How To Drill A Hole In Glass Without Breaking It 

By  Enda McLarnon

Drilling through glass is probably one of the most difficult skills to master. Thankfully we don’t have to do that too often.

There will be times though when we have little choice, than to place a drill bit on to a glass surface and hit the switch. That is always nerve wrecking for sure.

The first step is to get the proper tools for the job. Here you will be required to buy an assortment of glass bits that can be easily found online or at a local hardware store.

The top two choices are tungsten carbide or diamond bits. When used in the right way, the diamond bits can be used to drill multiple holes without breaking. Personally I only use diamond tipped bits.

Video on How To Drill Through Glass


On the other hand, the points for carbide bits are shaped like a spade and can also endure friction associated with drilling holes in the glass. Keep in mind that the size of the hole you want to drill should also be factored in when looking for a bit.

For holes that are up to 1/2” in diameter, round head diamond bits work best. For larger holes, it is recommended that you go for a hollow-core diamond bit.

2. Next, you will get the appropriate glass. Avoid safety or tempered glass as these require special equipment for drilling that you may not have access to.

You can cut the glass to the size that you need, or you can just purchase it when it has been cut and the edges finished or bevelled.

Place the glass on a very flat surface where it will be supported well so that it does not break. A rubber pad or any other cushioning material that is firm can be used as long as the glass remains supported and flat. Remember to measure the location of the hole ensuring that you stay as far as possible from edges and corners.

By no means should you drill within 3/4” of the edges. At the preparation stage, you will also be required to spray the glass with water, submerge it in water, or use a little oil before the drilling begins.

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3. The final step is the actual drilling where you start by chucking a small bit into the motor drill tightly. Note that the glass should always be cool as this helps to avoid breakage of the glass and other tools. The drill should be positioned at the center point of the hole so that you can start drilling.

Bosch GT3000 Glass and Tile Set Drill Bits

There are any number of drill bits for glass out there and I have probably used most of them. The ones that I prefer are these ones from Bosch shown in the image to the left.

You get 8 drills and the bottom line is that they just flat out work.

The tips on these are great and it makes drilling through glass or through tile a great deal easier. If you want to find more information out about drilling through tile, then click here.

This set has the following sizes of bits – 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 5/8, 1/2, 5/8 and 3/4″

Like any bit make sure that you have water available just to keep cooling down the bit and the surface.

These are the best selling bits online. That should tell you something as it is not easy to get a best selling product like this in such a competitive market.

These work really well and they also last and that is important. They are not the sort of drills that you want to be buying all the time as they are not cheap.

Check Availability at Amazon

Video Showing the Bosch Glass Drilling Bits In Action


Try and maintain a steady and slow speed while using constant pressure pushing the drill. When you are about to hit the opposite side of the glass, flip over the sheet.

You will get better results by drilling the rest of the hole from the back to meet the original hole as most of the time when drilling a hole through glass it may chip or spall at the back side.

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If a larger hole is needed, you will be required to change into a larger bit to get desired results. Note that the first hole acts as a pilot hole. If you want to drill multiple holes, ensure you drill each hole the way it is needed before you move on to the next.

Always remember to use less pressure, larger bits, and slow speeds during the entire drilling process to do a neat job you will be proud of.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon is now retired and is now enjoying writing about his love of power tools. All types of these tools are now available and they make working on projects and DIY jobs around the home a great deal of fun

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