Drilling into metal can be a tough proposition. Don’t use the correct bits and you are just asking money as you will quickly blunt your inadequate blades, rendering them useless. You need to have the right bits for the job, but what drill bits to use for metal? let’s have a look and find out.
HSS Drill Bits
HSS stands for High-Speed Steel is a special type of tool steel that is commonly used for metal cutting drill bits. These bits often also have a titanium coating to help improve their life span.
HSS drill bits are probably the most common metal cutting drill bit. They look like a regular drill bit but are just made from a better quality of steel. They commonly have a coating then applied onto the steel to increase the lifespan of the bit.
The differences between different manufacturers can come from what coating is used and also what specific HSS is used. There are different versions of HSS all with varying properties.
Below are the bits I have in my van and use whenever I need to go through metal. I have mentioned it many times before on this site but you can never really go wrong with Bosch bits. They are always good quality and more often than not a good price also.
Step Drill Bits
These cone-shaped drill bits can cut various size holes from a single drill bit. The sides of the bits are step to different dimensions, so you just drill down to the size you need.
These can be made from various different metals but nearly always have a titanium coating to make them stronger. This is what makes them suitable for use on metals, rather than the metal used it is more to do with the coating.
Step bits are more for sheet metals than anything else. If you only want to drill a small hole you obviously don’t have much depth before you are drilling on the next step!
Because you will only be going through something thin with these I recommend just getting something cheap, like the step bits below.
Cobalt Drill Bits
Despite the name, cobalt drill bits are usually only 5-10% cobalt. This little bit of cobalt can make all the difference though. These bits are the next step up in toughness after HSS bits.
They can operate at higher speeds than HSS bits without getting too hold and also tend to retain their sharpness longer. If you have a tough metal to go through then go with a cobalt drill bit.
Again I have recommended the Bosch bits. As you can see these are a chunk more expensive than regular HSS bits. You only really need this quality of metal drill bit if you are planning on doing a lot of metal work.
For more everyday use I would recommend just sticking with regular HSS drill bits.
Planning on doing some heavy-duty drilling? You will want the right drill bit for the job, make sure to read these posts.