A power drill's body provides the muscle, but the drill bit actually does the work of driving screws into wood, drilling holes into metal, and punching holes into drywall or glass. Johnathan Brewer, a licensed general contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board, adds, "By placing a piece of tape around the drill bit at a designated spot, you can use the tape as depth gauge for how deep you would like to drill," thus simplifying your task by eliminating the need for separate measuring devices.
Note that you can use all of these drill bits with either a corded or a cordless drill. Thomas Hawkins, Master Electrician and owner of Electrician Apprentice HQ, says that ideally, an avid DIYer or handyman should own both a cordless and a corded drill, adding that, “The corded-versus-cordless debate depends upon the project. If working in a tight area where you don't need a lot of power but need versatility, go cordless. But if you're not restricted in your movements and especially need extra power, go corded. It all boils down to what you're trying to accomplish.”
We evaluated drill bit sets based on versatility, durability, and completeness. Our top choice is the IRWIN 29-Piece Drill Bit Set, thanks to its strong cobalt steel construction, which can penetrate even cast iron.
Here are the best drill bits for all of your DIY needs.
IRWIN Drill Bit Set
Drills through hard metal
This set earns the best overall spot because of the wide range of drill bits included and their versatility. Whether you're an experienced handyman or a beginner, you will appreciate a kit that gives you everything you need and more. IRWIN packed this kit with 29 drill bits made with super-strong cobalt steel that can drill through even hard metals such as cast iron with ease. Each bit has a split point, which helps prevent the bit from "walking" across the surface being drilled, rather than penetrating. That's especially helpful when drilling into harder materials, and it reduces the chance of damage to the surface you're working on.
The kit contains 29 bits ranging from a 1/16-inch to a 1/2-inch bit in 1/64-inch increments. Bits larger than 3/8-inch have reduced shanks to allow them to be used in a standard 3/8-inch chuck drill without need of an adapter, adding to the versatility of this set.
The tap and drill selection chart is very helpful for those who are new to power drills and drill bits, and the sturdy case keeps the wide range of bits from falling out or twisting around inside of the kit when in transit.
Price at time of publish: $109
Material: Cobalt steel | Bits Included: 29 | Use For: Drilling metal and other hard materials
Best for Stainless Steel
Drill America 1-Inch Reduced Shank High Speed
Good for hard materials
Not part of a set
Drill America has made a high-speed shank drill bit that slips effortlessly through stainless steel to create perfect holes without leaving behind a path of grit or rough sides. The wear-resistant round shape of the shank has three sides with flat ends that create a good grip when they come in contact with the chuck. The spiral flute at the end of the bit pulls the material being drilled away from the work surface so it won’t clog the hole. The surface of the drill bit is treated with abrasion-resistant black oxide for a long-lasting tool accessory.
Aside from stainless steel, it can be used for iron and bronze projects, as well as drilling into wood. If your projects often involve metal, this tiny workhorse performs well and produces professional results. It has a 1/2-inch shank.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: High-speed steel | Bits Included: 1 | Use For: Drilling metal and other hard materials
Best for Hardened Steel
DEWALT Titanium Drill Bit Set
Strong and durable
Some duplication of smaller sizes
Getting through hardened steel can be difficult if you're not using the right drill bit. With the wrong drill bit, the point may bounce back or dance across the surface instead of making a dent in the tough substance. DEWALT created the Titanium Pilot Point drill bit set to power through the often-difficult process of drilling into hardened steel; the bits are highly durable and resist chipping, stalling, or dulling, even after many uses.
This set of 21 titanium drill bits is made to last. The bits are ideal for a number of jobs in a wide range of industries, from drilling out broken bolts, adjusting manifolds, or removing exhaust systems, to fixing or installing car engine parts. These drill bits are designed to prevent chipping in the hardened steel and to dissipate the heat that can build when working with this durable material. They can also be used to drill wood and plastic.
Price at time of publish: $27
Material: Titanium | Bits Included: 21 | Use For: Hardened steel, wood, other hard materials
Best for Wood
Fisch 10mm Set of Chrome Vanadium Brad Point Drill Bits
Clean holes without chip buildup
Good range of sizes
Not suitable for hard metal
No storage case
Using the wrong drill bit on wood can lead to disastrous results. It can reduce the aesthetic of the item or cut up the wood in a way that renders it useless for the screws or fasteners that you intend to install. Wood drill bits need to create holes that are clean and neat, as most of the work will be seen and admired. Fisch has created a brad point drill bit set that drills precise and clean holes, time after time.
The long-lasting bits are made of hard chrome vanadium steel. Each bit in the highly versatile Fisch 8-piece set has beveled edges for crisp, clean holes that are attractive and useful. Along with both hard and soft woods, the bits are good for drilling into laminates.
Price at time of publish: $39
Material: Chrome vanadium | Bits Included: 8 | Use For: Wood
Best Titanium Set
Bosch Titanium Metal Drill Bit Set
Titanium coating reduces friction
Suited to most materials
Some complaints of smaller sizes breaking
It is a durable coating that extends the life of the bit and bores through material faster than its counterparts, which is why titanium is one of the more popular materials on the drill bit market. The Bosch Tl14 14-piece titanium twist kit has a plethora of pieces to get through wood, sheet metal, plastic, Plexiglass, and vinyl siding, and it is strong enough to cleanly bore through cast-iron surfaces. Each drill bit is coated in titanium nitride.
Bosch’s speed helix design gets the right bit through the correct material faster than other drill bits. The titanium bits last six times longer than high-speed steel and have a balanced double flute that significantly cuts down on vibration. That will save time, prevent muscle fatigue, and increase the lifespan of the drill battery on projects.
Price at time of publish: $28
Material: Titanium | Bits Included: 14 | Use For: Metal, wood, plastic
Best Value Set
Comoware 246-Piece Drill Bit Set
Very comprehensive set
Suited to all types of materials
High-speed steel with titanium coating
Some complaints that the case is flimsy
If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a set, we recommend the Comoware Drill Bit Set. The kit is affordable and chock full of a wide variety of bits as well as a host of fastening and driving applications. It has 246 strong and long-lasting bits to get through the hardiest of materials or gently pierce a perfect pinhole in the thinnest sheet of steel, glass, wood, plastic, or drywall.
Each bit is coated in high-speed steel (HSS) material titanium and is compatible with most impact drills and drivers. The set includes four spade drill bits, 30 black oxide HSS twist drill bits, 17 wood drill bits, and 21 masonry drill bits in a wide variety of sizes, along with many other tool accessories to create a complete, all-inclusive drill bit kit.
Price at time of publish: $46
Material: High-speed steel | Bits Included: 246 | Use For: Metal, wood, plastic, other
Best Professional Set
Makita Impact Drill-Driver Bit Set
Can be used with impact drivers
Suited to most types of materials
Some complaints of bits breaking or stripping
Makita has successfully produced an affordable and professional-grade kit stuffed with bits for nearly any job requirement. The 70-piece kit has a full range of tools for fastening and driving as well as drilling. Each bit is coated in black oxide paired with a Makita-only heat treatment for a corrosion-resistant and long-lasting tool accessory. The bits are designed to work well with 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch driver drills or 1/4-inch impact drivers.
The bits are manufactured using high-speed steel with precision 135-degree split point tips. It cuts down on the drill bit walking across a slick surface of glass or metal or chattering, for a more precise result. The UltraLok 1/4-inch hex shanks allow for quick changes of drill bits.
The affordable price tag is a bonus on top of the quality and durability of this set. You'll be using these bits for a long time.
Price at time of publish: $31
Material: Black-oxide coated steel | Bits Included: 70 | Use For: Metal, wood, plastic
Best for Concrete
DEWALT Masonry Drill Bit Set
Carbide for extra strength
Suited to all types of masonry
No storage case
You'll appreciate the quality and design, as well as the strength of these bits, when tackling tough masonry, concrete, brick, rock, and artificial stone projects that eat up other brands' drill bits. Each bit is fluted to reduce the amount of dust that flies from the surface as the drill bit digs into the concrete or other masonry material.
While intended for a hammer drill, you can use these drill bits with your standard drill as well, but be aware that the going will be much slower. This tidy package of drill bits can cut through concrete quickly and easily without making a dusty, clumpy mess. The carbide construction of each bit cleanly drills into masonry surfaces. The no-spin shanks reduce vibration and wear and tear on the chuck. The kit has a wide-range of bit sizes, from a pinhole 3/16-inch to a sturdy 1/2-inch bit for bigger jobs.
Price at time of publish: $19
Material: Carbide-tipped | Bits Included: 7 | Use For: Masonry
We love the IRWIN Drill Bit Set for its completeness and quality; it includes 29 high-quality drill bits for just about any need you might have. But if you are watching your budget and don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of quality, the Comoware 246-Piece Drill Bit Set includes an amazingly large selection of bits that are suitable for most light drilling tasks.
What to Look for in a Drill Bit
- Steel: These are the least-expensive drill bits, but they are only suitable for soft wood and other materials.
- High-Speed Steel: Harder than regular steel, these bits can tackle harder wood, as well as aluminum, PVC, and fiberglass.
- Titanium-Coated: These pricier drill bits don’t create as much friction as steel, so they reduce the heat produced while you work. They’ll effectively drill through most woods, fiberglass, soft metals, and PVC or similar plastics.
- Carbide-Tipped: Pricy, but these drill bits are very durable and stay sharp much longer than steel—even high-speed steel—and titanium options. These are mostly used to drill through tile, masonry, or concrete.
- Black Oxide Coated: These general-purpose steel bits have a special coating that helps ward off rust and corrosion.
- Cobalt: Typically the most expensive option, these super-strong bits are used mostly for drilling through metal, including steel and iron.
There are two sizes to consider when choosing drill bits: the shank and the point. The shank is the part of the bit that fits into your drill’s chuck. You’ll need to choose bits with shanks equal to, or smaller than, your drill’s chuck. Standard chuck sizes are 1/4-inch for light-duty drills, 3/8-inch for standard drills, and 1/2-inch for heavy-duty drills.
The pointed end of your bit is the business end, and drill bit sets contain a range of point sizes. Many DIYers find that 1/16-inch to 1/4-inch drill bits are sufficient for most household tasks, but if you deal with tougher drilling situations, such as construction, carpentry, or major household repairs, you’ll want to add some larger bits to the mix. Useful larger bit sizes include 5/16-inch, 3/8-inch, 7/16-inch, and 1/2-inch.
There are many different types of drill bits, generally differentiated by their intended uses. Here are some of the most common:
- Twist: This is the most common type of drill bit. It is useful for general-purpose drilling into wood, plastic, and light metals.
- Spade: Shaped something like an oar with a point in the middle, these heavy-duty bits are for drilling large holes in wood.
- Brad-Point: Similar to a twist bit with a looser, larger twist, brad-point bits are for wood, and they create large, clean holes.
- Auger: These long, twisted-ribbon-shaped bits have a screw-shaped tip that pulls the rest of the bit into and through wood.
- Forstner: Used for drilling flat-bottomed holes that don’t go all the way through the wood.
- Countersink: Also called "screw pilot bits," these are used to drill pilot holes or holes that let screws sit flush to the surface of the wood.
- Glass: Specialty bits for drilling into glass.
- Masonry: Specialty bits for drilling into brick, masonry, or concrete.
- Tile: Specialty bits for drilling into ceramic tile without causing cracks or chips.
- Step: Shaped something like a round arrowhead, these bits are mostly used for drilling into metal.
Can you sharpen drill bits?
You can indeed sharpen most twist drill bits, and doing so not only keeps the bits more effective, it also increases the safety of your drill, as dull drill bits are more likely to slip or skid across hard materials.
There are electric drill-bit sharpeners available that make quick work of restoring the point to your twist bits. You can also tackle the job yourself with a bench grinder or a rotary tool with the appropriate grinding attachment. Another option is to use a metal sharpening file to do the job by hand.
Are drill bits universal?
As a general rule, various brands of drill bits can be used in any brand of drill, as long as the drill bits are sized to the drill’s chuck. The chuck is the part of the drill that clamps the bit in place. Common sizes of chucks are 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch. You cannot use a bit with a shank that is larger than your drill’s chuck.
How do you clean drill bits?
Keep your drill bits in tip-top shape by cleaning them whenever necessary. This task is easily accomplished by wiping them with a clean cloth after use (wait for the bit to cool down first) or for more stubborn grunge, using an old toothbrush to scrub away sawdust, drywall dust, or other caked-on materials.
If your drill bits are rusty, submerge them in a bath of white vinegar for at least 30 minutes, and then use an old toothbrush or a metal cleaning brush to scrub the rust away. Rinse the bit thoroughly in clean water, and dry completely before using it or storing it.
What is a left-handed drill bit?
Most bits twist in a clockwise fashion towards the right. Left-handed bits, however, turn counterclockwise towards the left. These bits were originally designed back when power drills didn’t have reverse functions requiring nothing more than a flick of the switch to set—it was easier to use a left-handed bit rather than set the tool to reverse manually.
Today, left-handed bits are still sometimes used for removing bolts or other fasteners that have broken off inside the hole, making them very difficult to remove by hand. By drilling slightly into the broken fastener with a left-handed bit, you can often loosen the broken screw enough to pull it out and remove it.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience, not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs.
For this roundup, Michelle considered dozens of drill bit sets, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and customer feedback. She also received advice from Thomas Hawkins, master electrician and owner of Electrician Apprentice HQ, as well as Johnathan Brewer, a licensed general contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board.