A quality hammer drill is a durable tool that can handle demanding jobs. Standard drill/drivers aren’t manufactured to cope with tough materials like masonry and concrete, but the best hammer drills for concrete will power through those materials without trouble. It’s an excellent add-on to your home and professional tool kit.
We invite you to checkout our best rotary hammer drills for concrete choices above as well as our in-depth buying guide below, which contains all the information about what makes the best rotary hammer drills for concrete stand out from the rest.
Hammer drill balance has received lots of negativity in the past due to the weight at the base of the handle. There’s no getting around this heaviness, but manufacturers have put a lot of energy into improved ergonomics in spite of the heavy handle.
Hammer drill and how it works
The idea behind the rotary hammer drill is actually quite unique. Visualize a drill bit being twisted and slam with a hammer with one hit. Not only does the bit rotate, it also chips away at the concrete.
If you’re working with tough material like concrete or brick, it’s the most effective way to make a hole.
A modern hammer drill is a multi-purpose tool. It can also be used as a normal drill – a very powerful one – by simply switching the hammer action off. A cordless hammer drill can also be used as a powerful screwdriver. The built-in clutch offers various screwdriver torque settings.
Some people confuse rotary hammer drills with impact drivers. While the mechanical principle is almost the same, an impact driver is a device for securing / fastening purposes. In other words, it sinks large screws or bolts. A hammer drill is designed for making holes in hard surfaces.
Corded vs. cordless hammer drills
The corded vs. cordless discussion has been going on since the first battery-powered tools emerged in the market. To put it short and sweet, corded tools provide more power more consistently, and cordless tools are more portable.
But due to improvements in battery technology and the efficiency of brushless motors this has decrease the power gap enormously. Cordless hammer drills are now competing head-on with their corded rivals.
- If you have the budget for a top-end cordless hammer drill, that tool would likely provide the best combination of both performance and versatility currently available on the market.
- If you have a mid-range budget set aside, the decision becomes more difficult. You can still get a suitable cordless hammer drill, but it won’t have the power of a corded model with the same price tag. If you use a hammer drill periodically, a mid-range cordless drill should be fine. If you use it regularly, you’ll probably choose the improved performance that a corded hammer drill has to offer.
- If your budget is small, think about shopping for a corded hammer drill. Cheap cordless drills are not worth it, but inexpensive corded hammer drills could serve you well.
DID YOU KNOW?
A trigger locking button decrease fatigue in your hand because you don’t have to keep the trigger button squeezed for extended periods of drilling.
Battery size and amp
Cordless hammer drills are usually evaluated by the size of its battery. There’s almost no difference between 18 and 20 volts, but you obviously don’t want less than that.
Another important feature is amp hours (Ah), which is the measure of how long a battery provides consistent power. You can get 18-volt batteries in the range from 1.5Ah to 5Ah. For a hammer drill, 2.0Ah is a bare minimum, but it’s worth investing in better if you are in a position to do so.
Corded hammer drills are measured by amps; a six-amp motor has the ability to do most tasks, but a seven-amp motor is better.
Hammer drill settings
Most inexpensive hammer drills has only a one speed setting. If you are able to invest more, you may be able to get one with several speeds.
Having more than one speed setting is better for the following reasons:
- Having the fastest speed setting isn’t always the best speed. If you’re drilling a one-inch hole in hardwood using a spade bit, you’ll want to lower the speed settings so you get more torque and better control over the hammer drill.
- Using a slower speed setting with a cordless hammer drill can save battery power.
Most corded hammer drills have a higher maximum rpm that cordless hammer drills. You’ll notice figures of around 3,000 rpm for the former and 2,000 rpm for the latter.
FOR YOUR SAFETY
Be careful of a hammer drill’s weight before you invest. A lighter hammer drill may be easier to operate, but it may not have the durability. Having a certain amount of weight literally helps add force to one’s drilling actions.
Hammer drill Impact rating
Manufacturers sometimes count the number of impacts per minute a hammer drill can deliver.
This can be because the numbers a hammer drill can achieve are so impressive. It’s common to see a hammer drill delivering 30,000 blows per minute.
Not all manufacturers provide this figure, and truth be told, there isn’t enough real-world data in performance for it to have an effect on your purchasing decision.
Different types of hammer drill chucks
Two types of chucks are found on hammer drills: keyed and keyless chucks. Jacobs’s chucks are mostly found on corded hammer drills; keyless chucks can be found on their cordless rivals.
Some professionals argue that you can apply more tightening force with a keyed Jacob’s chuck than you can a keyless chuck. While that’s mostly true, we have never been in a situation where a keyless chuck wasn’t tight enough for the job.
Some inexpensive hammer drills have chucks with a lot of inferior plastic parts. However, drills with steel components are stronger and will last longer.
Adjustable depth guides is a useful feature. If your hammer drill doesn’t have this feature, you can wrap a bit of tape around the drill bit to show when the required depth is reached.
Hammer drill extras
- Work light: A work light is a nice addition to a hammer drill; most cordless drills have this feature. Some work lights have various settings so you can choose to illuminate a wide area or focus on a certain drill point.
- Rubber grip: Most hammer drills have a rubber grip that deadens the vibration that’s inevitable when using the hammer drill. The rubber grip helps reduce fatigue in the hand.
- Storage case: It’s nice to have a drill case in which to store your drill and accessories. However, if you invest a “bare” cordless tool, a drill case will likely not be included.
Hammer drill price ranges
We don’t recommend investing in the very cheapest hammer drills. Vibration can make them unbearable to use and, because the hammer action is quite aggressive, it’s not unknown for these tools to literally shake themselves to pieces. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg.
- Good corded hammer drills has an average price range of $80.00. For a high-performance tool, that’s an excellent price. But you need to be aware: you’ll notice DIY cordless hammer drills advertised for the same price or a few dollars more. These will be “bare” hammer drills, meaning the battery and charger is excluded. By the time you’ve bought these additional items, you’ll be looking more or less than $150.00 for the complete set.
- At the expert level, you’ll pay significantly more for a top of the line hammer drill. A bare tool costs around $150; a full kit with charger plus two batteries will cost on average $300. That said, you will have bought yourself one of the best rotary hammer drills for concrete available.
- Buy quality masonry drill bits. Inexpensive ones overheat and flatten quickly. Some cheap drill bits will bend quicker than drilling a hole.
- Always invest in eye protection and a dust mask. The dust produced from drilling concrete and bricks can cause respiratory difficulties, and it may contain dangerous toxins which you can inhale.
- If you already have a couple of cordless tools from a specific manufacturer, you can save money on batteries by buying a cordless hammer drill from the same brand. Just make sure that the hammer drill batteries are compatible, even when they’re from the same tool manufacturer.
The Best Hammer Drills for Concrete can create a lot of torque. Using a side handle gives you more control over the drill accuracy. It also helps prevent the drill from shaking tremendously in your hands.
Q. What’s the main difference between a rotary drill and a hammer/SDS drill?
A. A rotary hammer drill is usually bigger and produces more powerful than your normal hammer drill. It can assist masonry drill bits that are several feet long. However, the main difference between the two types of drills lies in the drill action. A standard hammer drill adds percussion to the drilling movement, hammering the drill forward as it turns. A rotary hammer/SDS drill can use that hammering motion on its own, without the use of the drill. So if you fit a chisel or point equipment, it becomes a compact demolition hammer.
Q. Is a brushless motor better than a brush motor?
A. In a cordless power tool, a brushless motor has the advantage: it’s much more efficient at utilizing battery power. In a corded power tool, that’s not so important because the electrical current is continuous. A brushless motor performs quieter and consumes less energy, but a brush motor is not so expensive than brushless motors.
Q. I’ve heard of a drilling technique called burping. What is it?
A. One of the main reasons for investing in the best hammer drill for concrete is the ability to make considerable holes in hard masonry materials. But drilling deep holes can still be hard work! Guiding / burping is a technique that makes the job more efficient and easier. You start the hole by drilling an inch or two. Pull the drill bit back a little. Repeat this action buy drilling and pulling back. The bit will go deeper each time you perform this process. The motion clears dust and debris from the drilling hole that might otherwise congest it and it also helps decrease heat buildup in the drill bit.