Picking The Best Hammer Drill For Concrete – Your Complete Guide!

Concrete is a super hard and dense building material which makes it one of the hardest building materials to be able to drill through. Without equipping yourself with the proper drill you will quickly find that you can burn yourself out.

With that said, I understand why you would want to know what the best hammer drill for concrete is. Or is a hammer drill even the right tool for the job?

That’s exactly what you are going to find out in this post… By the time that you are done reading this you’ll know if a hammer drill is even the right tool for your job and if it is, what hammer drill will be best for drilling concrete.

If you decide that a hammer drill is not the right drill for your specific application then we will go over what is the best type of drill for concrete.

Difference Between Hammer Drill And Rotary Hammer

Before we dive too deeply into this article I think we should start by going over the differences between a hammer drill and a rotary hammer drill.

Hammer drills and rotary hammer drills are both very similar in the way that they hammer the drill bit, in turn pulverizing the concrete while the bit spins. But the mechanisms that make them perform this hammering function are very different.

The hammering mechanism of a simple hammer drill.

The hammering mechanism in a hammer drill is actually quite simple (pictured above). The way that this works is by using a set of toothed discs. When you apply force to the discs it causes them to rub one another, then separate and smash back down. This motion causes the drill to send hammering to the bit as it spins. See the demonstration below. This type of mechanism does not deliver that much punch.

Next, let’s look at how a rotary hammer drill delivers force to the concrete drill bit. you’ll notice that it is quite different.

Rotary Hammer Drill Mechanism at work.

You’ll notice how the rotary hammer uses a piston in order to deliver the hammering force to the drill. The piston offers a much more powerful blow than the disc system that the hammer drill uses. Which means that a rotary hammer is far more efficient when you want to drill larger holes in a shorter amount of time. Below is another style of rotary hammer.

Another important difference to mention is the chuck system that a rotary hammer drill uses compared to a regular hammer drill. Unlike the hammer drill the rotary hammer uses an SDS chuck which is designed to withstand more hammering action. It is also specifically designed to enhance the hammering feature of the rotary hammer drill while staying securely in place. See the SDS drill bits below.

SDS plus and SDS max drill bits

What Type Of Drill Is Best For Concrete?

In general a hammer drill is designed more for less dense masonry such as brick or mortar. Whereas a rotary hammer drill is definitely a better choice if you are drilling concrete. With that said though, a hammer drill will certainly perform well enough for small concrete jobs.

That’s why this is kind of a loaded question. Although a rotary hammer drill is best for concrete it doesn’t mean that it is best for all applications or scenarios. It really depends on the task or number of tasks that you are looking to perform with your drill. That is like asking what is the best vehicle. You don’t know what the vehicle is being used for, is it speed, is it off roading, is it city driving etc. And until I know that it’s hard to choose. That’s why I have decided to give you a couple of questions to ask yourself before you choose the right drill for your needs.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Choosing the Right Drill For Your Needs

Question #1: How often will you use a hammer drill? It is important that you decide realistically how often you will be using your drill. If you are a commercial contractor or serious DIYer then obviously you will have different needs than somebody who just plans on using it once and putting it on the shelf to rest.

For somebody who needs to drill a couple of small holes and may never need to use the features of a hammer drill again, a hammer drill will certainly suffice.

On the other hand, if you are a contractor or a serious DIY home owner who can see yourself using a hammer drill quite often a rotary hammer drill would certainly be your best bet. Even a cheap rotary hammer drill will far outperform ant regular hammer drill on the market.

Question #2: What size of holes do you need to drill into concrete? If you just plan to drill a couple small holes into concrete then it would be safe to say that you do not need to go with anything too extreme. If this is you then a hammer drill should do the job for you.

On the other hand, the last thing that you want to do is end up coming up short if you are drilling larger holes into concrete. Typically anytime you are drilling a hole 3/8″ or bigger you’ll find that a regular hammer drill will not cut it. You’ll need to use as rotary hammer drill for sure.

Question #3: Do you need an electric hammer drill or will a battery powered hammer drill serve you better?When deciding on a hammer drill for concrete you should consider whether you need battery or electric. So you need to look at few different things like, do you have access to power where you plan to drill because if you do not then obviously you should look at a battery powered drill.

Also, often times with battery powered drills you will run into a lack of power and not be able to get the job done or you will find that the job is too big and you will be changing out batteries often and slowing yourself down in the long run.

The Best Hammer Drill For Concrete

Now you should know whether you can make do with a hammer drill or whether you need a rotary hammer drill. But basically I’m sure that you understand by this point that a hammer drill is really only good for drilling small holes. Additionally their not great for drilling too many holes.

Here are our top picks for the best hammer drill for concrete.

1. Dewalt DWD520 Pistol Grip Hammer Drill – Our Top Hammer Drill Pick

Dewalt is a top contender when it comes to most tools in the concrete industry and this certainly stands true when it comes to finding the right hammer drill to get the job done efficiently.

The Dewalt DWD520 Hammer Drill, drilling into a concrete wall.

The Dewalt DWD520 is packing a 2 speed, 10 amp motor that is designed to be able to not only pack the punch required to blast through concrete but also withstand the abuse you are going to throw at it.

Due to the metal gear housing you will find that the Dewalt DWD520 Hammer Drill is a little on the heavier side but for that same reason, it is also more durable and reliable at the end of the day.Click Here For More Information About The Dewalt DWD520

2.Dewalt DCD996P2 20V Max XR – Our Top Cordless Hammer Drill Pick

Again, I decided to pick another Dewalt product as our pick for the top cordless hammer drill. What can I say, Dewalt just it figured out I guess. They only other cordless hammer drill that I may have picked but didn’t due to its hefty price tag is the Festool 574708

Drilling concrete with the Dewalt DCD996 cordless hammer drill

The Dewalt DCD996P2 cordless hammer drill is a beast as far as cordless hammer drills are concerned. The brushless motor is paired up with a 3 speed high performance transmission for faster application speeds and an improved run time. And on top of that it is delivering 250 blows per minute which means you can take advantage of faster drilling into concrete.

Click Here For More Information About The Dewalt DCD996P2

The Best Rotary Hammer Drill For Concrete?

As you should already know, if your serious about drilling concrete then a regular hammer drill just simply will not cut it. You are far better off to spend a few extra dollars and get yourself a rotary hammer drill.

Here is a list of our top pick for the best rotary hammer drills for concrete. These picks are in no way in order, in fact our top pick overall is at the bottom of the list. But the other 2 are certainly great picks as well.

1. Makita HR4013C 1-9/16″ AVT Rotary Hammer – Top Pick For Professionals

If you plan to use your drill for professional use then I would highly recommend the Makita HR4013C as the best rotary hammer drill for concrete.

This Makita rotary hammer drill is powered by an impressive 11 amp motor that will make sure that you will never be looking for more power in order to get the job done. Pair that motor with sequential impact timing and you have a rotary hammer with one of the fastest drilling speeds on the market.

And that’s not all has an electronic controller that helps to deliver steady speeds while your drilling. And a variable speed control for greater versatility.

Click Here For More Information About The Makita HR4013C

2. DEWALT DC212B – Our Top Cordless Rotary Hammer Pick

If a cordless rotary hammer drill is the way that you want to go then the Dewalt DC212B would certainly be my first choice when I was choosing a hammer drill for concrete.

  • Provides the power of a corded drill without the cord
  • Very light weight at only 5.25 lbs
  • Exceptional anti vibration features
  • Blasts holes up to 7/8 in diameter
  • 360 degree side handle for ease of use
  • Backed by Dewalt’s 3 year limited warranty

Click Here For More Information About The Dewalt DC212B

3. Bosch 11255VSR BULLDOG Xtreme – Our Top All Around Pick

If you want an all-around solution for drilling concrete then this is probably the best rotary hammer drill for concrete that I could recommend. It is definitely one of our all-time favourites.

  • It has a price point that makes sense for both an average DIYer and a serious contractor
  • It is very light and easy to use so you won’t kill your arms on those bigger jobs
  • Has plenty of power to get the job done with its powerful 7.5 amp motor
  • It is corded so you do not need to worry about batteries
  • Has rotary hammer, hammer only and rotation only modes.
  • Backed by Bosch’s 1 year repair and replacement warranty

Click Here For More Information About The Bosch 11255VSR


If you feel that a hammer drill is in fact the right tool for the job then the Dewalt DWD520 is probably your best choice when it comes to hammer drills for concrete. It’s tough design and 2 speed, 10 amp motor will give a fighting chance against most small concrete drilling projects you have.

I hope that you found value in this post and were able to find the best hammer drill for concrete to suit your own personal needs. As I mentioned earlier in this post my all-time favourite is the Bosch 11255VSR Rotary Hammer which you can get more information on by reading our review here.

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  1. James S. Bean

    Nice articles about the best hammer drill for concrete.

  2. Concrete Tool Reviews

    Thanks James, glad you enjoy the site


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