The 6 Best Corded Hammer Drills [Updated July 2020]
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As a renovation enthusiast, you may have the inclination to up your drilling game with a corded hammer drill, which is a drill designed for double action rotation and hammering. This is essential to drilling into brick and concrete for heavy-duty demolition and remodeling projects.
Choosing the best corded hammer drill for your needs requires understanding what you need on your project and comparing the aptitudes of each unit. While many feature similar design specs and basic features, many come with diverse features and power options for an extensive variety when it comes to selecting a tool and managing its functions.
Here is an in-depth guide to the best corded hammer drills on the market in 2020, as well as a buyer’s guide for what to look for when it comes to buying a model to match the needs of your project.
DeWalt is a company known for making well-constructed drilling tools with sturdy, intuitive designs and robust features. The DeWalt DW511 Hammer Drill upholds that reputation with a high performance 7.8-Amp motor and sleek, lightweight design.
Weighing only 4.3 lbs., this hammer drill can be used for prolonged drilling projects without causing fatigue. For added control, it also features an attached side handle that allows you to drill to a more accurate depth and keep the drill even steadier.
With a maximum speed of 2,700 RPMs, the DeWalt DW511 benefits greatly from its variable speed control, which offers a great deal of fine tuning over its operation with a convenient two-finger trigger. That amount of power is phenomenal in its class and the reason this is the best all-around DeWalt model currently on the market.
As a pistol-grip model, the DeWalt’s comfortable handle contributes to its ergonomic shape and the fatigue prevention strategy of all of DeWalt’s handle designs. Extended drilling projects will require tight and continuous hold over the drill for consistent work, so you need to be able to keep it steady without worrying about pain and fatigue. DeWalt’s handle design has you covered.
This hammer drill is perfect for drilling steel and wood with the normal drilling function since unlike some hammer drills, this DeWalt model can turn off the hammer mode. When it is turned on, the hammer function is capable of 46,000 maximum BPMs (blows per minute) with a power output maximum of 650W.
This is a power output comparable to a premium hammer drill. As we’ve come to expect from DeWalt, you get that performance at a discount price and with a generous 3-year limited warranty, which also includes a 1-year free service contract.
For those looking for premium hammering functions and a low-risk purchase, DeWalt makes the choice pretty easy with the DW511.
Why we like it
The DeWalt DW511 corded hammer drill is one of the best models on the market in 2020 with a premium motor, added stability and control, attention to comfort, and a discount price. Its sturdy construction, powerful output, side handle, and warranty put it in the top of the line of consumer-grade corded hammer drills. Any renovation enthusiast would be proud to have the DW511 in their arsenal.
The Bulldog Xtreme corded hammer drill from Bosch is one of the more versatile units reviewed. It boasts 3 modes of function with an intuitive selector knob to tune your drilling experience to the needs of your project. These modes can be combined or used in isolation for even more multi-function utility.
The modes are rotation, rotary hammer, and hammer only. Altering the variable speed trigger control allows you to fine tune the work for 0 to 1,300 RPMs and 0 to 800 BPMs on the rotary drilling mechanism and impact hammering mechanism, respectively. For work that requires multiple functions, these variable speeds can be used in tandem.
To back up these modes (and a competitive 7.5-amp motor), an industry-leading vibration control system makes the Bosch Bulldog Xtreme one of the easiest corded hammer drills to handle. Rather than a side-mounted handle, the Bosch’s handle comes off the bottom of the front. It provides extra stability during intense drilling and helps you control vibrations even more through its ergonomic handle design.
For convenience, the Bosch also features an SDS plus bit system. This system of automatic bit locking allows for tool-free bit changes and easy removal, dust protection in the mechanism, and an efficient energy transfer for maximum impact.
To fine tune your hammering experience, the lock can be positioned in 36 different positions so you can achieve the perfect chiseling angle. When you’re using the Bosch at full capacity – 2.0 feet/pounds of impact – you’ll be thankful for this amount of control.
Why we like it
The Bosch Bulldog Xtreme is not only ergonomic to prevent fatigue, but it boasts a competitive motor and tons of convenience features to give your DIY drilling projects the most versatile tool possible. Three modes that combine drilling and hammering allow you to finetune your work and an easy bit changing system, intuitive speed control mechanism, and wide range of power make the Bosch Bulldog one of the top choices in corded hammer drills for novices and enthusiasts alike.
The DeWalt DWE5010 is in the same product line as the previous corded hammer drill and it contains many of the same features as the DW511. This makes it about as easy to recommend, though there are some slight differences that you should be aware of.
Similarities include the same mounted 360-degree side handle for added stability when drilling. The DWE5010 ably drills through wood, steel, and masonry as a regular drill and has an optional hammer mode for use in heavy-duty hammering tasks on brick, concrete, or other stone. The handle gives added control to either mode.
Its all-metal ½” chuck makes this corded hammering drill compatible with many different drilling bits for many diverse projects. It has the same two-finger trigger and versatile speed control as the next model so you can fine-tune your drilling experience, even when drilling the maximum 1 ¼ in. of wood.
Its pistol-grip handle is also as easy and comfortable to hold as the DW511’s with a vibration-preventing rubber molded grip to prevent pain and fatigue in your hand, especially if you’re attempting to drill for extended periods or using only one hand.
It has the same depth rod as well so that you can drill to the exact depth you want. It weighs about as much as the other model and comes with the same 3-year limited warranty and 1-year free service contract.
The main difference between these similar models by DeWalt is that this DWE5010 is cheaper and less powerful. Its 7.0-Amp motor can’t handle quite the same workload and may not be able to drill into tough concrete for as long a time.
If the price is right for you and you know that your project won’t require the most power possible, the DWE5010 is sturdy and well-constructed in all the same ways as its successor, with only some downgrades in terms of RPMs and power output.
Why we like it
The DeWalt DWE5010 corded hammering drill is extremely similar to its successor, the DW511. It has the same DeWalt promise of sturdy construction, drilling stability, and functional versatility that the brand is known for. If you don’t mind less power, this drill comes at a cheaper price. For those remodeling enthusiasts who know that they don’t need maximum hammering power, this could be the option your budget is looking for.
On the other end of the price and power range, here’s DeWalt’s premium heavy-duty corded hammer drill, the DWD520, designed for the most enthusiastic, serious, and experienced remodelers out there.
Like the other two models, it has a drilling and hammering mode that can be switched off or run simultaneously for heavy concrete hammering tasks. It has the DeWalt side handle construction, comfortable fatigue-preventing handle, and variable speed control with its two-finger trigger.
Unlike the others, however, it’s considerably heavier, weighing 7.75 pounds. This means that depending on your experience level, it may not be as free of fatigue as the other models, particularly if you’re trying to drill one-handed. The 360-degree handle still provides stability, but the extra weight is something to consider.
For that extra weight though, the DWD520 gives you a ton of added power and versatility over the other DeWalt models (and other brands in general).
First is its 10-Amp motor, which DeWalt claims generates more power (50% more) than the motors of other drills even at the same amperage. Its wattage output is 980W, putting this model clearly at the forefront of powerful consumer-grade hammering drills. Compare for instance its 56,000 BPMs to any other on the market and you’ll find that most can’t compete.
To compensate for this added power, the DeWalt DWD520 offers two drilling speeds, one with a range of 0 to 1,200 RPMs and the second with a range of 0 to 3,500 RPMs. This allows you to take on regular drilling tasks with extreme versatility and on even the most heavy-duty materials. This gives you unparalleled precision in your projects, whether on the depth of pilot holes or the structural integrity of weaker materials.
Keep in mind that the hammer function is single speed.
A variable speed trigger and reversible control switch allow you to adapt to different materials and to phases of the project (if you’re drilling in ceramic, for instance, you’ll want a lower speed than if you’re drilling in concrete).
Its large keyed chuck makes changing between many available drilling applications quick and easy, which is particularly useful if you opt-in for the 7-piece masonry bit set offered with the drill for an extra cost.
This is one of the sturdiest and most powerful drills in its price range. It has the added weight to match it but for intense hammering tasks in heavy concrete, there are few better options that the DWD520.
Why we like it
For more money and additional weight than other DeWalt models, the DWD520 offers renovators serious about their drilling and hammering tasks a heavy-duty option. With a 10-Amp motor and dual-speed control offering industry-leading power and versatility, the DWD520 is fit for the most intense concrete or stone hammering.
Porter-Cable has been competing with DeWalt on the market for a long time. It’s known for its aluminum components and fabricated steel motors, which it claims creates a smoother and more reliable product. This corded drill by Porter-Cable is evidence for their point.
The first thing you’ll notice is that its motor is only 7 amps, which puts it on the lower range of power on this list. That motor will still provide plenty of torque for normal drilling tasks and give you a great all-around home renovation tool for various wood and metalworking jobs.
With a maximum RPM output of 800, you need to compare its limitations to your needs. This is a user-friendly unit, particularly for novices looking for a steady tool for use around the house. A triple-gear reduction system gives you enough torque for even intense drilling tasks.
A cast-metal gear housing defines the Porter-Cable drill’s durability and longevity. For stability, it has a mounted side handle like the other models on this list, which is handy for those who want extra control and want to avoid drilling one-handed.
To reduce fatigue, particularly for amateur home renovators, the Porter-Cable has a mid-handle grip (rather than a pistol grip). This means that you hold the Porter-Cable corded drill closer to the body of the unit, higher up the handle. This is meant to reduce fatigue when used for extended periods.
Like others on this list, the Porter-Cable also features a 3-year warranty and 1-year service contract to give you extra peace of mind when buying. This combined with its low asking price makes it a tantalizing choice for beginners in corded drilling.
Why we like it
The Porter-Cable Corded Drill has all the sturdy cast-metal construction and compact design that we’ve come to expect from the company. Its lower price comes with a reduction in power over other models on this list, both in its RPM capacity and amperage. If you know that your drilling tasks don’t need anything more heavy-duty or too much in terms of masonry work, the Porter-Cable is durable, competitively powerful in its price range, and will last you a long time.
Despite having the same amperage limitations as the Porter-Cable model, this SKIL hammer drill offers hammering functions and an impressive RPM for its motor, topping out at 3,000.
For those looking to pull off heavier masonry tasks like drilling and cutting concrete, the SKIL also comes with a ½-In keyed chuck for bigger attachments.
Like the more expensive DeWalt models, the SKIL also has a handy 360-degree adjustable side handle for added versatility and control. A variable speed trigger gives you access to subtlety when you’re doing different work. A depth gauge rod lets you plan your masonry job ahead of time.
The SKIL has thermal protective housing over its motor to prevent heating and will hold up well when drilling hardwood and metal or mixing grout, cutting brick, and drilling holes into concrete.
The basic design of this corded hammer drill should be familiar to anyone who has used the best models in the industry. A 6-foot power cord and integrated chuck-holder are just little bonuses for convenience.
The SKIL weighs over five pounds so it’s not the most petite model on the list, but its price is unbeatable. For entry-level pricing and amperage on a sturdy drill that can still handle basic drilling and mid-level masonry work, the SKIL is a fantastic budget pick.
Why we like it
The SKIL doesn’t lead the list in power but it competes in it at an unbeatable price. Its impressive RPMs supplement an industry-standard amperage. Stability and control features give you a handle on your drilling and hammering tasks in a way that matches others on this list. For those looking for heavy work at a low cost, the SKIL is a practically risk-free investment for any home remodeler.
When choosing one of these corded hammering drills, you have to know the needs of your projects. Most of these models can handle basic drilling and hammering tasks, but only a few have the mechanical aptitude for the heaviest masonry and metal-cutting work.
Here is a short buyer’s guide to the features of corded hammering drills that you need to watch out for and compare to find the best model for your particular home remodeling or renovation needs.
1. Motor Amperage
A motor’s amperage effectively measures how well the motor can cool itself down during extended use. More amperage means that you can run the drill for longer without the risk of it stalling or overheating. If you expect your corded hammering drill to be able to handle a ton of BPMs or RPMs, then you need an appropriate amperage to handle that work without also causing the tool to overheat or the circuit to blow.
The motors on this list range only from 7 to 10-Amps, but even that is a big difference when it comes to industrial-grade masonry. Any of the 7-Amp models can easily handle basic drilling tasks involving pilot holes on a new deck, frame-building, basic metalwork, screwing, and home repairs.
However, only a high amperage motor will give you the contractor-grade hammering capacity that you may need if you’re expecting this drill to take you through an extended concrete drilling, brick cutting, or stone shaping job. The longer you expect to be using this drill at a time also affects how many amps you need to look for in its motor.
Attempting to overuse an underpowered motor can result in blown fuses, fused motor parts, and burnt hands.
2. RPMs and BPMs
Not all motors of equal amperage are made equally. The specifications of each tool in terms of blows per minute (hammering function) and rotations per minute (drilling function) are significant in choosing the right unit for your expertise.
Higher RPMs should give you a smoother drilling experience and also an extended one since the unit can run for longer by doing work faster. Since the range of function on this list alone is extensive, knowing the applicable motor power that you need for your work will make a huge difference in which drill you choose.
3. Handle grip
For these heavy-duty drilling projects, a comfortable handle that promotes fatigue reduction is a necessity. Choosing between traditional pistol-grip handles and mid-handle grips is a matter of preference, but for heavier tools, you should look for mid-handle for extra stability.
If you plan on using these drills for drilling tasks as well as two-handed masonry jobs, you want to make sure that you get something with a rubber form-fitting grip, so your hand doesn’t tire out and experience pain.
The weight of each model varies by a few pounds, which doesn’t seem like a lot. However, depending on your experience, drilling one-handed for a long duration can cause pain and fatigue if the drill unit is too heavy.
Novice home remodelers who know they don’t need the biggest motors for the projects they have planned should consider sacrificing some drilling power for less weight. Your hands may thank you later.
5. Side handle
Any drill built for hammering or mid-heavy drilling work should have an adjustable, 360-degree side handle for added stability and control. All the units on this list do and any that you look for outside of it should as well.
Many projects of longer duration simply cannot be achieved without this stability. To prevent mistakes, you want to buy for stability first.
6. Speed control
Along the same lines in terms of control, you want to look for hammering drills that feature variable speed control for more precision on the drilling function of the model (hammering function speed cannot be controlled).
This gives you a subtle influence over the speed and power output of the work you’re doing, which is especially useful if you plan on working on many different materials. Ceramics require many fewer RPMs than concrete, for instance.
Most models come with some kind of speed control, but make sure that it’s part of the package before you look further.
7. Depth gauge rod
Not all units have this feature, but you should look for one that does. A depth gauge is a metal rod that will allow you to measure the depth of the holes you’re drilling, which is essential in work involving hardwood or concrete since you may be drilling into a standing wall.
You don’t want to go too far and hit electrical wiring or drill uneven holes. A depth gauge rod is not an expensive feature – it’s an indicator of good design that you should look for in any drill you’re considering.
8. Chuck size
Whether the drill’s chuck is keyless or keyed determines how easy it is to switch between attachments and the size of the attachments that you can use.
This determines the size of the holes that you can drill and even the materials that you can work with.
Due to this, despite relatively few options in terms of chuck size, it’s still something to observe when you compare each model.
This is probably on top of a lot of people’s lists when it comes to buying a drill. However, price is not always what it seems. Since you’re also comparing the aptitudes of each model in terms of motor power and functions, some may be more worth their higher price than others of lower value.
When buying, keep in mind that the best corded hammering drills fulfill the functions of several tools at once. Buying a premium model may save you the obligation of buying another tool in the long run.
Know your needs in terms of your experience and the projects you plan on tackling in your home remodeling journey before comparing prices. It’s paramount to find not simply the cheapest drill, but the cheapest version of all your drilling needs.
The bigger companies offer generous manufacturers warranties and free service contracts with their drills. Make sure your unit has one before you buy it. Since it’s not rare for them to have this feature, there’s no reason for you to take unnecessary risks with your money when buying a hammering drill.
Choosing the best corded hammering drill requires you to know the materials you’ll be working with. Since only the biggest models can handle heavy-duty masonry work, you need to match the power of these motors with the intentions of your renovation project.
This guide should give you a direction in terms of which major brand, which motor size, and which features will best serve your needs as an experienced renovation or remodeling enthusiast. Many of these drills feature the same basic safety and convenience functions. However, the subtle differences between them make all the difference in terms of the control you have over your work.
The DeWalt DW511 7.8-amp corded hammering drill is our top choice because it ably provides any contractor or home renovator of any experience level with the right tool for their hammering and drilling needs. With a compact build, competitive amperage and RPM, and convenience features like a steady side handle and variable speed control, this DeWalt checks all the right boxes in terms of a dual hammering and drilling machine.
The ability to switch between those modes makes it a light, all-purpose tool for anyone who needs to do drilling around their home or at job sites. Despite being compact, lightweight, and easy to use, the DeWalt 7.8-amp corded hammering drill sacrifices no power or convenience. It’s a perfect general option for those looking for a reliable machine to get started on their renovations.
I have an unhealthy obsession with contracting and renovation. I’ve been a contractor for over 15 years and I love tackling challenging projects to make them look amazing.