The Ultimate Guide to Drill Bits

To drill through or into any type of material properly, you need drill bits that are suited to the job at hand.

There are many, many different bits available. Each has its own purpose. They are used in cordless and corded hammer action drill and heavy-duty impact drills. They are used in every type of project, from small home DIY fixes all the way to commercial, industrial-grade demolitions. With all the variety available, it is essential to have an understanding of the various types of drill bits and how they can be used. This is the best way to be sure that you are using the right bit for your job. Using the wrong type of bit is dangerous and likely to cause damage to your power tool. It will also ruin your material, which can end up costing you a great deal in the long run. 

To help you get all the information you need, we have put together a comprehensive guide to drill bits. Keep reading to find out more about the various types and how to choose the best quality bits.

Everything You Need to Know About Drill Bits

Do you really need to have specialised drill bits if there are multi-purpose bits that work for most projects? The answer to this depends on two main factors. First, the project you are about to start. Second, the material you are drilling. For basic jobs such as making small holes in walls or wood, a multi-purpose bit will be fine. 

Many projects are more complex, however. For tough materials and more intensive drilling, you will need to find bits that are made specifically for the material you are using. Using the wrong bit is never ideal. 

Here are some of the most common drill bits that you may use for various projects.


When most people think of drills, the bit they usually picture is a twist bit. These are very common and a must for every home DIY enthusiast’s toolbox. Many include multi-purpose bits that can be used on wood, masonry and plastics. Others are made for concrete and metals. The tip helps to cut through the material while the twisted design helps to remove debris as the drill moves through the material. These bits come in a variety of sizes, from very small to extra large. Standard bits for wood are made of carbon steel while those used for metal, masonry and other tough material are made of High-Speed Steel (HSS). Always make sure that you choose an HSS bit if you’re drilling into metal.


Masonry bits are used for a variety of purposes. They are powerful enough to drill into brick, concrete, stone, and heavy tiles. They have a tungsten carbide tip that is bonded onto a twisted shaft. The majority of masonry bits are used in hammer action power drills. Using poor quality, cheap bits can shatter if the action is too strong, however. Always choose quality bits and avoid adding too much pressure or speed as you drill. A slower rotational speed is best for harder materials. This will stop the tip from getting too hot. You will need to withdraw the bit often to prevent a build-up of dust. There are various sizes and lengths, be sure not to drill deeper than the flutes of the bit or it may seize in the hole. Long bits are ideal for walls.


SDS bits are, without a doubt, the gold standard when it comes to drilling into masonry. These bits are mostly used for concrete. They have a fluted shape, with a tungsten carbide tip. They are made to be used in rotary hammer tools. There are a few different types, ranging from standard to industrial. Standard bits are able to get through clay brick, fire brick and concrete while industrial bits get through lintel and other types of hard masonry. 


A common type of wood bit is the flat bit. This bit has a middle point with two raised points on each side. These help to keep the bit straight as you drill. In a power drill, this bit can cut clean holes into wood quickly and easily. These should not be used on material other than wood and plastic. For smaller holes, a brad point bit is a good bet. This twisted bit has a centring tip that ensures smooth holes. For flat bottomed holes, you can’t go wrong with a Forstner bit. Brace auger bits are roll forged bits that are best for very deep holes. They have a thread centring tip for precision drilling. Four-fluted turbo wood bits are another good bit for a range of woodworking projects. 


If you’re drilling into tiles, you need extremely tough tungsten carbide or diamond tipped bits. The standard glass and tile bit is flat, with a pointed end that is able to drill into the tile and break through ceramic and glass cleanly without shattering the material. You will always need to use a lubricant when using this type of bit. Water is a good choice. This is used to cool the tip. Stop frequently to lubricate the tip as you work. It’s safest to get a glass and tile bit that is made specifically for this material.

Hole Saw

Hole saws have a circular shape with a hollow interior. They are made to cut large holes into wood and plastic. They can cut up to 48mm in depth or even deeper depending on the type you get. You should also invest in hole saw arbors, which help to steady the saw as you work. You can use hole saws in a power drill, working at a low speed to firmly saw through your wood. For smooth holes, it’s best to saw through until halfway, then turn the wood and saw the other way until you get a clean hole through the wood. You also get combination hole saws that feature a variety of round saw blades in various sizes. 

Whichever type of bit you choose, taking care of your bits is essential. Always keep them in cases or boxes - preferably those they came in - so that they do not fall out into your toolbox. Keep them clean, too. If you use the right bit for the job, take care not to force the bits into materials, keep them safe, and shop for quality bits from trusted manufacturers such as Ruwag, your drill bits should last a long time.