A hammer drill is a power tool that drills into materials such as concrete, brick, and masonry. These drills have an impact mechanism which produces a hammering motion–hence the name. Hammer drills are common on construction sites, but they have a wide variety of uses for homeowners as well and are a great addition to any shop or garage.
A hammer drill has two discs. As one disc slides past the other, it causes the chuck to slam forward and backward. If there’s no force on the chuck, the discs are separated and the pounding action is halted. They’re easy to use, fast, and very powerful.
If you’re wondering which tool is the best hammer drill for your needs, take a look at the hammer drill reviews below to get a head start on the market. Each drill will vary in power, battery life, weight, and pros and cons, but you’re guaranteed to find the perfect tool for your situation.
Hammer Drill Comparison Chart
|Brand/Model (Click Item Text to Scroll to Review)||Rating|
|1. Milwaukee 2704-20 M18 FUEL 1/2" Hammer Drill|
Our Top Pick for 2019
|2. DeWalt DCD996BR 20V MAX XR Cordless Li-Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/2" Hammer Drill||9.7/10||CHECK PRICE|
|3. Makita XPH07Z 18V LXT Li-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Hammer Drill||9.6/10||CHECK PRICE|
|4. Bosch 11321EVS SDS-Max Demolition Hammer Drill||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|5. TACKLIFE Classic 1/2" Corded Hammer Drill||9.4/10||CHECK PRICE|
|6. DeWalt DCD985B 20V MAX Li-Ion 1/2" Hammer Drill||9.4/10||CHECK PRICE|
|7. PORTER-CABLE PCC620B 20V MAX Li-Ion Hammer Drill||9.3/10||CHECK PRICE|
Best Hammer Drill Reviews
1. Milwaukee 2704-20 M18 FUEL 1/2″ Hammer DrillCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This hammer drill by Milwaukee is an excellent addition to any DIYer’s arsenal. Its Powerstate brushless motor provides you with more than a thousand pounds’ worth of peak torque and can go up to 2,000 RPM for some of the fastest drilling speeds you’ll experience. With this power, the Milwaukee is one of the most reliable and fast hammer tools on the market–you’ll drill through concrete and complete whatever you need in no time with this hammer drill.
Milwaukee also features a Redlink Plus intelligence system, which works to prevent either the drill or its battery from overheating or overloading. This is an essential aspect to any power tool you use when it’s battery powered; Milwaukee helps you stay ahead of the game. The drill is also equipped with Redlithium batteries, which provide you a longer period of work time per each charge as well as longer overall life of the battery, so you can work however long you need to and this drill will not fail you. At just over four pounds, this is a lightweight, versatile tool that will handle any project you set your mind to.
Many users enjoyed the comfort and quality of this drill and were impressed by its torque capacity. However, some had difficulties with the chuck. Overall, Milwaukee’s hammer drill is our team’s top pick.
2. DeWalt DCD996BR 20V MAX XR Cordless Li-Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/2″ Hammer DrillCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
DeWalt delivers again with this hammer drill that’s highly efficient and very powerful. Its brushless motor provides you with over fifty times more run time than brushed motors. You can drill away using three different speeds, and its lithium ion battery ensures that you get more capacity than standard battery packs so you can drill for a long period of time. Although this tool is cordless, its power and durability rivals many corded drills. Its ½ inch metal chuck is nitro-carburized and heavy duty, with carbide inserts that grip your bits with superior strength.
This model has been updated from previous ones, and it’s equipped with LED lighting that’s available in three modes and provides you with twenty times more brightness than older models. With this drill, you’ll be able to see no matter how confined or dark your work space is. There’s also a Spotlight Mode, which features a shutoff function after twenty minutes and allows you to extend your work time.
Unfortunately, the lithium ion battery this drill is compatible with is sold separately, as well as any chargers; this is the bare tool only. Some users also felt that this unit is a little louder than many other drills. Overall, however, this hammer drill is quite powerful and excellent for tight or dark spaces. DeWalt has pulled through with a tool that allows you to complete any project you set your mind to.
3. Makita XPH07Z 18V LXT Li-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2″ Hammer DrillCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Makita’s hammer drill gives you more than 1,000 pounds of torque to break into any type of material you set the drill to. It features a long battery life that powers you through your tough projects and was developed to provide a longer run time alongside increased speed and power. With Makita’s hammer drill, you can tackle the most demanding drilling projects and take on metal, wood, and masonry. It comes with a two-speed transmission that’s all metal variable and compatible with a wide variety of applications. It’s top of the line among Makita’s driver-drills, and is a workhorse tool that performs reliably in harsh job conditions.
The Makita was ergonomically designed to be very comfortable for you and easy to use, at only 8 ⅛” long and a lightweight feature even when the battery is in. You’ll be able to see what charge level your battery is at with a 3-stage LED gauge, which makes it easy to keep track of how much longer you have before the drill runs out of power. Together, these make planning and completing projects a breeze.
The battery is not included with this drill, and at almost six pounds, it is heavier than many of the others on this list. The heavier the tool, the tougher it will be to use it for long periods of time. Some users also felt that the battery burned out quickly. However, Makita’s power is tough to beat and this hammer drill will get you through many heavy-duty jobs.
4. Bosch 11321EVS SDS-Max Demolition Hammer DrillCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This hammer drill from Bosch gives you maximum demolition capabilities with an impressive 2,900 RPM and a great ratio of power to weight at six feet to one pound of impact energy. Its motor is backed by 18 Amps and is among the best performing hammer drills you’ll find. Featuring constant response circuitry, the drill maintains speed and protects against overloading while it also gives you a smooth startup that you have control over. The Auto-Max speed dial ensures you hit maximum speed whenever the hammer drill is turned on. With this tool, you don’t need to worry about losing control or grip as it drills away.
Although this Bosch has unmatched power, it also ensures you’re comfortable as you work with its patented Active Vibration Control, which reduces vibration within the hammer mechanism as well as the area of grip. This way, you get comfort all day and can work for extended periods of time without suffering from cramping in your hands or other types of fatigue. The auxiliary handle provides you the best posture possible as you work so you maintain comfort, while Vario-Lock positioning helps you find the best angle for chiseling.
Many users enjoy this Bosch for its power and control, however it is among the heaviest drills on our list and this may hamper productivity. The setup of its on/off switch is not ideal either and it’s easy to accidentally turn the hammer drill off as you’re using it. Overall, this is a great demo hammer to add to your garage.
5. TACKLIFE Classic 1/2″ Corded Hammer DrillCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With this hammer drill from Tacklife, you get quality and persistent performance from a motor that’s made out of pure copper to give you more strength and a powerful impact. Whether you’re completing heavy duty projects on concrete, solid steel, masonry, or wood, this drill can get it done. It’s equipped with a variable speed trigger and you can set the knob at twelve difference settings for precise placement and speed adjustment all the way up to 3,000 RPM. You can easily switch from a regular drill to a hammer drill by pressing a button on the top, and selecting the hammer setting gives you excellent impact force.
At just under six pounds, this drill is lightweight enough for extended use without the worry of becoming fatigued. It was designed with a metal head covering rather than plastic, which provides greater durability and enhances the drill’s dissipation effect. A 360-degree metal rotating side handle gives you great precision, control, and supports a longer life for the drill overall. This also offers more flexibility, because you can adjust the handle so you get the best grip depending on your specific project.
Tacklife’s hammer drill is powered by a 7-Amp motor, which is not quite as powerful as others on this list. In some cases, the motor began to smoke after a short period of time. However, this choice is powerful, uniquely designed, and is overall an ideal tool for any serious DIYer.
6. DeWalt DCD985B 20V MAX Li-Ion 1/2″ Hammer DrillCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Another hammer drill by DeWalt that makes the list, this power tool gives you superior performance with 20V Max lithium ion battery capacity, which lends enhanced durability and an overall longer runtime for your jobs. Its high efficiency motor delivers max power, and the metal chuck is heavy duty. With innovative features and technology, it’s ideal for builders, remodelers, carpenters, and other professionals. Whatever your task is, this is the tool to match thanks to its comfort, performance, and durability, and it can tackle a wide variety of applications.
This hammer drill comes with DeWalt’s patented three-speed transmission, which gives you speeds of either 0-600, 0-1,250, or 0-2,000 RPM so you can have complete control over the speed you need for the job at hand. This is especially beneficial when you encounter a situation where you can’t drill at high speed due to torque requirements. In this case, you can select the middle speed setting and drill twice as fast as other types of drills. A 360 degree side handle is also included, as well as an LED light that has a 20-second delay once the trigger is released.
While the technology and efficiency of this DeWalt hammer drill is tough to beat, some users had issues with the head wobbling as the RPM increased, which interfered with the drill’s precision. It is also one of the least comfortable drills on this list, and some people felt that it made too much noise.
If you’re a fan of DeWalt’s line of tools, another buyer’s guide to check out is our Best Table Saws article.
7. PORTER-CABLE PCC620B 20V MAX Li-Ion Hammer DrillCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The last drill on our list is a high performance hammer drill by Porter-Cable. You can use this tool for both small and large applications, and it’s commonly utilized for masonry and concrete drilling, as well as metal drilling and wood drilling. With comfort and power that’s long-lasting, many people have turned to this drill as a reliable means of breaking down tough materials so they can complete projects.
This drill has an impressive 23 clutch settings, as well as an extremely bright LED light that will illuminate your dark work area or any small work spaces. Its metal ratcheting chuck minimizes any slipping, so the bit is held tightly and securely no matter which setting you’ve selected. It can be set at two different speeds, either 0-400 or 0-1,600 RPM. The battery gauge is displayed so you’re able to see how much charge is remaining, and plan your project accordingly.
This Porter-Cable hammer drill is not as fast as other drills that made our list and is not quite as reliable or as powerful. The speeds are not as extensive either. However, at just over three pounds, it’s the most lightweight on the list and is an excellent choice for comfort. It also comes with Porter-Cable’s three year limited warranty. Some users believed that this drill is quite flimsy and unfortunately it does not hold up well to a wide variety of materials; it does not drill through brick.
How a Hammer Drill Works
A hammer drill is a power tool that was designed to drill right into materials such as mortar, brick, concrete, or stone. During operation, a hammer drill rotates just as a normal drill does, however it also has a type of action that moves forward and hammers while there’s rotation. There are certain situations in which a hammer drill is very useful, and you can either invest in a dedicated hammer drill for construction projects or a drill that has a hammer setting if you’re more of a DIYer.
Whether you’d like to drill holes so you can hang a shelf, you’re completing renovations in your basement, or you need to install lights, a hammer drill is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Your hammer drill will exert a great amount of force directly into the bit you’ve inserted. This direct force is very powerful, and a hammer drill often feels like a jackhammer as you’re using it.
A dedicated hammer drill is a specialty tool that’s often used when a project requires lots of masonry drilling. These are used by construction professionals and are a very large investment financially. For DIYers, it’s better to rent these tools out rather than fully purchase them, as the expense can be hard to justify unless it’s your job to use it. In this case, a drill with hammer settings is the more sensible investment.
Drills with hammer settings can be corded or cordless. Corded hammer drills are very useful in a situation when you have a power source nearby and would like to work for a long time without worrying about switching out batteries. These drills also have a higher RPM and overall, tend to have more power.
Cordless hammer drills come in handy when you don’t have electricity nearby, or when you have a project which you know will take a half hour or less to complete. Currently, there are models on the market that rival the power of corded tools, so you may not have to compromise on this. If you have smaller projects and are more limited, cordless drills are a great choice.
Hammer Drill vs Standard Drill
As you’re perusing the market to choose a hammer drill, you may be wondering what exactly makes a hammer drill different than the drill you already have in your shop or garage. A standard drill is typically used to drive screws into material. It’s important to note that whether you invest in a dedicated hammer drill or purchase a drill with hammer settings, the hammer setting should not be used to drive screws. It’s also easy to confuse hammer drills with impact drivers, which are a similar tool, however impact drivers excel at driving nuts and screws and don’t do much when it comes to drilling.
In simple terms, use a standard drill for screwing, and use a hammer drill for drilling. Hammer drills are meant for hard surfaces, while standard drills drive in fasteners and create holes. It’s understandably confusing, but there are further differences than just the purpose behind the tool; hammer drills can differ in appearance and method of operation as well.
The difference is dramatic when it comes to appearance. A standard drill will be stubbier and shorter, and rather than a chuck, it will have a hexagonal socket. There may be an adapter where bits are attached. On the other hand, a hammer drill looks like a small jackhammer and is heavier and larger. It’ll have a drill chuck, which will lock into bits of varying types and sizes.
In manner of operation, a lot more pressure will be used with a hammer drill. You’ll notice the difference; a hammer drill feels as if you’re hitting the material very fast as it drives powerfully into hard surfaces. It’s also very loud as it vibrates back and forth. Hammer drills typically have a clutch, which is adjustable, so you can control the force applied. Standard drills, meanwhile, will have much less pressure, less noise, and move in rotary fashion.
Feel free to check out some of our other drill-related articles, such as our Best Impact Wrench and Best Impact Driver articles if you’re looking to gain more information regarding the various types of drills on the market.
Setting up and Maintaining a Hammer Drill
Hammer drills can have a powerful effect and are among the most efficient tools available to drill hard materials. Due to their power and handling, it’s important for people to understand how to use these drills properly.
The first step is to purchase the correct size of bit that you need and approximately measure the hole. Before you begin, test a small portion of the material to ensure the bit is accurate. It’s also important that the bit is sharp so you don’t ruin the shape of the hole. Drilling with dull bits can also become dangerous, and this burns out your motor very quickly. Attach the sharp bit to the drill and ensure it is sealed in tightly.
If your hammer drill has a depth stopper feature, set it to your desired depth so your holes are as deep as they need to be. Otherwise, you can use masking tape to wrap the bit. Make sure the hammer setting on your drill is on, point the drill at the preferred area, pull the trigger, and begin to drill. You don’t need to worry about applying pressure; the drill will take care of everything for you. You will create a lot of dust and debris, so ensure you blow this away and clean your area.
No matter how often you use your hammer drill, it’s important that you regularly maintain and clean it so you’ll have your power tool for a long time. You’ll need to clean your drill inside and out; it’s essential to regularly oil the metal parts of the machine, especially the chuck. You can use a standard lubricating oil to do this. Simply tighten and loosen the chuck several times to spread the oil evenly. If the chuck is keyed, lubricate these teeth as well.
Your drill will also become very dusty as you’re drilling through concrete and drywall. The vents will become clogged over time, which can cause your tool to overheat. Luckily, it’s a simple fix: blow this dust away with an air compressor or duster. After cleaning, keep your drill in a dry place off the ground to prevent rusting, and store both the drill and the batteries at room temperature.
Best Hammer Drill Buyer’s Guide
To ensure that you invest in the ideal hammer drill for your needs, it’s important to take a step back and consider your situation. Depending on your needs, there will be specific features to look for as you make a purchase. For example, if you are more of a professional and your task at hand is of a professional grade, you need a powerful, fast drill whose battery holds up to a long run time. In this case, comfort and control over speed will matter less to you. If you’re a DIYer, however, and need a hammer drill for a few small projects, you can invest in a drill that’s less powerful and fast but offers you comfort and control.
A main feature to consider with hammer drills, especially in terms of performance and speed, is the tool’s RPM. RPM stands for revolutions per minute, and it indicates the number of turns that are completed in a single minute. The higher the RPM, the faster the drill, which means you’ll complete your drilling project faster. Hammer drills vary widely–in our list alone, the lowest RPM is the Porter-Cable’s drill at 1,600, while the highest is the Tacklife at up to 3,000 RPM. A safe medium is around 2,000. If you need a fast and powerful drill, consider the Bosch or the Tacklife.
Keep in mind, however, that a faster tool may provide less precision and control. If you’re looking for precision, the ability to control your drill’s speeds is a key feature for you. Some hammer drills come with three speeds rather than two. The two DeWalt drills on our list come with this feature, as it’s patented by the company. This three-speed transmission allows you to select a middle speed and is very beneficial if you’re in a situation where you can’t drill at high speed but would still like to complete your task quickly. If you don’t believe you’d be in this situation, many other drills will be sufficient.
Some drills were also designed to provide you with complete comfort as you work. The Makita was consciously designed to be very easy and comfortable for you to use, while the Tacklife’s side handle offers flexibility, precision, and control. If you need comfort, check out Bosch’s Active Vibration Control feature as well. This reduces vibration within the hammer and your area of grip, so you can work for a long period of time without getting fatigue or cramps. Its handle also ensures you have great posture while you work.
Summing It Up
Hammer drills are versatile and powerful tools that make you feel as if you’re using a jackhammer while you drill easily and quickly into hard materials such as brick, concrete, masonry, and metal. They’re perfect for both professionals who need to do some demolition on the job, and for DIYers who need to drill holes to put up shelving. No matter your situation, a hammer drill that’s powerful, durable, and comfortable is a great choice to help tackle your project.
Take a look at our hammer drill reviews to get an idea of the best hammer drill for your particular uses. This tool is definitely different from your standard drill, but just as easy to use, and with a great investment, you will get the job done in no time.