Every project requires the right tools and when it comes to using a drill it is essential the right bit is used to ensure both the material and the drill itself are not damaged. Each type of drill bit is designed for use on a specific type of the material and knowing which one can sometimes appear confusing.
This is why we have put together a guide to drill bits. It will help you to match the drill bit to the material and drill you own, meaning you are fully prepared to begin work on your project equipped with everything you need to produce a high quality finish.
SDS+ Drill Bits
There are three types of SDS drill bits available: SDS, SDS Max and SDS Plus drill bits. While the differences between the three can appear minimal at first, the Plus drill bits are the most common type used. These are an upgrade on the original SDS drill bits and can also be used on the original and any of the Plus drill models.
Bosch SDS-plus S4L 5.5mm drill bits are designed for work on masonry and concrete thanks to its optimised drill bit flute surface and can be used in all Bosch rotary hammer drills. SDS Plus drill bits can be purchased with diameters between 5-30mm.
SDS Max Drill Bits
Used in materials such as limestone, concrete and masonry, SDS Max Drill Bits are not only durable but when maintained well tend to last for long periods of time. They are designed to work with all SDS-Max rotary hammers and provide ease of use to ensure great value for money combined with high quality performance.
While the Plus range can be attached to rotary hammers between 2-5kg, SDS Max drill bits are designed for larger sizes over 5kg. This also means the diameter range is larger, allowing for options between 12-35mm.
SDS+ Chisels & Points
SDS Chisels and points can be used in any SDS-Plus rotary hammer drill and can be purchased either as individual pieces or in sets. For example, the Bosch SDS Plus Pointing Chisel is carbide tipped and can be bought as a single item. The Makita D-16368 5 Piece SDS Plus Chisel Set features five pieces: 2 x Bull Points, 2 x Cold Chisels and 1 x Scaling Chisel.
In the majority of cases SDS Plus chisels and points are either self-sharpening or long-life which ensures the buyer always gets true value for money. The chisel bit types include:
Flat: Featuring a wedge-shaped end and used for removing material from reinforced materials.
Spade: A flat chisel with a raised edge put to use for removing dirt, concrete residues and more.
Gouging: Used for drilling small halls into concrete, featuring a hollow chiselled point.
Pointed: Concrete and masonry can be easily broken up using this pointed chisel.
Tile: An angled chisel shaped with a flat end that is used to remove tiles from walls and floors.
SDS Max Chisels & Points
Similar to SDS Plus chisels and points, the SDS Max chisel and point range can also be purchased individually or in sets, depending on the buyer’s requirements. The Bosch SDS Max Excavation Chisel is an example of an individual drill bit, featuring a length of 400mm and made to cut into concrete and masonry up to 110mm.
SDS Max chisels and points fit into any SDS Max drill and because the majority are able to self-sharpen, they ensure longevity of use. The bits available are:
Flat: Used to remove concrete and masonry and other small areas of material.
Comb: This features teeth at the end of the bit which makes it ideal for repointing bricks.
Spade: Great for restoring steel and when dirt and concrete needs to be removed from surfaces.
Tile: Used specifically to remove tiling from floors and walls.
Pointed: The pointed tip enables concrete and masonry to be demolished.
Asphalt cutter: Aesthetically similar to a flat chisel but wider and used to restore and finish asphalt.
Gouging: The half-mood-shaped end is hollow and used for drilling holes into masonry for wiring.
Digging spade: The rounded end of the bit is designed to dig into ground materials such as hard soil.
Metal Drill Bits (HSS)
These are also referred to as twist or high-speed steel (HSS) bits. The strength of their design means they can also be used on wood or plastic if required, although drill bits for these materials should never be used on metal. In most cases a metal drill bit will feature a cylindrical shank but can also be made with quarter inch hex shanks, which enables the user to use the bit on drills such as cordless screwdrivers or impact drivers.
The Bosch 25-Piece Metal Drill Bit Set features bits with diameters from 1-13mm for use in various types of iron and steel. Other types of metal drill bits include reduced shank HSS bits which allow a hole larger than the chuck to be created, and HSS river bits which are used only to cut holes into rivets.
Wood Drill Bits
Auger, paddle and brad point drill bits are the three main types used to cut into wood and special pieces can also be purchased for use in woodworking projects:
Auger drill bits: When a clean, deeper hole is required to be drilled into wood, auger bits are typically used due to the spiral shafts and screw tip, which also helps to clear away dust and wood chippings. This can be seen in the clean design of the Makita P-49183 Auger drill bit.
Paddle drill bits: The pointed tip opens up the material with the spade design pushing through to form a large, wide hole which can range anywhere between 6-38mm.
Brad point drill bits: Also sometimes known as W-point or dowel bits, the pointed feature (the brad) at the tip make brad point drill bits instantly noticeable. It serves as a good alternative to a twist bit and produces a clean, accurate hole. The Bosch 8 Piece Brad Point Drill Bit Set features pieces ranging from 3-10mm, designed specifically for use on wood.
Masonry Drill Bits
The reinforced material in masonry drill bits enable them to cut into thicker, harder material such as stone and concrete. Depending on the type of drill it is being used with – be it rotary or percussion – this will determine the type of bit required, such as hexagonal, cylindrical, spade or others. Due to the energy produced masonry drill bits can heat up quite quickly and unless used correctly can chip and damage the tip easily.
The Bosch Multi Construction Drill Bit is intended for this very purpose. Alternatively, the Makita Diamond Core Bit is ideal for hard surfaced materials and can be used on granite, limestone, slate, bricks and much more.
Glass & Tile Drill Bits
Drill bits made for cutting into glass and tile feature carbide which enables them to drill into the material without irreparably damaging the material. This is because these types of surfaces are prone to breaking extremely easily, but when used in conjunction with the right material preparation, this can be avoided.
The Bosch 4-Piece Multi-Purpose Drill Bit Set contains a range of drill bits for use on various materials including tiling and ceramics, each one featuring carbide for a cleaner finish.
Combi drills – such as the Makita DHP456Z 18V LXT Combi Drill allow the user to drill into the material and the functionality to allow for a screwdriver bit to be attached. The Bosch 8Pc MAXgrip Brute Tough Bit Set features Titanium Nitride coating which ensures they maintain a long lifespan. There are 8 drill bits in all, all 49mm long ranging from Ph1 to Pz3 in size.
Chucks & Keys
A chuck is a specialised clamp designed to hold the drill bit firmly in position during use. Not only does it ensure the user remains safe at all times, but it means the bit can be fully controlled to maintain high performance levels. Many modern drill chucks do not require keys to tighten or loosen them but those that do must be used correctly to keep the bit firmly in place.
Like any other part of the drill the chuck and key can be worn down and damaged and specific model numbers or brand types require the exact version to replace them. The Bosch SDS Quick Change Chuck illustrate that as it can only be used on Bosch SDS drills, while the Makita 763432-9 Chuck Key replaces S13 Chucks only.