On this page we have researched and reviewed some of the best cordless hammer drills available in the UK 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. The power source is not as important as the hammer action when it comes to making your actual buying decision. Some people still prefer the corded drill models but really cordless is totally taking over now and they are fully powerful enough for all jobs.
What Does a Hammer Action do in a Drill?
There is really only one single purpose for a hammer action on a drill. That function is to be easily able to drill through materials like concrete, brick, block, mortar or stone. You do not need a hammer function to drill through wood, or metals such as steel and aluminum. You only need a hammer action if you plan on drilling through any masonry material. 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), also known as blows per minute. 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. It does this as well as spinning around. That in turn helps break down harder materials like brick and stone.
Cordless or Corded Option
When drilling through these tougher masonry 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.
Video on Hammer Drill Selection
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 Using a Hammer Drill
- 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.
Cordless Drill Hammer Settings
You can select the hammer function on most drills by rotating a switch to the symbol usually marked with a small hammer icon. 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 starting out many people do this believing that it made drilling faster. Please never do that as each different setting should be used, depending on what type of material you are drilling through.
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 style of hammer drill.
Top 5 Cordless Hammer Drills
As I mentioned there are a lot of these to choose from. To try and make your selection a little bit easier, we have narrowed these down to the top 5. These 5 selections are based on actual real life buyer reviews.
These reviews are from buyers who have bought the product, used it and then taken the time to leave a review. That makes them very useful. We have then taken those buyer ratings and placed them in our list, with the highest buyer rated first.
The percentage in brackets beside the product name refers to the average buyer rating that we found online at various websites.
The top 5 cordless hammer drills are:
- Dewalt DCD996B Bare Tool 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion
- VonHaus 20V MAX 1/2" Cordless Drill Driver Set
- Makita XPH12Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless
- Dewalt DC725K-2, 18-Volt Ni-Cad 1/2 in. Cordless Compact Hammer Drill
- Ryobi P214 One+ 18 Volt Lithium Ion 1/2 Inch, 600-Pound Torque Hammer Drill
No 1 Choice - Dewalt DCD996B Bare Tool 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion
- This is a high end and comes with a high performance transmission - that gives really fast application speeds and improved run-time
- It incorporates a brushless motor
- In terms of bumps per minute it doesn't get much better than this at 0-38,250 BPM for fast drilling in masonry materials
- Also has a 3-Mode LED light
- Comes body only so you will need to buy a battery if you don't already have one
- Not the very top of the range but still one of the most expense models and definetly fit for any professional user
I have to say that all Dewalt products are excellent and their drills are no exception. Any of their models would be a great tool and I guess you need to compare price and what you actually are going to use it for, before you make any decision on a big purchase like this. Check out our full review on The Best Dewalt Cordless Drill if you want a lot more information.
No 2 Choice - VonHaus 20V MAX 1/2" Cordless Drill Driver Set with LED Light and Hammer Function, 2 Speed Max Torque 336 in-lbs, 15pc Accessories 2.0Ah Lithium-Ion Battery and Charger Kit Included
- This cordless hammer drill comes with a 15 piece accessory set and tool bag
- It has a 20V Max 2Ah battery.
- The torque on the motor is 336 in/lbs
- Has a variable speed function
- It also has an LED work light
- Comes with a forward/reverse function
- The gear head is made from aluminum and is designed to be strong, lightweight and durable.
No 3 Choice - Makita XPH12Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless
- This drill also has a brushless motor that delivers 530 lbs of torque
- It has a variable 2-speed design (0-500 & 0-2,000 RPM) (0-7,500 & 0-30,000 BPM)
- This is an 18 Volt cordless hammer drill
- Has an LED worklight
- Weighs just 4.2 lbs and is a nice compact size
- Has a rubberized grip making it feel safe in the hands.
Again we are comparing top quality brands here. Makita are known world wide as a premium brand and their drills are no different. I have done a review on the Top 10 Makita Cordless Drills if you would like more information before you make any choice. They are priced from £30 to £300 so there is quite a bit of difference and it's very hard for me to say just one is the best as it will be different for varied levels of jobs.
No 4 Choice - DEWALT DC725K-2, 18-Volt Ni-Cad 1/2 in. Cordless Compact Hammer Drill
- This drill is made in USA and comes with 2 batteries and a charger
- Has a dual speed range of 0–500/0–1700 RPM and 0–8500/0–29,000 BPM
- This one has a /2 in. single sleeve ratcheting chuck which really helps stop drill bits from slipping
- Like the others it has an LED work light
- The lightweight design (4.9 lbs.) helps reduce fatigue during extended use
Again you should really check out our full review on The Best Dewalt Cordless Drill if you want a lot more information. There are so many to pick from it's difficult to say which is the best for you.
No 5 Choice - Ryobi P214 One+ 18 Volt Lithium Ion 1/2 Inch, 600-Pound Torque Hammer Drill
- This drill is designed by the manufacturer to drill into cinder blocks or bricks at up to 600 pounds of torque at 24,000 Blows Per Minute
- It comes with a 24-position clutch and 2-speed gearbox
- There is drill storage available on the drill itself as a magnetic tray
- There is also an LED worklight
Last, but not least,of the premium brands here is Ryobi. You will know the name and the reputation already so still at the top of the performers here. Again they have a wide range so to find out whats best for you have a look at the Best Ryobi Cordless Drills for all the options. I have a Makita magnetic bit holder that I use when I am putting in a lot of screws and I can't recommend this type of accessory highly enough. Everybody should have one of these tools. Just makes any job so much easier.
Hopefully this page has helped you out with what hammer drills are and why you should consider buying a cordless one.