Different Types of Drill Bits for Electricians

Different Types of Drill Bits for Electricians

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As electricians, we have many drill bits we use to drill through wood, concrete, or metal. It’s important you understand the drill bits electricians use to have confidence while you’re out there in the field!

Different Types of Drill Bits for Electricians

What We Cover in this Article:

  • What Drill Bits Does your Electrical Company Provide?
  • Wood Drill Bits for Electricians
  • Metal Drill Bits for Electricians
  • Concrete Drill Bits for Electricians

What Drill Bits Does your Electrical Company Provide?

Before getting into the different types of drill bits electricians use, it’s important to know what drill bits an electrical company provides its employees so you don’t waste your money, and you know what to expect out there!

These are all listed below with images!

Typically.. companies provide:

  • Auger Bits
  • Unibits (Step Bits)
  • Hole Saws
  • Hammer Drill Concrete Bits
  • Very often they provide Metal Drill Bits

Companies DO NOT provide:

  • Spade Bits

Wood Drill Bits for Electricians

For wood drill bits, electricians mainly use Auger Bits, Spade Bits, or Hole Saws. (See images below!)

Auger Bits:

Auger Wood Drill Bit for Electrical Wires
This is an Auger Bit. We use an Auger Bit to drill holes for electrical wires in a wood frame setting.

A few things to say about an auger bit..

These are VERY powerful bits that are FORCE FEEDING.. meaning once it passes the initial screw tip, and actually starts drilling, it literally SUCKS into the wood.. and can be very dangerous.. never touch it 🙂

Next.. is don’t use too big of an auger bit if you are using a boom drill (it can break the shear pin!)

And.. ALWAYS double check the opposite side of where you’re drilling!

Spade Bits:

Spade Wood Bit for Drilling Hole for Electrical Wire
This is a Spade Bit. I always carry a couple with me to pop a quick hole. An auger bit is great, but a spade bit is light weight and easy to use… NEVER hit a nail with a spade bit, or you’ll wreck it!

One thing I’d like to tell you about a spade bit is if you ever need to drill a really clean hole (for whatever reason), is you can partly drill through one way, and once the screw tip pops through, simply drill from the other side to finish off the hole!

Hole Saw:

Hole Saw Example with an Arbor and Drill Bit
This is a Hole Saw. We use a hole saw for drilling larger holes through a wall for pipes or large cables. (It can go through drywall, plywood, or metal!)
Hole Saw Example While Showing the Arbor from the Side
The drill bit and holding assembly is called the Arbor. There are different types of Arbors like described in the video above.. You can view Hole Saw Kits here.

Whenever you work for a company, they often have hole saw kits on the jobsite. A good rule of thumb is to ALWAYS bring the kit with you, and only take out what you need, and put each piece back in the case when you’re done with it!

When using a hole saw, a pro-tip is to remove the hole saw off the arbor, put it on the wall, and TRACE AROUND the hole saw to get your perfect center. You will then put the arbor back on the hole saw, use the pilot bit to drill through center, then let the hole saw do the work and finish off the hole!

One of the trickiest things is getting your hole to line up if you have to go through the other side of a wall!

Metal Drill Bits for Electricians

The main metal drill bits electricians use are basic metal drill bits (index bits), and unibits (step drill bits).

Metal Drill Bits:

Metal Drill Bit (Drill Index)
These metal bits come in a “drill index” with an assortment of sizes.

I’ve found when you buy quality metal drill bits, they definitely last longer. You can also use drilling oil to help preserve the life of the bit. (When drilling with very small metal bits, use VERY LITTLE FORCE.. as they break very easily.)

Remember, it’s the HEAT that destroys the drill bit.. so put your drill on the slow setting 🙂

Step Drill Bits (Unibits):

Step Drill Bits (Unibit) for Drilling Into Metal
These Unibits (Step Drill Bits) are VERY useful for electricians.

As mentioned, there are expensive Unibits, and cheap Unibits..

I laugh, because my personal cheap Unibit out performed the expensive drill bits over the years (but to be fair, it only drills a smaller hole.. so the hole doesn’t get as hot to wear it out.. but still.. $10 vs. like $50-$60!)

However, a Unibit is probably an electrician’s most popular drill bit to drill into metal! We use it to make a hole in a box for 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″ EMT Connectors for example.

Pro-tip for you apprentice electricians.. if a journeyman says you can keep a unibit, KEEP IT IN YOUR BAG.. and only give it out to someone you trust so they don’t take it from you 🙂

Concrete Drill Bits for Electricians

Hammer Drill Concrete Example for Electricians
Hammer Drill Bit to Drill into Concrete. You then put a “concrete anchor insert” into the hole you drilled into the concrete, and you can then screw a strap onto the wall to secure your EMT pipe 🙂

When it comes to concrete drill bits, it’s important you select the right size for the concrete insert, because concrete is very rigid, and if you drill too big a hole, there’s no going back.. so a new hole it is 😉

Conclusion.. Different Drill Bits for Electricians

So there you have it!

Those are different types of drill bits to drill into wood, metal and concrete.

I hope you enjoyed the video and the pictures for clarity..

Leave a comment if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to add any tips!

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