Best Drill Bit Set

Best Drill Bit Sets Featured Image

If there’s one thing for sure with tools, there’s no shortage of choice. But what drill bit coating is best? What models are the good bits for drilling wood? What drill bits are the most durable? These are just a few of the questions DIYers may not have the answer to when staring down an aisle’s worth of drill bits at the local home center or scrolling through product offerings.

This is why we put together our guide to the best drill bit sets. We cover below our top picks for general-purpose use, our in-house test results, and essential buying tips to help you determine which set is best to pair with your cordless drill.

In-House Testing the best drill bits
We drilled hundreds of holes in 2x4s and other materials to understand which models performed best. Pictured here is the underside of one of the 2x4s used in our tests. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

Best drill bit sets

Pro tip

We focus below on the best drill bits for home use, but we have included a section that covers some of the best specialty drill bits for metal, masonry, and more. Our upcoming buying guides for the best drill bits for metal, best drill bits for masonry, and more will go into more depth, along with in-house test results.

Top pick
Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Titanium
Pros:
  • Impressively fast
  • Accurately drills holes with no walking
  • Durability
  • Quick-change hex shank
Cons:
  • Some smaller-sized bits aren’t super smooth drilling more than one inch thick
  • Comparatively expensive
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At a glance

  • Number of bits: 23
  • Material: HSS steel
  • Coating: Titanium nitride
  • Point type: Quad Edge split point
  • Shank type: 1/4-inch hex

The Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Titanium is the best drill bit set we’ve tested for general-purpose use. Titanium nitride drill bits sit right in the sweet spot for durability, performance, and price, albeit these Milwaukee drill bits are comparatively expensive. But the increased cost over competing titanium nitride bits is justifiable for several reasons.

Firstly, these Milwaukee bits performed exceptionally well in our in-house tests. The drill bits were the fastest in our repeated speed tests drilling into 2x4s, making them ideal drill bits for wood. There was also little walking with Milwaukee’s Quad Edge Tip, which has a slight protrusion to drill holes where intended accurately.

But what sets these drill bits apart from other sets is that they have a 1/4-inch hex shank and are rated for use with the most powerful impact drivers.

Hex shanks are quick to change since you don’t have to adjust your chuck size for each drill bit. Hex shanks also don’t slip when chucked up in a drill, whereas more standard round shanks do, especially larger sizes.

Impact-rated drill bits are also more versatile since they have the torsional strength needed for use with an impact driver, which may be necessary to drill through stubborn materials efficiently. The added convenience is welcome, albeit overkill for some tasks around the home.

The one performance downside to these drill bits is that smaller fractional bits don’t drill as efficiently as other models into materials thicker than one inch. Some smaller bits have shorter flutes than other models, so the bits bog down minimally when drilling deeper. But it’s worth noting that the drill bits still power through materials well and efficiently.

Alternate top pick
Dewalt Titanium Nitride DW1361
Pros:
  • Smooth and efficient drilling
  • Accurately drills holes with little walking
  • Durability
  • Larger bits include three-flat shanks to avoid chuck slippage
Cons:
  • Not designed for frequent metal drilling
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At a glance

  • Number of bits: 21
  • Material: HSS steel
  • Coating: Titanium nitride
  • Point type: Pilot point
  • Shank type: Round (3/16-inch and smaller bits) and three-flat shanks (13/64-inch and larger bits)

The Dewalt Titanium Nitride DW1361 is another of the best drill bit sets we’ve tested.

In our tests, these drill bits performed exceptionally well. There was less resistance than our other picks when drilling into and out of 2x4s, making for a smooth drilling experience.

These drill bits also excelled in our hole cleanness and walking tests. The pilot point nearly removed all walking to drill holes where intended accurately and reduced hole tear-out and fraying when drilling into wood. Our slow-speed hole cleanness test had nearly burr-free edges, but some fraying occurred when drilling at the fastest speeds.

These Dewalt drill bits are ideal for drilling soft materials like wood, PVC, and MDF. The drill bits are also capable enough for softer metals like aluminum. Titanium nitride-coated bits can drill steel, but long-term durability will be compromised.

Budget pick
Dewalt Split Point DWA1181
Pros:
  • Black oxide coating is good for smooth drilling and reduced corrosion
  • Larger bits include three-flat shanks to avoid chuck slippage
Cons:
  • Hard to cut clean holes in soft materials
  • Split point bits can walk easily when drilling fast
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At a glance

  • Number of bits: 21
  • Material: HSS steel
  • Coating: Black oxide
  • Point type: Split point
  • Shank type: Round (13/64-inch and smaller bits) and three-flat shanks (7/32-inch and larger bits)

The Dewalt Split Point DWA1181 drill bits are a good budget option if you’re in a pinch or just want a drill bit set you won’t worry about dinging up.

The black oxide coating on these drill bits performed well in our in-house tests, resulting in a smooth drilling experience with little resistance. Any black oxide coating is prone to wear over time, but there’s little to worry about since you can pick up a set without breaking the bank.

This set’s larger fractional drill bits also include a three-flat shank that helps avoid slippage when chucked up.

But before buying this drill bit set, consider what you’ll be drilling. The split point design of these drill bits is prone to walking when drilling fast. Drilling a pilot hole with one of the smaller bits or using a spring-loaded hole punch solves this problem.

Also, split point drill bits won’t perform well in most uses where a cleanly-drilled hole is needed, such as finer woodworking. The performance was evident in our tests drilling into 2x4s, where it was impossible to avoid tear-out and fraying at different drilling speeds.

Drilling and driving pick
Bosch 91-Piece Drilling and Driving Set
Pros:
  • Includes a mix of drill bit types
  • Includes common driver bits and a ratcheting screwdriver
Cons:
  • Bits can be finicky to remove from the rubber holders
Check Price

At a glance

  • Number of bits: 91 (30 drill bits and 61 other driving bits and accessories)
  • Material: HSS steel
  • Coating: Mix of titanium nitride and black oxide bits
  • Point type: Mix of split point, brad point, and masonry tip bits
  • Shank type: Round

The Bosch 91-Piece Drilling and Driving Set is the best model for a solid all-in-one kit. This drill bit set includes three types of bits, including titanium nitride, brad point with what’s likely a black oxide coating (unconfirmed), and masonry.

You’ll also get a mix of standard screwdriver bits, nut drivers, a countersink, and a ratcheting screwdriver. It’s not the best ratcheting screwdriver, but it’s hard to overlook the convenience of this all-in-one.

We especially appreciated the clean cutting performance of the brad point drill bits that left no tear-out or fraying in our hole cleanness tests. The brad points also wholly removed any walking, making these great bits for drilling wood.

However, this kit isn’t perfect. Some drill bits were frustratingly difficult to remove from their rubber holders, even after breaking them in. We’ve not tested how the holders perform over repeated use, but you’ll need to carefully remove the drill bits to avoid cutting your fingers on the sharp flutes.

Test results

The below test results demonstrate how the best drill bit set picks performed in our efficiency, hole cleanness, and walking tests.

Drilling efficiency

Drill bit setRating (Best, Good, Room for Improvement)
Milwaukee ShockwaveBest
Dewalt Titanium NitrideGood
Dewalt Split PointGood
Bosch 91-PieceGood

We tested for drilling efficiency by drilling into 2x4s to understand how smoothly different bit sizes performed across models. We also conducted speed tests drilling into wood. We’ve assigned an efficiency rating for each model based on these separate tests.

The Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Titanium drill bits had the best all-around performance. As noted before, some smaller drill bits have short flutes that bog down slightly when drilling more than one inch deep. But otherwise, these drill bits shined with their drilling smoothness and speed.

Our other shortlist picks performed at an acceptable level or better regarding smoothness and speed. Notably, the Dewalt Titanium Nitride DW1361 drill bit set had the best smoothness performance across the models tested. These drill bits were noticeably less grabby drilling holes and removing the drill bit from wood than other models we tested.

Hole cleanness

Drill bit setRating
Milwaukee ShockwaveGood
Dewalt Titanium NitrideBest
Dewalt Split PointRoom for improvement
Bosch 91-PieceBest

We tested how cleanly each model drilled holes into wood. Each model was tested at a slow speed where the focus was avoiding tear-out and at the fastest speed. This test gave us a sense of the cutting performance in different scenarios.

Due to their point designs, the Dewalt Titanium Nitride DW1361 and the Bosch 91-Piece Drilling and Driving Set had the best performance. The Dewalt’s pilot point cleanly cut through soft wood fibers at the slow speed setting, leaving minimal fraying at the fastest speeds.

Dewalt Titanium Nitride Drill Bit Set Hole Cleanness Test
Hole cleanness results at slow and fast drilling speeds with the Dewalt Titanium Nitride DW1361 drill bit set. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The Bosch understandably performed well since we used the kits brad point bit in our tests. These drill bits cut crisp and nearly burr-free holes at both speeds.

Bosch 91-Piece Drill Bit Set Hole Cleanness Test
Hole cleanness results at slow and fast drilling speeds with the Bosch 91-Piece Drilling and Driving Set. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

We’ve included below image results for the other tested models.

Walking/accuracy

Drill bit setRating
Milwaukee ShockwaveGood
Dewalt Titanium NitrideBest
Dewalt Split PointRoom for improvement
Bosch 91-PieceBest

We tested each model’s accuracy in our walking tests with a 1/2-inch drill bit. These tests helped us understand which models quickly and accurately drill holes in the intended location.

The Dewalt Titanium Nitride DW1361 and the Bosch 91-Piece Drilling and Driving Set are the best drill bit sets if you need an accurate drill bit without walking. As with the other models tested, you won’t need first to use a hole punch or a separate small drill bit to set a pilot hole in most scenarios.

Dewalt and Bosch Pilot and Brad Point Closeup
The Dewalt Pilot Point and Bosch brad point drill bit picks hogged out the cleanest holes. Dewalt model on the left, Bosch model on the right. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The Dewalt’s pilot point makes it easy to pinpoint your desired hole location and doesn’t walk at differing drilling speeds.

The Bosch 91-Piece Drilling and Driving Set’s brad point bits excelled in our tests with the sharper point.

The Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Titanium drill bits performed well due to the slight protrusion of Milwaukee’s Quad Edge Tip. You’ll need to be more careful with the larger fractional sizes since the point isn’t as long or as sharp as a pilot or brad point bit.

As with any split point drill bit, you will experience walking, depending on the material you’re drilling. This theme held with the Dewalt Split Point DWA1181 in our tests. For most materials, you’ll need a pilot hole or a hole punch to drill in the intended hole location accurately. You’ll get accurate results when doing so, it’s just an added step.

Honorable mentions

The Makita Impact Titanium B-65399 is an exceptionally-priced and popular drill bit set. Consider this set if you like everything about the Dewalt Titanium Nitride DW1361, but want fewer bits, a split point tip, and a 1/4-inch hex shank.

The Comoware Titanium Drill Bit Set sells like hotcakes on Amazon. The set is a good option if you’re looking for a budget pick and aren’t concerned about long-term durability.

The Ryobi 300-Piece Drill and Driver Set is a fantastic kit that includes titanium, masonry, spade, and brad point drill bits and a lineup of screwdriver bits. This Ryobid drill bit set is a solid model to consider if the Bosch 91-Piece Drilling and Driving Set has too few drill and driver bits for your needs.

The Makita Drill and Screw Bit B-49373 set is another kit to consider. The kit includes 75 drill and driver bits, plus some sockets and a countersink bit.

Almost every manufacturer offers basic black oxide-coated drill bit sets, which are great for budget DIYers loyal to certain brands. The Ryobi Black Oxide A10D21D drill bit set, Bosch Black Oxide BL21A drill bit set, and Milwaukee Black Oxide 48-89-2801 drill bit set are well-priced with a good assortment of drill bits.

Best drill bits for metal, masonry, and specialty uses

Our upcoming guides will cover our results testing the best drill bits across several categories, including metal, masonry, tile, and specific types of bits, such as step and forstner bits. In the meantime, based on our preliminary research, you’ll find some of the highest-rated models below.

Best drill bits for metal

The Dewalt Cobalt DWA1240 drill bits are a good budget option for drilling hardened metals such as steel. The pilot point is excellent for drilling accurate holes, and you’ll get 14 drill bits in Dewalt’s standard Tough Case storage container.

Upgrade to the Bosch Cobalt C021B drill bits if you’re looking for more sizes at a competitive price. These drill bits have a three-flat shank for added grip in your chuck, and they are made of 8% cobalt alloy, fantastic for durability and heat dissipation.

Best masonry and cement drill bits

The Bosch Carbide Tipped SDS HCK005 set includes five drill bits designed to fit an SDS hammer drill. Compared to other multi-purpose carbide tip models, these drill bits are designed for drilling rock, cement, blocks, and other masonry.

The Ezarc Carbide Multi-Purpose drill bits are ideal if you want a drill bit with more versatility than an SDS model. The Ezarc model also comes with five drill bits and a 1/4-inch hex shank that fits an impact driver. These drill bits also have more versatility than an SDS-focused drill bit, meaning they can drill block, brick, cement, tile, glass, and even wood.

Best step bits

The Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Step Bit is unique in that it includes a dual-spiral flute for cutting efficiency and a 1/4-inch hex shank that is quick to chuck up and fits in an impact driver or drill.

The Irwin Step Drill Bit is popular online with solid reviews, plus it comes in many sizes and cobalt, high-speed steel, and titanium nitride versions. This step drill bit has a 3/8-inch shank, so it’s not made for a portable impact driver.

Best forstner bit set

The Irwin Marples Forstner Bit Set is the best forstner bit set that balances performance and price. You’ll get 14 forstner bits with this set, and the bits have a 3/8-inch shank to fit in drill presses or a portable drill.

The Intoo Hex Shank Forstner Bit Set is a good budget option if you don’t need as many forstner drill bits. These drill bits are designed with a 1/4-inch hex shank for versatility to fit into an impact driver, portable drill, or drill press.

How to pick a good drill bit set for you

Determine the most common uses

Before buying a drill bit set, consider what you’ll most commonly be drilling. If you’re looking for a general-purpose drill bit set to keep around the house, titanium nitride-coated or black oxide-coated drill bits are good options that won’t break the bank.

Titanium Nitride and Black Oxide Flutes Closeup
Titanium nitride drill bits are typically gold-colored. Titanium nitride-coated bit on the left, black oxide-coated bit on the right. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

Titanium nitride drill bits are more durable than black oxide drill bits but are slightly more expensive, and their coatings can wear over time, which reduces corrosion resistance and durability.

Cobalt bits are more durable than black oxide and titanium nitride bits. Cobalt drill bits are best for drilling metal. DIYers looking for general-purpose drill bits prefer cobalt drill bits over black oxide and titanium nitride bits for improved durability. A standard titanium nitride or black oxide drill bit can drill holes in aluminum and steel, but their flutes and tips won’t stay sharp for long.

You’ll need a carbide tip drill bit if drilling into cement, tile, or glass.

Shank type

Most common drill bits have three shank types, including 1/4-inch hex, round, and round with flat edges. We recommend 1/4-inch hex or round with flat edges, such as two-flat and three-flat shanks, that include flat edges around the shank. Both shank types improve the gripping power of the drill bit when chucked up.

Hex, Round, and Three Flat Drill Bit Shanks
From left to right, a 1/4-inch hex shank, a three-flat shank, and a round shank. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

One additional benefit of 1/4-inch hex shanks is that all drill bits in the set share the same shank size, making it quicker to chuck up any drill bit. With round-shanked drill bits, you need to match the chuck opening to the size of the drill bit.

Impact-rated or not

Impact Rated Vs. Regular Drill Bits
Impact-rated drill bits typically have a 1/4-inch hex shank whereas standard drill bits don’t. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

A standard drill bit can be used in a drill or drill press, but you’ll need impact-rated drill bits if used with an impact driver. Impact-rated drill bits have greater torsional strength to avoid breaking in an impact driver.

Point type

For this guide, we’ll focus on the standard point designs in general-purpose drill bits, including split points, pilot points, and brad points.

Drill Bit Point Closeup Split Point, Pilot Point, Brad Point
From left to right, a pilot point drill bit, a brad point drill bit, and a split point drill bit. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

Most general-purpose drill bit sets have split points, though many manufacturers don’t include the point type in their product descriptions. Split point bits have a cutting groove that extends through to the tip of the drill bit, helping to reduce walking when starting to drill a hole.

Pilot point drill bits have a small point that drills a pilot hole into your material, helpful for accurately centering your drill hole and reducing tear-out.

Brad point drill bits also have a small but sharper point than a pilot point. The sharp point eliminates walking and is perfect for drilling clean holes in wood, among other soft materials.

FAQ

  • Are expensive drill bits more durable?

    Expensive drill bits are typically made from harder materials than general-purpose high-speed steel (HSS) drill bits. The harder materials improve durability, and some types dissipate heat better for faster drilling.

  • What drill bits are suitable for general-purpose use?

    Titanium nitride drill bits offer the best combination of drilling performance and durability for the price. Black oxide drill bits are good options for general-purpose use, though their coatings aren’t as durable as a titanium nitride coating.

  • Who makes the best drill bits?

    In our tests, Milwaukee, Dewalt, and Bosch make the best drill bits for around the home. But determining the best drill bit brand overall isn’t as simple. Nearly all brands offer competing drill bits. Answering this question more comes down to picking the right type of drill bit from your preferred brand. In most scenarios, a standard black oxide, HSS steel drill bit will perform the same, regardless of brand.

Methodology

We first reviewed online ratings and first-hand user reviews for 20 models to uncover the best drill bit sets. We focused mainly on general-purpose drill bits, not specialty metal and masonry drill bits. After researching models, we purchased units for in-house testing. Our tests are designed to represent the most common uses for general-purpose drill bits: drilling dimensional lumber, plywood, drywall, MDF, PVC, and other soft materials. We undertook the following tests to understand which models performed the best across several tasks common for general DIY use.

  • Drilling smoothness: We tested the drilling efficiency and smoothness of each drill bit by drilling into a 2×4 five times with a 3/8-inch and 3/16-inch bit from each set.
  • Drilling speed: We tested each model for speed by drilling five holes into a 2×4 using a 3/8-inch and 3/16-inch bit from each set. The speed tests showed how heat dissipation, coatings, and point shapes affected repeated drilling.
  • Drill hole cleanness: We drilled five holes with each model to understand how clean the bit drills a hole. Each test consisted of drilling three holes at a slow speed to attempt to avoid tear-out. The other two holes were drilled at full speed. We chose to drill 2x4s since dimensional lumber fibers fray easily when drilled. We recorded the visual results for both speed settings. This test is crucial for woodworking and is intended to understand which drill bits have the least tear-out at the entry hole.
  • Walking: We drilled repeated holes with a 1/2-inch bit from each set at different speeds and paid close attention to any walking as the drill bit began turning and before it dug into the material. This test helps to understand whether a drill bit drills holes with pinpoint accuracy.
Picture of Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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