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What is a hammerdrill?

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A rotary hammer or commonly known as hammerdrill is a type of power tool which creates a hammering action to penetrate the drill into certain objects with ease. The hammering motion of this tool creates a rapid thrust to pulverize any delicate (and not so delicate) materials to drill through the object without exerting too much force.

The same technological concept is also used in other tools such as the demolition hammer, chipping guns, and breakers.

The hammerdrill is also referred to as “roto-drill” and “hammering drill” and is usually electrically powered. However, battery powered models are also becoming more popular due to its portability and mobility in terms of usage (cordless technology).




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The origin of the hammering drill is a matter of debate. The Fein Company in Germany has patented the “Bohrmaschine mit elektro-pneumatischem Schlagwerk” and sold it to the public in 1914. On the other hand, Hilti made the Hilti TE 17 in 1967 which is dubbed as the “first electro pneumatic hammer” while the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation claim that they have made the same kind of tool (a 1/4 inch electrical powered cam action hammerdrill) and have been selling it since 1935. Moreover, Bosch Company which is a reputable electronics company in Germany has also invented their version of the rotary hammer called the “Bosch-Hammer” and was mass produced around 1932.




Basically, there are 2 types of premium hammerdrills which are commonly used by everybody today and these are the ‘Cam-Action (percussion)’ and the ‘Electro-pneumatic’:

1. Cam-Action is also referred to as percussion hammering mechanism. This concept works with 2 sets of toothed gears which interact with each other to create a hammering action while the drill rotates. To be specific the chuck mechanism (chuck and bit) moves forward and backward as it rotates at the same time.

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Cam-Action rotary hammering drills can be used with or without the hammering motion, but it is not possible to use it with only the hammering motion as the rotation of the “cams” causes the drill to pound.

Cam-Action hammerdrills are often built for lower power units. They are not recommended to be used for heavy duty construction drilling, but only for occasional drilling of concrete and other hard surfaced materials.

2. Electro-pneumatic types of premium hammerdrills are often reserved for bigger and more advanced power units. Often called as “rotary hammers”, they utilize a kind of technology called the electro-pneumatic hammering mechanism to pulverize tougher surfaces with a bigger impact force. The piston and the hammer of the tool do not actually touch, but the “EP” chamber creates air pressure which then initiates the transfer of a stronger and more efficient hammering energy as compared to the cam-action counterparts.

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The majority of the rotary hammers as well as the electrically powered chipping guns and jack hammers being used today are manufactured using this kind of technology. They are preferred to be used in massive industrial work as modern units allow their hammer and rotation mechanism to be used as separate modes or as both. When the hammer mode function of the tool is used, the electro-pneumatic hammering drill provides as similar used to that of a jackhammer tool.

Both types of hammering drills follow the same principle for drilling holes in stones and masonry. They are also used for creating holes in concrete footings where concrete wall forms are usually pinned. Other than that, they also drill holes to concrete surfaces so that wall framings can be attached.

Larger units of rotary hammers are also utilized for doweling as well as creating holes through masonry walls and other concrete surfaces. The hammering motion of the tool helps break up the concrete so that it can be easily removed by the drill bit’s flutes while initiating the drilling process.




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The clutch component of the hammering drill is specifically designed to spin the drill bit while simultaneously hammering it along the bit’s axis in an ‘in and out’ motion at the same time. The actual distance where the bit travels and the force of the blows exerted are relatively small and the hammering action happens very fast that it creates a thousand blow per minute (BPM) or 1,000 impacts per minute (IPM). Although the distance is quite small, the repeated blows created by the tool are good enough to break up hard surfaces such as cement or brick as the spiral flutes of the drill bit whisk all the debris away. This makes the rotary hammer a more favorable tool compared to a regular drill as it has the capacity to drill through concrete faster and with less physical force exerted. Moreover, it is also the tool of choice for creating holes for anchors bolts, wall plugs, and concrete screws.

Almost all hammer drills have a button or switch to turn on or turn off the special “hammer clutch” function when needed. This will enable its user to utilize the tool for fragile materials such as wood or metal. There is no denying that rotary hammers are more expensive and bulkier than conventional hand drills, but they are more preferred to be used in applications where quick drilling is required.



Safety Tips

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Here are some of the things you need to know before using the hammerdrill:

  1. Read the User’s Manual before using the tool for the first time in actual drilling applications.
  2. Use appropriate safety equipments such as safety gloves and goggles to avoid your hands from being injured as well as preventing the concrete chips or debris to go through the eyes.
  3. Determine if the model of the drill is appropriate for the project you are going to do. Hence, the capacity of the battery matters. The battery of a cordless rotary hammer often comes in 6 volts to 36 volts. The more voltage you have, the more capable is the tool for completing any kind of job you can think of.



Featured Products

Here are some of the Premium Hammerdrills products that we can recommend for you to check out:

11. DEWALT D25763K 2-Inch SDS Max Combination Hammer Built to last as it is made by one of the most trusted brands in the industry, this handsome tool packs a lot of power for a small device. The product also features the Active Vibration Control which decreases the vibration of the rotary hammer every time you use it and 2-stage max. clutch to achieve optimum control during bind up situations. These features are part of the DEWALT’s Perform and Protect feature which you don’t normally find in other brands of hammerdrills.

Apart from having these remarkable attributes, the D25763K model also includes these other features: 15 Amp hi-power motor to provide you with the max. overload power and protection, 15.5 Joules of impact energy to help you attain max. performance during drilling and chipping situations, elec. variable speed to allow the user accurate control over the speed of the tool to effectively work on the material you are dealing with.

The rear handle of the tool provides convenience as you don’t have to bend over during drilling applications. And it also has a trigger lock to prevent fatigue on your part while doing chipping works. Truly, it’s one of the best rotary hammers to work with.

22. Metabo SB18 LTX 602147520 18-Volt Li-Ion Hammer Drill/Driver A premier tool in the Metabo product line, this model is one of the best cordless type of rotary hammers in the market today. There are so many reasons why you have to consider this tool and here are some of them:

– Light and extraordinarily compact for a hammering drill, it provides hassle free usage even if you are going to drill the toughest concrete or masonry.

– The design of the tool is based on a new technological concept where the torque clutch is virtually doubled so you can used it in a wider range of applications.

– The motor and the battery of the hammering tool are also based on a new concept to increase the power even after long periods of use.

– Batteries are protected even more through their Electronic Single Cell Protection (ESCP) to prevent overloading. This also helps increase the service life of the battery even further.

– Uses an AIR-COOLED charging technology so the battery packs are charged gently to prevent it from overheating. The same technology is also responsible for the battery’s fast charging capabilities.

– Has a 3-year on the tool as well as all the attachments that came with it.

33. PORTER-CABLE PCC620LB 20 MAX Lithium Ion Hammer Drill Kit This awesome tool boasts in being one of the most powerful hammering drills around as it can deliver serious pounding power of up to 27,200 BPM’s! What’s great about the PORTER-CABLE PPC620LB model is that it comes with 2-speed gear box so the user can accordingly to fit small or large applications. Aside from that, this tool offers a 1/2 inch metal racheting chuck which enables the rotary hammer to minimize drill bit slipping whenever used. And it has 23 chuck settings that you can take advantage of anytime you want.

Another cool feature that you don’t usually find in other rotary hammers is the battery gauge will allow you to see how much power is left before charging again through a charge display. Aside from that, it also comes with LED lights to allow you to work on dark areas and/or small working areas as well. The PORTER-CABLE PPC620LB model can be used on virtually any type of materials you can think of. Whether you’re working on concrete, metal, or even wood, this rotary hammer will surely deliver the kind of results you are looking for any time at all times.

44. Bosch HDH181-01 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brute Tough 1/2 Inch Heavy Duty Hammer Drill/Driver Kit With 2 Batteries, Charger, and Case The brand of this tool is synonymous to quality. So expect this tool to deliver at all times! Here’s what you get when you purchase the Bosch HDH181-01 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brute Tough 1/2 Inch Heavy Duty Hammer Drill/Driver Kit With 2 Batteries, Charger, and Case:

– Works at 2 heavy duty speeds of up to 420 RPM to 1,800 RPM while providing 700 inch-pound max. of torque. The gear box as well as the 4 frame motor provides extraordinary power of optimum efficiency.

– 25+1 clutch which you can adjust anytime you want (normally, other models only have up to 25 clutch settings).

– Housing of the tool is made of ABS/nylon composite (also referred to as Durashield) which makes it tough and flexible even to the harshest of impacts.

– Easy change of drill bits as it comes with a 1/2 keyless chuck. The nose is also reduced in weight without compromising the durability.

– The driver kit comes with a Slim pack and a Fat pack type of batteries which you can take advantage of in situations where you need to work for long hours or just prefer to use it lightweight.