Cordless Hammer Drill

This cordless hammer drill review is part of a multiple articles cordless drill review series, to help you evaluate which cordless drill is the right for you. The main review on cordless drills is here.

The cordless hammer drill action is nowadays found on many drills. When first introduced on cordless drills, the hammer movement was not very powerful or a very reliable feature. With improvements in power cell technology and popularity of cordless batteries, and the hammer feature cordless drills has received greater and greater esteem. Let's look at the cordless hammer drill to see if it is really a viable alternative for a professional woodworker:

Do you need hammer action on a cordless drill?

The hammer action allows you to drill holes quickly into stone or any kind of masonry type material. While still rotating, the chuck and drill bit is still pushed forward usually by a spring sitting on an eccentric flange inside the cordless drills gearbox. This backward and forward movement is what causes a kind of "hammer" action pushing the drill bit forward.

Advantages of Cordless Hammer Drills:

  • Versatility - The cordless drill can be used more versatile. For limited - small holes (up to 1/2") in masonry material.
  • All in One - You do not need a separate (corded) hammer drill for a couple of holes on site.

Disadvantages of a Cordless Hammer Drill:

  • Run-Out - By design the hammer action allows the chuck to be pushed forward and backward. This additional movement gives the chuck of a cordless hammer drill a much larger run-out or "wobble". Leading to less precision for the overall power tool.
  • Larger - Heavier Drill - Depending on how well the hammer drill is designed, the hammer-gear adds to the overall lengths and weight of the cordless drill. Certainly not a big factor, but if handling is important to you, skip the hammer feature.

To me, the hammer action is not important in my daily woodworking workshop. I prefer my separate Bosch cordless pneumatic hammer drill which got decent ratings, giving me way more power and durability.

So, if a normal cordless hammer drill might not be a viable choice for a professional, what about a pneumatic or cordless rotary hammer drill ?

Cordless SDS Hammer Drills

If you are looking for solid hammer action with your cordless drill, than you definitely want to have a good look at a professional cordless sds drill.

What is the difference between a cordless hammer drill and a cordless pneumatic hammer drill ?
As opposed to normal cordless hammer drills, the SDS or cordless pneumatic hammer drill pushes the drill bit forward using a mechanized piston. This pneumatic action provides a much larger drill bit movement and allows for much larger and deeper hole drilling even in concrete and stone type material.

Professional cordless pneumatic hammer drills are starting from 18 V (Makita a.o.) to 24 Volt up to 36 V (Bosch a.o.).

Most cordless rotary hammers allow SDS drill bits and chisels to be fitted. Bosch's SDS-plus which gives the name to SDS is certainly the most widely used fitments system on cordless hammer drills.

Bosch Cordless SDS Drill Simple Drill Bit Change Using SDS Hammer Drill Bits
Easy Drill bit change using SDS - plus hammer drill bits. The grooves on the shank of the SDS drill bit allow for a much wider movement within the chuck mechanism. Transporting the hammer action more direct to the material.
Changing a Bosch Cordless SDS Drill from Drilling to Hammer-Only Mode Using a cordless pneumatic hammer drill for simple chiseling applications. Depending on the brand, cordless rotary hammer drills start at 18 Volts - here a cordless Makita hammer drill.

To sum it up, if you really need constant reliable hammer drilling, you should definitely look into cordless SDS hammer drills , rather than using the conventional hammer action on a cordless drill.

The hammer drill feature of a standard cordless drill might be sufficient for occasional use, but if you really looking for reliable long term hammer functionality on a cordless tool, you should look into pneumatic cordless SDS drills. After examining the hammer action on cordless drills, lets move on and look at key motor and gear components you want to examine before you decide on buying any cordless drill.
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