Cobalt vs Titanium Drill Bits – 08 Quick Facts!

Cobalt is the base material for the drill bits, and Titanium is the finishing material for the drill bits. Titanium is applied as a compound coating on the drill bits in order to improve some important properties of the drill bits. When the coating is damaged or removed, its performance is lost. But cobalt drill bits are not like this. It is a base material, and when it is damaged, it can be resharpened easily. More than that, both have different characteristics. In this guide, you can compare your need, whether it is a titanium or cobalt drill bit.

Always make sure to choose cobalt and titanium drill bits according to the projects you are using them for. In this article, you will be provided with accurate facts about Cobalt Vs Titanium drill bits making it easier for you to choose the most appropriate drill bit type between them.

Cobalt vs. Titanium Drill Bit Comparison

When we compare cobalt vs. Titanium drill bits, we should know cobalt is a base material for drill bits, and Titanium is a finished material for drill bits. Hence Titanium coating can be removed at any time. This affects the titanium drill bits’ performance badly. But the cobalt drill bit can resharpen again and again. Under these circumstances, we can compare the drill bits’ properties as below.

 Cobalt Drill BitsTitanium Drill Bits
MaterialMade with 5-8% cobalt and mixed with another type of alloy.➤ Titanium is a coat that applies around the drill bits.
➤ Titanium coatings – TiN, TiCN, TiAlN
ColorDull gold➤ TiN – Gold
➤ TiCN – Grey 
➤ TiAlN – Violet
UsageIdeal for tough materials like hardened steel, alloy steel, weld seams, etc.Best for soft materials like wood, fiber, mild steel, copper, etc.
Heat Resistance  Moderate heat resistance Excellent heat resistance 
Wear Resistance ExcellentVery good
DurabilityLonger service lifeLong service life
Cobalt vs. Titanium Drill Bits Comparison

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Features of Cobalt Drill Bits

Cobalt drill bits are not entirely made with cobalt. You can use cobalt drill bits to cut through all kinds of metal, such as cast iron and stainless steel. In addition to that, you can use them on softer materials too. 

1. Color 

cobalt drill bit
Cobalt Drill Bit

You can easily recognize cobalt drill bits from other drill bits because of the dull gold color. More importantly, this is not a coating. Cobalt drill bits get this color automatically in the baking process. This color may sometimes get a bit similar to bronze depending on the included cobalt percentage.

2. Manufactured Material

Cobalt drill bits are designed using cobalt and steel alloy. A cobalt drill usually consists of 5% (M35) to 8% (M42) cobalt and steel, making these drill bits incredibly strong, boosting the resisting power when used on hard materials such as iron. Further, cobalt helps to control drill bits from getting heated while working.  The more a drill bit contains cobalt, the more brittle the drill will get. 

3. Applied Coating

Unlike most drill bits, cobalt drill bits do not have a coating. Due to this reason, cobalt can be found everywhere in the drill bit, making them more suitable for high-production tasks. As there is no coating applied to cobalt drill bits, it is easy to sharpen them when necessary.  

4. Market Price

The price of cobalt drill bits may always differ according to their diameter. Usually, Cobalt drill bits are expensive as they last long, and longevity compared to the other varieties, such as titanium drill bits. Even though cobalt drills are a bit pricey, they will serve you better than the other options.

5. Usage

As cobalt drill bits can perform at increased temperatures while preventing them from getting heated, they are ideal for drilling through tough metals like iron, and stainless steel. You can use them on softer materials as well.

Make sure to drill at an appropriate speed. If you are not quite familiar with the tool, drill slowly. Take pauses while working to prevent the drill bit getting overheated.

Your Drilling machine can be overheating due to these reasons. I have listed all reasons and solutions in depth here.

6. Required RPM

Use 1000-2000 RPM for smaller drill bits and for larger drill bits use 500-600 RPM

7. Hardness

Cobalt drill bits are incredibly strong and best to use on tough drilling applications as they are made with cobalt at around 5% and 8% percentages. This makes cobalt drill bits more durable than other drill bits. Focusing on the hardness ranking of drill bits, cobalt drill bits rank higher than high-strength steel (HSS), but below titanium bits. As well as Cobalt Vs HSS drill bits have a clear difference.

Cobalt drill bits are hard enough to cut linear, controlled cuts on iron and stainless steel. Even though you can use cobalt drill bits on softer materials due to their hardness, cobalt drill bits are ideal to use on tough materials.

Cobalt steel is at the higher end of all steels that can have a hardness rating up to 6.3, while ordinary iron on the MOHS hardness scale is ranked at the same level of 4 and stainless steel at a level of 5.

8. Sharpening

You can effortlessly sharpen cobalt drill bits using a drill bit sharpener. If you are a proficient user, you can try to sharpen it by using a grinding disc with your hand. As there is no coating applied on cobalt drill bits, there will not be any sort of stripping in the sharpening process, which makes them durable. Cobalt drill bits can get sharpened multiple times until you can not use them anymore.

Features of Titanium Drill Bits 

Titanium drill bits are coated drill bits. The coating is made with Titanium, Nitrogen, Carbon, and Aluminum. These are mixed as a compound and applied on the drill bit surface in order to improve durability and heat resistance and reduce friction between the drill bit and the drilling hole surface.

Sometimes titanium is used as a base material for masonry drill bits due to the higher hardness of the titanium.

1. Color

coated drill bits
Coated Drill Bits

All three varieties can be found in three different colors. TiN (Titanium Nitride) takes gold in color and TiCN (Titanium Carbonitride) takes blue or gray colors. Moreover, TiALN (Aluminum Nitride) takes a violet color.

2. Manufactured Material

Titanium drill bits are not purely made with titanium. They are made with a metal and a titanium coating preventing the drill from getting overheated. Titanium is an extremely hard metal. So, a titanium nitride-coated drill bit will outperform the capacities of a normal tool steel drill bit.

Titanium drill Bits are mainly 03 types.

1.  Titanium Nitride (TiN)

2.  Titanium Carbo Nitride (TiCN)

3.  Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiAlN)

3. Applied Coating

Titanium bits have various coatings which can wear off after some time. Titanium drill bits can be classified as Titanium Nitride, Titanium Carbo-Nitride, and Titanium Aluminum Nitride according to the coating which has been applied.

These coatings have specific characteristics.

Titanium Nitride (TiN)

  • Bright gold color. 
  • Longer edge retention and reduced friction.
  • It is not recommended to use aluminum materials. 

Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN)

  • Bluish/purple color.
  • Better than the normal titanium nitride coating. 
  • Harder and gives satisfactory wear resistance.
  • Provide better performance than TiN.

Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiAlN) 

  • Grey color Resist temperatures up to 800°C (1450°F).
  • Elevated cutting speed, feed, and high productivity. 
  • Better than TiN, TiCN, and black oxide drill bits. 

4. Market Price

You can purchase titanium drill bits for a cheaper price compared to cobalt bits. There is a huge tendency for the coating to come off after using it a few times. Subsequently,  they are not as durable as cobalt drill bits.

If you are someone who expects to use titanium drill bits to cut through metal, it is not healthy for your pocket to use titanium drill bits. 

5. Usage

Titanium bits can drill fast. So these drill bits are ideal for general-purpose drilling in a production environment. The applied TiN coating improves chips flowing through the flutes. This will be more beneficial as materials like aluminum adhere to bits more than others.

Try to use titanium drill bits to drill through fiberglass, wood, PVC, and metal too. You can get your work done smoothly with a minimum amount of friction.

7. Hardness

As titanium drill bits include titanium, it makes them super hard and durable. Besides, the Titanium comprised coating improves the toughness of the bit further than regular high-speed steel drill bits.

However, titanium drill bits are less hard than cobalt drill bits. When it comes to its hardness, titanium is marked 6 on the Mohs scale of mineral toughness. 

8. Sharpening

You have to be careful when sharpening titanium drill bits, as the applied coating can come off during this process. Therefore, it is important not to sharpen the titanium drill bits until the coating is gone. This may lead the drill bits to lose much of its heat resistance. 

Titanium or Cobalt Drill Bit – Which One You Need?

Cobalt vs Titanium Drill Bit
  • You can not exactly label one type as the best over the other. You will be able to get the maximum usage if you choose the right bit for the material they are going to be used on, the task, and your expectations.
  • If your tasks require a variety of materials, it is best to keep a set of cobalt bits. Their impressive durability and hardness, which comes beneficial when working on tough materials, are the main factors as to why you should go for cobalt drill bits. 
  • Even though cobalt drill bits are a bit more costly than titanium drill bits, considering their durability, it is always beneficial to choose titanium drill bits.
  • For the tasks where wood and Soft Metal are used, choose Titanium drill bits. When you use titanium bits on harder materials, there is a minimum chance of the coating getting worn down. If you use titanium drill bits on tough materials, they will require sharpening regularly, which will harm the coating.
  • Both professionals and DIYers choose cobalt drill bits due to their versatility. You might also find numerous pluses when it comes to cobalt drill bits throughout this article, yet we recommend you avoid using cobalt drill bits for general purpose use.
  • Overall,  both these bits are heat resistant and can be used on both tougher and softer materials. However, always make sure to choose the most suitable drill bit for the materials they are used on. Moreover, focus on how often you will have to use them. 

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.