Best Hammer Drill: Easily Work Through Concrete With These Top Tools

This powerful tool makes drilling through concrete a breeze

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The best hammer drill can easily drill into hard materials, including brick, concrete, and stone. This type of power tool is similar to a regular drill, but it has a forward action like a hammer, making it particularly useful for DIYers. Our hammer drill reviews and buying guide will help you determine what is the best hammer drill on the market.

  • Best Overall
    DeWalt 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill Kit
    Summary
    Summary
    This drill features a high-efficiency, brushless motor and 250 blows per minute (BPM) for fast drilling. It has two 20-volt MAX XR high capacity lithium-ion batteries and a three-mode LED light.
    Pros
    Pros
    This drill is heavy duty, compact, reliable, and powerful. It eats through concrete, has good torque, is very versatile, and the battery seems to run forever.
    Cons
    Cons
    The drill is heavy (more than 11 pounds), and the battery may feel loose when it connects to the drill. The gear selector may be difficult to stick at the second setting.
  • Best Value
    Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Hammer Driver-Drill
    Summary
    Summary
    This drill's brushless motor delivers 1,090 inch-pounds of maximum torque. It weighs 5.9 pounds and has a two-speed variable transmission and a three-stage LED gauge to indicate battery charge.
    Pros
    Pros
    This drill is well built, heavy-duty, and has great torque.  It quickly chews through holes and operates very smoothly. Also, horizontal and downward drilling is a breeze.
    Cons
    Cons
    It may be heavy for overhead drilling or if you need to make numerous holes. Also, the drill may stop working after a few months, and the chuck assembly may fail.
  • Honorable Mention
    Bosch Bare-Tool 18V Brute Tough 1/2" Hammer Drill/Driver
    Summary
    Summary
    This drill has a maximum power of 750 inch-pounds of torque and is powered by a four-pole motor. It has a metal gear housing and special protection for the motor and battery.
    Pros
    Pros
    It's a powerful and tough tool that is easy to handle. It works well without any strain and provides steady power. It's particularly strong in low gear and fast in high gear.
    Cons
    Cons
    The safety feature kicks in a little sooner than you may like, and the battery may not stay charged as long as some competitor brands.

Benefits of Hammer Drills

  • It’s powerful and quick. When drilling through concrete or brick, a hammer drill does the job much faster and more powerfully than a regular drill. They use a rotating, hammer-like action. The most powerful hammer drill can drill into almost anything.
  • You do a lot of home renovation. Even though it's loud, it's the best drill for masonry. It seamlessly plows through concrete and other material and is a necessary tool for your garage if you do a lot of masonry work, such as drilling 40 holes in one day or hanging gutters on the side of your house. A regular drill is more prone to overheating in these situations.

Types of Hammer Drills

Corded 

Corded drills produce a high and consistent amount of power, which makes them superior for drilling through a lot of tough material. The more power you have, the quicker it takes to get the job done. They are also easy to use. Just make sure you have a good-quality extension cord because the standard cord length is only about six feet long.

Cordless

If you only need the drill for a small job or do not have access to a power source, a cordless drill is a good alternative. They're also quite portable. One downside is that the battery will eventually drain, but the solution is to have a spare battery on hand. Cordless hammer drills tend to be less consistent and won't work well on a semi-charged battery.

Top Brands

Black + Decker

This company started with young entrepreneurs S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker, who launched a machine shop in Baltimore, Md., in 1910. Products include power tools, lawn and garden items, and home appliances. One top product is the Black + Decker Hammer Drill.

Bosch

Robert Bosch founded the “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering” in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1886. The Bosch Group established a North American presence in 1906, and its headquarters are in Farmington Hills, Mich. One recommended product is the Bosch Bare-Tool 18V Brute Tough 1/2" Hammer Drill/Driver.

DeWalt

DeWalt Products Company was formed in Leola, Penn., in 1924 with the launch of the electric universal woodworking machine, mortiser, and jointer. In 2018, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary of the Product Service Division of Stanley Black & Decker. Two popular products are the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill Kit and DEWALT Hammer Drill Kit.

Makita Corporation

Makita Corporation was founded in 1915 as an electric motor sales and repair company. Today, the company manufactures products at 10 plants in eight countries. The Makita U.S.A., Inc. head office is located in La Mirada, Calif. Some recommended products are the Makita Cordless 1/2" Hammer Driver-Drill Kit and the Makita Cordless Hammer Drill.

Porter-Cable

Located in Towson, Md., Porter-Cable was established in 1906 as a jobbing machine and tool shop. In addition to polishers, it produces drills, saws, grinders, air compressors, and other tools. One top product is the Porter-Cable 20V MAX Hammer Drill.

Hammer Drill Pricing

  • Under $100: It's difficult to find a good-quality hammer drill under this price point. However, you may find one on sale that can do the job effectively.
  • $100-$200: Some of the best hammer drills fall in this price range. They perform well and are heavy-duty enough to easily and efficiently complete the task.
  • Over $200: Hammer drills can cost several hundred dollars, particularly if they come with added features and a hard carrying case.

Key Features

Power

The more power you have, the quicker you can complete your task. A typical hammer drill motor has about seven amps, while larger motors have about 10 amps. The bigger the motor, the more power it will deliver. However, hammer drill brands with bigger motors will be larger and heavier.

Two Handles

The best hammer drill for concrete and other materials should include safety features for your protection. As a result, most feature two handles. An auxiliary handle provides stability while you operate the drill and also makes the action more comfortable. The side handle should be ergonomic with a comfortable grip. They should also be shock absorbent.

Other Considerations

  • Variable Speed: If you want more control and precision, choose a hammer drill with a variable speed trigger. The more speed settings you have access to, the more tasks you can perform, making the drill multifunctional. A top-rated hammer drill can be used with a variety of drill bits, allowing you to work on softer woods and metals. Simply select the correct bit and RPM.
  • Keyed Chuck: A lot of drills have keyless chucks for convenience; it's easier and quicker to change bits. However, keyed chucks are preferable on a hammer drill. It forces you to manually tighten the chuck, which will ensure that the bit is solidly in place. This is important because a bit will bounce around a lot during operation.
  • Purpose: Decide what type of job you're going to use the hammer drill for before buying one. Even the best small hammer drill may not be powerful enough for a big project. Larger tasks may require a hammer drill that has more performance. It's better to go bigger than to be disappointed with a smaller drill that can't finish the job.
  • Weight: Some hammer drills are heavier than others. The best compact hammer drill may be easier to maneuver than one that is larger and bulkier. Over the years, hammer drills have gotten a bit lighter, which makes jobs easier. If you're working in a space in which it's hard to move around, you may want a smaller hammer drill.
  • Accessories: A depth gauge will help you drill a hole to a specific depth. An LED battery gauge is helpful on a cordless tool. A hard case helps you store the drill. All of these extras make it easier to use and maintain your drill. If you're making an investment, you should get one that has options that improve the overall experience.

Best Hammer Drill Reviews & Recommendations 2019

Best Hammer Drill Overall: DeWalt 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill Kit

DeWalt 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill Kit
Amazon

This drill features a high-efficiency, brushless motor and a high-performance transmission for fast application speeds and better run time. It has 250 BPM (blows per minute) for a fast drilling speed on masonry materials. It comes with two 20-volts MAX XR high capacity lithium-ion batteries (5.0Ah) and a three-mode LED light.

This well-designed drill is heavy duty, compact, reliable, and powerful. It eats through concrete, has high torque, is very versatile, and the transmission with the extra speed range makes it easy to control. The battery seems to run forever, which is good if you're using the drill for an extended period of time.  

Downsides include the fact that the drill is heavy (weighing more than 11 pounds) and may be difficult to use all day. In addition, the battery may wobble or get loose when it connects to the drill. In addition, the gear selector may be difficult to stick at the second setting. There have also been some complaints that the drill has too much power for some jobs.

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Best Hammer Drill Value: Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Hammer Driver-Drill

Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2
Amazon

This drill's brushless motor delivers 1,090 inch-pounds of maximum torque. It features an ergonomic design, is 8 inches long, and weighs 5.9 pounds. It has a two-speed, variable transmission (0-550 and 0-2,100 RPM) and a three-stage LED gauge that indicates the level of the battery charge.

This drill is well built, heavy-duty, and has great torque. It quickly chews through holes and operates very smoothly. It is also powerful enough to do tasks you would normally need a corded drill to do because of its 16-inch handle. The lower speed allows for better control and power, while the higher speed pulses up to 2,100 RPM. Horizontal and downward drilling is a breeze, and hammering through concrete and wood is no problem.

One issue is it can be very heavy for over-head drilling and if you need to make numerous holes. There have been some complaints that the drill stops working after a few months of use. Also, the chuck assembly may come off in reverse or the chuck screw can break.

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Best Hammer Drill Honorable Mention: Bosch Bare-Tool 18V Brute Tough 1/2" Hammer Drill/Driver

Bosch Bare-Tool 18V Brute Tough 1/2
Amazon

This drill has a maximum power of 750 inch-pounds of torque and is powered by a four-pole motor. It's built with a metal gearbox to withstand rigorous conditions and has active response technology, which delivers superior control in bind-up situations. Individually customized electronics protect the motor and its 18-volt lithium-ion battery.

This is a beast of a drill yet is very convenient because it's cordless. It's a powerful, solid, and tough tool that is easy to handle. It works well for drilling cement and bricks without any strain and provides steady power. It's particularly strong in low gear while fast in high gear. It also works for a long period of time without chuck failure or motor failure. In addition, it has a super run time with the 3-amp-hour battery.

One downside is it can't keep up with a corded hammer drill, which is not unexpected. Also, the safety feature kicks in a little sooner than you may like, and it doesn't come with a tool belt clip. In addition, the battery may not stay charged as long as some competitor brands.

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Tips

  • If you use a hammer drill for softer materials and metal, be careful. Since they are designed to drill through solid and stronger materials, you’ll want to avoid damaging the drill bit or the material you’re drilling through.
  • When hammer drilling, you also need the best hammer drill bits. The more durable ones will have carbide-tipped bit heads. Another option is using a kit with chisels instead of bits. 
  • Wear eye protection such as goggles or shop glasses when using a hammer drill. This prevents debris from getting into your eyes. Also, wear a mask to avoid breathing in masonry dust and ear protection to safeguard your hearing. 
  • You need to apply the correct pressure when using a hammer drill to avoid damaging the motor or tip of the drill bit. Don't press too firmly on a hard surface, and use quality bits.
  • Before drilling, make sure there are no wires, cables, or pipes in the way that you may accidentally puncture. Concrete hammer drills are very powerful and can easily destroy these types of things.
  • Use a high-quality extension cord. Cheaper cords can wear out easily, break, or catch fire. This can be dangerous for both you and the power tool. Try to use a 12-gauge power cord, which is compatible with most power tools.
  • Hammer drills produce a lot of vibration and noise. Take breaks when using them so you don't get too tired. You can also wear cushioned gloves to absorb some of the vibrations.
  • Inspect the hammer drill before using it. Make sure it doesn't have any cracks or debris that can affect its performance or cause any safety issues.
  • Use both hands when using a hammer drill. If you use only one hand, you won't have a lot of stability or accuracy. Worse, it can compromise safety.
  • Do not use a hammer drill for driving screws. You need to use an impact driver for driving screws, lags, and nuts, but an impact driver can't be used for drilling holes.

FAQs

Q: What’s the difference between a hammer drill and a rotary hammer drill?

A: A rotary hammer is extremely powerful and features a piston. This type of power tool is usually larger, heavier, and more costly than a hammer drill. If you need to drill larger holes a hammer drill can't handle, then you will need a rotary hammer.

Q: What’s the difference between a hammer drill and an impact drill?

A: An impact drill doesn't hammer the material in the same way as a hammer drill does. It uses a rotational motion instead of a hammering motion.

Q: Can a hammer drill be used as a regular drill?

A: It depends on the brand. If it only has a hammer mode, you can't use it as a regular drill. However, some have both hammer and drill settings; just make sure to use the proper bit.

Q: Can I use a regular drill on concrete?

A: Yes, but it won't be easy. The best-corded hammer drill for concrete is faster and more efficient. The job will take longer if you use a regular drill.

Final Thoughts

Our top pick for the best hammer drill is the DeWalt 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill Kit. It works quickly and efficiently on masonry materials and holds its charge for a very long time. It's compact yet powerful and is very versatile, with several ranges of speed.

If you’re on a budget, consider the Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Hammer Driver-Drill.

Let us know your favorites in the comments below.