Which drill bit should I use?
When doing DIY projects in and around the home it's important to use the correct drill bit for the job on hand, so we put together some tips on selecting the right drill bit for the task.
The drill bit you need to use for a specific project will be determined by the type of material you are drilling, the size of hole you want to make, and the depth and diameter of the hole. There is a big difference between a masonry bit and a wood bit, so to help you we compiled some tips on choosing the best bit.
Drilling into Metals
If you're drilling any type of metal, it makes sense to use a drill bit specifically designed for this purpose. These bits are made from high-speed steel, which is why they're generally called HSS bits.
Drilling Timber or Board
When drilling into soft or hard woods, plywood or board products such as SupaWood, you're going to use a wood bit. These are sometimes called a twist bit. The tip of this drill bit has a centring tip for precise positioning on wood and board products.
Drilling into Brick, Concrete or Stone
Masonry bits are designed for drilling into hard materials, but ensure that you buy a drill bit with carbide or hardened tip. Drill bits or Chinese origin are manufactured using soft steel and not known for their durability and strength. Drill bits of German, Austrian or Swiss origin are far more superior, offering both strength and durability.
The size of the drill bit you need to use will be determined either by the size of the hole you want to drill, the size of the screw, or the size of a wall anchor or wall plug.
When buying drill bits it's important to refer to the packaging. This should clearly indicate the size of the drill bit, the working length and for what material the drill bit is intended for.
Drill bits don't always have to drill right through materials. Sometimes you only need to drill a hole to a specific depth, say, for example when installing a keyhole hanger or drilling a blind hole to mount an item onto a wall.
However, if you do need to drill a hole all the way through timber or board, check the drill bit packaging to ensure you purchase a drill bit with the correct length.
Should you need to drill large diameter holes, you will need to use a Forstner bit. If you need to drill a large hole all the way through your timber or board, you can use a Forstner bit but will need to flip the material halfway and continue from the other side. This gives you a neat hole on both sides. Alternatively, use a hole saw suitable for timber or board.
The last point to consider when buying drill bits is the type of shank you need for your particular drill. For the average DIY enthusiast there is the cylindrical or hexagonal shank. These two types of shanks fit almost all drills. However, the hex shank is ideal for drills with 3-jaw chucks and also fits in hex-shank chucks and SDS Quick systems.
The SDS Quick shank is the only shank that can be used with both a hammer and impact drill, while SDS Plus shanks are for use with SDS Plus chuck systems.