Which is Best - Cobalt or HSS Drill Bits?

Whatever material you are drilling, choosing the right drill bits is essential. When it comes to bits that are extremely tough, long-lasting and less prone to wear, bits made of metal are the best choice.  When it comes to drilling harder materials, you’ll need to make sure that you choose the right drill bit for your project without any risk of damage to your material or tool. Two of the toughest bits to have on hand include cobalt bits and HSS bits. These bits will both be ideal for drilling through even the hardest of materials.

Which is the best option, though? Both are good to have in your collection as they each have their own pros and cons. With that said, knowing which bit to use for specific purposes is key. Keep reading to find out whether cobalt or HSS bits are the right choice for your project.


These bits are made of steel or another alloy and a small amount of cobalt. Their heat resistance means that they can be used for long periods without the need for frequent cooling These bits are incredibly strong. They are often a good choice for very hard materials that HSS bits cannot drill through, including stainless steel. The downside of cobalt bits is that cobalt is a brittle metal. This can affect the lifespan of the bit if it’s not stored properly, used incorrectly or not cared for properly between uses. 


HSS or High-Speed Steel bits are often considered the gold standard for higher-performance drilling. These bits can withstand higher temperatures than carbon steel and they are tough enough to withstand wear and tear. HSS bits can drill into hardwood, metal and plastic. They will last you a long time and see you through many projects. They will, however, need to be kept properly and regularly maintained to get the best results. If the bits are being used for longer periods or at very high speeds, they’ll need to be cooled. For very hard materials, these bits may not work as well as cobalt bits. 

To answer the question on which bit is best, the answer will come down to what you are drilling and how much performance you need. For very hard materials, a cobalt bit is a good choice. For other materials, you can’t go wrong with an HSS bit. 

Luckily, you don’t have to choose. Ruwag offers a wide range of bits for every type of project. From cobalt to HSS bits, we’ve got all the drill bits you need for fast, efficient drilling.

Ruwag Which is Best - Cobalt or HSS Drill Bits?