The Best Cordless Hammer Drills of 2022

Don’t waste effort trying to drill through tile or brick with the wrong power tool. These top cordless hammer drills will turn those dense masonry materials to dust.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Mar 3, 2022 3:23 PM

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Best Cordless Hammer Drill

Photo: depositphotos.com

Drilling through concrete, tiles, and stone requires extra force from a drill, and the most powerful corded drill drivers lack it. These types of projects call for the best cordless hammer drill.

The best cordless hammer drills do two things simultaneously: they spin a drill bit while a small gear inside the drill forces a weight forward, striking the back of the chuck. The force carries through to the tip to chip away small bits of concrete, stone, or brick while the grooves in the bit remove the resulting dust. Read on for some tips and top products.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill Kit (DCD996P2)
  2. BEST BUDGET: CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Hammer Drill Kit (CMCD711C2)
  3. BEST FOR HEAVY-DUTY: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill (DCD996B)
  4. BEST FOR MEDIUM-DUTY: Makita XPH07Z 18V LXT Cordless Hammer Driver-Drill
  5. BEST FOR LIGHT-DUTY: SKIL 20V 1/2 Inch Hammer Drill (HD527802)
  6. BEST COMPACT: PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Hammer Drill (PCC620B)
  7. BEST ROTARY: DEWALT 20V MAX SDS Rotary Hammer Drill (DCH273B)
Best Cordless Hammer Drill

Photo: depositphotos.com

Before You Buy a Cordless Hammer Drill

While most of the best hammer drills can pull double duty as standard drill drivers, they’re not for everyone. Even smaller hammer drills will have heavier-duty components inside, which means they are substantially heavier than even the best cordless drill. They also have a lot more torque than light-duty drills, so if you’re new to power tools, don’t be surprised by their power.

If you’re not drilling into concrete, bricks, stone, or masonry, you probably don’t need a cordless hammer drill. You can save a bit of money by going with a standard drill driver for most of your projects. However, if you find yourself mixing concrete or paint often, you might decide that the extra torque hammer drills can offer will help speed up the task.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cordless Hammer Drill

The following features make certain hammer drills stand out from the crowd. Understanding how these tools work will help you make an informed decision and determine if you need one of these torqued machines.

Drilling Materials

Hammer drills are for drilling holes in masonry. A standard drill and drill bit will barely scratch the surface of a porcelain tile, concrete walkway, or stone countertop. These materials are too dense for the cutting edge of a standard bit. A hammer drill fitted with a masonry bit will bore through these same surfaces easily: the hammer function drives the tip of the bit into the surface, creating stone or concrete dust that the drill bits’ grooves remove from the hole.

With that said, hammer drills are best suited for drilling holes in these materials:

  • Concrete
  • Tile
  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Block
  • Countertops

Keep in mind that you need to use masonry bits to get through these surfaces. These bits have wings on the tips to help remove the dust, and their points are a slightly different shape—more chisel-like than a standard bit. Also, standard drill bits will dull or break almost immediately if you’re able to penetrate the surface of a masonry material. You can find masonry bits in kits like this one for purchase separately.

Motor

There are two types of motors available in power tools like cordless drills: brushed and brushless.

  • Brushed motors rely on the “old school” technology for electric motors. These motors use a “brush” to send power to a coil. The coil, attached to a shaft, begins to spin, creating power and torque. It’s relatively low-tech as far as electric motors go.
  • Brushless motors are more high-tech and far more efficient. They use sensors and control boards to send an electrical current to the coils, spinning a magnet attached to a shaft. This method produces significantly more torque and uses far less battery power than a brushed motor.

If you have to drill a lot of holes, it might be worth the extra expense of purchasing a brushless hammer drill. Brushed hammer drills get the job done at a cheaper price tag, but will probably take more time.

RPM, Torque, and BPM

When it comes to speed, you should look for a drill with a maximum rpm speed of 2,000 or more. Though you probably won’t need that much speed to drill through masonry materials, this speed allows you to use the tool as a drill driver when it’s not boring holes through concrete and brick.

Torque is also important, since you can use a stout hammer drill to drive lag bolts and screws into dense materials to fasten concrete anchors and such. However, many manufacturers don’t use “foot-pounds” as a metric anymore. Instead, they use “unit watts out” or UWO, which is a complex measurement of drill power at the chuck. A drill with at least 700 UWO should serve most of your purposes.

Above all, beats per minute, or BPM, should be the hammer drill shopper’s priority. This unit of measurement describes how many times the hammer gear engages the chuck per minute. A hammer drill with a BPM rating of 20,000 to 30,000 is ideal for most hammer drilling scenarios, though heavier-duty models might offer lower rpm in exchange for increased torque.

Clutch

Because hammer drills create so much torque, or UWO, users need a way to regulate how much of that torque makes its way to a fastener. Too much torque can break a fastener or driver bit before you can drive it into the material.

To control torque output, manufacturers use adjustable clutches in their drill drivers. Adjusting the clutch usually requires you to twist a collar at the base of the chuck to the correct position, though that position is always different from tool to tool and is dependent on the type of drilled material. For example, a dense hardwood might require a high clutch setting (as long as the fastener can handle it), while a softwood like pine will require less.

Chuck

There are two types of chucks to become familiar with: 3-jaw chucks and SDS chucks.

Almost all drill drivers and drill presses—light- and medium-duty hammer drills included—use 3-jaw chucks. They clamp down on a round or hexagonal surface when you twist the chuck. Three-jaw chucks allow you to use a wide range of drill bits and driver bits, which is why they’re nearly universal on drill drivers. They come in 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch sizes, with the larger size being more heavy-duty.

Rotary hammers use SDS chucks. These bits have grooved shanks that lock into place. SDS is a German innovation, and it stands for “Steck, Dreh, Sitz,” or “Insert, Twist, Stay.” The reason these bits are different is because rotary hammers provide massive force, requiring a more secure method of holding onto a bit.

Battery Type & Life

The main types of batteries that come with any cordless power tool are nickel-cadmium (NiCd for short) and lithium-ion (Li-ion). Lithium-ion batteries are replacing NiCd because they’re more efficient and last longer during use and in overall lifespan. They’re also considerably lighter, which can be a factor when you’re already hauling a heavy hammer drill about.

Battery life during use typically measures in amp-hours, or Ah. For light-duty drill drivers, 2.0Ah batteries are more than sufficient. When you’re slamming a bit into masonry, however, you might want your battery to last longer. In these cases, look for batteries with amp-hour ratings of 3.0Ah or more.

You can purchase batteries separately with increased amp-hour ratings if needed. Some manufacturers sell batteries with as much as 12Ah.

Size and Weight

When you’re shopping for the best cordless hammer drill for your needs, consider the project you’re using it for. The project will have a lot to do with the size and weight of the hammer drill that you need.

For example, drilling through porcelain wall tiles doesn’t require much torque, speed, or BPM. A light-duty, compact, and lightweight hammer drill weighing around 2 pounds without the battery will do the trick. On the other hand, drilling large holes for structural anchors in concrete will require a much larger, heavier hammer drill, possibly even a rotary hammer, which can weigh as much as 8 pounds without the battery.

For most DIY applications, a medium-duty hammer drill is an excellent choice since it can tackle most projects. Although, keep in mind that it will be significantly heavier than a standard drill driver (often as much as twice the weight), so it might not be ideal as the only drill driver in your workshop.

Our Top Picks

Armed with this background knowledge of cordless hammer drills, the following list of products for drilling through tough materials can help you find the right tool for your projects.

Best Overall

Best Cordless Hammer Drill DEWALT
Photo: amazon.com

The DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill Kit is an excellent choice for an all-around capable hammer drill. It features a 1/2-inch 3-jaw chuck, a 3-mode LED light, and a powerful brushless motor. This hammer drill, which weighs in at about 4.75 pounds, can run at speeds up to 2,250 rpm, which is more than enough for most drilling or driving projects. Switch it into hammer drill mode and you’ll benefit from up to 38,250 BPM, turning brick and tile into dust quickly and easily.

This DEWALT drill produces up to 820 UWO, but you can fine tune its output with the 11-position clutch. It comes with a 5.0Ah 20V Li-ion battery, which produces up to 57 percent more run time than brushed motors, since it’s coupled with the brushless motor. Users choose between three speeds, though the variable speed trigger will help to regulate the speed as well.

Product Specs

  • Motor Type: Brushless motor
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Speed: 2,250 rpms/38,250 BPMs
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion

Pros

  • 3-mode LED light
  • Weighs just 4.75 pounds
  • 11-position clutch

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Some users have reported difficulty securing the battery

Best Budget

Best Cordless Hammer Drill CRAFTSMAN
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking for a reasonably priced option that can handle most projects around the house may turn to this next cordless hammer drill. The Craftsman V20 Cordless Hammer Drill. This drill has a 2-speed gearbox that produces a top speed of 1,500 rpm, sufficient for most light- or medium-duty projects. When it comes to boring holes in brick or concrete, this cordless hammer drill produces up to 25,500 BPM—more than respectable from a value-priced model that weighs just under 2.75 pounds. It also has a 1/2-inch, 3-jaw chuck.

Although the torque numbers are a little low at 280 UWO, that’s easier to overlook when you consider that this kit also comes with two 2.0Ah Li-ion batteries and a charger at a price point where other hammer drills are tool-only products. The Craftsman drill also features a built-in LED work light above the trigger.

Product Specs

  • Motor Type: Brushed motor
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Speed: 1,500 rpms/25,500 BPMs
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion

Pros

  • 2-speed gearbox
  • Suitable for light- to medium-duty projects
  • Weighs just 2.75 pounds

Cons

  • Accessories not included
  • Batteries are only compatible with Craftsman tools

Best for Heavy-Duty

The Best Cordless Hammer Drill Option: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill (DCD996B)
Photo: amazon.com

Made for tougher projects that require a little extra muscle, the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill has a ½-inch ratcheting nitro-carburized metal chuck with carbide inserts, a 20V brushless motor, and delivers 2,250 rpms with a lithium-ion battery. Able to produce 250 BPMs and 820 UWO, this drill provides fast application speeds and durability with 3 speeds built-in.

Weighing over 4 pounds, this brushless hammer drill comes with comfortable handle grips, a 360-degree side handle, and a 3-mode LED light for visibility. This DEWALT drill also includes a 20-minute shutoff function for extended working time. The only downside with this model is that it does not come with a battery or charger.

Product Specs

  • Motor Type: Brushless motor
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Speed: 2,250 rpms/250 BPMs
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion

Pros

  • Ratcheting nitro-carburized metal chuck
  • Provides 820 UWO
  • Weighs just 4 pounds
  • LED light and 360-degree side handle built-in

Cons

  • Battery and charger not included
  • Some users have reported manufacturing defects

Best for Medium-Duty

Best Cordless Hammer Drill MakitaXPH07Z
Photo: amazon.com

Makita’s XPH07Z LXT Cordless Hammer Driver-Drill deserves a look when shopping for a medium-duty brushless drill driver that will handle most general projects. This hammer drill weighs just over 4 pounds and it has a 2-speed gearbox that produces up to 2,100 rpm. It has a 1/2-inch, 3-jaw chuck as well. Since Makita hasn’t moved to the UWO rating, the company states that this drill creates 1,090 old-school inch-pounds of torque (roughly 91 foot-pounds). It produces 31,500 BPM as well, allowing you to work quickly on tough masonry materials.

This Makita hammer drill comes as a tool-only purchase or in two different kits: one with two 18V 4.0Ah batteries or with two 5.0Ah batteries. All three choices come with a side handle for additional grip and leverage.

Product Specs

  • Motor Type: Brushless motor
  • Chuck Size: 1/2-inch
  • Speed: 2,100 rpms/31,500 BPMs
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion

Pros

  • 2-speed gearbox
  • Weighs just 4 pounds
  • Side handle

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Some units do not come with a battery or charger

Best for Light-Duty

The Best Cordless Hammer Drill Option: SKIL 20V Inch Hammer Drill (HD527802)
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to small home repairs or DIY projects, a light-duty, reliable option is the SKIL 20V ½ Inch Hammer Drill. This 3-in-1 tool functions as a hammer, drill, and screwdriver and comes with 2 speed settings, high and low. The ½-inch keyless check also comes with an auto spindle lock for easily changing bits.

For ease of use, this option is just 4.3 pounds, comes with a ½-inch keyless ratcheting chuck, and has an auto spindle lock to make changing bits quick and easy. With over 1,450 rpm in tow, this drill comes with a 2.0Ah lithium-ion battery and charger and is suitable for use on wood, concrete, and metal.

Product Specs

  • Motor Type: Brushed motor
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Speed: 1,450 rpms
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion

Pros

  • Suitable for wood, metal, and concrete
  • 2 speed settings
  • Keyless ratcheting chuck and auto spindle lock
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Some users have reported manufacturing defects in the batteries provided

Best Compact

The Best Cordless Hammer Drill Option: PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Hammer Drill (PCC620B)
Photo: amazon.com

While many drills on the market have large constructions and may take up some space while being stored, the PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Hammer Drill is a compact model that weighs just 3.2 pounds and is easy to use and store. Packing over 1,600 rpms of power, this drill has a 2-speed gearbox to meet your project’s needs.

This brushed-motor drill is full of other useful features including a battery fuel gauge, a belt hook, an LED light for visibility, 2 built-in magnets for storing bits and other small tools, and 23 different chuck settings. The only downside to this model is that the 20V lithium-ion battery and charger are sold separately.

Product Specs

  • Motor Type: Brushed motor
  • Chuck Size: ½-inch
  • Speed: 1,600 rpms
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion

Pros

  • 23 different chuck settings
  • Weighs just 3.2 pounds
  • 2-speed gearbox
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Battery and charger not included
  • Some users have reported manufacturing defects

Best Rotary

The Best Cordless Hammer Drill Option: DEWALT 20V MAX SDS Rotary Hammer Drill (DCH273B)
Photo: amazon.com

Traditionally, rotary hammers are large and heavy, making them a burden in your toolbox and a bit unwieldy, but this isn’t the case with the DEWALT DCH273B Rotary Hammer Drill. This heavy-duty rotary hammer has a standard pistol-style grip, so it’s as compact as most medium-duty machines. It’s lightweight at only 5.4 pounds without the battery. Yet the brushless motor still provides up to 4,600 BPM and a top speed of 1,100 rpm.

Though the speed and BPM aren’t the highest values on the market, this rotary hammer produces 2.1 joules of impact energy, sending your drill bit or chisel as deeply into a masonry surface as much larger models. The DEWALT DCH273B has an SDS chuck, a brushless motor, a side handle, and a depth-stop. You can purchase this DEWALT drill without batteries if you already have several 20V MAX DEWALT batteries in your lineup, but it’s also available for purchase with a 3.0Ah battery.

Product Specs

  • Motor Type: Brushless motor
  • Maximum Chuck Size: 20 millimeters
  • Speed: 1,100 rpms/4,600 BPMs
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion

Pros

  • Standard pistol-style grip
  • Weighs just 5.4 pounds
  • Suitable for heavy-duty masonry
  • Side handle and depth-stop

Cons

  • Pricey

Our Verdict

Finding the best cordless hammer drill for your needs can be difficult when there are so many options on the market. One of the best options overall is the brushless DEWALT 20V hammer drill with its 11-position clutch, 2,250-rpm power, ½-inch 3-jaw chuck, and 4.75-pound construction. Alternatively, the brushed Craftsman V20 hammer drill comes with an LED light, 2,250 rpms of power, ½-inch ratcheting nitro-carburized metal chuck, and weighs just 4 pounds.

How We Chose the Best Cordless Hammer Drills

We researched the most sought-after cordless hammer drills in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their power output and speed, motor type, battery type, weight, and other special features included by top tool brands.

Ranging from 1,450 to 2,250 rpms, the above brushed and brushless options deliver enough speed and power for DIY projects to heavy-duty construction. When searching for the best cordless hammer drills on the market, the most popular type of batteries among users was lithium-ion for its long-lasting lifespan and durability. What’s more, the above picks are also lightweight and don’t cause fatigue if used for long periods of time.

For convenience, some of the special features included in the above models include pistol-style grips, side handles, battery fuel gauges, LED lights, multiple operating speeds and chuck settings, and ½-inch keyless ratcheting chucks and auto spindle locks for easy bit changing.

FAQs 

If you’ve never used a hammer drill before, you might have some questions about the drills and how they work. You’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers listed below to help point you in the right direction.

Q: Can a hammer drill be used as a chisel?

You can use a rotary hammer as a chisel, but you can’t with a hammer drill. Rotary hammers have a mode that doesn’t spin the bit while hammering, making it ideal for chipping and chiseling.

Q: Can I turn the hammer drill part off and use it as a regular drill?

Yes, all hammer drills function as a drill driver, though they might be overkill for most projects around the house.

Q: Why is my hammer drill not hammering?

Here are a few reasons why your drill may not be hammering;

  1. You’re not putting enough pressure on the bit. The drill needs to feel some resistance from the bit to hammer it into the material.
  2. Your drill isn’t in hammer mode. There might be a dial on the side of the drill or a collar at the top of the machine that allows you to switch the drill into and out of hammer mode.
  3. Your hammer gear might have broken. Most likely this is due to age or misuse, but it’s best to check into a new one if this is the case.