The 10 Best Hammer Drills

Updated March 18, 2018 by Josh Darling

10 Best Hammer Drills
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Ideal for pulverizing brittle material and providing fast boring with minimal effort, these hammer drills will power through your next project. We've fashioned holes and pounded the pavement to find some of the best options. Our selection includes models suitable for home DIYers and those that can stand up to the most demanding contractor's needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hammer drill on Amazon.

10. Neiko 10506A

While it is what some tradesmen derisively nickname a "homeowner's tool," the Neiko 10506A is a thoroughly serviceable product for most applications. If you're picking one of these up for a specific and singular purpose, a bargain like this is a great call.
  • half-inch reversible chuck
  • three different speed settings
  • poor long-term durability
Brand Neiko
Model 10506A
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Black & Decker DR670

If you don't want to spend a lot, only need one of these for a couple of projects around the house, and are looking to avoid a tool rental charge, the Black & Decker DR670 makes a suitable choice. Just don't expect it to last for years.
  • has a side handle and depth rod
  • awkward design for lefties
  • underpowered 6-amp motor
Model DR670
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Bosch 1191VSRK

At just 4.1 pounds, the Bosch 1191VSRK is easy to maneuver and well-suited to long periods of use in a horizontal orientation. It offers only one speed, though, so if that's a deal breaker for you, consider one of the two-speed models available.
  • includes a carrying case
  • pistol-grip style handle
  • no trigger lock
Brand Bosch
Model 1191VSRK
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Porter Cable PC70THD

The Porter Cable PC70THD is simple to operate, low-priced, and perfect for DIY enthusiasts with occasional light projects around the house. It features a dual speed transmission that offers maximum speed or maximum torque, making it perfect for a range of uses.
  • depth gauging rod
  • locking trigger for extended use
  • heats up faster than most
Model PC70THD
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. DeWalt DW511

The 360-degree rotating auxiliary handle on the front of the DeWalt DW511 offers users better control over a tool that could easily be difficult for beginners to use. It is suitable for steel, masonry, and wood applications.
  • can produce over forty thousand bpm
  • backed by a three-year warranty
  • has only one speed
Model DW511
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Milwaukee 5380-21

Some may find the corded design of the Milwaukee 5380-21 inconvenient, but those who need maximum power all the time will most certainly appreciate it. An anti-vibration feature minimizes user discomfort and makes grunt work more pleasant.
  • variable speed and a lock-on trigger
  • strong enough to drill into concrete
  • durable all-metal gearbox
Brand Milwaukee
Model 5380-21
Weight 11.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. DeWalt DCD950B

Weighing just four pounds and measuring only 11", the DeWalt DCD950B is a compact and easy to control cordless option that still packs a pretty big punch. It comes with a patented, all-metal transmission and a forward-facing LED work light.
  • self-tightening half-inch chuck
  • long-lasting run time
  • ideal for tight spaces
Model DCD950B
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Bosch HD18

The Bosch HD18 is equipped with a rugged and powerful 8.5 amp motor that offers users two speeds. It can be set to hammer and drill or drill-only modes depending on your needs, and features a hand-friendly soft grip to reduce user fatigue on long jobs.
  • equal power in forward and reverse
  • kicks back minimal vibrations
  • motor stays cool while running
Brand Bosch
Model HD18-2
Weight 8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Ingersoll-Rand Air

Folks in possession of an air compressor can save a good deal of cash without sacrificing quality by choosing the Ingersoll-Rand Air. It isn't the most powerful of its kind, but for a tool that passes savings onto the consumer, it is surprisingly durable.
  • comes with three-piece chisel set
  • delivers up to 3500 blows per minute
  • comfortable ergonomic handle
Brand Ingersoll-Rand
Model 114GQC
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Makita XPH012 18V LXT

Trust the Makita XPH012 18V LXT for the most demanding applications. It delivers highly efficient transfer of energy due to the field core interlocking steel laminations and dual ball bearing armatures, plus it is dust- and water-resistant, making it job site tough.
  • extra-large trigger switch
  • recessed lock-on button
  • takes only 30 minutes to charge
Brand Makita
Model XPH012
Weight 9.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Hammer Drills and Rotary Hammers: Is There Really a Difference?

It is not uncommon to see the terms rotary hammer and hammer drill used interchangeably when referring to power tools that are capable of both pounding and drilling, even by experienced construction workers. You would certainly be forgiven for thinking that these two tools are one and the same, but this is actually a misconception. Not only are hammer drills and rotary hammers different tools, but they are each best suited for certain kinds of tasks. Before we discuss which you should be using and when, let's start by breaking down how the two differ.

Inside of a hammer drill, there are a pair of ridged discs that rotate as the trigger is depressed. As one slides past the other, the ridges cause it to rise and fall. As it falls, it slams against the other causing the impacts that a hammer drill is known for. These ridges are very small, which in turn means the disc doesn't move very far as it rises and falls. Because of this, a hammer drill doesn't create a high impact force. It makes up for this in speed, though, as it is not uncommon for them to move at over 3,000rpm while under load and produce 40,000 or 50,000 blows per minute.

When the user pauses to take a break and removes the pressure on the chuck, the discs are separated by a clutch, which stops the pounding action and reduces motor wear. The majority of hammer drills can also be used in a drill only mode.

Rotary hammers have two pistons inside of them. One is driven by an electronic crankshaft. As it moves forward, it creates a pressure build-up inside of the cylinder where both pistons are situated. This air pressure is what drives the other piston, often termed the flying piston, forward to impact against the bit and create a hammering motion. Since these two internal components never actually touch, rotary hammers tend to be more durable and often last longer than hammer drills, even with heavy consistent use. Unlike hammer drills, rotary hammers also have a hammer only mode, essentially turning them into mini jackhammers when needed.

Hammer drills are best suited to light masonry work, such as drilling holes in bricks and concrete blocks, but should rarely be used on poured concrete for long periods as the motors tend to overheat, causing heavy wear and shortening their lifespan. They are also better for drilling through wood and metal, where faster speeds are needed. Since they don't have a hammer only mode, though, they cannot be used for demo work. On the flip side of the coin, they can be used for drilling into more sensitive materials where pounding could cause damage and can do double-duty as a power screwdriver.

The slow speed and high impact force of a rotary hammer makes it a poor choice when trying to produce holes in either of the aforementioned materials, but they excel at drilling through hardened concrete or stones. They can also be used for demolition work when set to hammer only mode.

If The Drill Fits, Wear It

Hammer drills are a lot like shoes; once you know your budget, you can make your decision based on comfort. Unless, of course, you make your decision based on style first, and then readjust your budget, in which case we have some nice glue for you to play with while the adults talk about hammer drills.

If money is no object, just grab our number one pick, it is pricey, but worth every penny. I'd also like to talk to you about a private investment opportunity. Whenever you have a minute; no rush.

For the rest of us, all of the drills that made our best of list are still tenable, powerful options for our tool kits. All can get the job done, but some are better suited to daily, heavy-duty use, while our other choices are best for the home DIYer who only needs to tackle an occasional home repair or renovation. We've made sure to specify which model is suited to who, taking out some of the guesswork on your part.

This is where you can ask yourself another question: What's the nature of the job that's prompted this purchase? If it requires tighter, tougher angles, you might be better off sacrificing some power (and saving some money) by buying one of the more compact models. They may not work as well for masonry work, but will be better suited to tackling under-sink and low-space jobs where every inch counts. The same goes for those who don't want to deal with lugging around a heavy five or six pound drill. We have picked some nice four pound options just for you.

There is always the possibility that you just need to mindlessly drill holes in rocks like some demented steel-beaked woodpecker, in which case you would be better suited taking a look at our top rotary hammer picks.

Drilling Through Time

A lot of consumer products initially hit the market as the strongest, best-made version of themselves, only to be mimicked and cheapened over the years. Some others hit a peak of quality and innovation later in their development, only to be reduced to a shadow of their former selves over time (see: Apple post Steve Jobs).

Such gradual product degradation is, of course, the byproduct of free-market capitalism and unchecked corporate greed, but, hey, that's what makes America great.

The hammer drill, on the other hand, started out as a powerful, cam-action unit in Germany. Between the two companies Bosch and Fein there is a long-standing feud over who invented the thing first, but one of them got it out and about in the early part of the 20th century and the other followed suit.

It was in America, of all places, that the hammer drill jumped up from its cam-action roots to become the electro-pneumatic powerhouse that it is today. That was back in the late 60s, and the impact energy has gone up as unit weight and overall vibration shock has gone down.

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Last updated on March 18, 2018 by Josh Darling

Born in historic Massachusetts, Josh is a freethinking young man with a heart of gold. Noted by many for his wit, grace, and humility, he enjoys reading, history, politics, videogames, baseball, and talking shop.

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