Coating is an effective method to solve the contradiction between the wear resistance and the toughness for tool materials and the coated tool can yield satisfied cutting performances. Now the coated high-speed steel (HSS) drill is widely used in drilling of stainless steel. This paper studied the tool life of the TiN, the TiAlN and the TiCN coated special drills in drilling austenitic stainless steel 1Cr18Ni9Ti through contrastive experiments. The tool life of the TiN coated drill was only 81.5% of TiCN, and 66% of TiAlN because of its low oxidization resistance and hardness. The wearing features of TiAlN and TiCN coating were also studied by experiments and the different wear mechanisms were revealed. Finally the comparison of cutting performance was given between TiAlN and TiCN coated drills and recommendation of coating selection for drilling austenitic stainless steel was also presented. TiCN coating is suitable for HSS cutting tool base, which is often used for drilling austenitic stainless steel at low speed. TiAlN coating is appropriate for tungsten carbide cutting tool base, which is used for drilling austenitic stainless steel at high speed. The special designed drill with optimal geometrical structure plus appropriate coating can yield long tool life and high material removal rate in high-efficient drilling austenitic stainless steel.