How To Choose The Right Type Of Drill Bit For Metal, Wood, Tiles, Glass Or Masonry

How To Choose The Right Type Of Drill Bit For Metal, Wood, Tiles, Glass Or Masonry

If you are wondering which drill bit to use we have got a guide to help you choose the right one.

So if you want to know how to choose the right type of drill bit for metal, wood, tiles, glass or masonry, read on. 

Types Of Drill Bits

There are many types of drill bits on the market.

It can be difficult to discern which one is best for the job, but we have broken them down into easy to understand chunks, so you know which one is best for you. 


Twist drill bits are spiral shaped and used for hole boring and are one of the most commonly used and easily recognizable of drill bits. They come in a range of sizes and styles. 


A step drill bit is conical shaped and has steps ranging from small at the tip of the bit to larger as the cone flares out as it gets closer to the shank. 


This is a flat bottomed bit that won’t leave a breaking edge. It is particularly useful for drilling holes for cabinet hinges. 


Specially designed for boring deep holes into wood. The auger bit has a tight twist, a threaded screw tip and a sharp cutting edge to its face. 


A countersink drill bit will allow you to set your screw or fastener flush with the finished surface. Don’t confuse it with a counterbore which is a different tool. 


Spade drill bits can remove a lot of wood in a short amount of time and create a wide hole. They do have a tendency to leave rough edges to the holes, however. 

Drill Bits For Metal

If you need to drill into metal you need to use the correct drill bit and make sure that it is made from the right material to deal with boring into metal. 


A HSS drill bit is a high-speed steel bit. These are made from carbon steel usually with the addition of vanadium or chrome.

This combination of metals allows them to be used at high speed. 

You can use HSS drill bits to drill steel, iron, brass, copper  and aluminum alloy. 

Cobalt Steel Or Titanium Coated

A HSS drill bit that is coated with titanium or that is made from cobalt steel will be harder than a normal HSS drill bit. However, the titanium coating does eventually wear away. 

Cobalt steel drill bits are made from a stronger alloy which makes them more durable and able to withstand higher temperatures. 

Step Bits

Step bits are also called unibits. They have a distinctive appearance with a conical shape which is stepped from the tip to the edge of the flank.

These bits are used for drilling into plywood, laminate or thin softwood. They are versatile in that you can drill a variety of sized holes without changing the bit.  

How To Choose The Right Type Of Drill Bit For Metal, Wood, Tiles, Glass Or Masonry

Hole Saws

Hole saws are not technically drill bits but are extremely useful for drilling larger holes in a variety of materials.

For metal using a HSS hole saw means you can drill holes larger than you could with a regular drill bit. 

Hole saws have small teeth like a handsaw and cut through steel, iron or aluminum.  

Drill Bits For Wood

Wood drill bits are similar in a lot of ways to metal drill bits but normally don’t have to be as robust or durable. 

Flat Wood Bit

A flat wood bit is also called a spade bit and can drill holes up to 1 ½ inches wide.

While they can be useful for boring larger holes they do have a tendency to splinter the edges of the hole. 

Brad Point

A brad point drill bit is similar to an auger bit but has a shallower spur. They’re available in sizes from ⅛ inch up to ⅝ inch. 

Hole Saw

Hole saws are equally effective for drilling in wood as they are in metal and can drill and saw at the same time.

They have an inner drill that sets a piloting hole and the larger outer ring that saws the wood. 

How To Choose The Right Type Of Drill Bit For Metal, Wood, Tiles, Glass Or Masonry

Tile Drill Bits

Drilling into tile can be tricky as if you are not careful the tile may crack. That’s why it is important to use the right drill bit for the job. 

There are three main types of tile that you may need to drill through, ceramic, glass and porcelain.

Ceramic tiles are relatively soft compared to the other two types of tile, but they are brittle. 

Glass tiles are hard and need careful attention when drilling as they will break quite easily if not drilled properly and will require patience. 

Porcelain tiles are very hard, and you will need experience to do this properly. 

The drill bits used to bore into tiles have two distinct features. First is the configuration of the drill point. The second thing is the material that the drill point is made from. 

For tile work, the best drill bit points are sharp angled and hard. Many look like a spear or the tip of an arrow. High quality tile drill bits have carbide or diamond cutting faces. 

To break through material as hard as tile you will need a tough drill bit face and good control of your drill.  

Spear Head Bit

A spear head bit has a needle-like tip that starts the contact between the drill bit and the tile.

It then slowly makes the hole larger. These drill bits are available in diamond and carbide cutting faces. 

Diamond Bit

There are diamond tile drill bits that do not have spear points but rather are more conventional in design. 

Drilling Glass

For drilling glass as opposed to glass tiles you should try to lay the piece down on a soft surface and drill at low to medium speed.

If possible cool the area with water as you are drilling. This will also help to lubricate the drill bit. 

Spear Head Bit

These are the same as you would use for tiles but with glass you need to be extra careful and patient to prevent the glass from breaking. 

Diamond Bit

Diamond bits are very strong, some have spear point tips, but others are a normal drill bit with a diamond tip. The diamond coating does wear away after a while, however. 

Masonry Drill Bits

For drilling through concrete, block, brick or stone you need to use a masonry drill bit. 

Tungsten Carbide Bit

A tungsten carbide masonry bit can be used in a regular drill or an impact or hammer drill. For this you will need an SDS drill bit.

This allows you to pulverize the masonry that comes in contact with the drill tip. 

Diamond Core Bits

For larger holes in masonry use a diamond core bit which is similar to a hole saw but specifically for drilling larger holes in cement blocks or concrete. 

In Conclusion

It is important to choose the right drill bit for the job in order for the work to be effective and safe. It also reduces the chance of damage to the surfaces you are drilling. 


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