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Be Ready for Any Task with the Best Drill Bit Set

Of all the types of drill bits available on the market, twist drills are the most common because they can be used for cutting virtually any type of material. Other types of drill bits are specialty bits, used for only certain materials. I’ve decided to limit this list of best drill bit sets in 2021 to standard “jobbers length” or standard size length twist drill bits. There are other lengths available, such as “aviation bits” which are 6 or 12 inches long. However, these are rather rare and quite costly.

Twist drills come in three basic size groups:

  • Fractional drill sizes – typically from 1/64 to 1/2 inches in 1/64 inch increments. However, also available in sized up to over 1 inch.
  • Letter drill sizes – used predominantly by machinists, these sizes are essential if you are going to tap threads into the hole.
  • Wire gauge sizes – again, these are predominantly used by machinists.

The biggest enemy of drill bits is heat which reduces the temper of the metal and causes the cutting edge to dull quicker. When drilling holes, there are two things that you can do to reduce heat that your drill bit is creating:

  • Drill at a slower speed. The general rule of thumb is that the harder the material, the slower you should drill.
  • Use a cutting oil which lubricates the drill to substrate contact, reducing heat. If you don’t have an actual cutting oil, any light mineral oil will work.

Manufacturers have experimented with materials, in order to create drill bits that will last longer. This is specifically dealing with drill bits that are used to cut metals. The most common materials are:

  • Low carbon steel – Although fine for working in wood and plastic, it won’t hold an edge long for metal.
  • High carbon steel – These can be honed sharper and hold an edge much longer than low carbon. If overheated, they will lose their temper immediately and become dull.
  • High speed steel – Is a special steel alloy, formulated for drill bits and other cutting tools. It’s much more resistant to heat than high carbon steel.
  • Cobalt steel alloys – Are variations on high speed steel which contain more cobalt. This allows them to withstand temperatures up to 1000 degrees. However, they are more brittle.
  • Tungsten carbide (typically called just carbide) is an extremely hard material that can cut in just about anything. Since it is expensive and very brittle, it is normally just welded to the tip of the drill bit, creating the cutting edge.
  • Polycrystalline diamond – This is man-made diamond, sintered to a carbide support. These are the hardest bits, able to cut anything but they are very expensive, generally used only in industry, where taking the time to replace a drill bit might delay a production line.

In addition to the materials that the drill bit is made of, many manufacturers coat their drill bits with various materials, providing reduced friction or wear. These drill bits cannot be sharpened as the process of sharpening will remove the coating on the sharpened cutting edge:

  • Black oxide – The least expensive of coatings. This provides for heat resistance, lubricity and corrosion resistance.
  • Titanium nitride (TiN) – A hard ceramic material. When used to coat a high speed steel bit, it prolongs the life by two or three times.
  • Titanium aluminum nitride (TiAIN) – Is considered superior to TiN, with the ability to extend a drill bit’s life up to five times.
  • Titanium carbon nitride (TiCN) – Like TiAIN, can extend the drill bit’s life up to five times.
  • Diamond powder – This is the hardest bit coating, creating an abrasive bit, rather than a cutting bit. These bits are used for cutting tile, stone and other very hard materials. Due to the heat generated, it is typical to spray water onto the cutting point, in order to prevent damage to it.

For your reference, some of the other types of drill bits available are:

  • Step drill bits – Designed to create a hole with a counterbore or countersink
  • Unibit – Designed to cut a number of different sized holes in sheet metal
  • Hole saw – For cutting larger holes in sheet goods
  • Center and spotting drills – Used for machining, to create a starter hole in an exact location or create a place for a center on a lathe
  • Core drill bit – For enlarging existing holes, such as enlarging a cast hole in a metal casting
  • Countersink bit – For countersinking
  • Ejector bit – A hollow design so that water can be run into the hole to remove chips
  • Gun drill bit – Designed to drill deep holes, extremely straight for guns; they come up to 8” in diameter and over 20’ long
  • Left-hand bit – Used predominantly in specialize operations with CNC equipment
  • Spade bits – For boring holes in wood
  • Straight fluted bit – Used for boring in copper or brass, so that the bit doesn’t drag and dig in
  • Brad point bit – For wood boring, the brad point provides an exact center location
  • Forstner bit – For boring precise, flat bottomed holes in wood, can go up to 4” in diameter
  • Auger bits – For boring deep holes quickly
  • Masonry bit – Designed more to chip out the masonry, with a flute for removing the dust

Just a quick safety note: Always wear eye protection when drilling. Chips, dust and flakes can be thrown off by the bit, causing damage to the eyes or blindness.

Best Drill Bit Set Worth Considering in 2021

Drill Master 115 Piece Cobalt Drill Bit Set

I've picked this set for #1 more for versatility than anything else. With this 115 piece set, you get 29 fractional sizes (1/16 to 1/2 inch by 64ths), 26 letter sizes (A to Z) and 60 numbered wire-gauge sizes (1 to 60). They are cobalt for drilling the hardest materials. The 135 degree tips are aggressive enough for fast cutting. They are also split-point, which helps keeps the bit from skating. Everything packaged together in a nice metal indexed storage case.

DeWalt Tools 29 Pc. PILOT POINT Metal Drill Bit Set

What makes this set really stand out is that all the drill bits from 9/64 inches on up have a built-in pilot drill. The smaller ones are split point. What this does for you is save you time, by eliminating the need to drill a separate pilot hole and then switch drill bits. With the built-in pilot bit, you start out as if you were using a 1/8 inch drill bit to create your pilot hole, and then the bit steps up to the finished size.

Bits have a no-spin shank, which essentially means that they have three flats ground on them so that the jaws of your chuck can make positive contact on the flats. This is an old trick that I and many others have used for years, especially when drilling in metal with larger bits. Size markings are farther up the bit than normal too, ensuring that they won't get erased by the drill chuck.

The set comes in a new type of index case, with the various index pockets acting like pages in a book, rather than tipping up one after the other. I think this makes the index easier to work with and find the bit you want. About the only bad thing I could say about this set is it isn't coated with any of the exotic coatings used to reduce friction. But then, if you're used to using cutting oil when drilling in metal, that's not really much of a loss.

Bosch CO21B 21 Pc. Cobalt M42 Drill Bit Set

Bosch is known for the quality of their power tools, blades and bits. Even if you don't have Bosch power tools, it's well worth investing in their blades and bits. This 29 piece set provides all the fractional sizes from 1/64 to 1/2 inches by 1/64 inch increments, a standard for drill bit sets of this type. Like most of the bits on this list, they are Cobalt, making them harder for drilling the hardest materials. Like my #1 pick, they have 135 degree spit-point tips for rapid cutting and no skating.

Irwin Tools Cobalt Reduced Shank Drill Bit Set

This is the industry standard 29 piece set. It covers all fractional sizes from 1/16 of an inch through 1/2 of an inch by 64ths. All the bits above 3/8 of an inch have a 3/8 inch shank size so they will fit into a 3/8 of an inch drill chuck. The 135 degree split point is an advantage for self starting and the M35 designation means that these bits contain 5 percent cobalt, making them much harder than high speed steel or titanium coated high speed steel. They can be sharpened and retain their advantage because the cobalt is in the mix not a coating.

Craftsman 9-64073 Titanium Coated Drill Bit Set

This set is specified by Craftsman as having cobalt for both the finish and the material. The set has reduced shanks over 3/8 of an inch so even in the larger sizes will fit a normal 3/8 of an inch drill chuck. It is the industry standard 29 piece set covering the range of 1/16 of an inch to 1/2 an inch by 1/64 of an inch. The bits are ground to a split point for cleaner starting with less bouncing and wandering around. Craftsman's case is a clear sided plastic case, instead of the standard metal one, making it easier to see what you've got in your set.

Buyer's Guide

Drill bits sets offer extreme levels of versatility, from multiple materials, finishes to uncountable types and variants. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional craftsman, the expansive range of available drill bits will leave you confused for once. But fret not, in this comprehensive we will sort out everything that you should know when deciding the best drill bit set that is available out there.

What Exactly Is A Drill Bit?

The drill bit set is the essential tool that is attached to the drill to create a puncture or hole. These drill bits utilize torque and rotational force that is delivered through the corded or cordless drill machine. The efficient drill bits are multipurpose and can work on many surfaces such as steel, metal, concrete, wood, and glass.

What Are The Major Parts Of A Drill Bit?

It is essentially helpful to understand the anatomy of drill bits. Having the knowledge of specific parts will help you pick out the best drill bit sets easily. The drill bit has three parts, a shank, chuck, & a drill bit angle point.

Shank:

The rear end of the drill bit that goes inside the mandrel of your drill is called a shank. The non-drilling end has design variations that drill through the metal surfaces effectively. There are two types of shanks:
- No-spin shank has a flute shaped end. The shape is precisely what prevents the drill bit from slipping away.
- Hex shank is shaped like a protruding screwdriver that is suitable to drill through hard metal surfaces.

Chuck:

It is a clamp that secures the bit’s shank. Mostly the chuck comes pre-equipped with smaller drills that measure up to 3/8th of an inch.

The Angle Point Of Drill Bit:

The angle point is the tip of the drill bit that pierces through the surfaces. The angle point of the drill bit determines the suitable material for the drilling. A 135-degree drill bit is suitable for drilling into harder materials such as metals. Whereas, the standard angle of 118 degrees is to drill into the softer materials.

What Factors You Should Look For When Buying The Best Drill Bit Set

Price

When looking up drill bit sets, you must narrow down your price range. The market is saturated with the cheapest sets to most high-end options ranging from just 10$ to an upward of 100$ options. However, we advise against investing in the cheapest-priced drill bit set because it won’t last you long, and may split or break sooner than you think. Therefore, always opt for a drill bit that comes within an affordable price range but offers reliable operation and smooth function.

If you’re looking into a long-term investment that would last you through years of use, we suggest picking up a high-end drill bit set. While it will set you back a couple of dollars, you will have a whole range of bits in high-quality material and coating along with multiple accessories. Look for reviews, and always buy from a reputable brand if you want a heavy-duty drilling bit.

Warranty

The best drill bit sets come with a proper warranty promising durability and stable drilling experience throughout their use. Therefore, always pick out bit sets that come with a warranty period, as you can get a replacement if anything goes awry. The drill bit sets with a warranty also signify that the brand is delivering the perfect quality with proper customer support.

Material Of The Drill Bit

If you want to drill perfect holes in the surfaces from hard steel to softwood, you need a drill bit set that won’t crack or split due to substandard manufacturing material. Drill bits are available in many materials from high-speed steel (HSS), cobalt, carbon & carbides. Each material has its own perks and usage. For instance, carbon steel bits are suitable for wood, whereas carbide is brittle, but it will drill into non-ferrous metal effectively. So, research the proper material that will fulfill your drilling needs.

The coating on The Drill Bit

The coating on the drill bit helps to improve the drilling experience for the user. Not only does it increase the longevity of your drill bits, but coatings will also decrease friction, and heating up issues. You will encounter many different coatings from affordable priced - Black Oxide coating to steep options such as Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TIANT) & diamond powder. All are responsible for increasing the shelf life of your drill bits and reducing the risk of breakage. Most consumers opt for black oxide coated drills because they do not cost an arm & leg, but you can go for hard coating such as Titanium Nitride (TiN) if you want to extend the life of your drill bits when used on harder surfaces.

Selecting The Right Bit For The Job

If a drill bit is meant to puncture the hard metal and you use it on a wood surface, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration. When you are picking up the perfect drill bit set that’s out there, make sure that you get the right bit design, material, and coating for the job. A bit set designed for masonry and tiles specifically won’t fare well against rigid surfaces. If you are a generalist craftsman, opting for a multipurpose drill bit set will help you achieve results on different materials and surfaces easily.

For instance, a twist bit is a good option if you want a drill bit that can drill through various surfaces.

Value Added Accessories

The perks of investing in a mid-range and high-priced drill bit set is the whole range of accessories that comes with it. The superior drill bit sets come with a nicely designed bag, and they’re great for storage purposes. Since drill bits are quite small, the tag-along case reduces the chance of losing it. If you are buying a drill bit set for the first time, we recommend opting for one that comes with a sleek and stylish case.

Tips For Drilling The Perfect Hole With Your Drill Bit

Here are the basic tips and tricks to drill a hole through any surface with perfect precision.
- Start with making an indentation in the material with the center punch of the bit.
- You should always apply a cutting fluid or oil on the drill bit to enhance its longevity and avoid stress and friction
- Always drill slowly at first and then pick up the pace to avoid breakage. If you drill longer bits at high speed right away the increased friction can damage the quality and performance.
- Always take small breaks and keep your hand steady when you’re drilling in the hole to get a consistent result. Otherwise, you’ll end up with blotchy results at the end because of uncontrollable high-speed movements.

FAQs

Q: How do I maintain the drill bit set?
A: Maintenance of a drill bit is easy. Once you remove the bit from the drill machine, gently scrub any visible buildups and apply a good lubricant to make sure they do not get the rust.

Q: How many drill bits should a set ideally have?
A: As a first-time buyer, you should opt for a drill bit set with at least 14-21 pieces. Having a variety of drill bits gives the user higher flexibility and precision to drill through various surfaces and materials.

Q: Are drill bit sets long-lasting?
A: Yes, if you invest in a proper drill bit set, they will last you for a long time. The good-quality drill bit with premium material will last up to 80-200 drills. But if you carry out proper maintenance and occasional bit sharpening the drilling capacity may even increase for more uses.

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