Updated January 2018
Do you know that the hammer drill is a tool that is designed to handle more heavy-duty work than your average household tool?
This is true because they afford you the power to drill hole into thick brick walls, screw something into concrete or fit new flooring.
These tools come with a very powerful hammering motion that increases the force as the drill bit rotates, giving you the right amount of power oomph when needed. They work the same way as your normal power drill, except that they are more powerful.
Some models even allow you to use specific functions such as impact-driving or screw-driving and you can turn off most of the hammer functions for more efficient blow.
This Makita hammer drill operates on an 18 volt Li-ion battery. The company claims that, even though the DHR242Z requires 18 volts to operate, it runs faster than the BHR200 24v combi hammer. This hammer drill has a SDS+ drive system which is commonly used for drilling through concrete. You can choose to run this drill in one of three operation modes, rotation and hammering, rotation only or hammering only. This drill is well designed with users in mind. This rotary drill is rated at 0-950 RPM and 0-4700 BPM and weighs 3.3 kg.
Another popular Makita hammer drill, the DHR202Z operates on an 18 volt motor. It’s an SDS plus hammer drill with one touch sliding chuck functionality which makes changing bits easy. This hammer drill is compatible with Makita Li-Ion batteries which have greater lifespan than Ni-Cad batteries.
The DHR202Z has triple operation modes. In rotation mode only, the chisel can rotate a full 360 degrees with 40 different locking positions. Other features you’ll find in this Makita rotary hammer drill are high comfort grip handles, forward and reverse bit operation, LED job light and depth stop. It’s rated at 0-4000 BPM and 0-1100 RPM. The Makita DHR202Z weighs 3.2 kg and measures 330mm long.
This Bosch hammer drill is one of the company’s popular products. It operates on an 18 volt lithium-ion battery. The drill runs a 2 speed planetary gearbox that has a speed rating of 1330 RPM and impact rating of 20-250 BPM. It features 20 pre-selectable torque settings with drill and impact drill options. Easy bit replacement is made possible by the keyless chuck with Bosch Auto Lock feature. This Bosch cordless hammer drill has a single soft grip handle and weighs approximately 1.3 kg. It includes a bright LED light and comes inclusive of two 18V Li-ion batteries.
The PSB 650 RE is a powerful Bosch corded hammer drill that will handle even the toughest jobs. It operates on a 650 watt electric motor which enables continuous drilling. This Bosch hammer drill features a single sleeve Bosch press and lock keyless chuck for fast bit replacement. It also features Bosch electronic speed Pre-selection and control which allows you to set the unit based on the type of work and material you’re working on.
The design includes the main handle and an auxiliary handle with soft grip covers for easy, strain free drilling. Other features include reverse operation, 1.7 kg weight, 48000 BPM, 3000 RPM and cable guide with hanging hook for convenient storage.
The Dewalt 18v XR is a rotary hammer drill that operates on an 18 volt Li-Ion battery. It’s an SDS plus hammer drill that’s suited for different drilling and hammering jobs. This powerful SDS rotary hammer drill is capable of drilling up to 24mm through concrete. The Dewalt hammer drill has three mode operations including stop rotation, stop impact and impact plus rotation mode which allow you to work on different materials.
It comes in a 3 kg body with two handles and soft grip covering for fatigue free operation. It also comes with a built in bright white LED with delay feature to illuminate your working area. It has a speed rating of 1200 RPM and impact rating of 4500 RPM.
Each of the hammer drills reviewed are unique. Apart from the Bosch PSB 650 RE, all are cordless drills that operate on 18V batteries. As with every review, there must be a clear winner based on the number of useful and unique features it has. When placed side by side, the Dewalt 18v lithium ion SDS plus cordless hammer drill provides the best value for your money.
Although not as powerful as the corded Bosch PSB 650 RE, for a cordless hammer drill, it’s quite powerful. Its ergonomic and lightweight body make it easy to use. Its capability to drill holes of up to a 24mm diameter in concrete easily beats the closest cordless hammer drill competitor which manages about 22mm. The three operation mode settings also make this rotary drill stand out from the rest since it gives you better control over the drilling process. You can view this product here.
As the name suggests, this is a tool that bores through surfaces but has a hammering action. The hammering action allows the drill to bore through hard materials such as concrete. It also makes the drilling process faster. These tools are also commonly referred to as a rotary hammer drill, drill hammer or hammering drills.
People often categorise this type of drill as either a hammer drill or rotary hammer drill. Both work the same way. Their main difference is observed by how they actually work. Hammer drills have a clutch which drives the bit forward and backwards causing the “hammering” action and simultaneously spinning the bit. Rotary hammer drills on the other hand have a piston in place of the clutch. This makes them more powerful compared to hammer drills. Rotary drills are becoming quite popular, with the SDS hammer drill being one of the most sought after type in the market.
Whether to invest in a hammer drill or rotary hammer drill largely depends on the type of jobs you’ll be doing. If you’re working on small DIY tasks, a hammer drill is the better choice. If however, your jobs require a tool that offers power and efficiency, the rotary drill is the better choice.
Modern drill hammers come with excellent features that make them more efficient tools. Some of the features to look out for include additional handles, depth rod, reverse action, variable speed setting, and bit operation modes among others.
Corded or cordless
Corded drills operate at higher Rounds Per Minute (RPM) than their cordless counterparts. However, cordless drills are easier to use, lighter and easier to maintain.
Slotted drive systems (SDS) is the most popular type available today. In these systems, the bit has indentations on its shank. It slides into the chuck which holds onto the bit via the indentations thrusting it forward, backward and spinning it. SDS, SDS+, SDS Top and SDS Max are more or less the same. The main difference is the size of the bit shank.