How Does A Hammer Drill Work?

Have you ever struggled to drill into something really tough?

It would be much easier if someone was smashing into the back of your drill with a hammer at the exact same time.

That is basically where the name ‘Hammer Drill’ comes from.

How Does A Hammer Drill Work?

A hammer drill spins rotationally like a traditional drill. It’s also designed mechanically to hammer back and forth at the same time. The power tool is used solely on masonry like concrete, brick, and stone. It comes with its own masonry drill bits too.

The Best Hammer Drills On The Market Today

Picking the right hammer drill isn’t easy. There are so many options available, which all come with their own special benefits. Luckily, some models are a lot better than others, especially for an enthusiast like you.

We’re going to cover the tools in a lot more detail below to help you come to a final decision, but let’s look at the best hammer drills for beginners and professionals alike:

  1. DeWalt DCD996B 20V Max Hammer Drill
  2. Makita XPH12Z Cordless Hammer Drill
  3. Milwaukee 2702-20 Compact Hammer Drill
  4. Bosch PS130BN 12V Max Hammer Drill
  5. Ryobi P214 One+ 18V Hammer Drill

1 – DeWalt DCD996B Hammer Drill

One of the reasons why you see so many DeWalt power tools lying around work sites is because they’re tough. Everything the company releases is built to last the distance and the DeWalt DCD996B cordless hammer drill is no exception.

It’s extremely powerful too. And very, very fast. You’ll end up with deep holes in rock solid concrete before you know what’s happening. Let’s look at what makes them so durable and powerful:

  • Durability
  • Power

Durability – The DeWalt DCD996B brushless hammer drill comes with a heavy duty ½ inch nitrocarburized metal chuck, which has superior bit gripping strength thanks to carbide inserts.

In other words, once your masonry drill bit is inside the tool it’s not going anywhere no matter what you’re drilling into. Your bit will snap before the hammer drill even knows something is wrong.

It also comes with:

  1. A comfortable handle to stop you from dropping the tool
  2. Sealed switched to resist dust contamination and moisture

Power – It might only be 8.4 inches long, but the DCD996B packs a huge amount of power under the hood. As you research more hammer drills you’ll see two sets of abbreviations being thrown around:

  • BPM – Blows Per Minute
  • RPM – Revolutions Per minute

BPM deals with the hammering action and RPM deals with rotation. The DeWalt DCD996B drill hits 38,250 blows per minute and 2,250 revolutions per minute. Any material you come up against won’t stand a chance.

In total, there are 3 different speeds you can choose from depending on the job. It also comes with roughly 3x longer runtime than you’re used to.

A couple of extra features will make your life a lot easier. Like most high quality drills, you’ll be able to aim for a preset depth using the slip clutch before you start drilling. This helps out a lot when you’re using such a powerful tool.

The 3-mode LED light will brighten up any dark spaces you’re working in, so you’ll never need to fumble around in confined areas. The light is actually around 20x brighter than similar ones on older DeWalt tools.


2 – Makita XPH12Z Hammer Drill

Makita is one of the most highly respected power tool brands in the world, but they’ve still taken the Makita XPH12Z brushless cordless hammer drill to the next level. To begin with, you’ll get what they call the LXT advantage:

  1. Faster Charging
  2. More Runtime
  3. Longer Motor Life

Faster Charging – Cordless hammer drills do come with a few minor disadvantages. For example, when you’re not plugged into an outlet your batteries will eventually run out of juice. It can’t be avoided.

However, if you can recharge your batteries quicker you won’t even notice a difference. Use multiple batteries and you can have one sitting on the charger all the time. LXT rapid optimum chargers work up to 3x faster than older models.

More Runtime – You don’t want your batteries to run out of juice in the first place. Thankfully, LXT lithium-ion batteries will last up to 50 percent longer than those you’ve used in the past.

Max runtime will depend on the demands you place on the hammer drill. It does come with 2 variable speeds you’ll be interested in:

  • BPM – 0 – 7,500 & 0 – 30,000
  • RPM – 0 – 500 & 0 – 2,000

Longer Motor Life – The brushless motor they’ve packed into the Makita XPH12Z cordless hammer drill is excellent. It’s been designed to last 50 percent longer than normal before you’ll run into any problems. Keep that in mind when looking at other brands.

A lack of carbon brushes on the motor allows it to run cooler and more efficiently boosting its lifespan.The electronically controlled motor uses energy to match torque and RPM to the demands placed on the drill.

The brushless motor delivers 530 in-lbs. of max torque.

Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) prevents dust and moisture from getting into the hammer drill too.

Star Protection Computer Controls will protect your battery from:

  1. Overload
  2. Over-Discharge
  3. Overheating

The Makita XPH12Z battery powered hammer drill comes with a few other key features you’ll want to know about. Let’s look at the top ones right now:

  • 7-1/8 inch design fits into tight spaces
  • 4.2 lbs (with battery) reduces operator fatigue
  • Bright LED light illuminates dark spaces

Please Note: The Makita XPH12Z is an all-in-one tool. It can be used for drilling, driving, and hammering.


3 – Milwaukee 2702-20 Hammer Drill

The Milwaukee 2702-20 cordless hammer drill weighs less than 4 pounds even with a battery attached. It measures in at just over 7 inches long too.

Weight + Size = Excellent Combination

When you hold the M18 hammer drill in your hand it feels perfectly balanced. It’s also light enough to use all day without getting tired. These benefits come in handy when you’re working:

  • Overhead
  • In Tight Spaces

The brushless motor has been designed for efficiency, just like you’ll find in other world class hammer drills. Compared to brushed motors it will last roughly 2x longer and you’ll get 50 percent more runtime.

In total, the Milwaukee 2702-20 hammer drill will give you 500 in-lbs. of max torque & 0 – 450 / 0 – 1,800 RPM (variable speed).

Everything is wrapped up inside an all metal gear case to keep it safe. The 1/2 inch metal chuck is designed for maximum impact and shock durability too.

The Milwaukee 2702-20 comes with a few trademarked features:

  1. REDLINK Intelligence
  2. REDLITHIUM Battery

REDLINK Intelligence – Advanced overload protection and temperature monitoring will ensure you avoid any serious damage no matter what happens. It will extend the life of your hammer drill and battery by a lot.

REDLITHIUM Battery – The pack construction and electronics inside the Milwaukee ones is superior to most batteries. Top class technology will guarantee top class performance every time you switch on your hammer drill.

You’ll be able to use the Milwaukee 2702-20 for drilling and driving too.


4 – Bosch PS130BN Hammer Drill

The Bosch PS130BN cordless hammer drill is perfect if you’re looking for something a little cheaper. It still packs quite a punch, but it’s only 8 inches long and weighs 2.3 pounds. It won’t let you down if you plan on:

  • Working overhead all day
  • Squeezing into tight spaces

Here are a few important figures you’ll want to know about:

  1. 265 in-lbs. of max torque
  2. Up to 19,500 bumps per minute
  3. 0 – 350 & 0 – 1,300 RPM (two speeds)

The Bosch PS130BN comes with a 20 clutch setting, which we’ve only touched on briefly. In case you’re new to drills, it’s an adjustable collar directly behind the chuck. A slip clutch gives you some power when it comes to controlling torque.

You’ll be able to move the clutch from 0 – 20 on the PS130BN, which will affect the amount of torque (twisting power) applied to your drill. When the setting is higher your hammer drill will apply more torque.

Once you get used to using the slip clutch you’ll be able to hit the correct depth when operating the tool non-stop. Hammer drills pack quite a punch, so it’s easy to overshoot it unless you master the feature fairly quickly.

There isn’t a huge amount of cool extras we’ve not mentioned before. After all, it’s an affordable drill compared to some of the others we’ve looked at today. It does have a few features we’ll quickly discuss now:

  • Auto Lock Chuck
  • Durashield Housing
  • Variable Speed Trigger
  • Integrated LED Light

Auto Lock Chuck – You want to swap drill bits out as quickly as possible, but they need to be extremely secure too. Thanks to the 3/8 inch single-sleeve auto lock chuck on the Bosch PS130BN you’ll be able to do it easily. You won’t even need to use two hands.

Durashield Housing – A Bosch PS130BN hammer drill is a tough cookie. The durashield housing is a strong ABS/nylon composite. It’s actually been tested to repeatedly withstand 10 foot drops. That doesn’t mean you should throw the drill around when you’re annoyed.

Variable Speed Trigger – Imagine how much damage you would cause if your hammer drill started pounding away at full blast the moment you touched the trigger. Luckily, it comes with a variable speed trigger to stop that from happening. You’ll be able to control the speed in which you drill holes.

Integrated LED Light – An LED light will let you know exactly what you’re doing. You can work in the middle of the night or drill holes in dingy basements. The Bosch PS130BN comes with an integrated fuel gauge too, so you’ll be able to tell when you’re running out of juice.


5 – Ryobi P214 Hammer Drill

In most cases, you’ll need to use more than one drill bit when you’re working on a project. Will you have a selection of them on hand at all times? Probably not. But don’t worry, the Ryobi P214 cordless hammer drill comes with a magnetic tray.

The onboard magnetic tray can hold multiple drill bits and screws. You won’t need to run backwards and forwards every few minutes to your toolbox. It’s only one of the many features designed to make your life easier.

The Ryobi P214 brushless hammer drill comes with:

  • 600 in-lbs. of maximum torque
  • 24,000 bumps per minute
  • A 2-speed gearbox
  • A 24-position clutch

The drill can drive into cinder blocks and bricks in seconds.

You’ll have access to a plastic handle that sits at the side of your tool. It can be positioned on either side depending on which way is more comfortable. The soft rubberized grip is extremely ergonomic too. These features help with two specific things:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Comfort

Accuracy – When drilling into masonry you don’t often get second chances. You want your holes to be perfectly straight, which isn’t easy when you’re working with a powerful tool. The plastic handle on the side of the hammer drill is especially helpful. It’s always more stable when you’re putting pressure on the drill bit from multiple points.

When working in dark conditions the LED light helps with accuracy too. It’s a million times easier to drill straight holes when you can see what you’re doing. Also, multiple speeds will come in very handy. You’re less likely to veer off course when working at lower speeds.

Comfort – Wait until you drill into concrete for the first time. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. Everything will run a lot smoother if you feel comfortable. You’ll also be able to work for longer periods of time before fatigue starts to set in.

In the future, you might decide you want more Ryobi tools. The P214 cordless hammer drill is part of the lithium-ion One+ family. You can use these batteries on multiple Ryobi tools in the series. There is a huge selection of them to choose from and it’s growing all the time.

Please Note: If you want a more powerful tool the Ryobi P251 hammer drill comes with 750 in-lbs. of max torque. The all-in-one tool also has 3 different modes (hammer mode, drilling mode, driving mode).


The Best Hammer Drill For Your Workshop

You’ll eventually need a hammer drill at some point in your life. If you choose one of the models we’ve looked at today you can’t go wrong. Pick up a multipurpose tool and you won’t even need a traditional drill or impact driver. Did you see anything you liked?