Metal Cutting Drill Bit Vs Wood Cutting Ones- Avoid the Confusion!

It’s common to wonder about the differences between Metal Cutting Drill Bit Vs Wood Cutting Ones. 

Within the world of drill bits, there are so many different variants that depend on what you use the drill bit for. 

To get the best out of the type you use, you should know the difference between metal-cutting drill bits and wood-cutting drill bits.

Both these drill bits look the same in terms of shape and size, and sometimes even have the same colors. 

However, when you look closer, you would notice some differences that set it apart from others, making it suited for different kinds of materials. 

Let’s look at the features of a metal cutting drill bit and a wood one.

The Basic Features of a Drill Bit

A drill bit is a special cutting tool that is used to make holes in various types of materials. 

These drill bits come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s only one shape they can make, and thats a circle! 

However, there are some characteristics that are in all drill bits, no matter the type. 

Here are some basic features of a drill bit:

  • The length helps you see how deep you want to cut into the material.
  • The lip angle gives you support as you cut. 
  • The point angle to cut the holes. The smaller point angles are good for soft surfaces, and the larger ones are good for hard places. 
  • The spiral on the drill bit controls the rate at which you take out chips. The faster the spiral, the more chips you can take, and vice versa.

Similarities of Wood and Metal Drill Bits 

Wood and metal drill bits have some similarities. So, before going into the differences, let’s look at their similarities. 

wood drill bit

(wood drill bit)

Both Drill Bits 

Obviously, the most noticeable and basic similarity between metal and wood drill bits is that they are both drill bits! These drill bits can make holes in their respective materials, and however deep you want them to be. 

Can be Used with Various Tools 

While they are not interchangeable with using with different materials, you can use them with hammer drills, drill presses, normal drill drivers, and even milling machines. 

The exact one you use (such as size) will depend on the type of machine you want to use. 

Many Types

There are many types of both wood drill bits and metal drill bits around. Wood and metal have other groups, like how you get different types of wood and different types of metal. 

It only makes sense that different kinds of drill bits serve these purposes. 

Differences Between Wood and Metal Drill Bits 

Like with wood cutting and metal cutting bandsaws, you must also know the differences between wood and metal drill bits. 

When doing your projects, you must take heed of these differences so you don’t ruin your hard work or even damage the drill bit. 

drilling into metal

(drilling into metal)

Main Purpose

A wood drill bit drills through wood, and a metal drill bit drills through metal. 

 However, you must wonder if you can use a wood drill for metal and vice versa. 

You can use a metal drill bit to drill through wood, which is hard and strong enough. It will not break due to the wood. 

However, the metal drill bit does not have the spur in the front, like the wood drill bit, so it can be hard to keep it centered. 

Be wary, as the drill bit will wander when drilling into the wood. Also, it may cause splintering

On the other hand, you cannot use a wood drill bit on a metal surface. 

The wood drill bit is not sturdy enough to get through the metal and ends up breaking the drill bit. 

Because a wood drill bit has a thin and sharp spur at the front, it will snap almost immediately at the hardness of the metal. 

Also, wood drill bits will not handle the heat generation from drilling metal. 

Shape and design 

A wood drill has a small spur and a very sharp point in point in the center of the bit. The bit is designed like this so it goes nicely through the wood and keeps the drill bit stable and in the center. 

This is generally the calling card of all wood drill bits. Metal drill bits do not have this pur in the front and instead have a conical cutting tip.

different sizes of drill bits

(different sizes of drill bits)


Sometimes, you would see the same material on wood and metal drill bits, but metal bits are stronger to work through the hard surface of metal. 

Wood drill bits are usually made out of cobalt, carbide, or high-speed steel. 

You would also see these materials on metal drill bits. To make them stronger, manufacturers use black oxide or titanium for coating. 

Force Required

Wood is softer than metal, so you don’t need much force to get into the wood as much as you would need with a metal drill bit. 

Metal is harder and denser, and the shape of the metal drill bit needs more force to go through the surface. 

Staying Centered 

The center spurs on the wood drill bit are a great advantage because it help the drill bit stay in the center of the material. 

Unfortunately, metal drill bits do not have a spur, which can make it difficult to keep the hole centered. Unless you have a steady hand, you’re in for a challenge. 

Metal Cutting Drill Bit Vs Wood Cutting Ones: Heat Generation 

When we talk about the heat, we mean how hot the material and the drill bit will get when you start drilling.

Metal drill bits have other materials on top of the original material, so it makes sense to say that metal drill bits give off more heat than wood ones. 

Make sure to wear your gloves when drilling into the metal!

Metal Cutting Drill Bit Vs Wood Cutting Ones: Types of Bits

Wood and metal drill bits come in different types as well. With metal drill bits, you get:

  • Center bits
  • Twist bits
  • Step bits 

And with wood drill bits, you get:

  • Auger bits
  • Installer bits
  • Brand point bits 
  • Forstner bits 
different drill bits

(different drill bits)


Are There Any Drill Bit Types That Can Be Used on Both Wood and Metal?

Yes! Step drill bits are one of the types that you can use on both metal and wood projects.

You can use this bit to drill pilot holes in your projects without changing the bits or if you don’t have a special one for the material you working with. 


It’s true that your metal and wood items don’t look or work the same way, so sometimes we cannot use the same equipment on them! 

Knowing the differences between wood and metal drill bits ensures that you don’t damage your project or break the drill bit itself. It is also to ensure your safety. 

Always use your protective gear when you use your drill, and consult the manual when necessary!