If you work with a range of hard materials, you might consider opting for a hammer drill rather than a regular drill. Brick, metal, stone, and even concrete are no match for the best hammer drill, which uses a hammering mechanism to help it push through challenging surfaces.
This guide features my top five picks for the best hammer drill on the market regarding their safety, versatility, functionality, and ease of use. Continue on to the buyer’s guide to learn more about the essential features to look for in a hammer drill before you decide which one to buy.
Best Hammer Drills Reviewed
The five drills below are my top choices for the best hammer drill based on their features, durability, and customer experiences.
- 360-degree rotating side handle
- Hammer and regular drill modes
- Rubber trigger
- 0-47,600 BPM
- Variable speed
- Two-finger trigger adds control and comfort
- Compact design
- Lightweight at just 3.7 lbs
- Includes a three-year limited warranty
- Keyed chuck
- Does not include any extras
- Gets hot quickly
If you’re looking for a bare-bones hammer drill without extra accessories and bonus features, this one could be the best hammer drill for the job. For a mid-range price point, you get all the basics, including variable speeds, dual regular/hammer drill modes, a side handle that rotates as your hand does, and a locked trigger to keep it running at the speed you need.
This drill is also an excellent option for people who want an easy-to-grab-and-use drill. It’s both lightweight and compact, saving some wear, tear, and fatigue on your hands and arms. While the DEWALT DWE5010 may not be the best choice for regular, heavy-duty professional use, it could be right for you to use on everyday projects around the home.
- 2800 RPM capability
- Variable speeds in forward and reverse
- Depth gauge
- 360-degree side handle
- Excellent price point
- Includes set of 10 drill bits
- Dual-function hammer and non-hammer drill modes
- Two-year warranty
- May not be powerful enough for concrete
- Not as durable as other options
This drill’s low price point combined with some additional accessories makes it an excellent value for you if you work with medium-hard materials. Although this hammer drill might not handle the most challenging surfaces, like masonry and concrete, it works with hardwoods and thin metals for more basic jobs.
In addition to the necessities, you’ll also get a set of 10 drill bits to get you started, plus a side handle with a depth gauge. The drill bit set includes five bits for wood and five bits for steel to give you versatility from the get-go.
Choose between regular drilling and hammer drill mode with the switch of a button, and forward and reverse using the directional switch. Lock your speed in place to keep your finger off the trigger for longer projects.
- ⅜-inch chuck
- Lithium-ion battery
- 24-position clutch
- Up to 750 RPM
- The full kit contains drill bits and screwdrivers
- The battery is interchangeable with other BLACK+DECKER power tools
- Excellent battery life
- Several speed options
- No side handle for a controlled grip
- Won’t work on concrete, masonry, or thick materials
While you shouldn’t expect this cordless drill to be the strongest one on the block with its hammer function, it can pull its weight for medium-range materials. Working with plastic, thin metal, and hardwood should be no problem for this cordless drill, so it might be the right option for you if you don’t need anything heavy-duty.
The BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX weighs about 4.5 pounds, making it a lightweight model that won’t weigh down your hand when working with it. Still, it gets enough power to take care of most DIY tasks.
You’ll even get a full set of drill bits and screwdriver bits to cater to everything you need the drill to do.
- 350 in.lbs of torque
- 1,700 RPM
- 6.6” long
- 2.3 lbs
- Compact and lightweight design for overhead and tight space use
- Designed to reduce fatigue
- Driver and hammer settings
- Offers excellent power for heavy-duty materials
- Doesn’t include a side handle
- The driver setting isn’t as reliable as the hammer setting
- Somewhat thick handle, which could be uncomfortable for some people to grip
If a compact hammer drill is what you need, this cordless model from Milwaukee should work. It’s not just shorter than most drills, but it also has a unique design that lets you squeeze it into tight spaces. Its light weight of under 2.5 pounds even makes it an excellent drill for overhead work without causing hand and arm fatigue.
Despite its small size, it can still handle brick and other strong materials like the best of them. Use this drill to make pilot holes in plastic, metal, and masonry with ease. Its multiple speeds and mid-range torque give it the power necessary to drill safely and reliably. The all-metal chuck keeps the drill bit in place securely to provide you and the tool with more leverage.
- 5.9 lbs
- Lithium-ion battery
- 2100 RPM
- Two-speed transmission
- 1090 in.lb of torque
- Brushless motor for a longer lifespan
- 31,500 BPM
- Handle on the side for additional control
- LED light
- Metal chuck
- Does not include a battery
- Pricey compared to other models on the list
The Makita XPH072 is easily the most powerful hammer drill on this list, making it one of the best hammer drills for heavy-duty tasks. You can use forward or reverse mode to drill, drive, and unscrew. A wide range of variable speeds makes this hammer drill an efficient choice for multiple applications.
The Makita is a bit heavier than some of the others I’ve reviewed, but at just under six pounds, including the battery, it’s not too heavy for most people to hold comfortably while working. The side handle of this drill is a bit different, too. It sticks straight out to the side rather than in front of the other handle, putting your hands in the perfect position for total control.
Hammer Drill Buyer's Guide
What should you consider in a hammer drill before buying one? There are a few features to watch for that could make any hammer drill job a bit easier and safer:
Corded vs. Cordless
Perhaps the most crucial point to consider is whether you want a corded or cordless hammer drill. The lower price tag that a corded drill offers could be tempting, but it also means that you’ll need to find a consistent power source nearby to keep it working. On the plus side, corded drills tend to have more power than cordless drills because of that constant power source.
A cordless power drill doesn’t require a power cord that can get in the way of your work. Of course, you’ll need to make sure you have battery backups charged to prevent a lack of power in the middle of a job. If you’re looking for a lightweight drill, a cordless is usually the best option.
Many modern hammer drills come with various modes to switch between to make them more versatile than those with just a hammering function. For example, you can find hammer drills that switch between regular drill mode and hammering, making them two tools in one.
Other hammer drills might also include a drive function that mimics a regular drill, allowing you to drive screws into surfaces that don’t require the hammering motion.
A variable speed trigger is necessary on a hammer drill if you want the tool to be as functional and versatile as possible. The speed controls how fast the rotating mechanism turns.
Some jobs require slower turns with more precision, while others require quicker turns to get a drill bit through. This function gives you more control over the drill’s movements to meet the needs of the materials you’re using.
Like any power tool, a hammer drill can become a safety hazard if you’re not familiar with using it, and it doesn’t include features that keep it safe.
One safety feature to look for is a second handle that sits in front of or on the main handle’s side. The second handle lets you get a good grip on the tool, especially when using the hammering function.
Other safety features to consider on a hammer drill include:
- A keyed chuck for manual tightening to prevent dangerous slipping
- Gripped handles
- Waterproof casing
- Locking button to prevent accidental function engagement
- Integrated work light
Hammer drills can vary significantly in weight. Corded drills are usually heavier than cordless drills, but a battery for a cordless drill could also add unexpected weight to the tool.
If you plan to use your hammer drill for only a few minutes here and there, the weight probably won’t matter. But if it’s one of your go-to tools for work or hobby projects, the hammer drill’s weight can become cumbersome.
Most cordless hammer drills weigh around four or five pounds, but it’s not unheard of for corded hammer drills to spike up to the 15-pound mark or more.
Accessories and Features
Many hammer drills include similar features, like variable speeds and a depth gauge. But some might offer more value with a couple of nice-to-have features and accessories.
For instance, a hammer drill might come with a storage case, extra drill bits, or a belt clip to keep the tool safely at your side. Some drills include an automatic vibration control to keep vibrations at a minimum, preventing hand fatigue.
Consider how and when you’ll use your hammer drill to decide what additional features and accessories might be worth the cost for you.
A hammer drill isn’t the most well-known power tool on the market, so it’s natural to have some questions about it. Here are a few of the most common questions I see about these helpful tools:
What’s the Difference Between a Hammer Drill and a Regular Drill?
A regular drill works best for drilling screws into a surface. These drills have a rotating mechanism that allows it to move a bit and screw into wood and softer materials.
A hammer drill also rotates, but in addition to its rotation, it has a strong force that helps it hammer a screw in. This action makes it beneficial for more rigid materials, like metal and concrete, that a regular drill can’t work through.
What’s the Difference Between a Hammer Drill and a Rotary Hammer?
You might think these tools are the same based on how people use the terms. Although they both function similarly, the rotary hammer and hammer drill are designed for different purposes.
A rotary hammer is like a more powerful hammer drill. Its impact comes from bursts of compressed air that makes each movement incredibly strong to break through the most challenging surfaces.
What’s the Purpose of a Hammer Drill?
A hammer drill’s primary use is to drill into materials that a regular drill can’t. You can use a hammer drill to work with plastic, masonry, concrete, and thick metal.
Can You Drill into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill?
You might be able to if you have a powerful regular drill with the right masonry bits. However, for the most precise and convenient concrete drilling, a hammer drill is probably your best bet. A hammer drill can save you some physical labor, too, because its automatic impact does most of the work for you.
Now that you know what to look for in the best hammer drill to add to your toolkit, I hope you’re armed with enough information to find the right model for your needs. A hammer drill won’t be an essential tool for everyone. But it’s certainly a helpful one for builders, repair personnel, and anyone else who works with heavy-duty materials regularly.