When I was purchasing a new drill online this weekend, I wondered if I would still be able to use my old set of drill bits that I used for my previous tool. Eager to save some money on my purchase, I did some deep research on the internet to find out if drill bits are universal and can be used interchangeably.
Do all drill bits fit? When it comes to drill bits fitting onto other drills, it can be done, as long as the sizing on the shaft of the bit is the correct size and is not too large for the drill itself. In addition, the brand of the drill does not have to match the bits, and drill bits of the same sizes can be switched between drills as needed, and visa versa.
As far as all drill bits being universal, meaning that one drill bit will fit into every drill and be ideal for any task that you need it for, there are certain types of special bits that are made for this purpose. However, not all regular drill bits will be interchangeable with other tools unless they fit the correct size requirements, as mentioned above.
Having to replace your long-time drill for a new one while trying to make your existing drill bits fit is something that has been experienced by homeowners and hobbyists alike. So, what is the solution to this very common dilemma? Keep reading to find out if all drill bits fit, and if they are universal to each other once you purchase a new tool.
Do All Drill Bits Fit?
If you have ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to buy a new drill but had a huge assortment of drill bits ready to use like I did, you might have been wondering if this equipment you already have your hands on will work the same for your new tool as it did for your old one.
So, do all drill bits fit? Will you be able to buy any kind of drill bit for your new drill instead of having to read things online for days before making the decision? Or could your old set of drill bits possibly work for another type of drill that you bring home without trying them on for size?
The answers to all of these questions will depend on a few different factors that have to do with both the drill bits that you have and the actual drill that is in question.
First of all, every drill bit has something called a shank, which is the base end of the piece of equipment. This can be found on the opposite side of the sharp end of the bit, and is the area that is directly connected to the actual drill.
When it comes to purchasing drill bits of different sizes in this aspect, two of the most common options are 3/8 and 1/2 inch bits. The end part of these drill bits will open up to be able to fit onto the end of the drill and clasp onto it while it is spinning.
In order for a drill bit to fit onto a particular drill, the size that you choose should not be larger than the actual drill itself. For example, a drill with a 3/8 inch shaft will accept drill bits up to 3/8 inches in size.
On the other hand, a 1/2 inch shaft on a drill will accept bits up to 1/2 inch, and so on. Basically, the size of the drill bit should fit into the opening on the drill exactly, because if it is too large it will not be secured while you are actually spinning the shaft of the drill.
Drill Bit Sizes:
- Most Common: 3/8 or 1/2 inch
- Can fit onto a drill of the same size
- Bit should not be larger than the drill’s opening
Are All Drill Bits Universal?
Drill bits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the measurements on the end of their shafts determine which drills they can be attached to and utilized with.
As mentioned in the previous section, you will not be able to use a drill bit that is larger than the measurement of the opening on the actual drill.
With that being said, it is now very obvious that all drill bits are not universal. There is no way that you can use just one regular drill bit for every single task that you will be completing with your drill.
The same drill bit will not fit onto every type of drill that you could possibly use, and it would also not be effective in every single situation.
To get a better idea of why all drill bits are not universal, take a look at the list down below. In this section, we will be going more into detail about the characteristics of drill bits and why not all of them are interchangeable like some of them can be.
- Come in different sizes (3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, and so on)
- Can be interchangeable with different drills if the sizing matches
- Individual bits will be used for different purposes
As we know, drill bits come in different sizes, from 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch with many more variations in between. While we have established that all drill bits are not universal, a lot of these drill bits can be interchangeable with different drills, as long as they fit.
For example, if you have a 1/2 inch drill bit that you were using with your old drill, but you end up getting a new one, the same drill bit can be used as long as the size of the shaft permits.
So, in other words, if the opening on the new drill that you just got can fit a 1/2 inch drill bit, you will be able to use it just like your old one, and drill bits are somewhat interchangeable and universal in this aspect only.
Additionally, you don’t have to stick to the same brand when using drill bits with power drills. Take, for instance, a Bosch drill that comes equipped with a set of assorted drill bits that are specifically fitted for that drill.
If you ever happen to need a different size drill bit that did not come with your accessory package, you will be able to purchase the correct size from anywhere and use it, as long as the size of the shaft permits.
Similarly, you could take the set of drill bits that you got with your Bosch drill and use them on another type of drill of the same size.
Another reason why all drill bits are not considered to be universal among any type of drill is the fact that different drilling tasks will require different shapes, sizes, and strengths of drill bits.
All of the sizes that drill bits can be designed to fit are not available for no reason. In fact, they all serve different purposes and can be helpful in a variety of situations.
Take a 3/8 inch drill bit, for example. These types of drill bits are considered to be light duty, meaning that they are not used for drilling through strong and extra durable materials like another type of drill bit would be.
Smaller drill bits can be used for the normal day to day tasks, whether you are a homeowner making small cosmetic repairs or you work in a repair shop and frequently need to put your power drill to use for everyday projects.
The larger drill bits that go up to 1/2 inch measurements, on the other hand, are considered to be heavy duty. These are the drill bits that you will use when you are trying to cut through the more solid and durable materials.
To go along with the fact that the different sizes and thickness levels of the drill bits will be used specifically for certain tasks, there are also specially designed drill bits that are made for certain materials.
For example, there are drill bits that are called masonry bits, which are constructed to drill into heavy duty surfaces for long periods of time. These types of bits will come in a variety of sizes as needed, but will be ideal for specific projects and tasks as indicated.
Universal Drill Bits
When you are choosing the correct size and type of drill bit to use with your power tool, the decision must be made depending on certain factors. In normal circumstances, you will need a specific drill bit for each surface that you are drilling into for the best results.
While it is true that not all drill bits are universal, there are some universal drill bits that you can purchase to be sufficient for almost anything that you need to drill into.
Universal Drill Bit Characteristics:
- Universal and interchangeable between drills
- Can be used for any surface or project
- Does not have to be replaced or switched out
When you have a universal drill bit, you will not need to purchase a set of assorted drill bits for all of the different surfaces that you might come in contact with throughout all of your endeavors.
Instead, you will be able to keep your universal drill bit on your drill at all times, without worrying about switching it out for any task that you might need to complete.
Having a universal drill bit is very helpful in a variety of circumstances, whether you frequently complete DIY projects in your home or work in a shop where you use a power drill daily.
It limits the stress and expenses of having to purchase and switch out individual drill bits for each project, but there are also some disadvantages that come with it as well.
For starters, it can be very expensive to purchase a universal drill bit. Due to their durability and versatility in almost any situation that you could be in, these helpful pieces of equipment will not come cheap at all.
Since you will be making a significant dent in your wallet to purchase one of these drill bits, the proper care and maintenance is required for the purchase to even make sense. Contrary to any other type of drill bit that you frequently switch out and replace, there are additional steps that must be taken to maintain your universal drill bit.
This type of equipment must be properly cleaned and stored carefully in its own box, away from any other materials that could possibly scratch or dull the surface. If you treat a universal drill bit just like any other disposable bit, you will experience a decline in the quality of your work while you use it.
Universal drill bits must also be sharpened more often than not, along with being properly cleaned and stored after use. If they are not sharpened, they will start to become very dull and will no longer be able to cut into surfaces in a clean manner.
In addition to universal drill bits being expensive to buy and a rather tedious task to maintain, the surfaces that can be drilled into will be somewhat limited.
Even though these types of drill bits are described as universal, meaning that they can be used for anything you need them for, there are still some limitations to what you can actually do with one of these pieces.
Universal Drill Bit Disadvantages:
- Must be frequently cleaned
- Can’t be left in the open, stored in its own box
- Requires sharpening to maintain quality
- Cannot drill into glass or ceramic materials
- More expensive than other types of drill bits
If you have to drill into glass or ceramic material, you will not be able to use your universal drill bit. Although it can be used for almost anything else, you will still need to use a special tool to cut through these types of fragile materials.
Aside from the price, maintenance procedures, and surface limitations, these negatives are very minimal in comparison to all of the positives that come with having a universal drill bit.
All drill bits that exist on the market are not able to fit any drill during any project, which is what makes universal drill bits so special and unique.
The convenient use of just one additional piece during all of your construction and home improvement projects will take the hassle out of frequent changes and replacements, allowing you to carry out your tasks to the best of your ability without having to worry about anything that is unnecessary.
How To Find The Correct Drill Bit For Your Tool
Now that you’ve learned almost everything you need to know about the different sizes of drill bits and how they can be used, you might be wondering how you can choose the right drill bit for your tool.
Take a look at the list down below to get a good idea of the process that will go into doing this for your own drill.
How To Find The Correct Drill Bit:
- Choose the type of drill bit for the task
- Determine the right size
- Use a pilot hole chart to make the final decision
To begin fitting the right drill bit to your drill, you will first need to determine what type of drill bit you will need for the task you are trying to carry out.
The different types of drill bits include, but are not limited to, wood, masonry, and metal drill bits. The names of these pieces reflect the kinds of materials that they are most ideal for drilling into.
Some of these specialized drill bits will have angled, sharp, or sloped points, depending on what they will be used for to produce the best results.
Once you have established the exact type of drill bit that you will need for the job, you will then need to determine what size you need in order to find the right one.
The process of choosing the right size will move directly into the next step, which is using the pilot hole chart. The pilot hole chart will usually come in the same package as the drill bits that you purchased, and are used as guidelines for size.
After selecting the correct size for your project, you will want to use the drill bit that is the exact same size and the corresponding hole that is located on the pilot chart. However, if you are not exactly sure which one you should choose, you can go with a bit that is about 1/64 of an inch larger than the hole.
As you can see, even though all drill bits are not universally used among all types of drills, they can be interchangeable in certain circumstances, whether you choose to purchase an actual universal drill bit or use the tips outlined in this article to find the correct bit for your drill.