drill bits are a very specialized type of drill bits that are exclusively designed for drilling holes for hinges and installing them.

Construction

The Forstner drill bits do not have any flutes but only pointed tips. They are available in different sizes ranging from 26 mm to 35 mm. Because of their large sizes, they are capable of drilling large diameter holes in the wood.

The Forstner drill bits are basically of two types – bits with saw-tooth and bits with a continuous rim.

  • The Forstner bits with saw tooth are perfect for producing large holes over 25 mm in diameter.
  • The Forstner bits with continuous rims are mostly for boring neater, and smaller size holes.

You can use these bits in a handheld drill. However, it requires applying a lot of forwarding pressure to operate the device. Hence, it is advisable to use them with a drill press.

Material

Most Forstner bits usually contain high-speed steel material.

Use

You can use the Forstner drill bits on surfaces like wood. It is a necessary tool for many hardware installations and woodworking applications.

Ideal For

The Forstner drill bits are ideal for drilling large diameter holes and kitchen cupboard hinges.

8. Hole Saw

A hole saw drill bit is a multi-purpose bit specifically designed for various applications and materials.

Construction

It is exclusively designed for boring large holes to install door hardware or create a wiring pass-through.

You can attach the hole saw drill to a shank for connecting it to a drill. Smaller hole saw drill bits are those that come with a built-in shank.

Material

Hole saws are typically available in carbon steel or high-speed steel materials.

Use

These drill bits are available in different varieties.

  • The bi-metal hole saw bits are for cutting holes through wood and also metal.
  • Hole saw drill bits having carbide edges are for heavier materials like ceramic tiles and masonry.
  • Hole saw bits having diamond edges are also for tiles and masonry. However, they work faster than their carbide counterparts.

Ideal For

A hole saw is a multipurpose drill bit ideal for cutting large holes.

9. Countersink Drill Bit

Also known as the screw pilot bit, it is a special bit for drilling in wood.

Construction

A countersink bit is exclusively designed for allowing a tapered head fastener to sit flush with the surface of the material.

A countersink drill bit is a multi-fluted drill having four flutes cut. These bits come in different sizes like 13 mm, 16 mm, and 19 mm. They help in drilling pilot holes.

Material

You can find countersink drill bits in carbon steel, high-speed steel, and carbide-tipped materials.

Use

You can use countersink drill bits for wood or plastics. They are most suitable for activities like general woodworking and cabinetry.

Ideal For

The countersink drill bits are ideal for drilling pilot holes.

10. Plug Cutter

Plug cutters are nothing but hole saws without a central drill.

Construction

These drill bits are exclusively designed for cutting round plugs from wood or other stock that you use for filling a counterbore after fastening all their parts. Mostly used in a handheld drill, these are great for concealing the screw heads. They come in various sizes like a half-inch, 3/8 inch, and 5/8 inch.

Material

Plug cutters are usually available in carbon steel material.

Use

You can use the plug cutter bits for wood to make high-end cabinetry and wooden products.

Ideal For

The plug cutters are ideal for making counter-bore holes.

11. Step Drill Bit

The step drill bits are primarily for drilling in sheet metal.

Construction

As the name says, the step drill bits come in the design of a descending ladder or staircase. In other words, it looks like a Christmas tree image drawn by a kid. This design allows the users to drill holes of different diameters consistently with a single bit.

Material 

A step drill bit is available in steel, high-speed steel, cobalt, or carbide-tipped materials. It comes with a titanium-nitride coating that helps in not only minimizing heat build-up but also increasing lubrication.

Use

You can use step drill bits with wood and metal.

Ideal For

A step drill bit is a specialist tool ideal for drilling holes of multiple sizes with the same bit. You can use this to drill pilot holes in woodworking and other metal-based projects.

12. Tile Drill Bit

As the name suggests, you use a tile drill bit to drill holes in various types of tiles.

Construction

A tile drill bit comes with a carbide tip that helps in drilling holes in tiles. While drilling, it simultaneously reduces the chance of chips and cracks.

Material

Tile drill bits are usually available in tungsten carbide materials.

Use

You can use the tile drill bit for ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Ideal For

A tile drill bit is ideal for activities like flooring, installing tile walls, renovations, etc.

13. Masonry Drill Bit

As the name says, a masonry bit drill is exclusively for drilling into masonry.

Construction

A masonry drill bit has a hexagonal or cylindrical shank, carbide tip, and high helix flutes. It is to use with a special hammer drill or a rotatory drill. This masonry bit comes with a black oxide coating to prevent the formation of corrosion.

Material

All masonry drill bits are made of tungsten carbide materials. Some models have a tungsten carbide tip, and a spiralled steel shaft. Whereas, some other bits come with durable silicon alloy bronze tips.

Use

You can use masonry drill bits for tough materials like concrete, brick, and other masonry applications.

Ideal For

The masonry drill bits are ideal for home building projects and repairs.

14. Glass Bits

The glass drill bits are exclusively for glass and ceramic tiles.

Construction

The glass drill bits feature carbide tips and straight shanks for use with a hand drill. These bits have greater resistance to higher temperatures. You can use them rotary drills but only at low speeds.

Material

These drill bits are available in different variants like tungsten tips, and diamond ground tips, each model for a specific purpose.

Use

You can use glass drill bits to drill through glass, ceramic tiles. You can also use them for stone, granite, and marble.

Ideal For

The glass drill bits are ideal for drilling holes in glass and ceramic.

15. Coring Bits

A core drill bit is yet another multipurpose drill bit.

Construction

Core drill bits drill the hole in such a way that the core remains intact, and then you can retrieve the core from the material. You can use them with rotary hammers.

Material

Core drill bits are available in either diamond-coated or carbide-coated tips.

Use

You can use core drill bits for masonry, concrete, brick, wet concrete, concrete blocks, etc.

Ideal For

The core drill bits are ideal for heavy-duty building projects and concrete works.

16. Multi-Purpose Bits

These are the other type of drill bits for multi-purpose tasks.

Construction

Popular for being an all-rounder, these bits are for use with a hammer or rotary drills.

Material

The multi-purpose drill bits come with a diamond ground tungsten tip.

Use

The multi-purpose drill bits are for drilling through surfaces like metal, wood, masonry, ceramic tiles, and plastic.

Ideal For

The multi-purpose drill bits are ideal for faster drills.

17. Steel

You can further classify drill bits based on the types of steel used.

Steel drill bits usually come in wide varieties like low-carbon steel, high-carbon steel, high-speed steel, cobalt alloy steel, tungsten carbide, and polycrystalline diamond. Each model is for a specific use.

a) Low-carbon steel drill bits

Construction

When compared to other variants, the low-carbon steel drill bits hold an edge poorly. Hence, you need to sharp them frequently.

Use

You can use the low-carbon steel drill bits only for wood projects.

Ideal For

The low-carbon steel drill bits are ideal for softwoods.

b) High-carbon steel drill bits

Construction

The high-carbon steel drill bits are familiar for providing a heartier boring.

Use

You can use them for wood and metal.

Ideal For

The high-carbon steel drill bits are ideal for drilling hardened steel.

c) High-speed steel drill bits

Construction

The high-speed steel (HSS) drill bits are known for working faster than their carbon-steel counterparts and even have higher heat resistance than them.

Use

You can use the high-speed steel drill bits for wood, metal, and other materials.

Ideal For

The high-steel drill bits are ideal for drilling hardened steel and aluminium.

d) Cobalt steel drill bits

Construction

The cobalt steel alloy drill bits are those that contain more cobalt than their high-speed steel counterparts. They have high resistance to temperatures. However, they are more brittle than the HSS bits.

Use

You can use them for steel, stainless steel, bronze, cast iron, and other high tensile steel.

Ideal For

The cobalt steel alloy drill bits are ideal for boring through metals like hardened steel.

e) Tungsten carbide drill bits

Construction

The tungsten carbide drill bits are those that can hold an edge more longer than the other drill bits. However, they are more brittle than the other steel bits. They are a little expensive than the other types.

Use

You can use the tungsten carbide and other carbide drill bits for extremely hard surfaces like masonry, PCB manufacturing, etc. You can also use them for other activities like general woodworking.

Ideal For

The tungsten carbide drill bits are ideal for drilling applications like cutting rocks.

f) Polycrystalline diamond drill bits

Construction

The PCD drill bits are the toughest of all the drill bit materials. They comprise a layer of diamond particles with a thickness of 0.5 mm.

Use

You can use PCD drill bits for drilling aluminium alloys, CRF plastics, and other abrasive materials.

Ideal For

The PCD drill bits are ideal for use in aerospace, automotive, and other industries.

18. Titanium Nitride HSS Bits

The titanium nitride high-speed steel drill bits are similar to the high-speed steel drill bits.

Construction

As the name says, these drill bits come with titanium coating. This coating helps in reducing overheating when drilling. They have a longer life span when compared to other drill bits, i.e., up to six times more.

Material

These titanium nitride high-speed steel drill bits contain titanium coating

Use

You can use the titanium HSS drill bits for wood, metal, and plastics.

Ideal For

It is ideal for drilling iron, steel, aluminium, magnesium, etc.

19. Reduced Shank HSS Bits

The reduced shank high-speed steel drill bits are the ones that come with a reduced shank.

Construction

The reduced shank HSS drill bits have a reduced shank and a wider diameter to fit your drill chuck. They are great for drilling holes with a larger width than the chuck. While some bits have three flats on the shank, others have ¼ inch hex shank. You can use these bits in portable drills.

Material

They mostly contain high-speed steel material.

Use

You can use the reduced shank HSS bits for wood, plastics, and metal

Ideal For

They are ideal for drilling holes of increased diameter.

Conclusion

I hope this article provided you with all the information related to drill bit sets and their types. I am sure you must now be aware of the uses and benefits of each type. Now that you know everything choosing the right drill bit to accomplish your task will no longer be a hassle.

Write to us in the comments section below if you find this article helpful and informative. Let us know if you have any questions or need more information on this topic. We would try our best to get your queries answered at the earliest.

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Stay healthy and stay safe!!!


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