What is a Hammer Drill? A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Hammer Drills


Hammer drills are an essential tool for any DIY enthusiast or professional tradesperson. Using a hammer drill can make tasks such as drilling into concrete, brick, or stone – which would otherwise be challenging or impossible with a regular drill – much simpler. If you’re in the market for a new power tool and are considering purchasing a hammer drill, this article will provide you with everything you need to know, including how to use a hammer drill safely and effectively.

Explanation of Hammer Drill

A hammer drill is a power drill that uses a hammering motion in addition to the rotary motion that a regular drill produces. This hammering motion allows it to drill through hard materials like concrete and brick with greater ease than a regular drill.

When using a hammer drill, the drill bit moves back and forth in addition to spinning, which causes the material to break apart, allowing the bit to drill through. Hammer drills come with a hammer setting that can be turned on and off depending on whether you are drilling into hard materials or soft ones like wood or metal.

One of the significant advantages of a hammer drill is its efficiency. Due to the hammering motion, it can drill faster and with more power, making it ideal for larger jobs that require a lot of drilling. Hammer drills come in both corded and cordless versions, with corded drills typically being more powerful, but cordless drills offering greater portability and convenience.

Hammer drills are widely used in construction, for drilling into concrete, brick, and stone. They are also handy for DIY enthusiasts who frequently undertake home improvement projects that require drilling into masonry.

Comparison Between Hammer Drill and Regular Drill

The main difference between a hammer drill and a regular drill is the motion. While a regular drill only rotates, a hammer drill rotates and also hammers the material. This motion allows for more efficient drilling through hard materials like concrete and brick.

Another difference is that hammer drills are typically heavier and more powerful than regular drills. However, this extra weight and power can make them more challenging to maneuver and control during drilling compared to a regular drill. A regular drill is generally more versatile and can be used for a wider range of tasks.

Jobs that are better suited for a hammer drill include drilling holes into concrete, brick, and stone. Tasks such as drilling into wood or metal can be accomplished with both a hammer drill and a regular drill, but a regular drill may be less cumbersome and easier to control for these applications.

Buyer’s Guide to Hammer Drills

When looking for a hammer drill, there are several factors to consider:

  • Power: Hammer drills come with various power grades, measured in amps or volts. You should choose a drill with sufficient power to complete your job efficiently.
  • Chuck Size: The chuck is the part that holds the drill bit in place. Hammer drills come in various chuck sizes, ranging from 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch. You should select a chuck size that matches the diameter of the bits you will be using.
  • Safety Features: Safety features like an electric brake that stops the drill bit immediately upon release of the trigger can add a considerable safety margin to the tool.
  • Battery Life: For cordless drills, the battery life is an essential consideration. You should purchase a drill with a battery life that lasts long enough for your job or purchase additional batteries.
  • Price: Like most tools, hammer drills come in a range of prices, from budget to high-end. Decide on your budget before purchasing, and choose a tool that provides you with the features you need within your price range.

Some of the best hammer drills in the market currently include the DEWALT DCD778C2 20V Max Hammer Drill, Bosch 11255VSR Bulldog Xtreme, and Makita XPH12R Hammer Driver-Drill kit. You should do your research and choose a drill that meets your specific needs and budget.

Maintenance of Hammer Drills

Proper maintenance of your hammer drill can ensure a longer lifespan and more reliable performance. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance, which should include the following:

  • Cleaning: Regularly clean your drill, especially after use. Dust and debris can accumulate on and inside the tool, affecting its performance. Gently clean the drill with a soft cloth or brush, and ensure it’s dried thoroughly before storing.
  • Lubrication: Lubricating the chuck, motor, and gears per the manufacturer’s instructions can ensure smoother and more efficient operation.
  • Storage: Store your drill in a dry, secure location after use to prevent damage from moisture or impacts.

Hammer Drill Safety Tips

Like most power tools, proper usage of a hammer drill requires strict adherence to safety measures. The following safety guidelines are essential for using a hammer drill safely:

  • Wear Protective Gear: Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including eye protection, gloves, and hearing protection, when using a hammer drill.
  • Secure Workpiece: Secure the workpiece firmly when drilling to prevent it from moving or spinning, which can cause injury or damage to the material and tool.
  • Check Power Cord: If you are using a corded hammer drill, ensure the power cord is not damaged or frayed, which can be a potential safety hazard.
  • Use Hammer Setting Wisely: Turn on the hammer setting only when drilling into concrete, brick, or stone, and turn it off when drilling into wood or metal to prevent the bit from bouncing and damaging the material.


A hammer drill is an essential tool for drilling into masonry and hard materials and provides many advantages over a regular drill. To choose the right hammer drill for your needs, consider factors like power, chuck size, battery life, safety features, and price. Proper maintenance and storage of your hammer drill can ensure its longevity, while following strict safety guidelines can prevent injury and damage to the material and tool.

With this comprehensive guide, you’re now equipped with everything you need to know about hammer drills to make an informed purchase and use it safely and effectively.

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