For anyone looking to put together an essential DIY kit, a hammer drill is a must have. Mainly used for drilling in concrete and masonry, they offer much more power than a standard electric drill.
While you might be tempted to consider a cordless hammer drill for convenience, for some job they’re just not up to the challenge.
In this article I’ll take you through what I believe are the best corded hammer drills in 2020. This is followed up with a detailed buying guide on what exactly you need to look for. I’ve spent time researching the products to give you everything you need to choose the best corded hammer drill for you.
Our Top Picks for Best Corded Hammer Drills 2020
Here’s a quick roundup of the best corded hammer drills:
- Top Pick – DEWALT DW511 Corded Hammer Drill
- Top Value Pick – Black & Decker DR670 Hammer Drill
- Makita HR2475 Hammer Drill
- Bosch 1191VSRK Hammer Drill
- SKIL 6445-04 Hammer Drill
Top Pick- DEWALT DW511 Corded Hammer Drill
The main thing I look for in a corded hammer drill is a good power-to-weight ratio. The DEWALT drill has exactly this. At only 4.3lbs, it’s lightweight enough that you won’t get tired from using it, even when you have some long jobs on the go.
The drill’s rotating 360 degree side handle, which gives you better control and precision. It also features a depth rod, which improves the depth accuracy and saves you checking how far you’ve drilled. In my opinion this saves a lot of time, even on simple jobs.
Its motor pulls 8.5 Amps and has overload protection, meaning you don’t have to worry about the drill burning out. What’s more, it offers variable drilling speed so you can drill through a variety of materials with greater control.
The only issue I found is that the drill goes slow through harder materials. With some patience this isn’t a problem but just takes some getting used to.
|Max. Speed||2700 RPM|
|Item Weight||4.3 lbs|
- Lightweight and easy to use.
- 360 degree rotating side handle for comfort and precision.
- Variable drilling speed.
- Drill heats up quite quickly.
- Slow going through harder materials.
Overall for me, the DEWALT is the best hammer you can buy. It works well on masonry and concrete, but be careful on harder materials.
Top Value Pick – Black & Decker DR670 Hammer Drill
Value isn’t always something that’s easy to spot with power tools. It’s not just a case of looking at the price, you also need to consider features and quality. The Black+Decker seems to tick all the boxes for me. This drill offers quality and precision at an affordable price point.
Compared to other hammer drills, this is quite compact. This makes it much better for jobs in tight spaces, and it obviously takes up less space in your tool box!
The side handle is ergonomic, making it good for longer jobs. It also features a depth rod for added precision, helping you to save time. The chuck is keyless so it’s super easy to change drill bits mid job.
The only real issue I found with this drill is that the 6-Amp motor can heat up quite quickly when drilling through hard materials. But if you take your time and allow it to cool down this won’t be an issue.
|Max. Speed||2800 RPM|
|Item Weight||4.3 lbs|
- Compact size makes it perfect for tight spaces.
- Ergonomic side handle makes long drilling jobs easy.
- Keyless chuck makes changing drill bits simple.
- Drill can heat up quite quickly.
- Chuck Lock recessed and hard to press
The Black+Decker is a perfect midpoint drill that doesn’t sacrifice quality at the expense of price. It’s ideal for those needing a hammer drill for occasional jobs, particularly ones in tight spaces.
Makita HR2475 Hammer Drill
One thing I’ve noticed with hammer drills is that they’re prone to damage if the drill bit binds. However, once I found the Makita, with its limiting clutch, my concerns disappeared. The clutch stops the drill if the bit has any problems.
Its 120-Volt, 7-Amp motor spins up to 1100 RPM and provides up to 4500 BPM delivering a whopping 2.7 joules of impact energy. Combined this package is powerful enough to make light work of your drilling job, even hard concrete.
Unlike other models, it also has a hammer only function, meaning you don’t have to engage the drill rotation if you don’t need it. Instead it just uses the drills hammer to impact a chisel for chipping away at brittle materials. This makes it a versatile product with a lot more uses than some of its competitors.
It also has 40 angle settings for when you’re using a chisel. This gives you more flexibility when chipping away at masonry, without having to change your position.. In my opinion this is a great all-rounder.
One think to consider is that its chuck only fits SDS drill bits. The drill comes with bits, but this can be annoying if you already have a set.
My only issue with this drill is the weight. It’s not the heaviest drill on my list but it comes pretty close. Unfortunately this does seem like the price you have to pay for a seriously heavy duty drill.
|Max. Speed||1100 RPM|
|Item Weight||6.6 lbs|
- 7-Amp motor is powerful enough for most materials.
- Chisel angle adjustment
- Limiting clutch helps protect the gears from damage.
- Slightly on the heavy side.
- Only takes SDS type drill bits.
The Makita is a functional and versatile drill that’s ideal for a home DIY kit. It’s powerful enough to take care of any jobs you have without having to pay a professional price tag.
Bosch 1191VSRK Hammer Drill
Size to power ratio is always a big concern of mine, as I look for products that’ll work in tight spaces but will still get the job done fast. Luckily this is exactly what the Bosch offers.
It has an easy-lock 360 degree side handle, this gives you plenty of versatility, even in hard to reach places. Weighing in at 4.1lbs, this drill is ideal for long jobs too as your arms won’t get tired.
The drill has drill only and hammer drill functions, making it suitable for drilling in both masonry, metal or wood.
The only real downside I could find with the Bosch is that the reverse switch isn’t in a great location and can be flipped easily. But once you’re aware of this it doesn’t take much to not flip it while the drill is in use.
|Max. Speed||3000 RPM|
|Item Weight||4.1 lbs|
- Compact and lightweight.
- Easy-lock side handle features a depth gauge.
- Ergonomic design makes it suitable for longer jobs.
- Design is slight top-heavy so two-handed use is a must.
- Reverse switch isn’t in the best location.
This Bosch drill is a good combination of size and power that makes it ideal for a range of masonry jobs. Once you’re used to its design you should have few problems with things like the reverse switch.
SKIL 6445-04 Hammer Drill
Being able to control your speed is definitely a useful feature on a hammer drill because it allows you to work on different materials. This SKIL drill has exactly this feature, making it a great versatile product.
Its heavy duty 1/2-inch keyed chuck not only fits large masonry bits, but also large drill bits for other jobs like woodworking. This is helpful because it saves you having to switch tools mid job if you’re changing between materials.
Perhaps one of the best features on this drill is that it has a built-in chuck key holder. This doesn’t sound like much, but anyone who works with tools will know how frustrating it can be to lose your chuck key when in the middle of a job!
My only negative of this drill is it can have a bit of difficulty going through harder materials. But if you take it slow and have patience then this isn’t a problem.
|Max. Speed||3000 RPM|
|Item Weight||7 lbs|
- Accepts large bits, making it a good all-round tool.
- Built-in chuck key holder.
- 7-Amp motor provides a good level of power.
- Really heavy.
- Side handle and depth gauge are one unit.
The SKIL drill is a good product for at-home use, particularly if you don’t want to own several drills. It provides enough torque to get through a job, but you just have to be patient in harder materials.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Corded Hammer Drill
As with any power tool, there are plenty of factors to consider when making the right choice. Below is all the information you need to select the best hammer drill for your needs.
A drill’s motor is an important thing to get right because it provides the power. For a hammer drill, it needs to be powerful enough to go through hard materials like concrete or metal.
Most corded hammer drills will have a 7-Amp motor fitted. Generally speaking, this is enough power to get through hard materials. During your research you might have seen both brushed and brushless motors. So what’s the difference?
In short, brushed motors use carbon brushes to transfer electricity to the motor to create an electro-magnetic field. Brushless motors, however, use permanent magnets so no brushes are needed. This helps to cut down on friction and heat while also improving performance and lifespan.
In general, brushless motors are better because they need little maintenance and last longer. Brushes wear down with use and leave dust in the motor, which needs cleaning out to continue working. Try and buy a brushless motor drill if possible.
This is a really simplified explanation, and for the purposes of selecting a drill motor it’s good enough. However if you’re interested in reading in more detail read this great article: What’s The Difference Between Brush DC And Brushless DC Motors?
The best hammer drills will also come with overload protection. This is important to ensure that the motor doesn’t stall if the drill bit becomes lodged while drilling. If this does happen the overload protection will kick in and kill the power to the motor and stop it from burning out.
Much like the type of motor, power is another crucial factor in selecting the right hammer drill. It’s what sets them apart from regular drills. A hammer drill is better than a regular drill for jobs like masonry, concrete and metal because they have more power and torque.
Hammer drills operate up to a maximum of 3,000 RPM. Though the upper limit specified is normally the no-load speed. This literally means the maximum speed the drill bit will spin when you’re not drilling through any material.
If you want to drill through a range of materials then you might find a drill with a variable speed pretty useful. Metal requires slower speeds at high torque, and so a hammer drill with variable speed options is a good choice here.
Torque is the amount of force required to rotate the drill and is a good measure of its power. Having control over a drill’s torque makes it more versatile. You can switch between low torque for screwing jobs and high torque for masonry and metal jobs.
If you want a single all-round drill, look for one with variable torque. While you can use a hammer drill for smaller jobs, you’re more likely to overdrive the screw or strip its head in the process.
BPM stands for “blow per minute” and relates to the drill’s hammer function. It means the drill bit moves in and out at speed while drilling the hole. This is what makes hammer drills suitable for working in masonry.
You might have wondered, can you drill into masonry without a hammer drill? While it’s possible, the hammer setting and BPM is exactly what makes the job easier. The drill bit blows in and out rapidly to chip away at brittle materials and make the process easier.
Hammer drills can deliver up to 48,000BPM, and the higher the number, the faster it’ll drill through hard materials. While there isn’t a set number to aim for, higher is generally better if you’re working with concrete, but lower BPM will be fine for bricks and masonry.
A drill’s clutch is the part that controls the torque and sits behind the chuck. You’d recognize it if you looked at a picture of the drill because it’s the collar with numbers and symbols on it.
The clutch allows you to prevent issues like overdriving when working in different materials. This is useful on a hammer drill because you need different levels of power for things like metal, masonry and wood.
Controlling torque also protects the drill’s motor as you won’t be overworking it. Not all drills have the same clutch settings, but check out this video for more detailed information on working a drill’s clutch.
A drill’s chuck is another important piece: it’s what holds the drill bit in place. Hammer drills will either have a keyed or keyless chuck. A keyed chuck is generally more secure because you can get more leverage on the key handle to really crank up the jaws.
But a keyless chuck is more convenient for switching between bits at speed. The only real downside of a keyless chuck is that the drill bits are often not as secure and can sometimes come loose when put under strain.
SDS stands for “slotted drive system.” With SDS bits there is a groove cut into the shank. When the drill bit is inserted into the chuck there are sprung ball bearings which slide into the grooves. Creating a positive drive from the chuck to the drill bit.
Unlike normal chucks which rely on friction from clamping, SDS bits are unable to move while drilling. This means the maximum rotational power is transferred.
All SDS drill bit shanks are the same and have a diameter of 10mm. However, you can’t use SDS drill bits in a regular hammer drill.
Normal Drill Bits
A standard hammer drill uses normal bits, which don’t have a notch. They’re held in place using a clamp mechanism you might be familiar with from regular drills. The main advantage to this is that you can use a normal bit set.
If you already own drill bits, opt for a standard hammer drill. But if you’re buying everything, then go for an SDS hammer drill because it’s more efficient and powerful.
You should consider a drill’s weight when buying because you’ll have to hold it for as long as you’re using it. A heavier drill will be more difficult to use for long periods of time and can lead to fatigue. This in turn can reduce accuracy.
A comfortable weight for a hammer drill is around 4-4.5lbs. Anything more than this and you’ll tire easily, particularly working at difficult angles.
However if you need a really heavy duty drill for heavy drilling tasks you might have no choice but to go for a heavier drill.
Comfort and Ergonomics
As with weight, comfort is important when buying a drill. You want something that’s easy and ergonomic to hold for long periods of time, particularly when working in hard materials.
A good hammer drill will have a rotating side handle for both left- and right-handed people. Ideally both handles should have some kind of grip, and cushioning is a big plus.
Most side handles are made from plastic, but look out for ones that are more stable. It should have a strong locking mechanism to keep it in place while you’re using the drill too.
Most hammer drills will come with a 1-year warranty that covers malfunction or breakdown. This is useful when spending a bit of money on a power tool, as you want it to function well.
If you want extra protection, look out for ones that offer 3-year extended warranty. However, there are other ways to protect your tools, such as insurance, so this shouldn’t be a make or break.
As you can see, choosing the best corded hammer drill involves quite a few different factors. Hopefully this detailed buying guide can help you to narrow down your choices to find the best model for your needs.
Our most highly recommended corded hammer drill in 2020 is definitely the DEWALT DW511 Corded Hammer Drill. It’s a powerful and versatile drill that’ll cover all at-home jobs with ease. What’s more, it’s lightweight and functional, so is great for even the tightest spots.
If you don’t think this drill is right for you, then I hope one of the others on the list will be suitable. Finding the right balance between power and price is important, but luckily there are a few options.