No matter how expensive and powerful a drill may be, it won’t be much good if it’s not paired with the best drill bits. While a lot of drills may come with their own drill bit set, after a lot of heavy-duty use, it might be time to get a new set. If this is the case, or if you just want to upgrade your current bits with a better, more durable, and reliable set, our list of the 10 best drill bit sets covers every need and budget.
Drill Bit Materials and Finishes
The materials from which bits are manufactured and the finishes applied to them play a significant role in the life and performance of the bit. Common materials and finishes include:
- High-speed steel (HSS) drill bits can drill wood, fiberglass, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and soft metals such as aluminum.
- Cobalt drill bits are extremely hard and dissipate heat quickly. They’re mostly used for boring in aluminum and tough metals such as stainless steel.
- Black oxide-coated HSS drill bits have a finish designed to help resist corrosion and increase durability. They last longer than basic HSS bits and work well on a variety of materials including metal, hardwood, softwood, PVC and fiberglass.
- Titanium-coated HSS drill bits produce less friction. They’re tougher than basic HSS bits and stay sharp longer. They work for drilling wood, metal, fiberglass and PVC.
- Carbide-tipped drill bits stay sharp much longer than steel, HSS or titanium bits. They’re effective for drilling tile and masonry.
Drill Bit Types
- Brad-point drill bit: This fluted drill bit is designed for use on wood. It features a sharp spur on the tip and spiral grooves (flutes) on the sides. The sharp tip helps position the bit in the right spot, and the flutes are designed to grab wood chips and expel them from the hole as you drill, resulting in a clean hole. Brad-point bits make speedy work of jobs that require a high degree of detail.
- Twist drill bit: This standard bit has a pointed cutting tip and, like the brad-point bit, features fluted sides to remove waste as the hole is being drilled. The twist bit is a general-purpose bit for home use and can be used on wood, thin metal, and plastic.
- Countersink drill bit: Considered a specialty bit, the countersink bit is designed to create a pilot hole with a wider opening at the top for countersinking screw heads. Used mostly on wood, the countersink drill bit allows you to insert the fastener deep enough so the head doesn’t protrude above the surface of the material.
- Forstner drill bit: For use on wood, the Forstner bit, named after its 19th-century inventor, Benjamin Forstner, features the same tip spur as a brad-point bit for precise drilling, but the body of the bit is designed to drill a flat-bottomed hole. Forstner bits are used to create holes to hold dowels (not screws) and are often found in high-end furniture and cabinetry construction.
- Spade drill bit: Also called a paddle bit, a spade bit comes with a tip spur for precision and a flat blade that’s designed to cut large holes—up to 1.5 inches across. Spade bits are commonly used to drill holes through wood studs to run wires and water-supply lines.
- Hole saw drill bit: Used for making large holes in wood, thin plastic, ceramic tile, and other sheet goods, hole saw bits usually come in two pieces: the bit itself—a cylinder with sharp, saw-like teeth—and a mandrel (shaft) that attaches to the bit and fits into the drill.
- Step drill bit: This pyramid-shaped bit is primarily used to enlarge existing holes and is used with thin material—usually sheet metal—but can be used on sheet plastic as well. The manufacturer often labels each “step” on the bit with the corresponding size hole it drills. A step drill bit can also take the place of a countersink bit by widening the top of a hole just enough to recess the fastener head.
Our Top Picks:
Are you the kind of person who loves a high quality product and always tends to gravitate towards products that have a more expensive price point, but unfortunately you’re actually working on a smaller budget than your taste usually allows for? Then we’d be willing to bet that you’ve learned how to search for sales just as well as we have! That’s why we were so thrilled when we came across this fantastic drill bit set from DEWALT that’s on sale for literally half its original price.
To make sure they can withstand drilling through metal, these drill bits are made of durable titanium. This pack come as a set of 21 bit in a plastic case that holds them securely in place with foam and a hinged snapping lid, reducing your chances of losing one of the sizes. The kit provides you with a whole range of standard sizes and is also great for projects made of thick wood and hard plastic.
Do you actually have much more of a budget to work with than what we’ve talked so far and you’re looking to invest in something very strong indeed, right down to the case itself? Then we have a sneaking suspicion that you might get along a little better with something like this tiered pack drill bit kit from Chicago Latrobe.
These bits from in a metal case that features racks organized by size. These racks fold forward and are etched with the bits’ measurements, making the specific size you’re looking for extremely easy to find. The 29 bits themselves are made of steel and treated with a durable black oxide finish that helps steel them (no pun intended) against sharp metal edges during drilling. Each one has a conventional point and they range in size from 1/16″ to 1/2″, just like the kit above.
Have you already seen quite a number of drill bit sets that feature details you’d appreciate, but you still just haven’t felt entirely sold on any of the size ranges you’ve seen, so you’d like to shop around a little more? Then we’d also suggest giving this metal-friendly drill bit kit from Craftsman a once-over.
This set, which comes in a sturdy, locking flat plastic case, contains 21 drill bits in all. Rather than being made from titanium or coated steel, these bits are constructed from cobalt, which is another durable metal capable of withstanding drilling through other metals even at the highest speeds. The size range runs from 1/16″ to 3/8″ and the points on each are designed to reduce “walking”, which is where the drill bit jumps across the surface of the metal a bit before cutting into it; this means you’ll get better accuracy and a steadier experience.
Makita has successfully produced an affordable and professional-grade kit stuffed with bits for nearly any job requirement. The 70-piece kit has a full range of tools for fastening and driving as well as drilling. Each bit is coated in black oxide paired with a Makita-only heat treatment for a corrosion-resistant and long-lasting tool accessory. The bits are designed to work well with 3/8-inch or ½-inch driver drills or ¼-inch impact drivers.
The bits are manufactured using high-speed steel with precision 135-degree split point tips. This cuts down on drill bit walking across a slick surface of glass or metal or chattering for a more precise result. The UltraLok ¼-inch hex shanks allow for quick changes of drill bits.
The affordable price tag is an extra bonus on top of the quality and durability of this set. You’ll be using these bits for a long time.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a set, we recommend the VonHaus Drill Bit Set. The kit is affordable and chock full of a wide variety of bits as well as a host of fastening and driving applications. It has 246 strong and long-lasting bits to get through the hardiest of materials or gently pierce a perfect pinhole in the thinnest sheet of steel, glass, wood, plastic, or drywall.
Each bit is coated in high-speed steel (HSS) material titanium and is compatible with most impact drills and drivers. The set includes four spade drill bits, 30 black oxide HSS twist drill bits, 17 wood drill bits, and 21 masonry drill bits in a wide variety of sizes, along with many other tool accessories to create a complete, all-inclusive drill bit kit.
It is a durable coating that extends the life of the bit and bores through material faster than its counterparts, which is why titanium is one of the more popular materials on the drill bit market. The Bosch Tl14 14-piece titanium twist kit has a plethora of pieces to get through wood, sheet metal, plastic, Plexiglass, and vinyl siding, and is strong enough to cleanly bore through cast-iron surfaces. Each drill bit is coated in titanium nitride.
Bosch’s speed helix design gets the right bit through the correct material faster than other drill bits. The titanium bits last six times longer than high-speed steel and have a balanced double flute that significantly cuts down on vibration. This will save time, muscle fatigue and increase the lifespan of the drill battery on projects.
Using the wrong drill bit on wood can lead to disastrous results. It can reduce the aesthetic of the item or cut up the wood in a way that renders it useless for the screws or fasteners that you intend to install. Wood drill bits need to create holes that are clean and neat, as most of the work will be seen and admired. Fisch has created a brad point drill bit set that drills precise and clean holes time after time.
The long-lasting bits are made of hard chrome vanadium steel. Each bit in the highly versatile Fisch 8-piece set has beveled edges for crisp, clean holes that are attractive and useful. Along with both hard and soft woods, the bits are also good for drilling into laminates.
Whether you’re in a pinch or just need to replace a set, Ryobi’s Black Oxide Drill Bits are less than $15 for a set with 21 pieces that cover 1/16″ to 1/2″. Their 135° tips help reduce walking at the start of your hole. These are the best drill bits for the money if you stay away from thick metal. You can get better bits, but we like this for Pros and DIYers on a budget.
For a basic drill bit set, you get some decent features in DeWalt’s DW1177 kit. The 135° Split-point tip resists walking when you drill. The coating doesn’t do much to reduce heat or friction, but it does keep the bits from rusting as easily. Finally, DeWalt puts 3-flat spots on the shank to better lock into drill chucks.
We also wanted to include the excellent Bosch 60-piece Black Oxide Index Drill Bit Set. This kit works great for having every conceivable size from #1 to #60 wire gauges and everything in between. It also comes in a handy metal index case.
It is made of traditional HSS with a titanium coating for capability and durability. The cutting edge has been toughened and polished for sharpness, and the chatter-free design with staggered cutting teeth ensures accurate countersinking and a clean hole. It has two flutes that assist sweep chips and debris away from the bit, reducing friction and heat for quicker, cooler drilling.
Its 1/4-inch screw shank fits into all power tools more simply and securely, especially rapid change chucks. This is a great drill bit set for metal, wood, and plastic countersinks, as well as general building and engineering use.
The Hitachi has a lot of general-use bits and a tough case, but it doesn’t have as many of the useful accessories that add so much versatility and value to the Ryobi kit.
If the Ryobi 90-Piece Kit is not available, we also like the Hitachi 799962 120-Piece Drill and Drive Bit Set. It offers much of the same as the Ryobi: an expansive selection of general-use bits and a wide variety of driver bits. However, it lacks hole saws, drill stops, and a countersink, all of which the Ryobi has. Hitachi’s case is tougher, but it lacks the Ryobi’s handy transparent front. Otherwise, the two sets are pretty even on price and part quality.
Is it possible to sharpen drill bits?
Most twist drill bits can be sharpened, which not only improves their effectiveness but also increases the safety of your drill because dull drill bits are more likely to slide or skid through hard surfaces.
Is it true that drill bits are universal?
As a general rule, any brand of the drill bit may be used in any brand of the drill as long as the drill bits are the right size for the chuck. The component of the drill that secures the bit in place is called the chuck. 14-inch, 38-inch, and 12-inch chucks are the most common sizes. You can’t use a bit with a shank that’s longer than the chuck of your drill.
What is the best way to clean drill bits?
If your drill bits are rusted, soak them in white vinegar for at least 30 minutes, then scrape the rust away with an old toothbrush or a metal cleaning brush. Before using or storing the bit, carefully rinse it in clean water and dry it entirely.
You have come to the end of my drill and screwdriver bit reviews. Hopefully you were able to find just the type of bits for the project you want to work on. I have laid out my best picks and reviewed them for you so that you won’t have to spend hour upon hour scouring the internet to find the perfect bits like I once had to.