Can I Use a Metal Drill Bit on Masonry? | Things to Consider


Man Drilling Through Wood into Concrete

A neighbor was recently doing a job where he needed to drill through concrete. So, he asked if I had a masonry drill bit. I did not but I happened to be going to Lowes. So, I asked the guy there for a recommendation to buy for my neighbor. He turned out to have a lot of experience with them and this is the basic information he gave me.

While you can use a metal drill bit on masonry, it should always be your last resort since prolonged usage will lead to the rapid dulling and wearing down of the bit. Your best option is to use a specially made carbide-tipped masonry drill bit.

Now, let’s briefly discuss how a masonry drill bit can be identified and what to look for in your purchase.

How to Identify a Masonry Drill Bit?

If you’re really not that into drilling stuff, it is quite easy to get lost in the sea of drill bits that are displayed in hardware stores. This might be even harder if you are an introvert who finds it hard to ask store personnel about your needs.

Masonry drill bits are pretty recognizable by their signature tips which are sloping gently and are often coated with tungsten carbide.

Generally, masonry bits are mounted on hammer drills so that it can be hammered unto the material as it rotates, increasing its boring efficiency. In terms of diameter, masonry bits are often available from 3 mm to 40 mm and could reach up to 1000 mm or 39 inches in length.

What Is the Best Masonry Drill Bit?

The best drill bit for you is often the most needed one at the moment, which varies depending on exactly what you are doing. In terms of masonry drill bits, if you want to look at it as objective as possible, the following are what you should look out for before purchasing:

  1. Quality – Sometimes, being cheap can make you spend even more in the long run. That’s why the cost should not be your priority when buying masonry drill bits but in fact the quality. A really good quality masonry drill bit can last you significantly longer than cheaper ones, saving you a considerable amount of money from buying again after the inferior one breaks or gets deformed in just a few uses.
  2. Versatility – Not all masonry drill bits are made the same. Some can efficiently drill through other stuff such as porcelain, for example, while others cannot. Hence, your goal for buying should not only for one purpose alone. My advice is to find the masonry drill bit that is not limited to being used on masonry only. This way, you can save even further since you do not need to buy another type of drill bit for each and every purpose.
  3. Cost-effectiveness – This simply means that you should get all of your money’s worth when you use your masonry bit. Cheaper does not always mean worse as is expensive does not always mean quality. Find the right balance between your budget and the number of times you expect to use it in order to reach the optimal cost-effectivity.

If you want to save yourself a trip to Lowes or Home depot, you can order a quality set of masonry drill bits from Amazon. Here is the brand that I recommend. They should suffice for the majority of jobs, but be sure to make sure before buying.

Why Is It Not Advisable to Use a Metal Drill Bit on Masonry?

Just to get this out of the way, technically all drill bits are made out of metal. When we talk about metal bits, we are talking about drill bits that are specifically made so that they can easily penetrate and drill holes through any kind of metals, alloys, and metallic mixture such as steel.

So, if these drill bits can actually penetrate different metals and even steel, then can it actually penetrate anything? Well, yes but actually no.

When drilling, you need to understand that you can’t just force your way in like a caveman who does not know how to use a door. As my dad always said, you just need the right tool for the job.

You first need to take into account what type of material are you trying to drill. Then, you have to know the approximate speed setting you need in order to efficiently bore through the said material. These are things that you learn and master along the way so there’s really no need to worry about it if you are a complete beginner. Still, that does not mean that you want to be completely ignorant about it.

Although you can indeed use a metal bit to drill through anything that has more or less the strength with steel, you should not forget that everything is structured differently at an atomic level.

Masonry has a rough and usual abrasive structure. In fact, every type of masonry is the weakness of metal bits since even just by using them on masonry for a few moments can cause irreparable damages that usually make them completely unusable due to extreme abrasion leading to dullness. Although metal bits do not cost a fortune, you’re still unnecessarily wasting money if you think about it.

Final Thoughts

Instead of destroying your metal bits as if you have a debt to settle with them by forcing them through masonry, you should just stick to ones specifically designed for the job. This will save you from wasting your precious time and effort, which you could use for other worthwhile endeavors.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!

Jim James

Jim James spent most of his childhood outdoors fishing on lakes in his area. Due to his scouting background, he has always been interested in survival, camping, and the outdoors in general. Jim is a best-selling author and has a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. He lives with his family in Charlotte, NC.

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