Different Types of Drill Bits and Their Uses

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Drills are an indispensable tool for a repair or building toolkit. Whether assembling things or creating a place to hang your family portrait from, a drill is an absolute essential.

Equally important, then, is to choose the right kind of drill bits for your machine. This is important for two very obvious reasons.

The first being each type of drill is suited for a specific task. Hence you must choose according to your purpose.

The other reason is that you must not use bits that drilling the capacity of your machine cannot match — something which can prove extremely damaging to your drill.

With all that being said, let us dig straight into it. Here are the twelve most commonly used drill bits and their specific uses.

Top 12 Drill Bit Types and Their Uses

1. Augur Bits

Augur Bits

These bits are easy to use. They give you well-drilled holes and even have structural modifications that trap and remove pieces of material that may have remained in the hole. These bits are commonly used for drilling on wooden surfaces.

More specifically, they are ideal for wood that is dry and thick. In addition, their characteristic shape with ridges allows easy penetration of the surface without the need for excess effort from the worker.

2. Step Drill Bit

Step Drill Bit

Versatile and convenient, these bits are, as their name implies, shaped like a staircase. Starting narrow from the tip before widening by the time you reach the base of the bit. This structure allows these to be used for creating different-sized holes.

Additionally, they may be used for increasing the width of holes created with other bits. The type of surface they are tailored for are usually soft and thin. Lastly, these are made with a titanium nitride coating that helps dissipate all the built-up heat from drilling activities.

3. Spade Bits

Spade Bits

Smooth, clean work goes out the window when it comes to these. Spade bits are normally used for creating holes that are rough and uneven. The tip, unlike most other bits, is shaped similar to a paddle, and the surfaces on which they can work are limited to the wood of the softer variety.

However, while all that may sound unimpressive, these bits most certainly have their widespread use. In particular, they are used very commonly for creating paths for cables to pass through.

4. Spear Point Bits

Spear Point Bits

These are drill bits of the more sophisticated variety. They are designed for drilling holes into glass and ceramic. Their work is smooth and requires very deliberate use. In particular, it is absolutely ill-advised to apply the drill with a hammer action.

Furthermore, coolant must be supplied to prevent the excess build-up of heat. Water is the most common coolant for these machines. The tip is perhaps the most impressive part of this device. Diamond ground and coated with tungsten carbide, its action involves shaving as opposed to cutting. 

5. Self Centering Bits

Self Centering Bits

Designed for the very specific purpose of creating the required pilot holes for hinges and other similar contraptions, these curiously shaped bits are essential for individuals involved in such work.

They derived their name from the mechanism of their action. When applied, a spring-loading mechanism launches the bit into the hole.

After this, it readjusts its position so as to create a properly centered hole. These bits are also specific for the kind of screw that needs to be drilled into the holes they are being used on.

6. Diamond Bit

Diamond Bit

Used by masons, these bits are used for drilling hard surfaces like porcelain. The work involved is highly technical, requiring the drilling action to be inclined at 45 degrees to the surface being drilled.

You’ll have to adopt a progressively straighter orientation as the drilling commences. The drilling speed must be kept slow, and the coolant will be required for the machine.

7. Spur Point Bit

Spur Point Bit

It is another type of bit used for wood, as well as plastic surfaces. These have a characteristic structural feature of two spurs jutting out near the tip. This ensures a straight posture during the drilling process. A variety of hole sizes are possible with these bits. The work is clean and of high quality.

8. Rivet High-Speed Steel Bits

Rivet High-Speed Steel Bits

As the name implies, these are used for drilling holes into rivets. A key feature of these bits is that they have a flute at either end. Doubling the number of holes, one would be able to drill using these.

One drawback is that they are unable to drill deep. The holes created with these bits are shallow. In addition, they can only be applied to metal surfaces that are not too thick.

9. Cobalt High-Speed Steel Bits

Cobalt High-Speed Steel Bits

Now we have come to the real heavy hitters. These bits are made using cobalt steel alloy, and precision grinding is used for the process. They are capable of drilling through materials such as stainless steel, cast iron, bronze, etc. Also, they are designed to withstand high temperatures and abrasion.

10. Titanium Nitride High-Speed Steel Bits

Titanium Nitride High-Speed Steel Bits

They get their name from the titanium nitride coating on their bodies. This modification significantly increases the lifespan of these bits and how much they can be used. Decreasing friction helps minimize heat build-up. The surfaces on which they can be used include wood, metal, plastics, etc.

11. Brad Point Bits

Brad Point Bits

Designed for wooden surfaces, these bits work by cutting the diameter of the hole before the center of the tip penetrates the surface. Resulting in extremely clean holes. They also come with rubber rings that the user may adjust in order to choose how deep to drill.

12. High-Speed Steel Bit

High-Speed Steel Bit

These are arguably the most common of all drilling bits. They are used for most common drilling purposes and are ideal for surfaces such as wood, plastic, and metal.

The shank is usually shaped like a cylinder, although these can also be modified. And the modifications allow these bits to be used with other devices such as cordless screwdrivers for work that may not require a power drill.


And there you have it! While by no means exhaustive, this article has listed the most common drill bit types that you are likely to encounter and call upon for your various tasks.

Our guide can be found here another post:

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