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7 Best Drill Bits for Drilling Metal of 2024

Updated
Drill bits for metal make light work of the hardest tasks.

Power drills are among the most versatile and widely-used tools in the world today, capable of completing various DIY tasks quickly and accurately. However, even the highest-quality drill will be useless without a suitable bit.

There are numerous drill bits to choose from, each designed for different materials and drilling tasks. It is important to choose the right one and this is especially true when working with tough materials such as metal.

To help you find a suitable bit, we have reviewed 7 of the best drill bits for metal that are currently available. We chose these bits for their materials, shape, and how many different bits are included.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the DeWALT DW1354 Titanium 14-Piece Set
Best Overall Drill Bit
DeWALT DW1354 Titanium 14-Piece Set
  • Titanium coating
  • Pilot point tips
  • 14-piece set
Product Image of the DeWALT Black Oxide Drill Bit Set
Best Black Oxide-Coated Drill Bit
DeWALT Black Oxide Drill Bit Set
  • Black oxide coating
  • 135-degree split-point tip
  • Parabolic flutes
Product Image of the Neiko 10193A Titanium Step Drill Bit
Best Step Drill Bit
Neiko 10193A Titanium Step Drill Bit
  • 28 sizes in 3 bits
  • Titanium coated
  • Tri-flat shank
Product Image of the Mars-Tool Solid Carbide Drill Bit
Best Solid Carbide Drill Bit
Mars-Tool Solid Carbide Drill Bit
  • Heat resistant
  • Aerospace quality
  • Rockwell hardness of 913
Product Image of the Makita B-65399 Impact Titanium Set
Best Titanium-Coated Drill Bit
Makita B-65399 Impact Titanium Set
  • Titanium nitride coating
  • Hex shank
  • 135-degree split-point tip
Product Image of the Irwin Tools M-35 Drill Bit Set
Best Cobalt Drill Bit
Irwin Tools M-35 Drill Bit Set
  • Irwin pedigree
  • 135-degree split-point tips
  • 8% cobalt
Product Image of the Black and Decker Drill Bit Set
Best Budget Drill Bit
Black and Decker Drill Bit Set
  • Budget-friendly
  • High-speed steel
  • 10-piece set


The Best Drill Bits for Metal of 2024

Drill bits are available in many shapes, sizes, and materials, so it can be confusing trying to choose the right bit for a specific job. With that in mind, we have reviewed 7 of the best drill bits for metal you can buy today, chosen for their angle, which materials they are suitable for drilling, and how many bits your purchase includes.

DeWALT DW1354 Titanium 14-Piece Set

Best Overall Drill Bit for Metal

This DeWALT drill bit set is frequently one of the top sellers at online retailers and has received numerous positive reviews. For its combination of a reasonable price and high customer satisfaction, this is an excellent drill bit for metal.

These bits are titanium, so they are very resistant to heat and won’t dull quickly. This set of 14 bits should have all your drilling needs covered. They benefit from DeWALT’s pilot point tips, which means you won’t need to drill pilot holes to prevent the bit from walking across the surface of the metal.

The titanium coating protects the high-speed steel to prevent corrosion, and the no-spin shanks mean the bit won’t slip in the chuck. Overall, this is a very dependable bit set that offers great value for money.

Pros

  • Titanium coating
  • Pilot point tips
  • 14-piece set
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Hard to get back into the case
  • Made overseas

Product Specs

Set size 14 pieces
Size range (inches) 0.062 to 0.14
Material High-speed steel, titanium coating
Weight 14.9 ounces
Price $$

Our Ratings

Material Quality
4.5 / 5
Cutting Efficiency
4.5 / 5
Compatibility
4.5 / 5
Durability
4.5 / 5
Total Rating
4.5 / 5

User Experience

This DEWALT Drill Bit Set has become an essential part of my toolbox. The bits are impressively durable and maintain their sharpness even with heavy use, handling tasks on plastic, wood, and metal with ease. The clear labeling of sizes is a bonus, simplifying the process of picking the right bit for the job. However, getting the bits back into the case can be tricky, requiring a bit more effort than just a simple snap back in.

DeWALT Black Oxide 20-Piece Drill Bit Set

Best Black Oxide-Coated Drill Bit for Metal

This set of DeWALT black oxide bits is hard-wearing, with the oxide coating protecting them against friction and heat. The coating also reduces corrosion. This is a 20-piece set, so it should contain a drill bit for the majority of tasks you are likely to encounter.

Each bit has a 135-degree split-point tip that reduces walking and helps it cut neatly into the metal surface. They also have a parabolic flute design that strengthens the drill bit. At the recommended price, each bit in this set will cost just over $1, which is excellent value for money.

Pros

  • 20-piece set
  • Black oxide coating
  • 135-degree split-point tip
  • Parabolic flutes

Cons

  • Made overseas
  • Build quality issues

Product Specs

Set size 20 pieces
Size range (inches) 0.016 to 0.50
Material High-speed steel, black oxide coating
Weight 8 ounces
Price $$

Our Ratings

Material Quality
4 / 5
Cutting Efficiency
4.5 / 5
Compatibility
4.5 / 5
Durability
4 / 5
Total Rating
4.25 / 5

Personal Perspective

My initial experience with these DeWalt drill bits was satisfactory, as they showed resilience by bending instead of breaking during a door knob installation. However, I noticed some inconsistencies in the product received; the black oxide coating shown in the product images and description didn't match the gold coating on the set I received. Despite this discrepancy, the bits performed well when drilling several holes in a 3/16 thick steel plate. But when subjected to heavy-duty work like drilling 16 holes into my Jeep's frame, the larger bits quickly lost their sharpness, which was a bit disappointing.

Neiko 10193A Titanium Step Drill Bit Set

Best Step Drill Bit for Metal

This set of Neiko step drill bits is made from high-speed steel and coated in titanium to increase their longevity and reduce the dulling caused by heat and friction. The shape of these step bits provides 28 size options but with just 3 bits.

The sizes range from 0.188 inches up to 0.75 inches, so this set is very versatile. The tips are 135-degree split points, which are ideal for drilling through metal as they make it less likely that the bit will wander across the surface of the metal.

This set also benefits from tri-flattened shanks to prevent the drill bits from moving in the chuck.

Pros

  • 28 hole sizes in 3 bits
  • Titanium coated
  • Tri-flat shank
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Difficult to sharpen
  • Not standard drill bits

Product Specs

Set size 3
Size range (inches) 0.188 to 0.75
Material High-speed steel, titanium coated
Weight 0.25 ounces
Price $

Our Ratings

Material Quality
4.5 / 5
Cutting Efficiency
4.5 / 5
Compatibility
4 / 5
Durability
4.5 / 5
Total Rating
4.25 / 5

Community Feedback

If you're looking for an affordable drill bit for occasional use, this drill bit set might be just what you need. My experience revealed that while it may not be as smooth or durable as some high-end bits, it is capable of handling tasks from enlarging existing holes in a stainless steel sink to drilling cone-shaped holes in pressure-treated wood. However, caution is needed during use as the drill bit can catch on the opening it has created, posing a risk to your fingers and the item you're working on. Regardless, for its price point and my sporadic needs, this drill bit has proven satisfactory in its performance.

Mars-Tool Solid Carbide Drill Bit for Hardened Steel

Best Solid Carbide Drill Bit for Metal

This Mars-Tool carbide drill bit will eat through metal with professional precision. It has been graded as aerospace quality and can be used both wet and dry. It has a 118-degree 4-facet point tip to prevent the blade from walking and increase your accuracy.

This bit can cut aircraft metal, alloy steel, stainless steel, titanium, carbon steel, and copper. It can even be used to drill through sheets of glass. This bit is made of tungsten carbide and scores 91.3 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale.

The overall length is 2.5 inches with a flute length of 1.38 inches. Solid carbide drill bits are harder than carbide-tipped bits and can withstand heat better. These bits can be resharpened many times by using a diamond stone.

Pros

  • Heat resistant
  • Aerospace quality
  • Scores 91.3 on the Rockwell Hardness Scale
  • Can be resharpened many times

Cons

  • Very brittle
  • Dulls quickly

Product Specs

Set size 2
Size range (inches) 2.5 inches
Material Tungsten carbide
Weight 0.81 ounces
Price $$

Our Ratings

Material Quality
5 / 5
Cutting Efficiency
4.5 / 5
Compatibility
4 / 5
Durability
4 / 5
Total Rating
4.25 / 5

First-Hand Impression

Excellent durability and performance define these drill bits. Despite not surviving my entire project, they outperformed other brands I've tried, even when drilling hard materials like 4340 hardened steel crankshafts and Damascus steel. I found them particularly effective when used slowly with a hand drill and plenty of tap magic oil. However, if you're looking to drill perfect holes in hardened steel, whether it's for knife-making or removing a sheared bolt, these bits prove to be a reliable tool.

Makita B-65399 Impact 14-Piece Titanium Set

Best Titanium-Coated Drill Bit for Metal

Makita has coated this set with titanium nitride, which they claim gives these drill bits 2.5 times the lifespan of non-coated bits. The bits have 135-degree split-point tips to prevent slipping and speed up the drilling process.

This set has a hex shank for impact drivers to ensure it doesn’t slip in the socket. It is suitable for drilling holes into stainless steel, cast iron, and various other dense materials.

The sizes range from 0.015 inches to 0.50 inches, so it is a versatile set and should help you complete the majority of drilling tasks.

Pros

  • Titanium nitride coating
  • 14-piece set
  • Hex shank
  • 135-degree split-point tip

Cons

  • Bits can wobble during use
  • Build quality issues

Product Specs

Set size 14-pieces
Size range (inches) 0.015 to 0.50
Material High-speed steel, titanium nitride coating
Weight 1.05 pounds
Price $

Our Ratings

Material Quality
4 / 5
Cutting Efficiency
4 / 5
Compatibility
4.5 / 5
Durability
4 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

User Experience

I'm pretty happy with these drill bits for all my general household use. They're compact enough to fit nicely in my tool bag for when I need to lend a hand to my neighbors. The quick change adapter is a standout feature, allowing me to switch from drill bit to driver in no time, and the option for an extension bit is there if I need a longer reach. Whether I'm using them on metal or wood, these bits perform well, though I've yet to test them on masonry products. A word of caution though, be gentle with the smaller bits as they can break if they catch on something.

Irwin Tools M-35 29-Piece Drill Bit Set

Best Cobalt Drill Bit for Metal

Irwin holds a special place in the world of drills as the company patented the first auger drill bit (1). This is a 29-piece set, so you will be spoilt for choice. Cobalt constitutes 8% of the alloy and greatly enhances the bit’s resistance to friction and heat.

The sizes range from 0.016 inches up to 0.50 inches. The tips are split-point, 135-degree models, which makes them ideal for biting into hard metal surfaces.

This set drills through steel and cast iron with ease. Irwin is one of the oldest, most reliable manufacturers of drill bits, so this set is well worth considering.

Pros

  • 29-piece set
  • Irwin pedigree
  • 135-degree split-point tips
  • 8% cobalt

Cons

  • Expensive

Product Specs

Set size 29-pieces
Size range (inches) 0.016 to 0.50
Material High-speed steel, 8% cobalt
Weight 4.5 pounds
Price $$$

Our Ratings

Material Quality
4.5 / 5
Cutting Efficiency
4.5 / 5
Compatibility
4.5 / 5
Durability
4 / 5
Total Rating
4.25 / 5

Personal Perspective

This drill bit set has been a reliable tool in my toolbox, especially when dealing with stubborn bolts that just won't budge. Even though they were mistakenly bought initially, I was impressed by their solid build, seeming more durable than my former Dewalt bits. This set has proven its worth multiple times, like when I successfully drilled out a burred screw on my rifle scope base. My only gripes are with the tough plastic packaging, which was a challenge to open, and the case clasp that could be improved for easier handling. While the price may seem steep at first glance, the quality and performance of these bits justify the cost.

Black and Decker 10-Piece Drill Bit Set

Best Budget Drill Bit for Metal

Black and Decker introduced the first handheld power drill, so it is no surprise that the company also makes high-quality drill bits (2). This is a 10-piece set, so it isn’t as versatile as some products, but that is no surprise given how budget-friendly it is.

The bit sizes range from 0.016 inches to 0.25 inches in diameter. These drill bits are made of high-speed steel, so they are quite durable despite their low price.

These bits are better suited to occasional domestic DIY jobs than professional work. However, they should still be robust enough to drill through metal when required.

Pros

  • Great price
  • High-speed steel
  • 10-piece set

Cons

  • Limited size selection
  • Better for domestic tasks

Product Specs

Set size 10-pieces
Size range (inches) 0.016 to 0.25
Material High-speed steel
Weight 1.6 ounces
Price $

Our Ratings

Material Quality
3.5 / 5
Cutting Efficiency
3.5 / 5
Compatibility
3.5 / 5
Durability
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.5 / 5

Community Feedback

Definitely a practical set for household tasks, these drill bits have proven their mettle time and again. I've put them through the paces, drilling through everything from wood to old brickwork, and they've held up without bending or breaking, even when they get hot. Just bear in mind that these aren't masonry bits, so you'll need to switch to a more specialized set for heavy-duty jobs and use them with care to avoid breakage, but for the price and the range of sizes, they're quite satisfactory for general purpose tasks.

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Set size (pc) Size range (inches) Material Weight
DeWALT DW1354 Titanium 14-Piece Set Overall Drill Bit 14 0.062 to 0.14 High-speed steel, titanium coating 14.9 oz
DeWALT Black Oxide Drill Bit Set Black Oxide-Coated 20 0.016 to 0.50 High-speed steel, black oxide coating 8 oz
Neiko 10193A Titanium Step Drill Bit Step Drill Bit 3 0.188 to 0.75 High-speed steel, titanium coated 0.25 oz
Mars-Tool Solid Carbide Drill Bit Solid Carbide 2 2.5 Tungsten carbide 0.81 oz
Makita B-65399 Impact Titanium Set Titanium-Coated 14 0.015 to 0.50 High-speed steel, titanium nitride coating 1.05 lbs
Irwin Tools M-35 Drill Bit Set Cobalt Drill Bit 29 0.016 to 0.50 High-speed steel, 8% cobalt 4.5 lbs
Black and Decker Drill Bit Set Budget Drill Bit 10 0.016 to 0.25 High-speed steel 1.6 oz

What Type of Drill Bit Should You Use for Metal?

There are three types of drill bits you should consider for drilling through metal. The first is a high-speed steel (HSS) drill bit. These bits are hard and can cut through robust materials without dulling quickly.

The second type is a cobalt steel drill bit. Cobalt steel is an alloy that contains at least 5% cobalt to enhance its durability. These drill bits retain their sharpness for longer than high-speed steel bits, but they are prone to snapping under extreme pressure.

Your third option is a carbide-tipped drill bit. These bits are made of high-speed steel but have a carbide-coated tip. They contain titanium or tungsten, which makes them the most hardwearing drill bits you can buy. However, this also means they are the most expensive.

How To Choose a Drill Bit for Metal

Drilling through metal is one of the most demanding tasks for power drills, which is why it is important to choose the right bit for the job. When searching for a drill bit for metal, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

Material

Your drill bit will need to endure the rigors of drilling through metal. In addition to physical strength, it is also important that it is resistant to high temperatures as overheating will lead to your drill bit dulling far more quickly. A bit that stays cooler will also stay sharper.

There are three main material types to choose from:

HSS

High-speed steel is very robust. These bits are also more cost-effective than other, more expensive drill bit types. However, it is worth spending a little extra to buy bits with a black or gold oxide coating to protect them against rust, as bare HSS is susceptible to corrosion.

Cobalt

Cobalt steel is a combination of high-speed steel and cobalt. Cobalt typically accounts for between 5% and 8% of the bit’s composition, but the two materials create an extremely strong metal alloy. It is heat-resistant and retains its cutting edge for longer than high-speed steel.

Take Note

Cobalt steel drill bits are ideal for making holes in the hardest stainless steel and can even drill cast iron.

Carbide

Carbide drill bits are suitable for drilling the hardest materials out there. They are more durable than HSS and cobalt drill bits. The only real drawback of carbide bits is that they are considerably more expensive, so they might not be worth the extra cost if you only drill occasionally.

It is possible to get HSS bits with carbide tips that increase their cutting power and reduce how quickly the bit loses its edge.

Tip Angle

There are generally two types of tip angles on drill bits. They are designed for different materials based on the angle of the cutting edge and how aggressively it will drill.

For softer materials such as plastic and wood, you should use a 118-degree point. They are sharper and will quickly bite into less dense materials.

When dealing with tougher materials such as metals, a 135-degree angle will be better. As it has a less pronounced point, it will grip metal more easily and prevent the bit from walking across the material.

Thin Metal

Although a 135-degree bit is usually better for metals, you should be able to drill through thin sheet metal with a 118-degree bit quite easily.

How To Sharpen a Drill Bit for Metal

There are several ways to sharpen your drill bit. You could use a diamond-tipped file or a dedicated bit-sharpening attachment for your drill. However, the most common method is to use a bench grinder or belt sander.

In this article, we will explain how to do it using a bench grinder.

What You Will Need

  • Bench grinder
  • Dull drill bits
  • Goggles
  • N95 face mask
  • A diamond-tipped file
  • Cold water
  • Scrap wood

1. Prepare Your Bit

Run your file across the surface of the bit, including the shaft. This will prevent any burrs from cutting into your hand later.

2. Prepare the Bench Grinder

Make sure the guard is more than 0.125 inches away from the wheel to prevent the bit from getting stuck.

3. Learn How To Hold the Bit

If you have never sharpened a drill bit before, it is important to get a feel for the correct way to hold the bit against the wheel. Hold the bit with both hands and place them against the machine support.

The drill bit should be held at roughly 60 degrees, with the landing facing the grinder wheel. Hold the shaft with your left hand to control the movement of the bit, while your right-hand presses the bit against the wheel.

4. Turn on the Grinder

Put on your goggles and face mask to protect yourself and make sure you have cold water within arm’s reach. Allow the bench grinder to reach maximum speed before you press the drill bit against it.

5. Cut the Landing

Raise the left hand to cut the landing while applying gentle pressure against the drill bit sharpener. Remember to keep the bit at 60 degrees.

6. Shape the Chisel

Move your left hand to the right to create the chisel angle. Do this a couple of times until the chisel angle is approximately 45 degrees from the lip.

7. Shape the Landing

Rotating the drill bit counter-clockwise will create a rounded landing that offers better support for the lip.

8. Combine Techniques

Now work the drill bit using each technique, making sure you rotate the bit 180 degrees across the surface of the wheel.

Keep Cool

As you work the bit, the friction will heat it up. If you feel the surface getting hot, dip it in cold water to cool it down, then continue working.

9. Repeat

It may a few attempts to achieve the desired results where the angles on the tip are equal. With experience, this will become easier. Keep working the bit until you are satisfied.

10. Drill a Test Hole

To check how the bit drills, grab a piece of scrap wood and make a few test holes in it. If the drill works properly, you can continue using it as normal. If not, you might need to do some more grinding until you achieve the desired result.

How Do You Drill Through Hard Metals?

  • Wear Goggles: Always protect your eyes when drilling through metal. There is a strong possibility of pieces of debris flying off as you drill, which is especially dangerous if your face is near your work.
  • Use Clamps: You need to prevent the material from moving if you want to drill precise holes. Clamps will hold your project in place, leaving your hands free to focus on your work.
  • Place Wood Underneath: It is a good idea to place a strip of wood under the metal to prevent the drill from damaging your table. This will also protect the bit when you withdraw it. You can also place a strip on top of the metal, which will help guide the bit and keep it on course. This will reduce the risk of walking when the bit meets the surface of the metal.
  • Use a Punch: A punch creates a dent for the bit to grip. This will help you drill more accurately and reduces the chances of the bit wandering before it starts to bite into the metal.
  • Deburr the Hole: Don’t worry about buying an expensive deburring tool. You can simply place an oversized twist bit in the hole and turn it by hand. This will remove any shards and deburr the surface of the hole.
  • Lubricate: Lubrication reduces resistance and makes it easier for the drill bit to move. Less friction also means less heat, which will help keep your drill bit sharp for longer.
  • Take It Slow: Drilling through metal requires more torque and less speed. The harder the material, the slower you should go. At faster speeds, you run the risk of wearing out your drill bit due to the increased friction and heat.

FAQs

What Drill Bits Stay Sharp the Longest?

Cobalt drill bits are designed to stay sharp under extreme temperature changes and heavy-duty drill work.

This is because cobalt is a stronger and harder metal than the steel usually found in most drill bits and can therefore withstand a large degree of wear without losing shape or sharpness.

Cobalt drill bits are also more resistant to heat and cracking from intense drilling, making them more reliable for frequent, heavy-duty drill use.

The alloy blend in cobalt also aids in its strength, allowing it to break through tough materials with slow drills and steady pressure. Without this alloy blend, regular steel would become too hot during these operations.

Altogether the increased hardness, durability, and specific alloy blend used in cobalt make them ideal for extended usage with high-pressure drilling tasks.

Will a Cobalt Bit Drill Hardened Steel?

It’s possible to drill hardened steel with a cobalt bit. It requires more pressure and energy since hardened steel is far more difficult to penetrate, but the job can be done.

It’s important to ensure you have the correct type of bit because the cobalt alloyed with other materials allows the cutting edge to remain dense and sharp for longer periods of time.

Also, it helps dissipate heat better, allowing you to put more pressure on the bit without damaging it. With its increased strength, toughness, and durability, a cobalt bit makes a great choice for drilling into harder materials like hardened steel.

Can I Use WD-40 for Drilling Metal?

The use of WD-40 can be very beneficial during metal drilling. It can reduce the friction between the surfaces, make drilling easier, and boost overall performance significantly. In addition, it can protect the surface from rust and can make the tools used for drilling last longer.

Suppose you are considering using WD-40 for metal drilling. In that case, however, you must bear in mind that it contains powerful chemicals such as silicone oils as well as hydrocarbons and petroleum solvents that can cause damage to both equipment and material alike if used improperly or excessively.

Nonetheless, its benefits can be invaluable when used appropriately and safely.

Are Cobalt or Titanium Drill Bits Better?

When it comes to selecting the right drill bit, the main consideration is usually the material that one is looking to drill into.

Cobalt and titanium are widely used materials for drill bits, each with unique properties that make them suitable for different materials. Titanium drill bits tend to work excellently on softer materials, including wood and plastic.

On the other hand, for harder materials such as cast iron, cobalt drill bits are far superior due to their superior heat resistance, strength, and strength-to-weight ratio.

What Are the Strongest Drill Bits You Can Buy?

Cobalt bits are definitely the strongest drill bits you can buy and is the best route for high-performance, durable drill bits.

They’re perfect for those who need a reliable tool that they can use on various materials without worrying if their bit will eventually give out in the middle of the job. Whether you need to work on stainless steel, hardwood, concrete, etc., cobalt drill bits are sure to do the trick.


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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.