Hammer Drill Reviews
Our Top Pick is the Dewalt DW511
A general drill is a staple tool in any workshop and is considered one of the essential tools you will need to start a tool collection. On the other hand, a hammer drill has the convenience and power of a standard drill but contains the ability to bore larger holes into either wood or hard surfaces like brick and concrete. Hammer drills are not an expensive addition to your tool collection and they can add a very convenient feature that few other tools are able to perform.
Hammer drills were first designed to drill into rock for excavating purposes in the mining industry. Today they are used by carpenters, masons and even homeowners who like to work on DIY projects. With the low price of hammer drills, they are not an expensive piece of equipment and even occasional use can be justified. Our research and testing showed that lower-end models did not have the power that more expensive models offer, and they required more time and more down force to get the job done. Lower priced hammer drills are also limited in the size of hole they are able to make.
After reviewing and testing the top models, the Dewalt DW511 stood out from the crowd with its power, design and ability to bore holes in the toughest materials. With 7.8 amps of power and a variable-speed motor you are sure to have the amperage required to complete any home project.
Who Should Buy This
Hammer drills are built to create larger-than-normal holes in either wood, concrete or other difficult material. They have the power to drill through rock and the hammering action gives it more power when it comes to breaking up rock and concrete. If you ever need to drill a hole or shallow indention in lumber, stone, or concrete, then a hammer drill is perfect to get the job done. They are widely used on construction sites and for home renovations. They can also be very useful when building furniture or other projects that might call for a hole to be drilled that is larger than a few centimeters. The ability to hang a swing, place pot holders on a brick wall, or add a railing to concrete stairs will all require the use of a hammer drill.
What Makes a Good Hammer Drill?
This large drill uses a hammering action when drilling into masonry or other rough surfaces like rock or stone. A switch or lever typically engages the hammer action when it is needed. Most hammer drills offer the versatility of using them as a traditional drill or with the hammer action feature.
A basic hammer drill consists of 2 cam plates that pulses the check forward and backward as the drill spins. This pulsing action is referred to as hammering. Because of the high speeds on the drill vibration and the amount of hand force required to drill an item are key concerns when considering a hammer drill. Rotary style hammers have less vibration because they have a piston design as opposed to the cam style drills.
When buying a hammer drill it is essential to look at how the tool will be used. The maximum size bit the drill will take will impact the price. The larger the maximum bit size the more expensive the drill. It is best to buy a drill with a higher maximum bit size than you will use frequently. This prevents the drill from being used at maximum capacity on a regular basis, which will wear the motor out faster.
Other accessories might include a chisel bit or a mini jack hammer that will increase the tools versatility. When dealing with hard surfaces like masonry and concrete, the drilling process can be very hard on a weaker motor, even if you don’t use the drill very often, impacting the life of the drill.
Power is measured by both amperage and blows or beats per minute (BPM). Other things to look for are easy bit changes or keyless bit changes and all metal parts. Checks with plastic parts will not last as long as metal ones. The chuck size for the drill will determine the maximum size hole you are able to drill.
Hammer drills come in both corded and cordless models. Cordless drills offer the convenience of not needing to be connected to electricity, increasing the portability. However the sacrifice is in weight and power. The battery makes the unit heavier and the unit will generally not have as much power as a coded option at the same price point. This can impact your budget if you want the cordless option and the power you could end up paying a lot more for that convenience. If you plan to use the drill on a daily basis, it certainly might be worth the investment.
How We Tested
Be began with an exhaustive internet search for hammer drills along with research on what features matter to actual users, both professional and DIYers. From there we narrowed down the list based on features and value. We then tested and consulted with professionals who use the hammer drills frequently to select the best value for you.
|Style Saw||Corded VSR Hammer Drill|
|Power of Motor||7.8 Amps|
|Weight of Saw||4.3 pounds|
|Blows Per Minute||46,000|
|Dimensions||11.5 X 10.2 X 3|
|Warranty||3 Year warranty|
|Satisfaction Guarantee||90 day money back guarantee|
The Dewalt DW511 is a high-performance hammer drill with 7.8 amps of power, giving you the ability to work through wood, steel, concrete and stone. With lots of power to get the job done, this drill also includes overload protection. Overload protection prevents the motor from overheating that in turn gives you a longer-lasting motor. The drill offers variable speeds giving you the ability for precise hole placement and the ability to ramp up the speed for harder material like concrete or steel. The drill bit you choose should be specifically designed for the material you are drilling.
The lightweight design is only 4.3 pounds giving you hours or work ability without your arms getting tired. The powerful motor also reduces the downforce needed to get through tough materials. This enables you to work longer and faster.
The drill comes with a side handle that allows you to balance the weight during the drill giving you more accuracy in the desired depth and greater control over the action. The side handle can rotate up to 360 degrees allowing you to position it where it is most beneficial for the angle you are working. There is an integrated depth rod which gives you precision depth measurements into the surface area.
The maximum power output is 650 watts of power giving you the power of more expensive models at a very affordable price. The maximum drill capacity is ½ inch which provides the most common size holes that need to be drilled in steel. Wood has a maximum capacity of 1 ¼ inches and 5/32 to 3/8 maximum capacity for concrete work.
Who Else Likes It
The pros at Popular Mechanics said this about the Dewalt DW511, “Guts. This toll has got’em. It’s not a matter of speed – it’s what you get when you combine motor torque with a solid drive train…The Dewalt powers through with minimal kickback while requiring little down force from the user.”
Amazon reviewers give 4.5 out of 5 stars with 164 reviews. One 5 star reviewer wrote: “I had previously tried to mount railing and accessories around concrete steps and our pool. I tried using a rotary drill with masonry bits (unsatisfactory)…nails didn’t penetrate and it really chipped out the hole areas which then required patching…I was so pleased to be able to drill quarter-inch holes about 2 inches into the concrete, each in about 30 seconds…You won’t go wrong with this drill, and it has a rotary setting too for conventional drilling jobs.”
The Step Up
The Milwaukee 5380-21 is a ½ inch hammer drill with 9 amps of power for heavier-duty drilling. The tool can operate as a traditional drill or as a hammer drill increasing its versatility and has two speeds allowing you to adjust the power needed for the job. The drill also includes an anti-vibration system which gives you more accuracy and less tension on your hands while using the drill.
The handle has a soft-grip feature and a 2-finger trigger. Both are designed to reduce hand stress. The Milwaukee also includes an integral clutch that reduces torque and protects the gears. This drill comes with a 5 year warranty and a carrying case.
Top Hammer Drill Comparison
|Position||Visual||Tool||Amperage||Speed (RPM)||Warranty (Years)
Care Use and Maintenance
The drill bits have flutes that are designed to capture sawdust, rock or metal that remains after the hole is drilled. Bring the bit up frequently to clear the flutes and the debris that is created from the hole. This will allow the drill to work more efficiently.
Do not force the drill. Let it do its job. Hard surfaces like masonry and concrete take special bits but also take longer to drill than softer lumber. Too much down force can overwork the motor or break the bit.
Select your drill bit based on the material you are drilling.
Use the side handle and the depth stop to prevent over drilling which will result in burning through bits much faster. Often, when drilling concrete or masonry, the object is not to drill all the way through the surface but to create anchors and a hollow core for support or leverage.
It is good practice to start by drilling a smaller hole and then working up to the final size you want. This practice reduces the load on the drill and provides greater precision with the finished product.
To keep the drill lasting longer, make sure that the end of the drill bit that goes into the drill is clean. Debris on this end can lead to jamming and excess wear on the motor.
Generously lubricate the shank of the drill with each bit change. This will make the bit-holder last longer.
As always, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations with regard to care and servicing.
Wrapping It Up
Hammer drills can be a great tool if you have the need to drill into brick or concrete or have the need to drill larger holes. They are built for tougher conditions and are widely used by homeowners. The cost is very reasonable, making this a tool that you will wonder how you ever lived without it.