How to Choose Drill Bits

Garrett Wade stocks a variety of Brad Point Drill and Twist Drill sets. Some of these have the same size range but carry different prices. Others may be more expensive per bit than you are used to seeing, while others may be cheaper.

You may ask WHY? Here is the answer:

Every drill bit made anywhere is made to the standards that the manufacturer has set for that batch to meet the requirements of its customer. Customers (ourselves and yourself) have different needs and work circumstances.

There are three critical facts that must be kept in mind on this matter. If you do so, you will be able to shop and choose with a clear mind.

  1. Drill bits are made throughout the world in a very wide variety of specifications. All these affect costs and most affect quality. A few of the more important are:
    • Specifications of the steel used, principally alloy content - a few examples of which are chromium, nickel, vanadium, tungsten, molybdenum, silicon, titanium, manganese and cobalt
    • Method of manufacture of the drill rod itself which is a critical factor in straightness - was it rolled or was it centerless ground, for example
    • "Rc" Hardness which affects how well the bit retains its sharp edge - the carbon content and methods of quenching (for example, water or oil) are critical here
    • Surface finish of the drill bit, which affects how durable and resistant to abrasion the drill rod is - for example, a "TIN" (titanium nitride) coating is sometimes used as a final surface finish to improve abrasion resistance
    • The quality and shape of the grinding at the cutting tip and on the rod (very, very important overall)
  2. Larger diameter drill bit are much more expensive to make than smaller diameter bits.
  3. When purchasing drill bits you always (or 98% of the time) get what you pay for.

In other words, if the bits you are looking seem more expensive, there's most probably a good reason for them to be more expensive - having to do with the overall quality of the tooling or the size distribution in the set.


In the end, it comes down to a question of value to you. Sometimes a least expensive drill bit is best - for example, when the hole does not need to be precise or very cleanly cut and it's a short time project.

Correspondingly, it would be silly to buy a super-expensive Cobalt-alloy Drill just to make holes in wood - no matter how many you need to make.

At Garrett Wade, we try to give our customers a range of options, all of which are a good value if chosen with common sense. Remember, if you need to talk this through with an expert, don't hesitate to give us a call at 800-221-2942 and ask for a Product Technical Specialist or send us an email at We are there to help you in any way we can.

CLICK HERE to see our complete list of Drills + Drill Bits.