Hammer Drill Vs. SDS/SDS+ Vs. SDS-Max - Tools - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:33 AM   #1
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Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


Recently used a 1/2" HF hammer drill with a 2" diamond hole saw through some decorative granite stone on an exterior wall. It was pretty slow and seemed a little underpowered for the job. It's not too bad drilling a couple of 3/8" holes a couple inches deep for concrete anchors. However, I have a few more holes through this decorative granite stone as well as a few hole through brick siding too. Max hole size would be 2.5" - 3".

Considering purchasing a new drill, but I'm at a loss of which is best "multi-function" tool and what work each is best suited for. Thoughts?

In other words, for 1" and under holes for anchoring with the occasional 2"-3" hole saw for plumbing pipes through masonry exterior surfaces, am I better off sticking to a hammer drill, or look to bigger SDS rotary hammers? Ideally I'd like an SDS-max rotary hammer with drill only, hammer only, and drill + hammer, but it doesn't look like these exist.

Hammer drill:
-Standard chuck
-Works alright for light duty concrete/masonry hammering
-Works, but slow for diamond hole saw drilling. Not sure if this is normal diamond hole saw behavior, or an issue of drill power.

SDS/SDS+:
-SDS/SDS+ chuck
-Would need a SDS to standard chuck adapter to use hole saws found at local big box store
-A bit more power and has ability for light demo work (tile chipping, very small concrete areas)
-Can find models with 3 modes - drilling, hammer, drill + hammer

SDS-Max:
-SDS-Max chuck
-Would need SDS-Max to SDS/SDS+ adapter since local stores mainly carry SDS/SDS+ bits
-More powerful and capable of slightly heavier demo work (ex. could slowly break up basement concrete for bathroom plumbing, but not the best tool for the job)
-Models only have 2 modes - hammer only and drill + hammer
-This means you wouldn't be able to use diamond hole saws with standard chuck and would be looking at expensive SDS core bits for holes
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:07 PM   #2
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


SDS/SDS+ is the way to go. Hammer drills don't really have much "oomph" for this kind of work.
I'd also suggest getting the right bits for them or renting the whole setup if you can (and won't have a regular need for it later).
If you shop around you can get a decent Milwaukee SDS+ reconditioned for fairly cheap ($115 right now or $99 for a recon Bosch). Take a look at www.CPOoutlets.com
Don't bother with Horror Fright...they're straight up junk and a waste of money IMO.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:55 PM   #3
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


Makes sense.

So basically SDS/SDS+ is pretty good for most stuff around the house as far as light tile chipping, masonry drilling & coring. And you definitely suggest getting the SDS core bits vs. the standard shank diamond hole saw?

Then SDS-Max is mainly for the odd large & uncommon holes for a homeowner and would be better off renting for those infrequent uses. And anything concrete demo related should look to renting a demo hammer, jackhammer, etc based on size of project?
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Old 05-03-2019, 02:11 PM   #4
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


Harbor Freight can be a good place to purchase tools but you're generally going to get homeowner level and not contractor level, meaning they won't be suited for use every day or may lack the power of the pro tool - this would be one case where HF might lack the power but then again, they might not.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:15 AM   #5
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


Good info. I grabbed a BlackÚDecker on amazon for about $40...the cost of renting for one day at the store... Drilled about 30 holes in cement walls for shelves... The bosch drill bit still going strong...amazing that company.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:18 PM   #6
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


Usually, you wouldn't use a hammer drill for granite. All the countertop top shops just use a grinder with the bit attached. Too much of a risk for the granite to break with a hammer drill. For the brick we usually use sds or sds max.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:25 PM   #7
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


Quote:
Originally Posted by paul100 View Post
Usually, you wouldn't use a hammer drill for granite. All the countertop top shops just use a grinder with the bit attached. Too much of a risk for the granite to break with a hammer drill. For the brick we usually use sds or sds max.
Never seen this until yesterday, actually. The HVAC guys came to drill a number of AC line sets through the brick wall with a 2" diamond core on a 7"grinder. Without a centering bit, it took a little to get started, but once started, I couldn't believe how they bored through the wall in seconds.......
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:32 PM   #8
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


A hammer drill is the wrong tool to use with an abrasive diamond hole saw.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:30 PM   #9
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Re: Hammer Drill vs. SDS/SDS+ vs. SDS-Max


Quote:
Originally Posted by stick\shift View Post
Harbor Freight can be a good place to purchase tools but you're generally going to get homeowner level and not contractor level, meaning they won't be suited for use every day or may lack the power of the pro tool - this would be one case where HF might lack the power but then again, they might not.
IMO Horror Fright power tools are junk. period. Yeah, maybe it'll last a day, but the frustration is just not worth it. Anyone who says that HF is ok hasn't used a real tool for that job before.
If you want to save a few bucks, just buy a used good tool off craigslist or a factory reconditioned one off CPOoutlets.com
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