Best Drill Bits For Hardened Steel – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: December 30, 2021

The truth is that many household projects simply require a steel drill bit along with a tapered point in order to be fixed, and the job is done. However, when you are drilling through hardened steel, it is necessary to have a strong heat-resistant drill bit. Hardened steel is very tough to penetrate because it is made with titanium, stainless steel, and iron, all hardened and heated up at a temperature higher than 1450 Fahrenheit.

As a result, you will want to buy the best drill bits for hardened steel in order to get your work done. Mentioned below is the complete guide to getting the best drill bits for your drilling needs. Read on to know which one you should buy.

Comparison of the Best Drill Bits For Hardened Steel

  • Highly durable, ensuring it lasts for a long period of time
  • Best overall for steel as it comes in many different sizes and shapes
  • Since it has a tapered web present on it, it remains protected and reduces breaking
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  • Runner-up drill bit made of cobalt, which provides you with increased strength
  • Comes with a full pack and includes the most commonly used and essential sizes
  • Cuts faster since cobalt coated bits are more heat-resistant than other ordinary bits present
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  • Can be used for wide applications such as bur, drill, and chamfer
  • Each one-step drill bit can easily drill plenty of bore diameters easily
  • Best for the money that has double cutting blades for smooth cutting abilities
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  • Best carbide drill bits for hardened steel as they are incredibly sharp
  • Come with convenient control and provide smooth operation, reducing waste creation
  • Has good quality and a high degree of finish that ensure that these are safe and simple to use
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  • Each drill comes with a spiral flute design for the faster ejection of the chip
  • Best cobalt drill bits for hardened steel as they are made of M-42 5% cobalt
  • The 135-degree split point reduces feed pressure and provides easy penetration
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  • Bits meet the ANSI standards
  • Diamond-ground carbide tip ensures direct drilling without any mess
  • Best diamond drill bits for hardened steel as it offers accurate precision
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Can Any Drill Bit Be Used on Hardened Steel?

Metal drilling can sound simple when it comes to the name, but it is not. Unlike wood, plastic, and even cement, metal surface drilling is a complete challenge, especially on hardened steel. Drilling through a metal can be a nightmare if you are not prepared for it, and there is no getting around it. If you are planning on working on metal surfaces such as hardened steel or stainless steel, then you will need the best drill bits present on the market that are made specifically for hardened steel.

These bits must be heat-resistant and insanely strong because the general bits present in the market won’t work them. Other bits will break off when working on them, and ricocheting a drill bit is very dangerous. So you must get drill bits made specifically for hardened steel such as the ones mentioned in this article.

Why Did These Drill Bits Make Our List?

The following products have made to our list because of the three qualities they possess; drill bit material, coating, and construction design. Here’s how these features work.

Drill Bit Material

The material of these bits helps in determining their efficiency and performance capabilities. If you are going to drill into hardened steel and surfaces, then obviously you must find drill bits made for a tougher metal so that it doesn’t break.

While considering hardened steel, you will need to find bits that are more resistant, durable, and are not as susceptible to day-to-day damage. The following materials are good for such bits:

  • Carbide: Even though this is the hardest material present in the market, it is also the most brittle, and if it is used with hard drills, the bits can break. However, they are able to do heavy-duty work if used properly.

  • High-Speed Steel: This is another material incredibly popular for drilling, but it is used for soft steel, plastic, and wood only. Avoid this material for hardened steel.

  • Cobalt: With around five to eight percent of cobalt in drill bits, this material makes them good for drilling hardened steel. This is ideal for stainless steel, as well.

Construction Design

The drill bits’ design helps to determine the speed and performance of drilling. Some things you need to consider in the design include:

  • Drill Point Lengths: When working with hard metals, you will need short-sized bits that are more rigid and accurate as compared to the long ones.

  • Drill Point Angle: Many common drill angle points are 118 degrees as a standardized angle. However, there are some bits with a 135-degree angle, which ensures faster drilling on steel surfaces.

  • Flute Design: A flute design drill helps in removing chips and ensures a more effective drilling performance. Flute designs are of two kinds; one comes with an angle of 30 degrees, and the other has a parabolic design.


Different coating types on the bits provide a variety of benefits to performance and quality. An example of this is the black oxide coating, which creates less friction and increases the chip flow. Though, this is not ideal for all materials. Some bits have a tin coating and are more durable; this makes them less susceptible to wear and tear.

Review of the Best Drill Bits For Hardened Steel

In order to ensure that you find the best drill bit present in the market for hardened steel, we have combined the top six ones present along with their pros and cons. You can read on to find out why these stand out, who it is more suited for, and what faults they have. This way, you can find the one perfect for you.

Best Overall:
DEWALT Drill Bit Set DW1354

DEWALT Drill Bit Set, Titanium Nitride Coated, 14-Piece (DW1354)


  • Has an incredibly affordable price point
  • Durable, so it lasts for a long period of time
  • Come in several different shapes and sizes
  • Hard plastic case that comes along keeps it protected
  • Has good customer service for you to get your inquiries answered


  • Has many sharp edges and can make your fingers tender
  • Has spaces in between that can sometimes trap in dirt and rainwater

What Do Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of this product claim to love the durability these things provide. Since it is titanium made, they have high-quality and do not break easily. They can be drilled into different kinds of metals, including steel alloy pipe, and still, work like a charm. Also, the premium quality these bits provide help in lasting for a long period of time easily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product is incredibly stylish and gives it a premium and classy look. Once these drill bits made contact with the surface, you can enjoy smooth drilling. This product provides no spin shanks or slipping for extra convenience, and since the tips are tapered, it reduces the chance of breaking them and provides it with a longer shelf life.

Who Would Use This the Most

This product has many positive reviews from consumers and is considered to be from a high-end brand. It is ideal to be used by a beginner making their dog house for the first time as well as a professional hoping to drill big pieces of metal or steel. It is durable and long-lasting, which makes it worth the price.

Bottom Line

These drill bits stand the test of time due to their durable nature. They can work on steel and aluminum both, and since they are tapered well, they do not get damaged or break down. Since these are made from titanium, they do not have any spin shanks and can work ideally for professionals and beginners both.

Neiko 10178A

Neiko 10178A Cobalt-coated Steel Drill Bit Set | 1/16-inch - 1/4-inch | 13-Piece Set


  • Has a reasonable price point
  • Long-lasting and durable to serve you for long
  • Can handle tough strength and is heat resistant 
  • Tough drill bit set for quick and efficient penetration
  • Makes use of cobalt which can be sharpened easily for better drilling


  • Selection of size is not the one people usually use
  • Packing is weak and doesn’t hold the drill bits in place

What Do Recent Buyers Report

People who have bought this product recently claim that it is a nice drill bit that allows for quick and efficient penetration. The bits are very sharp and of premium quality. They hold the edges nicely and cut nice smooth holes, making it worth buying.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

These drill bits stand out because if you need to work on steel and need high-quality drill bits, then this set is what you should get. They have a robust construction to them and a 135 split point design, which ensures that cutting and drilling are done faster and more efficiently.

Who Would Use This the Most

Since they have straight shanks and ground flutes, they are perfect for a clean job, which makes it a good investment for professionals. Also, as a beginner, they have the sizes you will normally need, such as ¼ inch and 1/6 inch, so they can use it too as these sizes are useful for many tasks.

Bottom Line

Neiko Cobalt steel bits are long-lasting and robust. They are sharp enough to make deep holes and carry out a clean job. The cobalt in them makes them able to handle strength and also be resistant to heat, allowing you to carry many different tasks with them and make them last longer.

Best for the Money:
HYCLAT 5pcs Titanium Step Drill Bit

HYCLAT 5PCS Step Drill Bit Set | Titanium High-Speed Steel (HSS) Stepper Cone Drill Bit | Covering 50 Sizes(1/8''-1 3/8''), 135 Degree Point, with Aluminum Case


  • Easy to control and use for beginners
  • Has an aluminum carry case that it comes in
  • Durable and capable of drilling holes efficiently
  • Perfect for cutting thick sheets of steel and metal
  • Capable of high-speed drilling and produces less waste


  • Edges can often get blunt after rigorous use
  • The case has foam inside that doesn’t fit the bits inside properly

What Do Recent Buyers Report

This product has been termed as very good at the price point it is sold at. Buyers were left impressed with these and claimed that they were working well even after using them for a year. They are robust and help in efficient drilling in thick metal and steel sheets. These products were ideal since the drilling bits came in the sizes used daily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The bits in this set have a split point tip at 118 degrees along with an X shape that helps in preventing the drill from slipping when using it at high speed. In addition, the two-flute design prevents them from splashing and even reduces waste and provides easy operation.

Who Would Use This the Most

These bits are ideal for professionals as well as beginners. They have an easy-to-use shape and do not slip even under high pressure. They allow you to make holes in stainless steel and thick metal. If you are looking for drills to enlarge the holes or to bur and chamfer, then these will work perfectly on sheets, including plastic, aluminum, and wood. 

Bottom Line

HYCLAT step drill bit is a five-piece drill set that has around 50 sizes. The bits are made from titanium, which ensures that they last for a long period of time and do not break under high speed. They can make holes in many types of metal sheets and have a double cutting blade with an X-type open design that ensures a smooth and fast application.

Best Carbide Drill Bits for Hardened Steel:

XCSOURCE 1 Set 6X8MM Head Tungsten Carbide Burrs for Rotary Drill Die Grinder Carving Bit BI044


  • Has clean trimming, forging, and welding
  • Ensures no dust pollution with efficient drilling
  • Able to withstand high pressure and is durable
  • Can provide a neat finish on all kinds of metals
  • Has a wide application usage and can last long


  • Can often get dull when not used
  • Comes without any casing that gives it a cheap feel

What Do Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, these drill bits provide you your money’s worth. They are sharp and can dig through the iron easily until they work their way out from the arbor. Even though they lack a proper casing, but at this price point, the drilling bits are good enough to work.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out because of its incredibly tough design and its ability to quickly penetrate into an abrasive and hard material. They have ground flutes and straight shanks that make them ideal for a cleaning job. It cuts faster than ordinary drill and can be easily sharpened when you need.

Who Would Use This the Most

This drill set is perfect for professionals and beginners. It can penetrate through different metal molds and mechanical parts such as round, chamfer, and even groove processing. It creates little to no dust pollution, and the premium quality provides it with a long-lasting and durable touch to it.

Bottom Line

To conclude this drill bit in simple words, these come in a sealed plastic bag and lack proper casing, but they are good for drilling. They are ideal for everyday do-it-yourself tasks and even good for professionals. You can use them for heavy-duty drilling as well as light projects.

Best Cobalt Drill Bits for Hardened Steel:
IRWIN Drill Bit Set

IRWIN Drill Bit Set, M35 Cobalt Alloy Steel Steel, 29-Piece (3018002)


  • Has an affordable price range
  • Has shortcut lips that reduce torque
  • Ensures deep and premium quality cutting
  • Comes with a metallic index casing for storage
  • Has reliable and durable manufacturing and performance


  • Case quality is very poor
  • Lacks many different sizes that can be useful if added in the pack

What Do Recent Buyers Report

According to consumers of this product, it is a great bit set and can survive tough projects as well as small ones. These worked perfectly fine, and in order to reduce heat friction or build-up, you can invest in lubricating oil for harder surface materials. The bits were incredibly quick and helped in avoiding unnecessary wear and tear.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out to us as it comes in 21 pieces and is capable of handling almost every surface due to the cobalt and titanium nitride coating over them. This coating makes them last for a long period of time and ensures that the chip ejection is clean and easy.

Who Would Use This the Most

This product is ideal for people looking for a neat and top-quality performance as professionals and even as beginners working on their family’s treehouse. The sizes of the bits are very versatile and ensure that the application is easy, no matter what the task is. This product is worth every penny and makes drilling an efficient task.

Bottom Line

Irwin Drill bits make your work simple and easy. They come with a 135-degree split point that helps in reducing the pressure on the feed and makes them capable of handling each and every hard surface. The titanium nitride and cobalt coating over them ensures durability and makes them last longer.

Best Diamond Drill Bits for Hardened Steel:
Bosch HCBG500

Bosch HCBG500 5 Piece BlueGranite Carbide Hammer Drill Bit Starter Set


  • Has a robust tip for premium quality performance
  • Incredibly durable and can last for a long-time period
  • Meets the ANSI standards, making it ideal for buying
  • Able to work well with wood, sheetrock, and dry walls
  • Comes in many different sizes perfect for household use


  • Lacks a case for storage
  • Not incredibly strong for tough tasks

What Do Recent Buyers Report

People who bought this pack of drill bits recently ensure that drilling through tough concrete was a very simple task, and these bits went through it as smoothly as butter. They come in sizes that are needed for daily usage and can work on many different metals. Recent buyers claim that Bosch drill bits are worth every penny spent on them.

Why it Stands Out to Us

These bits stand out to us due to the fact that they come in a pack of only five pieces, yet they have the ability to get a lot of work done. Their heads are incredibly robust and enough for application on impact. Also, they meet the ANSI quality standard that makes them even better.

Who Would Use This the Most

The fact that these drill bits are easy to use, convenient, and are enough for drilling on impact applications makes them ideal for beginners as well as professionals. Even though they lack a storing case, with these, you get your money’s worth. Plus, they assist you in home improvement projects.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, these Bosch drilling bits have deep cut spirals that ensure fast cutting and reliable dust removal. The milled up flutes help in not breaking apart during heat build-up, and the softened shank allows you with proper gripping.

Types of Drill Bits

There are three types of drill bits present in the market, and they all differ in terms of material. The materials include:

High-Speed Steel Drill Bits

High-speed steel drill bits, or more commonly known as HSS material drill bits, are the most economical solution for many general applications of drilling. They are ideal for drilling into wood, plastic, and soft steel sheets but are not fit for hardened or stainless steel.

Cobalt Drill Bits

Cobalt drill bits or HSCO drill bits are basically a better version of HSS drill bits as they contain around five to eight percent of cobalt in their base material. These are the most suitable for drilling into hardened and stainless steel.

Carbide Drill Bits

Carb or Carbide drill bits are the hardest material used but are also the most brittle. They are used for proper construction but cannot be used in hand drills.

Titanium Drill Bits

Titanium drill bits are made of heavy-duty high stainless steel material as the coating. They are durable and can work easily on heavy metal and steel.

How to Drill Hardened Steel

After you have chosen the right drill bit for hardened steel, the next part includes using it. If you are drilling hardened steel for the first time, then don’t worry, simply read the steps mentioned below and ace this procedure.

1. Use a Sacrificial Board

This is a flat piece of wood that you place above or under (or both) of something that you are drilling. If you are drilling over sheet metal, then make sure you clamp a sacrificial plywood sheet under it to help prevent the hole from tearing up. In order to ensure the hold is clean, you can place another plywood piece on the tip as well.

2. Make a Dimple

Drill bits can move during the drilling procedure, especially if it is your first time using them. Since they have the ability to wander off, it is a smart idea to create a depression in the metal over the drilling mark using a hammer and a pointed nail. This will ensure that they remain in place and won’t move.

3. Add Oil

Adding lubrication oil reduces friction, which is important to reduce because friction produces heat, and heat dulls the bits and reduces their working ability. Any oil such as household oil, olive oil even motor oil will do the trick.

4. Drill Slow and With Low Pressure

When drilling, make sure that you apply low pressure and keep the speed slow. This will let the bit do the work efficiently. Under fast speed, the drill can create excess heat and ruin its ability to penetrate.

5. Clean the Hole

Once the drilling is done, examine the hole made. If the hole has a rougher edge after being drilled up, you can clean it with a large bit than the diameter of the hole. Simply hold the bit inside the hole and twist it with your hand to scrape off any metal shavings left behind.

Since these might be confusing to understand just by reading, check out the visual representation of these steps to be able to drill hardened steel easily. 


It is essential for you to buy the right kind of drill bits ahead of time. This way, you won’t have to waste your time driving back and forth from the home department store or spend an unnecessary amount of time and money on it. For this reason, we have compiled this guide; we hope it assists you in your investment and saves you your time and energy.