Drill bits are an important tool for creating holes in various materials, including metal.
When drilling through metal, it is important to use a drill bit that is made of a material that is hard and resistant to wear, as well as one that is capable of cutting through the specific type of metal you are working with.
There are a few different types of drill bits that are well-suited for drilling through metal, including the most common, High-speed steel (HSS) drill bits, Cobalt drill bits, titanium drill bits, and Carbide drill bits.
Each one has its unique advantages and is used for particular metallic materials.
When selecting a drill bit for drilling through metal, it is important to consider the specific type of metal you are working with and choose a drill bit that is suitable for that material.
It is also important to consider the size and depth of the hole you need to create, as well as the type of drill you will be using.
Choosing the right drill bit can be pretty challenging. There are plenty of options available but knowing what is the best for your material requires some research.
To help you, we have done the research so you don’t have to! Below, we have selected five of the best drill bits for metal so you can choose which one suits your needs better.
We will discuss the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision by the end of the article.
Best Drill Bits For Metal
Drill America D/A29J-CO-PC 29-pc Cobalt Set
We start with one of the most renowned drill bit manufacturers, Drill America.
These M42 cobalt bits hold up extremely well when drilling through just about any material. We decided to test them through various materials and found that they were exceptionally good at drilling through hardened steel.
These drill bits feature a 134° split point, providing a steady and productive drilling speed.
If you have onsite drilling to do, the jobber length bits do a great job. They are manufactured in line with the National Aerospace standard of907, so you know you’re getting a good quality product.
You can drill up to around 30 percent faster with these drill bits compared with conventional M2 high-speed bits due to their sheer strength.
You can also enjoy more rigidity with these bits as the shafts are not ground down. However, you’ll require half an inch of chuck to drive them efficiently.
For high tensile strength, tough materials, such as stainless steel or titanium, this Drill America D/A29J-CO-PC 29-pc Cobalt Set is a great option.
- Come in a shatterproof case – drill bits are stored safely in a hardened round case
- Ideal for tough materials – can easily drill through hardened steel and other tough materials
- Maintain a sharp edge – even after numerous drills, the edges remain sharp for long-term use
- Bit sizes are only slightly marked – hard to tell what sizes each drill is, especially after a few uses when marks wear off
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COMOWARE Drill Bit Set
Another reputable manufacturer in the world of drill bits is Comoware, and this 29-drill bit set is the perfect example of their excellent quality.
These Comoware drill bits are superb for drilling through numerous kinds of metal thanks to being HSS (high-speed steel) with a 5% cobalt coating.
You can also find these bits with a percent that is a little higher, too, if required.
This set contains 29 drill bits, making it ideal for odd jobs around the house and yard. But, if you’re in need of a larger set, you can take a look at Comoware’s 115 drill bit version. There are also smaller kits on offer, such as this 10-piece product.
These drill bits can power through some of the most hardened metals, including Damascus steel. This type of steel is heat treated meaning it is very strong and durable.
Regular drill bits would hardly make a mark on such material. However, when testing these Comoware drill bits on Damascus steel, we found that they worked with ease.
Drilling out five or six holes was an absolute breeze with no indication that the bit had even been used at all. It remained sharp with no wear marks whatsoever.
- From a reputable, reliable brand – you know you’re getting a good quality product when buying this Comoware set
- Drills easily through hardened metals – maintains its shape and sharpness after drilling through very tough metals
- Available in different sizes – can choose between different drill bit set sizes to suit your requirements
- Can sometimes seize up – some reviewers have reported that the drill bit seizes up when halfway through metal
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Stroton Metric M42 8% Cobalt Twist Drill Bits Set
Next up, we have some of the toughest drill bits on the market. With a Cobalt coating and a higher concentration, these Stroton drill bits come under the category of M42 drill bits.
They have an 8% coating and come with 19 straight shank pieces, allowing you to drill through some of the most hardened metals out there.
Whatever metal you have, these drill bits should be able to do the job nicely. You’ll just need a steady hand, some patience, and some lubrication to get the best holes possible.
Reviewers online have said that these Stroton drill bits drill through any material they put in front of it, so we had to give them a go. The good news is, we completely agree!
These drill bits have well-engineered, sharp tips and the cutting edge progresses through the metal nicely.
The ultra-sharp bit edges are capable of cutting through metal and creating long strips of iron chips, instead of simply grinding slowly through the material as you would with a regular or blunt drill bit.
- Ultra tough coating – the Cobalt coating helps the drill bits last longer and drill through tough materials
- Can drill through most hardened metals – whatever metal you need to drill through, these drill bits should get the job done
- Wear and chip resistant – will keep their sharpness after long-term use
- Prone to snapping in some cases – some custom reviews state that the drill bits snap easily after some use
EnerTwist Drill Bits
Need some hex-shank drill bits? Look no further than these EnerTwist drill bits. This 16-piece kit is extremely versatile and has all the drill bits most commonly needed. There are also minuscule sizes in the kit, such as 1/16-inch and 3/32-inch drill bits.
Unlike some of our other kits on this list, this EnterTwist drill bit set is not suitable for some of the hardest metals, like heavy-duty steel. Instead, it is best for softer alloys. But, it does its job very well and the bits are hugely reliable over a long period of time.
The drill bits themselves come in a well-organized, heavy-duty plastic storage case and are coated with titanium nitride for supreme durability and to reduce heat build up when in use.
In fact, they last up to six times longer than regular drill bits! They are also made from high-speed steel to get the job done effectively every time.
You can use these all-purpose drill bits on a variety of materials, including wood, fiberglass, plastics, and metals including copper, aluminum, mild steel, and zinc alloy. But they are not to be used on concrete or masonry.
- Long lasting – last up to six times longer than standard drill bits thanks to their design and titanium nitride coating
- Versatile – can be used on many materials to get odd jobs done whenever needed
- Comes in a heavy-duty plastic storage case – well organized set that is protected by a tough case
- Not suitable for heavy duty, hardened metals – more suited for softer alloys, mild steel, aluminum, and zinc alloy
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Milwaukee Red Helix Cobalt Drill Bits
We finish our best of guide with one of the very best drill bit brands on the market, Milwaukee.
These Milwaukee Red Helix Cobalt drill bits are designed with a variable flute that helps to clear up any debris after drilling, something we all know too much about!
Also, these bits are around 30 percent faster than the majority of 135° split-tip drill bits we have tested.
With such a unique design, these cobalt drill bits do their job very efficiently. They also remain cool when in use, too. However, their tips are a little thin compared to others but their shorter design means this shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Moreover, the flutes have been extended toward their shafts resulting in a compact drill bit with a similar drill depth as other longer examples.
As for the 135° split point tip, this aids you when starting to drill a hole. The larger bits are also designed with a chip breaker to reduce heat build even further.
When testing these drill bits out, we were very impressed by how quickly they drilled through metals and removed steel remnants in tight, tidy spirals. We found these Milwaukee bits were best for drilling into steel, especially carbon steel.
If you have a thick, hard metal that will not be penetrated by regular drill bits, this set should do the job well. And, if they ever become dull after long-term use, you can sharpen the cobalt steel blend for continued use.
- Unique design – made with a 135° split point tip that helps to keep the drill bit cool when in use
- Drills quickly – much faster drilling than many of its competitors so you can get the job done quickly and efficiently
- Have a variable flute – clears away debris after drilling to leave your area mess-free
- A little thin towards the top – the drill bits are somewhat thin at their tops, meaning they can be a little more brittle than other larger bits
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Now we have shown you our selection of the best drill bits for different types of metal, you may be gearing up to purchase one right away.
But, before you make your final decision, there are some important factors to consider when looking to buy the best drill bit for your needs.
Below are important points to consider, so you can make an educated decision on which drill bit from our list suits you best.
When drilling through metal, it’s important to choose a drill bit that is made of a hard, durable material that can withstand the high temperatures and pressures of drilling.
Some common materials used in drill bits for metal include high-speed steel (HSS), cobalt, and carbide.
High-speed steel (HSS) drill bits are a good choice for drilling through softer metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper.
They are relatively inexpensive and can withstand high temperatures, making them a popular choice for many drilling applications.
Cobalt drill bits are made from a combination of cobalt and HSS and are known for their durability and ability to withstand high temperatures.
They are a good choice for drilling through harder metals such as stainless steel and cast iron.
Carbide drill bits are made from a combination of tungsten carbide and cobalt and are known for their extreme hardness and ability to withstand high temperatures.
They are the most expensive type of drill bit and are typically used for drilling through the hardest and toughest metals, such as titanium and inconel.
In addition to choosing a drill bit made from a durable material, it’s also important to consider the type of point on the drill bit.
For drilling through metal, a split point or a 135-degree point is usually a good choice because it helps to prevent slipping and allows for more accurate drilling.
All in all, there are several types of coatings that can be applied to drill bits to improve their performance when drilling through metal. Some common coatings include:
- Titanium nitride (TiN) – This coating is applied to the surface of the drill bit and helps to reduce friction and heat build-up while drilling. It also increases the drill bit’s wear resistance and can extend its lifespan.
- Titanium aluminum nitride (TiAlN) – This coating is similar to TiN, but it can withstand even higher temperatures and is more resistant to wear. It is often used on carbide drill bits for drilling through very hard materials.
- Cobalt – This coating is applied to high-speed steel (HSS) drill bits and helps to increase their wear resistance and lifespan. It is a good choice for drilling through harder metals such as stainless steel and cast iron.
- Gold oxide – This coating is similar to black oxide, but it is more corrosion resistant and can withstand higher temperatures. It is often used on cobalt drill bits for drilling through very hard materials.
- Black oxide – This coating is applied to the surface of the drill bit and helps to reduce friction and heat build-up while drilling. It also provides some corrosion resistance and can extend the drill bit’s lifespan.
Make sure to select a drill bit that is the appropriate size for the job. Larger drill bits will be able to drill through thicker metal, while smaller bits are better suited for thin materials.
Brand And Price
Consider the reputation of the brand and price of the drill bit before making a purchase. It’s generally a good idea to invest in high-quality drill bits, as they will last longer and perform better than cheaper options.
And, the more reputable a brand or manufacturer is, the higher chance there is of the drill bit being high quality and long lasting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need To Use Lubricant When Using Drill bits On Metal?
When drilling into metals such as brass or aluminum, it is pretty straightforward. But, when drilling into harder metals like steel, it becomes more challenging and a great deal of heat can be generated. When this occurs, the drill bit can become blunt and cut more slowly.
When drilling in industrial settings, a coolant or cutting fluid is used as lubricant on the drill bit’s tip.
When doing DIY jobs at home, you can use multipurpose oil, such as three-in-one. The drill bit will still generate heat, so allow it to cool down before handling.
How Do You Secure Metal For Drilling?
When drilling through any material, you need to ensure it is stable and secure. Otherwise, it will move about and the hole will be disjointed and there is a greater risk of injury.
You should secure metal with clamps or a vise. This will hold the material firmly against a bench top or worktop so you can drill safely and efficiently.
Jake is a tool guy – think Tim Allen from Home Improvement but with a much drier sense of humor. He lives in the great state of Ohio and plays the guitar on his downtime. He also spends his time writing on all things tools and DIY-related as this is his passion.