Rotary Hammer Drill

Hammer Drills: When to use them and why?

A hammer drill, when equipped with a masonry bit, is designed for drilling into stone, concrete, brick or mortar. When a hammer drill operates, it rotates like a normal drill, and at the same time, has a forward, hammering, type action. Watch or listen to The Handyguys discussing when and why to use them.

Types of hammer drills

You can buy a dedicated hammer drill such as the big rig Hilti Rotary Hammer that Handyguy Paul shows on the video. More commonly, people will use a drill that has a hammer setting. These multi-purpose drills are available corded and cordless.

Dedicated hammer drill

A dedicated hammer drill, sometimes called a rotary hammer, is a specialty tool that is used when you have a lot of masonry drilling to do. It sometimes makes sense to rent these as the expense is often hard to justify for the average DIYer.

Rotary Hammer Drill

Corded drill with hammer option

A corded drill with a hammer setting is useful when you have electricity nearby and you do not want to worry about having charged batteries. They also tend to have higher RPM and more power.

Corded Hammer Drill

Cordless drill with hammer option

Cordless hammer drills are very handy when you do not have electricity nearby. The newest 18+ volt models have power that approaches corded tools. If you are not drilling hundreds of holes at one time, these cordless wonders are the way to go.

Makita Cordless Hammer Drill

What a hammer drill is NOT

The hammer drill setting is NOT for driving screws and should never be used when driving screws. Many people confuse hammer drills with a completely different tool called an impact driver. An impact driver uses an impact type action to increase rotational drive. Rotational impact excels at driving screws, lags and nuts but does nothing related to drilling. Don’t use an impact driver for drilling of any kind. Impact drivers are only for screws, lags, bolts and nuts.

Impact Driver

After watching this video, make sure you check out one of The Handyguys earliest audio-only show where we discuss drills.

16 thoughts on “Hammer Drills: When to use them and why?

  1. Well said. I just found out the difference between those hammer drills. Thanks for discussing it using the video! Those guys are really amazing in explaining its uses.

  2. Sometimes with right tools and the right team there is so much we can do. I have found that when you have the right tools this can make all the difference

  3. Great video… Thx. As an aside: find it strange how peculiar it is when I hear people pronounce the word masonry with two “a”s as in this video — masonary? Is this an east coasts or New England pronunciation?

  4. Thanks Gent’s, this was really helpful for someone like myself who isn’t handy tech savvy…really appreciate!

  5. I have hammer drill for home use. I have been using 13 Volt hammer drill but it does not perform well. So I wanna buy a new hammer drill. Actually, which Volt could be performed best?

  6. i have noticed a lot of workers that use those power tools are not familiar with what exactly a hammer drill is for and an impact drill. It amazes me, once explained to them it is like a light bulb just turned on in their heads lol.

  7. Although this is an old post, it was just what I needed! Thanks handyguys you’ve saved me a lot of time & probably money!

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