Cobalt Vs Titanium Drill Bit

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 18, 2022
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When your project requires you to drill through tough materials, you’re going to need equally powerful drill bits to get the task done efficiently. Both cobalt and titanium drill bits are excellent for smoothly penetrating sturdy materials, especially metal. They are designed for more or less the same applications.
So, it’s natural to be confused about which one to choose for your metalworking projects. Well, despite their undeniable similarities, there are many differences that will help you make your decision. That’s precisely what we’re going to address today in our cobalt vs titanium drill bit article, so sit tight and read on!

What Are Cobalt and Titanium Drill Bits?

Let us give you a brief introduction to cobalt and titanium drill bits to jog your memory and help you understand the differences better.

Cobalt Drill Bits

Tough, resilient, long-lasting– these are a few of the characteristics of cobalt drill bits. Created with a combination of cobalt and high-speed steel, these things are incredibly tough, capable of drilling holes into the most rigid materials with surprising ease. Where regular drill bits fail, cobalt drill bits pass with flying colors! You can count on them to find their ways into the hardest metal without breaking or dulling. Thanks to the use of cobalt in construction, these drill bits come with a higher melting point. So, they’re amazingly resistant to heat. Although cobalt drill bits tend to be more expensive, the way they get the job done is definitely worth it. You can expect them to last a long time before degrading beyond repair, which is a big plus. However, they aren’t suitable for soft materials.

Titanium Drill Bits

Titanium drill bits are a popular option for puncturing softer metal and other materials. Despite having titanium in the name, they aren’t made of titanium. Instead, highly durable high-speed steel (HSS) is used to build these drill bits’ core. So, right off the bat, you can see that they’re incredibly durable. The name comes from the titanium coating on the exterior of the high-speed steel body of titanium drill bits. Titanium Nitride (TiN), Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiAIN), and Titanium Carbonitride (TiCN) are commonly used for the coating. It makes them even more durable by adding resistance to various damages. Furthermore, thanks to the titanium coating, the drill bits become exceptionally resistant to heat. So, the heat generated by friction when drilling metal won’t damage the items. The superb durability, outstanding heat resistance, and superior drilling power make them stand out from the standard drill bits.

Cobalt and Titanium Drill Bit: The Major Differences

Let’s dive right into the things that make cobalt and titanium drill bits so different from each other. Understanding these dissimilarities will ultimately help you in making your decision.

1. Build

Cobalt Drill Bits

If you haven’t skipped the previous sections, you likely know how both of these drill bits are built already. This is actually where the differences begin. Just as we’ve mentioned before, cobalt drill bits are constructed with a combination of high-speed steel and cobalt. You should know that cobalt is used only in small amounts, ranging between 5% to 7%. This small addition of cobalt makes them astounding sturdy and adds powerful heat resistance, which is vital for drilling metal. When the bit comes in contact with metal, intense heat is generated. This heat can damage the bits and reduce their lifespan. Cobalt drill bits are capable of withstanding up to 1,100-degree Fahrenheit with ease. Their incredible durability makes them suitable for drilling the most rigid materials and heavy-duty projects. A great thing about these bits is that they can be resharpened to bring them back to their former glory.

Titanium Drill Bits

Titanium drill bits are also made of high-speed steel, but titanium is used as a coating instead of a building element. The coating is responsible for enhancing the durability of the already super-sturdy high-speed steel material. It also makes them resistant to high temperatures, up to a hefty 1,500-degree Fahrenheit! Titanium drill bits’ durability is far superior to the standard ones you can find on the market. You can’t resharpen titanium drill bits when they become dull because sharpening will remove the coating.

2. Application

Cobalt Drill Bits

Cobalt drill bits are designed especially for piercing and creating holes in sturdy materials that the regular bits fail to handle. That’s why they are so durable and resilient. They will cut through hardened materials like cast iron, bronze, titanium, stainless steel, etc., with exceptional power. You can use them for all kinds of heavy-duty drilling. However, cobalt drill bits aren’t suited for drilling holes into softer materials. Sure, you can penetrate softer stuff with them, but the result won’t be as appealing, and the process will be more complex. You are more likely to end up with poor finishing.

Titanium Drill Bits

Titanium drill bits are far better at dealing with soft materials and soft metals delicately without compromising them. You will love how smoothly they penetrate stuff like wood, plastic, soft steel, aluminum, brass, hardwood, etc. The finishing will be appealing every time as long as you have the skills. It’s possible to use these bits for tougher materials, but they will wear out faster. So, it’s definitely not recommended.

3. Price

Cobalt Drill Bits

Cobalt drill bits are comparatively more expensive. So, you would have to spend a lot of money to buy them. However, their strength, durability, and the fact that they can be resharpened make them worth every penny.

Titanium Drill Bits

Titanium drill bits are significantly more affordable than cobalt drill bits. They are ideal for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money but still want to get the job done flawlessly. Besides, they are pretty versatile as they can pierce holes in various materials.

Final Verdict

Among different types of drill bits, cobalt and titanium drill bits are widely used. Both cobalt and titanium drill bits are fantastic options for drilling holes into metal and other elements. Which one you should choose comes down to the needs of your projects and how much money you’re willing to spend. If your project requires you to handle the toughest materials, you should go with cobalt drill bits. However, they cost more money, so buying them for softer materials won’t be a good idea. Instead, choose titanium drill bits for drilling more delicate materials and save money. We’ve covered everything in our cobalt vs. titanium drill bit article to make the decision process easier, and we hope it helps you! Happy drilling!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.