If you don’t use a drill very often, you might think doing so is as simple as going to the store, buying a bit, putting it in your drill, and drilling a hole. In fact, the world of drill bits is much more complicated than that, and can even be daunting for those who don’t understand the materials, designs, and terminology. It’s not brain surgery, but a little research can put you on the right track. When shopping for a drill bit set that will best meet your needs, consider the material it’s made from, the shank, and the point’s angle.

Clip Latch for Secure Closing

This quality collection comes in a tough plastic case for easy, safe storage. DEWALT

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The material a bit is constructed from determines what it can cleanly and efficiently drill through. High-speed steel (HSS) drill bits can cleanly drill wood, fiberglass, PVC, and soft metals like aluminum. Titanium-coated HSS bits produce less friction and are tougher than basic steel bits. They’re great for drilling wood, metal, and fiberglass. Carbide-tipped drill bits are used for drilling tile and masonry because they are very strong and tend to stay sharp much longer than HSS or titanium bits.

Includes an Organized Holder

This versatile, general-purpose collection of HSS tools will work on a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, and light-gauge metals. COMOWARE

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Consider the shank (the base of the bit) also when choosing a drill bit set. First, the bit shank size can’t be larger than the size of the chuck (which holds the tool onto the spindle) of the drill—otherwise it won’t fit into the drill. A hex shank has flat surfaces, allowing the drill to grip the bit more securely so it can withstand greater torque. Many work with quick-change chucks. A round shank will allow you to accurately center your bit in the chuck. Lastly, a slotted drive system shank (SDS) is designed for use on a hammer drill and can move backward and forward with the drill’s hammering motion.

Optimized Storage Space

For using your drill to set screws, this collection offers heads of many different configurations. DEWALT

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The angle of a drill bit’s point is also important in what kinds of materials you can use it on. In a nutshell, flatter points are best for drilling harder materials. Bits with steeper points tend to work better on softer materials. Bits with split-point tips are handy because they improve drilling accuracy since they keep the bit from wandering around when you start drilling a hole. And don’t forget screwdriver points—many drills can be used for driving screws, and good sets contain bits that fit a variety of different types of screw heads.