Best Hammer Drills 2018 – Top Picks & Reviews

a hammer drillWhen you want to drill into hard surfaces such as brick, concrete or stone, you can use a hammer drill. A hammer drill is a type of power tool that rotates much like a normal drill. In fact, it even looks like a regular drill. The main difference is that it has a forward action that can be likened to a hammer, making it much more effective in certain situations than a typical power drill.

Like with any other tool, doing the necessary research before purchasing a hammer drill can make all the difference. That’s why we’ve created a list of hammer drill reviews to help you decide which product is best for you. What’s more, we’ve even included a helpful buying guide so that you can learn even more about the hammer drill before you make your decision. We hope this helps makes the process much more enjoyable!

Comparison of our Favorite Products:

ModelPriceItem WeightUser Rating
DEWALT DWD520K
DEWALT DWD520K
(Top Pick)

Check Price
3.7 pounds
4.9/5
SKIL 6445-04
SKIL 6445-04
(Best for the Money)

Check Price
5.5 pounds


4.7/5
Bosch 11255VSR BULLDOG Xtreme
Bosch 11255VSR BULLDOG Xtreme

Check Price
11.4 pounds

4.5/5
Makita XPH012 18V
Makita XPH012 18V
(Cordless)

Check Price
9.7 pounds
4.3/5
Ryobi ONE+ 1/2 in GIDDS2-3554574
Ryobi ONE+ 1/2 in GIDDS2-3554574

Check Price
3.2 pounds

4.0/5

5 Best Hammer Drill Reviews 2018:

1. DEWALT DWD520K Hammer Drill – Top Pick

DEWALT DWD520KWhen you’re choosing a hammer drill, you want that provides great performance while also being easy to use. This makes the DeWalt DWD520K the best choice. With a 10.0 Amp motor, this unit is powerful and just as crucially, robust. It is said to offer 50% more power as well as overload protection. The all-metal gear housing means that this is a durable hammer drill which is not prone to overheating during extended use, unlike others. A heavy duty box makes the DWD520K extra portable making it ideal for all kinds of tough environments such as construction sites.

One of the best things about this hammer drill is the dual-mode feature which allows you to switch between drilling and hammer drilling. This ability to tackle a variety of jobs makes the DWD520K extremely versatile and the best corded hammer drill on the market. A two-speed range of 0-1,200/0-3,500 RPM adds to this versatility, allowing you increased control for a wide range of tasks. Finally, it is a comfortable hammer drill to use thanks to the soft grip handle. Greater control is added with a 360-degree locking side handle. This is not a lightweight hammer drill but the upside of this is that it is solid and durable.

 

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Easy to use
  • Ergonomic design
Cons
  • Quite heavy

2. SKIL 6445-04 Hammer Drill – Best for the Money

SKIL 6445-04With a powerful 7.0 Amp motor for tough applications, the SKIL 6445-04 is the best hammer drill for concrete. This hammer drill is ideal for homeowners carrying out repairs but is not suitable professionals in construction as it lacks the necessary power. A simple hammer drill with no torque or speed settings, it offers a maximum speed of 3,000 RPM. The variable speed trigger makes it easy to increase or decrease speed depending on the application which is useful when additional precision is required.

It’s important to know that the SKIL 6445-04 has a 1/2 inch keyed chuck which accepts large diameter bits. It may be a simple hammer drill but it does have a side assist handle which allows for more controlled and accurate work. The best thing about this corded hammer drill is the price. While there are better hammer drills on the market, many of them cost a lot more. This unit is quite heavy and it’s relatively simple and lacking in features. Despite this, it’s the best hammer drill for the money and will get the job done, as long as it’s for lighter use and not industrial use.

 

Pros
  • Very good value
  • Decent power
Cons
  • Quite basic
  • Only really for lighter use

3. Bosch 11255VSR BULLDOG Xtreme Rotary Hammer Drill

Bosch 11255VSR BULLDOG XtremeFor a hammer drill that offers excellent power, the clue is in the name. The Bosch 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme has a powerful 7.5 Amp motor capable of producing 0-1,300 RPM and 0-5,800 BPM and delivering 2.0 ft/lbs of impact energy. Needless to say, this is enough more than enough power for most applications from anchoring to large material breaking. Not only is this hammer drill model very powerful, it’s versatile too with three modes of operation: rotary hammer, rotation only and hammer only. Furthermore, there’s a variable-speed trigger for greater precision control.

One of the best features of the 11255VSR is actually something very simple; the D-handle. This makes it easy to use the hammer drill overhead or downwards. The power and versatility of this model make it ideal for both DIYers and contractors. It’s not the fastest hammer drill on the market but this is a minor gripe. Also, this is not the best hammer drill for concrete so keep this in mind. The excellent build quality means that this is the best rotary hammer drill around with a number of great features that make it a reliable choice that should stand the test of time.

 

Pros
  • Great power
  • D-handle grip
  • 3 modes of operation
Cons
  • Not great on concrete
  • There are faster drills on the market

4. Makita XPH012 18V Hammer Drill

Makita XPH012 18VA hammer drill that is small in size and impressively lightweight (4lbs), the Makita XPH012 is not only very portable but also quite powerful. This is down to the 4 pole motor which delivers a max torque of 480 lbs. Variable speed comes in two-speed ranges (0-440 and 0-1,500 RPM) and allows you to complete a wide range of applications, big or small. Despite this, it lacks the necessary power to really work well on heavy-duty projects, as is the case with so many cordless hammer drills. We really like the compact and ergonomic design of this model which makes it so much easier to use.

Another reason to like the XPH012 is the fact that you can do both drilling and driving, meaning it’s a versatile hammer drill. One of the features of this model is a nice, bright LED light so you can see what you’re working on, even in darker working environments. Aside from all of these advantages, arguably the best feature of this particular tool is in its power supply. The 18V Lithium-Ion batteries last a long time and can charge in as little as 20 to 30 minutes. What’s more, they’re very light in weight. The main problem of the Makita XPH012 is that it’s not quite as powerful as many dedicated, corded hammer drills and will struggle with certain materials such as concrete.

 

Pros
  • Very light
  • Versatile with drilling and driving
Cons
  • Lacks power for concrete

5. Ryobi ONE+ 1/2 in GIDDS2-3554574 Hammer Drill

Ryobi ONE+ in GIDDS2-3554574Sometimes you don’t need a hammer drill with all of the bells and whistles. If you’re looking for a simple tool that simply gets the job done, this model from Ryobi is available at a very affordable price. The unit has a 2-speed range for when you need to speed things up or simply require more torque. For occasions such as this, the soft grip handle is a welcome feature, as is the two-finger trigger which provides increased comfort as well as allowing for greater control.

A built-in LED light is a useful feature though some would argue that it could do with being a little brighter. Furthermore, there’s no timer so the light goes out once the trigger is released which can be inconvenient. One of the main reasons to go with this model (aside from the very competitive price) is the fantastic battery life offered. This hammer drill runs on Lithium-Ion batteries which are known to have excellent life. Bear in mind that this unit does not come with a depth gauge. For a simple hammer drill at a great price, you can’t go wrong with this Ryobi model.

 

Pros
  • Competitive price
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • No timer on light
  • No depth gauge included

Buying Guide

Now that we’ve learned all about the very best hammer drills on the market, let’s explore some of the things you need to know in order to make a decision. From the work you can do with a hammer drill to the very features to look for, we cover everything so that you can be in the know.

What’s a hammer drill for?

The most obvious thing to cover first is what you would use a hammer drill for. As we mentioned earlier, a hammer drill has a rotating, hammer action. This is ideal for drilling harder surfaces than a regular drill such as masonry and rock. Hammer drills are powerful tools with some offering the option to use different drill bits, depending on the job. Like any good tool, a hammer drill can make hard work quicker and easier.

Corded or cordless?

Whether you choose a corded or cordless hammer drill is really down to how much you’re going to work the tool. If you’ve got a lot of tough materials to work through then you’re best going with a corded hammer drill since these provide a high and constant source of power. Another factor to consider is location. You’ll only really want to go cordless if you’re only planning to use the hammer drill for small jobs or because you have limited to no access to power. Otherwise, it is better to go for more power to ensure that you can get the job done.

A hammer drill or rotary hammer?

As you’re exploring the various hammer drill options available to you, you may well come across a tool known as the rotary hammer. This is a more powerful tool due to a piston mechanism that provides the action. Rotary tools tend to be bigger, heavier and more expensive than hammer drills. As such, you should only really opt for a rotary hammer if you have to drill larger holes that a hammer drill cannot.

The Top Features of a Hammer Drill

  • Power source
    While power is undoubtedly a key feature, the power source itself is equally important. For home and lighter use, cordless hammer drills are absolutely fine. After all, they offer a great deal of versatility that the corded drill simply cannot match. Being able to move around without a long cable and get to hard-to-reach areas easily makes them very useful. But what they can’t offer is power. A corded hammer drill offers more rotations per minute (RPM) and thus, more power. This means that you can get a tough job done much quicker and it can keep on going and going.
  • Power
    Obviously linked to the power source, power defines how quickly you can get your work done. Standard hammer drill motors are around 7 Amps with larger motors around 10 Amps. It goes without saying that the larger the motor, the more power you will have in your hands. The hammer drill will also be bigger and heavier so keep this in mind if comfort is a priority for you.
  • Variable speed
    Variable speed is a very useful feature to have in a hammer drill because it gives you greater control. This means that you can be much more accurate and precise in your work, leading to even better results. Having different speeds means the tool can carry out a wider range of tasks, making your hammer drill more useful than ever! Because many hammer drills accept a variety of drill bits, you can even go through softer woods and metals. All you have to do is select the appropriate drill bit and increase the RPM. However you should do so with caution since hammer drills are designed to tackle hard materials. The last thing you want is to damage your drill bit or the material you’re working on!
  • Safety
    While not the most exciting of features, safety features are still of vital importance. This is especially the case when using a powerful tool such as a hammer drill. One of the most common safety (and comfort) features of a hammer drill is having two handles. This helps provide stability during operation. The best hammer drills will have handles that are not only ergonomic but also have a comfortable grip and shock absorption technology. This is especially important in corded hammer drills which are particularly powerful.
  • Depth Gauge
    If you need to drill a lot of holes to a specific depth, a depth gauge can make your life a lot easier. This can help you work more consistently without errors.
  • Keyed chuck
    While many drills nowadays come with keyless chucks for quick and easy changing of bits, a keyed chuck is better for a hammer drill. This is because a keyed chuck requires a key to tighten it. Being able to manually tighten the chuck means that you can ensure a bit will stay in place, even with the rigorous bouncing and bumping provided during operation.

The main brands

When you’re planning on purchasing a power tool, you don’t want to be picking a completely unknown brand. Quite simply, it’s too much of a risk. The best thing is to narrow it down to some of the top brands before shopping around. You can keep in mind some of the features you particularly want to make it easier. Some brands that produce hammer drills include Black & Decker, Bosch, DeWalt, Makita and Porter Cable. By exploring the options that each brand has to offer, you can find a great quality product with the features you want. Just as important, you should be able to find a hammer drill that is within your budget.

Drill bits

Having a wide range of drill bits provides you with more options (such as drilling different size holes) when using a hammer drill. When buying your hammer drill you should look online at the various accessories that can help you improve the overall performance of the tool. Most good drill bits have carbide-tipped bit heads which are very durable. Some kits come with chisels which you can use instead of the traditional bits.

3 Top Tips

If you’re certain that a hammer drill is for you then you may well appreciate top hammer drill tips! These can help you get the most out of your new tool, whichever model you decide to opt for!

  1. Wear eye protection
    It might seem obvious but wearing eye protection is something that a surprising number of people just don’t do. Eye protection can prevent materials from flying into your eyes and causing some serious discomfort. It’s also not a bad idea to use a dust mask since masonry dust isn’t exactly pleasant to breathe in!
  2. Use the right pressure
    Using a hammer drill is simple enough but it’s important to strike a balance with how much pressure you apply during use. Using too much can damage the motor and damage the tip of the drill bit. It’s best to err on the side of caution and also make sure that you’re using good quality drill bits with carbide-tipped heads for the best strength and durability.
  3. Do your research
    Before you get to the act of drilling, take a look at your environment. You want to make sure that there is nothing in the way of what you want to drill. For example, wires, cables, and pipes can be particularly problematic. If you don’t want a surprise puncture then you should be sure that the only thing you’re drilling is pure masonry!

Conclusion

The more powerful and expensive a tool, the more research is needed in order to make the right decision. Choosing a hammer drill isn’t easy since there are so many factors to consider. From deciding between a corded and cordless drill to looking for a model with a depth gauge, there’s plenty to keep you busy!

Hammer drills have really become very impressive in recent years with surprising power packed into such a small and portable machine. So many brands and models has resulted in a huge range of prices to suit all levels of use and importantly, all levels of budget. As such, there are a lot of high-quality options available on the market.

With our detailed reviews of hammer drills and our in-depth buying guide, we hope that you now have enough information to be able to make an informed decision. So take another look at those products and select the one that you feel fits you best. Good luck!

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