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Hammer Drill Vs. Rotary Hammer

The difference between a hammer drill and a rotary hammer can be confusing but they both have their own unique features.
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Rotatory hammers and Hammer Drills perform exceptionally well when drilling holes in masonry. However, rotary hammers feature a mode referred to as “hammer-only” and do not include spinning. This mode is far more powerful. They often come equipped with an SDS chuck, which is superior for use while hammering.

Using a standard drill and a masonry bit, it is possible to bore one or two holes in a concrete block, but if you need to bore a large number of holes into concrete that is at least fifty years old, you will need to upgrade your drilling equipment. 

In this article, we’ll give you the scoop on the differences between a rotary hammer and a hammer drill and assist you in figuring out which equipment is suitable for you by comparing and contrasting the two.

A Brief Explanation of Rotary Hammers:

Hammer Drill Vs. Rotary Hammer
Hammer Drill Vs. Rotary Hammer

Regarding these two kinds of hammers, experts and others who frequently have to drive screws into concrete find that rotary hammers are the more effective and convenient alternative. Hammer drills are inferior to rotary hammers for individuals who require advanced strength and excellent shock absorption. Rotary hammers are preferable for these purposes.

Hammering Mechanism:

A piston and air cylinder make up the rotary hammer’s hammering mechanism, also known as the hammering chamber. The air in the cylinder gets beaten up due to the piston’s space compression. This results in a very effective and efficient hammering action, ideal for driving concrete screws.


The most significant advantage of rotary hammers is their incredible force. Said, rotary hammers can produce higher pressure than hammer drills due to the design of the mechanism that generates the blows. 

The rotary hammer will be the most excellent choice for people with demands for pounding that are either more severe or more frequent. If you need to drill holes with a diameter greater than one inch, purchase a rotary hammer.

Even though they have a more significant force output, rotary hammers are not more difficult to use than traditional hammers. On average, rotary hammers have a greater capacity for stress absorption than hammer drills. 

Typical rotary hammers can produce 6000 beats per minute on average. Because of this, they use the rotary hammer less strenuously and more pleasant, which is especially helpful if you have demanding requirements.


Rotary hammers tend to be more cumbersome and weighty than hammer drills because of their increased power and decreased shock levels. 

A hammer weighs 15 pounds, almost twice as much as the heaviest hammer drills. This may be a disadvantage if you do not have much muscle or have to use it for an extended time.

In addition, battery power is not typically utilized by rotating hammers. They are so strong that being plugged in is nearly a must. Even though this benefits those with extremely high power requirements, it makes things more uncomfortable for everyone else, particularly if you do not have unrestricted access to a power outlet.

A Brief Explanation of Hammer Drills:

Hammer Drill
Hammer Drill

Hammer drills are typically considered less powerful but more cheap and portable than other types. Hammer drills, which include a striking mechanism that is more compact, are the most suitable alternative for individuals who want the tool for personal or occasional usage.

Hammering Mechanism:

Hammer drills feature a considerably smaller hitting mechanism. The collision produces the impact whenever the two ribbed metal discs move in and out of one another. The hammering mechanism included within the rotary hammer is far more potent than the one obtained within the other hammering mechanism.


The limitations of the rotary hammer are what make the hammer drill an attractive alternative. The hammer drill is notable for being highly lightweight and portable. 

The actual striking mechanism also weighs less due to its reduced size, resulting from the option having a lower power output. Additionally, these tools can be powered by batteries. Because of this, even the most potent hammer drills weigh just fifty percent as much as the lightest rotary hammers.

As a result, hammer drills are substantially more ergonomic. You won’t have trouble moving around the home with this device and transporting it from room to room.

One further advantage of the hammer drill is that it is pretty inexpensive. Since these instruments are not as strong, the cost of purchasing them is typically much lower. If you work with a minimal spending plan, you will have a better chance of locating a hammer drill inside your pricing range than a rotary hammer.


The fact that the hammer drill lacks the force of the rotary hammer is, without a doubt, the most significant disadvantage of the hammer drill. It’s possible that the hammer drill won’t pack enough of a punch for you to drive the screw in far enough if you have very demanding drilling demands.

The rotary hammer has a greater capacity to absorb stress than the hammer drill, another disadvantage of the hammer drill. It is capable of producing as much as 30,000 beats per minute. This results in a far higher shock level, making it significantly more challenging to grasp and manipulate.

How Do the Impacts of the Hammer Drill Compare to Those of the Rotary Hammer?

When compared to the hammer drill, the impacts produced by a rotary hammer are far more powerful. A hammer drill requires the operator to press into the material being worked on to generate a higher impact force during drilling. After being actuated, the rotary hammer uses the flying piston to drive the bit into the material being worked on physically.

You may imagine a hammer drill “vibrating” against the concrete to break it into smaller pieces. On the other hand, a rotary hammer may chip away at concrete while it drills holes in the material.

Buying Guide: Consider the Following Factors

Before you go out and get a new hammer drill or rotary hammer, there are a few things you need to think about first. These variables apply to both types of tools. These are the findings:

1. Power:

Whether you require a tool in your professional life or around the house, you must be sure it has sufficient power to do the task. Investing money in a tool that cannot handle the demands of the task at hand is a waste of time and money. Before making any final choices, it is essential to consider the power and torque.

2. Hole Size:

The diameter of the hole is quite essential. Always consider the variety of core bits a model can store. The hammer will determine the precise dimensions of both the core and the bit. If you want your model to last for a long time, it is typically advised that you choose a somewhat more giant hammer if you plan to use it regularly. 

This is because more surface area is exposed to wear and tear with a more significant tool. If you routinely strain your device to its limits, it will eventually become more brittle and shatter more readily, meaning that you will not receive your money’s worth from it.

3. Ergonomics:

Be sure that you can continue to utilize the instrument for an extended amount of time. The device’s ergonomics will affect how pleasant and practical it is to use. 

Consider the model’s weight and general design to determine how well it fits the user’s hands. The model will be less difficult to operate if it has a plan that prioritizes comfort and minimizes weight.

4. Price:

Today’s market offers various rotary hammers and hammer drills in multiple configurations. Before choosing a model, you should first consider your available funds. 

You must be able to locate a tool that is suitable for both your requirements and your financial constraints; nevertheless, you should plan on rotary hammers being more costly than hammer drills.

A Quick Comparison Between Hammer Drill and Rotary Hammer:

Comparison Between Hammer Drill and Rotatory Hammer
Comparison Between Hammer Drill and Rotatory Hammer

When drilling holes in concrete, you can’t go wrong with either a hammer drill or a rotary hammer. But which one is suitable for your particular project?

To help you decide, here’s a quick comparison of the two types of drills:

Hammer Drill:

  • Best for small to medium-sized projects
  • More affordable than rotary hammers
  • Lighter and more maneuverable than rotary hammers

Rotary Hammer:

  • Best for large projects
  • More powerful than hammer drills
  • Can be more challenging to control than hammer drills

So, there you have it! A quick comparison of the two types of drills. Now, it’s time to decide which is suitable for your next project.

Hammer Drill is Best for: 

In some circumstances, the hammer drill is preferable to the rotary hammer even though it is not as strong as the hammer and can only sustain less stress. 

First and foremost, the hammer drill is ideal for projects that are either little or medium in scale, such as those found around the house. It would help if you never used a hammer drill when working professionally or in a semi-professional setting.

Rotatory Hammer is Best for: 

Because of their increased power, rotary hammers are the tools of choice for use in construction and other professional settings. The rotary hammer can be too large and unneeded for your needs when it comes to personal service; thus, the hammer drill might be a better option for you.

Pros of Rotatory Hammer:

  • Enhanced power
  • Absorbs shock effectively
  • Great for professional use

Cons of Rotatory Hammer:

  • Heavy
  • Not battery operated
  • More expensive

Pros of Hammer Drill:

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Cordless
  • Affordable

Cons of Hammer Drill:

  • Not nearly as powerful.
  • Does not absorb nearly as much stress as it formerly did.
  • Not appropriate for usage in a professional setting.

How much and what Kind of Results should you Anticipate from your Drills?

  • $50 to $100 Hammer drills in this category use motors with between 6 and 8 amps of power. Able to bore holes up to half an inch in diameter in the block, mortar, brick, and other types of light masonry. These drills can also bore through concrete but at a slower rate.
  • $100 to $150 Hammer drills that fall within this price range often have motors ranging from 7 to 10. Effective for drilling holes up to 5/8 in. in light masonry and concrete up to a depth of 1 in.
  • $150 to $225 rotary hammers in this price category feature motors ranging from 7 to 10 amps and generating 1.5 to 3 foot-pounds of impact energy. It works well for drilling holes in masonry and light masonry up to an inch thick. In addition, the chisel and hammer modes allow for the removal of mortar, the breaking up of small parts of concrete, and the chiseling of tile.
  • Over $225 Rotary hammers in this price category have an impact energy of more than 10 ft-lbs and can continuously drill holes measuring 1-3/4 inches in diameter. They have a purchase price of $400 to $800 but may be rented for around $60 per day.

Which One is Right For you?

The scale of your job is the most crucial consideration when determining whether you will require a rotary hammer or a hammer drill; nonetheless, several elements might come into play. In other words, we suggest looking at the concrete or masonry job while picking a tool.

A rotary hammer is required if it is necessary to drill holes with a diameter greater than one inch. The fact that these instruments are more expensive and cumbersome does not change the fact that they are the best option for this kind of work. On the other hand, if the hole is any smaller than that, you will need a hammer drill.

If you have a lot of tiny chores, investing in a hammer drill can save you money and arm power. Most individuals who need to drill into concrete periodically around the house discover that the hammer drill is the superior alternative for their duties and pocketbook compared to other available choices.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Bottom Line:

The hammer drill is the superior option for drilling holes in concrete that are more manageable in size. The more arduous chores can be accomplished more quickly and effectively using rotary hammers. Additionally, they offer a variety of bits that is far broader and more adaptable. When deciding between a hammer drill and a rotary hammer, you should consider this before purchasing.

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