We wrote our opinion on the best drills in general – for wood, metal, concrete, etc. In this review, we wanted to determine the best drill for working with metal. This includes hardened steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc. We even wanted to see what bits work well with hardened cylinder block bolts. We are also asked about rebar drills. This is where we turn and should lead you in the right direction.
Obviously, the best bits for hardening metals or steels come with a cobalt blend. These cobalt bits use alloys containing 5-8% cobalt. This cobalt is part of the steel blend so the hardness of the drill is not eroded by coatings such as titanium bits. It goes through the whole beat.
You can also sharpen bits, another huge benefit. This is important if you understand that cobalt drills are significantly more expensive than other types of twist drills. Unlike black oxide or titanium bits, you want to keep these bits until you really need them.
When drilling with a cobalt bit, apply a drop of oil to the metal to keep the cutting edge cool while cutting. You may also want to consider putting some wood under the steel if possible. This allows you to cleanly cut the material without hitting surfaces that can dull the cutting edge.
When we talk about drilling holes in hardened steel, we are talking about medium or high carbon steels, which are usually made using a heat treatment and tempering process. Hardened steel is durable and resistant to wear, corrosion and abrasion. Most of the steel we use in engineering, energy production and transportation is mostly hardened steel. The best metal bits can be designed for these hardened steel applications or can be optimized for speed with softer carbon steels.
Stainless steel is a steel alloy containing at least 10.5% chromium and comes in a variety of grades. Because of its rust resistance, stain resistance, good gloss, and low maintenance, it finds many commercial uses, including cookware, glassware, home appliances, construction fasteners, and surgical instruments.
However, hardened and stainless steels are difficult to drill despite differences in appearance or chemical composition. Using a drill press is often the best way to get high quality results.
The M42 cobalt bits made by Drill America are good at drilling through anything we throw at them. After testing with several materials, we chose their Jobber bits as our best hardened steel bits.
With an expected split point of 135°, these bits provide good, stable and efficient drilling speeds. Jobber length bits work very well in cordless drills for drilling holes in the field. They are manufactured to National Aerospace Standard 907. Thanks to their hardness, you can drill 30% faster than conventional M2 HSS bits. Drill America also doesn’t grind shafts on large drills, so you get more rigidity, but you’ll also need a 1/2″ chuck to drive them.
Use these bits when drilling tough materials with high tensile strength such as stainless steel or even titanium. We chose the D/A29J-CO-PC kit. It contains 29 bits in an unbreakable package. The round body makes it easy to get exactly the bits you need.
We have more information on these bits below, but we love the sturdy construction and handy case. They do a really good job on steel, keeping a sharp edge after drilling a lot of holes.
If you’re planning to drill into hardened metal or steel, we like the 29-piece Irwin M-42 Cobalt Drill Bit Set as our top metal drill bit set. Honestly, this is not the fastest exercise that gives us the go-ahead. This is due to the use of M42 high speed steel and its superior body.
Many of the cheaper cobalt drills use M35 steel with 5% cobalt. M42 steel uses a mixture of 8% cobalt. This makes it tougher. It also allows drilling at higher speeds than the M35. If you don’t intend to drill hardened steel, Irwin sells M35 cobalt kits.
Which brings us to this case. If you’re drilling a lot of holes, your drill makes the difference. Access beats can be frustrating (we’re talking to you in Milwaukee!) or very successful – like this three-tiered Irwin swing box. We like bits that are easily accessible and you can easily tell the size from the front of each bit. All in all, this set gives you the best drill bit for various metalworking applications.
Drill America D/A29J-CO-PC contains 29 drills in an unbreakable round body. They make these bits out of M42 cobalt steel so they drill very well and don’t heat up too fast. They seem to stay sharp and stay sharp even after punching dozens of holes. The round body makes it easy to get exactly the bits you need. Get the set for $106.
The 29-piece Irwin Cobalt M-42 metal drill set is very similar in performance to the M42 set. A steel mixture with a slightly lower cobalt content will heat up a little faster. You get the same good case. Transactions are expenses. You can buy this set for only $111.
We have good news for those looking for the best stainless steel drill bits. The same bits you use on hardened steel work on stainless steel as well. Hardened steel is high carbon steel that has been heat treated, quenched and finally tempered. Stainless steel alloys include chromium (at least 10%) and nickel, making them resistant to corrosion. Like mild steel, stainless steel has a natural hardness without traditional hardening.
Drilling stainless steel requires a powerful drill, the cobalt drill we recommend above. Having said that, stainless steel actually hardens when heated, so drilling slowly often helps you move through the material more efficiently. Use cutting fluid or similar lubricant when drilling holes in stainless steel and apply sufficient force to evenly remove material. Even the best stainless steel bits get hot over time, so be prepared to control heat buildup.
The Milwaukee Red Helix Cobalt bits listed in our Best Bits article feature a variable flute design for fast chip removal. too fast? Approximately 30% faster than most other 135° cotter pin drills we have tested. Their unique design not only helps them drill efficiently, but also aids in cooling. The tradeoff is that the bits are thinner towards the tip. Milwaukee countered this by making them a bit shorter than some of the others we’ve seen. However, they also extended the groove to the shaft. The result is a more compact drill with the same drilling depth.
The 135° split point tip helps start the hole, while the larger sizes feature a chipbreaker, a groove in the middle of the cutting edge to further reduce heat buildup. We love how fast these bits can drill and how well they remove steel in a tight and efficient spiral. The combination of a unique cutting head and flute design makes them our top choice for steel, especially carbon steel.
If a 1/4″ hex is missing, you can use them in a drill or drill press when you need them for thicker, harder metals.
Thanks to the cobalt steel blend, plan on resharpening the tip when it becomes dull from use. The cost of this kit makes them the best drills for steel.
We love the build quality of the DeWalt Cobalt Pilot Point bit set. It has a tapered core that progressively stiffens the bit as it approaches the base. If you’re planning on cutting stainless steel, give these drills a try – they won’t disappoint and make very clean holes in hardened steel.
Sometimes steel needs to be drilled… but steel is buried in concrete. For these purposes, you will need Diablo Rebar Demon SDS-Max and SDS-Plus drills. We like this design more than the Bosch rebar cutter because you use the same drill to drill and penetrate the rebar. With Bosch, you can drill in hammer mode, switch to a rebar cutter in rotation only mode, and then return to the original drill to finish the hole.
These drills quickly drill through concrete and then continue through rebar. At this point, you really can’t find many other competing products on the market, so here’s a simple suggestion to improve performance. We believe in charging your accessories at work, so if a simple thing saves you time and money, that’s a huge win in our book.
As we mentioned above, Bosch rebar cutting bits are an acceptable option, but they can slow things down. These drills should last a long time as they only cut rebar metal, but we prefer a general cutting solution. You can buy a Bosch rebar cutter here.
The Milwaukee Hole Dozer with carbide teeth is great for drilling in metals. It can work with stainless steel and of course there are things softer or softer than that. These are the best metal hole saws that electricians, HVAC and/or MRO can use.
Because they work effectively in both metal and wood, any professional looking for an all-around hole saw should quickly fall in love with their performance. It far outperforms bi-metal blades and cuts materials that can’t (or shouldn’t) touch carbide wood saws.
Our team uses Irwin Unibit cobalt stepped bits for any fast drilling in thin metal. The cobalt blend increases the life of these bits. Since step drills are expensive and very difficult to sharpen, we want them to last as long as possible.
Owen gave these beats a Speedpoint tip. This helps to start the hole quickly and reduces wandering. We also have to admit that these are our best metal step drills, in part because the Irwin laser engraved the dimensions inside the groove. They don’t wear out as fast as other bits we’ve used.
Multi-step drills are a viable solution for electricians and other professionals who want to drill through sheet metal and thicker materials. While we like the Irwin Cobalt model described above, Milwaukee’s 2-slot Step Bits are conveniently configured for general job site needs. You can buy these titanium nitride aluminum coated drill bits in a variety of kits ranging from $90 to $182.
Diablo step drills promise to cut twice as fast and last up to 6 times longer. In part, they attribute this to the CNC precision grinding process. We love the 132° socket tip, which virtually eliminates the need for pre-drilling. You can get them in sizes from 1/2 to 1-3/8 inches. Prices per beat range from $23.99 to $50.99.
Titanium nitride coated bits resist corrosion and abrasion. It is superior to black oxide because it increases surface hardness and better reduces heat when drilling into metal. For drilling metal, we definitely use them at least.
When working with titanium nitride, it should be remembered that it covers only the drill. As the coating wears off the cutting edge, you pretty much have to replace them. Do not use these drills on hardened or stainless steel if you want them to last.
Our best cobalt drill bits for metal drilling are made from 8% cobalt alloy (M42). You can also find these bits with 5% cobalt (M35). Since cobalt is a constituent of steel, it does not wear like titanium or black oxide coatings. This also means you can sharpen them before replacing. This helps save money when buying more expensive bit sets.
Cobalt drills are our top choice for drilling in metals, especially hardened steel and stainless steel.
We may have missed something along the way – we understand that. At some point, we have to draw a line and end the article. Having said that, let us know what you think are the best metal drill bits. Please comment below, especially if you have a “hero” story about how a particular person got you out of trouble.
It’s OK! We know that personal preference dominates when choosing the best drill and every pro is different. Do Pro Tool Nation a favor and tell us what you prefer and why you like it. Feel free to leave it in the comments below or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
Have you ever looked at “review” sites but couldn’t figure out if they really tested the tools or just “recommended” Amazon’s top selling products? It’s not us. We wouldn’t recommend anything if we didn’t use it ourselves and we don’t care who the big retailers are. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion on each product.
We’ve been in business since 2008 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting industry news for construction, automotive, and lawn care. Our professional reviewers work in the industry and have the skills and experience to see if a tool can perform well in the field.
Each year we introduce and review over 250 individual products. Our teams will use hundreds of other tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.
We consult with technology and tool design innovators to better understand where and how these products fit.
We work with more than two dozen professional contractors in the US who test products for us in real work areas and consult with us on test methods, categories and weights.
This year we offer our readers over 500 new materials absolutely free of charge, including objective evaluations of individual tools and products.
The end result is information you can trust because we collectively draw on editorial, scientific, and real world experience every time we take and test a tool.
When not playing with the latest power tools, Clint DeBoer enjoys the life of a husband, father, and avid reader, especially of the Bible. He loves Jesus, has a degree in sound engineering, and has been doing some form of multimedia and/or online publishing since 1992.
Clint’s career spanned almost the entire field of audio and video production. After graduating at the top of his class with an Associates Degree in Recording Engineering, he began working for the famed Soundelux studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films & television. After graduating at the top of his class with an Associates Degree in Recording Engineering, he began working for the famed Soundelux studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films & television. After graduating as an Associate in Sound Recording, he began working at the famed Soundelux Studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films and television. After earning a first-in-class diploma as an Associate Recording Engineer, he joined the prestigious Soundelux Studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production studios specializing in film and television audio. Clint has worked on countless feature films, honing his skills as a dialogue editor, foley editor, and sound designer. Years later, he moved into the expanding field of video editing where he spent three years as a senior video editor at AVID.
Working for such clients as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR, and others, Clint DeBoer dealt extensively with client management as well as film & video editing, color correction, and digital video & MPEG compression. Working for such clients as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR, and others, Clint DeBoer dealt extensively with client management as well as film & video editing, color correction, and digital video & MPEG compression. Working for clients such as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR and more, Clint DeBoer has been active in client management as well as film and video editing, color grading and digital processing. video and MPEG compression. Working for clients such as Universal Studios, Hollywood Studios, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, Sega, NASCAR and more, Clint DeBoer handles extensive account management as well as film and video editing, color grading and digital image compression. . video and MPEG. He also holds several THX certifications (Technician I and II, THX Video) and is ISF level II certified.
After founding the publishing company CD Media, Inc. in 1996, he went on to help create or develop several successful online publications, including Audioholics (with 12 years as Editor-in-Chief), Audiogurus and AV Gadgets. In 2008, Klint founded Pro Tool Review and in 2017, OPE Review, specializing in landscape and outdoor power equipment. He also chairs the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, an annual awards program that recognizes innovative tools and accessories across industries.
Clint DeBoer credits the success of what is now the industry’s largest power tool review publication to God and his wonderful people, and he hopes the company will continue to grow by quickly expanding its reach. Pro Tool Reviews rigorously reviews hundreds of hand tools, power tools and accessories every year to help users understand the best and latest products in the industry. From construction industry professionals and businessmen to serious DIYers, Pro Tool reviews are helpful to everyone, helping tool consumers shop better, work smarter, and learn which tools and products can help them stay ahead of the game.
Post time: Aug-18-2022