• How to choose the right drill bit: a comprehensive guide


Drill bits are essential tools for a wide range of tasks, from simple DIY projects to complex industrial applications. However, using the wrong drill bit for a specific material or job can lead to inefficient drilling, damaged bits, and even safety risks.

Check out the detailed guide below, covering the various types of drill bits and the specific materials they are best suited for.

This is a comprehensive guide to general onsite drilling and does not include our whole range of Alpha products that can be used in more heavy industrial situations. For more of our range including step drills, reduced shanks, and annular cutters, check out our products page. 

Timber Drilling

When working with timber, it's crucial to choose the appropriate drill bit to achieve clean and precise holes. For general timber drilling, we recommend any of the following: the Alpha Silver Series Drill Bits, the Alpha Gold Series Drill Bits, the Alpha Black Series Drill Bits, and the Alpha Onsite Plus range. Additionally, the Alpha TurboBORE Spade Bits and the Alpha Cutter Augur Bits are specifically designed just for timber drilling and will work exceptionally well.

The Alpha Silver Series Drill Bit is perfect for general non-ferrous material drilling as well as wood and plastic.

When it comes to tackling tougher jobs like drilling through hardwoods or treated timber, our top picks for optimal performance would be the Alpha Gold Series or Alpha Black Series Drill Bits.

Our best-selling Alpha Gold Series Drill Bits are a fan favourite, and it's no surprise why. These versatile all-rounders can handle a wide range of materials and applications with ease.

Not only does it have fully ground M2 HSS like the Alpha Silver Series, but it also has a titanium nitride coating which reduces heat and increases lubricity. Every skilled tradie understands that excessive heat can be the downfall of drill bits, so it's crucial to keep the heat levels to a minimum.

Additionally, this drill bit has an increased 135-degree split point which reduces wandering during drilling and has undergone rigorous testing, demonstrating a remarkable performance beating other market standard drill bits by over 30%.

The Alpha Black Series Drill Bits feature a tempered black oxide finish which means friction is significantly reduced between the bit and the workpiece. This feature makes it particularly well-suited for drilling through harder materials, though it may not be as suitable for softer and non-ferrous materials.

For those tradies who are wanting to get the job done fast and don’t care for pilot holes, then the Alpha Onsite Plus Impact Step Tip Drill has got you covered. It’s the latest innovation from Alpha and has left the trade industries in awe.

This product is a game changer, guaranteed to drill six times faster than the market standard, stay sharper for longer with its unique step tip design, and create the perfect, burr-free hole.

Expertly engineered out of fully ground premium M2 HSS, it's ideal for a wide range of materials, including steel, wood, plastic, and stainless steel.

Plus, no drill jamming or binding means you can get the job done safer, easier and in record time.

Mild Steel/Aluminium Drilling

When dealing with mild steel and structural steel, you need resilient drill bits that can handle the pressure. The Alpha Silver, Gold, and Black Series Drill Bits, along with the Alpha Onsite Plus range, are all well-suited for these materials. However, for optimal drilling performance, the Alpha team suggests going for the Gold, Black, or Onsite Plus series. They are your best bet to get the absolute most out of your drilling experience. The Stainless Plus Drill Bits work particularly well in Aluminium.

These drill bits have been specially designed to withstand the heat and power generated when drilling through metals and steels.

However, no matter the power and capability of these drill bits, it’s important that a generous amount of lubrication is used and continuously reapplied throughout.

Cutting fluids and oils are designed to maximise the life of drilling and cutting equipment, helping them to work under extreme amounts of pressure and torque, improving performance, improving machine finish, reducing tip welding, and preventing pitting.

We recommend having a healthy stock of the Alpha Liquid Gold Cutting Fluid which is formulated for extreme cutting performance when tapping, drilling, or reaming into all metals, including hardened steel and titanium. Special additives reduce friction, extend tool life, and provide an excellent surface finish.

Stainless Steel Drilling

Stainless steel is a tough material, and drilling through it requires even tougher tools. For such jobs, make sure to choose either our reliable Alpha Cobalt Series Drill Bits or our recently developed Alpha Stainless Plus Drill Bits, specially formulated for the ultimate drilling experience in...yes, you guessed it right, stainless steel.

One of the standout features of the Alpha Stainless Plus Drill Bit is its impressive durability, with five times greater life compared to cobalt drill bits when used on stainless steel. This means you can rely on it to withstand the toughest drilling conditions and deliver consistent results.

Perfect for welders, fabricators, sheet metal workers, pipe fitters, machinists, metal workers or any tradie that is looking for a strong and durable drill bit that can handle the relentless nature of stainless steel.

Other features include a 130-degree special point angle for quick penetration and reduced work hardening as well as a fast spiral flute for controlled chip evacuation.

And, of course, always remember to apply cutting fluid to keep the drill bit cool and prevent work hardening. This becomes particularly crucial when working with stainless steel, as you may need to reapply the lubricant multiple times during the drilling process to ensure optimal performance.

Hard Steel Drilling

When dealing with exceptionally hard metals like Hardox, Bisaloy and hi-tensile steel, standard drill bits won't suffice. Instead, choose the Alpha Cobalt Series Drill Bits, which boast an impressive 5% cobalt content and are specially formulated to offer enhanced heat resistance and increased strength for drilling through the toughest of materials. These drill bits are also ideally to be used with a drill press or a magnet drill.

Successfully drilling through materials like Bisaloy and Hardox requires both patience and a generous supply of continuous lubrication.

Specialty and Masonry Drilling

Specialised drill bits are essential for jobs such as drilling through glass, tile, or bricks, particularly when these kinds of materials are not cheap. Since mistakes can be costly, using the right specialty drill bits ensures the job is done correctly on the first try. Alpha’s Diamond Max Core Drill Hex Shanks are ideal for cutting through speciality materials.

The Alpha Diamond Max Core Drill Hex Shank features a diamond segment tip to reduce the cutting temperature for a 10x longer working life, as well as diamond composite technology that enables the bit to be dressed for optimum performance.

The wide-slotted design helps for increased visibility during cutting and for fast plug removal.

This bit is ideal for wet or dry drilling through porcelain, ceramic, granite, marble, limestone, slate, terracotta, fibreglass, travertine, and masonry.

Additionally, the Alpha Spearpoint Drill Bits can be used for drilling glass and tile, ideally at a low speed with water.

If wet drilling is not ideal or achievable, the Alpha Wax-Filled Diamond Core Bits aid in cooling and lubrication, eliminating the need for water. This bit performs exceptionally well with a vacuum brazed diamond tip, and a diamond coated design which reduces cutting temperatures for a 5x longer working life. 

Concrete Drilling

Concrete is a common material in construction projects, and proper drill bits are essential for the job especially when it involves any type of reinforcement. Alpha has a vast range of masonry and concrete drilling to suit various applications.

Our product line-up consists of various options for drilling through concrete, including the Masonry Straight Shank, the Multi-Purpose Hex Shank, and the extensive SDS range, which includes the SDS Max Zentro, SDS Plus 2 Cutter Masonry Drill Bit, and the REO Head SDS Plus 4 Cutter Masonry Drill. Rest assured, these tried and tested methods are reliable choices for concrete drilling tasks.

For a longer-lasting option in reinforced concrete, consider using Alpha's REO Head SDS Plus 4 Cutter Masonry Drill.

This drill bit is not only specifically designed to drill through REO concrete but any concrete and masonry material.

Suitable for major civil, commercial, and residential construction, as well as mechanical trades and high-rise construction projects.

The reinforced solid carbide head is one piece expertly welded to the drill flute providing accurate drill centring and preventing jamming, meaning the bit will cut through the rebar and then continue into the concrete as efficiently as before.

Made in Germany and PGM certified for guaranteed hole accuracy, this drill bit is crafted with reinforced shoulders for better-breaking power, impact resistance and faster drilling.

Alpha's REO Head SDS Plus 4 Cutter Masonry Drill beats other professional 4-cutter SDS drill bits by 15 per cent and lasts up to 6 x longer.


Selecting the right drill bit for the material and job at hand is crucial for achieving excellent results. Whether you're working with timber, steel, aluminium, masonry, or concrete, using the appropriate drill bit will not only enhance your efficiency but also ensure your safety during the drilling process.

Always remember to use lubrication when required and consider investing in specialty drill bits for specific tasks.

With the right tools and knowledge, you'll be well-equipped to take on any drilling project with confidence, no doubt. 

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