6 Best Drill Bits for Steel in 2018 – Comparisons & Reviews

It is well-known fact that it is more difficult to drill through steel than wood, and you will consequently require a tougher drill bit to make the drilling operation much easier.  If you examine the drill bit you’ve, you will discover that it tapers to a point, which simply indicates that it is not right for steel. You can acquire a cobalt bit that is engineered specifically to drill through metals on most hardware and home improvement stores. You will require a cobalt bit because it’s a type of bit that is made of high-speed steels (HSS) in which there is more percentage cobalt in it and is as a result more than capable to drill through hardened steel. After usage, you will discover that the bit has a blunt tip and not a pointed one.

The drill bit itself is the core of a great drill setup. The bits are composed of a variety of materials; cut types and designs because the bit strength required in making holes successfully on different materials differs. In choosing the type of drill bits to acquire, you must consider the drill bit itself, the material surface to be worked on as well as other key factors. A good number of us who are new to this area assume that all drill bits can perform well on all kinds of work. This is however not correct, even though there are several bits and screws that perform commercial and industrial jobs.

This article specifically deals with the best drill bits for steel. You will have the opportunity to examine the best drill bits most brands have to offer. You will learn what to look out for to ensure that you get your money’s worth. We examine the 6 best drill bits from the best available in the market so that you will make an informed demand/choice based on your needs and budget.

Types of steel drill bits

The market is flooded with all kinds of drill bits. To ensure that you have a convenient work place, you need to be aware of the various kinds of drill bits and how they are able to work through different materials.

  1. Split point – They are specifically designed for drilling metals. It is engineered to ensure that balance is maintained when drilling through difficult materials. The different drilling points are sharper in comparison with other drills to ensure a smother cut. The major difference between the split point and the twist bit is in their support features.
  2. Twist bit – This is a very versatile drill that works effectively well with several materials. Although, it is specifically engineered to handle metal drilling operations, it can work perfectly on other materials. It is very difficult to use the twist bit for precision drilling due to its high speed. It is widely known as the Morse bit.
  3. Hole saw bit – It has the fine reputation of cutting the smoothest holes which is due in large to its design. While the circular saw cuts through, the drill features appropriately balances the saw teeth and stops unwanted movements. The Hole saw bits can be designed to drill different types of materials.

 

Review and comparison of 6 best drill bit sets for steel

  1. Drill America 29-Piece Drill Bit Set in Round Plastic Case, M2 High-Speed Steel Black, and Gold Finish

They are as a matter of fact one of the best all-around steel drill bits we have examined in years of “bits infatuation” – they are less expensive, very tough and do not break or dull out after several usage. They perform favourably well even on stubborn-ass material like ½” hardened steel. In addition, the 1/64” increments and size range of 1/16” to ½” is one of our favourite features which ensures that you have every size you require regardless of the DIY project you are working on.

If you want to make a very high quality long-term investment in your tool arsenal and also want to maintain a high level of value simultaneously, these are by far the best option.

Pros:

  • They provide the very best value in terms of price and performance
  • The 1/16” increments will ensure that all you needs are met
  • They are impressively durable and have a long life span after usage
  • In our opinion, the Gold oxide finish is rather flashy
  • They are very portable and have a carry tube which can be hung on your belt while working
  • They are a universal fit for standard cordless and corded drills

Cons

  • When compared to the likes of like DeWalt or Irwin, they are not a household name and thus do not have similar warranty/customer service attached to them
  • They are Imported

 

  1. DEWALT DWA1240 Pilot Point Industrial Cobalt Drill Bit Set (14 Piece)

These set of bits are very cheap but we won’t go as far as refereeing to them as the “El Cheapos” in the market. They are however the best overall ‘value’ option on our list for everyone who is on a limited budget.

These bits will serve you effectively well if you require a small set to perform a single project or just a single job. Do you have a piece of ⅛” angle iron that you can pop some flathead screws into? They will do the job with ease- don’t just expect them to perform that task a 100x over.

In addition, we are also in love with the Pilot Point feature- which completely eradicates drifting which can be a major problem when working on heavy duty materials like steel.

Pros:

  • The low price makes it stand out
  • The Pilot Points ensures that there is no walking and drilling commences as soon as contact is made with the material
  • They give an excellent quality for some heavy-duty jobs
  • The availability of about 14 different sizes ensures that you are able to handle simple DIY task (Are you starting a fabrication shop?)
  • Dewalt products usually have an excellent warranty/customer service

Cons

  • They do not handle sharpening very well (Once they dull out, they dull out)
  • They are not very durable

 

  1. Irwin Tools 3018002 Cobalt M-35 Metal Index Drill Bit Set, 29 Piece

These bits are simply put the direct rival/competition to the Drill America set as they are equal in almost every aspect. They are made from the same materials, contain the same number of size increments and sizes and operate the same way. Any superiority between the two is negligible.

The Drill America set gets out top pick over the Irwin set due to the price which is 25% less and also, we discovered that they compete favourably with each other based on quality and performance. But hey, if you love buying household names then these bits will work perfectly for you. (Also, even though it may not seem much of a big deal, the black oxide look of the Drill America’s better than these ones).

Finally, one cool thing we should let you know is that, the Irwin M-35 Metal Index bits also comes in a cheaper 15-piece set just in case you want to drop the cash on the full 29-piece kit.

Pros

  • The Irwin M-35 set has several “kit sizes” ”: 15, 21, and 29-piece sets
  • They have a lifetime warranty and simple customer service in case of ‘breakdown’

Cons

  • Not as aesthetically appealing as the black oxide Drill America’s
  • More expensive in comparison to the Drill America set
  • They are manufactured in China

 

  1. 29 Pc Cobalt Drill Bit Set M42 HSS 29pc USA Drills Lifetime Warranty Made in USA

To be frank, we insist that these bits are quite accurately priced as they perform way better than our go-to Drill America bits. They are incredible in performance as they are able to machine the toughest of materials like hardened and stainless steel just like a straw goes through the lid of a soft drink.

Like the Drill America set, they sport a 29-piece set in 1/64” increments from 1/16” to ½” – every range of size you’ll likely ever have a need for.

In reality though, they are just a little more expensive than the Drill America set. If you are in the market for literally a bit set that can last a lifetime and you will pass on to your grand kids a few extra bucks will give you that.

Pros

  •  Simply the finest in quality
  •  100% manufactured in America
  •  Very cool Lifetime warranty
  • They come in different sizes with 1/64” increments from 1/16” to ½”

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Not really exceptional

 

  1. Drill Hog 115 Pc Drill Bit Set Letter Number Wire Gauge M7 Lifetime Warranty USA Made

A good number of drill bits can handle some types of materials exceptionally well, but what if you are able to get one that can handle all materials? We are very sure you will love that.

In terms of versatility, the Drill Hog Drill Bits is second to none. These set of bits can perform effectively well on materials we drill every day. On examination of this excellent bit sets, we discovered that they are made from HI-Molybdenum M4 HSS (High-Speed Steel which makes them very tough and ensures that they do not fail while drilling holes in metals.

Pros

  • They are able to effectively resist torsion
  • Perform effectively with hard materials
  • High resistance to heat
  •  Easy to store and use
  • They are able to function effectively well for a Long time continuous work
  • They come in a wide range of sizes

Cons

  • They tend to break easily if they bend

 

  1. 29 Pc Cobalt Drill Bit Set M42 HSS 29pc USA Drills Lifetime Warranty Made in USA

To start with, these drill bit sets have a cobalt coating which reduces friction. Reduce friction while drilling implies that there will be less heat which also implies that this product is comparably more durable.

What makes the Co-Z HSS stand out among the best drill bits for hardened metal is because it comes with double cutting blades. They have Titanium coating and are incredibly sharp, I mean very sharp. Needless to say that the CO-Z drill set can effectively drill through metal sheets of different thickness, plastics, wood etc.

You also need to get familiar with the 3-sided crank that is a key part of this design. It helps in balancing and ensures that bits do no wobble or fall off the chuck.

However, one of the common issue with metal drill bits is the fact that they dull out with time. If you often use them, the risk of them getting dull increases. You can simply add a layer of protection; manufacturers provide customers with an aluminium case. This case is robust and classy. Quite the aristocratic look it has!

Pros

  • The cobalt coating ensures that it is more durable than its competitors
  • Balance is guaranteed during operation due to the 3-sided shank which makes the bits stick to the chuck
  • The blades have double cutting which gives superior performance on wood, plastic and metal
  • The Aluminium case ensures that the tools are safe and don’t dull out

Cons

  • They do not handle sharpening very well (once they dull out, they dull out)
  • They are not a big household name

 

Buying Guide

Most retail stores and online shops will not appropriately inform you of what is best to satisfy your needs. Often times the much needed details are not put in plain letters. You consequently need to do your personal research to discover what suits your specific needs. Even though this product appears simple and straightforward, there is need for you to be well informed before going to the market. Check out some key features we consider before buying our drill bits. These will assist you in buying the perfect one that suits your needs.

 

  • Look at the Material Your Drill Bit Set is Made With

For metal drilling operations, your drill bit’s material construction is very important. You cannot effectively drill a hole if you tool material is not good enough. A very good example is the HSS drill bits which are very hard, durable and are able to effectively drill at high speed.

The very best metal bits are made of cobalt and steel. They are characteristically hard and do not fail while drilling very thick metals. Furthermore, there are those that are made of High-speed steel (HSS) which have a rigid design but shatter under intense drilling. These are suitable for you if you work on metal sheets and thin metal planks.

 

  • What Will You Be Drilling into?

Given that, you have discovered this review, it is obvious you are in search of a tool to drill into metal. There are however different types of metals. Thus, the specific type of metal you are working with is important to make you purchase decision. A thin drill bit would be sufficient for you if you want to drill through thin metal sheets while if it’s thick sheets you will need other types of drill bits. In addition, if you are in search of metals that produce heat, some drill bit models also meet this need.

 

  • Look for the Numbers in a Set

Let us assume that you have a considerable budget and are willing to acquire the full set of metal cutting drill bits. Now what? At this point you need to compare the number of bits available in each set. Our advice is to compare the particular model you want to buy with its options. Surprised? A few modes sport different packages based on the number of bits in them.

You may also like to compare between the various brands for the number of drill bits.  Simply put, a higher number ensures that you are able to do several types of drilling operations with the product. Professionally speaking, I would most certainly pick a product with the highest number of drill bits because they are versatile and provide multiple options when drilling holes of polishing things.

 

  • How Often Will You Be Drilling Holes?

The project you are working on matters a lot. While most folks drill into wood materials some others drill into metal for their DIY project during the weekends. These people are warriors to us others are just hobbyist. While the latter may occasionally drill into thin metal sheets the former are the pros. They work on metal materials of all thickness and as such are very serious handymen. They work with different hole diameters and also polish metals for different applications.

There is a drill bit set for each category. These sets are specifically designed to cater for one or multiple operations. It is essential that you figure out your work pattern before purchasing a particular product. You do not want to buy an item that is useless and idly sits on your shelf.

 

  • The Price

To arrive at the best price you need to fully understand the projects, responsibilities and the frequency of drilling operations involved which will ultimately help you decide on the ideal drill bits to use. Also if you are in search of a product that retains it quality over time, it is advisable to go for the ones that are very durable and adaptable.

The bits that are coated with Titanium and cobalt are my personal favourite as they provide the best results. Even though they are fairly high end tools with a hefty price. Acquiring these high-end tools is really great but not always necessary especially when you are on a low budget. Ultimately, mid range drill bits can effectively perform in such cases.

 

Verdict

In general, the Drill America 29-piece Steel Jobber set is still remarkably the best drill bit for steel as far as we are concerned.Based on factors like best all-round performance, price, durability and overall value nothing comes close to this drill bit set over years of comparing them. They sport a beautifully crisp, savage bit which drills into the hardest metals and is able to stand up to loads resist abuse before requiring being re-sharpened

It is in summary an excellent value for money if for are looking to add to your tool collection and an absolute must if you want to work on any kind of steel and hard metal.

Robert P. Watson
 

Robert P. has been a DIY, woodworking enthusiast for 5 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools. He loves solving problems and crafting ideas from scratch.

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