Altering concrete can be difficult, as it is one of the hardest products used on property and homes. Sometimes it’s necessary to drill into or break some of that concrete. When that need arises it’s good to know what the best hammer drill for concrete is, so that you can tackle the job on your own.
Hammer drills are like mini-jackhammers. As they are used they rotate to drill into the surface of their target, while a hammer provides a pounding as well to drive the drill into the surface.
Comparison Chart and Editor's Choice
Makita XFD131 18V Driver-Drill Kit [Editors Choice]
DEWALT DCD996B Bare Tool 20V Brushless Hammer Drill
Drill Driver, 20V Cordless Drill 2x2000mAh Batteries
SKIL 6335-04 7.0 Amp 1/2 In. Hammer Drill
Milwaukee 2704-20 M18 FUEL 1/2" Hammer Drill
DEWALT DCD950KX 18-Volt Hammerdrill Kit
Top 6 Best Hammer Drill for Concrete - 2020 Recommendations
1. Makita XFD131 18V Driver-Drill Kit
This drill packs a lot of speed and torque in a small, cordless unit. One of the most striking aspects of this drill is how fast the battery can charge, with it going from nearly bottoming out to full in about 30 minutes. This keeps you working more and recharging less as you work through your projects.
Works great on most surfaces including concrete, wood, metal and masonry. Dual settings as a driver drill or hammer drill.
Unfortunately doesn’t have a hammer only setting for chipping work. With two transmission speeds, the drill can operate in the 0-9,000 BPM (Beats Per Minute) or 0-28,500 BPM, depending on how swiftly you need the hammer to pound.
With a built in LED light system, the darkest corners of a project, or low light situation while you work can easily be overcome. Add to that the rubberized grip and well balanced frame that weighs in at 3.9 lbs and this hammer drill stays comfortable for long work periods.
Makita has also developed their proprietary Star Protection Computer Control system to help monitor the performance of drill and the battery at the same time.
As the tool and battery are put to work any condition issues are constantly monitored. If any over-discharge, overheating, or overloading are occurring then this system can mark it for action to be taken.
Powered by Makita’s 18V lithium ion battery, it offers long lasting performance and strength right out of the box. It would be nice if the box included an extra battery that could be charging while the other is being used, but with the fastest recharging battery in this class, you won’t be down for long if you need to wait on it to charge.
Why Should Use?
Why Shouldn’t Use?
2. DEWALT DCD996B Bare Tool 20V Brushless Hammer Drill
Brushless motors are becoming the best performing motors in modern power tools, and this entry from Dewalt is proof of that concept at work. The 20V lithium battery provides greater power than similar hammer drills in the market that carry only an 18V battery.
Having the brushless motor combined with the powerful battery makes this drill a force to be reckoned with.
Dewalt tools have long been fitted with their LED light system to help get the job done in dark spaces. The DCD996B is another product from their catalog that carries that LED light whereever you need to take it.
With three transmission modes when in hammer drilling mode, this drill supplies 0-8600, 25500 or 38250 BPM. For a cordless hammer drill that is an exceptionally high amount of impacts per minute, and makes fast work out of any job.
Dewalt prides itself on durability, and this model is built with their famous dust and moisture protection materials to keep it working for years. This includes coatings that cover the switches and seals. One thing this package doesn’t include, is the battery or any other accessories.
Note that if you don’t have a Dewalt 20V battery and charger already, then you’ll need to order them separately or search out a package that includes them with this drill.
Why Should Use?
Why Shouldn’t Use?
3. Drill Driver, 20V Cordless Drill 2x2000mAh Batteries
This 20V lithium battery powered hammer drill is functional and budget friendly. It was the least powerful of all the drills we checked out for this review, but it was able to finish all the tasks we asked of it. It did take a bit longer to perform those tasks, compared to stronger models, but that’s the trade off for a product that may be a bit lighter on the wallet.
One of the great things about this purchase is the extras that come along with the drill. 32 driver bits, 9 drill bits and a flexible hex drill shaft that can bend to reach screws in tight places. It truly saved time having so many accessories available with the drill rather than having to own them already or take a trip to the hardware store to start a project
As with other models we reviewed, this lacks a hammer only option, but it does have a two speed transmission that gives plenty of control over the speed needed.
Unfortunately, information on it’s BPM was difficult to find, so it’s unclear how swiftly it impacts while in hammer drive mode, but the performance was sufficient enough that it’s not a deal breaker.
The weight is well balanced in this drill, and it’s not a particularly heavy model either, so it was comfortable to use. It would be more comfortable with an auxiliary handle attachment, but it does lack any way to attach that for when in hammer drilling mode.
Why Should Use?
Why Shouldn’t Use?
4. SKIL 6335-02 7.0Amp 1/2 In. Hammer Drill
The most stripped down, free of frills model we explored, the Skil 6445-04 is a practical model for the average home project. While those that work in construction or enjoy doing lots of home improvement may find this tool a bit lacking, if you’re like most homeowners that just need a hammer drill on occasion for a quick project then this may be the best choice for you.
This model does not have any variable speed selections for the transmission, it’s always operating in the maximum range.
It is able to operate in hammer drill or drive drill modes, so it can be safely used in weaker materials like soft wood and plastics when not needed for concrete or other hard materials.
That being said, this model is a corded hammer drill, so keep in mind that it’s not as portable as the other entries in this review. It comes with an 8 foot cord, so it can be used a few feet away from an outlet, but it’s likely you’ll want to have a reasonable extension cord on hand to reach every where you need.
While the cord may limit portability, it also makes this drill stand out in performance power. When in hammer drilling mode it reaches up to 51,000 BPM. That speed is far and away the most powerful available in this list. Since the tool is plugged in, that also means the speed will never waiver, unlike cordless models that begin to slow down as the battery discharges.
Why Should Use?
Why Shouldn’t Use?
5. Milwaukee 2704-20 M18 FUEL 1/2" Hammer Drill/Driver
Milwaukee never fails to deliver on expectations with their power tools. The 2704-20 is a strong, portable, 20V battery powered hammer drill that can handle tough tests with no problem. This drill is the clear leader in torque power, and with a 32,000 BPM it is a challenger for the top speed as well.
The transmission has two speed settings, and variable torque settings to help prevent over driving while being used. While the drill itself has those options, the way this package is created means it comes with no other accessories.
The biggest accessory it’s missing… it does not include a battery or battery charger. Before investing in this package specifically, make sure you have a Milwaukee REDLITHIUM XC5.0 Battery Pack on hand, or on order separately.
The materials used, and the way the drill is constructed, are top tier. The balance, weight and ergonomics help make this a tool that can be used for extended periods of time. Along with that the drill includes a great auxiliary handle to keep it steady during any job.
The drill also boasts having a brushless motor, which is why it’s able to be as lightweight and as powerful as it is coming from an 18V power class. This drill is an all around great performer, and works great for home or construction projects. Just don’t forget that this is a bare drill package, if you don’t already have other Milwaukee 18V RED products, then you might want to check into other packages offered that include the battery and charger.
Why Should Use?
Why Shouldn’t Use?
6. DEWALT DCD950KX 18-Volt Drill/Driver/Hammerdrill Kit
This entry from Dewalt is another strong competitor, sharing many of the same features as the DCD996 model that is reviewed above. The major differences are that this is a full kit, including the batteries and charger, and the power of this model is a bit lower than the DCD996.
One of the main reasons the power is so much lower in this model compared to its brother, is that it is powered by nickel-cadmium batteries rather than lithium ion. The voltage that Dewalt’s batteries come in varies because of this as well, with the Ni-Cad battery only being 18V compared to the DCD996’s lithium battery being 20V
This option helps with those that want Dewalt durability and power while staying a bit more frugal.
The trade off for power is the expected cost of the two products. While the power is lower than the other Dewalt we reviewed, it’s no slouch when looking at the other options we reviewed.
The transmission has three settings which provide BPM of 8,500/21,250/34,000 respectively. When put to the test, this drill was able to perform on par with any of the entries here for speed and utility. We did notice that the battery started to lag faster than the others however, reducing the power to the motor more swiftly, and needing to be recharged sooner than other drills.
Why Should Use?
Why Shouldn’t Use?
How to Choose the Hammer Drills for the Money: Check This Before Purchase
When it comes to the above hammer drills, or hammer drills in general, knowing what to invest your money into depends on what you plan to use the drill for. With the wide range of options, accessories and power seen above, it’s clear that the choice can be difficult.
When is a Hammer Drill Needed
The difference between a standard driving drill and a hammer drill is the impact feature that hammer drills are built with. This impact drives the bit into the material that is being drilled while it spins. If you are drilling screws into a material, you don’t want to use the hammer drill setting, as the impact will bounce the screw bit out of the head of the screw, or possible break the screw which can cause injury.
Hammer drills are best suited for making holes in stone, concrete, masonry, hardwood and other similarly dense materials. After making the hole then a screw or bolt can be run through the material to bind it, or it just allows a passthrough for cords and other items.
Hammer drills can also be used for cutting those hard materials, so if a large piece of concrete needs to be removed completely then this style of drill can help cut what is needed out.
Cord vs Cordless
In the reviews above, most of the drills we looked at are cordless varieties, but there is a definitive reason for wanting a corded version over battery operated ones. The power of a cordless drill just can’t compare with the corded ones. Even when using a brushless motor in a corded model, it will likely only produce about 50 to 60 percent of the power a corded drill has.
While that’s true of corded drills with brush motors, there is the possibility that a corded drill could be made with a brushless motor, which would increase the power of that corded drill even more. While there isn’t that large of a market for corded drills anymore, so manufacturers haven’t created a line of corded brushless motors that we’ve seen, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.
The other reason to opt for a corded drill is that the power supply never wanes. With battery packs, as the battery drains, the power begins to lag as well, until you have to stop and charge the battery. With a corded drill the power level never decreases and it will never stop because of lack of power. For jobs that will take hours to finish with near constant use of a drill, corded is the way to go.
Accessories and Chuck Size
Odds are if you are in need of a hammer drill for a project, that means you are likely in need of stronger or larger bits as well. Many standard drills are set with a ⅜ inch chuck openings. Some are even smaller at only ¼ inch. While that works fine for average drilling and screwing projects, that may be too small for what you need when it comes to hammer drilling jobs.
Hammer drills usually need to have a chuck large enough to hold at least a ½ inch bit. Chisels, large bits and hole cutters are stronger and less likely to break when they have a bigger shank that enters the drill chuck.
The last thing you want when cutting or punching holes is to have a chisel or bit break in the middle of the task. Hammer drills, especially all of the ones reviewed here, are going to have that ½ inch chuck for that specific reason.
Another accessory that is common with hammer drills is the auxiliary handle. This is a second handle mounted towards the front of the drill for your second hand to grip so that the drill is more stable and precise.
With the vibration of a hammer drill it’s almost a necessity to have two hand control to keep it from bouncing off target.
Impact Drill vs Hammer Drill
While the two drills may seem similar, as they both use rapid impacts to complete their jobs, the actual functions of each are different. An impact drill is using the torque, or twisting, of the bit to tighten bolts or screws into materials. The impact of a hammer drill is more of a straight on force that pushes the bit harder into the material.
This is why impact drills are used to apply lug nuts on a car rim, they tighten the nut by impacting it in the same direction as the rotation. Where a hammer drill would likely damage the bolt by pounding straight into it as the lug nut is twisted on.
Specific Needs for Concrete
Concrete is one of the most difficult substances to drill through because it is an aggregate of different materials. There is stone, cement, sand and gravel. Along with that, the older concrete is, the harder it gets. So what do you need to drill into concrete?
First thing is you want a hammer drill that provides at least 15,000 BPM. While you can drill through concrete with a standard drill, or with a lower BPM, the process becomes more difficult to achieve and takes much longer than it does with the proper drill.
All of the drills reviewed here will work well for drilling into concrete, so it’s a matter of preference if you decide to get one of these for the task. It is good to note that having the auxiliary handle makes a big difference when it comes to getting through concrete as well.
Lastly, ensure you have the right bits for concrete. Masonry bits are what you’re going to need, as those woodworking bits will likely wear down or break long before you get through the density of the concrete.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
1. Do you need a hammer drill for concrete?
A hammer drill is a handy machine that is used for drilling through fragile and hard surfaces such as masonry. This tool is capable of doing this by combining hammering thrusts as well as a rotary drilling motion to pass through hard materials. It is effective, as unlike other drills, it will not break when being used on concrete surfaces.
2. Can you use a hammer drill for normal drilling?
Yes, you can still use a hammer drill for normal drilling. This is because it still gets to create a hole on the metal or wooden surface thanks to its robust design. If you do tasks of creating holes on different surfaces, then look no further as the hammer drill is a perfect choice.
3. What does variable trigger speed mean?
The variable trigger speed mechanism enables you to reverse the motor’s direction as well as provide a varying amount of power when making use of one trigger mechanism. In the first motion, you can choose to activate the reversing module to adjust the motor’s direction together with the trigger mechanism.
4. What’s the difference between NiCad & Lithium Batteries?
Lithium batteries can handle a broad range of temperatures and resist the “memory effect.” They also are cheap to maintain but have one downside; that is, they are delicate and need protection from the circuit to work effectively. In contrast, NiCad batteries do suffer from the “memory effect” and remembers the last recharging time. Additionally, these batteries can last for 1,000 plus cycles before losing capacity.
5. How long does it take to drill a hole in concrete?
The duration it takes to drill a hole in concrete using a drill press depends on factors such as how hard the stone used is as well as its size. When using a rotary hammer drill, this might take you at most ten seconds while doing it at a leisure speed. The same also applies when you use a hammer drill.
6. How do you use a hammer drill for concrete?
When looking to drill a hole on concrete using a hammer drill, you need to apply a decent amount of pressure. However, never put in too much pressure and also hold it properly to prevent destroying this tool. You should also ensure there are no jams by preventing jams by hitting the concrete before proceeding to use a hammer drill. Consequently, make use of bits to drill through hard materials like concrete and tiles plus control the amount of heat and dust being produced.
So you’ve made it this far and you want to know what we decided the best hammer drill for concrete is. Well, honestly they all did the job we asked them to when it came to testing them with drilling into concrete. The fastest was the Skil product, with its power and strength being vastly above the others.
If you’re looking for an all around great tool for more than just drilling into concrete then we felt that the Makita XFD131 was the way to go, because of the accessories and portability.
The big thing to think about before making your purchase is what will you be most using it for, so check out the links to each one to find out more about each product and you’ll find the best one for your needs.