Best rotary hammer drill


What are the best rotary hammer drills in 2018?


If you’re looking for the best hammer drill but don’t have the time to conduct extensive research, then the following short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know. After looking through dozens of reviews of rotary hammer drills we’ve concluded that the product to look for is the DeWalt D25263. This is a heavy duty rotary hammer in the lower ranges of power at 3 joules of impact energy, which means that you won’t have to be very physically fit to use it effectively. This advantage is further substantiated by the use of an advanced Active Vibration Control system, which greatly reduces the stress on your hands when drilling, alongside a number of ease of use features, like an integral clutch. If you’re interested in a more powerful model, then we recommend the Bosch RH328VC.   

Buying guide


The first thing to decide upon when looking through the rotary hammer drills available for sale is the amount of power you need for your application. This is generally dictated by the maximum diameter of the holes you expect to be drilling in concrete, wood, plastic, or steel, and there are two main “weight” classes to choose from, generally delimited by the number of operation modes these can work under and the type of chuck used.



The 2-mode rotary hammer drill


This is the lighter unit and most high-performing units only achieve around 2.5 Joules of impact force. These are significantly more comfortable to use than the heavier type which effectively opens them up to a wider range of applications around the house, sometimes overlapping with the even lighter disk hammer drill or drill/driver.

This is why the maximum RPM they achieve can be important, since this dictates the speed at which less demanding tasks will be completed. Some of them even have two speed gearboxes, to increase their effectiveness for either hammering or simple drilling tasks (with no impact force applied). Naturally, they feature two modes of operation — drilling only and hammering plus drilling.  



The 3-mode rotary hammer drill


This type should be chosen for heavy-duty tasks, which entail drilling 20-28 mm holes in masonry, and up to 13 mm into metal or 32 mm into wood (with the mention that a 2-mode system delivers similar performance for the latter two materials.)

It ranges in impact energy from 2.5 to 6.5 Joules, but bigger is not necessarily better since a more powerful model will be significantly more difficult to handle and might only become practical for certain highly demanding contractor’s work.

These can operate in either drill-only mode, with the hammer action turned off, drill and hammer mode for most applications, or hammer only mode, which is very useful for chipping away at masonry or certain covering material, such as bathroom tiles.



Other performance metrics


Another specification that might be important if you’re interested in cutting short the time required for a job is the number of beats per minute (or BPM) that the hammer is capable of delivering. A heavy-duty model can put out up to 4,500 BPM, while smaller ones are able to get away with around 5,000 BPM due to the lower mechanical loads involved.   

The power of the motor is measured in either Watts or Watts Power Out. A fair bit of warning: some manufacturers use input power as a metric, which isn’t such a good indicator of performance as the actual Watt number a motor can deliver at the chuck (output power).



Our recommendations


It might be hard finding a good rotary hammer drill with so many options to choose from out there. That’s why we’ve looked at a number of rotary hammer drills reviews and only highlighted the most acclaimed ones below.



DeWalt D25263K 


As a remarkably easy to use 3-mode rotary hammer, the D25263K has earned great appreciation from expert reviewers and satisfied customers alike. Designed to offer up to 3 joules of impact and powered by an 8.5 Amp motor, it might not finish heavy-duty tasks the fastest, but this will be amply supplemented by the D25263K being less of a strain to use.

Operators for which physical strength and stamina are not limiting issues generally prefer it over more powerful models because of the great level of comfort its Active Vibration Control system provides, as well as the great degree of versatility it offers, as it is controllable enough to drill through either concrete and lighter wood or steel.  

Something of a hybrid between the 2-mode and 3-mode rotary hammer, it also offers the possibility of solely using the percussion action for chipping away at things like bathroom tiles, brick, and concrete.

As additional features, a clutch will activate if the drill bit gets stuck to avoid sudden impact and due to its rotating brush ring, it delivers the same amount of torque in both forward and reverse.  

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Bosch RH328VC 


This unit is more powerful than the DeWalt model highlighted but as per the manufacturer’s warning this limits its use to masonry applications since it will prove too hard to control when drilling through wood or metal.

Its piston delivers 2.6 ft-lbs of impact energy and a maximum of 4000 bpm, which makes it the best-performing rotary hammer in its weight class. Weighing in at just 7.7 pounds, it doesn’t impose such a heavy strain on the user, especially as it also employs a two-step vibration control system, with dampeners both on the hammer and the handle.

It offers a variable speed clutch so it’s easier to control during any of the operations drilling operations it performs, which can be either assisted or unassisted by the percussion hammer. There’s, of course, a mode for hammering only, which will come useful at cleaning away tiles or masonry.  

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Bosch 11255VSR 


A little bit less powerful but faster than the RH328VC, the 7.5 amp motor on this intermediary model delivers between 0 and 5,800 BPM and a maximum rotating speed of 1,300 RPM, which is in the higher ranges for its class.

It works with an SDS-Plus system, which allows for easy and tool-free exchange between the drilling, hammering and cutting bits.

To make the user’s life a bit easier, it employs a clever system, proprietary to Bosch, which allows for the bit to be placed at multiple angles to the body of the machine. This means that the length of the device itself won’t be as restrictive when it comes to the spaces it can conveniently operate.

It also features a clutch to disconnect the bit if this gets stuck in masonry, and a 3-speed trigger, so it’s easier to control. There are 3 modes of operation available — drill only, hammer only, and drill plus hammer.

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