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What Is The Difference Between A Hammer Drill And A Rotary Drill

Are you planning on adding a hammer drill to your masonry tools? Then, you should check two types of hammer drills, a hammer drill, and a rotary hammer drill. Now, you may ask what is the difference between a hammer drill and a rotary drill? Once you complete reading this article, you will get the answer for this question. Both the terms sound same and they do some of the same jobs as well. However, both of them have some definite differences. You must be aware of those differences before purchasing one.

Hammer Drills

These types of tools use a traditional 3-jaw chuck. They can drill into wood, stone, light concrete, and masonry. A hammer drill can do the right job if you want to work with concrete for drilling holes to mount racking or set framing to the floor of a warehouse. It rotates slightly while delivering a series of blows to advance through the material. A hammer drill is ideal for those who seek maximum versatility. It can be used in many different areas such as electrical, plumbing, woodworking, HVAC, and more. A cam action helps to generate vibration in a hammer drill. The bit advances very slowly. The blows of a hammer are relatively light. A hammer drill can create small holes in concrete. The diameter of such holes ranges from 0.5 inches to inch.

Rotary Drills​

Rotary hammer drills are essential for making larger holes. They use a piston to compress air, which moves a striker for creating the hammering action. Compared to a hammer drill, the rate of blows of a rotary drill is slower. However, the impacts of a rotary hammer drill are far more powerful. Thus, you can make bigger holes much faster. They are specifically designed for making hits as hard as possible. Thus, wastage of energy can be completely avoided if you use a rotary hammer drill.

An electro-pneumatic hammer is used in the more-powerful rotary hammer. Thus, the drill advances much faster. It uses a technology, which is as same as that powers a jackhammer.

The traditional hammer drills were corded. But today, a more advanced lithium battery is used in these tools. Brushless motor technology is the latest one. This technology is used in cordless versions of both rotary and hammer drills.​

Buying Guides For A Hammer Drill read this post to get buying idea.

Here we also talked about reviews of the Top Five Best Hammer Drill. We can easily purchase easily from selected best hammer drill.


Major Features of a Hammer Drill​

If you want to use a rotary hammer drill regularly, you should consider the performance of a rotary hammer drill. At the same time, you must also get the maximum ease of use. Thus, you should check the vibration reduction features of a hammer drill. For example, the Anti-vibration technology of Makita comes with an internal counterbalance system, which is helpful for reducing vibration greatly by moving a counterweight in the opposite direction. Thus, the vibration reduces dramatically.

Both rotary and hammer drills offer the operating modes. You can select rotation and hammer together or can set either one to bit rotation only. If you are using a hammer drill-driver, a drive mode for driving screws can also be selected. Drill and hammer, and drill-only are the operating modes on rotary hammers. The third option is hammering without rotation of the bit. A chisel is locked in this mode to remove a tiled floor or chip away at concrete.

The trigger of a hammer drill should have a variable-speed control, which is helpful for setting the drill speed as per the material. You should also ensure that you can reach to the trigger and reverse switch very easily. You must be able to use it very easily even when you wear gloves.

A lock-on feature is available on some hammer drills, which is convenient for doing drilling continuously over extended periods of time. But, it should not be in lock-on position while connecting the drill to a power supply source. It can be checked by depressing and releasing the trigger. If you want to stop the drill suddenly, you should never use the lock-on feature. If you want to repeat drilling to a specific depth, an adjustable stop is highly useful. Thus, you can maintain the hole depth according to your requirement.

A hammer drill that comes with Chuck light provides you additional convenience. The chuck light shines directly out of the chuck on to the work, which is helpful for eliminating shadows around the bit.

A dust extraction accessory is the other valuable feature on a rotary hammer drill. Positioned against the drilled surface, the dust extraction accessory works with a shop vac. But, some models are equipped with on-board dust capture system, which is also an extremely useful feature.

Hammer drills are mainly used for heavy-duty applications like drilling holes in stonework, floors, masonry, and concrete. Huge numbers of hammer drill models are also available. Thus, you must be aware of some important features, which is helpful for picking the right one.

If you select a drill with variable speed, you will get more control. Thus, you can do the work with greater accuracy and precision. It will be more versatile if you can control the drilling speed. Such drills can be used for a wide selection of tasks. Variable speed allows you to increase the rotation speed while drilling smaller or softer items such as soft metal and wood.

Safety features are inevitable while using a hammer drill. Model with two handles is one of the major safety features of a hammer drill. One should be placed at the front of the drill and the other at the end of the drill. If a hammer drill has two handles, stabilizing the drill is very easy. Both the handles should have comfortable, ergonomic grip design with shock absorption technology is highly useful. This is helpful for absorbing impact and vibration from the drill motion. Thus, you can prevent aching muscles and reduce the risk of dropping it due to numb fingers. A safety cut-off switch feature is helpful for stopping the drill motion immediately when you release the trigger. Models with adjustable depth-stop are very popular because they can prevent drilling too deeply.

Tips for Using a Hammer Drill​

The operating techniques of each and every model are different. However, these instructions will be helpful while using a hammer drill.​

  • Select drill operating mode while drilling wood, plastic, or composites. Then you can start drilling at a very low speed by using a high-speed steel bit
  • You should use light oil on the high-speed steel bit while drilling steel or metal, which is helpful for preventing overheating.
  • Hammer drill bits or carbide-tipped masonry impact bits can be used for getting maximum performance while drilling concrete, tile, brick, etc.


While selecting a hammer drill, you should keep in mind that smaller and lighter tools will be more comfortable for daily use. Bigger and more powerful tools are more efficient for handling heavy-duty larger dimensions drilling projects.


While demolishing or drilling concrete, an endless array of specialized tools is available. But, the sheer number of tools are designed to power through concrete, thus it can be overwhelming. While doing concrete-related tasks, you should pick the exact tool for accomplishing the task. Do you want to break it entirely or drilling through it? How big your job is? What kind of concrete are you handling? This article, what is the difference between a hammer drill and a rotary drill, will surely help you pick the right tool as per your requirement.​

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