The Best Hammer Drills of 2022

Find the multipurpose hammer drill—a versatile tool combining the functions of an impact driver, a drill, and a small jackhammer—that’s just right for your masonry and metal projects.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Mar 18, 2022 4:15 PM

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The Best Hammer Drill Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

A hammer drill is a multipurpose tool that bores holes, drives screws, and drills into stone, brick, metal, and other hard materials. In residential settings, a hammer drill is typically used to make holes in walls to run wires or pipe from the outside.

Its hefty size, optional auxiliary handle, and multiple controls make a hammer drill one tough, versatile, and powerful tool. Acting as a regular drill, an impact driver, and a small jackhammer, the best hammer drill can be a smart addition to your tool collection. Read on for more information on how to choose the best hammer drill from some of the top corded and cordless drill manufacturers on the market.

  1. BEST CORDED: Tacklife 1/2-Inch Electric Hammer Drill
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Makita HP2050 3/4″ Hammer Drill
  3. BEST CORDLESS: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Compact Hammer Drill Kit
  4. UPGRADE PICK: DEWALT 20V MAX Brushless Impact Driver Combo Kit
  5. BEST COMPACT: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/2 in. Hammer Drill
  6. BEST MULTIPURPOSE: Meterk 7.0 Amp Corded Hammer Drill
  7. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: ENEACRO 1-1/4 Inch SDS-Plus 12.5 Amp Heavy Duty
  8. BEST COMBO KIT: Skil 7.5 Amp 1/2-in Corded Hammer Drill
The Best Hammer Drill Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hammer Drill

When you are looking for a powerful hammer drill for your next project, it’s important to consider several key factors. First, decide whether you prefer a battery-powered or a corded model, then look for one with a variable speed trigger for better control. Even a regular drill will typically have a variable speed trigger, so the next thing to think about is the various modes of operation. The best hammer drills can be used for hammer drilling through masonry material, drilling through softer material (like wood) and driving screws. Just make sure you have the correct drill bits for the job.

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.

Variable Speed

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

The hammer mode is a setting on all hammer drills that’s commonly marked by a symbol depicting a hammer. This mode introduces a pulsating action that helps drive masonry bits through hard materials, 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. Rotary hammer drills are specifically made for long periods of tough jack-hammering through mortar, brick, and stone.

Drill Mode

Hammer drills commonly have a button that allows the user to switch between the 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 more controlled torque and is intended for drilling holes through softer materials, such as wood or plastic.

Drive Mode

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.

Additional Features

Higher-end hammer drills may offer extra features that can help the user complete a project faster or add a touch of comfort or functionality. These options can include a 360-degree auxiliary handle, a built-in flashlight, a depth gauge, a brushless motor, a carrying case, or a spare battery.

  • 360-degree auxiliary handle for the best grip possible in complex or enclosed spaces.
  • Built-in flashlight to help users see what they are doing without needing to hold a separate light source.
  • Depth gauge to determine how deep a hole has been drilled. This simple tool just needs to be inserted into the hole and the reading on the edge of the gauge will indicate the depth of the hole.
  • Brushless motors, as the name implies, do not have brushes inside the motor to reverse the polarity of the electromagnet. Instead, the motor has a different configuration that allows it to reduce the heat produced by the drill while increasing the life of the tool.
  • Carrying cases are effective for carrying the hammer drill when it’s not in use and are also used for simple storage.
  • Spare batteries may not be necessary for corded hammer drills, but it’s always good to have a backup battery on hand when you are working with a cordless hammer drill.

Our Top Picks

Both DIYers and professionals consider these hammer drills the best in their classes based on functionality, cost, and design.

Best Corded

The Best Hammer Drill Options: Tacklife 12-Inch Electric Hammer Drill
Photo: walmart.com

Built for power and versatility, the Tacklife ½-Inch Electric Hammer Drill has a variable speed dial and trigger for maximum user control. The drill is designed with a lock-on button that enables the drill to maintain a set speed without having to hold the trigger in place, so users can focus on the work instead of trying to adjust their grip for the optimal speed.

This hammer drill also includes a ½-inch metal chuck to hold bits in place without slipping or stripping, and a 12-piece accessory set for tackling a range of different projects. Users can attach or remove the 360-degree auxiliary handle for enhanced control. Just keep in mind that the handle may impede the drill in tight spaces.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Corded
  • Modes of operation: Hammer drill and drill
  • Chuck size: ½-inch

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • 2,800-rpm operation
  • Included 12-piece accessory set
  • Removable auxiliary handle

Cons

  • Corded operation limits maneuverability

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Hammer Drill Option: Makita HP2050 Hammer Drill
Photo: amazon.com

While it can be a drawback in certain circumstances, a corded hammer drill connected directly to an electrical outlet or an extension cord is typically more powerful than a similar corded model. This ¾-inch Makita hammer drill takes advantage of the additional power to operate at a top speed of 2,900 rpm, making it easier to drill through tough material at a faster rate.

Users can choose between hammer and drill mode, depending on the project, and can also set the speed between low (0 to 1,200 rpm) or high (0 to 2,900 rpm). The corded hammer drill comes with a removable auxiliary handle to improve control, and it has a depth gauge that fastens directly to the top of the drill, so users can quickly check the depth while they work. Pack up the drill into the included carrying case for transportation or storage when the work is complete.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Corded
  • Modes of operation: Hammer drill and drill
  • Chuck size: ¾-inch

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • 2,900-rpm operation
  • Included carrying case and depth gauge
  • Removable auxiliary handle

Cons

  • Corded operation limits maneuverability

Best Cordless

The Best Hammer Drill Option: DEWALT 20V Max Hammer Drill
Photo: amazon.com

Increase portability within the workshop and while working around the home or even outdoors with this cordless hammer drill by DeWalt. The DeWalt 20V Max XR Compact Hammer Drill has a beefy 20-volt battery, and its brushless motor offers superior performance while reducing friction and overheating. This allows the drill to last for a longer time than a similar model with a brushed motor, ensuring users won’t need to replace the hammer drill any time soon.

The drill comes with two speed settings and a built-in LED flashlight to illuminate the work space. Attach drill bits and compatible screwdriver bits to the ½-inch metal chuck for secure bit gripping strength. Once the job is done, pack the drill, battery charger, and the two included batteries in the carrying case for safe storage.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Cordless
  • Modes of operation: Hammer drill and drill
  • Chuck size: ½-inch

Pros

  • Spare battery
  • 2,000-rpm operation
  • Included carrying case
  • Built-in LED light

Cons

  • Cordless operation is limited by battery life

Upgrade Pick

The Best Hammer Drill Options: DEWALT 20V MAX Brushless Impact Driver Combo Kit
Photo: amazon.com

This DeWalt combo kit may appeal to both DIYers and professionals. The cordless hammer drill makes light work of drilling into tough materials like masonry. The impact driver effortlessly deals with oversize fasteners like deck screws that can sap the energy from even the most powerful standard drill/driver.

When the DeWalt hammer drill is used on concrete it offers impressive torque and power. It can drill a half a dozen holes without the hammer drill bogging down or the battery lagging. With this power, beware of your hands and wrists giving out before the hammer drill drains its 20-volt 4 amp-hour battery, as it can keep going and going. One slight downside is that the included leverage bar is made from relatively lightweight plastic—it’s durable but may feel cheap.

The impact driver comes with a compact nose and three speed adjustments. In my personal use of this tool, I was able to insert screws into soft pine wood without the impact motion kicking in. However, when adding pressure and inserting screws into ash wood, the impact motion kicked in and added power to insert the screws more quickly. The impact is smooth and rapid, similar to a well-oiled machine. All in all, it’s an excellent set for the money.

The drill has a ½-inch chuck with a durable, all-metal 11-position clutch. The impact driver delivers a high torque and 3,600 impacts per minute for consistent, fast driving of even the largest fittings. Despite their power, each tool weighs in at just 3.4 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Cordless
  • Modes of operation: Hammer drill, drill, and driver
  • Chuck size: ½-inch

Pros

  • Carrying bag for transportation and storage
  • 2,000-rpm operation
  • Includes an impact driver
  • Removable auxiliary handle and a spare battery

Cons

  • Cordless operation is limited by battery life
  • High price

Best Compact

The Best Hammer Drill Options: Milwaukee M18 FUEL 12 in. Hammer Drill
Photo: amazon.com

Hammer drills tend to be larger and heavier than standard drills, requiring more space to operate and store. At just 6.9 inches in length, this cordless Milwaukee model is the exception. Despite Milwaukee designing this tool for use in tight spaces, it’s actually improved the power while reducing the overall size of the tool, ensuring that this hammer drill can operate at a top speed of 2,000 rpm.

The ½-inch M18 also boasts a brushless motor and a removable auxiliary handle for added stability when drilling through hard materials. Just keep in mind that the drill does not come with a battery, so a separate battery will need to be purchased to use the tool.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Corded
  • Modes of operation: Hammer drill and drill
  • Chuck size: ½-inch

Pros

  • A brushless motor for a long life
  • 2,000-rpm operation
  • Removable auxiliary handle
  • Compact size for tight spaces

Cons

  • Cordless operation is limited by battery life
  • Tool only, no battery included

Best Multipurpose

The Best Corded Drill Option: Meterk 7.0 Amp Corded Hammer Drill
Photo: walmart.com

The Meterk 7.0 Amp Corded Hammer Drill provides impressive versatility, including variable-speed settings that allow the drill to operate from 0 to 3,000 rpm. Just squeeze the trigger to increase the speed or rotate the speed-regulator switch to set the drill speed within a certain range. A trigger-lock button on the side of the drill makes it possible to operate the drill at a locked speed, ensuring the user doesn’t accidentally strip a screw by squeezing the trigger too hard during operation.

The drill features a 360-degree removable auxiliary handle for improved control, and it also has a built-in depth gauge. Its all-metal gearbox helps prevent gears from wearing out or slipping during use. This ½-inch hammer drill is ideal for a wide variety of situations, from driving screws to drilling through concrete, stone, and metal; just don’t forget the limited range of the power cord.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Corded
  • Modes of operation: Hammer drill and drill
  • Chuck size: ½-inch

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • 3,000-rpm operation
  • Trigger-lock switch
  • Removable auxiliary handle and depth gauge

Cons

  • Corded operation limits maneuverability

Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Hammer Drill Option: ENEACRO 12.5 Amp Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer Drill
Photo: amazon.com

Despite the relatively slow top operating speed of 880 rpm, this rotary hammer drill is backed by a 12.5-amp motor in order to produce superior penetrating power. 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. Built for power 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, users can rely on this hammer drill to act as both a lightweight jackhammer and a powerful drill to help them complete their project. It comes with a modest accessory set as well as a hard plastic carrying case to keep the rotary drill safe when it’s not in use.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Corded
  • Modes of operation: Hammer, drill, and hammer drill
  • Chuck size: 1¼-inch

Pros

  • Powerful operation for breaking through masonry material
  • 880-rpm operation
  • Included accessory set
  • Removable auxiliary handle

Cons

  • Corded operation limits maneuverability

Best Combo Kit

The Best Hammer Drill Option: Skil 7.5 Amp 1 2-in Corded Hammer Drill
Photo: amazon.com

Investing in a new hammer drill for the workshop is well worth the time, but don’t forget that the drill can’t function without compatible drill bits or driver bits. This ½-inch corded hammer drill from Skil makes sure that users have what they need to get to work immediately. The 7.5-amp hammer drill has a top speed of 3,000 rpm, and it comes with a 100-piece drill bit set.

While many combo kits offer a few accessories to bolster the appeal of the drill, this product is actually designed to be paired together. It even comes with an all-in-one hard plastic carrying case that can hold the drill in the bottom compartment and the 100-piece drill bit set in the top compartment for convenient transportation and storage.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Corded
  • Modes of operation: Hammer and drill
  • Chuck size: ½-inch

Pros

  • All-in-one carrying case
  • 3,000-rpm operation
  • Included 100-piece drill bit set
  • Removable auxiliary handle

Cons

  • Corded operation limits maneuverability

Our Verdict

If you need a powerful hammer drill that won’t run out of battery in the middle of operation, opt for the corded Tacklife, but if you prefer to keep your tools cord-free for superior maneuverability, then a better option is the DeWalt 20V MAX Compact hammer drill.

How We Chose the Best Hammer Drills

There are many hammer drill models on the market, and manufacturers are regularly updating their products to incorporate the latest advancements in the industry. This means that even a single manufacturer will typically have several different hammer drill models to choose from. With this in mind, it was necessary to extensively research over 30 products to put together this list of the best hammer drills.

To sift through the selection of products, we considered the power source, the various modes of operation, and the power output as indicated by the voltage, amperage, and top speed. Also, any products that included additional features, like a carrying bag, an accessory kit, or a removable auxiliary handle, were preferred over similar products that lacked these extra features.

FAQs

Even after selecting a new hammer drill for your workshop, you may have additional questions. Take a look below to find the answers to several commonly asked questions about the capabilities of a hammer drill, the difference between a hammer drill and a regular drill, the average life of a hammer drill, and more.

Q. What is a hammer drill best used for?

Hammer drills are primarily designed for light masonry work. The added hammer function allows them to impact harder materials, like mortar and brick, while the rotational force drives a neat drill hole through the material.

Q. What is the difference between a regular drill and a hammer drill?

The main difference between a regular drill and a hammer drill is that a regular drill can only rotate the drill bit. A hammer drill, as the name indicates, has a hammering motion that impacts the target material with the tip of the drill bit. At the same time, the drill bit is rotating, allowing the combination of forces to drive through tough mortar, brick, and concrete.

Q. Can you use a hammer drill bit with a regular drill?

A hammer drill bit or a masonry bit can be used in a regular drill, though you may have difficulty drilling large-diameter holes through concrete and other tough material with a regular drill.

Q. Can a hammer drill go through rebar?

With the right drill bit, you can use a hammer drill to drill through rebar, though it may take some time. If you are regularly dealing with rebar, it may be better to consider using a rotary hammer drill.

Q. How long does a hammer drill last?

A hammer drill will typically last about 5 to 10 years, depending on the frequency of use and the level of care taken during routine maintenance.