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Best Hammer Drills in 2020 – buyer’s guide,Reviews and comparison

Driving into concrete or masonry with a standard drill can be a fruitless and disheartening pursuit — hammer drills make the job straightforward. In addition to the usual rotating action of the bit, seen in ‘normal’ models, these machines incorporate a pounding action. This breaks down your working material, allowing for easy hole-making. Typically, you can increase the torque while keeping the RPM level low — allowing for precise control. Furthermore, should you be drilling into a softer medium, such as timber, you can disengage the hammer mode. Check out our advice and recommendations for the best hammer drills in this article.

Here’s our Top Pick for Each Category

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
  • MAX SPEED: 2,100 RPM
  • VOLTAGE: 18 volts
  • CHUCK SIZE: 1/2″
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  • MAX SPEED: 2,700 RPM
  • MOTOR POWER: 7.8 AMP
  • CHUCK SIZE: 1/2″
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  • VOLTAGE: 120 volts
  • MOTOR POWER: 8.0 AMP
  • CHUCK SIZE: 1-1/8″
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Categories You Can Choose From

Cordless

Cordless

Not being constrained by a power cable — these units allow you to operate away from your site or in areas that require high-level access. Although not pushing out as much heft as mains-powered models, they will still perform well with concrete and brickwork. It’s advisable to have a secondary power cell, however, to prevent the need for recharging mid-project.

corded

Corded

The ultimate in hammer-drill power — these machines provide uncompromising grunt, allowing you to drive into the most robust of masonry. However, with some units having relatively short power cords — many projects will require the additional use of an extension cable. Furthermore, you need to take a little care to prevent yourself from becoming snagged in the mains wire.

Rotary

Rotary

For the absolute maximum in heft — you need a rotary drill. While they still pound away like the standard hammer models, they incorporate a piston mechanism instead of a clutch — providing much more power. Additionally, they also feature a hammer-only setting — enabling you to use the unit for demolition — much like a jackhammer.

Top Hammer Drills from Each Category


Our Rating: 4.8

When it comes to compact and long-lasting cordless machines, the Makita XPH07Z model is an ideal choice. Its motor offers 1090 in.lbs. of max torque, currently the most powerful on the market. The whole unit weighs about 5.9 pounds with the battery mounted which is considered lightweight. The range of applications is vast, thanks to the variable 2-speed transmission of 0-550RPM and 0-2100 RPM. 

The design is great. The unit is only 8⅛ inches long and features a rubberized hand grip, which prevents slipping and alleviates the impact of excess vibrations. The convenient side handle is a nice addition to an already versatile tool as it helps a lot when it comes to precision and stability.

The 18V battery is capable of coping with demanding tasks and it should last for at least a day, even under intense use. However, an issue we have with the product is the fact that the battery isn’t supplied with the unit. Therefore, when considering this  model, remember to factor in the cost of a new battery. However, if you already own a product with an 18V 3Ah Makita battery, it will be compatible. 

The unit also features an LED battery gauge, which allows you to monitor the level of the battery and charge it accordingly. In order to cut downtime to a bare minimum, we strongly recommend that you invest in a spare battery and utilize one while the other is charging. 

The overall durability of this model is satisfactory, thanks to the all-metal gear housing. In other words, you can count on it performing well, even under unfavorable circumstances.

Other than the above-mentioned absence of included batteries, the product seems to have no obvious drawbacks. The most notable advantages are affordability, high quality, and consistency. You might struggle a bit with vibration, but it’s not a deal-breaking factor.

Our Rating: 4.3

One of the crucial factors every drill should feature is high-quality performance. When it comes to the DeWalt DW511 model, it offers a significant amount of power, performance, and usability. Its 7.8-amp motor is capable of coping with hard materials, such as brick or concrete, without any issues. The variable speed system allows the user to fine tune the unit according to the application.

The design is pretty conventional, although sturdy and dependable. The drill is made of hard plastic with the addition of inner metal parts. However, there is no rubber on the hand grip, which can be an issue for some people. It comes with a side handle which is a great addition for increased stability and precision. 

The integrated dual mode allows you to drill through different materials without struggling with various adjustments. This model is easy to use, even for an absolute beginner. It doesn’t require any expertise, although it’s strongly recommended that you read the user manual before use. regardless of your previous experience with these tools. 

The chuck is keyed, which is not a great disadvantage, although a keyless chuck is preferable. On the other hand, unlike many other models, this particular one doesn’t struggle with the wobbling and inconsistency that’s caused by a poorly designed chuck. 

The speed control is easy, thanks to the sensitive trigger. Another feature that makes this unit superior to others is its weight. At only 4.3 pounds, you don’t have to worry about fatigue and exhaustion. This corded hammer drill offers much more versatility in comparison to others on the market.

Our Rating: 4.3

One of the crucial factors every drill should feature is high-quality performance. When it comes to the DeWalt DW511 model, it offers a significant amount of power, performance, and usability. Its 7.8-amp motor is capable of coping with hard materials, such as brick or concrete, without any issues. The variable speed system allows the user to fine tune the unit according to the application.

The design is pretty conventional, although sturdy and dependable. The drill is made of hard plastic with the addition of inner metal parts. However, there is no rubber on the hand grip, which can be an issue for some people. It comes with a side handle which is a great addition for increased stability and precision. 

The integrated dual mode allows you to drill through different materials without struggling with various adjustments. This model is easy to use, even for an absolute beginner. It doesn’t require any expertise, although it’s strongly recommended that you read the user manual before use. regardless of your previous experience with these tools. 

The chuck is keyed, which is not a great disadvantage, although a keyless chuck is preferable. On the other hand, unlike many other models, this particular one doesn’t struggle with the wobbling and inconsistency that’s caused by a poorly designed chuck. 

The speed control is easy, thanks to the sensitive trigger. Another feature that makes this unit superior to others is its weight. At only 4.3 pounds, you don’t have to worry about fatigue and exhaustion. This corded hammer drill offers much more versatility in comparison to others on the market.

Our Rating: 4.2

If you’re looking for a premium tool, Bosch is always a serious brand to consider. The company has been producing heavy-duty tools for years and most models are well-known for being reliable, trustworthy, and efficient. This particular model offers everything you’ll ever need for a demanding task. Its 8-amp motor offers some of the best-performing values in its class. The whole unit weighs about 7.7 pounds, which can be regarded as lightweight within the rotary category.

The design is somewhat unconventional, but it’s very well built. In fact, this unit has an unmatched weight to power ratio with 2.6 ft/lbs of impact, which allows the user to drill and plow through hard and dense materials without breaking a sweat. 

The hand grip is a good design and the trigger is large enough for you to control the rotary speed with ease. The integral clutch helps significantly in minimizing torque reaction. There is also a convenient anti-vibration system integrated into the machine, allowing prolonged use without fatigue and exhaustion.

Most other models come with a side handle that screws into the chassis itself; however, this one features a clipping system which saves time and effort. The side handle can be easily mounted, thanks to this push-clip system. There are three modes of operation – rotary hammer, hammer only, and rotary only. Switching between modes is as easy as it gets, simply rotate the switch on the side of the drill.

As far as the downsides go, most reviewers seem quite satisfied with this particular model. Some complained about the inconsistency of the depth guide, but that’s an easily solvable issue. Other than that, most people find it ideal for both home and professional use. 

The price is also reasonable, even for those on a limited budget. Bosch is known for making user-friendly tools and this particular one isn’t an exception. It’s certainly a worthy investment, especially if you’re planning on tackling serious projects.

Finding the Best Hammer Drill – Buying Guide 2020

Before you decide which model to invest in, look at the variety on offer, and the features that could make your projects easier. Instead of rushing the decision and buying the first thing you stumble upon, make sure it actually offers what you’re looking for.

Different Types of Hammer Drills

Cordless


Battery-powered units are a great choice if you’re looking for portability and constant availability.The biggest advantage of cordless units is the fact that they don’t depend on a constant or nearby power source

They can be utilized in places away from an electric power source. On the other hand, this independence is also a drawback, because you need to plan ahead when it comes to power consumption, or risk long periods of downtime.

The solution to this issue is simple, however — all you have to do is invest in a spare battery. That way, you can utilize the fully charged unit while the other is docked on the charger. 

Consistency isn’t the best feature of battery-powered units — the battery level directly affects the performance. Working with a semi-charged battery is likely to produce poor results.

These units are generally affordable, although others could be better value. It all depends on your requirements — if you need a portable tool, investing in a cordless hammer drill is probably your best bet.

Corded


Electric hammer drills are the most widespread type, among professionals and enthusiasts alike. They are easy to use, powerful, and most importantly — efficient.

Most people can use a corded hammer drill without any previous experience, although reading the manual is recommended, for safety reasons if nothing else. The biggest burden about corded units is the fact that they need to be close to a constant power source in order to operate. The standard cord length is around 6 feet, so you will have to invest in a quality extension cord for most projects.

Corded drills are versatile, although rotary hammer drills usually offer much more versatility. However, the price difference between these and rotary drills is quite significant. Corded units are much more affordable, even though they offer fewer features in comparison to rotary models. Most electric drills can cope with difficult projects, although there are underpowered products on the market as well. If you don’t have any experience with these tools, make sure you research them carefully, in order to invest in a sufficiently powerful model.

Rotary


Rotary drills are the go-to solution for the toughest applications. If you’re planning on drilling through concrete or brick, a rotary drill is the most efficient solution there is. The main characteristic of this type is the great power-to-weight ratio which allows them to push through anything without breaking a sweat.

Furthermore, the vast majority of rotary units come with adjustable modes, meaning they are the most versatile of all types. However, their superiority becomes quite apparent when you look at the price tag. Rotary drills are significantly more expensive in comparison to corded or cordless models.

The biggest downside of these units is related to the amount of vibration they output. Some models have an integrated anti-vibration system, which alleviates the problem to a certain extent, but many don’t incorporate this particular feature. Models without anti-vibration systems can cause quite a bit of fatigue and exhaustion, especially after prolonged use. 

The biggest advantage of rotary hammer drills is the overall versatility of these models. One can tackle any task regardless of its complexity, without worrying about limitations. If your budget allows, don’t hesitate to invest in one of these.

 

Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Product

In order to prevent spending more than you should, or buying something that won’t meet your expectations, there are a few more considerations to take into account . If you’re unaware of what to pay attention to, read this section, which should offer a deeper insight into the important factors to check before purchase.

What Type Do You Need?

The first and probably the most important thing you should decide on is which type will suit your needs the most. If you’re looking to make some quick repairs on the go, a cordless model would be a good choice.

On the other hand, if you’re searching for consistency and decent power, an electric hammer drill is a safe bet. Ultimately, if you’re an avid professional in need of a high-quality, heavy-duty product, don’t hesitate to look into rotary hammer drills — they are renowned for being ideal for most projects.

Think About Your Budget

Even if you’re struggling with a limited budget, we recommend that you don’t buy the cheapest model you can find, as much as it might seem to be a good idea at the time. Cheap units often cause more harm than good, and they’re likely to need replacing before too long.

Instead of going with that strategy, look for a quality model with fewer features. While it may be a burden to compromise over some features, it’s still a better idea to invest in quality instead of quantity.

Weight/Ease of Use

These two factors are often overlooked as they seem unimportant. However, you would be surprised by the overall impact they can have on your experience with a particular drill. The rule of thumb here is to go with lightweight units that are user friendly. While it sounds simple enough, there are some things to be aware of.

First of all, lightweight doesn’t always indicate better quality. In fact, many people share the assumption that lightweight models offer less quality in comparison to heavier ones. However, this isn’t always the case as there are some lightweight on the market that offer high quality of performance.

Choosing the Brand

Whether we like it or not, brand plays a massive role when it comes to quality and performance of certain models. We recommend that you choose a well-established brand over an unknown one, for several reasons. While there are some good models manufactured by lesser known companies, finding a worthy investment is more of a gamble.

However, if you go with a reputable brand, you can rest assured that you’ll get the best possible warranty conditions as well as good customer support. This is especially useful for inexperienced users or first-time buyers.

Important Features to Look For

Besides considering the aforementioned factors, you should also pay attention to the included features. The key here is to go with as many as you need, as long as they are packed in a quality product for a reasonable price.

power icon

Power Output

Every hammer drill needs quite a bit of power in order to fulfill the user’s expectations. However, that doesn’t prevent the manufacturers from producing underpowered models and launching them on the market.

Consequently, the market has become saturated with units that simply aren’t able to cope with a relatively easy project. It is of utmost importance that you learn to differentiate quality models from poorly made ones. It’s quite hard, but it’s definitely doable. In case you aren’t able to differentiate between these two things, make sure you conduct research and read about the models you’re interested in buying.

On the other hand, don’t always rely on other people’s opinions but instead, try coming up with your own.

led light icon

Additional Accessories

While additional accessories don’t play a major role in the overall performance of a particular unit, it’s still important to keep an eye on the useful ones. For example, an LED battery gauge is a must-have if you’re planning on investing in a cordless unit. The ability to keep track of the battery level is seemingly irrelevant, but you can rest assured that it comes in handy quite often. Furthermore, you should always aim for keyless chucks even though they are either rare or too expensive. Needless to say, keyed chucks are still sufficiently useful and efficient, but they are slowly becoming obsolete.

Hard cases are also a valuable thing nowadays. Not many manufacturers include a hard case with their model which is a bit of nuisance for many users. Also, finding an aftermarket hard case that will store your tool well is borderline impossible. Therefore, if you stumble upon a model that comes with a hard case included, we would strongly recommend checking it out. Of course, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor for your investment, but it definitely plays a role.

Hammer Drill Icon

Stability and Consistency

Many units struggle with one of these features. While some can’t remain consistent throughout the operation, others struggle with stability. It’s quite a common occurrence in this particular industry and you should pay special attention to it.

The best thing you can do in order to prevent getting an unstable model is to read other people’s reviews and opinions, especially if you’re buying online. In case you’re buying in person, the flaws will become apparent as soon as you take the tool in your hands.

Hammer Drill Safety Precautions


While it’s important that you find the best suiting drill for your needs, it’s also essential to be aware of the potential danger of these products. Needless to say, a powerful tool can be a massive safety hazard for inexperienced users. In fact, a worrying number of people are badly injured, or worse, on a daily basis by misusing heavy-duty tools. In order to prevent accidents or injuries, make sure you read this article and become familiar with some of the possible pitfalls.

Wear Protective Equipment


Safety goggles are the number one thing to think about. It’s very easy to forget to put them on, and you won’t realize it until debris starts flying into your eyes. Needless to say, eye protection is of utmost importance, regardless of your experience and knowledge. Remember to wear safety glasses or goggles at all times.

Ear protection is also a crucial item. Even though you may not notice immediate damage to your hearing, it is likely to be jeopardized if you decide against using ear defenders. On top of that, make sure everyone in the vicinity is also wearing ear protection — the user is not the only individual at risk.

Man Wearing Safety Goggles

Gloves are a matter of choice, but wearing them is recommended when you’re using rotary drills, as these tend to get hot with prolonged use. The temperature shouldn’t reach dangerous levels, but the heat can cause users to react suddenly and thus jeopardize their safety. If you choose not to wear gloves, make sure you avoid contact with metal parts of the chassis.

Stay Focused and Vigilant


We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to remain as focused as possible in order to prevent injuries. People often don’t think too much about distractions, such as loud music or talking to other people while working. Needless to say, you should be concentrating on your work instead of being distracted by other things. In case you need to address something else while you’re working, make sure you turn the machine off first.

Extension Cord

Proper Extension Cords


This step applies to both rotary and corded drills that utilize electricity. It’s essential to buy a high-quality extension cord — inferior models are a major safety risk. They can cause a number of issues, including fire, short-circuits, etc. Poor-quality extension cords are a risk to your health as well as the safety of your power tool.

A 12-gauge cord should offer more than enough resistance to cope with the most powerful models in these categories. Therefore, aim to see this as a bare minimum.

Take Breaks


Hammer drills tend to produce quite a bit of vibration while in use. It can be alleviated with a pair of cushioned gloves, but that doesn’t eliminate the issue fully. You will always feel the impact of excess vibration and even noise. These elements can have a draining effect on a user, which then causes focusing issues — another potential danger. Regular breaks are important, particularly on lengthy tasks. It doesn’t have to be a long one — five minutes should be more than enough for you to get back on track. It’s also essential that you avoid rushing a task — this could end in disaster.

Inspect Your Tool


Before drilling through dense materials like concrete or brick, make sure to visually inspect the drill for cracks, debris, or anything that could jeopardize the performance. Many people forget about this particular step which consequently leads to malfunction or injuries. If you have an air compressor in your workshop, don’t hesitate to blow air through the gearbox — a great way to eliminate potential threats.

Furthermore, never use only one hand when working with a hammer drill. Always make sure you hold the tool with both hands for maximum stability, accuracy and — most importantly — safety. 

 

The conclusion


Choosing a suitable hammer drill isn’t an easy task. You might think it’s relatively easy to click a few buttons and order a new tool, but the potentially accompanying problems simply aren’t worth the hassle. Instead of buying the first product you look at, make sure you’re aware of its capabilities, or lack of. That’s why it’s important that you pay attention to features as well as accessories included with a particular model.

If you’re on a limited budget, aim for quality over quantity. It’s better to get a machine with fewer features but higher-quality components, rather than choosing a model with dozens of auxiliary features but questionable quality. To find out more about the best hammer drills we recommend, go ahead and visit our full reviews page.

 

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