Removing a Broken Drill Bit (How-To Guide 2022)

Several things can lead to a broken drill bit including using too fast drilling speeds and drilling crooked holes.  While it’s good to understand how to prevent them from breaking in the first place, it doesn’t minimize the frustration of when they do break.

Below we share simple ways to remove broken drill bits and how to prevent them from breaking in the first place!

2 Simple Methods to Remove a Broken Drill Bit:

1. Using Locking Pliers

This method of broken drill bit removal is effective when you’re trying to extract a bit that is not stuck too deep into the working surface.

Items Required:


The first thing you should do is wiping the visible part of the broken bit using a cloth. This helps to clean any cutting oil and other debris that may affect getting a perfect grip while pulling it out with the pliers.

After cleaning it up, attach the locking pliers onto the broken drill bit. When you get a good grip using the jaws of the pliers, squeeze the handles until they lock tightly around the broken drill bit.

Keep rotating the pliers in a counter-clockwise motion until it becomes loose. As the locking pliers are still tightly holding the bit, it shall start becoming loose slowly until it’s finally ejected.

However, it’s important to avoid bending or snapping the pliers hard as it may break the drill bit further into a smaller piece leading to more difficulty in removal.

After the drill has been loosened up, pull it out gently out of the material. However, if it persists, continue rotating the drill bit until it’s enough to pull out with ease.

Read More: Best Quality Drill Bit for Drilling Out Broken Bolts

2. Screw Extractor Method

This method is recommended when you have to remove a drill bit that is stuck deeper into the working surface in the workshop.

Items Required:

  • Chisel
  • Center punch
  • Screw extractor
  • Lubricating oil
  • A smaller bit
  • Hammer

Before we begin the process of bit removal, it’s very important to take safety measures that will prevent scans from easily getting blind from injuries caused by high-speed metal pieces flying all over you.

The glasses should cover all your eyes and no gaps should be left out for maximum protection.


Step 1: Smoothen off jagged edges on the drill bit

For successful removal of a broken drill bit, its surface at the end should be as flat as possible. This is important since it allows you to drill a reference hole from where you shall be able to drill out the broken drill bit.

It’s recommendable to use a hammer and chisel out all the protruding pieces of the drill bit that aren’t flat surfaced.

Step 2: Create a shallow hole on the broken drill bit using a center punch

Creating a small hole or a divot at the center of the drill bit is important since it will ensure you drill with high stability hence increasing your chances of removing it at a faster speed.

Use the hammer to strike the center punch hard into the drill bit until the hole is visible.

Step 3: Place a smaller sized drill bit in your power drill

The next step is securing a drill bit with a smaller diameter compared to the broken bit to be removed.

Also, you have to apply a little lubricating oil on its ends to reduce the amount of friction during the extraction process. Additionally, it eases the penetration of the drill bit into the broken bit’s metal surface.

Step 4: Start Drilling a Little on the Shallow hole on the broken drill bit

Put the drill bit end onto the hole created on the broken drill using the center punch and commence drilling slowly to a length of about ¼ inch inside. This requires you to use full-speed drilling and maximum pressure on your hands to create the divot.

It’s important to avoid wiggling during the drilling process to avoid damaging your power drill.

NB: At this stage, you may find that your drill may start getting hot after a few minutes and if the divot hasn’t been created, you can break for 5 minutes and then continue drilling. This shall prevent damage to the drill.

Step 5: Fixing the Screw Extractor on the Drill Bit

Also known as the tap extractor, it allows you to hold the broken drill bit since it fits properly and firmly.

Insert the extractor top into the divot you created using the center punch in the middle of the broken drill bit.

Secondly, ensure the extractor is secured by hammering it a little on its end. Also, slide the metal collar as low as possible to make the extractor hold the broken drill bit tight.

Step 6: Extract the Drill Bit

After ensuring the extractor is fitted correctly, use a wrench on its surface to turn it counterclockwise as this will make the broken drill bit start turning slowly.

Repeat the turning for a couple of minutes until the broken drill bit is fully removed from the material it’s stuck on.           

When it becomes difficult to pull it out, try and apply a little cutting oil on the broken drill bit to make it easier to remove.

How to Prevent Future Drill Bit Breaks

Removing broken drill bits and replacing them is a costly and time-consuming activity that reduces your productivity when doing your DIY projects at home.

Therefore, it’s important to take care of your drill and the bits to ensure they have a longer life span. Below are ways in which you can do it.

1. Lubricating the Drill Bits

This is the most important thing to undertake before you start drilling especially on rough surfaces and hard materials especially metals. Always apply cutting oil on the drill bit end to ensure that the possibilities of snapping are reduced by absorbing friction.

Also, the oil reduces and regulates overheating which may cause the metal on the drill bit to molten eventually leading to breakage.

2. Inserting the Drill Bits Properly

One of the mistakes most people do when fixing a drill during assembly is loosely installing the drill bits.  This makes them subject to getting broken since they haven’t been attached firmly.

Before drilling begins, ensure that you have fixed the drill bit end as far as possible and tightened the chuck in the drill to make sure it’s super tight. A well-secured drill bit has low chances of breaking as compared to a poorly installed one.

3. Reducing Drilling Speeds

Drilling at extremely high speeds is a common reason why drill bits break. Using high drill speeds causes the bits to heat up, melt, and straining leading to breakage.

 To avoid this, you must begin drilling slowly and when you’re sure everything is fine, you can move to average drilling speeds.

Lastly, for hard surfaces like metal, you can use fast speeds but take precautions to avoid breakage.

Check More: Top Corded Drills for Home and Professional Use

Final Thought

For all kinds of projects that require making holes on surfaces, drills are the best equipment to use. Drills are handy working equipment that is essential in carrying out our projects on various surfaces made of wood, brick, plastic, and metal materials.

However, it can be very annoying and frustrating to get a stuck drill bit out of the working surface, and therefore understanding how it’s removed is vital. We hope that this article shall enable you to remove all broken drill bits and protect them from future breakage. Good luck!

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