What are the strongest drill bits? : A comparison

This is an insight conducted by Quality Tools UK investigating what is the toughest drill bit available on the market. This guide will explore the various drill bits and what they are made of and list the top seven strongest options.

Strongest Drill Bits - Quality Tools UK


1.    Carbide

Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten Carbide is by far the strongest drill bit available for any user. Drill bits manufactured from Carbide are tough and extremely hard with a high heat dissipation. This allows it to hold an edge for a lot longer than other drill bits. They are the perfect high-quality Tool for production drilling projects. Most common uses for TC Drill Bits are in Masonry applications, such as drilling through brick or concrete. However, Carbide Bits are quite brittle. This means they are not best suited in hand drills or drill presses. Another factor that is prominent in these types of drills is cost. Tungsten Carbide drill bits can potentially be quite expensive due to the strong capabilities of the bit through tough masonry materials.




2.    Cobalt


Drill Bits made from Cobalt are a stronger alternative to the standard High-Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits. Not as tough as Carbide, these are more than capable of elevated temperature, friction and can retain their hardness well. Cobalt Drill Bits are considered one the best options for drilling into hardened steel materials. Despite this, they can be quite brittle, thus making their lifespan very questionable for certain users and their applicational requirements.




3.    Diamond

Diamond (Carbon)

This is one of the hardest drill bits on the market. Polycrystalline Diamond (sometimes simply referred to as PCD) is the greatest drill bit for hard-line materials such as ceramic. As such, these drill bits are often used for tiling applications for professional tilers, bathroom fitters, kitchen fitters and other trades people of similar applications. PCD Bits can drill through tiles with minimal damage to the surface material and without excess dust from the drilling process. The encrusted tip of the drill bit provides remarkable durability whilst the diamond coating maintains a smooth precision finish to any drilling activity. They can also be used for drilling stone or porcelain. Diamond Drill Bits are not best suited to Metal Surfaces and can be difficult for angle drilling.




4.    Titanium Nitrate

Titanium Nitrate

Titanium Bits are a strong contender for drilling hardened steel. The coating allows for a higher strength and lifespan compared to High-Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits. They can drill through most metal material including Sheet Metal. A drawback to Titanium Coated Drill Bits is the difficulty to sharpen without reducing the wear of the material and potentially damaging the drill piece.




5.    Oxide Coating Options

Oxide Coated Drill Bits utilise the same High-Speed Steel material but with added coating to strengthen it within metal drilling applications. There is a diverse range of Oxide coated drill bits on offer, all suited for several types of drilling.

  • Black Oxide – The popular choice for oxide coated drill bits is Black Oxide. It is also the most basic coating for a drill bit, utilised to reduce oxidisation of a drill and maintain heat resistance and lubrication. They are a much more cost-effective alternative to Titanium Drill Bits whilst being a stronger resilient alternative to standard HSS Drill Bits. These drill bits use the HSS material and then add an extra layer of black oxide coating to ensure extra heat treatment and reduce friction to provide the ultimate power performance.
  • Bronze Oxide – With a bronze coating added to a drill bit to increase tempering whilst relieving stress, these drill bits are exemplary at identifying cobalt steel.
  • Aluminium Oxide – These coated drill bits provide a more abrasive approach to drilling materials. This helps to create a dust-free environments as well as a reduction in particle shattering. Due to the abrasive nature, these drill bits are often considered for violent blasting of surface materials. Costs can be a disadvantage to these as Aluminium is considered an expensive metal.




6.    High-Speed Steel (HSS)

High-Speed Steel

Although High-Speed Steel (HSS) is only ranked sixth on our list of strength, HSS is the most common Drill Bit material for most users/consumers. Its economical lightweight general-purpose design and structure makes it more than ideal for common drilling applications in various metals, plastic, wood, and other materials. HSS bits are tough and resistant to heat. As a result, HSS is suitable for high-speed operation and provides a long-lasting performance. Constructed from carbon steel with the addition of additional elements such as chrome and vanadium, HSS Drills are incredibly durable and are well suited for drilling into metal surfaces like Steel, Iron, Brass, Copper and Aluminium Alloy. These are perfect for everyday DIY tasks and proven to be a useful accomplice for any construction worker/trades person on any heavy-duty building/fixing project.




7.    Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel Drill Bits are quite easy to manufacture and can be very cost effective for consumers. The downside is that they are much less durable compared to the other six listed. When put to use on a high strength piece of metal such as Steel, carbon drills may become more prone to dulling or even breakages. These drill bits are better on more soft media such as Wood or Plastic and can often be used on lighter non-ferrous metals. The cost-effective simplicity of a Carbon Steel appeals to drill users but for even the simplest of DIY Tasks most people often opt for HSS as a reliable solution for their needs.




Quality Tools UK Free Next Working Day DeliveryIn Conclusion

Whilst most users will find that High-Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits will be the most adequate solution for any small-scale DIY project. This guide provides an insight into a range of different drill bit materials and coating that can be of benefit in a much larger and potentially more challenging environment/application.


Quality Tools UK offers a range of Twist Drills, Core Drills/Annular Cutters, Weld Point Drills and Step Drills for any application. All with Free Delivery on Orders over £50.





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