For those fairly new to working with power tools, choosing drill bits can be challenging. Once you have an idea of which bits you need for the job at hand, there are many other factors to consider, from size to material, usage and performance ratings. While basic multi-material bits often seem like the safest bet for simple projects, they are not suitable for every project. If you’ve got more experience in renovation tasks, you may need to look at masonry bits, for example. While some masonry bits can be used on softer masonry, others are designed for concrete and other harder masonry. Trying to use the wrong bit can damage the bits, as well as your tool. It also affects your results. The last thing you want to do is end up with a ruined workpiece (let alone a ruined drill).
When choosing bits that are specifically designed for tougher materials and heavier work, one of the things you will need to look at is the performance rating of the drill bits you choose. Understanding performance ratings is essential if you want to choose bits that can drill through tough material such as masonry. In this guide, we’ll explain performance ratings so that you have a better idea of how they work and why they matter when shopping for your drill bits.
Understanding Drill Bit Performance Ratings
Here are a few things to know about drill bit performance ratings.
What are performance ratings?
What exactly are performance ratings? In short, these ratings give you an idea of each bit’s performance. This rating takes various factors into account. Generally speaking, factors that may determine performance include the ability to drill extremely tough material, the material of the bit, the tip of the bit, the capacity for high-speed drilling, the durability, and the lifespan of the bit. It is a grading system that combines these factors to determine how easily the bit will handle the tasks at hand. Ratings start at 1x and typically go up to 5x, 10x and 25x.
Why do they matter?
Although performance is obviously something you should always look for when choosing any type of bits, it is important to note that this is not the only factor to consider. For basic at-home DIY projects such as woodworking, most wood bits have a 1x rating. This is because you do not need a lot of power when using wood bits. Multi-material bits for tasks such as hanging pictures on walls or replacing cabinets also have a 1x rating, because they don’t require a high level of power to get the job done. Standard masonry, tile, chisel and metal bits don’t require a higher performance rating, either, as these are made for home use. Rather than focusing on performance, you can look at the overall quality of the bits, the type of material they are best suited to drill, the size of the bits, and the material they are made from, which are all important considerations.
When does performance matter, then? Performance starts to become important when you are planning construction or heavy-duty work. If you are drilling heavy concrete, for example, or extremely tough metal or any other material that requires a lot of power to drill, you will need bits with a higher rating. This means that your bit will get through the material without overheating, slipping, jamming or breaking.
What rating should bits have?
Ultimately, this will come down to your project. Professional and Industrial masonry and SDS chisel bits will usually have a higher rating, as they are designed for the construction industry. Many HSS metal bits will have a higher rating, as they are made for heavy-duty drilling. Standard bits will typically have a lower rating, as they are used for lighter drilling and softer materials. If you are planning a large-scale renovation, look for bits with a 10X rating or higher.
The simplest way to choose bits made for your needs is to look at the performance rating, view selection charts to check whether the bit can be used with the material you are drilling, read any reviews, and read product descriptions to find out whether the bit is suitable for your needs, before making your selection.
Looking for the best quality bits? Ruwag has a wide selection to suit every type of project. View our full range of drill bits to find what you need quickly and easily.