Drill bits come in different types with specific features, characteristics, and targeted material use. The purpose of all drill bits is to make a hole into a surface – it can be a wall, table or just about anything. Titanium and black oxide drill bits are the most popular high-speed steel (a.k.a HSS) bits with different uses, hence the constant comparisons.
Understanding the drilling purpose is crucial to determining which drill bits are better between titanium and black oxide. Both drill bits have specific features, advantages, and disadvantages. Therefore, the type of material and hole you want to make will establish which drill bit is better.
In this article, I will give a detailed comparison between titanium and black oxide drill bits. By the end of the reading, you will have the right knowledge to make an informed decision on which drill bit is best.
Comparison Between Titanium and Black Oxide
Before I go into great detail about these drill bits, let me show you a brief comparison with this table.
|Black Oxide drill bits
|Titanium drill bits
|A product of subjecting HSS steel to high heat.
|A HSS drill bit with an outer layer of titanium.
|Black, as the name suggests.
|The color depends on the alloy of titanium used for the coating. They usually adopt either gold or silver color.
|Mainly used for softer and less reactive materials.
|Mainly used for tougher materials.
|Not so expensive
|The price is on the high side.
|Last long, and you can reuse after sharpening.
|Last longer, but when they get damaged, there is no remedy.
|Resist corrosion highly.
|Can withstand temperature but not the highest possible
|Their properties enable them to work under any heat.
|You can refurbish this bit type
|Refurbishment is not possible.
Let’s now take an individual look at each drill bit.
Black Oxide Drill Bits
Black oxide drill bits are the regular steel drill bits that have gone through electroplating.
Black oxide is not a natural material; instead, it is a compound formed when a ferrous metal reacts with oxygen at a high temperature.
The temperature range you will need to heat your drill bit to have a black oxide coat is between 65°F and 285°F (18°C to 141°c).
The higher you heat your black oxide, the stronger the coating stays on the metal.
Black oxide, as the name implies, has a dark color, which gives the drill bits a sleek look.
The color comes from the compound known as Fe3O4.
The mix also contains some oil, providing the system with lubrication.
This makes the drilling process easier because of reduced friction.
You can use black oxide bit drills to drill through any substance.
I recommend using it for soft substances like plastic, PVC, wood, and other items.
It’s not that black oxide drill bits will not go through hard materials.
However, they tend to get damaged quickly.
Remember, these drill bits are regular steel bits that have undergone electroplating.
Titanium Drill Bits
Titanium is an element you can find on the earth’s crust, as it forms 0.44% of the crust, but not in titanium bits.
I was also surprised when I first discovered that titanium bits have no elements of the metal in them.
A titanium drill bit is essentially a HSS drill bit with a titanium alloy on the outer surface.
There are three types of titanium alloys and manufacturers pick from these when making titanium drill bits.
The titanium alloy used depends on the type of steel and the purpose of the drill bits.
The most common options are Titanium Nitride (TiN), Titanium Carbon Nitride (TiCN), and Titanium Aluminum Nitride (TiAlN).
Titanium nitride remains the most common option you will see around.
The process of making black oxide and titanium drill bits are similar.
However, the titanium alloy forms a material on top of the steel bits instead of an ordinary coating.
For instance, the titanium nitride will develop as a strong ceramic.
Titanium drill bits may come from an alloy, but they possess some of the strengths of titanium.
Titanium is one of the hardest natural metals and its bits take a bit of that strength.
You can use titanium on any material because of this hardness feature.
These drill bits cut through hard and soft metals very quickly.
I advise you to only use these drill bits for the hardest surfaces.
You may need to lubricate the titanium bits while using it to drill, as there is no lubrication in the material.
It will, however, fare better than black oxide bits at a higher temperature.
Titanium vs. Black Oxide: Properties
- Black oxide and titanium bits are products resulting from a reaction. The black oxide reaction requires lots of heat, while the titanium does not require so much. Hence, when you are drilling at high heat, titanium is better, as black oxide may react.
- Both bits perform well against corrosion.However, titanium bits do not have natural lubrication against friction.
- Black oxide is only a coat on the steel bits, while titanium is another material entirely. Hence, the titanium bits are not only harder but they also last longer. The lifespan of both bits depends on the usage culture and its frequency.
Titanium vs. Black Oxide Cost
Making titanium bits is a bit expensive, given the scarcity of the metal itself.
On the other hand, making black oxide bits is less challenging because heat and oxygen are the key requirements.
As a result, the titanium bits cost more than the black oxide bits.
Titanium vs. Black Oxide: Uses
You can drill holes into any material with black oxide and titanium bits.
Titanium bits are best for hard surfaces, while the black oxides are best for softer materials.
Using a titanium bit on a soft material can damage the material, which is not your aim.
On the same note, using a black oxide bit on a hard material will work but it will cause damage to the bits.
Both titanium and black oxide bits are great for any drilling purposes.
You only have to analyze what you will be working on before picking either.
It’s important to note that neither of these drills last forever.
However, you can resharpen black oxides when they lose hardness.
For titanium, you may want to re-coat the metal.
This process is almost as expensive as buying a new titanium drill.
I believe the information above will guide you in choosing your preferred drills.
Cheers, tools owners!