What’s the difference between a rotary hammer and a hammer drill?

When you need to drill a hole, a screw, or really anything into concrete, brick or masonry, you have two choices; a rotary hammer, or a hammer drill. Knowing which tool to pick for the job can be tricky, that’s why we’re here to help, so let’s break down the pros and cons between the two power tools.


Rotary Hammers

Most importantly, if you need power, rotary hammers are the way to go - it packs power that a hammer drill can’t match. While it has the regular spinning bit of a drill, it also uses a large piston to produce its power. Not only is the rotary hammer more powerful, it can actually beat (a rotation of the drill) around 5 times less than a high-end hammer drill. This means a tool that’s stronger and a lot more comfortable to use, sending much less vibrations through your hands and arms. Ultimately, if you’re going to be doing any of those big, time consuming jobs, a rotary hammer is the tool of choice. It’s strong enough to break hard concrete while being much lighter and easier to use than a jackhammer, and precise enough to be able to put holes in concrete for those mounting jobs.

So what’s the downside? Rotary hammers are going to be bulkier and heavier than hammer drills, which comes with the territory of being a more powerful tool. This isn’t a slight weight difference either, even the lightest rotary hammers will weigh about twice as much as the heaviest hammer drills. All that extra power will usually mean you’ll need to be plugged in too, instead of running off battery like most hammer drills, which can be a bit of an inconvenience.


Hammer Drills

With so many benefits to the rotary hammer, why use a hammer drill? For the most part, it comes down to convenience and the type of use it will see. While it won’t be able to make big holes in hard concrete like the rotary hammer, it will be able to make smaller, precise holes in softer concrete, up to an inch in diameter. If the job is small and requires absolute precision, a hammer drill would be your go to tool. They’ll generally be more affordable to hire too, although it is possible to get high-end hammer drills that cost just as much as low end rotary hammers.

The main drawback to the rotary hammer is size and weight. This means the hammer drill is the right choice if you’re going to be working in tight spaces. There’s a range of size and powers for both tools available, and a high-end hammer drill can be a much better choice than a cheaper rotary hammer if you’ll be working in a smaller area.

To summarise, if you’re going to be tackling big jobs and you have the strength to deal with the extra weight, the rotary hammer is the obvious choice and can save a lot of time. But don’t overdo it. If the job is small, and especially if it’s in a confined space, save yourself the effort and money, and use a hammer drill.

For more information, or to hire a rotary hammer or hammer drill, please call 13 15 52

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