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Old 09-10-2011, 10:17 AM   #1
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hammer drill vs. rotory hammer, my results.


I need to drill a bunch of 1/2 holes in my old concrete foundation for my latest nightmare project. I knew I'd need more than just a regular drill, so I started out cheap and picked up a Ryobi 1+ hammer drill. I have a ton of those tools and they have all served me well in the past. Not this time. After about 1 1/2 of those big lithium batterys through it (it seamed like over an hour of use and breath catching), the head was wobbling and I was sick of running the piece of crap that would not do what I needed it to. I returned it to Home Depot as defective and went Rotary Hammer shopping. That is only the second 18v 1+ tool that disappointed me (That is out of about a dozen. The other being the chainsaw, but that was probably just because I was used to running gas chainsaws, and not weak electric ones. It dispatched the Christmas Tree it came under fine enough I guess, but it just wasn't what I was hoping for.) I think the hammering head is actually weaker than the normal head, and the shape of the drill did not make leaning into it squarely very easy. While I don't doubt that other hammer drills are better made, I think they are all handicapped by starting out as drills and modified for hammering action.

The shelves were rather bare with regard to Rotary Hammers (plenty on the display rack, but most were sold out believe it or not). There were a couple of Makitas (made in China) both with a free 4 1/2 grinder (don't need another) and 2 versions of the smaller Bosch. http://www.boschtools.com/Products/T...x?pid=11224VSR
Both versions had the same part number, but one box said made in Germany and the other said made in Mexico. I went for the older box that had been sitting on the shelf for a while.

In a matter of minutes, I had more than doubled the depth of all the holes that I had started with the Hammer Drill. It was much easier going, I was getting straighter holes, and the bit didn't show even a quarter the wear on it compared to the first bit I used with the hammer drill (I swapped to my second bit near the end because my helper was thinking the problem was a dull bit. It was not the problem at all, and I should have known better.) It wasn't that I cheapened out on the hammer drill bits either. I went for a good ones that actually cost a bit more than the equivalent SDS bits.

So I guess what I am saying is, Get a Rotary Hammer first and save yourself some headaches, if you are planning more more than the lightest of tasks. If you can do your project with a hammer drill, you can do it with a normal drill. That is what I had been doing for years.

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Last edited by forresth; 09-10-2011 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:08 AM   #2
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hammer drill vs. rotory hammer, my results.


Good find on the German Bosch. I've got the corded Ryobi hammer drill and it has done everything I need it to do. It mainly only needs to drill for tapcons. I did need to drill a 3/4" hole through brick and it took a few minutes but it was successful and I only needed to drill two holes that large.
With the exception of impact drivers and standard drills, I'm getting away from battery operated tools.

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Old 09-15-2011, 10:30 AM   #3
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hammer drill vs. rotory hammer, my results.


forresth, I was in a similar position, I needed to drill some holes for wedge anchors in an old concrete pad. I tried with my regular drill and a masonry bit and it was a joke. So I went shopping for a hammer drill. I couldn't spend a gazzillion dollars, so I ended up getting the DeWalt DWD520, which is their best "hammer drill" before moving up to the $200+ "rotary hammer" category. It worked great so far, but admittedly I only had to drill about a half dozen holes. I went with DeWalt partially out of loyalty because I have mostly DeWalt tools, and hey, who doesn't like a matching set? But this tool feels solid, it is corded so it has plenty of power. For some things you just need 120 volts!
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:08 PM   #4
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hammer drill vs. rotory hammer, my results.


I honestly don't think you get much more out of a 120v hammer drill than you'd get out of an 18v version. Maybe a more aggressive hammer cam (and I don't think that would be fun to hold onto if it was a whole lot more aggressive), but that would be about it. They both have the torque to spin the bit with a whole lotta weight behind them. Its the load that does more than the speed when it comes to drilling concrete in my experience. The handle arrangement may very well have been better on your Dewalt than my former Ryobi, and I have no doubt it is a better built tool in general, but I can't see how there could be any additional usable torque.

I think if it was just a normal pad, I would have been fine with the hammer drill, but I was dealing with some very creative fill including several large rocks of the quartz and granite variety that predominates locally It also looks like they got more fill happy as the basement walls got closer to the top...where I needed to drill.
The hammer drill was hitting them and wandering around a bit and not proceeding, making the holes shallow and in some cases over-sized. The holes were useless for the 1/2" x 4 1/2" wedge anchors. Of the original set of holes, there was only one wedge anchor that I was unable to pull out. It certainly wouldn't have been the solid floor ledger I need.

Once I got the new drill I was able to power through the rocks and whatever else pretty easy, and sink the 6" bit up to the chuck in moments. The added depth let me use the old holes (thankfully), but I wasted plenty of anchors and a couple $9 drill bits to trying to be cheap.

I was going to look into renting a concrete chainsaw for a future portion of this job, but I think I am just going to pick up a longer bit to make my rough door opening with a series of holes; but maybe that is just me being cheap again

Last edited by forresth; 09-15-2011 at 10:13 PM.
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