The Complete Guide to Hammer Drills

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The Complete Guide to Hammer Drills

For certain projects, the normal repertoire of power tools is simply not strong enough to ensure success. For instance, a standard cordless drill does not provide the extra force needed to bore through extremely hard surfaces. In comparison, a hammer drill can get the job done faster and more efficiently. Combining the rotary action of a power drill with mechanised hammer-like movement, these speciality tools are designed to rapidly drive the drill bit into hard masonry surfaces such as brick and cement.

With so many brands and models to consider, it can be difficult for do-it-yourselfers and building contractors to decide which hammer drill is most appropriate. In order to narrow down the wide range of options, it helps to consider which tasks the hammer drill is intended for. Before operating their newly acquired hammer drill, buyers must first purchase the necessary protective gear and learn proper operating etiquette. Hammer drills are sold in DIY shops and mega stores offering power tools. New and used models are also available through Internet retailers and online shopping sites like eBay.

A Closer Look at Hammer Drills

Buyers who are not yet sure if a hammer drill is right for them are encouraged to learn more about this forceful and flexible power tool. When drilling tasks are limited to relatively soft surfaces like wood and plastic, a standard drill driver is usually sufficient. However, if more power is required, hammer drills are a heavy-duty and reliable alternative.

Hammer drills look and behave similarly to standard power drills, but they also pack an extra punch when necessary. Before deciding to purchase a hammer drill, consumers should explore the many benefits of ownership, along with the varied formats and design features available from each brand. While browsing the large variety of options, buyers are likely to see models from these popular manufacturers:

The Benefits of Owning a Hammer Drill

Rotary hammer drills, or impact drills as they are sometimes called, are capable of drilling into hard surfaces that quickly stymie standard power drills. This type of drill is most often used for boring through masonry surfaces, which are much more difficult to drill than softer construction materials like wood. By purchasing a hammer drill, buyers gain the power they need coupled with plenty of flexible functionality. Before adding a power drill to their tool kits, hardcore DIY-ers are urged to first consider whether a hammer drill is the most beneficial type for the projects they have in mind.


Though hammer drills rotate the same way that all drills do, it is the added thrusting motion produced by the movement of the impact mass and anvil that gives this tool its extra edge. As the drill bit spins, it also punches in and out rapidly, pulverising the solid materials in its path. While each individual thrust is rather short and not particularly strong, in rapid succession, this hammering motion is strong enough to break up tough surfaces like concrete.

The hammer drill is not quite as powerful as its larger, pneumatic cousin, the rotary hammer, which is the more popular choice of percussion tools for commercial construction projects. Though they are smaller and less powerful than rotary hammers, their compact design and flexible nature make hammer drills perfect for those buyers who only need the occasional power boost.


Because of the versatile functionality offered by a hammer drill, this tool can easily replace the regular power drills in the buyer's tool box. The chuck on most hammer drills, which is the part of a drill that locks the bit in place, is capable of holding a wide range of drill bits and screwdriver tips. Since the hammering motion can be turned on and off as dictated by the needs of the project, this type of drill can defeat most any surface it encounters. This allows owners the freedom to take on a wide range of drilling situations without having to change tools. Instead, the user only has to switch out the drill bit and switch on the hammer action when he or she runs into surfaces that are harder to tackle.

Hammer Drill Options and Features

Curious shoppers quickly realise there are numerous hammer drill models available to them. Once they are sure a hammer drill suits their construction or remodelling needs, buyers must then look at how each model varies. The speed of the hammer action is defined by either blows per minute (BPM) or impacts per minute (IPM). Since hammer drills can sometimes be difficult to control, many models feature a removable side handle for greater stability.

Buyers can also look for hammer drills with various speed settings, as well as reverse mode for backing out of drilled holes without getting stuck. In terms of mobility, rechargeable battery-powered hammer drills are preferable, but corded varieties offer an unlimited supply of electricity. When comparing various models, buyers must keep in mind that corded drill power is measured in amps, while cordless drill power is listed in volts. In general, the larger, heavier models tend to provide greater speed and power, but they also require more electricity.

The Importance of Drill Bit Selection

In order to make the most out of a hammer drill's capabilities, the chuck must hold the appropriate drill bit for the job. For example, when a hammer drill is punching into concrete at over 20,000 BPM, a durable masonry bit is designed to withstand the repeated impact. The following chart describes several common drill bit styles available to consumers who choose a hammer drill with a three-jawed chuck.



Suggested Usage


Spiral shaft with threaded point

Wood (deep, precise holes)

Brad Point / Dowel

Small point at tip; spurs on both sides

Wood (general use)

High-speed Steel

Similar to brad point; distinct black colour

Metal, Wood, Plastic


Standard spiral shaft with extra-durable tip

Cement, Brick, Stone


To insert Phillips, flat-head, and other screws

May require bit holder

Tile and Glass

Spear-shaped bit with tungsten-carbide tip

Tile, Glass

Wood Spade / Paddle

Paddle-shaped blade with pointed tip

Wood (wide holes)

Some hammer drills have a slotted drive system (SDS) that is only compatible with specialised bits. Though fluted SDS bits can be pricier, they are designed to stay firmly in place during heavy drilling.

Safety Tips for Hammer Drills

Rotary hammer drills are seriously powerful, and this means, just like any tool, they must be used with caution. It takes time to become skilled at operating a hammer drill. At first, the kickback from the hammer action can be jarring, but eventually users get the hang of holding on tight while guiding the drill accurately. Critical safety measures include wearing protective goggles or glasses and keeping loose items such as hair and jewellery away from the drill. Whether corded or cordless, never operate power tools in rainy or snowy conditions. A close eye should always be kept on the power source to avoid fires or electric shock. Also, regular inspection of the entire drill unit is highly recommended.

How to Buy Hammer Drills on eBay

If you are interested in purchasing a hammer drill for use on the job or in the home, eBay makes it easy to find the best possible model. To start searching eBay for available drills, first choose keywords based on your current needs. Type these words into the search box on any eBay page to see a customisable list of results. If you plan to browse a variety of options before making your selection, stick with broad keywords like "rotary hammer drill&".

Alternatively, you can make your search more specific in order to target certain products. For example, an eBay search like "Makita cordless hammer drill&" immediately narrows down the matching results to listings for that brand and format. Using the list of available refinements such as condition, price, and voltage, you can pin down the perfect hammer drill model.

Save Your Favourite eBay Searches

If you have trouble finding a rotary hammer drill that suits you, save your search and see what happens. After saving your search, you can sign up for email notifications regarding new matching listings. This capability allows you to keep a constant eye on eBay products without spending hours on the computer.


A hammer drill, which is a power drill with hammer action, makes it easy to tackle jobs that require boring into brick, concrete, and other masonry surfaces. Where regular drills fail to make a mark, hammer drills bring the extra kick needed to push through hard construction materials. For buyers who need the freedom and flexibility to drill into any surface they find, the hammer drill presents a sensible solution. The key is choosing a high-quality model with enough power to get the job done efficiently.

There are plenty of brands to consider when shopping for a rotary hammer drill. After determining which size drill is appropriate for the intended applications, the next step is evaluating design features. For example, a side handle helps users keep a firm grip on the tool, while adjustable speeds allow people to customise drill functionality to the given task. After browsing various impact drills, buyers can hone in on the model that best fits their needs and ability. A huge selection can be found online by searching the eBay product listings. Since safety is always the number one concern, regardless of skill level, it is highly recommended that buyers purchase protective eyewear along with their hammer drill.

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