Power Tools

Which Drills are Best for Drilling into Metal, Concrete, Granite, and More?

Power drills can do a wide variety of tasks, coming in handy in both home and business environments. DIYers and busy professional contractors alike can benefit from knowing precisely which drills on the market perform the best. And better yet, knowing which drills are best suited to each task at hand.

Whether you’re a handyman at home or a contractor on-site, there will come a time in your life when you’re confronted with drilling tasks that aren’t run of the mill. You will drill through metal and granite as well as wood, tiles, and concrete. Is your drill up to the task, or do you need to consider investing in an additional unit to bridge the gap between easy/simple drilling tasks and those that need a bit more rugged versatility?

A power drill (corded or cordless) can work wonders with the right working bit and accessories. Much the same, the wrong working bit and accessories can result in injury, a failed project, and disappointment. Power drills can drill through various materials and drive in screws, mix paints, and buff surfaces. Not just any drill can do each of these tasks – you will need the right one for each.

In this article, you’ll get a brief rundown of how to drill into all manner of materials, including metals, tiles, wood, granite, and concrete. It is worth mentioning that drilling in wood is probably the easiest task. It’s certainly easier than trying to drill into metal, granite, tiles, or concrete where a different technique and strategy is required. Included in the content to follow is everything you need to know about selecting the best drill for each material, along with the most suitable selection of drill bits.

Let’s make drilling easy and fun for you!

Drilling & Selecting the Best Drills for the Task

Drilling Through Metal

Drilling into metal is a task that can crop up from time to time at home and at work. There are countless structures made of iron and steel, making this type of drilling somewhat unavoidable. You may need to install wire shelving, make a cage for your pets, or install safety locks in steel doors.

Tools Needed:

  • Power drill and drill bits
  • Vise (for holding the metal)
  • Lubricant
  • Center punch
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves

How to Drill Through Metal

  • Hold the metal on the vise and mark the point by tapping the center punch with a hammer 2-3 times. The tapping will create a mark for easy drilling and create a small groove in the metal – the bit will not slip over the surface of the metal. Put a drop of the lubricant on the dimple to keep the drill bit cool.
  • Once everything is set, wear your safety goggles and place the edge of the drill bit on the marked point. Please keep in mind that you don’t need to apply extra pressure or drill in a hurry. Make sure you drill at a slow speed, so the bit doesn’t get heated too soon. Heat dulls the bit quickly. When drilling in hard metals like steel and using large bits, you must keep the drilling speed slow.
  • Hold the drill steady as the bit starts to work on the metal. Once the hole is complete, the drill will move down with a sudden jerk. Be prepared to handle it. If you need a big hole in the metal, the best way is to start with a small bit and replace it with a bigger bit until you reach the size you want.
  • If you want to drill in metals attached to other surfaces such as wood, walls, or ceiling, you will need a drill bit that can handle the width of both surfaces. All the steps will be the same, but you need to be more careful as you can’t hold the metal in a vise.

So, now that you know how to drill through metal. Let’s check out the best power drill and bit set for drilling in metal.

Best Drill for Drilling Through Metal

BOSCH 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme

The Bosch Bulldog extreme, as the name implies, is built for tough applications in metal, concrete, and wood. The 7.5 amps rotary hammer features 0-1300 RPM and 0-5800 BPM for various applications. You can select the operation mode with the help of a multifunction selector. The operation modes include a rotary hammer, rotation only, and hammer only.

Bosch’s Vario-Lock position feature allows you to lock the chisel into 36 different positions for working angle optimization. Bosch’s patented rotating brush plate provides equal power for forwarding and backward motion. The variable speed trigger allows you to drill through various materials and offers low-speed drilling for metals. If the bit gets bound up during metal drilling, the integral clutch will disengage torque transmission and keeps the machine safe from any mishaps.

You can change the bits without any tools through the SDS-plus bit system. The drill offers automatic bit locking, dust protection, and maximum impact energy transfer. Its handle design is best for overhead and downward drilling applications, plus it provides a stable grip while drilling in metals. The vibration control features minimize vibration when drilling in hard materials. The package includes an auxiliary handle, a depth gauge, and a carrying case along with the hammer.

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Best Drill Bit Set for Drilling Through Metal

BOSCH 7 Piece Carbide-Tipped Rotary Hammer Drill Bit Set

Not only do you need a powerful and reliable drill for drilling in metal, but you will also need a drill set that won’t budge under pressure. This drill set from Bosch is a 7-piece carbide-tipped SDS plus rotary hammer set for handling tough materials like metal, concrete, tile, and wood.

The 4-flute design ensures less stress while drilling and keeps the bit cool. The carbide-tipped bit heads are hard and give a tough time to thick and thin metal pieces alike. The centric tip provides for an ultimate hole geometry and makes rounder holes.   

Set includes one of each 3/16 In.x2 In.x4 In., 1/4 In.x2 In.x4 In., 5/16 In.x4 In.x6 In., 3/8 In.x4 In.x6 In., 1/2 In.x4 In.x6 In. and two 1/4 In.x4 In.x6 In. for handling a variety of applications. With this drill set, you can drill through metals of various thicknesses.

The drill set comes with a durable and rugged storage case for easy access and organization. You don’t need to fear losing your bits anymore.

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Drilling Into Tiles

Tiles are widely used for flooring and walls in kitchens, bathrooms, and tabletops for dining rooms. People prefer installing tiles because they look good and are durable than paint or wallpapers. However, tiles are difficult to install and are costly, but they last longer than other flooring options. You will be surprised to know that a tile floor can last for 75-100 years. It was found in a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) (https://www.nahb.org/).

An average homeowner will need to drill through tiles for various purposes. You may need to install bathroom accessories and fixtures, hang hooks in the kitchen, and drill holes for installing switch plates.  You can use stick-on hooks, but they are not durable and can come off at any time. A drilled hook is the best solution for hanging stuff on tiles. You will need the following tools to drill in tiles.

Tools Needed:

  • Drill machine and drilling bits
  • Nylon plugs
  • Masking tape
  • Center punch
  • Hammer
  • Safety goggles and face mask
  • Work gloves

How to Drill Into Tiles

  • We suggest that you don’t drill between tiles or near the edge of the tiles. The edges can crack when drilled. Try to drill in the center of the tile so that it can withstand the drilling force. If you are drilling in a bathroom or above any other fixture, it is best to cover up any surfaces with a towel or old cloth, so they don’t get damaged. Moreover, make sure that no pipes or electric wires are running behind the tiles.    
  • The first step in drilling the hole is to mark where you want the drill bit to go. Grab some masking tape and put it over the spot in an X shape. The purpose of the masking tape is to prevent your drill bit from slipping. Mark the point where you want to drill the hole. Get your center punch and tap it lightly with a hammer 2-3 times. It will form a dimple and create a headway for the drill machine.
  • Set your drill on drilling mode and at a low speed. Place your drill at a straight angle. It must be horizontal to the marked point and not tilted. Turn on your drill and start drilling at a slow speed. You don’t need to press in too hard. The drill will do all the work. Please keep in mind that it is a slow process. If you rush the drill into the tile, it can crack. Don’t wiggle the drill to widen the hole, as it can crack the tile. If you want to make a bigger hole, remove the small bit, attach a wider bit, and drill again.   

So now that you know how to drill through tiles without cracking, it’s time to check the best power drill and the working bits for drilling in ceramic tiles.

Best Drill for Drilling Tiles

Makita HR2641 1″ AVT Rotary Hammer

The Makita HR2641 with an 8-amp motor delivers 2.1 ft. lbs. /2.9 J of impact energy to handle tough and hard materials like tiles, metals, and concrete. When you are drilling in tiles, the drill vibrates a lot. To counter this vibration, Makita’s Anti-vibration technology (AVT) moves a counterweight in the opposite direction of the drive piston to absorb the vibration. The integrated damper spring at the base of the impact bolt absorbs impact vibrations from the drill bit, giving you a smooth drilling experience.

The SDS plus bit changing mechanism provides a keyless bit replacement mechanism. The chuck size is 1 inch. The adjustable depth gauge allows you to adjust the drilling depth. The second handle is adjustable, so you can move it according to your comfort level while working in tight and confined spaces. You can secure the tool with a retractable handle when the tool is not in use.  

The automatic clutch disengages if the bit binds or slips. The drill has three modes of operation; rotation only, hammering with rotation or chipping only to handle multiple applications and various materials. It is a variable speed drill with a maximum speed of 1100 RPM, ideal for drilling through tiles. The BPM speed is 0-4500.

The machine measures 4.37 x 19.25 x 13.03 inches and weighs 11.5 pounds. The package includes a side handle, depth gauges, and a tool case. It offers a 1-year warranty with a 30-days satisfaction guarantee.

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Best Drill Bit Set for Drilling in Tiles

Makita B-68993 5 Pc. Assorted Glass and Tile Bit Set

This drill set is specifically designed for drilling up to class 3 ceramic tile, non-tempered glass, plastic, composite, brick, and marble. The three flank shank design provides a superior grip for driver-drill chucks and offers maximum support and stability while working. The spiral design helps in easy cleaning.

The box includes one 1/8″ x 3″ round shank, 3/16″ x 3″ round shank, 1/4″ x 4″ 3-flat shank, 3/8″ x 4″ 3-flat shank, and 1/2″ x 4″ 3-flat shank. You can use the bits for dry and wet applications. The copper brazed carbide tips are ideal for drilling through tiles and other hard materials.

Please note that the work bits don’t come with a storage box. However, you can use the tool storage box that comes with the drill.

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Drilling Into a Wood

One of the first materials you will need to drill in your home or workshop is wood. Woodworking is often the first step of your DIY career, and it is also the hobby of millions of Americans. Drilling through wood is not difficult, but it needs skills. Compared to other materials like metal, tiles, and concrete, wood is fragile, and the holes can easily go bad if you don’t drill carefully.

To drill a hole in the wood, you will need the following supplies.

Tools Required:

  • Drill machine with the right drill bits
  • Pencil/marker
  • Hammer with a center punch
  • Scrap piece of wood
  • Safety goggles, face mask
  • Work gloves

How to Drill Through Wood

Your aim must be to drill holes without splitting or destroying the wood. You may need to make small, medium, or large-sized holes depending on your project. While you can use the same drill for making different holes in the wood, you will need a different work bit for each type of hole. 

  • To make small holes, mark where you want to drill and place your drill on top of the marked point. Set the machine on medium to fast speed and apply gentle pressure while drilling. Move the drill back and forth to clear the waste material out of the hole. If your drill doesn’t have a depth stop feature, put sticky tape around the bit where you need to stop, so you have a visual guide. If both sides of the wood will be seen, mark the drilling point on both sides and drill from front and back. It helps avoid splinters and gives smooth edges. If you are drilling on a small wooden piece, you can also place a scrap piece of wood underneath your project piece for small holes. It gives smooth edges on the other side.
  • For making medium-sized holes, you will need a bigger bit. It is best to set your drill at a slow speed while making bigger holes. When you are working with large bits, the chances of splintering are higher at faster drilling speeds.    
  • For larger holes, you will need a set of hole saws. An average DIY individual or homeowner will rarely need to make such holes. Large holes are required for plumbing applications.

An average homeowner’s woodwork will revolve around making small holes, drilling through walls and other structures for hanging frames, or renovating/fixing furniture. Let’s find out which drill machine and drill bit set are best for woodworking.

Best Drill for Drilling Wood

MILWAUKEE’S Electric Tools 2803-22 Drill Driver Kit

Woodworkers often work in tight and confined spaces, and that too without utility power. You will need a compact and powerful drill that can handle all your woodworking drilling and hammering needs. Milwaukee’s M18 ½-inch hammer drill and drill driver kit is just the perfect tool for all the woodworkers. Its power-state brushless motor delivers 60% more power than any other drill in the market and is 1.5-inch shorter in length with up to 2X faster-drilling speed under heavy load. The M18 fuel system is by far the most powerful and reliable in cordless tools. The M18 red-lithium battery packs last longer than any other lithium-ion battery.   

The machine works on two different speed settings and has a maximum speed of 2000 RPM while delivering 1200 in-lbs. torque for different applications. The torque settings are 0-14 for protecting your workpiece. The all-metal keyless ratcheting chuck is corrosion resistant and provides superior bit gripping strength. Your work bits will not flutter under heavy loads. The 6.9-inch long tool is best for working in tight and confined spaces with a built-in LED light for better lighting in dark places.

The machine comes with a 5-year tool and a 3-year battery warranty with a 90-day return window. The package includes one M18 fuel 1/2” drill driver, two M18 REDLITHIUM XC5.0 batteries, one M18 & M12 multi-voltage charger, one side handle, one belt clip, one-bit holder, and a carrying case.

MILWAUKEE’S Electric Tools 2803-22 Drill Driver Kit

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Best Drill Bit Set for Drilling Wood

MILWAUKEE’S 48-89-4632 Kit Tin Shockwave (29-Piece)

MILWAUKEE’S 48-89-4632 Kit Tin Shockwave (29-Piece)

Milwaukee’s 29 piece drill bit set is engineered to handle all your wood drilling projects. The drill set contains all the drills you will need to drill through wood, plastic, and metal. The quad edge tip helps the bit stay sharp longer and work for more time than other competitors.

The titanium drill bits are engineered to handle wood with various thicknesses without stopping or getting heated. The drilling set is a versatile toolbox to have, and you won’t need any other drill set for drilling in wood ever again. The hex shank size is ¼ inches which are used in almost all drills and impact drivers.

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Drilling Into a Granite

Granite is a versatile material, and it is used in buildings, bridges, monuments, and many other outdoor projects. Granite is also used for countertops, tile floors, stair steps, flooring, and various other applications. A homeowner may need to drill through granite for various reasons. Let’s learn how to do it.

Tools Required:

  • Power drill and appropriate working bits
  • Cold water
  • Safety goggles and face mask (optional)
  • Wood slabs and clamps (if drilling on unattached granite tile)
  • Center punch
  • Hammer
  • Work gloves

How to Drill Through Granite

  • First things first, make sure you have a heavy-duty drill and the right work bit for drilling through granite. Secondly, granite is expensive, so please be certain about the drilling point and purpose. If you drill at the wrong point, you won’t be able to repair the damaged granite. So before drilling through your costly granite, think twice.
  • A homeowner will usually drill granite for hanging stuff or installing new fixtures on countertops. To drill a small hole in granite, mark the drilling point and strike it with a center punch and the hammer lightly 2-3 times. This point will serve as an indent point for the drill bit and will not let it slip. If you are working on a granite slab, make sure you clamp it over a scrap piece of wood. The granite slab will not slip in this way.
  • Once your work piece is set, dip the bit in some cold water, so it doesn’t get heated. Place your drill on the marked point and drill at slow to medium speed. Dip the drill bit in cold water after 5-10 seconds of drilling. Drilling through granite will take some time, so be patient here and don’t rush things. Let the drill do its work and hold it gently and firmly while it works on the granite. Clean the granite dust and proceed with your project.
  • For drilling big holes in granite, you will need a bigger drilling bit. There are various drill bits available in the market for drilling through. You will need to buy one according to your project dimensions.

Let’s review the best drill and work bit for granite.

Best Drill for Drilling Through Granite

DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 2-Tool (DCK240C2)

Granite needs stable power, and a 20V cordless drill can provide a constant force to drill deep in granite. For drilling through granite, we have DeWalt’s 20V cordless drill and impact driver combo. Let’s review both tools below.

Drill: The drill/driver in the combo is a 20V machine with 2-speed settings (0-450 / 0-1800 RPM), which allows you to work on different materials such as granite, wood, and tiles. Its high-performance motor delivers 300 unit watts out to allow you to complete a wide range of applications. The chuck size is ½ inches. The chuck is keyless for easy bit replacement while working. The single sleeve chuck provides superior bit gripping strength while working on tough materials. The drill has an ergonomic handle to provide you a comfortable gripping experience. It has 16 clutch settings for different applications with a forward and reverse switch. The tool is CSA certified.

Impact Driver: The DCF885 impact driver is a versatile tool specifically designed for working in tight and confined spaces. The 3-LED light ring with a 20-second delay provides excellent visibility without creating any shadows. The one-handed loading ¼-inch hex chuck accepts 1-inch bit tips. It is a compact and lightweight tool that easily fits into tight spots. You can even work in a ventilation shaft with this tool. The tool produces 0-3200 impact per minute speed, and the maximum torque produced is 1400 inches/pounds. The no-load speed is 0-2800 RPM. The anvil type is a quick release for fast bit replacement.

The batteries for both machines are 20V lithium-ion batteries and last longer when working at high speeds. The tools come with a single charger, a carry bag, and an instruction manual. You get a 3-year limited warranty, 1-year free service, and 90-days money-back guarantee. DeWalt offers one of the best warranties in the industry.

DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 2-Tool (DCK240C2)

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Best Drill Bit Set for Drilling Granite

DEWALT DW5586 1-3/8-Inch Diamond Drill Bit

DEWALT DW5586 1-3/8-Inch Diamond Drill Bit

The diamond-tipped stainless steel bit is perfect for drilling through granite. The bit diameter is 1-3/8 inches, and the cutting length is ¼ inches. The overall length of the bit is 3 inches. The bit’s design allows you to remove plugs for repetitive holes. You don’t need to worry about taking off the bit every time for drilling again. A simple tap will remove granite plugs, and you can start drilling again after dipping the tip in cold water.

The reverse spiral thread design delivers continuous water feed for increased speeds and longer life. The 3/8 inch shank fits most standard drills chucks. The drill can withstand a maximum RPM of 1200-1500. With this bit, drilling granite is easier compared to other traditional bits available in the market.

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Drilling Into a Concrete

Concrete is the most common man-made construction material used all over the world. Its applications are countless. It is chosen as a building material due to its fire-resistant properties. Concrete is used in the home as a flooring material, countertops, tabletops, accessories, fireplace and stair treads, and interior wall finishes.

A homeowner may need to drill through concrete for various purposes. You may need to hang frames in concrete walls, install a door stopper in the concrete floor or install a new fixture in the concrete countertop. You will need the following tools for drilling in concrete.

Tools Needed:

  • Power drill and appropriate work bit
  • Masonry Screws
  • Hammer
  • Vacuum (optional)
  • Marker
  • Eye protection
  • Work gloves
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Measuring tape

How to Drill Through Concrete

Begin by marking the desired position of the holes in the concrete surface. You will need to consider the desired depth of the hole and set your drill’s stop bar accordingly. If your drill doesn’t have this feature, use masking tape on the drill bit for visual aid. Don’t forget to check for any pipes, wires, or ductwork behind the wall that can be damaged during the drilling process.

Attach the appropriate working bit to the drill and get ready to make a guide hole. Grip the tool with one hand and hold the second handle with the other. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and keep the drill perpendicular to the concrete surface. Position the bit and start drilling at the lowest speed. Most drills come with 2-speed settings. If your drill has this feature, adjust it to a low-speed setting; otherwise, a quick short burst will be enough for drilling a guide hole. Push forward with steady pressure until you reach ¼ inch depth. Don’t exert too much pressure as it can break the bit. Remove the bit and blow out the dust in the hole. Now adjust the drill at medium speed and continue drilling until the desired depth is reached.

If you notice that the drill is not moving forward, stop right away and use a masonry nail to check what’s behind the wall. Sometimes stones, pipes, or ductwork can slow down drilling.

Now let’s review the best drill for drilling through concrete and the concrete drilling bits.

Best Drill for Drilling Through Concrete

Skil 20V 1/2 Inch Cordless Drill Driver DL527502

Skil’s power drill is one of the must-have tools that every homeowner and a DIY enthusiast looks forward to buying. The power drill is capable of drilling through concrete, wood, plastic, and metals.

It comes with a PWRcore 20V lithium-ion battery with a patented temperature management system to keep the battery cool and provide you with long battery life. It has a ½-inch plastic chuck which allows for easy keyless bit changing. There are two-speed settings that make it ideal for working on granite. You can make the indent hole at a slow speed and then complete the task at a fast speed. The speed settings are 0-420 and 0-1450 RPM. The 17+1 clutch settings allow you to work on different projects without facing any issues. The machine generates 350 inch-pounds torque, which is ideal for granite.

The built-in LED light illuminates the work area when the trigger is pressed, and it stays on for 10 seconds after the trigger is released. The forward/reverse LED indicator allows you to check the direction in which you are driving. The battery life is displayed on the fuel gauge and helps you plan your work without any delays. The battery takes 1 hour for a full recharge.

The tool measures ‎7.4 x 2.8 x 7.72 inches and weighs 4.19 pounds. The best thing about this drill is that it comes with a 5-year warranty and is CSA-US Certified.

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FAQs

What safety measures should I take while drilling?

You must take the following safety measures.
-Avoid baggy clothes
-Avoid wearing loose clothing items such as bracelets, necklaces, or anything that can get stuck in the bit
-Wear protective gear (safety goggles, hearing protection, and face mask)
-Stand in a comfortable position with legs apart
-Always keep the drill perpendicular to the surface while drilling
-Drill pilot holes or use center punch to mark slippery surfaces

How can I select the best drill for drilling through different surfaces?

A powerful drill is best if you are frequently drilling. It can handle hard and soft materials alike. If you like a cordless drill, then Milwaukee’s 2803 is best. For people who like to work with a corded drill, BOSCH 11255VSR and Makita HR2641 are recommended.

Which drill is best for metal?

Drilling through metal requires force. It is best to go with a corded drill with maximum power.

Which drill is best for wood?

All of the drills reviewed above can be used for drilling in wood.

Which drill is best for concrete?

Skil DL527502 is best for drilling in concrete. It provides enough power to drill through the thickest of concretes.

Which drill should I use for drilling through tiles?

Any powerful drill with the right attachment can drill through tiles.

Final Word

With this knowledge, may your next drilling task be safe, efficient, and effective!