Last updated: 04/10/2020

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No doubt this is not the first time that you’ve had the need to use a drill for DIY tasks or repairs in your home. There’s probably been more than one occasion that the drill was not strong enough to break through dense solid material or a wall. If this has been the case, you need to be aware that it is not always the fault of the drill.

There are different types of drills, and this means that each of these has a function or characteristic that makes them specific for certain tasks. The hammer drill is no exception; it is a robust and powerful tool that will make these DIY tasks much easier to perform.

Key Facts

  • Hammer drills are generally suitable tools for DIY, for household chores and for some jobs that are a little bit more demanding. Having one of these should not cost you a fortune but keep in mind that, since they are not the most powerful, they will only be sufficient for “normal” use.
  • As with all tools, there are various different types of drills. It is important to understand, at least to a basic level, the different types of drills. On that note, we will look at the essential characteristics and functions that differentiate them from each other.
  • To make a good decision as to which hammer drill to buy, you must need to be familiar with the most important purchase criteria. You should pay close attention to power, variable speed, safety and whether the tool has a depth gauge so you get the best one for your specific task.

Our Selection: The Best Hammer Drills on the U.S. Market

Power tools can be quite complex, and if it is an area that you don’t have a lot of experience in, it can be difficult to know what model to buy. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the four best hammer drills on the U.S. market.

Best Multi-Function Hammer Drill

This premium drill offers a superior level of power to get through any surface. Its multi-function selector has 3 modes of operation: rotary hammer, hammer-only and rotation-only mode. Vario-Lock Positioning rotates and locks chisel into 36 different positions to optimize working angle. The patented rotating brush plate provides equal power in forward and reverse. Cord turret has a 35-degree pivot for added flexibility and longer cord life.

Best Value Hammer Drill

With a very reasonable price tag, this hammer drill from quality brand Tacklife has drilling and hammer functions. The latter function gives you the impact you need to drill through walls and masonry. It can handle just about any surface, except for reinforced concrete walls. It has a variable-speed trigger and variable-speed knob, you’re able to set a suitable speed for different applications from 0 to 2800rpm.

Best Corded Hammer Drill

Corded hammer drills have more power, meaning you can work on just about any surface. This high performance corded hammer drill has a pure copper motor of 7.1Amp which generates 48000 IPM, delivering powerful impact and hammer strength to complete heavy-duty projects on wood, masonry, solid steel and concrete.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill

Though not having as much power as corded drills, cordless hammer drills are very versatile because you can use them anywhere, including in hard-to-reach places and spaces. This cordless model from power tools brand Milwaukee has a powerful 18-volt lithium battery, meaning you can get the power you need without needing to plug it into the power supply.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Hammer Drills

This section will answer a series of questions about the purchase of a hammer drill. If you’re not an expert, buying tools is one of the most tedious and difficult things to do. We have answered the most frequent questions that people have when buying a hammer drill.

The hammer drill is a popular addition to practically any tool box.
(Source: Толмачев: 77304947/ 123rf.com)

What are hammer drills and what are they used for?

The hammer drill, also known as a percussion drill or impact drill, is a popular addition to any toolbox due to its ability to drill holes in extremely hard surfaces. These drills are typically used when extreme force is required.

Compared to normal drills, hammer drills are able to withstand more wear and tear due to the resistant material through which they have to drill. Technically speaking, any drill that uses a mechanical hammer movement to drill a hole is considered a hammer drill, making hard work faster and easier.

Having a rotary drill that uses a hammering motion, they are ideal for drilling harder surfaces, such as masonry and rock. Hammer drills are powerful tools and generally offer the option of using different bits, depending on the work to be done.

What types of drills exist?

The variety in drills available is quite extensive, there are many different types that can be classified into various categories. However, we will focus on drills that have a powerful driving force and transportable, because it is within these types of tools which you will find hammer drills. Of this category, there are 3 main types of drills:

  • The common drill
  • Hammer drill
  • Rotary drill

It is not uncommon to get confused between these types of drills, since they are very similar in shape, size and functions. In some cases, the manufacturers even added more functions. For example, there are hammer drills that can be used the same as normal ones or a rotary drill that can be used as a hammer drill.

What are the main characteristics of the normal drill, the hammer drill and the rotary drill?

Unless you’re an expert, it’s unlikely you no too much about the different kinds of drills, That’s why we will outline below the differences between the normal drill, hammer drill and rotary drill. Because their appearance is very similar, those who have not previously been in contact with these types of tools can easily get confused.

Normal drill Hammer drill Rotary drill
Power Moderate. Strong. Very strong.
Ideal for Wood Masonry and stone. Concrete.
Uses Domestic and light use. Domestic and semi-professional use. Professional and heavy use.
Speed up to 3500 rpm. up to 3500 rpm. up to 1500 rpm.
Feed rating up to 50000 ipm. up to 50000 ipm. up to 4000 ipm.
Chuck Normal, with or without security lock. Normal, with or without security lock. SDS type.
Weight Light. Moderate. Moderate to heavy.
Price Low. Moderate. High.

Which one is the most convenient for you will depend on the surfaces or materials on which you plan to use your drill. This means that if you are sure that you only need to drill wood, a normal drill will be the one to go for. If you want to drill stone you should get the hammer drill and if you need to drill concrete there is no other option than the rotary drill.

What are the differences between a hammer drill and a rotary drill?

The hammer drill and the rotary drill are very, very similar. At first glance, you may not even notice the difference. If you look closely you can see that the rotary drill is a little larger in most cases and more robust. The big difference between the two types can be found in the way they are operating.

  • Hammer drill: this kind of drill has two discs that have ridges resembling the edges of a poker chip. When one disc slides against the other, the drill goes up and down, causing the tool to hit back and forth. If there no force is applied, the discs will be separated by a clutch and the hitting action will stop.
  • Rotary drill: this creates its tapping action with a piston driven by a crankshaft. The piston moves in a cylinder and creates air pressure when driven forward, pushing the hammer mechanism. Rotary drills provide much more impact energy than hammer drill. They are much more durable and are preferred by professionals.
  • Another great advantage is that most hammer drills have three configurations: drill mode, hammer drill or simply hammer, so that they can act as a pneumatic mini hammer. Of course, a rotary drill costs more than a hammer drill, but more on that later.

A hammer drill has two discs that have ridges which resemble the edges of a poker chip.
(Source: Mirceahoda: 30538730/ 123rf.com)

How do I take care of my hammer drill?

Hammer drills, like any other tool, require essential care to ensure that they continue to work in a good way and extend their durability. The maintenance of this type of equipment should be periodic but it would be better to do it before and after each use. We have the following recommendations to give you:

  • Do not exert too much pressure and let the tool do the job.
  • The material that you are going to drill will determine the type of drill you should use.
  • Clean the dirt and debris left at the end of the drill bit that enters the drill to avoid failures and jams in the chuck.
  • Grease the inside of the chuck every time you change bits to prevent premature wear.
  • Use grease recommended by the manufacturer and follow their guidelines and recommendations.
  • Know what the LED service lights of your tool mean and follow the recommended maintenance instructions when notified.
  • Always store your drill and drill bits in its case, free of dirt, when finished using them.

What safety measures should I take when using a hammer drill?

When using power tools, there is always a possibility that minor or serious accidents may occur during use, especially if you do not know how to control them well and the hammer drill is no exception. Although its use is quite “simple”, you should take some basic precautions when using it, which are listed in the section below.

  • Use eye protection: It may seem obvious, but wearing eye protection is something that a surprising number of people forget. Eye protection can prevent materials from flying into your eyes which can cause serious discomfort or even blindness. It is also not a bad idea to wear a dust mask, since it is not very pleasant to breathe in masonry dust.
  • Use the correct pressure: Using a hammer drill is quite simple, but it is important to achieve a balance with the amount of pressure you apply during its use. Using too much can damage the motor and the tip of the drill. Make sure you also use good quality bits with carbide tipped heads for best strength and durability.
  • Observe your surroundings: Before you start drilling, make sure there is nothing obstructing the object you want to drill. For example, wires, cables and pipes can be particularly problematic. If you do not want a surprise shock, you want to make sure that the only thing you are drilling is stone.

Hammer drills need necessary care to make sure they keep working well over the long term.
(Source: Guzhva: 111174833/ 123rf.com)

Buyer’s Guide

The more powerful, specific and expensive a tool is, the more research is needed to make the right decision. Choosing a hammer drill is not easy as there are many factors to consider like whether to take a cordless drill or one with a depth gauge. In the next section we will explain these factors.

Power

It is obvious that the amount of power defines how fast you can do your work. The motors of the standard hammer drills are around seven amps, while the larger motors have about ten amps. It is needless to say that the larger the engine, the more power it will have.

To drill solid materials such as concrete or stone, it is essential to have a powerful motor that does not slow down when it encounters resistance while drilling. For home use, a 650-watt motor may be sufficient but for concrete, a more powerful motor of at least 850 watts is recommended.

Remember not to apply too much pressure, rather letting the tool do the job on its own.
(Source: Daniel: 79635310/ 123rf.com)

Adjustable Speed

Adjustable speed is a very useful feature to have in a hammer drill because it gives you greater control. This means that you can be much more precise in your work, which leads to even better results. In addition to having greater control. having different speeds means that the drill can carry out a wider range of tasks.

This control makes your hammer drill more useful than ever because many drills accept a variety of drill bits and can even drill through softer materials like woods or metals. All you have to do is select the appropriate drill bit and increase or decrease the rpm. However, you should do so with caution so you do not damage your tool or the material.

Safety

Even though it may not be the most exciting aspect, safety is critically important. This is particularly the case when using a very powerful tool like a hammer drill. One of the most common safety features (which is also important for comfort) is a dual levers and a lock button.

This important function makes the drill more stable while being used. The best hammer drills have comfortable, ergonomic models that absorb the impact and vibrations of the drills so this force is not passed on to the operator. This is especially critical for corded models, as these are the most possible.

Corded or Cordless

Without a doubt, power is an important characteristic, and how the drill gets its power is equally important. For light and domestic use, cordless hammer drills are the most practical. These are more versatile and mobile compared to drills which need to be plugged in to the electricity supply.

Cordless hammer drills allow the operator to move about at will and reach difficult to access areas. However, they are somewhat lacking when it comes to power. Corded hammer drills have more rotations per minute (rpm) and above else more power. This means that these models can support the most difficult work more quickly and over longer periods.

Accessories

Although the accessories which come with a hammer drill do not directly influence the quality of the tool itself, buying a model with more accessories can certainly be advantageous. You can save significant expense by buying a model which has all the accessories you need in the first place.

For example, it is essential to have a good, sturdy case to transport and store your hammer drill, so check whether this is included with your drill. Generally, it will be with any hammer drill from a decent brand. A case is also very handy for storing other items such as drill bits, batteries and so forth as well as keeping your tool well-protected.

For domestic and DIY use, a cordless hammer drill is more appropriate.
(Source: Kalinovsky: 49428988/ 123rf.com)

Summary

Hammer drills are extremely useful and versatile tools. They’re useful for many odd jobs around the house, and can even perform more semi-professional and more demanding tasks which you may have previously thought beyond your reach. Although some people confuse it with a rotary drill, as you’ve seen in this article, there are certain key differences.

This tool has become really impressive in recent years, as it is extremely powerful given its size and portability. Thanks to the range of brands and models available, you are sure to find a tool for any type of use and any kind of budget.

If you found this guide useful and informative, please do share it on social media or with anyone who may be interested in purchasing one of these tools. You can also leave us a comment with your opinion or questions, if you have them, and we will gladly answer you.

(Source of Featured Image: Bru-nO photo 1038542 / Pixabay.com)

Why you can trust me?

Lisa Marlin Professional Writer
I am a professional writer, translator and marketing consultant with over seven years of experience working in the communications industry. I love to explore the world and always keep up to date on the latest technologies. I love to keep fit throughout my travels, be it through a healthy and balanced diet or through researching the latest trend in sports.