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Best Hammer Drill Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

A hammer drill is a go-to tool for anyone who’s looking to drill through hard materials like brick or concrete. Unlike a power drill which is best used for small to mid-sized projects, a hammer drill can tackle a heavy-duty project without breaking a sweat.

Categories to Choose From

Cordless

Cordless

Cordless units are powered by batteries. As such, they are highly portable, but they also feature significantly less power in comparison to other types. The biggest downside of cordless units is the downtime caused by empty batteries whereas the biggest upside is definitely their portability. As far as the price goes, most models come at an acceptable price.

corded

Corded

Electric units offer a bit more consistency and power in comparison to cordless ones. They are the most wide-spread type because of their ease of use and user-friendliness. A corded hammer drill can go through concrete and brick like a hot knife through butter. One of the main issues is the lack of portability caused by the need for an extension cord.

Rotary

Rotary

If you’re an avid professional with a massive project in mind, a rotary hammer drill will make your life much easier. These units usually feature a “hammer-mode” only without rotation which is great for demolition projects. You can use a rotary hammer drill for a vast array of applications. They also have an SDS chuck which is by far the best thing for hammering applications.

Top-Rated Hammer Drills from Each Category


Our Rating: 4.8

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

The design is great. The unit is only 8-1/8-inches long and it features a rubberized hand grip which prevents slipping and alleviates the impact of excess vibrations. The 18-V battery is capable of coping with demanding tasks and it should last for at least a day under intense use. The issue we have with the battery is the fact that it’s not included with the unit. Therefore, in case you opt to purchase this particular model, don’t forget to include the cost of a new battery. However, if you already own an 18V 3Ah Makita battery, you can use it with this model because they are compatible. 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 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, it’s strongly recommended that you invest in a spare battery and utilize one while the other is recharging. The overall durability of this model is at a satisfactory level thanks to the all-metal gear housing. In other words, you can count on it performing well even under unfavorable circumstances.

When it comes to the downsides, there really aren’t many. One of the biggest things people complain about is the lack of included batteries. It has nothing to do with performance, but it’s worth pointing out. As far as the advantages go, the most notable ones are affordability, high quality, and consistency. You might struggle a bit with vibrations, 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 DW511 model, it offers quite a bit 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 quite sturdy and trustworthy. 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 hassling with various adjustments. This model is easy to use, even if you’re an absolute beginner. It doesn’t require any expertize, although it’s strongly recommended that you read the user manual regardless of your previous experience with these tools. One of the things that separate this unit from the others is its weight. It weighs only 4.3 pounds meaning you don’t have to worry about fatigue and exhaustion.

The chuck is keyed which is not a downside per se, but it would be better with a keyless chuck. On the other hand, unlike the vast majority of other models, this particular one doesn’t struggle with wobbling and inconsistency caused by a poorly designed chuck. The speed control is relatively easy thanks to the sensitive trigger. When it comes to corded hammer drills, this particular one offers much more versatility in comparison to other models on the market.

As far as the downsides go, there aren’t many, to begin with. The most notable one is the absence of a keyless chuck, as we mentioned before. While it doesn’t affect the overall performance much, it’s still a burden to many users as most people consider keyed chucks obsolete. A worrying number of people complained about getting the unit without the key. It’s probably a matter of shipping instead of it being the manufacturer’s fault, but it should still be pointed out so that you know what to expect.

Our Rating: 4.3

One of the crucial factors every drill should feature is – high-quality performance. When it comes to the DW511 model, it offers quite a bit 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 quite sturdy and trustworthy. 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 hassling with various adjustments. This model is easy to use, even if you’re an absolute beginner. It doesn’t require any expertize, although it’s strongly recommended that you read the user manual regardless of your previous experience with these tools. One of the things that separate this unit from the others is its weight. It weighs only 4.3 pounds meaning you don’t have to worry about fatigue and exhaustion.

The chuck is keyed which is not a downside per se, but it would be better with a keyless chuck. On the other hand, unlike the vast majority of other models, this particular one doesn’t struggle with wobbling and inconsistency caused by a poorly designed chuck. The speed control is relatively easy thanks to the sensitive trigger. When it comes to corded hammer drills, this particular one offers much more versatility in comparison to other models on the market.

As far as the downsides go, there aren’t many, to begin with. The most notable one is the absence of a keyless chuck, as we mentioned before. While it doesn’t affect the overall performance much, it’s still a burden to many users as most people consider keyed chucks obsolete. A worrying number of people complained about getting the unit without the key. It’s probably a matter of shipping instead of it being the manufacturer’s fault, but it should still be pointed out so that you know what to expect.

Our Rating: 4.2

If you’re looking for high-quality premium tools, Bosch is always a valid option to consider. They have been producing heavy-duty tools for years and most of their models are well-known for being reliable, trustworthy, and efficient. When it comes to this particular model, it offers everything you’ll ever need for a demanding task. Its 8-amp motor offers best-performing values in its class. The whole unit weighs about 7.7 pounds which can be regarded as lightweight, especially within the rotary category.

The design is somewhat peculiar, but it’s also very well made. 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 well-designed and the trigger is large enough for you to control the rotary speed with ease. The integral clutch helps a lot when it comes to minimizing torque reaction. There is also a convenient anti-vibration system integrated into the machine which allows for prolonged use without fatigue and exhaustion.

The side handle can be easily mounted thanks to the push-clip system. 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 rotary hammer offers three modes of operation – rotary hammer, hammer only, and rotary mode only. Switching between modes is as easy as it gets and it’s done by rotating the switch on the side of the drill.

As far as the downsides go, there aren’t many. Most people 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 perfect for both home and professional use. The price is also quite acceptable, even for people who are 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 Drills – Buyer’s Guide

Before you decide which model to invest in, you have to think about certain things and features that could make your experience a better one. Instead of rushing the purchase and getting the first thing you stumble upon, make sure it actually offers the features 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. As one may assume, the biggest advantage of cordless units is the fact that they don’t depend on a constant power source.

In other words, they can be utilized in places which don’t offer an electric power source. On the other hand, their independence is also a downside because one must plan ahead when it comes to power consumption, or else they risk large downtimes.

The solution to this issue is quite simple though – all you have to do is invest in a spare battery. That way, you can utilize a fully charged one while the other is docked on the charger. It significantly helps cut downtime, but it still doesn’t guarantee consistency. Speaking of consistency, you shouldn’t count on much when it comes to battery-powered units because the battery level directly affects the performance and consistency. Therefore, you’ll get worse results in case you decide to work with a semi-charged battery.

As far as the budget goes, these units are not the priciest but certainly aren’t cheap as well. It all comes down to 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 wide-spread type amongst professionals and enthusiasts. They are easy to use, powerful, and most importantly – efficient.

One can work with a corded hammer drill without any previous experience, although reading the manual is recommended and almost mandatory due to safety reasons. The biggest burden about corded units is the fact that they need a constant power source in order to operate. In simpler words, you will have to invest in a quality extension cord and use it most of the time because the standard cord length is about 6 feet which is far from being long enough for most users.

The versatility is somewhat okay, even though rotary hammer drills offer much more versatility. However, the price difference between these and rotary drills is quite big. In other words, corded units are much more affordable even though they offer fewer features in comparison to rotary models. The vast majority of electric drills can cope with difficult projects, but there are plenty of underpowered products on the market as well. In case you don’t have any experience with these tools, make sure to invest in a sufficiently powerful one.

Rotary


Rotary drills are the go-to solution for the toughest applications. In case you’re planning on drilling through concrete or brick, a rotary drill is the most efficient solution out there.

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 type of them all. However, their superiority becomes quite apparent once you look at the price. In other words, rotary drills are significantly more expensive in comparison to other types.

The biggest downside of these units is related to the amount of vibrations they output. Some models have an integrated anti-vibration system which alleviates the matter to a certain extent, but many of them don’t come with this particular feature. The ones that lack anti-vibration systems tend to cause quite a bit of fatigue and exhaustion, especially after prolonged use. On the other hand, the biggest advantage is definitely the overall versatility of these models. One can tackle any task regardless of its complexity without worrying about limitations. If you’re not limited by your budget, don’t hesitate to invest in one of these.

Thing to Consider When Choosing the Best Product

In order to prevent overpaying or buying something that won’t meet your expectations, you have to consider a few things. If you’re not aware of what to pay attention to, read this guide and it should offer a deeper insight into the important factors you should keep an eye on.

What Type Do You Need?

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

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

Think About Your Budget

It’s very important that you equalize your capabilities with your expectations. In other words, if you’re struggling with a limited budget, don’t buy the cheapest model you can find because as much as it seems to be a worthy investment, cheap units usually cause more harm than good.

Instead of going with that strategy, try finding a quality model with fewer features. While it may be a burden to compromise with 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 by many people as they seem quite irrelevant. However, you would be surprised by the overall impact these two elements can have on your experience with a particular drill. The rule of thumb here is to go with lightweight units that are seemingly user-friendly. While it sounds simple enough, there are some things you should be aware of.

First of all, lightweightness doesn’t always indicate better quality. In fact, many people share the assumption that lightweight models offer less quality in comparison to heavier ones. While it may be true, it’s not always the case because there are some lightweight units that offer high quality of performance.

Choosing the Brand

Whether we like it or not, the brand plays a massive role when it comes to quality and performance of certain models. In other terms, it’s recommended that you choose a well-established brand over an unknown one for several reasons. While there are plenty of great models manufactured by unknown brands, hitting a worthy investment is more or less a gamble.

However, if you go with a well-known brand, you can rest assured that you’ll get the best possible warranty conditions as well as good customer support department. Not many people think about the customer support department, but you would be surprised by how important they are, especially for helping out people that are absolute beginners in the industry.

Important Features to Look For

Besides the fact that you have to consider the aforementioned factors, you also have to 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 piece 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.

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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 important to stay aware of the dangers. Needless to say, a tool as powerful as a hammer drill can be a massive safety hazard for people who aren’t as experienced. In fact, a worrying number of people get fatally injured on a daily basis by misusing heavy-duty tools. In order to prevent bad things from happening, make sure you read this article and get familiar with some of the potential dangers.

Wear Protective Equipment


Safety goggles are the number one thing you should always 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 expertise. Many people decide against wearing goggles because they think experience has something to do with the risk probabilities. Don’t forget to wear safety goggles at all times.

Ear protection is also a crucial part of good experiences. Even though you may not notice immediate damage to your hearing, you can rest assured that it will be jeopardized in case you decide against wearing ear protection. On top of that, make sure everyone in the near vicinity also wears ear protection because the user is not the only individual at risk.

Man Wearing Safety Goggles

Gloves are a matter of choice, but wearing them is recommended for people who deal with rotary drills as they tend to get hot after prolonged use. The temperature never reaches dangerous levels, but it can cause users to react suddenly and thus jeopardize their safety. In case you don’t want 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 stay as focused as possible in order to prevent injuries. People don’t think too much about distractions such as loud music or talking with other people during operation. Needless to say, you should be focused on your work instead of being concentrated on other things. In case you need to address something during work, make sure you turn the machine off and do what you have to.

Extension Cord

Proper Extension Cords


This step applies to both rotary and corded drills as they usually utilize electricity. It’s very important that you buy a high-quality extension cord because poorly made ones are a major safety risk. They can cause plenty of issues including fire, short-circuits, and etcetera. Low-quality extension cords are a risk for your safety 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 from each category. Therefore, aim to buy a 12-gauge extension cord 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 problem fully. You will always feel the impact of excessive vibrations and even noise. These elements can have a tiresome effect on a user which then causes focusing issues which are a potential danger. The important thing here is to remember to take a break. It doesn’t have to be a long one; five minutes will be more than enough for you to get back on track. It’s also essential that you avoid rush and hurry because it may end up in a disaster.

Inspect Your Tool


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

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

 

The conclusion


Finding a suitable hammer drill isn’t an easy task. One might think it’s relatively easy to click a few buttons and order a new tool, but the potential accompanying problems simply aren’t worth the hassle. Instead of getting the first thing you stumble upon, make sure you’re aware of its capabilities. That’s why it’s important that you pay attention to features as well as additional accessories included with a particular model.

In case you’re on a limited budget, aim for quality instead of quantity. In other words, it’s always better to get a machine with fewer features but high-quality components instead of choosing a model with dozens of auxiliary features but questionable quality. If you want to find out more about these models, go ahead and visit our full reviews page.

 

Hammer Drill Categories

Cordless Hammer Drills category image
Corded Hammer Drills category image
Rotary Hammer Drills category image