The Best Drill Bits for Common DIY Projects
Get the lowdown on drill bits so you’ll know which ones to buy and rely on for all kinds of drilling tasks and DIY projects.
When assembling a tool kit for home improvement, maintenance, and construction projects, one of the first items purchased is often a power drill, followed by an assortment of drill bits. These attachable cutting implements are what bore into surfaces, drilling a wide range of hole types and sizes. There’s a nearly endless supply of drill bits on the shelves of home improvement stores in different types, sizes, and material options—each suited to specific tasks—and a DIYer must know the appropriate one to use. Keep reading to find out how to choose the right one for the job and why we’ve picked the below as the best drill bits on the market.
- BEST BRAD POINT DRILL BITS: COMOWARE Brad Point Drill Bits Set
- BEST TWIST DRILL BITS: BOSTAL 60-Piece Drill Bits Set
- BEST COUNTERSINK DRILL BITS: COMOWARE Countersink Drill Bits Set
- BEST FORSTNER DRILL BITS: Freud Precision Forstner Bit Set
- BEST SPADE DRILL BITS: DEWALT Drill Bit Set
- BEST HOLE SAW DRILL BITS: EONLION Hole Saw Kit
- BEST STEP DRILL BITS: Neiko Titanium Step Drill Bit Set
Shopping Considerations for Choosing the Best Drill Bit
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.
In the United States, standard drill bits are most often sized in fractional, 1/64th inch increments, commonly ranging from 1/16th inch up to one inch. If you need a larger hole, you can opt for a spade bit or hole saw bit. Bit size may also be labeled in millimeters and decimals, but don’t worry about trying to figure out which sizes are equivalent—conversion charts are posted everywhere bits are sold, and they can be found online as well.
While all drill bits are made from metal, some types of metal are better than others for drilling holes in different types of material.
- Carbon steel bits are designed for drilling in wood; they shouldn’t be used to drill through metal because they tend to heat up too quickly and may break.
- High-Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits are made by combining alloy metals with tungsten or molybdenum to create a bit that withstands high temperatures better than carbon steel bits. HHS bits are suitable for use on wood, soft metals, and fiberglass.
- Titanium HHS bits feature a thin titanium coating that reduces friction and helps the tips stay sharper, longer. Titanium-coated HHS can be used on wood, fiberglass, hard plastics, and soft metals, such as lead and aluminum.
- Black oxide HHS bits feature a thin coating of oxide that helps reduce rusting and corrosion, making them a good choice for use in humid or wet conditions. They are suitable for use with most surfaces, including wood, thin metal (such as copper sheeting), and fiberglass.
- Cobalt drill bits are manufactured by combining steel alloy with cobalt to form a super-strong drill bit. Cobalt bits are designed for drilling through metals, including aluminum and stainless steel.
- Tungsten carbide drill bits are harder than HHS bits and are used almost exclusively for drilling through ceramic tile and masonry, although the bits’ brittleness makes them more prone to breaking.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST BRAD POINT DRILL BITS: COMOWARE Brad Point Drill Bits Set
For precision drilling in wood, it’s hard to beat the COMOWARE Brad Point Drill Bits Set. The flutes in the sides of the carbon steel bits carry wood chips out and away for smooth, clean holes in solid wood and wood fiber products. Available as a set of six that ranges in size from ⅛- to 1-inch, these accurate, durable brad point drill bits belong in every woodworker’s tool chest.
2. BEST TWIST DRILL BITS: BOSTAL 60-Piece Drill Bits Set
For drilling small holes in wood, cast iron, alloy steel, and hard plastic, count on the BOSTAL 60-Piece Drill Bits Set. This all-around set of twist bits is made from high-speed steel and boasts a titanium coating for durability and rust resistance. Ten bits in each of six sizes are available, ranging from 3/64- to 1/8-inch. That way, if one breaks, you’ll have another of the same size. Reviewers love having such a generous number of high-quality spares to keep on hand.
3. BEST COUNTERSINK DRILL BITS: COMOWARE Countersink Drill Bits Set
When you need to drill a hole for a recessed fastener, reach for the COMOWARE’s Countersink Drill Bit Set of seven fluted bits with sharp tips for precision drilling. The bits range in size from 3mm to 10mm and are suitable for use on wood, plywood, PVC, plastic, and particleboard.
4. BEST FORSTNER DRILL BITS: Freud Precision Forstner Bit Set
To create the flat-bottom holes needed for dowel construction, look no further than the Freud Precision Forstner Bit Set. The sharp chisel edges on the bits create flawless dowel holes without chipping or splintering the wood. Seven bits are available in sizes to match the most common dowel widths, from ¼- to 1-inch.
5. BEST SPADE DRILL BITS: DEWALT Drill Bit Set
If you need to bore a hole through dimensional lumber (while running electrical wire through wall studs, for example), you’ll need a spade bit, or several. The DEWALT Spade Drill Bit Set stands out as DIYers’ favorite, because its bits—in six sizes, ranging from 3.8- to 1-inch—feature guide spurs for precision and razor-sharp cutting edges necessary to achieve a splinter-free result.
6. BEST HOLE SAW DRILL BITS: EONLION Hole Saw Kit
With the 16-piece EONLION Hole Saw Kit, you get the saw bits you need to drill large holes in wood, plywood, drywall, and thin plastic. The set comes with hole saw bits that range in size from 3/4-inch all the way up to 5 inches in diameter, plus two mandrels, and an install plate that assists in attaching the bits to the mandrel.
7. BEST STEP DRILL BITS: Neiko Titanium Step Drill Bit Set
With three titanium-coated step bits, the Neiko Titanium Step Drill Bit Set will have you easily drilling and enlarging existing holes in plastic, aluminum, and other types of sheet metal. Bit #1 features six steps ranging from 3/16- to 1/2-inch. Bit #2 features 13 steps ranging from 1/8- to 1/2-inch. Bit #3 features nine steps ranging from 1/4- to 3/4-inch. The steps on each bit are clearly marked for easy reference.