For its killer combination of portability and power, the DEWALT 20V Max Hammer Drill relies on a beefy 20V battery and a brushless motor that delivers superior performance while reducing friction and the risk of overheating. This model comes with two speed settings and three modes of operation, as well as a built-in LED so you can get the job done in low-light conditions.
The Best Hammer Drills for Home Projects
Learn what makes these power tools essential for many DIYers and pros, and use our tips to find the best one for the masonry and metalwork projects up next on your to-do list.
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- Best for Light DutyDEWALT 20V Max Hammer DrillCheck Latest Price
- Best for Heavy DutyENEACRO 12.5 Amp Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer DrillCheck Latest Price
- Best ValueTACKLIFE 2800rpm Hammer DrillCheck Latest Price
Hammer drills are a less familiar specialty tool in the workshop, unlike power drills—even among experienced DIYers. A hammer drill, though less common, is highly useful, capable of boring holes and driving screws into wood stone, brick, metal, and other hard surfaces.
You can easily tell by its hefty size, optional auxiliary handle, and multiple control settings that the hammer drill is one tough tool. Offering the combined capabilities of a regular drill, impact driver, and small jackhammer, it can be a smart, if not essential, addition to your tool collection.
Choosing the right one depends a lot on how you plan to use the tool, so read on for our detailed selection criteria and to learn why the following are our favorites among the best hammer drill options out there today.
- BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: DEWALT 20V Max Hammer Drill
- BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: ENEACRO 12.5 Amp Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer Drill
- BEST VALUE: TACKLIFE 2800rpm Hammer Drill
Key Shopping Considerations
Corded vs. Cordless
Hammer drills come with one of two power source options: either a heavy-duty cord or a rechargeable battery. Corded hammer drills provide a constant source of power and also tend to be somewhat more powerful than battery-operated models—two aspects that make them more effective and dependable for long days on a busy job site. They can be plugged into an extension cord if needed for a longer reach, but corded hammer drills are ultimately tethered to a nearby source of electricity.
Conversely, a cordless hammer drill is bound to run out of juice after several hours of use, but these models do have their strong points. They’re generally lighter, smaller, and easier to maneuver than their corded counterparts (plus there’s no chance of tripping over that pesky power cord). Cordless models tend to be more popular with DIYers, who appreciate their portability and versatility for projects around the house.
Different jobs often require a drill to run at faster or slower speeds to improve accuracy and penetration, while avoiding any damage to the drill itself. A good hammer drill will feature either a variable speed setting dial or a trigger control that lets you adjust the operating speed. To determine if a drill has a variable speed setting, look for a dial that shows the numbers from 1 to 2, or sometimes 1 to 3, with 1 being the lowest setting.
A trigger control, which responds to the amount of pressure you apply, offers a greater degree of speed control. Some prefer this personalized control, while others want a drill to operate at the same speed, all the time. A trigger control tends to be most beneficial when the user doesn’t have a free hand to adjust the speed—one reason trigger controls are preferred by professionals.
Hammer mode is a setting on all hammer drills commonly marked by a symbol depicting a hammer. This mode introduces a pulsating action that helps drive masonry bits through hard surfaces, such as concrete, brick, and stone. In addition to the increased hammering force, the drill maintains its rotational capabilities to drill and punch through hard material, similar to combining an auger and a jackhammer, though to a lesser degree.
Hammer drills commonly have a button that allows you to switch between hammer mode and normal operation. This is generally referred to as “drill mode” and may be marked only by a variable speed setting ranging from 1 to 3. Alternatively, it may be marked by a symbol that resembles a drill bit, depending on the model. This mode has a more controlled torque and is intended for drilling holes through softer surfaces, such as wood or plastic.
Some hammer drills (as well as regular drills) feature a setting called a drive mode, which is used for driving and removing screws. Drive mode eliminates the pulsating force of the hammer setting and instead engages the torque-adjustment setting for precision work like driving screws into a deck. This low-power setting helps ensure that the torque of the drill won’t strip the screws. A hammer drill with drive mode will often show a symbol that resembles a screw on the mode control switch.
Higher-end hammer drills may offer extra features that can help you complete a project faster or add a touch of comfort or functionality. These options include a 360-degree auxiliary handle for the best grip possible in complex or enclosed spaces or a built-in flashlight to help you see what you’re doing without needing to hold a separate light source.
Our Top Picks
Based on functionality, cost, and design, these are the best hammer drill options for DIYers and pros.
When smaller drills just can’t get the job done, the ENEACRO 12.5 Amp Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer Drill is up for the task. Designed and built for brawn and durability, this heavy-duty corded hammer drill boasts exceptional penetration power to punch through concrete, brick, mortar, and stone. Equipped with a drill mode, hammer drill mode, and hammer mode, you can rely on this hammer drill to act as both a lightweight jackhammer and a powerful drill to help you complete your project.
The powerful and versatile TACKLIFE 2800rpm Hammer Drill features a variable speed dial and trigger for maximum user control. Note that there’s also a lock-on button enabling the drill to maintain a set speed without your having to hold the trigger in place the whole time. The Tacklife also includes a 12-piece accessory set, a 360-degree auxiliary handle for superior control, and a metal chuck to hold bits in place without slipping or stripping.