The best drill bit for concrete is a masonry drill bit. Tool manufacturers make these drill bits for use on all types of masonry, including concrete. They have an arrow shaped hardened tip to make drilling concrete easier.
If you have read our article on how to drill into concrete, then you will know that you need a good quality masonry bit to do the job. The size of the bit that you need, will of course depend on the size of the hole that you need to make.
One thing is sure, trying to drill through any type of brick, mortar or concrete without using a masonry bit will be close to impossible.
You will probably also notice that throughout our website, we advise strongly against using cheap drill bits for any job. Our reasons for this is that they just will not do the job properly, and even if you somehow manage to drill one hole, then the cheap drill bit will be blunt and pretty useless after that.
It is honestly so much better to buy a decent quality drill bit, or a set of bits, and have them for a long time.
Video Explaining how to drill into concrete
Below we have included a useful video, on the importance of using a masonry bit for drilling through concrete, and masonry of all kinds.
What is Concrete?
Concrete is a mixture of cement and water. To this mixture various ingredients are added to it. Usually these are sand, dust, gravel or crushed rock. Concrete is widely used in the building and construction industries. Often concrete can be reinforced with steel to make it really strong. (Portland cement is the most common cement used)
Concrete is really hard, and when drilling through it you may hit really hard bits of gravel or crushed stones.
The most common mix for concrete is 1 part cement to 2 parts sand to 4 parts aggregates. For foundations, a mix of 1 part cement to 3 parts sand to 6 parts aggregates.
Rather than mix your own concrete, this is normally bought as ready prepared.
Masonry Drill Bit Buying Guide
We have included below a buying guide, so as you can be certain which is the best type of concrete or masonry drill bit to purchase. We have included an image below of various sizes of masonry drill bits. You will notice they have an arrow shaped head and the tip is cut at a particular angle. (130 degrees)
All drill bits have three features that you should know about.
The tip/point - the shape of this will be suited to the material you are drilling through (Concrete drill bits mainly have tungsten carbide hardened tips)
The flutes - this is the curly looking part and designed to help remove the dust and debris while drilling (Usually wider set on concrete drill bits)
The shaft - this is the part that goes into the drill chuck. Most are round, but flat and Hex give a better grip.
Should You Buy A Single Masonry Drill Bit or A Set of Bits?
This completely depends on how much drilling you will be doing into concrete. If it is just for a couple of straightforward jobs, then you can get away with just buying maybe a couple of single sizes.
You do of course always make the hole size smaller than the concrete screw that you are using. For example a 3/16" screw would need a 5/32" hole drilled, and a 1/4" screw would need a 3/16" hole drilled.
With wedge or sleeve anchors, you would drill the same size of hole as the size of the anchor.
Masonry Drill Bit Sets
If you are going to be doing a lot of work around the home, then we would recommend buying a set of masonry drill bits, which gives you more flexibility in hole size, and what attachments you can use.
You can pick up a really good set of masonry drill bits for less than $20, and believe me, that is a really good investment.
Our Preferred Masonry Drill Bit Set
If you are in a hurry, and simply want to know what the best masonry drill bit set is, then this is our clear preference.
We have shown here the set of masonry drill bits that we use for drilling through concrete. It is a simple 7-piece set and they work fast. (3/16, 3 x 1/4, 5/16, 3/8 and 1/2" sizes)
They have a strong carbide tip, and are designed for drilling into concrete, block, brick and other types of masonry.
These are the DEWALT brand and for us they are flat out the best bits that we have used.
They have carbide tips, a 4 flute design and flat shanks for a much better grip in the chuck of your drill.
94% buyer satisfaction rating based on 6,000+ online buyer reviews
Other Masonry Drill Bit Options
There are two other considerations, which are the depth of the hole, and also the size of the hole. Depending on what you are doing, you may need a longer masonry drill bit.
You may also need a larger width drill bit, if you need to drill a wider and bigger hole. If this is the case, then we would recommend buying a single bit of the right size. These can be a lot more expensive, so you should only buy, exactly what you need for the specific job, that you are doing.
The main use for longer masonry drill bits, especially with concrete, is drilling through holes to push a cable through, or things like, drainage pipes for washing machines.
The normal standard size will not be long enough to do that. I have heard people say you can drill one side and then the other and match them up. Yes you can if you are feeling lucky, and I have never seen this accomplished in my many years of working in the trade. If you have the proper length drill bit, then it is a breeze.
Extra Long Masonry Drill Bits
When it comes to buying an extra long masonry drill bit, then my advice is to just buy these as either a single bit, or a small set of bits. There are some good choices available.
Typically this type of bit is around 12" long. You then need to decide what size of bit you need. Usually something like 1/2" is a good choice, for drilling out most holes for cables etc.
There are many choices, so it is a matter of working out the length that you have to drill through. You also need to know the size of the hole. Most manufacturers have a range of different sizes. As these are usually for one off jobs, it is better to buy just the single bit.
Longer drill bits can cost around $15-20 per bit, so always make sure that you buy the size you need.
Masonry Bits for Drilling Wider Holes
Certain jobs around the home and garden may require a larger hole to be drilled through masonry. The type of task is usually something like a waste pipe for a washing machine, or an outlet pipe for a dryer.
To do this you will need something like a hole cutter. This type of drill bit can also be used to drill through marble and granite, ideal for using on countertops.
These are expensive though, and although they make the job easy, it is a high price to pay.
Normally tradesmen will do this type of work, and these drills form part of their business expenses. They will use them for wet drilling. To use these you also normally have to drill a pilot hole first with a different masonry bit. That helps centre align the hole.
Is a Concrete drill bit the same as a Masonry drill bit?
Technically speaking a concrete drill bit is different to a masonry drill bit. There are special concrete drill bits (Widia plate) that are used to drill into reinforced concrete, stone, granite, and brick. These are primarily used along with an SDS+ drill or SDS machines. The vast majority of home users will buy and use masonry drill bits as they work very well.
Can you use a regular drill to drill concrete?
Technically speaking yes you can use a regular drill or drill/driver to drill into concrete. However, this will take a very long time, and it is highly likely that you will wear out your drill bits. Basic drills don't have a hammer feature as they are simply rotary drills. It is this hammer function that helps push a drill bit through concrete.
What speed should you drill through concrete?
The recommended speed for drilling through concrete is between 350-750 RPM. This is a slow speed when compared to drilling through other materials. It is always advisable to start slowly and gradually increase in speed. Masonry drill bits will get very hot when being used so a slower speed helps keep the heat down, and also extends the lifetime of your drill bit.
A Hammer Drill Is Required or Hammer Feature
Standard basic drills have a rotary or spinning motion. They spin around very quickly and when a drill bit is inserted, it is this rotary speed, and the drill bit combination that can drill through materials such as wood, plastic and metal with ease. However, masonry such as brick, mortar, cement and concrete are much harder materials.
For this you will need a drill or a drill/driver that has a hammer function to be able to drill through masonry. The hammer function not only allows the drill to spin, but it also allows the drill to bump quickly backward and forwards. That helps break down the concrete, block or brick.
The rotary action is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM) and the hammering or bumping action is measured in bumps per minute. (BPM) To check if your drill has a hammer feature check around the chuck area of your drill. On the torque selector there should be a small hammer symbol.
That concludes this article on the types of masonry drill bits available on the market, and their various uses.