There's an old sales adage, when people buy a drill bit, what they're really buying is a hole.
So, when choosing the right drill bit for the job, it is crucial to consider the hole you wish to create. What surface do you need to penetrate? How deep do you need to drill? How many holes do you need to create? Using the right drill bit will give you the result you need to achieve. However, using the wrong drill bit can lead to damage to your electric drill and potential damage to the drilled surface itself. There are many types of drill bit that can be used for different materials. For example, when drilling concrete a masonry drill bit is needed which has to be tougher than it needs to be sharp. When you drill soft wood, toughness is less important than sharpness. In fact, if you drill wood with a masonry drill, the duller cutting edge which breaks up stone and concrete surfaces so well will create a lot of friction on the wood which can smoulder and combust.
Drill bits designed to penetrate metal are a different kind of bit, again. Like a wood drill bit, the requirement for cutting sharpness for metal is as essential but the drill bit itself needs to be made of even harder material than a wood bit. Both precision items but still having different characteristics. Wood and metal bits can look very similar in design and shape. So, the easiest way to tell the difference is most wood bits are golden in color. Metal bits tend to be HSS and a dark bluish, gun-metal gray and can contain cobalt or titanium. Masonry bits are often a bright silver finish. But not in every case, so it is important to refer to the manufacturer's or the supplier's specification. Also, unlike masonry and metal bits, wood bits can also be flat in design with a chisel-like head, which comes to a fine, sharp point. This enables you to make larger holes than can be achieved using a round or tubular style of bit. So take care to look at the alternatives available to you. This way you will always have the right bit for the right surface and create a hole that is right for you. Do not, under any circumstance, use the wrong bit for the job.
For example, if you used a wood bit on concrete or metal, it will damage the bit; chipping lumps off the sharp cutting edge. It can even snap the bit. You can use metal bits on some soft woods but generally it is best to keep a supply of each type of bit so you always have the appropriate tool.
If you are looking to drill holes in plastic, it is usually best to use a metal surface bit. This is the most precise of drill bit.
If you are using a multi-purpose electric drill, be mindful to check a set the drill setting according to the surface. For example, generally speaking you would not use the 'hammer-drill' setting for wood, plastic or metals. However, the 'hammer-drill' setting can make life much easier when drilling holes into concrete and stone.
If in doubt, visit an appropriate drill specialist website to discover the vast choice you have. You should also find sound advice on what drill to use for every possible task.