How to choose the right drill bits

Which drill bit is the right one?

Drills are useful for a multitude of tasks around the home, from putting up curtain poles and shelves, to installing outside lights and joining wood. But whichever job you’re doing, it’s essential to use the right drill bit. If you don’t, the task will be harder, and you may damage the material you’re drilling into or the drill itself.

Our handy guide will explain everything you need to know about drill bits. It includes which drill bits can be used for common DIY tasks, their various sizes, and which drill bits you should use for different materials. And finally, which brands accept other brands’ drill bits.

Image of drill bitsImage of drill bitsImage of drill bitsImage of drill bits

Masonry (brick) drill bits

Used for: brick, concrete, rock, stone, and other masonry materials

Masonry drill bits are specifically designed to cut into hard materials. They’re typically made from steel and have an arrow-shaped cutting tip made from an extremely strong material called tungsten carbide. When used in a hammer drill, which hammers the drill bit into the surface as it rotates, they make cutting through masonry effortless.

We stock masonry drill bits in a range of sizes, as singles or in sets to suit different tasks.

What size drill bit do you need for wall plugs?

It’s essential to drill a hole the right size for your wall plug to ensure your fixing is secure. Luckily, it’s very straightforward. Use a drill bit that’s the same diameter as your wall plug. So, if the wall plug is 6mm, use a 6mm drill bit. Then, the screw should be a millimetre or two smaller.

HSS (high-speed steel) drill bits

Used for: metal, hardwood

Drilling into metals and hardwoods at high speed creates a lot of heat. And that’s what HSS drill bits are designed to withstand. They’re made from heat-resistant carbon steel alloys and have a split-point cutting tip to easily and precisely cut into metal and hardwood. They can also be used for other materials.

Our HSS drill bits are available in a range of brands, as singles or in drill bit sets.

SDS (slotted drive system) drill bits

Used for: brick, concrete, rock, stone, and other masonry materials

SDS drill bits are used for heavy-duty drilling into hard masonry materials. Unlike standard masonry drill bits, they’re only compatible with SDS drills which have a unique drill bit chuck. The drill bit shaft features grooves that snap into the chuck and allow it to move up and down in a powerful hammer action.

Our SDS drill bits come in a range of head types and diameters to suit your needs. They’re available as singles or in sets.

Auger drill bits

Used for: wood

Auger drill bits are a specific type of wood drill bit designed for precision drilling. They have a more pronounced cutting tip than other wood drill bits, which makes it easy to locate the exact spot you want to drill in and keep the drill bit on course. They also have a corkscrew design to pull them effortlessly through the wood, leaving holes with very neat edges.

Multi-Use drill bits

Used for: everyday use

As the name suggests, multi-use drill bits can be used for a variety of materials you’re likely to work on in the home, such as steel, wood, masonry, UPVC and concrete. They feature a sharp tip and are made from fine-grade, highly durable carbide, which has high resistance to wear. Their versatility makes them an excellent option for the regular DIY enthusiast.

We stock a wide range of multi-use drill bits in various diameters and lengths, as singles or in multi-purpose drill bit sets.

Tile drill bits

Used for: tile, ceramic

Tile drill bits are essential if you’re hanging cabinets, shelves or accessories onto a tiled surface. Their special diamond-ground carbide tip drills cleanly through ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone, minimising the risk of damaging these delicate materials.  

Our tile drill bits are sold in singles or sets. They come in a range of diameters, including tile hole saws which drill large diameter holes suitable for threading pipes and cable through.

Are drill bits universal?

Modern drills are fairly flexible and can take drill bits of varying lengths and diameters as long as the shape of their shank fits the drill's chuck. In general, branded drill bits will also work in drills from other manufacturers as long as the drill bit's size is compatible.

What drill bits do you need for plasterboard?

The best type of drill bit to use for plasterboard is a multi-use drill bit. However, you can also buy packs, which include a drill bit, wall anchors and screws, such as the Cobra nylon toggle multi-material fixing pack. Alternatively, you can do away with a drill bit entirely and use self-drilling plasterboard fixings, such as the Cobra WallGripper, which is screwed into plasterboard with a screwdriver.

Image of drill bitsImage of drill bitsImage of drill bitsImage of drill bits

Other available drill bits

In addition to the drill bit types mentioned above, here are a few other drill bits you may need:

Screw extractor

A screw extractor removes screws or bolts with damaged heads from materials. It works by boring into the metal of the screw or bolt so you can grip it and remove it without damaging the thread.

Core drill bits

A core drill bit cuts large holes in dense materials like masonry, brick, and stone. It has large, notched teeth that can remove a core of debris cleanly and precisely.

Metal drill bits

As the name suggests, metal drill bits bore holes in metals. But they can also be used for other hard materials, such as plastic and hardwood.

Wood drill bits

If you don’t need the precision of an auger drill bit for wood, there are a variety of more general-purpose wood drill bits available. And if larger diameter holes are needed, for creating outlets for pipes and cables, for example, use a flat wood drill bit.

Safety first

And finally, when drilling into any material, don't forget your safety equipment. Wear protection on your hands and wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. 

Ready to get started on your next drilling task? 


As mentioned in this guide, it is important to use the correct bit for the material you’re drilling to ensure you achieve the desired outcome to your DIY project.

The numbers indicate the diameter and length  of the drill bit.


This stands for High-Speed Steel. Designed for use at high speeds to drill through tough material such as metal.

In general, yes. as long as the drill bit fits into the power drill’s chuck. Most manufacturers produce drill bits that can be used in most drills. But please check your power drill before you purchase your drill bit to make sure.