Save money: 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

Next to sawing, drilling is one of the most frequently performed actions in a woodworking workshop.

That is why you will have to invest in a good drill bit set, because as with any cutting tool, the quality of a drill is extremely important for the end result.

But drilling is more than just making a hole in your workpiece.

If you enter the search term – drill bit for woodworking – you will see that there are many types of them.
Each type of drill bit is used for different purposes.

Should you buy them all? If so, the investment will add up quickly. Drill bits are not cheap!

Although I am a fan of tools myself, given the wide range of drill bits I have to eliminate and decide which set to choose.
I make this elimination based on what I really need for my projects.
You will have to do the same if you want to get the essential drill bit sets for your workshop.

Fortunately, you ended up on this blog where you can find inspiration and discover which basic drill bits you need for almost all your woodworking projects.

From these 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking, you can further filter the most essential drill sets depending on your needs.

Not only will this blog make your elimination process much easier, but you will also save money by not over-investing in drill bits that you will not or hardly use.

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

Drill Bit Material: What Are Drill Bits Made Out Of?

If you look at what drill bits are made out of, you will see that 5 different types of materials are used for this. 

  • Titanium
  • Cobalt
  • Carbon Steels
  • High-speed steel (HSS)
  • Zirconium Coating

When you want to drill in softer materials such as wood, soft metals, plastic, you will be better off with Titanium Drill Bits.
The biggest benefit of Titanium is that it is a corrosion-resistant metal,  light-weighted, and strong.
It is similar to steel, although the high heat limit is slightly less. 

Cobalt Drill Bits will work well with tougher materials such as cast iron or other metals.
Cobalt is also used for drilling into materials such as stainless steel, which cannot be done with HSS drills. 
As a drawback, cobalt is a brittle material. 

Carbon steel is used to make drill bits for drilling wood.
The soft low carbon steel is not convenient to cut hard metals.
The reason why you should choose carbon steel is its relative inexpensiveness. 

High-speed steel is the most common form of tool steel used for metal drill bits.HSS bits are not only hard, but they are also much more resistant to heat.
That’s the reason nowadays HSS drills have largely replaced carbon steels.
An advantage of HSS drill bits is that they can be sharpened. 

Zirconium is not used as the main material for drilling, but as a coating. The zirconium nitride coating can increase the strength of the primary metal as well as reduce friction in drilling.

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7 Essential types of drill bits for woodworking

As I wrote in the introduction to this blog, you don’t have to buy all available types of drills. Your workshop would be filled with drill bits (which is actually a nice thought), but your wallet would be empty (which no one would want).

Below you can find the 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking with which you can finish almost all your projects.

Maybe even some types will not be necessary for your needs, so you can reduce the number of drill sets required for your workshop.

Brad Point Bits

Save money_ 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

Undoubtedly, this is the type of drill that most people think of first when asking about a drill bit for wood.

These drills are provided with a central point.
That central point ensures that the drill will not move when the drilling is started.

When you need to make an extremely accurate and clean hole, the Brad-point drill is the most ideal drill for the job.

High-Speed Drill Bits

Save money_ 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

These drills are also known as twist bit drills.
This drill looks like a corkscrew pasta and the grooves in the channel are leading sawdust away from the hole.

Auger Bits

Save money_ 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

Thanks to the screw tip that starts the hole, the drill will be pulled through the wood fast and easily.
Because of the screw tip and the length of these drill bits, you can use auger bits to drill into thick pieces of dry wood.
Thanks to the large grooves in these drill bits, sawdust will be removed from the hole fast.

Forstner Bit

Save money_ 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

I use a Forstner bit more and more for my projects.
It allows me to make large, clean, smooth holes in wood.

Thanks to the pointed tip, it is very easy to position the drill bit. The advantage of this is that you can make larger openings with the Forstner drill by letting the holes overlap.

The disadvantage of Forstner drills is that you have to pull the drill out regularly to remove chips and dust.
This drill bit is less suitable for use with a hand-held drill. A better tool for this is the drill press.

Forstner bits can have different rims that will impact the way of drilling with this type of drill. In my article, What is the difference in forstner bit rims, you will learn all about it.

Hole Saw

Save money_ 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

If you want to drill large holes, you will need a hole saw.

The hole saw features a centered drill bit that will determine the center of the hole.
A serrated cylinder is attached to that center drill that will cut the hole. The cylinders can be quickly changed by means of a quick-release system.

There are several types of hole saws. Use a bi-metal hole saw to drill into wood and metal.

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Spade drill bit

Save money_ 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

A spade drill, also known as speedbor, has a center point that defines the center of the drill hole.
The center has 2 cutting parts on the sides that look like wings.

You can use a spade drill to quickly make holes.

The disadvantage of the spade drill is that the drill hole does not always have a smooth finished appearance.

Countersink Bit

Save money_ 7 essential types of drill bits for woodworking

Do you want the head of a screw to be flush with the wood? Then use a countersink bit.

After you have drilled a pilot hole where the screw should be, you can update the drill hole with this countersink bit.

However, there are also drills that can do these two actions at once.

Please read my more in-depth article: What is a countersink bit? and how to use it properly) to find more information about countersink bits.

What are the best quality drill bits for 2021

To make it easy, I’ve selected the best sets of the most essential woodworking drill bits.

When you have a set of each in your workshop, you can handle almost any project.

Best Brad Point Bit sets


Auger bit sets


Hole saw sets

Spade drill bits sets

To dive deeper into drill bits, specifically into specialized boring tools in carpentry, you should visit my article, 6 Commonly Used Boring Tools in Carpentry (You Should Have). This article will let you discover tools to take your woodworking skills to the next level.

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I hope this information about drill bits was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.

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