June 13, 2024

The Right Tool For The Job: Choosing The Right Rock Drill & Drill Bit

Don't settle for average drilling! This guide helps you choose the perfect rock drill & drill bit for any job. Maximize performance & efficiency in mining & construction.

The Right Tool For The Job: Choosing The Right Rock Drill & Drill Bit

The difference between profit and loss often hinges on the details of mining. One such critical detail is choosing the right rock drill for your operations. The perfect rock drill and drill bit enhances efficiency, optimizes performance, and reduces downtime, directly impacting your business's bottom line. Whether you're breaking ground on a new site or navigating through the tough terrains of an existing quarry, the choice of your rock drill can dictate the pace and success of your operations. This guide, brought to you by Machinery Northwest, is designed to navigate you through the intricacies of selecting the best rock drill and drill bits, ensuring that your equipment is as robust and reliable as your work ethic.

Choosing the Right Rock Drill Bit

Factors to Consider

Selecting the right rock drill bit is just as crucial as the drill. Several factors should be considered to match the bit with the specific demands of your drilling project:

  • Material Hardness: Understanding the hardness of the rock you’re working on is paramount in choosing the correct bit. Depending on the hardness of the rock you’re working with, you’ll need a larger drill bit; these provide much stronger impact and rock-breaking capabilities to punch through tough rock surfaces.
  • Abrasion Resistance: Highly abrasive rocks can wear down drill bits quickly. Choosing a bit designed for high abrasion resistance can significantly extend its lifespan.
  • Bit Type: Different bit types work better in certain situations and with certain rock types. A button-type drill bit is ideal for drilling shallow to medium-depth holes in hard rock. Cross-type or threaded bits are the best for punching through incredibly hard rock and making deeper holes.

Choosing the Right Rock Drill

Job Site Considerations

The environment of your job site plays a critical role in choosing the right drill. If you’re working in a quarry, the flat terrain and relatively consistent conditions can offer a good baseline for choosing a rock drill based on what’s recommended within the industry or through other local quarry sites. However, the conditions are often much more varied and inconsistent if you work in construction. In this case, it’s recommended to drill out a test sample for analysis to know what you’re dealing with; some things to test for include the presence of mud seams, rock type, and rock stability (whether the rock fractures easily versus remains stable while drilling). This analysis helps inform you about the rock drill most suited for the job.

Determining Drill Hole Diameter

The size of the drill hole is a fundamental aspect that affects not just the choice of the drill but also the pace at which you can complete your projects. Larger holes may require more powerful drills with higher percussion power and rate. This affects the drill type and the choice of drill bits, as larger diameters often require stronger, more robust bits to maintain efficiency and effectiveness.

Drill Type

Rock drills aren’t one-size-fits-all; depending on the job, environment, and requirements, one type of drill may be better than others. The three main drill types are top-hammer, Down-The-Hole, and rotary. These all differ in how they interact with the rock while drilling; top-hammer drills operate in a similar manner to a chisel, while DTH drills crush rock by hitting it against the drill bit with the hammer, and rotary drills crush through the rock under their own power with no hammer needed.

Percussion Power and Rate

Percussion power refers to the drill's impact energy, while percussion rate denotes the frequency of these impacts. Higher percussion power and rate are essential for penetrating harder rock formations but can be overkill for softer materials, where lower settings are more appropriate. This balance is crucial for optimizing drilling operations and minimizing wear on your equipment.


Choosing the right rock drill and corresponding drill bit is not just about selecting a tool; it’s about optimizing your entire operation for peak performance. Machinery Northwest understands the nuances of this choice. It offers a range of Sandvik rock drills, Atlas Copco rock drills, and other construction and mining equipment tailored to meet various operational needs for rent and repair and maintenance services for those types. Whether using hammer rock drills or seeking the best rock drill bits, ensuring that your equipment matches your site's specific conditions and challenges is key to maximizing efficiency and productivity.