Reviews

Best Rotary Hammers: Drill and Chisel More Efficiently

With the best rotary hammer, home improvements are easy to tackle

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BY Alice Musyoka , Daniel Rika / LAST UPDATED ON November 21, 2019

You may have drilling and chiseling projects at home that call for a rotary hammer. A rotary hammer is a versatile tool that can drill through drywall and concrete slabs. Since picking the best rotary hammer can be challenging, we’ve reviewed some great options to help you make an informed buying decision.

Best Overall
Bosch Rotary Hammer
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Summary
Summary

If you’re searching for a powerful rotary hammer that does an excellent job without making a lot of noise, this is the one. Its vibration control is easy to work with, despite pushing out 2.4 foot-pounds of impact energy. 

Pros
Pros
  • Three-finger trigger lets you change hammer speeds (0-4,000 bpm; 0-900 rpm)
  • 360-degree auxiliary handle gives you better wrist control and flexibility 
  • Hammer has an integral clutch that helps reduce torque reaction
Cons
Cons
  • Weighs almost 8 pounds, so if you continuously work with this hammer you’ll probably strain your arms
  • You can’t use it to drill or chisel wood; you need a less powerful tool
Best Overall
Bosch Rotary Hammer
Best Value
Makita Rotary Hammer
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Summary
Summary

Despite having a seven amp motor, it delivers 0-1,100 rpm and 0-4,500 rpm. You can utilize up to 40-bit angle settings to get the best performance out of this tool. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Pros
Pros
  • Torque-limiting clutch helps prevent the hammer from getting damaged; it disengages the gear if the bit gets snagged
  • Timed hammering during rotation reduces overlapping bit impacts, cutting drill time by 50 percent
Cons
Cons
  • “Constant on” function will damage the motor or wreck the hammer if you mistakenly release it
  • Hammer is very light and only ideal for small jobs
Best Value
Makita Rotary Hammer
Honorable Mention
DeWalt Rotary Hammer Drill
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Summary
Summary

This hammer sports an 8.5 amp motor that delivers three joules of impact energy for less drilling time and more coverage. Its vibration control feature allows you to focus on intense tasks and minimizes hand fatigue.

Pros
Pros
  • Uses a revolving brush ring that delivers maximum torque, whether it’s in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion
  • 360-degree side handle lets you get a better grip, so you can use it for multiple projects
Cons
Cons
  • Not ideal for large-scale projects
  • Corded and can only be used in places that have electricity
  • Consumes a lot of power, especially when used for long periods
Honorable Mention
DeWalt Rotary Hammer Drill

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Rotary Hammers

  • Powerful. Rotary hammers are more powerful than other types of hammers. They have more impact energy and are ideal for tasks that require drilling large holes into hardened concrete. The hammers are similar to jackhammers, only lighter. They are better at hammering and can easily perform construction or demolition tasks. 
  • Different Settings. The best rotary hammers have more than one setting. You can alternate between the hammer mode, the hammer/drill mode, and the drill mode. When you choose the hammer-only mode, the device functions without rotating, which is best for light demolition work or carpentry work. A rotary hammer with different settings allows you to perform more tasks faster and with more accuracy. 
  • Comfortable. A rotary hammer vibrates less and offers a good grip, cushioning you from vibrations. Its adjustable front handle and large rear handle enhance its stability, allowing you to work for longer. A rotary hammer’s rate of blows is slower, but it has more powerful impacts. You exert less force and get more work done. 

Types of Rotary Hammers

Cordless

If you don’t work in a traditional workshop, or often move from site to site, this type of rotary hammer is best. It is portable and versatile and allows you to work without tripping over cords. When fully charged, a cordless rotary hammer can serve you the whole day. It is more compact than a corded hammer and can easily fit in tight spaces. 

Corded

These are more easily available than cordless rotary hammers. However, they must be plugged into a power outlet to work. Because they have a continuous power supply, they are more powerful than cordless hammers. But they limit your movement as you work—you always have to stay close to the power. Pick a rotary hammer with a longer cord to enhance your productivity. 

Top Brands

DeWALT 

DeWALT is an American company renowned for its high-quality, affordable tools. It was established in 1924 and quickly launched the electric universal woodworking machine. In 1949, DeWALT Inc. was acquired by American Machine Foundry (AMF). In 1994, the company introduced over 30 cordless tools. Its Tool-Connect™ inventory management solution helps tradesmen track their tools using Bluetooth technology. The DEWALT Rotary Hammer Drill is a good example of the quality tools the company makes. It offers hand comfort and doesn’t vibrate a lot.  

Bosch 

Founded in 1886 by Robert Bosch, this is one of the oldest tool companies. It is a German engineering company that’s popular for its unique tools and revolutionary technology, like the Fire Alarm and Voice Evacuation System. In 1912, Bosch opened a factory in Springfield, Mass., and soon started making electric tools. The Bosch electric hair trimmer was made in 1928 and the “Bosch-Combi,” an electric power tool perfect for DIY projects, was introduced in 1952. If you want a rotary hammer drill with variable speeds that comes with a carrying case, get the Bosch Bulldog Xtreme.

Makita 

Mosaburo Makita launched Makita in 1915. The Japanese company has its headquarters in Aichi, Japan. It began as an electric motor repair and sales company. In 1978, Makita produced its first cordless drill. In 2004, it created brushless motor fastening tools for the defense and aerospace industries. The company has manufacturing bases for power tools and other products in Germany, China, the UK, Thailand, Brazil, and Romania. It makes powerful and durable power tools, like the Makita 3 Mode Rotary Hammer Drill

Rotary Hammer Pricing

  • $150-$250: The rotary hammers in this price range have motors that run on seven to 10 amps. They are used for light masonry and drilling into thin concrete. The impact energy delivered ranges from 1.5 to 3 ft.-lbs. 
  • $250 and up: These hammers have more powerful motors that deliver more impact energy—over 10 ft.-lbs. They feature ergonomic designs and are easier to work with. They can be used for longer periods and drill ¾-  to 1-inch holes. 

Key Features

Power 

The amperage of a rotary hammer’s motor determines its power rating and the rotational speed. A higher rating means a high-performing motor that delivers more torque. A rotary hammer with a high total power output operates smoothly and efficiently, especially when performing heavy-duty tasks. The amount of power the tool can handle also affects its boring ability. Avoid a hammer with an output of fewer than six amps.

Modes 

A majority of the rotary hammers on the market have two or three operation modes. Two-mode rotary hammers perform two functions: hammer drilling and rotary drilling. They are smaller in size and perfect for metal or woodworking projects. Three-mode rotary hammers are heavier and perform three functions: hammer drilling, rotary drilling, and chiseling. They can be used for a variety of projects. Multifunctional hammers have a switch that lets you choose the mode.

Speed 

A rotary hammer’s motor determines its speed, and the speed is measured in blows. Rotary hammers utilize a piston mechanism instead of a special clutch. The mechanism causes them to deliver a more powerful hammer blow. The speed of the blows is measured in blows per minute (bpm), and the blows are measured in joules (J). The higher the joules, the higher the blows per minute and the quicker the hammer can drill through masonry.

Rotation and impact speed measures the rotational and translational movements the hammer makes at a given time. The rotational speed of a rotary hammer ranges between 230 and 2300 RPMs while its impact frequency lies between 2150 and 5800 beats per minute. If you want a hammer for regular home use, 1000-1500 RPMs and 4000-4500 beats per minute are ideal.

Other Considerations

  • Versatility. A versatile rotary hammer is a must-have because it can perform many tasks. A hammer with variable speeds can result in higher productivity. However, ensure yours has a speed control lock which locks the speed level and enhances your safety. A cordless compact hammer gives you easy access to tight spaces and can achieve multiple bit angles.
  • Design. The best rotary hammer is easy to use, ergonomic, and can be used for long periods. Get a hammer with a feature that reduces the discomfort caused by torque reaction. It should also offer a good grip to give you better control. An ergonomic rotary hammer absorbs shocks and enhances your work’s precision.
  • Accessories. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, you need a hammer with many accessories. Accessories such as spade bits, chisel bits, or drill-specific attachments enhance your hammer’s functionality and accuracy. Some manufacturers provide safety equipment like safety masks and gloves, while others provide a carrying case, oil feeders, and wrenches.

Best Rotary Hammers Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Bosch Rotary Hammer

The Bosch Rotary Hammer is designed to be used by professionals, and that means it’s made with a high level of quality, is easy and straightforward to use, and makes every job more comfortable. This is an excellent all-around rotary hammer. It features 2.4 pound-feet of impact energy, and it’s powered by an 8-amp motor. You can easily control this power tool to achieve a more accurate bit starting with a variable speed three-finger trigger that allows you to choose the right amount of RPMs. The rotary hammer includes Active Vibration Control in both the hammer mechanism and grip, which keeps you comfortable and offers a better grip while you work. A 360-degree auxiliary handle gives you even more control for perfect results.

Best Value
Makita Rotary Hammer

The Makita Rotary Hammer combines convenience and power in one handy power tool. But what you’ll really love about this rotary hammer is its affordable price. You’ll get a ton of value for your money out of this rotary hammer, thanks to its low cost and impressive capabilities. Powered by a 7 amp motor, this tool can deliver up to 4,500 RPM for even the most demanding jobs. It features three modes of operation and 40 different bit angle settings so you can work with great versatility and flexibility. This rotary hammer works with sequential impact timing, which times the hammering during rotation to deliver drilling that’s 50 percent faster. An ergonomic D-shaped handle with a soft, rubberized grip increases your comfort and control too, ensuring every job is done right.

Best Vibration Control
DeWalt Rotary Hammer Drill

The DeWalt Rotary Hammer Drill is a great choice if you’re searching for a rotary hammer that can deliver strong power, high speed, and a lot of impact. This corded electric power tool makes drilling and hammering a whole lot easier with a high-performance, high-powered 8.5 amp motor. This rotary hammer delivers 3 Joules of impact energy, but the innovative DeWalt SHOCKS active vibration control and regulation helps keep you in control. There’s even a Perform & Protect feature that reduces the vibration you’ll feel in the handle while you work. An integral clutch helps reduce sudden high torque reactions, and a rotating brush ring ensures you get full speed and full torque in both forward and reverse functions. This rotary hammer is a strong contender if you need more from your power tool.

Most Heavy Duty
VonHaus Rotary Hammer Drill

The VonHaus Rotary Hammer Drill is a fantastic option for anyone who needs serious power. While there are plenty of powerful rotary hammers to choose from, few match the impressive motor and speed of this one. The VonHaus Rotary Hammer Drill features a 10 amp motor with powerful impact energy, which makes it one seriously impressive tool. It’s ideal for working on heavy-duty projects like masonry, solid steel, or other tough applications. Though this rotary hammer weighs just nine pounds and offers 850 RPM, it still seriously delivers with three function modes and the capacity to handle concrete, steel, and wood. In addition to the powerful tool, you’ll also get a set of flat and point chisels, a dust cover, SDS drill grade, SDS drill bits, an SDS chuck, and a regular chuck all packed into a convenient storage case.

Honorable Mention
ENEACRO Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer Drill

If you need a tough rotary hammer that can withstand the most heavy-duty tasks, you’ll want to consider the ENEACRO Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer Drill. Powered by 120 volts with a speed of 880 RPM, this rotary hammer is designed to be able to tackle heavy-duty materials like concrete and metal. It includes features just for these tasks, like a heat-dissipating design and anti-dust construction that’ll keep your tool working for a long time to come. There are three working functions that can adapt to many different work scenarios, and changing bits is both easy and secure. A 360-degree adjustable handle keeps you comfortable and reduces fatigue, and upgraded vibration control ensures you stay in control no matter what kind of tough material you’re working with.

Tips

  • When you buy power equipment such as a rotary hammer, ensure it adheres to OSHA standards. These standards regulate consumer products so that users don’t have to worry about quality control. 
  • When using a rotary hammer, tackle small areas at a time and take short breaks every now and then. This prevents you from experiencing hand fatigue and helps cool down the tool.
  • Protect your eyes and nose at all times. Dust and debris might get into your eyes and nose as you drill. Wearing protective gear prevents dust inhalation and prevents injury.

FAQs

Q: Do rotary hammers come with attachments?

No, rotary hammers do not come with a full set of attachments. However, you can purchase important attachments you may need, such as a tile remover, a clay spade, or a cold chisel.

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

A hammer drill is a lightweight tool designed for home use, while a rotary hammer performs more difficult tasks. However, both of these tools are excellent for drilling masonry. 

Q: How long do rotary hammers last?

A quality rotary hammer will give you long-term service if you use it well. Most manufacturers include a one-year warranty with their rotary hammers, so you can always get yours fixed or get a replacement if it malfunctions. 

Final Thoughts

Bosch has forged a name for itself in the power tools category, and the Bosch Rotary Hammer is a testament to the company’s engineering prowess.

If you’re looking for a powerful rotary hammer that’s also affordable, we recommend the Makita Rotary Hammer.