How to tell if a drill bit is for metal

Written by frank luger Google
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How to tell if a drill bit is for metal
Many drill bits for metal are suitable for other materials. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Drill bits are not stamped with “metal,” “masonry” or “wood” or colour coded like electrical wires. Therefore, it is difficult to tell a drill bit’s intended purpose once it becomes separated from its pack. Most drill bits are for metal, according to DIY Data. This helps a little but you will have to examine the bit to be certain of its type.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Look carefully at the drill bit point. If it is a “wide V”-shape, it is probably suitable for drilling metal. A masonry drill bit has a flatter, squarer, spade-like end. Tile and glass bits are like arrow heads. Flat wood bits, also called spade bits, are paddle shaped with a pointed tip. Several other bits for wood have pointed tips, such as Brad Point bits.

  2. 2

    Observe the angle of the point. The points of bits suitable for drilling metal are usually ground to an angle of about 120 degrees, according to Which magazine. As a quick test, if you place three metal drill bit points together, they will form a complete or approximate circle.

  3. 3

    Look at the drill bit shank. On a metal drill bit, the shank tends to be a regular cylinder form with a spiral groove cut into it. Auger drill bits for wood have a much more pronounced groove. This allows the shavings to escape more easily, according to Drill bits for metal have a fairly straightforward shape in comparison to some drill bits. SDS bits, for example, are fluted at the end.

  4. 4

    Ask a professional DIY expert, if you are still in doubt. Take the bit back to shop where you bought it. They should be able to identify it correctly for you.

Tips and warnings

  • Begin your own drill bit colour coding system by painting a different coloured stripe on all the different types of drill bits you buy from now on.
  • Never inspect bits in drills connected to the mains. Disconnect the drill first.

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