Hammer drills are a specialized tool less common, unlike electric drills - even among experienced DIYers. A hammer drill, while less common, is very useful, capable of drilling holes and driving screws into wood stone, brick, metal and other hard surfaces.
You can easily see from its massive size, optional auxiliary handle and multiple control settings that the impact drill is a rugged tool. Offering the combined capabilities of a regular drill, an impact drill and a small jackhammer, it can be a smart, even essential, addition to your tool collection.
Choosing the right tool depends a lot on how you plan to use it. So read our detailed selection criteria and find out why the following tools are our favorites among the best hammer drill options available today:
Hammer drill : Good quality-price ratio
Best Hammer Drill: People's Choice
How to choose the best hammer drill?
With or without wire
The hammer drills are equipped with two power sources: a heavy-duty power cord or rechargeable battery. Corded hammers provide a constant power source and are generally more powerful than battery-powered models, both of which make them more efficient and reliable for long days on a busy job site. They can be plugged into an extension cord if needed for greater reach, but corded drills must be connected to a nearby power source.
Conversely, a cordless impact drill is bound to run out of juice after several hours of use, but these models have their strengths. They're generally lighter, smaller and easier to maneuver than their corded counterparts (and there's no risk of tripping over that pesky power cord). Cordless models tend to be more popular with DIYers, who appreciate their portability and versatility for projects around the house.
Different jobs often require running a drill at varying speeds to improve accuracy and penetration, while avoiding damage to the drill itself. A good impact drill is equipped with either a variable speed setting dial or a trigger control that adjusts the operating speed. To determine if a drill has a variable speed setting, look for a dial that displays the numbers 1 to 2, or sometimes 1 to 3, with 1 being the lowest setting.
A trigger control, which responds to the amount of pressure you apply, offers greater speed control. Some people prefer this personalized control, while others want a drill to run at the same speed, all the time. A trigger control is generally more advantageous when the user's hands are not free to adjust the speed - one reason professionals prefer trigger controls.
The percussion mode is a setting on all hammer drills commonly marked with a hammer symbol. This mode introduces a pulsing action that helps drive masonry bits into hard surfaces, such as concrete, brick and stone. In addition to the increased hammering force, the drill retains its rotational capabilities for drilling and boring through hard materials, similar to the combination of an auger and jackhammer, although to a lesser degree.
Hammer drills usually have a button that switches between hammer mode and normal operation. This mode is usually called "hammer mode" and can be marked only by a variable speed setting ranging from 1 to 3. It can also be marked by a symbol that looks like a drill bit, depending on the model. This mode has a more controlled torque and is intended for drilling holes through softer surfaces, such as wood or plastic.
Some hammer drills (as well as regular drills) have a setting called drive mode, which is used to drive and remove screws. The drive mode eliminates the pulsating force of the hammer setting and instead engages the torque setting for precision work like driving screws into a bridge. This low-power setting ensures that the drill's torque does not strip the screws. An impact drill with drive mode often displays a symbol that looks like a screw on the mode control switch.
Premium hammer drills can offer additional features that can help you complete a project faster or add a touch of comfort or functionality. These options include a 360-degree auxiliary handle for the best grip in complex or enclosed spaces or a built-in flashlight to help you see what you're doing without the need to hold a separate light source.
The best hammer drills
Based on functionality, cost and design, these are the best hammer drill options for do-it-yourselfers and professionals:
What features should I look for when buying a hammer drill?
- Speed settings When you are looking for a hammer drill When purchasing a drill, keep in mind that you need a tool that allows for varying speed settings. Some drills operate on a single speed setting. If you want to use your drill for a variety of jobs, get a drill with multiple speed settings. Having perfect control over the speed of your hammer drill makes it easier to drill and chip holes in concrete and other hard surfaces. Being able to set the speed correctly will make your work more precise.
- Motor power : To get the job done quickly and efficiently, you need to consider the power capacity of the tool you are going to buy. A motor with a power of 7 amps will suffice for a standard impact drill. You can always opt for a drill with a motor capable of 10 amps, but keep in mind that they can be larger and heavier than standard models.
- Safety devices: Working with power tools requires an adequate level of safety to avoid accidents. That's why most tools today are manufactured with additional safety features to ensure users are safe when using the equipment. Some of the features to look out for include overheat protection, automatic bit lock and built-in clutch.
- Weight: The weight of the tool will affect the amount of control you have while using it. The pressure on your arms while using the tool will affect how long you work. The weight of the hammer drill should be proportional to the power of the motor it has, so that you can optimize your work without putting too much strain on your arms.
Hammer drill or percussion drill?
The main differences between these two tools are in their appearance, purpose and method of operation. Although it can be used to drill holes, an impact drill is primarily used to drive nails and screws. This tool will only be useful for regular drilling jobs and should not be used for tasks that require extra power because it will certainly damage your impact drill. When your job involves drilling into hard surfaces like concrete, brick or masonry, the hammer drill should be your tool of choice.
Hammer drills are generally heavier and larger than impact drills. Unlike the rotary motion of the regular drill, hammer drills can move back and forth like a hammer. It vibrates a lot and can be very noisy when in use. To ensure that the tool will not cause any damage to the surface, the hammer drills are equipped with an adjustable clutch.
Buying an expensive power tool should be carefully considered. Researching the right model and knowing the features you really need will make a big difference once your order arrives at your door.
The variety of hammer drills available on the market is great. We've covered some of the most popular models for DIYers and professionals. We want you to make an informed decision. So you can always browse our list and see if any of these items fit your needs, then see if they fit your budget as well.