Best Drill Bits For Hardened Steel – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

The truth is that many household projects simply require a steel drill bit 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 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a result, you will want to buy the best drill bits for hardened steel in order to get your work done. Below you will find our complete guide to getting the best drill bits for your drilling needs.

Comparison of the Best Drill Bits For Hardened Steel


DEWALT Drill Bit Set DW1354

  • 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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Neiko 10178A

  • 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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HYCLAT 5pcs Titanium Step Drill Bit

  • 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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IRWIN Drill Bit Set

  • 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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Bosch HCBG500

  • 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 serious challenge, especially on hardened steel. Drilling through 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 on the market that are made specifically for hardened steel.

These bits must be heat-resistant and insanely strong; general, unspecialized bits will break off when working on them, and ricocheting a drill bit is very dangerous. So, you must get drill bits that are made specifically for hardened steel, such as the ones detailed 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, more durable, and 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 on 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 through 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. Bear in mind that 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.

Quick Take: Best Drill Bits For Hardened Steel

Want to skip the review? Here is a quick look at the best drill bits for hardened ​steel:

1. DEWALT Drill Bit Set DW1354
Neiko 10178A
HYCLAT 5pcs Titanium Step Drill Bit 

Review of the Best Drill Bits For Hardened Steel

In order to ensure that you find the best drill bit on the market for hardened steel, we have compiled a list of the top six options, along with their pros and cons. Read on to find out why these stand out, who it is most suited to each product, and what faults you should be aware of. This way, you can find the one that is perfect for you.

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


  • Incredibly affordable price point
  • Comes in several different shapes and sizes
  • Durable, so it lasts for a long period of time
  • Hard plastic case keeps it protected
  • Good customer service for you to get your inquiries answered


  • Many sharp edges that can make your fingers tender
  • Spaces in between that can sometimes trap in dirt and rainwater

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of this product claim to love the durability these things provide. Since they are titanium made, they are 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 helps them last for a long period of time easily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product is incredibly stylish and has a premium, classy look. Once these drill bits make 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 a longer shelf life.

Who Will Use This Most

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

 Neiko 10178A

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


  • Reasonable price point
  • Long-lasting and durable to serve you for a long time
  • Able to handle tough strength and extreme heat
  • Tough drill bit made 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 typically use
  • Packaging is weak and doesn’t hold the drill bits in place

What 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 Will Use This Most

Since they have straight shanks and ground flutes, they are perfect for a clean job, which makes them a good investment for professionals. Also, as a beginner, they have the sizes you will normally need, such as 1/4 inch and 1/6 inch.

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 out many different tasks with them and make them last longer.

HYCLAT 5pcs Titanium Step Drill Bit, Hss Cobalt Multiple Hole 50 Sizes, High-Speed Metal Steel Step Drill Bit Set with Aluminum Case or Canvas Packing


  • Easy to control and use for beginners
  • Aluminum carry case
  • 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
  • Case has foam inside that doesn’t fit the bits inside properly

What Recent Buyers Report

This product has been praised as very good for the price point it is sold at. Buyers were left impressed with these and claimed that they were working well even after a year of use. They are robust and help in efficient drilling in thick metal and steel sheets. These bits were also ideal since they come 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, reduces waste, and features easy operation.

Who Will Use This 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 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


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


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

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, these drill bits provide you with 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, at this price point, the drill 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 an ordinary drill and can be easily sharpened when you need.

Who Will Use This 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, these drill bits 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 are 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 Steel, 29-Piece (3018002)


  • Affordable price range
  • Shortcut lips that reduce torque
  • Ensures deep and premium quality cutting
  • Comes with a metallic index casing for storage
  • Reliable and durable manufacturing and performance


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

What 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 was a marvel 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 time and ensures that chip ejection is clean and easy.

Who Will Use This 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


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


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

What 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 through 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 Will Use This 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 on 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 to 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; this is important to reduce because friction produces heat, which 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 larger 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 this 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. That way, you won’t have to waste your time driving back and forth from the home improvement 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 time and energy.