Last updated on February 19th, 2018 at 11:53 pm
A hammer drill is not what the average person thinks of everyday. But when it comes to working on home improvements or working professionally, having the right tools is important. It saves you the hassle of improvising and gets the job done.
If you’ve ever had to improvise to drill a hole, then you will greatly appreciate the hammer drill. Imagine a drill that can make holes in concrete, wood or even metal. I bet I have piqued your interest in the hammer drill.
Which is the best hammer drills? What brands should you get? Should it be cordless or corded hammer drill? These are few questions that fondly come to your heart.
Don’t worry, this best hammer drill reviews, guide and recommendation has got you covered and would answer all and even more question you would have.
Let’s get started.
What is a Hammer Drill?
A hammer drill is an upgrade on the regular ole drill. What’s a drill you ask?
A drill is a tool equipped with either a cutting or driving attachment. They are used for boring holes in different materials or fastening them together with the aid of fasteners like screws, bolts, nuts etc. Now, let’s go on to the hammer drill.
A hammer drill is a rotary drill with a hammering action. This hammering action provides short and rapid impacts (measured in either blows-per-minute or impacts-per-minute). These short bursts of power allow the hammer drill break down hard material like concrete, wood etc. It also allows the hammer drill bore holes in various materials with little extra effort on the part of the operator.
How does a Hammer Drill work?
They say knowledge is power. That’s why you have to understand the basic principle of how a hammer drill works before you buy or even use one.
A hammer drill works just like your basic drill with just one major difference. You guessed it, it has a hammering action. The hammer drill has the following basic parts:
The Vibrating chuck
This is the part where you attach your drill bit. The chuck is also connected to the hammer mechanism. It moves back and forth when the hammer function is in use.
This is the power house of the entire hammer drill. The motor powers both the rotary and hammering action you notice when you use your drill. The motor can be either powered by electricity or batteries.
The Cooling fan
This is also an important feature in a hammer drill. Heat is known to wear out mechanical parts. A fan prevents that by keeping the motor cool while you drill.
The Hammer mechanism
This is what produces the short powerful thrusts that enable you drill into concrete, blocks, bricks, cement, wood etc. The hammering action is provided by two cam plates that make up the hammering mechanism. These cam plates make the chuck pulsate at high speed back and forth while the drill spins on its axis.
The Rotary switch
This selects the mode in which you hammer drill will run. Position right and counter clockwise is the drill only mode. The opposite direction selects the drill and hammer mode.
Why Buy a Hammer Drill?
Now that you know how a hammer drills work, why should you even consider buying or owning one? Here are a few reasons:
- 2-in-1 action: The hammer drill can work as both a regular drill and as a hammer drill. Its dual function means this tool will have many applications in your home. When you’re not using its hammer function, you can use the drill only function.
- Cost effective:Buying a hammer drill is cheaper than renting one anything you need to bore holes or even fasten things like shelves or cabinets to walls. Owning ones saves you on all that extra cost.
- Easy to use: The hammer drill is easy to use. Anyone who has read the user manual can operate this tool with ease.
- Better than a regular drill: The hammer drills bore holes in masonry and wood faster than regular drills. And best of all, you can switch off its hammer function and turn your hammer drill into a regular ole drill for non-masonry related activities like drilling holes into wood.
- The hammer drill is the best tool for you if you work around masonry like concrete, cement, bricks etc. If you require the right tool for masonry related tasks, the hammer drill is it.
Types of Hammer Drills
There are many types of hammer drills out there. But we’d be looking at the two major ones. These are:
Cordless or Battery Powered Hammer Drill
A cordless hammer drill is one that is powered by batteries. It does not have a power cord. The batteries are usually of Lithium Ion variety.
Cordless hammer drills are usually batteries rated at 18 volts or above. Nothing beats the mobility a cordless hammer drill brings. Because it is battery powered, you can use this type of hammer drill far away from a power source.
Owing to their batteries, they tend to be heavier than the electric hammer drills. Also, the operator is constrained by battery charge. If you’re battery is low, you’d either stop working so you can charge it or you have to buy extra batteries which is just extra expenses.
Electric Hammer Drill
The electric hammer drill comes with a power cord. It is powered by electricity. These hammer drills are very light and easy to hold for longer periods.
Electric hammer drills are rated between 600 to 1000 watts. They have a constant power source and hence, they tend to produce more torque than the cordless varieties. With an electric hammer drill, you can work for long periods without stopping. No battery to hinder your progress.
The only drawback to the electric hammer drill is the fact that you can’t use it too far away from a power source. Also, they are not very easy to manoeuvre in tight corners because of the cord.
Cordless vs. Corded Hammer Drills: Any Advantages
We bet it’s confusing to decide between the corded and cordless hammer drills. I’ve compared them according to some features listed below:
- Weight: When it comes to weight and compatibility, the corded hammer drills (or electric hammer drills) are generally much lighter than the cordless varieties.
- Mobility: The cordless hammer drills (battery-powered hammer drills) are generally more mobile than the corded varieties. This is because they don’t have power cords. So you can use them far away from a power source. Just go with extra batteries.
- Torque: The corded hammer drills tend to produce more torque than the cordless varieties. As the batteries of the cordless varieties run down, the torque produced starts to drop. The corded varieties produce the same amount of torque all through.
5 Best Hammer Drill Comparison
Here is a table comparing our top 5…
|Drill Features||DeWalt DCD995M2||Bosch RH540M||Makita XPH012||Bostitch BTE140K||DeWalt DWD520K|
|Drill Speed RPM||2000||340||1500||3100||3500|
|H. Speed BPM||34000||2900||22500||52700||56000|
|Chuck Size (")||Half an inch||SDS-Max||Half an inch||Half an inch||Half an inch|
Choosing the Best Hammer Drills: What You Should Know
You’ve seen the differences between the cordless and the corded hammer drills.
Whichever one you’re going for you must consider the following factors when choosing the best hammer drill.
The bigger and more powerful the motor on your hammer drill is the more torque it can produce. The average motor rating is 5 amps. Most hammer drills can handle just about any task you throw at them but if you want that extra oomph, go for a drill with higher rated motor say 6 amps and above.
Drill speed control
This is important because when you drill holes in different materials you have to drill at different speeds. The speed you’d require to drill a hole in concrete is different from that required to drill holes in metals. Hammer drills with speed control option are best.
This is what holds your drill bit. The chuck needs to be very strong so as to prevent your drill bit from slipping when you work. Go for brands that have keyless chucks. Keyless chucks can be tightened with just your hand. Stay away from brands with chucks that require a tightening key as these keys are easy to lose.
If you’ve ever had to work in a dark space while holding a flashlight and your tool, then you’d consider this feature as essential as I do. Your hammer drill should come with a light that comes on when you pull the trigger.
Your hammer drill should be light weight so that you don’t get tired after prolonged use. Your hammer drill should be well balanced with easy grip. This makes the drill easier and comfortable for you to use.
Always check what material your hammer drill is made of. Hammer drills with all metal transmission are more durable. Also, hammer drills with brushless tend to last longer. This is because brush-less motors lack the wear and tear associated with their brushed counterparts.
Like we always say, a warranty is a manufacturer’s seal of trust on his product. Go for products with longer warranty as they will save you money on replacement parts should you ever need it.
You’re finally ready to check out our 5 best hammer drills out of the many we compared or tested.
Quick Review of the 5 Best Hammer Drills
1. DEWALT DCD995M2 Hammer Drill Review
The DeWalt brand is known for making one of the best hammer drills on the market. DeWalt DCD995M2 is first on our list and we can’t wait to tell you all about this hammer drill.
DeWalt DCD995M2 is a cordless hammer drill that delivers a maximum speed of 2,000 RPM. Its hammer function can reach 34,000 BPM. Talk about enough power to tackle drilling holes in concrete, steel, wood, brick etc.
Rated at 20V, the DeWalt DCD995M2 comes with two Lithium ion batteries. This hammer drill has a brushless motor and all metal transmission. A 3 setting speed trigger completes the ensemble of this drill.
The 14 electronic clutch settings on this hammer drill is one feature we’re loving. The keyless chuck on the DeWalt DCD995M2 is ½ inch and made of metal and carbide. Durability and comfort is the watch word here.
The DeWalt DCD995M2 is so light and compact at 4.7 lbs. Perfect for working in tight corners. It comes with an LED work light. This is a great addition for working in dark areas.
Another feature we love on the DeWalt DCD995M2 is the battery gauge. It conveniently lets us know the time to charge it or when it’s full. The way all the accessories fit into the carrying case is another plus.
The only downside to this hammer drill is the way the electronic clutch shuts off the motor at a pre-set limit. You have to wait a second or two to hear the click that would allow you start the drill again. A little annoying really!
The DeWalt DCD995M2 makes up for this with its amazing power and awesome feel. If you’re a contractor or serious DIYer, this is one hammer drill you must absolutely have.
2, Bosch RH540M Hammer Drill Review
Second on our list of best hammer drills is the Bosch RH540M. This is another quality product from the Bosch brand. This hammer drill will blow your mind.
The Bosch RH540M is a corded hammer drill. It comes with 6.1 ft.-lbs of torque. In hammer mode, it delivers a maximum of 2,900 BPM. It can reach up to 340 RPM in drill mode.
The Bosch RH540M is rated at 120V. It has a wide concrete range of ½ to 1 to 3/8 inches. A carrying case for all accessories is a wonderful bonus. Tool and other bits can be kept in one place for easy access.
It is designed with a keyless SDS-max chuck. The 12 position chisel rotation on the Bosch RH540M is one feature we love. This big guy can handle drilling holes in any surface ranging from tiles to wood to concrete etc.
Weighing 15.2 lbs, the Bosch RH540M is heavy. Not as light as we’d have loved. This is to be expected as this hammer drill is made of mostly metal and some plastic. Solid feel guarantees it would be durable.
One of the best features of Bosch RH540M is its service minder brushes. These little guys let you know when it’s time to get your hammer drill serviced to prevent damage: Nifty addition and very convenient too.
We loved testing out this hammer drill. The weight is the only issue we have with it. After prolonged use, you’d definitely be feeling the burn like we were.
The Bosch RH540M is a great hammer drill regardless of its heft. If you’re a contractor or a professional remodeller, this hammer drill will serve you well. Going for another would be foolhardy.
3, Makita XPH012 Hammer Drill Review
Makita brand is known for their quality power tools. The Makita XPH012 is another great product from them. And it’s third on our best hammer drill review list.
The Makita XPH012is a cordless hammer drill that comes with 480ft.-lbs of torque. It can reach up to speeds of 1,500 RPM. In hammer mode, Makita XPH012 delivers 22,500 BPM. This right here is a powerful hammer drill.
Rated at 18V, the XPH012 comes with a Lithium ion battery. The charge time on this battery is 25mins, very fast. A variable speed trigger and a twin transmission are also present on this hammer drill.
The Makita XPH012 is designed with a keyless ½ inch chuck. Easy removal and fixing of your drill bit. The casing fits all the accessories including an extra battery.
Makita XPH012 is very light. It weighs just 4 lbs with its battery attached. The work light is a very nice touch. It’s no bother working in dark small spaces with this tool.
The XPH012 has a lot of amazing features and tested really well. We would have just loved a battery gauge with this hammer drill. Full charge time is a science experiment we had to perform and time.
The LED work light is great. But its location is not so great. It is located above the trigger and the drill spot in the shadow of the chuck.
The XPH012 is a great hammer drill regardless. We loved and enjoyed using it. Any serious DIYer, professional remodeller and contractor would find this little but powerful hammer drill equal to any task.
4, Bostitch BTE140K Hammer Drill Review
Coming in at number on our best hammer drill review list is the Bostitch BTE140K. Another quality hammer drill you must absolutely read about.
The Bostitch BTE140K is a corded hammer drill. It comes with a maximum speed of 3,100 RPM. In hammer mode, it can reach up to 52,700 BPM.
This hammer drill is rated at 120V. It has a 7 amp motor for maximum torque. It comes with an all metal gear housing to protect internal components.
Bostitch BTE140K is designed with ½ inch chuck with a key. A variable speed trigger is also present on this hammer drill. It also comes with a decent cord length of 6 feet.
The BTE140K weighs 8.8lbs. It is hefty and not as light as we would have liked. It is well balanced. Its great balance is a nice trade-off for its heft.
In steel, the Bostitch BTE140K has a capacity of ½ inch. In wood and concrete, its capacity is 1 to ¼ and ½ inches respectively. This hammer drill is perfect for drilling holes in newly cured concrete, cinder blocks, wood, steel etc.
One of the issues we had with the Bostitch BTE140K during use is the depth gauge. We found that it was not easy to set. You have to loosen the handgrip to move the depth gauge and retighten.
Overall, the BTE140K is a great hammer drill. We enjoyed testing this tool out. If you’re a DIYer, or home repair hobbyist, the Bostitch BTE140K is the hammer drill you cannot afford to pass up.
5, DeWalt DWD520K Hammer Drill Review
Last on our best hammer drill review list is the DeWalt DWD520K. This is another quality drill from the DeWalt range of products. Here’s why it makes our list.
The DeWalt DWD520K is a corded hammer drill with a maximum speed of 3,500 RPM. In hammer mode, it boasts of 56,000 BPM. More than enough power to drill holes in cinder blocks, wood, steel, newly cured concrete etc.
The DWD520K is rated at 120V. The all metal gear housing protects the inner components. This makes the hammer drill more durable. A carrying case which contains both tools and accessories is a nice bonus.
This hammer drill has a capacity of ½ in steel. In concrete, its capacity ranges from 5/32 to 7/16 inches. The DeWalt DWD520K has a range of 1 to ½ inch in wood.
DeWalt DWD520K is designed with a ½ inch keyed chuck. The key comes with a little holder so it won’t be easy to misplace. A variable speed trigger is also included in this drill.
Weighing 6lbs, this hammer drill is just perfect. Not too heavy. Not too light. The bulk is just perfect at its 14 inch length.
The best thing about the DWD520K drill is the 360 degree locking side handle. This allows you to turn the handle in any way that is comfortable for you. It provides perfect balance as you work.
The one thing we didn’t like was the noise level on the DeWalt DWD520K. We wish it were quieter. In this age, everyone wants more ease and convenience when using their tools. A keyless chuck would have been nice.
All in all, the DeWalt DWD520K is an amazing hammer drill. If you’re a home repair hobbyist or a DIYer, this hammer drill will serve you well.
Congratulations for making it this far. You’ve gotten to the end of our reviews. We hope you’ve learnt enough to make buying a hammer drill a walk in the park.
However, if you’re still undecided, here are a few recommendations:
- If you want the best corded hammer drill out there, go for the Bosch RH540M. It’s light weight with enough power to tackle any task.
- Looking for the best budget hammer drill, then the Makita XPH012 is your best bet. You get enough power and great price to keep you and your pocket happy.
- Not one for cords, the DeWalt DCD995M2 is the best cordless hammer drill out there. Maximum power and no cord to keep you inside a workspace.
Have further questions?
Drop us a message in the comment section and we’d get back to you.