Types of Drill Bits


Most everyone, from a seasoned carpentry expert to the average Joe-Blow-DIY-Home Improver, comes across a situation when a particular drill bit is required for a job. To get the right kind of hole for the job, you need to know what bits are available and how to best use them. But with the hundreds, or possibly thousands, of bits out there, a little guide to the "what's what" of drill bits can come in quite handy. Some types of bits include, but are not limited to, twists, masonry, paddle, uni-bits and holes. Having a drill bit kit or set of twist drill bits is ideal, but, depending on the work you do or the application you are going to perform, you will need a specialty bit to get it done fast and the right.

Twist Bits

  • Twist drill bits are the most common type you come across. They come in many sizes and are incredibly versatile because they drill metal, wood and plastic. Predominantly used for drilling smaller holes, these standard bits are easily sharpened with a drill bit sharpener, making them reusable for a long time. Expensive versions have a titanium coating, which is incredibly durable when drilling metal. Titanium bits also hold their sharp edge longer due to the strength the coating process gives them.


  • A uni-bit is a must have for all craftsmen. One uni-bit can drill out multiple sized holes with the luxury of not having to change bits in the middle of a job. It allows you the ability to perform step drilling in wood or metal while giving you a perfect sized hole for each job. Another nice feature is, for example, if you have drilled a hole that is a 1/8 inch too small, you can use this bit to fit in and drill the next size up and still get a new perfectly round hole. This is difficult to accomplish with other drill bits.

Masonry Bits

  • A masonry bit is a must-have for doing anything in concrete, brick or tile. You should use a hammer drill when using these drill bits, but it is not required. Also have some water handy for helping cool the bit as you are drilling. These bits wear down quickly, even with the high-durability tips on them. Use a drill sharpener or grindstone to sharpen the tips.

Paddle Bits

  • A paddle bit is intended for wood use only; the center point sets the bit at the point of drilling, and the flat paddles on either side cuts away the wood. These bits are also known as flat bits and are used for drilling large holes, but they are not good to use to enlarge a previously drilled hole. There is a large amount of splintering with these bits, so try using a piece of scrap board on the back side with a piece of tape on the top to drastically reduce the mess. Paddle bits are a "bit" harder to sharpen on your own, but it is possible to do when using a fine file or grinding stone or wheel.

Hole Saw

  • A hole saw does exactly what the name says: it cuts wide, fixed-width holes. These can vary in size from 11/16 inch to 6 inches. These are also a must have for many trades and are available from many suppliers in combo packs that come with the arbors and hole saws in numerous sizes. Not only for wood, a hole saw can also be purchased for cutting metal.

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