On this page I have researched and reviewed some of the best cordless hammer drills available in the market today. Almost all drills these days have a hammer function and the first big decision you have to make is whether you want to buy a corded drill or a cordless one.
Just before you do that though I want to explain what a HAMMER function actually is and what you should look out for, when it comes to buying one.
What Is A Hammer Action In A Drill?
The only thing you will ever need a hammer function in a drill is to be able to easily drill through materials like concrete, brick, block, mortar or stone. You do not need a hammer function to drill through wood, metal or steel. Now most people will at some stage have the need to do this, so you may as well buy one that has that function.
The hammer action is measured in Bumps Per Minute (BPM). We all know that drilling is made possible by a sharp drill bit that is spinning at speed. It has flutes on it to allow the drilled material to escape out of the way. When you engage the hammer function on your drill, then it also bumps up and down really quickly and mimics a hammering action.
That in turn helps break down harder materials like brick and stone.
Hammer, Cordless or Corded?
When drilling through these tougher materials, power is your friend. You can buy what is called a “Dedicated Hammer Drill,” but they are usually corded, large, heavy and cumbersome to use. Most drills these days come with a hammer feature that you can turn on or off.
So our recommendation would be to buy a corded drill with a hammer feature, as that will always be best for this type of work as you have a high and constant source of electrical power. However for small jobs, or for work areas where there is limited or no access to power, then a cordless hammer will be your only option.
Back in the day, this was not an ideal solution as the batteries on most cordless drills were just not powerful enough. They were mainly 12V drills with old style batteries which simply neither generated enough power, nor held their charge that well. These days with the introduction of both 18V and 20V battery packs, along with longer lasting Lithium-Ion batteries the problem of power has been diminished. Corded is still better, but the cordless ones will also do a lot of work.
In this video the Handy Guys discuss what to use a hammer drill for. The real information starts at 1 minute into the video.
As explained in the video standard drills are fine for drilling wood or metal and there will never be a need for any type of hammer function. If you feel there is a need for you to be able to drill through masonry, then you need this hammering function, and you can get that in most of the cordless drills that are available in the market place.
Cautions for Drilling
Always use a masonry bit for drilling through concrete along with the hammer function. Never ever use an ordinary wood or metal drill bit to go through concrete or you will ruin the bit. It won’t drill the hole for you either and you will have ruined a perfectly good bit.
Again never use the hammer function for driving in screws. This is major mistake that many people make. They believe that it can really help hammer a screw deep into the wood.
Trust me you will wreck the driver bits in no time at all if you do this. If you are looking for something that drives screws deep into wood, and has a rotational hammering action, then you need an impact driver.
These impact drivers are great for working on projects like deck building, putting up fences, stud walling and other bigger and tougher jobs.
Settings on Your Cordless Drill
You can select the hammer function on most drills by rotating a switch to the symbol usually marked as a small hammer. Some drills have a drill setting and a hammer setting, and others have both of these and also a driver setting.
Never leave your drill set permanently on the hammer setting. When I was starting out I did this believing that it made drilling faster. Please never do that as each different setting should be used, depending on what type of activity you are doing.
Types of Cordless Hammer Drills
There are quite literally hundreds of these to choose from. Some of these are designed for heavy industrial work in construction and the trades. In the main though most of them are a combination of an ordinary drill, with a hammer function and a driver function. Most people doing projects will use that type, but if you are looking for a power house, then you will need to go for the industrial product.
The best selling product is the Dewalt DC970K-2 and if you click on that link you can read a full review of this super product. Many users these days are opting for the Makita brand, and the best seller in that range is the XPH06Z
Makita XPH06Z 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless
It costs just under $120 and is an ordinary drill with driver and hammer function. This delivers a pretty incredible 530 lbs of torque which for an 18V battery is amazing. This is down to what is called a brushless motor, another impressive piece of technology.
This is a 2-speed drill and weighs only 4 pounds so no arm fatigue when using this product. It is also small enough so great for working in small or confined spaces. There is also a useful battery gauge on this that shows the current battery life. It only takes half an hour to fully charge the battery.
In the main this one is liked as it is lightweight and yet delivers a lot of power. The hammer functionality on this one is second to none and I have used this one myself. You get a real nice sense of smooth power delivered to the tip of the bit, exactly where the power needs to be.
Makita have built up a very high reputation in the manufacturing of drills and people who make the switch to Makita, will not be left disappointed. Their batteries are also really well know for holding the charge, so that almost instantly makes them a popular choice.
The Industrial Style Cordless Hammer Drill
Again there are a number of these to pick from but you will pay around 1.5-2 times more as they are simply bigger and stronger than the combination style of cordless hammer drill. There will be an increased BPM impact, faster rotary speeds and more torque.
If you have the money then clearly these are better. Construction workers and various types of trade who have a lot of drilling to do will also own one just like the Hilti that I have shown here. These are really powerful hammer drills that can do the big tough jobs on a regular and consistent basis. You truly only need one of these type of hammer drills if you are taking on the really big jobs.
If those are one-off jobs then my advice would be to rent one of these out as these are not cheap.
Hopefully this page has helped you out with what hammer drills are and why you should buy a cordless one.