Different Types of Drill Bits for Wood and Their Uses

Woodworking of pretty much all types has to deal with drilling tools. The excellent craftsmanship that we see in images and videos isn’t possible without this particular power tool.

As there are differences in designs and materials, you will find different types of drill bits for wood that are used for creating holes of various sizes and shapes.

If you are planning to start your woodworking career or it’s just for DIY enthusiasm, you should know about these types. You will know which type is the right one for specific purposes. Choosing the right drill type will also allow you to finish your projects more efficiently.

12 Common Types of Drill Bits for Wood

Drill bits for wood can be categorized into many sections depending on material type, finishing, shapes, and manufacturing material. What I found during my research is that multiple types fall under two or more categories. Those aren’t our concern here. So, I ended up listing the most commonly used drill bits that you need to know about.

1. Twist Drill Bits

This is the type that people most commonly use for drilling in wood, light metal, and plastic materials. The shape of the bit is a general one. If you are looking for an all-purpose bit for home use, this would be the right choice. For occasional and light-duty projects, this should suffice the needs.

2. Brad-Point Drill Bit

When it comes to accurately drill through wooden workpieces, a brad-point bit is all you need. The tip has a brad on its center that ensures the precision of drilling while leaving a clean exit point for the workpiece. There are extra-wide flutes and grooves around the bit that also channel away dust as well as chips.

3. Self-Feed Drill Bit

This one got a screw tip that helps to position the bit, and further draws the bit through wooden materials. As the tip makes boring through workpieces a lot easier, it’s named a self-feed drill bit.

There are no flutes on the bit similar to other ones. Thus, you need to pull it back periodically to clear the dust and chips.

4. Auger Drill Bit

Similar to the self-feed bits, this one also comes with a screw tip that digs the hole and pushes the bit through the material.

However, it makes clean holes, so you don't have to pull it back and forth to clear the chips and dust from the hole. In fact, its hollow center design cleans more chips than other bits. This greatly contributes to overall deep boring results.

Some of these are 18 inches long. Holes are made with a solid center, and feel more rigid and stronger.

5. Installer Drill Bit

This type is a specialized kind of twisted bit that works for installing wirings. The bit is up to 18 inches long. You can use it on a variety of surfaces, wood, plaster, and masonry without issues.

When you are done drilling through the wall or other surfaces, insert the wire into its small hole, and draw it back through the bored hole. You can also attach additional wire to it, and pull through the hole easily.

6. Forstner Drill Bit

These bits stand out great to bore smooth and clean holes for dowels. The finish in the hole comes flat and well-bottomed. Compared to most bits, the hole remains neat and clean. The design of it allows you to overlap the holes. It also got a pointy tip that makes it easier to position the bit precisely on workpieces.

From time to time, you might need to pull the bit out periodically to clean the dust and chips. However, if you use a handheld drill, this bit might require putting some extra force from you. So, better use it with a drill press machine to drill with ease.

7. Spade Bit

Shaped similar to a paddle known as long wood drill bits, it can create holes with a large diameter up to 1 inch in wooden workpieces. Features a sharp point along with a flattened blade to help to position as well as keeping the bit steady while drilling. Bits with pointy two edges make it easier to create a neat and clean hole and exit point.

8. Hole Saw

It won’t be sensible if I talk about a saw in an article that describes different drill bits. Due to the saw shape design, this drill bit is often addressed as a hole saw. Woodworkers use this particular bit to drill large holes to install door hardware and create a pass-through for wiring.

If you are to use a hole saw, be ready to get a lot of waste materials. You will need an arbor or mandrel with a shank to attach the bit. The arbor has a pilot bit to center, and makes the bit steady while drilling through objects. However, some hole saws come with a built-in shank and don't require a pilot bit.

This one is a versatile bit that you can use on other materials such as metal, ceramic, and masonry. For using it on metals, make sure it’s made of bi-metal. If you are to also use it for dealing with ceramic tile, it should have a carbide edge. Diamond edge bit is for cutting masonry.

9. Plug Cutter

This is the bit type that you will need for concealing recessed. The bit creates holes in wood to allow you to use it for wood plugs.

10. Countersink Drill Bit

Have you heard about the screw pilot bit? It’s the same thing. Some professionals address it as a counter sink drill bit. You can counterbore, countersink, and drill pilot using the same drill bit. But, most people use it to countersink fasteners and install plugs over the fastener’s head.

11. Step Drill Bit

Even though step drill bits are mostly used for drilling thin metals, you can use it on wooden surfaces as well. Its stepped design allows you to drill holes of different diameters as there are steps etched into the bit. Cleaning waste material is comparatively easier using this one.

12. Ship Auger Bit

As the name tells you, these are quite similar to the auger ones. You get all the features and benefits that auger bits come with. What stands out to be different in these bits is that you can drill lengthy holes in thicker woodpieces or timbers.

Compared to other ones, this is more durable and rigid and can even cut through nails without any damage.

Materials Used in Wood Drill Bits

As the drill bit has to endure a lot of pressure and force, it must be a durable one if you don't want to get the replacement sooner. It would be better to have a clear understanding of what these bits are made of. Also, keep in mind that different materials have different uses purposes. So, consider your work purpose as well.

High-Speed Steel

This is the most commonly used material in drill bits. These bits are ideal for drilling wood, plastic, as well as thin metals. The carbon steel construction with vanadium and chromium additives make them strong and durable enough for general purposes usage.


When you need to drill through tougher materials, go for cobalt made bits. These drill bits have immense structural strength, which allows them to drill through even stainless steel and other tougher materials. Some bits also have cobalt and HSS alloy, to be more re-enforced.

Solid Carbide

When the projects require you to deal with extremely tough materials, solid carbide bits are the worthy component of such workpieces. Carbide is formed by combining metal with carbon. That’s why these are the most expensive bits on the market.


As the name goes, these bits have carbide made tips. As carbides are extremely expensive, some manufacturers come up with the idea of making only the tip out of carbide. These are ideal for drilling on masonry and concrete surfaces.

Final Words

Hopefully, you got your concept clear about various types of drill bits for wood. Use the right bit that is recommended to use to be able to drill on specific materials to ensure efficiency. Also, it will further ensure the durability of the bits.