Which hammer drills do you like?

Hi folks! What do we like in hammer drills? I am interested in both cordless and corded. What have your experiences been? I have been reading reviews of the Ryobi brushless P1813, and people talk about chucks slipping or breaking off. The specs are really good though.


I have a DeWalt 985 and regularly use a Ridgid X5 and to be honest they both suck at making holes in concrete, yes they work but painfully slow(as with every other cordless hammer drill I’ve ever used). If you really want to poke a lot holes, get a SDS rotary hammer. If it’s just the occasional few tapcons you need to run then it’s definitely worth it to have a cordless hammer drill.

Yeah, I’m not surprised. But drilling into concrete is something I don’t do often. I think Stuart liked the 985 too. Thanks!

I was never a fan of hammer drills - even before SDS - SDS Plus became a standard for small rotohammers.
While we did have a few older Makita hammer drills and some of the installers had a M12 (2411), I think that most of crews that once worked for me would have said the same thing. My take is that the tool is too light for heavy work, and too heavy for light work - and there is no real middle ground sweet spot. Having the added mechanism usually adds weight, noise and something else to malfunction. But I guess a lot of them are sold - so others probably don’t agree.

What you did not say was what battery platform(s) you are already invested in. If its Dewalt then the 985 does get pretty good reviews.

Thanks! I actually thought a hammer drill would just add the bumpy plate that creates the hammering action, and maybe a thrust bearing.

And that’s a good question about the platform. I am an M12 guy, but I could buy a kit if necessary.

If you want to stick with M12 - then CPO, HD, ToolUp and others sell the kit at what seems to be a pretty attractive price (only $20 more than the bare tool) :



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The new M12 Fuel Hammer Drill should be out in December. I know we haven’t talked about it yet on the site, but it’s impressive.

This video has been sitting around unpublished, on the ToolGuyd Channel.

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Get the newer one brushless dcd997

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The DCD997 is basically the DCD996 with Bluetooth, correct? I have a slightly beaten up DCD996 that works but has some minor issues. I also have two DCD985s. Both are decent, but the 985 is a bit long in the tooth and doesn’t match the brushes 996’s power. For the price, you can’t go wrong, though, especially if you can find a store clearing out the older models. I picked up two DCD985s for $55 apiece at Tractor Supply a few months ago.

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Agreed the 985 is definitely dated, but, its the one I have. If I were making more than a couple holes in concrete a month I’d look at an upgrade for sure, but I have little desire to add another drill to my arsenal as I barely use them in the first place(have 780 and 791 also). If I were in the M12 line I would probably already have the Fuel hammer… you should too. It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have!

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Well, if we are not limiting this to cordless then I would say Hilti first and Bosch second. I’ve used both and like both… Particularly in the SDS Plus size. A rotary hammer is much better for such things.

And don’t forget, both brands offer the smaller models with a drill only option so you snap on a regular 3 jaw chuck and now you have a heavy duty 1/2 drill as well. Cordless I have no real experience with in rotary hammers.

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Thanks everybody! I ended up renting an SDS rotary hammer (Bosch, I think) and saving some pennies for other things. Worked like a champ.

I know the OP already finished the job, but I wanted to add that that bits also make a big difference. When I used bits from Bosch or Milwaukee, holes were much easier to drill. Bits from Vermont American always wore out quickly and gave all around poor performance.


Thanks, Coach! That is an excellent point. I did buy a Dewalt bit just for the job. The ones they had lying around for rent looked liked dull pencils.

I have two hammer drills, a Black and Decker and Ryobi. Both are 20+ years old, made in the USA and still work great. If I needed one now, I think one from Bosch, Milwaukee, Ryobi, Dewalt, Hitachi or Makita would do the job. I also have a SDS Plus and SDS Max rotary hammers. For the cost, I could not justify my preference, Bosch, so I got both at Harbor Freight. Both have drilled countless holes 1 inch in diameter and larger with no trouble. I did spend the money to get Bosch bits for my rotary hammers and hammer drills and they are well worth the money.


I always use a DeWalt - can’t fault it.

I don’t care for hammer drills at all when rotary hammers are an option. In my opinion, owning a hammer drill is just a way to own a drill with a wobbly chuck that can also drill small holes in masonry in a mediocre way and without dust control.

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