How to Use Drill Bits for Beginners

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Saying that there are a seemingly endless amount of drill bits options on the market these days is an understatement. With so many variations, it can be hard to know which one to choose for your specific needs. In this blog post, we will outline the most common drill bit types and what they’re best used for, to help beginners make an informed decision when purchasing their first set.

What are drill bits and what do they do

Drill bits are tools that are used to create holes in various materials. The most common type of drill bit is the twist bit, which is used to create circular holes. Drill bits come in a variety of sizes, and the type of drill bit that you will need will depend on the size of the hole that you need to create. For example, small holes can be created with a twist bit, while large holes may require the use of a spade bit.

Drill bits are also made from different materials, such as steel or carbide, which are chosen based on the material that will be drilled. Drill bits are held in place by a chuck, and they are rotated by an electric drill. The drill bit creates a hole by using friction to chip away at the material.

The different types of drill bits

There are a variety of drill bits available on the market, each with its own specific use. The most common types of drill bits are twist bits, spade bits, Forstner bits, and hole saws.

how to use drill bits

How to identify the size of a drill bit

Drill bits come in a range of sizes, from small bits that are used for delicate tasks to large bits that are designed for heavy-duty drilling. As a result, it’s important to choose the right size drill bit for the job at hand. To be able to learn how to use drill bits, you need to identify first its size. Here are some tips:

  • Identify the size of the hole that needs to be drilled. Once you know the diameter of the hole, you can select a drill bit that is slightly larger. This will ensure that the hole in the correct size and prevents the drill bit from becoming stuck.
  • Know the material that you’re drilling into. It’s also important to take into account the material that you’ll be drilling into. Softer materials, such as wood, can be drilled with smaller bits, while harder materials, such as metal, require larger bits.

Types of drill bit sharpeners

There are two main types of drill bit sharpeners:

  1. Handheld sharpeners are portable and can be used on the job site.
  2. Bench-mounted sharpeners are more permanent and usually have more features, but they’re not as portable.

If you’re using a drill bit sharpener, it’s important to understand how it works. Most drill bit sharpeners use a grinding wheel to sharpen the drill bit. The grinding wheel is covered in an abrasive material that wears down the metal of the drill bit. The angle of the grinding wheel relative to the drill bit also affects how much material is removed.

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How to use a drill bit sharpener

To use a drill bit sharpener, you should:

  1. Identify the size of drill bit you need to sharpen.
  2. Turn on the machine and let it run for a few seconds
  3. Then, position the drill bit in the chuck so that it is securely held.
  4. Place the drill bit in the sharpener and tighten it down
  5. Rest your drill bit sharpener on a stable surface and adjust the grinding wheel to the right angle so that you can easily sharpen both sides of the bit.
  6. Once you have set up your drill bit sharpener, turn on the power and slowly move the drill bit along the grinding wheel to sharpen it. Be sure to keep a steady pressure on the drill bit as you move it back and forth, as this will ensure an even, consistent sharpening.
  7. Remove the drill bit from the sharpener and inspect to see if it has been properly sharpened.

It’s important to be careful when using a drill bit sharpener, as the rotating abrasive material can be dangerous. Always wear gloves and eye protection when using a drill bit sharpener, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

How to hold a drill bit for drilling

There are two main ways to hold a drill bit: in your hand or in a chuck. The best way to hold a drill bit depends on the type of drill bit you’re using. For example, small drill bits are best held in your hand, while larger drill bits should be held in a chuck.

In addition, there are different ways to hold a drill bit depending on whether you’re drilling horizontally or vertically. For horizontal drilling, it’s best to hold the drill bit in your hand, while for vertical drilling, it’s best to use a chuck. No matter which way you choose to hold the drill bit, always make sure that it’s securely attached before starting to drill. Otherwise, you could end up with an accident.

How to use a power drill

A power drill is a tool that uses spinning blades to drill holes in different materials. You can use it to drill holes in wood, metal, and other materials. In order to use a power drill safely and effectively, you need to:

  1. Choose the right drill bit for your project
  2. Insert the drill bit into the chuck of the power drill
  3. Tighten the chuck to hold the drill bit in place
  4. Position the power drill against the workpiece and apply pressure
  5. Apply torque to the drill by turning it clockwise or counterclockwise
  6. Remove the drill bit from the chuck when you’re finished drilling
  7. Unplug the power drill from the power outlet
  8. Inspect the workpiece and remove any debris or burrs that were created during drilling

How to change the direction of a drill bit

When working with drill bits, one of the most important skills you will need to master is changing their direction. This is essential when drilling holes at different angles or if you need to switch between wood and metal materials.

To change the direction of a drill bit, you will first need to:

  1. Identify the direction you need the drill bit to go
  2. Loosen the chuck on the drill by turning it counterclockwise
  3. Insert the drill bit into the chuck and tighten it by turning it clockwise
  4. Hold the drill with one hand and use your other hand to turn the chuck key in the direction that you need the drill bit to go
  5. Once the chuck is tight, begin using your drill in the new direction as desired.

Should I use lubricant when drilling?

While there is no universal answer to this question, the use of lubricant does offer certain benefits when drilling.

  • Lubricant can help to reduce friction and heat buildup, which in turn can prevent damage to the drill bit and keep it running smoothly.
  • Lubricant can also help to increase the depth of your holes, allowing you to reach more difficult or remote targets.
  • By reducing wear and tear on the drill itself, lubricant can help prolong its life and make it more cost-effective in the long run.

Ultimately, then, whether or not you should use lubricant when drilling depends on a variety of individual factors, including your specific needs and preferences.

What are the different ways to lubricate a drill bit?

There are several different ways to lubricate a drill bit, depending on the type of drill and the material being drilled.

  • For most metal drilling operations, light mineral oil or cutting fluid is typically applied directly to the surface of the bit. This helps to keep the heat generated during drilling in check and ensures that hot chips do not stick to the surface of the bit.
  • Different oils and fluids may also be used for wood drilling operations, such as paraffin wax or water-soluble lubricants.
  • Some drills can also be coated with special metallic clays or synthetic diamond materials to improve performance and extend blade life.
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How to remove a drill bit from a power drill

Following these simple steps will ensure that you can remove and replace drill bits with ease, helping you to complete your projects safely and effectively. So, if you need to remove a drill bit from your power drill for any reason, it’s important to be able to:

  1. Identify the type of drill bit you are trying to remove
  2. Locate the chuck key on your power drill
  3. Insert the chuck key into the chuck and turn it counterclockwise until the drill bit pops out
  4. If the drill bit is stuck, apply a little pressure while turning it with the key to loosen it
  5. Once the drill bit is removed, replace it with a new one and tighten the chuck using the key in a clockwise direction.

How to clean and maintain your drill bits

To keep your drill bits clean and in optimal working condition, the first step is to make sure that you are using the right type of bit for each task. For example, a flat-tip bit is best for drilling into wood or soft materials, while a spade bit is ideal for making larger, more precise holes. Once you have selected the correct bit for the job, you can then begin to clean and maintain it effectively.

Take care to keep your tools free from dirt and debris. To do this easily and quickly, simply:

  • Dip your bits into some light oil after every use – this will not only help to remove any excess material but also protect against rusting and corrosion.
  • Make sure that you regularly check your bits for any nicks or damage that could impede their performance.
  • If any of your bits start to look excessively worn or become dull, be sure to replace them promptly with a fresh set.

The different types of drill bit materials

There are a variety of different types of drill bits materials on the market. They can be generally classified as follows:

  • High-speed steel (HSS) bits: HSS bits are made of high-quality steel and are perfect for drilling through a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood.
  • Carbide bits: Carbide drill bits are extremely durable, and can be used to drill through a variety of materials, including metal, ceramic tile, glass, and more.
  • Cobalt bits: Cobalt drill bits are particularly well-suited for drilling through harder materials such as stainless steel or brass.
  • Other specialty bits: In addition to the above, there are also several specialty drill bits available on the market. These include masonry bits for drilling through brick and concrete, spade bits for making large hole openings, and more.
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How to prevent injury from drills and drill bits

Whether you are using a handheld drill or an electric drill, there are simple steps you can take to prevent injury when using drills and drill bits:

  • Understand the types of drill bits and their uses.
  • Identify the size of drill bit you need for your project.
  • Inspect the drill bit before use to ensure it is in good condition.
  • Use clamps and vices to hold the workpiece in place.
  • Drill slowly and steadily, applying pressure only to the drill bit, not the workpiece.
  • Ease up on the pressure when you reach the desired depth.
  • Remove the drill bit from the workpiece and unplug the drill before removing it from the power source.
  • Inspect the workpiece for any damage caused by the drill bit and repair as necessary.
  • Wear protective gear, such as safety glasses and a face mask, when using power tools to prevent injury from flying debris.
  • If you are using an electric drill, be sure to use caution around water or other liquids to avoid electrocution.

When to use hand-held drills vs. power drills

Drills are an essential tool for any homeowner or DIYer, but they come in many different varieties. Choosing the right type of drill can be critical to the success of your project. For example, hand-held drills are typically best for light-duty tasks, such as drilling small holes in soft materials like wood.

Power drills, on the other hand, are more powerful and can be used for tougher projects, such as drilling concrete or metal. In addition, power drills often come with features that hand-held drills lack, such as variable speed settings and reversible rotation. As a result, it’s important to select the right type of drill based on the task at hand.

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How to know when your drill bit needs to be replaced

There are a few key signs that can help you to determine when your drill bit needs to be replaced:

  • Notice signs of wear and tear, such as chips or cracks in the metal or a dull or shiny appearance.
  • If you find that your drill bit is becoming harder to keep in place, or if it slips or skids across the surface of your work material, then it’s likely time for a new bit.
  • If you struggle with getting proper results from your drilling project—such as if it takes significantly longer than usual or if the holes you create are rough and uneven—then this could also be a sign that your drill bit is nearing the end of its useful life.

How to troubleshoot common problems when using drill bits

When using drill bits, there are a few common problems you may encounter. In this section, we’ll outline how to troubleshoot these problems.

  • If your drill bit is chattering, it means that the bit is bouncing up and down as it drills. This can cause the bit to wear down more quickly and produce a poor quality hole. If your drill bit is chattering, try turning the drill speed down a notch to see if that helps.
  • If your drill bit is overheating, it can lead to damage and deformation of the bits. This happens when there is too much friction between the bit and the material you are drilling into. To avoid this issue, make sure that you are using a lubricant on the bit and material to reduce friction. You may also want to try switching to a different type of drill bit, as some materials require a stiffer or softer drill bit to be properly drilled.
  • It’s also important to keep an eye out for worn-down drill bits. If the cutting edge of your drill bit is getting dull, it will cause the bit to overheat more quickly and produce a poor-quality hole. It’s important to replace worn-down drill bits frequently to avoid these issues.


Drilling is a common and essential task for any homeowner or DIYer. To achieve the best results, it’s important to use the right type of drill bit for the job, keep an eye out for signs that your drill bit needs to be replaced, and troubleshoot any common problems you may encounter. With the proper preparation and knowledge, you can ensure that your drilling projects are successful.


Q: Can you use drill bits in any drill?

While it may seem that drill bits can be used in any type of drill, the truth is that different drills require different types of bits for optimal performance. For example, a cordless drill requires a bit that can reliably transmit power from the motor to the drill bit without excessive wear or overheating.

In contrast, a handheld rotary drill may benefit from using an aggressive carbide-tipped bit for precise holes in hard materials such as concrete and metal. Ultimately, choosing the right drill bit comes down to understanding the unique features and requirements of your particular device.

Q: Why does my drill bit wobble?

There are several possible causes of drill bit wobble, including factors related to the bit itself as well as certain issues related to the user. So it is important to pay close attention to what you are doing and make sure your grip and technique are consistent at all times.

  • The drill is not placed firmly enough against the surface being drilled. If this is the case, then friction between the drill and the material is reduced, leading to more wobble.
  • Water or other liquids on the drill bit can also contribute to wobble by making it more slippery.
  • Poor drilling techniques can also lead to wobbling. For example, if you do not apply enough pressure while drilling or if you hold your body too rigidly, you may end up causing unnecessary side-to-side movements with your arms that result in an uneven drilling motion.

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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