Ask anyone who has ever worked in construction or anyone who does a lot of DIY around the house. They’ll tell you that concrete is the most challenging material to drill through. One reason that builders love to use concrete is for the strength it provides to the structure. But that strength becomes an obstacle when you need to drill holes.
If you need to drill some holes through concrete, what you need is a good hammer drill and not just any normal drill. You may already own a drill/driver or an impact driver at home for light DIY work. However, concrete drill is an entirely different animal that is specially-designed for drilling through masonry, including concrete. The reason it’s so effective on thick concrete is that while it turns, the tool also hammers into the concrete at the same time. In a way, it’s doing two jobs at once and gets through concrete much more effectively.
Here are the top 7 hammer drills for concrete and some handy tips on how to choose the right one for your needs.
Top 7 Hammer Drills For Concrete
1. DEWALT (DCD996B) Max XR
DEWALT is one of the most recognizable American tool brands on the market and their Max XR Hammer drill lives up to the expectations as the best hammer drill. The 20V Max XR Hammer Drill uses a brushless motor that’s not only fast, but it’s also robust and durable as well.
It has three different speed settings, for your specific use. Speed is important since the faster your hammer drill can go, the easier and smoother it is to drill a hole in the concrete. After all, you don’t want to be standing there pushing the drill against the concrete and only making slow progress. That's why having a variable speed setting is so essential.
The brushless motor allows it to run 2.8 times longer on a single battery charge. The nitro-carburized metal ratcheting chucks and the handle grips are tough enough to handle challenging conditions wherever you use it. Even if you’re in an exceptionally dusty environment, the drill’s switches are coated and sealed so that you won’t get anything in them.
You’ll also never work blind in a dark room since the drill has a 3-mode LED light with a spotlight mode.
2. ENEARCO Heavy Duty
The Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer Drill by ENEARCO is versatile with it’s three different modes. You can use it as a drill, hammer, or hammer drill. That’s going to come in handy when you’re on the job site since you’ll need fewer tools to get a lot more done.
It’s got an industrial-strength 12.5A motor that’ll deliver loads of impact energy to help you drill that hole in the concrete. If you’ve done this before, you’ll know that heat and dust are also an issue due to the friction generated by the drill bit rotating against the concrete. The ENEARCO hammer drill solves that with its heat dissipation design plus an anti-dust bottom structure.
If you’re doing lots of drilling work on concrete, you’ll appreciate the safety and comfort features on this concrete drill. The unique design by ENEARCO offers safety clutch protection to protect your wrist, plus an anti-vibration system to keep the drill stable while you work. That means your hands will struggle a lot less with keeping the hammer drill level while in drill mode. More comfort means needing fewer breaks, allowing you to get the job done sooner.
3. Bosch Bulldog Xtreme
Bosch, a famous brand from Germany known worldwide for its tools that offer both power and precision. Which is what you’ll get with their Bulldog Xtreme Max Rotary Hammer.
With this heavy duty hammer drill, you’ll have a powerful 8.5 amp motor at your disposal, powerful enough to deliver 2.4 ft-lbs of impact energy to help you bust through concrete slabs and drill a hole with ease.
All that power can be a lot for one person to handle by themselves. That’s why Bosch decided to include kickback control with this option. Integrated into the hammer drill is a sensor that will shut the drill off if the drillbit ever gets bound-up. That way, the hammer drill keeps you and itself safe when delivering all that hammering and drilling power.
The Bosch hammer drill comes with a variable-speed trigger with reversing. As you’re drilling through concrete or other hard surfaces, you can adjust your drilling speed and even reverse if necessary, all done with only your trigger finger. It's an excellent choice if you need to drill through your foundation for whatever reason.
To add comfort to the whole mix, Bosch also designed it with counter-balanced vibration control. As mentioned with the previous drill on this list, comfort while drilling is very important. If your hands stay comfortable, you’ll be able to work longer and with more efficiency.
The Tacklife Corded Hammer Drill has a selector for choosing one of two modes: a drill and hammer drill function. When you’re dealing with concrete surfaces, you’ll have a much easier time using the hammer drill mode.
This Tacklife corded hammer drill carries a pure copper 7.1 amp motor, which might not be as high as some of the other hammer drills on this list, but can still get the job done. It’s important to note, you shouldn’t use this drill on reinforced concrete, which is much tougher to drill through than regular concrete.
Just like other drills on this list, it includes a variable speed trigger. Basically, that means that you can adjust the speed on-the-go by simply changing how hard you squeeze the trigger. This gives you added control over the drill while you’re working.
More importantly, this hammer drill comes with a 360-degree rotating auxiliary handle. Other hammer drills have similar handles, but not all of them rotate the way this one does. With this Tacklife option, you’ll be able to adjust the handle to work comfortably at pretty much any angle you prefer. It's by far one of the best corded hammer drills for concrete.
The CACOOP Cordless Hammer Drill is an ergonomically-designed portable hammer drill that packs enough power to drill right through lightweight concrete. It’s known as a 3-in-1 drill, since you can use it for drilling, screwing, and hammer drilling.
Whatever you decide to use it for, you’ll find that it’s pretty straightforward and simple to use. There’s a switch that allows you to choose between two different speeds, and the half-inch chuck doesn’t need a key to load or unload. On top of that, this product has a built-in LED light to keep your target area well-lit, and the battery has an indicator light so you know when you need to charge it.
It only takes 60 minutes to charge it up completely, and the battery life itself is pretty great even when in drill mode. You won’t have to interrupt your work constantly just because of a drained battery.
Despite the simplicity, it’s sturdy, through and through. The drill bits are nickel-plated, and the drill itself is made of a hard plastic shell. Whether you drop this power hammer drill on the ground at home or at a busy construction site, you can rest assured that it’ll stay intact.
6. DEWALT 20V Max XR
The difference between this DEWALT Hammer Drill and the previous one is the model number. The previous one was the DCD996B. It’s battery-powered, and it’s designed much like any regular cordless drill. The thing about the DCD996B is that it’s basically a regular drill with a hammer drill option. Sure, it functions well as a hammer drill, but that’s not the only function it has.
In the case of this drill, the DCH133B, it’s a dedicated rotary hammer drill. It only has that one function, and it does it much better than the previous one. As such, the drill is designed to support hammer drilling on concrete much more efficiently. It has a D-shaped handle with a rubber over-mold grip. It also has a 360-degree side handle. When used together in a two-hand operation, you’ll be able to do much more powerful drilling through concrete as you keep the drill stable with your entire body.
If you want a tool that only does hammer drilling, but does it exceptionally well, then you’ll want this DCH133B hammer drill. If you prefer something that you can use for several different functions, then you may be better off with the DCD996B.
7. Bosch Bulldog Xtreme
The 11255VSR hammer drill model is a perfect demonstration of German engineering, which is why Bosch is so popular in the first place. This drill in particular comes with three different modes of operation. You could use it in rotation only, hammer only, or rotary hammer. That means that it’ll be useful in a range of different situations.
Inside is a 7.5 amp motor that delivers 2.0 ft.-lbs of impact, which is what makes it so great for working with concrete surfaces. Despite all that power, this rotary hammer drill is a dream to operate. It’s ergonomically designed and paired with anti-vibration features which will keep your hands from hurting or getting tired halfway through the job.
Hammer Drill Buying Guide
Not all hammer drills will suit your needs perfectly. Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right one for you.
Power - First and foremost, you should pay close attention to the drill’s power. Remember that you don’t have to pick the hammer drill with the most power. If you plan on simply doing the occasional drilling around the home, all you need is a drill with a reasonable amount of power. They’ll cost you a lot less compared to a heavy-duty drill. On the other hand depending on what you plan on doing with the concrete, a concrete grinder might be more suited.
Functionality - As you’ve seen from the list above, some drills are dedicated hammer drills. They only do one job, and they do it very well. Others might double or triple as a regular drill with a hammer mode and even a battery-operated screwdriver.
You need to decide if you want a specialized tool with only one function (e.g. to drill through concrete) or if you prefer something that you can use for a range of different purposes like a rotary hammer. Some people prefer versatility; they love tools that are useful for different applications. A depth gauge will also come in handy to get the correct depth and end with a more quality end product.
Safety and Comfort - Power tools of any kind come with a certain degree of risk, hammer drills included. Pay attention to the heavy duty power tools that offer you better protection. But also, while you’re at it, you should also look out for added comfort. You will want to get one with a soft grip handle and two finger trigger for comfortability and safety. At the end of the day, you're less likely to make a mistake when you can comfortably work on something.
You’re going to invest a fair bit of money into your new hammer drill and you’re going to use it to do some heavy work drilling holes through concrete surfaces. As important as a hammer drill’s performance might be, you also deserve to pair that with a lot of comfort for your hands as well.