Drill Bit Materials

Common Materials Used To Make Drill Bits


Most people think drill bits can only be made with one material – steel. In reality there are several different materials that can be used to make them, but the material which is used depends greatly on the purpose for the bit. Because these tools are incredibly versatile and useful, they have many possible uses. They can be used to drill into wood, glass, porcelain, etc. Generally speaking, you cannot drill into glass using the same drill bits that you would use for metals, but there are cases where bits can be used to drill more than one type of material. It is crucial that the drill bits you use are made to be able to handle the material or object that is going to be drilled.

Here you have some of the most common drill bit materials:

Low and High Carbon Steels

Although they might seem like the same material, these kind of carbon steels are used for different purposes. Because low carbon steels are softer they cannot be used to drill into metal, and drill bits made out of this material are normally best used to cut into wood. The drawback of these drill bits is they require regular sharpening in order for them to maintain their maximum efficiency; fortunately, this material is pretty cheap so your budget won’t be affected by this.
On the other hand, high carbon steels are much harder and more resistant than low carbon steels. Not only can they cut into metals and hard woods, but they don’t require as much maintenance as low carbon steels do.

High Speed Steel

HSS is a pretty expensive material just due to the fact that it can bear incredibly high temperatures without losing its form or effectiveness. Even when it gets very hot, it will keep being as hard and resistant. You might be asking why it has this function. Well, high speed drills produce an immense amount of heat on the drill bit, so they need to use bits that are heat resistant like those made with HSS.


Titanium can be compared somewhat to high carbon steel; it is almost as resistant and hard. The difference is that titanium can bear high temperatures but not as high as what HSS can handle. Titanium bits are used mainly due to their longevity and resistance, rather than their hardness and strength.


Cobalt is an extremely hard material that is used to cut into materials which even high speed steel cannot. Not only is cobalt harder, but it also bears higher temperatures. Cobalt is commonly used to drill into incredibly hard materials like stainless steel. The only downside of cobalt is that it is not as resistant as HSS. Its lifespan is way shorter and it can break significantly faster.

Zirconium Coating

There is a feature which zirconium coating provides that other materials don’t – precision. This is because zirconium coating significantly reduces friction, which makes the drill far more precise. This coating can also be used for hard materials like steel. Despite all this, they are not the most popular material for forging drill bits.

As you can see, there are many materials that can be used in the forging and manufacturing of drill bits. These materials have to vary depending on the use and the needs of the person who is going to use the drill. If the drill bit is not compatible with the material which is going to be cut, the tool will not be as effective. If you’re planning to buy drill bits, make sure the material which was used to make them is the one that best suits your needs. That way you will get the best holes and prolong the life of your bits.