12 Types Of Drill Bits For Wood

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We all know that you can get numerous types of drill bits for drilling holes in various kinds of material. However, what you probably don’t know is that there are literally over a hundred different types of woodworking drill bits. Hence, we get a wide variety of different kinds of drill bits for wood as well. In this article, we probably cannot cover every single type of drill bit that we use. However, we will try to highlight at least the most popular ones used for woodworking.

Drill bits are one of the essential items in your woodworking toolbox. Each different type has a specific purpose. Drill bits for wood come in various shapes and sizes. Then, we classify them according to the way they are cut and the job each one does. Once you have read this article, you should have a clearer idea of how to get the best out of each type of drill bit. That way, you can make your woodworking toolbox into a highly equipped and valuable part of your woodworking experience.

Twist drill bit
Twist drill bit. Image Credit: andersen_mrjh

Woodworking Drill Bits

In this article, we take a closer look at the different options you can get in drill bits. It is essential to know the specific use of each type of drill bit. That way, you can get your jobs done efficiently, and perhaps, you can even get some handy tips from the information in this article. So, read on!

Twist Drill Bits

DEWALT Titanium Drill Bit Set, Pilot Point, 21-Piece (DW1361)
DeWalt Twist Drill Bits. See on Amazon.

These are general purpose drills, and we use them to drill plastic, steel, and wood. The angle of a twist drill is such that they cut steel rather well, but you can drill holes in wood as well. However, you need to select the material, degree of hardness and type of drill bit carefully to get the best out of it.

Dowel Drill Bits

Miller Dowel Drill Bits, 1X Drill Bit
Miller Dowel Drill Bits. See on Amazon.

Also known as lip & spur wood bits, these bits have pointed center, and cutting edges which take angles in the opposite direction. The function of the pointed center is to keep the drill centered, so it does not wander off during drilling.

Flat (Spur) Drill Bits

COMOWARE Spade Drill Bit Set- Paddle Flat Bits, Hole Cutter, Titanium Coating, Carbon Steel, Woodworking, 6-Pieces, 3/8"-1"
Comoware Flat Drill Bits. See on Amazon.

These bits have a “spur” (also called “brad”) and a lip. You can easily identify the drill bit as it has a unique shape. We use spade bits to create larger holes in wood that exceed the normal diameter of the drill bit that you can fit into the chuck of a power drill.

You may also come across wood drill bits that resemble metal drill bits. In such a case, the difference is more subtle – where the lip and spur are less pronounced, you still have the tip in the center and spurs on with end but not as flat or noticeable as the ones above. Here’s an example:

Brad Point Drill Bit

Max-Craft 5/16 inch 5 Pcs Brad Point Wood Drill Bit Brad and Spur Point Wood Drills with Special Brad-Point tip Drilling For Hardwood or Softwood (5, 5/16)
Brad Point Wood Drill Bit (Image: Amazon)

You may also come across wood drill bits that resemble metal drill bits. In such a case, the difference is more subtle – the material used will be softer, and the bit may be differently colored or marked. Typically, wood bits come in black and silver, but you may find other colors as well.

A flat drill bit is a low-cost and low-performance drill bit. A flat bit is made of a bar that has been heated, hammered, hardened, tempered and sharpened. This bit tends to create a rough hole with a messy exit side. It finds use where high accuracy is not required, and you want to do a job cheaply.

Adjustable Drill Bits

General Tools 55 Heavy Duty Circle Cutter. Adjustable 1-3/4 Inch to 7-7/8 Inch
General Tools Adjustable Drill Bits. See on Amazon.

You need to use a very high-torque drill for this type of bit. Also known as an “expansive bit”, the adjustable drill bit has an extendible cutting arm. This helps to change the hole size. Although low performance, these bits cover a wide range of hole sizes.

Hinge Sinkers

KWB - Hinge Sinker Bit 35mm
KWB Hinge Sinkers. See on Amazon.

You can use this type of drill bit to create wide, shallow holes in softwood to install recessed hinges. You will find hinge sinkers widely used in kitchen fitting work.

Forstner Drill Bits

Steelex D1020 2-1/2" Forstner Bit
Steelex Forstner Drill Bits. See on Amazon.

You can make wide, flat-bottomed holes with a forstner drill bit. The bit has a small central point to keep the tool centered, while the cutting edges do their job in making a wide-diameter hole. As you need to apply considerable pressure to use this bit, you should use it with a drill press.

2-in-1 & 3-in-1 Drill Bits

Neiko 10181A Quick Change HSS Titanium Coated Spiral Grooved Step Drill Bit 3-Piece Set | 31 Step Sizes in One Kit
Neiko 2-in-1 & 3-in-1 Drill Bits. See on Amazon.

By using this type of drill bit, you can make a pilot hole and clearance hole in a single operation. We usually drill a small hole and then follow it up with one or two larger bits, the largest one creating the final, required hole size. A 2 in 1 or 3 in one drill bit contains all the diameters of the drill bits you would usually use. So, the drill bit starts with the pilot hole size, then it increases in diameter. As you drill into the wood, you end up with the required size of a hole without having to change bits.

2-in-1 Flat Bits

Ryobi 2-in-1 Flat Bits. See on Amazon.

Similar to the principle of 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 bits, here you can drill a pilot hole, that has a recess for a screw head. The limitation of this type of drill bit is that the hole has to be wide and shallow.

Countersink Bits

Countersink Drill Bit, Baban Countersink Drill Bit Set 6 Pcs 1/4'' Hex Shank HSS 5 Flute Countersink 90 Degree Center Punch Tool Sets For Wood Quick Change Bit 6mm-19mm only Sold by Moworve
Countersink Bits. See on Amazon.

A countersink bit enables you to create a shallow recess in wood to accommodate the screw head. This way, the screw doesn’t protrude outside the hole and becomes flush with the surface of the wood. You get different shapes and sizes of countersink bits, depending on the shape of the screws that will be used. Sometimes we use a large twist drill in place of a countersink bit when the latter isn’t available.


Auger Drill Bit 5pcs 18" HSS Straight Long Twist Shank Plastic Drywall Wood Set High Speed Steel Extended wood Ship Auger Drill Bits Power Tool
Auger Drill Bit 5pcs (Image: Amazon)

An auger is like a wood screw on a plain shank. The job of the auger is to gouge out the wood when it moves inwards to create a clean hole. Augers produce cleaner holes than regular drill bits, and they offer a more energy-efficient solution as well. They are good to use with cordless drill machines if they can generate the torque required to drive them.


Taytools 467900 French Gimlet 8 Piece Set 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5 and 5.5 mm Boring Drill Tool for Pilot Holes Screw Tip Auger Shafts
Taytools Gimlet. See on Amazon.

Although not a drill bit in the conventional sense of the word, it is worthwhile to mention the gimlet, we also use it to make holes in wood. It has a tapered screw thread at the end, and the middle is a fluted section. The screw thread does the job of forcing the wood apart while the fluted part cuts the wood. We use gimlets for making small holes in wood.


We hope that this information benefits you. It would be not very easy to supply information on every single type of drill bit available and beyond the scope of this article. However, our objective is to update you on what is commonly available. Once you have a clear idea about the types of drill bits for wood that you can get, you can get suitable ones for yourself. Having the right tools for the job in hand is an essential priority in any woodworking project. Drill bits are a vital part of any woodworking workshop. If you have a good collection of drill bits and know what to do with each one, you can become an expert woodworker.


Featured Image: Rob Marquardt