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Coated vs uncoated tools – choosing the right one for your application

One of the most frequently asked questions I get asked is:

“What’s best: coated or uncoated cutters?”

The short answer to this is that there is no hard or fast rule; both have a place in the workshop.



Some uncoated cutters are better suited for ‘sticky’ materials (such as aluminium) which can stick to cutters with coatings on them. Material sticking to a coated cutter’s flutes creates a ‘built up edge’ that will subsequently compromise the cutters performance.

However, some aluminium substrates with high abrasive qualities or with high silica content means that a specially formulated coating (like DLC – Diamond Like Carbon) would be needed to prevent edge build up & offer protection against premature tool wear.

Other materials (some pre-hardened or hardened steels) are best machined without the use of coolant. Therefore, a coated cutter would be needed to help dissipate heat and provide thermal stability.

When machining materials like Stainless Steel and HRSAs (e.g. Titanium, Inconel & Hastelloy) a coating is paramount. This is because these materials create a lot of heat when machined, meaning a high temperature, wear resistant coating is necessary. For these materials, we would also recommend cutting with coolant alongside.

Below I have tried to give a small insight to some of our coated or uncoated cutters & some of the applications they lend themselves to.


X5070 Blue


The X5070's silica-based coating, combined with nanograin carbide substrate, is capable of machining Steels, Heat Resistant Steels and Hardened Steels up to HRc70. The special coating means the cutter can machine at temperatures up to 1,400° in dry cutting conditions.




Coated with a DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating, CRX-S offers exceptional hardness combined with self-lubricating properties. This makes it ideal for machining both highly abrasive and sticky materials.


CRX-S is primarily designed for high performance machining of copper & copper alloys. They also offer excellent performance in the machining of abrasive nonferrous materials such as high silicon or wrought aluminium, carbon/glass fibres or abrasive plastics.


The DLC coating has unique properties of natural diamond, offering low friction, high hardness, and high corrosion resistance. 


Alu Power & A+ End Mills


Our uncoated aluminium end mills are designed for high-end aluminium machining where exceptional surface finish and high precision is required. The advanced flute geometry, lapped finishes and sharp cutting edge prevent a ‘built up’ edge, offer the best performance, chip control and finish possible.


We also offer a range of DLC coated cutters in the ultra-high performance Alu-Power HPC range which are designed to tackle high abrasive aluminium materials.


Titanox Power


YG-1's Titanox Power has been designed for HPC milling primarily of Stainless Steels, Titanium and Titanium Alloys. It features special geometries (such as its DOUBLE CORE) to prevent problems like clogged flutes in slotting and deflection in side cutting.


Coated with YG-1’s advanced Y1200 coating technology, Titanox Power can machine in extreme temperatures <1,200°C. The cutter also offers superior wear resistance, oxidation resistance and better thermal stability in the toughest of machining conditions.


4G Mills


Our 4G Mills offer exceptional performance in Cast Iron, Steels and Hardened Steels up to HRc55 due to the advanced geometries, ultrafine carbide substrate, high precision grinding and YG-1’s own Y1200 coating.


Unsure which cutter is best for YOUR application?

If you are still unsure whether a coated or uncoated cutter is best for your specific application, or which of our coated cutters would be best suited to your job, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our team of time-served Technical Engineers.

Call 01924 869610 or email sales@cutwel.net and we will be more than happy to talk you through your best options!