Big projects call for big power tools, and the best rotary hammer drills will help you get the job done. They’re great for breaking up soil and concrete, removing tile, and drilling holes into concrete.If you’re renovating the house or working with concrete, this kind of tool can help. But first, what are the best rotary hammer drills, and what makes them so special?
What Is a Rotary Hammer Drill?
A rotary hammer drill, also known as a rotary hammer, has two functions. It usually has one speed for chiseling, and a piston within the tool is the source of its intense force. This setting is excellent for breaking up concrete.
Rotary hammer drills also do a fantastic job drilling into and through concrete (as opposed to breaking it apart). Its second function is to use rotations to drill holes. With the right bit, you can drill right through tough surfaces without much effort.
The best rotary hammer drills also have an SDS chuck, which has a design that prevents the bit from loosening over time. This makes it the perfect tool for intense drilling and hammering.
The difference between a hammer drill and a rotary hammer drill
When looking for the best rotary hammer drills, you’ll likely come across hammer drills as well. The names are almost identical, so it’s easy to mistake one for the other. However, there are key differences between these kinds of tools.
For one, hammer drills don’t have an internal piston. It's more versatile and lightweight with its variable speeds. This means that hammer drills can offer more blows per minute, but each strike doesn’t carry the same force as rotary hammer drills.
Hammer drills also typically have a standard chuck instead of an SDS chuck. Though this comes with the risk of the bit loosening over time, this kind of chuck is capable of ordinary DIY projects.
All in all, rotary hammer drills are better for more intense jobs, whereas hammer drills will do for the casual handyman.
Kinds of drill bits
If you buy rotary hammer drill bits separately from the tool, you’ll need to make sure they are compatible with the chuck. Generally, they’ll need to be SDS compatible. While there are several kinds of drill bits, there are five popular ones that work for most jobs.
For busting up concrete, use the cold chisel. The bull point chisel will start holes in concrete, and a scaling chisel will remove concrete and weld spatter, as well as rust. The tile remover, as the name implies, is perfect for removing tile.
The clay spade does a great job breaking up hard soil, but you’ll need an SDS-Max chuck to use it.
How to Use the Best Rotary Hammer Drills Effectively
Now, just because you have a large power tool, it doesn’t mean you can use it however you wish. Not only does this render the device ineffective, but it’s also dangerous. If you want to keep yourself out of the hospital and get the job done as soon as possible, be sure you use the best rotary hammer drills properly.
With a few simple tips, you can make every brand of rotary hammer drills effective and safe. This includes following the manufacturer’s recommendations, cleaning up along the way, and reserving your strength. By doing this, you’ll have more time to check off the rest of your to-do list.
Follow manufacturer recommendations
Most companies categorize their hammer drills by the largest hole it can drill. This doesn’t mean that they can’t drill bigger holes occasionally, but you shouldn’t do it consistently. This will wear out your drill faster than necessary because it’s continually working at its full capacity.
To find the best rotary hammer drills for you, you’ll first need to figure out what size hole you’ll be drilling most often. Once you know that, buy the rotary hammer that can start larger holes. This makes it so you don’t use the drill at its full capacity every time you use it.
If you need to drill a bigger hole every once in a while, start with a smaller one first. This puts less strain on the tool.
Clean up every so often
Technically, rotary hammer drill bits have a design that removes dust from the hole as you drill. However, it’s even better if you occasionally pull the bit away from the hole.
This will remove excess dust, which removes any unnecessary friction that will wear down the bit faster. Drilling through the debris will also put more strain on your tool. The best rotary hammer drills aren’t cheap, so you should do everything in your power to make them last.
Save your strength
Lastly, you should never push too hard while you use the best rotary hammer drills. This can break drill bits and even wear down the motor and gears. It also slows down the drilling process, so there’s no need to push as hard as you can.
However, there is a happy medium. With a bit of pressure, you can find the point where your rotary hammer will drill faster and more effectively. As you start drilling, add a bit of pressure until you find that sweet spot.
How We Reviewed The Best Rotary Hammer Drills
One of the best ways to find the best rotary hammer drills on the market is to look at professional and customer reviews. If you didn’t know, there are several websites that are dedicated to providing helpful information about all the different kinds of tools.
Tools Critic, for example, uses information from the Power Tool Institute, The European Power Tools Association, and other reputable organizations to provide high-quality reviews.
Customer reviews are also valuable when looking at rotary hammer drills. Customers can be brutally honest, so they will tell you if the tool lives up to all the manufacturer’s claims or not.
We have examined both professional and customer reviews, so you have access to more information in one place. You can feel at ease knowing that we have done part of the research process for you.
The Best Rotary Hammer Drills for Your Projects
You’ll likely come across other webpages that offer the best rotary hammer drills, and most experts agree on the same brands. There are certain brands that are incredibly high-quality, and the price reflects the quality. However, there are some brands that offer highly rated rotary hammers for a fraction of the cost.
You can find high-quality rotary hammer drills for any budget, so don’t worry.Keep in mind that some brands offer drill bits with the tool, but others only sell the tool by itself.
Oftentimes, buying a bundle with the device that includes drill bits and a battery (if it's cordless) dramatically increases the price. If you need each piece, it’ll be worth your money, but only buy one bit if it’s the only one you need for your project.
Bosch 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme
- 3 MODES: multi-function selector offers 3 modes of operation; Rotation-only, rotary hammer, and hammer only mode;...
- EASE OF USE: vibration control for comfort in all day applications
- ERGONOMIC: D-handle design provides comfort and optimal control, especially for overhead or downward drilling...
When it comes to the best rotary hammer drills and even the best power tools, Bosch is a company that always needs mentioning. There 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme is a popular rotary hammer that has a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
It has three modes of operation: rotation only, hammer only, and rotary hammer. It also has a reverse function that makes removing fasteners easy. With its vibration control and D-handle, you can hold a more comfortable grip and get more work done at once.
It features an SDS-Plus bit system, as well as up to 1,300 rotations per minute (rpm) and 5800 blows per minute (bpm).
There are hundreds of positive reviews for this Bosch rotary hammer drill, with many stating that it’s excellent for drilling concrete and demolition work. It’s lightweight and easy to operate too. However, some customers had issues after limited use, and it isn’t apparent if the drill was defective or if it was user error.
- Powerful 7.0 AMP motor delivers 2 ft.lbs./2.7 j. of impact energy to handle the most demanding applications
- 3-mode operation for "Rotation Only", "Hammering with Rotation" or "Hammering Only" for multiple applications
- One-touch sliding chuck for quick bit changes
The Makita HR2475 has a similar price to the Bosch Bulldog Xtreme, and the design is similar too. Makita is a popular brand when it comes to power tools, so this rotary hammer drill has a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
The motor can provide up to 1,100 rpm and 4,500 bpm, and it has a rubberized D-handle for a comfortable grip while you work. It has three settings that allow you to hammer only, drill only, and hammer with rotations. The chuck has a one-touch sliding feature that makes changing bits a breeze.
You may be wondering how the Makita rotary hammer drill receives such high ratings. Well, customers state that it takes seconds to drill small holes, and one, in particular, said that it cut through rock like butter. They claim that it’s easy to handle and operate, and several contractors trust it with their everyday work.
Though the negative customer reviews are sparse, some customers feel that the Makita rotary hammer is a bit too light for more heavy-duty jobs.
VonHaus 1500W SDS Drill
- HIGH PERFORMANCE – 10 amp motor delivers powerful impact energy to complete heavy duty projects on masonry, solid...
- THREE FUNCTION MODES – choose from hammer only (chiselling-only), hammer drill (hammering and rotation), and drill...
- CAPACITY –1-3/16” for concrete and 1/2” for steel and 1-9/16” for wood, no load rotation speed 0 - 850 RPM; No...
The VonHaus 1500 W SDS Drill has a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. It has several great customer reviews and is another staple among the best rotary hammer drills. This particular rotary hammer comes with a carrying case, depth gauge, SDS and regular chuck, SDS drill bits, SDS drill grease, flat and point chisels, and dust cover.
As with the other rotary hammer drill brands, this comes with three settings for chiseling, drilling, and rotation hammering. It can offer up to 850 rpm and 3,900 bpm, and it has a textured grip for a comfortable hold.
When it comes to the positives of this product, the first is that it is one of the most affordable rotary hammers. Customers claim that it’s durable and easy to maintain, and the drill grease came in handy. In this price range, customers feel that VonHaus offers the best quality.
However, even those who gave great reviews felt that this rotary hammer drill is best for at-home DIYs. Just to be safe, don’t use it too long or too hard.
- DEWALT SDS hammer drill has 3.0 joules impact energy for fast drilling and chipping speed
- DEWALT rotary hammer drill has 8.5 amp high performance motor
- SHOCKS - Active Vibration Control reduces vibration felt by the user at the handles. A Perform and Protect feature.
DeWalt is arguably one of the best manufacturers of power tools, and the great customer reviews on their products show it. Their rotary hammer drill, the DeWalt D25263K, has a rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. This particular bundle comes with the rotary hammer, side handle, depth rod, and a storage case.
It has the standard settings for use, including hammering, drilling, and rotational hammering. You can move forward and in reverse, depending on what you need the tool to accomplish. This DeWalt rotary hammer drill uses Active Vibration Control to reduce the vibration you feel through its D-handle.
A whopping 92 percent of customers on Amazon gave this product a rating of 5.0 stars, and they have good reason to. One customer calls this rotary hammer the “destroyer of concrete,” and another calls it “THE tool.” It may be a heavy tool, but it has a lot of force behind it that can get the job done quickly.
There aren’t many downsides to this product, but some customers wish that this bundle came with some bits as well.
Though MPT isn’t as well known as some of the other brands, the MRH2603 rotary hammer drill has several positive reviews behind it. It’s also one of the cheaper models that you can buy, but it still has a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
It comes with a case, lubricant, dust-proof cap, and auxiliary handle, as well as several kinds of rotary hammer bits.
You can switch between the three modes easily, and it’s almost as heavy as the DeWalt D25263K. It offers rotations as high as 930 per minute and blows as high as 4,500 per minute.
When it comes to positive reviews, customers love the quick-release chuck and state that it’s easy enough for beginners to use. They’re also surprised at the quality for the price.
However, it likely doesn’t have as high-quality materials as the leading competitors. Some customers stated that the handle broke, and others experienced a leaking motor.
- ✔️【POWERFUL MOTOR】 13Amp industrial motor with 5.5 feet /lbs（7.4 joules)impact energy is designed to complete...
- ✔️【FOUR FUNCTIONS】 Four different functions of drill only(suitable for wood, steel , etc.), hammer only(suitable...
- ✔️【HUMANIZATION DESIGN】 Safety clutch protection designed to guarantee your wrist When the hammer is subjected...
EneAcro is another lesser-known brand, but it’s made it onto the list of Amazon’s Choice products. It comes with a case and several different bits for a reasonable price, which isn’t common with all the accessories included. It has a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon, so it’s clear that it has excellent qualities, as well as some flaws.
The EneAcro ENRH3201 comes with four functions that they label as drill, hammer, chisel, and hammer drill. It utilizes a double anti-rotation system for comfort and a safety clutch to protect you as you work. Also, it offers 820 rpm and 4,200 bpm.
For most customers, this rotary hammer drill is more than enough to get the job done. In fact, several were surprised at the power behind this tool.
Even those that had complaints stated that they really like this EneAcro rotary hammer, but it unexpectedly died on them. Unfortunately, a lower price can lead to an unsatisfactory product.
SKIL 20V SDS-Plus
- Get right to work—rotary hammer drill set comes with everything you need to get started, including a PWR Core 20 2....
- Powerful design—hammers through the toughest materials like concrete and masonry.
- Longer run time & battery life—the PWR core 20 Lithium battery has an innovative temperature management system to keep...
If you want one of the best rotary hammers for a reasonable price, consider the SKIL 20V SDS-Plus. Unlike some of the others you’ll come across, this tool is entirely cordless and uses a battery. It has a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
This rotary hammer has the standard three functions, but it also offers variable speeds to give you more control. It also has indicator lights to show you whether you’re set to drill forward or in reverse. Also, it offers bit storage so you can always have the bit you need with you.
Customers state that this SKIL rotary hammer drill works well and the battery holds a charge well. They also feel that it’s powerful for its small size.
However, some wish that it came with an adapter for a standard chuck. It also doesn’t have as much power as the competition, but one customer stated that it still works faster than a hammer drill.
- Makita-built variable speed motor delivers 0-1,200 RPM and 0-4,000 BPM
- 3-mode operation for "Rotation Only", "Hammering with Rotation" or "Hammering Only" for multiple applications
- Large 2-finger variable speed trigger for added convenience
If you want a powerful rotary hammer that isn’t too expensive or too cheap, consider the Makita XRHo3Z. It has a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon, so it has several significant aspects worth noting.
This rotary hammer can provide up to 1,100 rpm and 4,000 bpm. It has the stand three modes of operation, but it also features a two-finger variable speed trigger to offer more user control. It also synchronizes the rotations and blows, which provides faster drilling.
Unfortunately, this cordless rotary hammer drill doesn’t come with its own battery pack, so you’ll have to purchase it separately.
Because this tool is a bit smaller than some of the others, it offers enough power without being overkill. Customer reviews state that it cuts through concrete like butter and breaks up clay soil easily. Some customers have had issues, so it’s possible that they received defective rotary hammers.
Stark 850W SDS-Plus
- Rotary Hammer Drill - Perfect for tough tasks such as demolishing brickwork, removing plaster, taking off tiles and...
- Variable Speed - With a no load speed 850 RPM and variable speed trigger, you'll always remain in total control of your...
- Impact Resistant Storage - Heavy Duty impact resistant storage case provides additional protection for tools....
One of the cheapest rotary hammers you can buy is the Stark 850W SDS-Plus. It has minimal reviews on Amazon, so it currently has a rating of 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. However, it also has its own downsides.
Like some of the other popular brands, Stark offers an anti-vibration grip and variable speeds. This tool also comes in a bundle with several SDS bits, as well as a storage case, depth rod, and an extra set of carbon brushes. You can expect up to 800 rpm and 850 bpm.
Those that have used it state that it works well for their projects, but the biggest downside is its price. Because it comes at such a low cost, you can’t expect it to last a long time. However, those on a budget may find that it’s exactly what they need.
- Efficient BL Brushless Motor
- Efficient BL Brushless motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50% longer run time...
- The BL Brushless Motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL Motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer...
Though you’ll pay more for the Makita XRH01Z, this battery-powered rotary hammer drill is among the best. It optimizes the energy it uses, so you’re battery life will last longer than normal. It also runs cooler and more efficiently, which leads to a longer life.
Makita offers several bundles with this product, or you can just buy the rotary hammer by itself. These bundles are much more expensive than the product though, so be sure you’re prepared to pay that much. By itself, you get the rotary hammer without a battery, charger, or bits, so you’ll still have to pay extra for those.
With a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon, most customers are pleased with their purchase. Contractors and those with especially large projects found that this tool offered the power they needed, as well as convenience to move around without a cord.
Some customers state that it doesn’t do as well with drilling larger holes, but if you drill a smaller hole first, it will likely perform better.
Save Time and Effort with the Best Rotary Hammer Drills
The best rotary hammer drills have many of the same features, but each brand is unique in its own way. Some rotary hammers are cordless, some are corded, and some have fancy indicator lights. Some come in a bundle with drill bits, but others only offer the tool itself.
No matter what you need, you can find the best rotary hammer for you.
However, be sure to consider your needs before you make a purchase. Make sure it offers the power you need and has a larger capacity than your projects call for. This will extend the life of your product.
Do you know which product is the best rotary hammer drill for you? Let us know in the comments section.
Featured Image via Pixabay
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