The 10 Best Drill Bit Sets
10. Neiko 10197A
- foam-lined protective case
- require cutting liquid
- tend to dull quickly
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
9. Irwin Tools 316015 Cobalt
- can be resharpened as needed
- sliding latch keeps the case closed
- doesn't contain any metric bits
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
8. Bosch MS40
- good basic variety collection
- includes a ratchet screwdriver
- difficult to remove the bits
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
7. Makita T-01725
- 3-inch magnetic bit holder
- small size fits in most toolboxes
- not a large variety
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
6. Hitachi 799962
- duracore treated for strength
- sharp enough to drill quickly
- bits snap firmly into the case slots
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
5. Mastercraft 054-3692-6
- highly durable titanium coating
- suitable for commercial use
- keep their edge well
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. Black & Decker BDA91109
- driving bits come in two lengths
- available as a combo with a drill
- case has space for extra hardware
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
3. DeWalt DW2587
- case has a large easy to grip handle
- latches closed securely
- contains a total of 80 bits
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Craftsman 931639
- includes bits for metal and plastic
- has a stubby screw drive
- comes with an allen key
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
1. Portamate PM-1350
- includes hole saw bits
- sturdy molded case won't crack
- bit locations are clearly labeled
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
The Surprisingly Complex World Of Drill Bits
The drill is one of the most ubiquitous tools used today, found on every job site, in every auto body shop and repair store, and in almost every home across the country. Early variations of the drill involving a rotating rock or stick have been identified dating back many tens of thousands of years. Mechanically advanced drills driven by hand-operated bows date back at least ten thousand years. Improvements to the drill's force application mechanism and ever more advanced variations of drill tips continued throughout the common era, with perhaps the greatest advancement coming in the late 19th Century with the advent of the first electric drill.
Designed by Australian inventor Arthur James Arnot, the earliest electric drill was large and cumbersome, but it was effective. The year 1895, a mere half decade later, saw the development of the first truly portable electric drill. And when a trigger-operated, pistol grip style electric drill was released by the company Black & Decker in 1917, the basic design of the ideal electric drill had been discovered. Ever improved technology would add more power and would reduce the size of the electric drill over the years (and in the 1960s the battery powered drill would also enter the fray), but for all intents and purposes, the only remaining advancements to be enjoyed by the drill would be in the form of advanced, enhanced drill bits.
For every job requiring drilling, you can find a purpose-built drill bit. That's as true for drilling through basic wooden boards as it is for drilling through solid sheets of glass. There are drill bits designed for fitting doorknobs into doors and there are drill bits intended for use only in softer metals, like copper or brass. You can find a drill bit designed specifically for making holes smaller than one millimeter and, at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, there are bits that bore holes many feet across and many thousands of feet down into the earth for the purposes of oil and gas extraction.
Most of us, however, will find our drilling needs met with a much more basic set of bits. But one should still take care to choose the right set; doing so can help to save you time and keep you safe.
Choosing The Right Drill Bit Set For You
For most people simply looking for help making holes for hanging picture frames, repairing damaged furniture, or completing a few fun DIY projects around the home, a set of general purpose drill bits makes perfect sense. As long as you will only be drilling into wood, drywall, or composite materials like MDF (medium density fiberboard, a material commonly used in lower-cost shelving and furniture), then a basic set of twist drill bits, those with a spiral shape along their shaft, will get the job done with aplomb.
For more complex projects involving harder materials, you absolutely must use a specialized drill bit. Try to send a spiral drill bit into a piece of tile, for example, and you will crack the tile into pieces. Try to use a twist drill bit on a thicker piece of metal, and you will waste your afternoon, and likely ruin the bit at the same time.
While a set containing lots of different varieties of drills bit might seem like a great idea, if you're never going to drill through sheet metal or glass, there's no need to look for bits capable of so doing. Instead buy a set that meets your current needs with bits in a range of sizes (starting with a narrow bit and working a hole wider and wider is the best way to go, after all) and then consider adding a single specialty bit later if needed for a specific purpose.
Proper Use Of Your Drill Bits
You need to accept from the outset that, eventually, you will be replacing your drill bits. Even the finest drill bit in the world -- even that bit made of tungsten carbide intended for meticulous use with circuit boards or one coated with titanium nitride and designed to resist high heat -- will eventually crack, chip, or simply wear down beyond the point at which it is effective. The very nature of a drill bit's job means constant, heavy wear and tear every time it is being used.
So don't think of drill bit maintenance as preservation, but rather as delaying the inevitable and getting the best work done before it's time for a new bit (or set of bits). The simplest and best way to make the most of your drill bits is to only use them with their specified material. Not only will a bit intended for drilling into masonry do a poor job of putting a hole in piece of metal, but such use will also effect the bit's crisp wedge shape over time. A cobalt bit might stand up to the heat of drilling into stainless steel, but if there is too much pressure exerted on the bit as it bores deep into hardwood, it may well snap in half, wasting time and potentially presenting a safety hazard.
Also keep in mind that it's seldom necessary (and often inadvisable) to run a drill at its top speed. Using a moderate rotation allows a drill bit to pull out the material it has already loosened, sending bits of wood, metal shavings, or other materials away from the hole instead of pointlessly bearing down on the swarf.