Our DIY expert approves these excellent quality bits that last a long time and get the job done.
Features seven pieces with rock carbide tips in sizes ranging from 3/16 to 1/4 inches. Shanks have 3 flats so they don't slip out of your chuck. Design allows for efficient drilling. Durable and easy to use.
A wider range of smaller pieces would make this collection even better.
A great, affordable choice that still offers good quality.
Includes five tungsten carbide tipped units in sizes from 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Can be used with tile, concrete, brick, plastic, and wood. Works easily and is ideal for home/ occasional use.
Those who need these for regular use will need a higher-quality choice.
With 14 pieces, this option offers a large variety from a brand with a solid reputation, according to our DIY expert.
These feature carbide tips. The sizes range from 1/8 to 1/2 inches. These work twice as fast as standard models. Ideal for brick and soft stone. This product comes in a soft plastic case for convenient storage.
These dull quickly and are not for use with hammer drills.
This collection provides more efficient drilling while also offering longer life.
Features a 4-flute design to quickly clear debris. The 2-cutter carbide tip helps ensure longer life. The shank has 3 flats to eliminate slipping in the chuck and the tip is designed to minimize walking.
Includes 4 pieces. Make sure you’re getting the sizes you need.
This versatile kit is suitable for brick, tile, cement, and stone.
The carbon steel tip is heat-treated and rust-resistant for durability. Has 2 flutes for debris removal and a spiral shank to increase cutting efficiency. Includes the most popular sizes.
The pieces in this collection tend to dull fairly quickly.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
For hundreds of DIY and professional jobs, from hanging a shelf to running cable, you often need to drill into or through brick, cinder block, or stone, which means you need a masonry drill bit. While you can get them individually, a set is often more economical and convenient.
The choice of masonry drill bits available today is surprisingly extensive. Not only are there different lengths and diameters, but there are different materials, too. Tip design has advanced, and while standard masonry drill bits are much the same as ever, there are now versatile designs that can drill multiple materials. If you need a really large hole, you might have to consider a masonry core drill.
Most masonry drill bits are designed to be used in a hammer drill. The rapid impact added to rotation makes it the most efficient way to cut through brick, block, concrete, and so on. Heavy-duty versions fit into powerful Slotted Drive System (SDS) and rotary hammer drills. While the bits can be considerably larger — and up to several feet long — the drill bit structure is largely the same.
Tip: Unlike standard drill bits, which have a point and cutting edges along the sides, all the action from a masonry drill bit comes from the broad triangular tip and shoulders, which are noticeably wider than the rest of the bit. The twists — properly called flutes — don’t actually do any cutting. They are for clearing waste, drawing it backward out of the hole. In fact, some masonry drills (typically those used for granite, slate, or natural stone) don’t have flutes at all, just a plain shaft. Manufacturers often claim their flute design is better than those of competitors, but we haven’t been able to detect any major difference.
Shank: The drill bit shank is usually round, though some have three flat sides and some are hexagonal. This allows a standard three-jaw drill chuck to grip them more firmly. Shanks on SDS, SDS Plus, and SDS Max shanks are slotted. This gives the highest grip of all. It’s impossible for the drill bit to slip even under heavy load. Note that it’s vital that you choose the right type of SDS masonry drill bit. SDS and SDS Plus are interchangeable (10-millimeter shank) but SDS Max is not (18-millimeter shank).
High-speed steel: The main body of most masonry drill bits is high-speed steel (HSS), which is relatively low cost and very hard. We’ve seen other steel or carbon alloys mentioned, but these can be a little deceptive. All steel is an alloy of carbon and iron, so the term “alloy” is really just a marketing gimmick. We don’t want to suggest that there’s anything wrong with these bits, but there’s no big advantage either.
Tungsten carbide: What’s certainly not a gimmick is the addition of a tungsten carbide tip (usually just called carbide) bonded to the HSS body. Carbide is an extremely hard ceramic that significantly increases the life of the drill bit. The downsides are that it’s more expensive and more time-consuming to sharpen, but we’d say it’s well worth having.
You might also see “rock carbide” used to describe some masonry drill bits. It sounds impressive, but it’s just a trade name used by DEWALT. They are good bits, but there’s nothing special about the “rock” aspect.
Titanium: A gold color often indicates a titanium coating, another material that will increase the life of your drill bits. You can find these in a set that includes masonry drill bits, but it will be a combination set that includes some standard drill bits (for wood, plastic, and so forth) and some masonry drill bits. The latter are not the ones that are titanium coated because there are no cutting edges behind the chisel point, and thus no benefit to adding it.
The largest masonry drill bits, used in SDS drills and rotary hammers, can get up to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. That’s a pretty big hole, but sometimes larger ones are required, like for supporting poles or putting in pipework. It’s impractical to have a solid drill for that kind of work. It becomes unmanageably heavy and requires too much energy to rotate. So bigger holes are made by masonry core drills, basically a steel tube with square teeth that are impregnated with industrial diamonds. These are somewhat specialized tools and usually sold individually rather than in sets.
If you’re working on horizontal surfaces, a small pool of water around the hole can help prevent the drill bit from overheating, which reduces cutting efficiency. It also helps damp down the dust.
Multi-material drill bit sets are a fairly recent introduction and quite an interesting one. Instead of the usual straight-sided triangular tip, they are a curved arrow shape. The idea is that they can drill through both tile (ceramic or glass) and then into the structure of the brick or block wall behind it. Manufacturers suggest using water for lubrication when cutting glass, marble, or granite, which might be a bit of a challenge on vertical surfaces. They’re probably best for light-duty tasks. The maximum size we’ve seen is 1/2 inch.
Hammer drills have traditionally been corded for more consistent power. Today’s cordless hammer drills now rival that performance, and even some high-powered SDS drills are battery-powered. However, energy drain can be severe when doing even relatively minor masonry work.
Some manufacturers have taken this into account and produced masonry drill bits for standard hammer drills that are claimed to use less energy. At a DIY level, this could be a very convenient feature, and as the bits are no more expensive than any other, they’re certainly worth trying. We have yet to see the same idea applied to SDS drill bits.
You’ll sometimes see masonry drill bit sets for just a couple of bucks, but they’re made of plain steel and about as useful for drilling holes as a piece of spaghetti! Decent quality starts at around $10.
Between $15 and $40, you’ll find a huge amount of choice, including heavy-duty rotary hammer and SDS bits from big-name brands. Most people will find the masonry drill bit set they’re looking for in this price bracket.
Very long masonry drill bits and diamond core drill bits can occasionally top $50, but few people except construction professionals need them.
If you’re hanging something off a masonry surface, make sure you use the right fixing. Plastic rawl plugs are fine for many jobs, but if you’re putting up something heavy, you may need wall anchors. If in doubt, get professional advice.
A. You can. A bench grinder with the correct wheel will do the job, or you can get a specific drill bit sharpener. The latter makes it easier to maintain the correct angle, but you need to check capabilities carefully. Cheaper models are only made to take standard HSS drill bits and won’t sharpen carbide tips.
A. It depends on the type of tile. Specific tile drill bits are available, usually with a cone-shaped tip. Masonry bits will also do the job, though the hole might not be quite as clean. If it’s ceramic tile, carbide-tipped drill bits are best. If it’s glass or porcelain, you may need a diamond-tipped bit. Before you drill, put a piece of masking tape over the area. It’s easier to mark, and it will give the drill bit some initial grip so it stays in the right place. Drilling slowly also helps avoid cracking. Resist the temptation to lean on the drill.
A. You could use the multi-material type, but not standard masonry drill bits. The latter actually use a chipping motion rather than cutting, which is why the drills themselves usually have a hammer action. For wood and metal, it’s much better to use twist drill bits since they slice into the material. They don’t cost very much, so it’s worth investing in the right tool for the job.