DIY Guides

Cobalt vs Titanium Drill Bits: What to Buy?

Stainless steel is hard. Moreover, some versions of steel are even harder. However, you might need to drill through these hard materials at some point in your life. Now, while cutting or drilling steel, the name of two substances come into mind. One is cobalt, and another is titanium. So, we always try to compare cobalt vs titanium drill bits for metal before buying a drill bit.

These two materials are super hard. Hence, drill bits made with these materials that can drill through a lot, and these materials are different in structure. Moreover, drill bits made from these materials have differences. Knowing about cobalt vs titanium drill bits is important. Because using the wrong one for the wrong job might be catastrophic.

Cobalt vs Titanium Drill Bits:

Are you looking the best drill bits for steel? Here we have prepared an intro and specified the differences between cobalt and titanium drill bits. Moreover, we have provided the pros and cons of each type. Now, let’s bore deeper into the details-

About Cobalt Drill Bits:

What comes to your mind hearing the name cobalt drill bits? Most of the people think that cobalt drill bits are made out of cobalt. Cobalt alone isn’t that strong. Cobalt drill bits are made out of a steel alloy that has 5 to 8 percent cobalt in it.

This steel alloy is rated based on the cobalt percentage. So, 5 percent Cobalt steel is called as M35 grade. Just like that, M42 grade steel represents 8 percent cobalt steel. Because of this mixture, the drill bit becomes super strong and heat resistant. The friction between the two materials creates heat.

While drilling with cobalt drill bits, increased heat makes drilling easier.

Pros and Cons of Cobalt Drill Bits


  • Cobalt drill bits are strong from all angles. So, these have a higher chance of breaking. Even in the face of super-strong materials.
  • You can sharpen up cobalt drill bits once these go dull. As this isn’t just a coating, you’ll get the same strength and all just like before.


  • Cobalt drill bits are super expensive.

About Titanium Drill Bits:

Just like the cobalt drill bit, this drill bit isn’t made out of titanium only. This drill bit is made out of an alloy of titanium nitride and high-speed steel.

So, what is high-speed steel? Basically, it’s just another type of steel. But here, the component mixtures are a bit different. In a typical HSS composition, you’ll find: 18% tungsten, 1% Vanadium, 4% Chromium, 0.7% carbon and 76.3 % iron.

Titanium drill bits can drill through hard materials in a pretty low amount of time. Long story short, titanium drill bits are mostly a titanium coating over HSS.

Pros and Cons of Titanium Drill Bits


  • Low heat production due to the titanium nitride coating.
  • Cost friendly as it uses a titanium nitride coating only.


  • Sharpening up these bits won’t be the same.

Differences between Cobalt and Titanium Drill Bits

Cobalt drill bits vs titanium drill bits: which is the best one? Here we will discuss the differences between cobalt and titanium drill bits. But for the ease of understanding, we have divided the differences into some criteria or sectors.

So, let’s get going-

1: Composition

  • Cobalt drill bits are made of Steel-cobalt alloy. On the other hand, titanium drill bits are made of high-speed steel and titanium nitride alloy.
  • Cobalt drill bits have around 90 percent steel and up to 8 percent cobalt. In contrast, the titanium drill bit is just HSS with a titanium nitride coating.
  • Both drill bits can resist high temperature and friction. But the titanium drill bit can withstand heat up to 1472 degrees Fahrenheit.

2: Drilling

  • Cobalt drills are extremely efficient in drilling stainless steel, cast iron, etc. Titanium drill bits can also drill through stainless steel and cast iron. But these bits are more preferred on softer metals.
  • As the cobalt drill bit is heat resistant, it allows professionals to drill for an extended period. On the other hand, in titanium drill bits, the friction is a bit low. But it’s said that in the case of long usage period, heat builds up strong.
  • While using cobalt drill bits, you won’t need using lubricants. On the contrary, you’ll need Colling lubricants to cool down the body while drilling with titanium drill bits.

3: Durability

  • Even though cobalt drill bits have a high friction rate, it’s incredibly durable. On the other hand, the titanium drill bits have a lower friction rate.
  • Only corrosion can reduce the lifespan of a cobalt drill bit. In contrast, the lifespan of the titanium drill bit depends on the titanium coating. Once the titanium coating goes away, the whole piece becomes vulnerable to steel and other hard materials.
  • Cobalt drill bits can easily go around 20 years. But if someone can sharpen it up again, then it’ll go for several more years. On the other hand, titanium bits show a high rate of corrosion.

4: Price

  • Cobalt is extremely expensive. As the cobalt drill bit uses cobalt, it’s expensive too. On the other hand, titanium drill bits are not as expensive. Moreover, it’s pretty available in the market.
  • Treating the cobalt drill bit expensive too. It’s because you have to sharpen it with something even harder than a cobalt-steel alloy. On the contrary, you can easily treat the titanium drill bit. You just have to coat it again with titanium nitride.

5: Upgrading Options

  • There are two types of cobalt drill bits available only. There’s no other upgrading option here. The M35 type bit is awesome for drilling castings and forgings. And the M42 type perfect for machine work and other hard metals.
  • Titanium drill bits have a few upgrading options available. After titanium drill bit comes TiCN or Titanium Carbo Nitrate. A coating of this on HSS makes the bit even stronger. The next and final update here is the Titanium Aluminum Nitride coating. This coating makes the bit super heat resistant.

Final Thoughts

There’s no clear winner in cobalt vs titanium drill bits. It’s impossible to say which one is best without knowing some factors at first but both are good for drilling on steel or metal. Your work nature, expense intent, etc are crucial in determining what’s best for you. Think about those factors and go through the whole thing again. Order up the bit that’s best for you. Good luck.

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