In this guide we’ll look at the best drill bits for metal.
We’ve compared construction material, range of bit sizes, case and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Metal Drill Bit Set?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
The best drill bits for metal on the UK market.
The Milwaukee Thunderweb is a real game-changer when it comes to the best HSS drill bits. They have a conical shape that makes them thicker along their entire length for extra durability and are guaranteed to create chips rather than long coils of swarf when drilling. They’re the best we’ve ever tried out.
Things to Know Before Buying Drill Bits for Metal
Drilling through any material effectively takes a bit of practice, a solid technique and the best drill bits you can afford. Investing in the best drill bits for metal is even more important because the better the bit, the less wear it’ll put on your drill, your arm and even your wallet.
Most drill bits for metal come under the collective term “HSS”, which stands for High-Speed Steel. Within that you will often see HSS-R, which stands for roll-forged bits that are the cheapest and easiest to make, and HSS-G, that are generally harder and diamond ground for extra sharpness.
The different materials used in the best HSS drill bits are hard and expensive materials such as cobalt, tungsten and molybdenum steel alloys, as well as titanium nitride coatings that reduce friction and heat transfer for a smoother drilling action.
The shank of a drill bit is the shape of the main body that you fit into the drill chuck. Most drill bit shanks are round and can easily fit into a standard keyed or keyless chuck, but you can also get hex-chuck drill bits for fitting into impact drivers.
You might find optimum drilling speed information on your drill bit set packaging- it’s important to follow these guidelines to get the most out of your drill bits and to avoid dulling or breaking them too soon. Some drill bits are suitable for drilling at slow speed, and others at high speed. You need to use different speeds depending on the material and its thickness as well.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Metal Drill Bit Set Reviews
Milwaukee 19 Piece Metal Drill Set Review
The Milwaukee Thunderweb is the best drill bit set for metal because of the level of engineering that has been put into each durable drill bit. One of the favourite tool brands among tradespeople and savvy DIYers, Milwaukee makes quality equipment that can withstand harsh working environments.
First off, these aren’t ordinary drill bits. Milwaukee have developed what they call a parabolic web cross section, basically meaning that all the bits in the set are thicker than normal. This is great news- these bits are stronger than normal ones and will stay sharper for longer, giving you more time drilling and less time searching for a new bit.
Two things that make these the best metal drill bits- the case is well thought out and stays closed, so you won’t be searching for your drill bits at the bottom of your tool bag anymore. And the last thing, you get 19 quality bits from 1 – 10 mm with a 135° cutting edge, ideal for ejecting swarf away from the tip of the drill bit.
Makita Titanium HSS 16 Piece Drill Set Review
Japanese tool masters Makita have been producing quality tools and accessories for more than a century now. You’ll find the Makita green on building sites and in workshops around the world, so we knew their P-51873 titanium drill bit set would make our list.
Coated with titanium nitride, these are extremely hard drill bits, which will help them stay sharp for a long time. The ceramic coating is a poor heat conductor as well, meaning that the bits are more resistant to the high temperatures caused by drilling into metals.
You get 16 bits ranging from 1.5 – 10 mm, and they all come in a quality plastic box that will keep them together in your tool kit.
Ryobi 19 Piece HSS Drill Bit Set Review
Another Japanese maker of quality tools and accessories, Ryobi are famous for their ONE+ battery sharing system that lets you make the most of “naked” tools that all use the same battery. But it turns out they make some of the best HSS drill bit sets as well.
Made from hardened steel and ranging from 2 – 10 mm, there’s a decent range of bit sizes, and they’ve doubled up on the really useful ones like 4, 5 and 6 mm. The whole set of 19 drill bits comes in a protective case decked out in Ryobi’s luminous green colour, so you shouldn’t lose it in the bottom of your tool kit.
Sealey 19 Piece Metric Cobalt Drill Bit Set Review
British tool brand Sealey have nearly 50 years of experience making the best drill bits for metal and other quality cutting tools. Sealey have used the high-performance properties of cobalt to make drill bits that can run at much higher speeds than their HSS cousins. They’re incredibly strong and stay cool, making well suited to cutting through metals of all kinds.
This 19-piece set of drill bits ranges from 1 – 10 mm and features the all-important 135° cutting edge on the drill tip. The case keeps the drill bits safe, and you can safely resharpen all the bits when they eventually wear out.
Bosch 13 Piece HSS Drill Bit Set Review
Part of Bosch’s Robust Line of HSS drill bit sets, the 2607010538 HSS-G is an impressive little package of quality bits. One of the biggest tool brands around, Bosch know a thing or two about making the best drill bits for metal.
You might only get 13 bits in the set, but because they’re HSS-G they’re made from harder steel than regular steel drill bits. This means they’ll stay sharper for longer and with the all-important 135° cutting edge, there’s less chance that the bit will wander during drilling.
The set ranges from 1.5 – 6.5 mm, and the bits come in a smart clear case with a hole to hang it up on your pegboard.
Wrighteu 13 Piece HSS Twist Drill Bit Set Review
This set of Wrighteu drill bits are a good example of when the best drill bits for metal don’t always come from a household name brand. They’re extremely sharp and should be ultra-durable seeing as they use HSS-E, a type of alloy tool steel that contains molybdenum and cobalt for durability.
You get 13 bits, ranging in size from 1.5 – 6.5 mm in the set. The only drawback we can think of is the case- it’s not as durable as one you might find on the best HSS drill bit set. Otherwise, it’s an excellent set for the price.
Draper 15 Piece HSS Drill Bit Set Review
One of the more established British tool brands, Draper have been making some of the best metal drill bits for more than 100 years. Offering affordable quality to DIYers and professionals alike, we were keen to get our hands on their 18549 HSS drill bit set.
This 15-pack of HSS drill bits is coated with a ceramic layer of titanium nitride, designed to be durable and long-lasting even at extreme temperatures. The bits range from 1.5 – 10 mm, and they come in a nicely designed hard case to keep everything together and ready to use.
Metal Drill Bit FAQs
Drilling metals creates a lot of heat and using lubricant like cutting oil or cutting compound is essential. It’s a good idea to use it if you want your drill bits to last for a long time as well. If you haven’t got specialist cutting oil, standard WD-40 will do a good enough job.
It depends on the type and quality of HSS drill bit you have- regular HSS bits are good for non-ferrous metals like aluminium, copper or brass, but might struggle with harder steel. HSS-G and titanium nitride drill bits can cope with steel, but if you want to drill hard materials like stainless steel, you need ultra-hard drill bits with cobalt.
Drill bit wobble, or “walking” as it’s known, is when the hard tip of your drill bit won’t stay on your mark and scratches the face of the metal you’re drilling into. To avoid this, you need a centre-punch. Made from hardened steel, you use it to make a little dent that the drill bit tip sits in, to keep everything in line.
We always recommend wearing full safety gear when operating any power tool. Protective eyewear is essential, as is hearing protection. If you’ve done any metal drilling at all, you’ll know how loud it can get. You should avoid wearing gloves when using any rotational power tools though.
Drilling through metal is a science of its own- different materials and thicknesses of materials require different drill bits and drilling techniques. We recommend looking up a drilling speed table before you attempt to tackle a new job. As a rule of thumb, you should maintain a firm pressure on the drill and start slowly, using cutting fluid.