Top 10 Rotary Hammers of 2017

Our technological world is full of DIY ideas and schemes. If you are looking to ditch the expense of a contractor and take the tools into your own hands, a rotary hammer drill is one of the best tools you can purchase for large scale jobs. 2017 is the year for buying best rotary hammers so worry not if you’re shopping for the first time.

These products are constantly tested and improved upon by industry-experts and professionals who make their living by this tool. Using our list, we believe you can find the right rotary hammer for any task.
Top 10 Rotary Hammers of 2017

When it comes to drilling holes through tough materials, nothing gets us excited like the rotary hammer. Who can argue with a tool that lets you complete a task in 5 minutes that would usually take an hour?

Such is the power of the rotary hammer: from tough demolition projects to anything that needs drilling on a wall, the rotary hammer drill is one of the most efficient tools available. Likewise, there’s nothing we appreciate more than a single tool that has the versatility to complete many tasks. The rotary drill fits both bills: it cuts down on the time it takes to perform a variety of tough tasks. When you are facing down a wall made of a stubborn material, it’s time to put down that standard electric drill and up your game!


The Rotary Hammer Drill 2017

The smart handyman knows that step one for any project is matching the right tool to the job. With the right tool, drilling through masonry can be as easy as drilling through wood. And for the toughest projects, there is only one choice: the rotary hammer. The rotary hammer drill is just what it sounds like: a rotary drill with a hammering action. The difference between the rotary hammer and the hammer drill is of impact energy you generate- with the rotary hammer option; you can produce a lot more.


The pneumatic power behind the rotary hammer

There’s a reason why the rotary hammer is the preferred tool of professional construction workers: the amount of impact energy you can generate with a rotary hammer is in another category entirely from the standard hammer drill. This is because of the type of hammer action: while a standard hammer drill uses a mechanical hammer action, the rotary hammer operates pneumatically: it creates its powerful hammering action by utilizing a piston driven by a crankshaft which generates air pressure that drives the hammer mechanism. In the end, by combining the rotary mechanism of a drill with the powerful percussive action of a hammer, you are saving yourself a fair bit of sweat.

Features of rotary hammers that make them worth the money

The tools represented on our list have at least two modes of action, and most have three. You can choose to drill only, hammer only, or drill and hammer. This diversity is a signal to their importance: a good rotary hammer drill allows you to drill clean holes through the obdurate material with minimal dust, but it will also enable you to switch into a chisel mode that allows for masonry removal. Variable speed is quite important because it allows you to adjust the speed of the drill to account for different tasks.

For example, boring small holes requires a fast speed while large boring holes require a slower speed. If your rotary hammer has an only one-speed setting, you are going to have fewer options for the type of hole you bore.

Furthermore, all the drills on our list include a depth rod. This is a valuable tool that allows you to set the depth you wish your rotary hammer to reach; once you hit this target, the drill will let you know. Lastly, the configuration of the rotary hammer drill is quite important when it comes to physical fatigue. A horizontal design is better for overhead and downward drilling, while a vertical format is better for drilling straight on. Some drills on our list come with detachable D-grips which allow for better control and sustained drilling while preventing fatigue. This is another important distinction that should inform your buying decision: how long will you be drilling for?

Drive systems

A further consideration is what kind of drive system you need. Slotted Drive System bits let the bit articulate in the chuck and boost the hammering effect of the tool while still allowing for a good degree of torque. Slotted Drive System Max bits are larger and more powerful and should only be considered for the most heavy duty of jobs.

The SDS Max is a newer technology that is making waves in the rotary hammer market. It is a more streamlined mechanism that works by transferring more hammering power to the bit itself. This results in faster drilling.

Lightweight vs. durability

It is important to know that the most difficult choice you will have to make is when choosing your rotary hammer drill because it centers around the type of work you will be doing. A lightweight drill is going to cause less fatigue, allowing you to work for longer periods of time. However, they won’t have the same durability as a more heavy duty tool. If you are someone who consistently works with more obdurate materials, or someone who just flat out uses their tool a lot, durability is always going to be the better option. Our list reflects a range of weights, and you will find that the heavier tools are more powerful and, therefore, the ones more trusted by professionals.

Rotary drills for beginners

You know you have a project ahead that involves boring holes or demolishing some hard material, but you’ve never worked with a rotary drill hammer before? We suggest you start with a corded-power option. Chances are if this is a one-time or first-time DIY project, you are going to be using the rotary hammer on-site. Corded-power options offer more power than their battery-powered counterparts and don’t require you to stop for recharging purposes. Furthermore, there is a wide variety available at different price ranges to fit your budget.

What’s the deal behind SDS?

SDS stands for “Special Direct System” and refers to the highest grade of rotary hammer drills. These are the professional grade tools with the most power and best specs that should make quick work of hard projects like concrete demolition. Further advantages of the SDS drills include a more efficient chuck and bit system, which is designed to prevent the slippage that often occurs with standard hammer drills. Accordingly, they are the tool of choice for professionals in the concrete world. Because of the high capabilities of SDS rotary hammer drills, you are looking at paying a lot more for their services. It is worth evaluating the level of your task(s) to determine if you want to splash the cash on an SDS grade rotary hammer drill or if something a bit lower grade can still get your job done. Our list below reflects tools rated SDS and below so that you can make an informed decision at the time of purchase.

Make sure you get the most bang for your buck with our list of the top 10 rotary hammers of 2017.

In theory, the rotary drill should make drilling through tough material an easy task. But if your drill isn’t up to scratch, you could be leaving yourself short. Each year, the technology of rotary hammer drills becomes a little more refined: nothing more finely underlines this than the advances of batteries in power tools. We are now approaching a line where lithium-ion batteries can provide near the same amount of power as a cord, without tethering you to the wall. Some of this year’s offerings have even included the subtle, but important feature of an LED-light to inform you about the battery status. Other advances include upgrades in motor power (as reflected by our overall winner), drill speed and impact energy. This is the trifecta of factors which most people search for when purchasing rotary hammer drill.

Things to keep in mind pre-purchase

 

Here are the factors that matter most to people when purchasing rotary hammer:

Dimensions: size and weight of the tool. It is important that your tool feels comfortable in hand. Remember that the whole point of the rotary hammer is to make a task easier- if your tool is too heavy or awkward in hand, it is defeating its purpose.

DIY Versatility: 2-mode versus 3-mode rotary hammers. Be sure to choose a tool with three modes if you are going to be doing a wider range of work. The 3-mode SDS hammer drills offer the most versatility. While costing a bit more in price, they offer more power and versatility to your project.

Battery versus cord-powered: Corded rotary hammer drills offer the most power but require you to stay close to an outlet or use a heavy-duty extension cord. Battery-powered drills are approaching the same power output while offering you the portability of cordless drilling. Overall, for the toughest projects, it is recommended to stick with corded power, while for anything in the medium range, a lithium-ion battery tool should get the job done.

Rating of Torque: its torque rating indicates the rotating power of your drill. If the rating is high, this increases the strength of twisting it provides. It is important to note that torque does not refer to how fast the drill turns, but instead the force which the drill produces to turn a given object.

Drill speed: keep in mind the demands of your project. For anything but the most heavy duty work, a drill that offers between 1200 – 1500 RPM is sufficient.

Hammering power: measured in blows per minute (BPM), this refers to the power of the drill’s hammering action. Rotary hammer drills have a lower BPM than hammer drills because each blow produces more power.

Impact energy: measured in joules, this is even more important than the amp power of your motor. The tougher the material, the more important the impact energy generated by your tool becomes. But on the other hand are your hands! A well-engineered tool will absorb the majority of the vibration before it reaches your hands so which you can keep plugging away without your hands feeling the fatigue

Motor: for low-medium duty projects, select in the range of 7 amps and for heavier projects look for 10.

Making the informed purchase

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the majority of the work performed by any rotary hammer is drilling holes. The faster and cleaner it can drill holes while minimizing damage to the human performing the task makes a simple formula when determining the most efficient rotary hammers on the market.

Luckily, we have sifted through the latest options in the rotary hammer drill market and taken the time to put together a ranking-based list of the top 10 rotary hammer drills based on overall quality and value for money. All the brands represented here are industry-proven, high-quality tools that should suffice for the DIY handyman. And now, without further ado, the products that made our list for the top 10 rotary hammers of 2017.

#1 Makita HR4013C

3-mode. Our pick for best overall and best heavy duty tool below, the Makita HR4013C has the most powerful motor of the products we tested, consequently leaving you with the most impact energy of all. This machine will wreck through just about anything but has subtle engineering that dampens the impact vibrations making it quite a comfortable tool to work with.

Known as Advanced Anti-Vibration Technology, this proprietary three-part system utilizes counterbalance cylinders, a vibration absorbing housing and a damper spring to isolate and dissipate vibration before it reaches the operator. There is also a clutch that limits torque in case the drill bit gets stuck, preventing damage to your tool and saving you money.

Furthermore, there is an option for a detachable D-grip which allows you to stand upright while drilling, sparing your back from the effects of bending over to drill certain surfaces. Overall, this was the tool that combined the most power with comfort, and for that, it takes the top spot.

Price: Starting at $538.99

Specs:

  • Power: 11 Amp
  • Capacity: 1-9/16”
  • Impact Energy: 11.4 J
  • Max BPM: 2,900
  • Weight: 15.1 pounds

 

#2 Hilti TE-60-ATC-AVR

 

 

3-mode. A compelling option that handles the most heavy duty jobs without your hands taking a beating. With 3,300 BPM and a single impact energy of 5.8 feet-per-pound, the Hilti offers power combined with grace. Utilizing Active Vibration Reduction technology, the comfort of this tool allows you to stay on the job for longer, increasing productivity.

With an optional dust removal system, the Hilti seemingly bores through concrete without a trace while Active Torque Control will stop the motor instantly to prevent damage in the case that bit binds. This is an industrial-grade tool that will get all your drilling, anchoring, through-holes and medium-duty demolition done without a squeak. This is far and away the most durable tool in the list, and its price reflects that; however, the value for money is clear as this tool is designed to endure.

Price: starting at $1,600.00

Specs:

  • Power: 10 Amp
  • Capacity: 1-⅛.”
  • Impact Energy: 7.3 J
  • Max BPM: 3,300
  • Weight: 16.53 pounds

 

 

#3 DeWalt D25263K

 

 

3-mode. The best DeWalt has to offer is very, very good. Lightweight, but able to power through concrete, this medium-range option from DeWalt is engineered with the new contractor in mind. It comes with built in vibration control to save your hands during drilling and other features include a 360-degree side handle, a depth rod, and a DeWalt kit box. This tool delivers full power and torque drilling forward and in reverse and comes with the option for a dust extraction system. This was our pick for best ergonomic design, as it comes with a detachable handle that allows you to stand upright while you work on horizontal surfaces. Comes with a kit box that includes an excellent dust extraction system.

Price: Starting at $187.51

Specs:

  • Power: 8.5 Amp
  • Capacity: 1-⅛”
  • Impact Energy: 3.0 J
  • Max BPM: 5,350
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds

 

#4 Makita XRH05Z Cordless

 

 

3-mode. Leave the cord behind! This tool packs the power of and run-time of a corded-power product meaning that you can take on those more time-consuming projects. Two lithium ion batteries provide the power of a corded tool without tethering you to a wall, and LED lights show the charge left in each battery.

Other features of this Makita all-star include a one-touch sliding chuck system which makes changing bits hassle-free while a torque limiting clutch system disengages the gears in case the bit binds.

This 1-inch rotary hammer offers three modes and a host of convenient user features, including a slide handle, depth gauge and tool bag, but the batteries and charger are sold separately. With a compact design and comfort in hand, this made our pick for value for money.

Price: Starting at $359.00

Specs:

  • Power: Two- 18V LXT Batteries
  • Capacity: 1.”
  • Impact Energy: 3.0 J
  • Max BPM: 5,000
  • Weight: 12.2 pounds

 

 

#5 Ryobi P221 ONE+

2-mode. Lightweight design makes this compact tool the perfect companion for light-duty DIY projects. Among the better cordless options, this tool offers two modes: only drill or hammer and drill with 5000 BPM packing quite a punch for its price. This is another battery powered option that works perfectly for people looking to drill into cement slabs or bore holes to set anchors.

With a keyless chuck, you won’t waste time fiddling around with screws or bits and the depth rod is an integral part of the drill’s functionality which contributes to accuracy while drilling. This is not in the heavy duty category regarding power, but it will handle medium-grade projects with ease, and you won’t be sweating the price afterward! Furthermore, if you already own a Ryobi power tool, any 18-volt battery for your other tools will fit this one.

Price: available as bare tool only for $99; battery: 89$; charger: $30. Total price: $218
Specs:

  • Power: 18V Battery
  • Capacity: 1.”
  • Impact Energy:
  • Max BPM: 5,000
  • Weight: 4.95 pounds

 

 

#6 Hitachi DH24PF3 SDS-Plus

 

 

3-mode. This drill offers 3-modes in a compact design: hammering only, drilling only, or rotary hammer mode. A fantastic feature of this tool is the 360-degree side handle which allows for more control in tight spaces and greater leverage when working on obdurate surfaces. Weighing in at 5.3 pounds, it is among the lightest tools you will find in this bunch but also packs a punch with 2.5 feet-per-pound of impact energy.

One of the nicest features of this tool, besides its low price, is the Lock-on speed option, which allows you to set a consistent speed for your task from start to finish. The drill set includes a depth gauge, side handle, and kit case. If you have a steady slew of low-medium grade projects and are value-minded, this is probably the tool for you. It far and away outperforms other drills in the same price range and has a place among the best value-for-money rotary hammers.

Price: $184.99

Specs:

  • Power: 7.0 Amp
  • Capacity: 1.”
  • Impact Energy: 2.5 feet-per-pound
  • Max BPM: 4,600
  • Weight: 5.3 pounds

 

#7 Bosch RH328VC 1-⅛ Inch SDS

 

This corded-power drill is an all-star for medium-range tasks generating 2.6 feet-per-pound of impact energy and 4,000 BPM. Using Bosch’s proprietary Vibration Control technology, much of the vibration from the impact energy is absorbed into the grip rather than your hands.

This SDS-plus rotary hammer drill has the fastest chiseling and drilling at its price point while utilizing the proprietary Active Vibration Control technology in the hammer mechanism and the grip area to allow for longer, more comfortable work sessions.

This option contains a clutch system that reduces torque reaction if the bit gets stuck and includes an easy to manipulate multi-function switch for choosing between rotary hammer, hammer, or rotation-only modes. A top-of-the-line corded power option (cord measures 8 feet) that also comes with a good kit case.

Price: $269.00

Specs:

  • Power: 8.0 Amp
  • Capacity: 1-⅛”
  • Impact Energy: 2.6 feet-per-pound
  • Max BPM: 4,000
  • Weight: 7.7 pounds

#8 Bosch BULLDOG Xtreme

 

3-mode. One of the standard names in the rotary hammer world, the BULLDOG combines low cost with professional-grade efficiency. Featuring three operation modes and the convenience of tool-less bit changes, this tool makes quick work out of tough projects. This tool is a champion if you spend a lot of time drilling overhead or downward and comes with a variable-speed trigger with a reverse feature. Bosch designs a strong pick that can take a load of abuse and still maintain its integrity.

It comes with proprietary KickBack Control technology that stops the tool’s rotation in the event of bit bind-up. You have the option to purchase this drill with or without the bit set. Bosch is featuring high on the list because of its price and efficiency. This BULLDOG is designed with utility in mind.

Price: Starting at $199.00
Specs:

  • Power: 7.5 Amp
  • Capacity: 1-⅛”
  • Impact Energy: 2.4 feet-per-pound
  • Max BPM: 5,800
  • Weight: 6.9 pounds

 

 

#9 Makita HR4002

 

2-mode. With 12 angle settings, this is a lower-grade tool that still brings innovation at a reasonable price. 12 angle settings allow you to set the bit at different positions according to how you are addressing the intended surface. Makita is a corded-power option that does not have variable speed, but value-for-money buyers will find a good option here.

Contains a torque limiting clutch that stops the gears in case the bit binds. As with all the Makita’s on this list, it has good vibration reduction and comes with a kit box that has an integrated diagram to give you ease of access to your tool.This option includes a side handle, depth gauge, hammer bit grease and a plastic kit case.

Price: Starting at $319.00

Specs:

Power: 10 Amp
Capacity: 1-9/16.”
Impact Energy: 4.6 pounds
Max BPM: 2,500
Weight: 13.7 pounds

 

#10 Hitachi DH26PF SDS Plus

 

3-mode. This model is one of Hitachi’s lightest and most compact rotary hammer drills. Hitachi is famous for their durable construction, and this one stands up to hardcore tasks including boring holes through concrete and tougher tasks like chipping which is notoriously hard on rotary hammers. However, this model is not intended as a demolition hammer, but rather a solid, midrange power drilling option.

You can switch between three modes of operation, drilling only, hammer only and rotary hammer mode, while the tool itself has a protectively sealed grease bearing and a cover that prevents dust infiltration. This tool is designed for minimal maintenance. Also, comes with a removable side handle and a depth gauge to improve control and accuracy while drilling.

Specs:

  • Power: 7.5 Amp
  • Capacity: 1.”
  • Impact Energy: 1.03 feet-per-pound
  • Max BPM: 6,200
  • Weight: 6.7 pounds

Here are our overall picks:

Best Overall: We would like to say the Hilti here, but its price puts it well beyond the budget for anyone but a strict professional. The Makita HR4013C wins because while it suffers a bit for drilling speed in comparison to the Hilti, the blend of comfort and power is almost equal, and the price is much better. With handle-configurations which allows the operator to change his grip and angle of attack, the Makita caused the least fatigue which boosted efficiency and gave it the edge in our overall competition. A further feature of the Makita is the variable speed control and constant speed control functions. While you can select and set your speed to match the task, the constant speed control will subtly apply additional power to the motor to maintain the demanded speed no matter how stubborn the material.

Best Value for Money: Makita XRH05Z 18V X2 LXT 1-inch rotary hammer. Combining heavy-duty strength with the portability of cordless power, this tool has been designed after years of user experience and input. Comes equipped with operator features such as a vibration control handle and a warning light for low battery, this tool is a DIY dream. At a mid-range price of $359.00, you can’t go wrong. In the end, this tool is a beast. It outperforms products in a similar price range that rely on corded power

Best for DIY medium-range projects: Bosch RH328VC. Great things come in small packages. With a metal and plastic design with a keyless chuck, this offering from Bosch gives DIYers versatility between three modes: hammer and drill, hammer only, and drill only. This tool is remarkable for its ease of use and excellent ergonomics. Among the best power-weight ratios in the group, this drill offers a vertical format that is more comfortable in hand than the horizontal size of, say, the BULLDOG. This drill makes quick work of previously time-consuming projects at home and takes our pick for the best tool for the casual home user. The list price of $489.00 shouldn’t put you off because Bosch maintains a reputation of long-lasting, durable products.

Best for heavy-duty + projects: It’s got to be the Hilti. The heavy hitter in the group, this tool simply brings the power. The real part is, you can scarcely feel that power surging through your hand’s thanks to the unique Active Vibration Reduction technology. Furthermore, with Active Torque Control, when the bit sticks or hits something like rebar, the drill turns off before it causes injury. Features one of the best ergonomic designs among the group and has undoubtedly the best power-weight ratio in its class. In case you are relying on the rotary hammer to earn your money, it is worth spending the extra money to acquire this excellent piece of engineering. You want your tools to work for you rather than against you.

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