So you’re looking for the best drill bit and came to see what we have to say about the subject. First of all, thanks – we appreciate that you look to us as a source of unbiased information! There are a ton of drill bit options available – everything from high-end woodworking to DIY megapacks. There are endless opinions as to who makes the best drill bit in every application and there are certainly many quality choices for Pros. To help you sort it out, we asked our Pro team what they turn to when it’s time to grab a new set of bits in a variety of situations.

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Black oxide is a coating over the steel drill bit to add corrosion resistance and reduce friction between the bit and workpiece. It’s a good general-purpose design that’s suitable for wood, metal, plastics, and composites that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The downsides are that they don’t stay sharp as long as some of the other twist bit options out there and you lose the benefits as the coating wears off the cutting edges.

Whether you’re in a pinch or just need to replace a set, Ryobi’s Black Oxide Drill Bits are less than $15 for a set with 21 pieces that cover 1/16″ to 1/2″. Their 135° tips help reduce walking at the start of your hole. It’s our choice for the best drill bit on a budget.

Titanium nitride is a coating you can use instead of black oxide that does the same job of resisting corrosion and friction. The added benefit comes from increasing the surface hardness and creating a thermal barrier that reduces heat buildup. The result is a drill bit that lasts longer than black oxide.



Titanium drill bits tend to drill faster than black oxide and chips move through the flutes better. One of the downsides is that the titanium nitride is just a coating and you lose the benefits as the coating wears off the cutting edges. Another is that you’ll need to pay more for these.

Titanium is a good choice for metal and wood cutting. You’ll want to look elsewhere for concrete/masonry and you’re better off using your inexpensive black oxide bits for plastics and composites.

Milwaukee Shockwave Titanium drill bits are our choice for the best drill bit in this class. Their 1/4″ hex shaft make them suitable for use in both drills and impact drivers. Milwaukee uses what they call Red Helix – variable width flutes – to eject chips better than standard designs. They also go with a 135° tip to help cut in more quickly and reduce bit walking.

Cobalt drill bits are made from an alloy of 5% – 8% cobalt. Because the cobalt is part of the steel blend, its benefits run through the entire bit instead of wearing away like a coating. That characteristic also makes them an excellent candidate to sharpen rather than replace. With a much higher price tag than black oxide and titanium, you’ll want to go the sharpening route to save money.

Cobalt bits are capable of drilling through just about everything, though most Pros reserve them for metal drilling due to their cost. That’s a good move – you don’t want the one bit you own that’s able to drill through cast iron getting dull on everyday tasks that less expensive bits are perfectly capable of tackling.

When you need to pick up a set, give Milwaukee’s Red Helix Cobalt Bits a shot. Just like their titanium bits, they have the Red Helix variable flute design and 135° tip. They don’t have a 1/4″ hex shank, though, so you won’t use these in your impact driver. Considering their primary goal in life is to drill well in metal, you don’t want to use them in an impact driver in the first place. When you’re looking for the best drill bit with a cobalt blend, this is what we turn to.

When you start looking at drilling in concrete and masonry, most Pros turn to their rotary hammers. The common denominator for SDS-plus and SDS-max bits is the use of tungsten carbide cutting tips and that’s what Bosch turns to for their Daredevil Multi-Purpose Drill Bits. Carbide is tough enough to cut through any material and you can’t help but see it on blades for cutting wood, metal, composites, and even demolition.

Taking that material and optimizing the tip design, Bosch creates a drill bit that’s legitimately useful across all the major material categories. They’re more expensive than black oxide, titanium, or cobalt options, though. The cost may leave you buying just the specific sizes you need as you come across them. However, the 5-piece set will cover the most common sizes you’ll need without turning to a rotary hammer.

As you move beyond a 1/2″ hole diameter, you move away from traditional twist bits into some different options. One of the most cost-effective is a spade bit. Sometimes called a paddle bit thanks to its shape, spade bits throw chips out as they cut rather than sending it up through the flutes. It makes for a much cooler slow-motion video but generally leaves a larger mess. Unlike your standard twist bits, spade bits are really only good for making holes in wood.

While there’s plenty of room for debate when you’re talking about the best drill bit in different applications, Bosch Daredevil Spade Bits enjoy a fantastic reputation and large market share. In fact, they recently exceeded 50 million bits sold. That’s impressive.

What’s more impressive is the legitimate performance that comes along with the reputation. A threaded tip and wave design give the Bosch Daredevil an advantage over most of its competition. It cuts faster and relatively cleaner than other spade bit options. As icing on the cake, it has a 1/4″ hex shank so it will fit in your impact driver.

Another way to drill larger hole diameters is an auger bit. These have a threaded tip that pulls the bit forward as it rotates in wood. Their flute design is much deeper than a twist bit with a shallower angle and excels at moving material out and away from the hole. Its strong, full-fluted design makes it an excellent choice for drilling larger holes through thick or stacked material.

When the best drill bit for the job is an auger bit, we look to Bosch and their Daredevil lineup. Among the standard auger bit benefits, you’ll find that Bosch looks specifically to enhancing performance with cordless drills. The head allows you to stay in high speed for a wider range of diameters and the tips help improve your runtime and durability.

Price is definitely the name of the game here and most Pros will just pick the sizes they need. Bosch has a 3-piece set I carry that includes 5/8″, 3/4″, and 1″ bits for just under $35.

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Stepping away from wood and moving back into metal, you’ll find a need for step bits (AKA unibits). These are among the best drill bits for making holes in thin metal, like sheet metal or breaker boxes. A step bit starts with a short pilot, then moves through a series of increasing widths as you move from one step to the next.

They’re great for moving beyond your standard twist bit sizes and eliminating the need for a punch for holes up to 1-1/4″ or a little more. They also feature a flat flute with a slight taper at each step. This gives you the ability to drill in sheet metal and other thin metals that might deform if you cut through at an angle. In addition to making new holes, they also excel at enlarging existing ones.

The downside is that you’re limited to around 1/8″ as your thickest material. This will also be one of the most expensive single bits you own, with prices often exceeding $50 for some sizes. Just keep in mind that you cover multiple sizes with each bit.

Our team reaches for an Irwin Unibit Cobalt Step Bit when thin metal drilling is on the menu. The cobalt blend gives the bit a much longer life – an important point considering these are very difficult to sharpen. A Speedpoint tip gets the hole started quickly and helps reduce the amount of wandering your bit does. It seems like a small thing at first, but Irwin laser etches the measurements on the inside of the flute where they won’t wear off over time.

We know we didn’t cover every category of hole making accessories like hole saws and didn’t touch driver bits, either. While we chose to draw the line where we did, keep your eyes open for more buying guides to cover those accessories down the road!

That’s okay! We know personal preferences take a front seat in determining the best drill bit, and every Pro is different. Do Pro Tool Nation a favor and tell us what your top pick is and why you love it. Feel free to put it in the comments below or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

At Pro Tool Reviews, we have our finger on the pulse of the tool industry. We’re constantly keeping up with the latest press releases and researching the newest tools. The most relevant tools for our Pro audience make it into our editorial calendar for review. We do hands-on reviews of more than 200 tools each year as standalone evaluations. We run dozens more through our head to head tool shootouts. Additionally, we get our hands on hundreds of other tools at media events and trade shows throughout the country and internationally. With a team of Pro reviewers across every major trade involved in the construction process, you’re sure to get an expert opinion every time.

An avid endurance athlete, Kenny has competed in triathlons (he's an Ironman) and various other fitness activities. Still, his passions lie with his faith, family, friends, and his love for well-designed power tools. With a background in science, you'll often find Kenny chatting up engineers at media events to get caught up on the latest tool technology.

Not sure which comment didn’t make it through. I didn’t see anything with your name on it in the spam or trash folders. Might have just been lost around the event horizon…

I’ve used the titanium shockwave drill bits. I’ve experienced very rapid dulling on some of the bits. I drill wood and drywall almost exclusively. From my experience, I don’t think they are worth the price. They are, however, much more resistant to snapping off than Dewalt bits I’ve used before.

I’ve been very impressed by the cobalt bits I have from Milwaukee. The difference between them and black oxide or titanium when drilling through steel is huge. Definitely worth it.

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