Cobalt Drill Bits vs Titanium Drill Bits: What Material is the Better Choice?
Two of the most durable types of drill bits are cobalt and those coated with titanium. There are a few notable differences between cobalt drill bits vs titanium drill bits, though, that may make a difference for your project.
In most cases, these drill bits perform similarly, which can make it challenging to know if one is better for your project than the other. But it’s important to know for your impact driver what is the right drill bit for the job. This guide will break down some similarities and differences to help you better understand the applications in which each drill bit is used and what one you should buy.
For What Applications are Cobalt and Titanium Drill Bits Used?
Both cobalt and titanium drill bits can be used with the same kinds of power drills, so you won’t need to buy a special tool if you choose to go with one bit over the other.
These drill bits also serve many of the same purposes and even look the same, aside from their color.
Cobalt and titanium bits are two forms of high-speed steel (HSS) bits. They’re both made from steel, but where they differ is in their coating, which we’ll discuss more in a moment.
These bits are among the most durable bits that are meant to cut through hard materials that other bits can’t maneuver. Although they’re most often used for metal, they both can work for hardwoods too.
The most common application for both cobalt and titanium drill bits is for use on metal projects, including materials like iron, steel, and aluminum. These materials require a tough, durable drill bit that won’t break or warp to make holes and drill screws through the material.
The bits are designed to work with high-speed drills, meaning that they can spin at top speeds while powering through hard materials without losing their shape.
Some people use titanium and cobalt bits for wood, although they can sometimes be a little too strong for wood projects.
These bits look similar to the twist bits made for wood. They have the same corkscrew design that helps them create the necessary guides and holes in materials.
Where they differ is their tips. Wood drill bits usually have a brad, which is a sharp, pointed piece, on their tips, which allows the bit to drill into the wood without slipping.
Titanium and cobalt bits, however, have an angled tip with no brad. When you use them on wood surfaces, you run the risk of your bit slipping as you drill, which can splinter or split your wood.
In a pinch, you can use a titanium or cobalt drill bit, but they shouldn’t be your first choice.
What are the Differences Between Cobalt and Titanium Coating?
Cobalt and titanium drill bits have several similarities and can even be used for many of the same applications, but their slight differences are what can make a significant impact on your project.
The differences stem from the way these drill bits are made. Cobalt and titanium don’t act quite the same, so cobalt and titanium coatings can make your drill bits behave differently from one another.
Titanium drill bits are usually coated with titanium nitride or titanium carbonitride, which are gold and bluish-gray in color, respectively. The coating is meant to boost the strength of the bit, while also letting it resist wear and tear, even at top speeds.
Cobalt bits have no coating at all. Instead, they’re made with a mixture of steel alloy and cobalt. The cobalt increases the overall strength of the bit, while also keeping the bit from getting too hot as it spins against other metals.
Here are the most notable differences between a cobalt and titanium drill bit:
Sharpening the Bits
You’ll eventually need to sharpen your drill bits, primarily if you use them frequently with hard, unforgiving materials.
The problem with titanium drill bits is, since they have a coating, you may end up rubbing the titanium off when you use a sharpener to keep them in top shape. Cobalt, on the other hand, has no coating, so there’s no risk of its surface stripping away when sharpening.
Therefore, you may get a longer lifespan from your cobalt drill bits than you would titanium drill bits.
As we mentioned, both cobalt and titanium drill bits can work with wood, metal, plastic, and various other materials. However, both titanium and cobalt have materials that they work better with than others.
Titanium drill bits tend to be a better choice for softer materials, like wood, plastic, and soft metals. The type of titanium coating makes a difference though. For example, titanium carbonitride coating can typically handle tougher materials than titanium nitride coating.
Cobalt drill bits are best for the toughest materials, like cast iron and other metals that are particularly abrasive.
Both drill bits are metal, so you might be concerned about the heat that forms from metal-to-metal contact. Fortunately, both carbon and titanium drill bits do an excellent job dissipating heat so that you don’t damage your materials or bits.
One of the benefits of the cobalt addition to steel in cobalt drill bits is that cobalt can help dissipate heat over the contact surface, making it able to resist heat at top speeds.
Titanium coating works similarly, acting as a barrier between the steel bit and a metal work surface. You might find that titanium can work even better than cobalt at resisting heat, but only if the coating is not damaged or missing in some spots.
The amount you’re willing to spend on drill bits can also play a role in deciding what type of bit to buy because they also differ in price.
Although prices vary depending on the manufacturer and exact materials used to make the bits, you can expect to pay more for cobalt drill bits than titanium. Cobalt bits tend to be more durable, though, so you may pay more for them at first, but you’ll likely get a more extended lifespan from them too.
Cobalt Drill Bits vs Titanium: Which One Should I Use?
For your impact driver, what is the best choice between cobalt drill bits vs titanium drill bits? That mostly depends on your short and long-term goals for your bits.
If you don’t mind spending some money up front for bits that can handle a variety of materials and may last longer, you should opt for cobalt drill bits.
However, titanium bits can perform well for softer metals and woods and will also cost you less money up front. They may need more frequent sharpening, though, and can unfortunately lose their coating in the process.
Conclusion: Cobalt Drill Bits vs Titanium Drill Bits
Titanium and cobalt drill bits have some similarities, but they differ in their longevity and durability. Both dissipate heat well and can be used with a variety of metals, although cobalt drill bits tend to be the better option for heavier-duty metals and materials.
When considering cobalt drill bits vs titanium, keep your budget and project needs in mind, so you can purchase the best drill bits for your needs.