Why Do I Keep Breaking Drill Bits? [7 Reasons]

Drill bits are essential for the drilling process. That is why you always need to get quality drill bits to make the job faster and clean.

However, sometimes you may experience potential problems with your drill bits including the continuous breaking of the bits. What could be the problem?

When you keep breaking the bits, it could mean a lot of things including user error or poor-quality material.

Below are the reasons drill bits keep breaking and how you can deal with them.

1. Manufacturing Defects

Different brands might use different materials and processes to make the drill bits. It is for this reason that sometimes you may end up with manufacturing defects.

Common manufacturing defects include small cracks, bent drill bits, and more.

Taking the small cracks as an example, such will create a line of weakness. As such, you end up easily breaking the bit when force is applied.

The current market has both cheap low quality products and high-quality products.

Do not always rely on buying low-quality products. They might be cheap initially, but buying them more often makes them expensive.

We recommend only buying from top brands in the industry to avoid dealing with low-quality products.

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2. Using the wrong drill bit for the job

It is possible that at times you may use the wrong drill bit for an application. An example is when drilling metal while using a drill bit meant for wood.

As you can see, this would be a user error. So, ensure to have the drill bit is categorized correctly based on their applications to avoid interchanging them more often.

Low-carbon steel bits are suitable for wood, high carbon steel bits can work for both wood and metal while high-speed steel bits work best for metal and hardwood.

That is not all as you will come across high-speed steel with cobalt being good for drilling stainless steel. It has more strength compared to HSS.

The carbide drill bits are best for stone, wood, concrete, and bricks.

In case you want to drill tiles, glasses, and stones, you have the choice of polycrystalline diamond drill bits.

If you are new to drilling tiles, here is a video on keeping the tiles from cracking while drilling

YouTube video

3. Chips leading to clogging in the tool

Chips or swarf are generated as you keep drilling at high speeds. The problem is when these chips cannot get off the tool.

This can potentially lead to increased temperature in the drill bits.

Having the drill bit operating at high temperatures is not good. This is what can lead to breakage.

It is advisable to leave enough space while drilling to avoid clogging the tool. You should not drill until you have no flutes showing.

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Also, be careful while drilling wet wood. It is so easy for the swarf not to get off the tool thus leading to clogging.

Thrusting and releasing the trigger can help a lot in wet conditions to keep the swarfs off the tool.

4. Lack of cutting oils

Whenever you are drilling, you can expect to generate some heat. This is due to the friction between the tool and the material you are drilling into.

There is a need for using proper lubricants that help in keeping the bit cool and in good condition to keep working. That is why cutting oils are important to have in your toolbox.

Cutting oil also helps in removing the chips and avoiding cloggings. These cloggings can lead to increased temperatures as discussed earlier.

5. Applying too much force

It is not uncommon that sometimes you may apply too much force while drilling. This is especially when drilling through hard surfaces.

It is okay to apply more thrust to the bit but it should be gradual. The problem is that sometimes people use too much force to the point of breaking the bit.

The reason the bit breaks is that you are increasing the temperature because of more friction. So, try to start at low speeds and only increase where necessary.

6. Using the wrong speed of drilling

Wood would be best drilled when using high RPM while metal and concrete need low RPM.

In case you end up using high speed for drilling metal, the bit might break easily because of increased friction.

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You may also find that the drill bits are broken because of using the wrong drilling speed depending on the material.

So, look at what the bit manufacturer recommends using as the drill speed for specific materials.

Here is an image with quick information on which speed to use for given materials.

7. Drilling into different materials at the same time

Let us say you were drilling wood and then suddenly you hit a nail. This means that you now have to deal with a harder material than expected. This could lead to the breaking of your drill bit easily.

You are advised to be observant and take note of such materials to avoid drilling metal with a wood drill bit.

In case you think the material might have others combined into it, then use a bit that can handle both materials. This means a bit for drilling both wood and metal.

Check out this video for more drilling bits

YouTube video


Are drill bits supposed to keep breaking?

No. Drill bits breaking should not be something you experience more often. There could be several problems just as those mentioned above that are breaking the bits.

How often do you need to change the drill bits?

You should replace the drill bit after breaking. There is no point in drilling with a broken drill bit since it will not do a clean job. It can also be risky.

Can you use just any drill bit on the market?

We recommend only buying from top brands in your area. This gives you the assurance of ending up with high-quality drill bits always.

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Which drill bits are better? Cobalt or titanium?

We find that cobalt bits would last longer than titanium bits. So, you may save some money in the long run. However, the initial buying price is high.

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