The best SDS hammer drill makes drilling into concrete, brick & stone – easy. Designed for a wide range of heavy-duty tasks, this is an essential power tool for professional tradesmen (& serious DIYers) working with masonry, brick & stone.
There are numerous tasks where an SDS drill is the right tool for the job. Plus, several scenarios where it’s essential.
First up, is the need to drill into tough concrete such as a lintel or construction bricks. An SDS will handle these jobs with ease. A combi-drill is good for placing fixings but if you need a large diameter hole for pipes etc., then the SDS system is the right choice.
In addition to drilling; chiselling, chipping and channelling are also quick & easy with an SDS hammer drill.
Make sure the model you choose has three modes (many don’t).
Best SDS Hammer Drill 2023
Impact energy, weight and modes are the three key specifications to check. Impact energy is measured in Joules. Bigger the better, but more impact energy usually means higher weight and cost.
IMPORTANT: Make sure your new drill can handle all tasks – it must have three modes…
- Rotary – Powerful option for drilling into wood & metal
- Hammer & Rotary – Drill into bricks & concrete
- Hammer only – Chiselling, chipping & channelling
Our review process is simple. We only recommend 3-mode SDS hammer drills. Weight & impact energy are critical. We then factor in, speed, bpm, safety, vibration absorption and physical size. Plus, for cordless models, battery compatibility & tool range is important too.
Researching & comparing SDS drills from scratch can be very time-consuming.
Worry not. We have scrutinised specifications, checked real-world experience and compared 38 models to help you choose the right model for you…
Best SDS Hammer Drill for DIY – Bosch PBH 2100 RE
For tough DIY jobs, this model from Bosch is effective and affordable. Decent impact force, 3 modes and Bosch reliability make this model the best SDS+ drill under £100.
This Bosch can easily drill into wood, steel, and tough concrete. Plus, the hammer-only function means it’s also perfect for chiselling, chipping & channelling. Whatever job you’re working on now or may tackle in the future, this drill is a great choice.
Working with a drill weighing three or four kilos for any length of time can be exhausting. However, this model from Bosch weighs only 2.2Kg – much lighter than most SDS drills.
The controls are easy to adjust and the front handle rotates enabling you to find a comfortable position. Plus, you can lock the chisel position to give you the perfect working angle for chiselling.
The Bosch PBH 2100 RE will handle all those tough masonry drilling jobs with ease. Plus, the 3-mode specification also gives you the right power tool for removing tiles, cutting channels for cables etc.
SPECIFICATION: 3 Mode | Impact Energy: 1.7J | Weight: 2.2Kg | Power: Input 550w / Output 270w | Impact Rate: 0-4600bpm | No-Load Speed: 0-2300rpm | Maximum Drilling Diameters: Concrete: 20mm / Steel: 13mm / Wood: 30mm | Warranty: 1 Year
Bosch SDS+ Drill | Verdict Price £79
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Best Hammer Drill for Trade – Makita HR2630
The Makita HR2630 is powerful, reasonably light and for around one hundred quid – it’s affordable too. As with all Verum SDS recommendations, this model gives you 3 modes making it good for all materials & all jobs, including chiselling.
This highly rated and best-selling drill is a firm favourite with professional tradesmen. As you expect with Makita, it’s well-built and clearly designed for tough, on-site, conditions. The 3 modes (rotation only, rotation & hammering + hammering only) make it a good choice for all trades.
Weighing under 3Kg, it ranks as one of the lighter SDS drills. However, what’s important is that it still packs a punch with an impact energy rating of 2.4J.
Makita has got the detail right too. The chuck makes bit loading & removal easy. The variable speed trigger gives control. You can lock the chisel position. Plus, the overall design with soft grips and rotating handle improves comfort & reduces fatigue.
This Makita SDS drill delivers power & function ahead of numerous other models costing much more.
SPECIFICATION: 3 Mode | Impact Energy: 2.4J | Weight: 2.8Kg | Power: Input 800w / Output 270w | Impact Rate: 0-4600bpm | No-Load Speed: 0-1200rpm | Maximum Drilling Diameters: Concrete: 26mm / Steel: 13mm / Wood: 32mm | Warranty: 3 Years
Makita SDS+ Drill | Verdict Price £141
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Best Cordless SDS Plus Hammer Drill – Makita DHR242Z
Power combined with cordless convenience makes this model from Makita a top choice for all professionals. The design, function and specification (including a brushless motor) make it impossible to find fault with this SDS drill.
The brushless motor brings four significant benefits: more power, lower battery drain, superior control and longevity.
First up, getting the job done requires enough oomph and with 2J of energy impact, there are no issues here. Brushless motors are around 30% more efficient meaning this power tool will keep going much longer between battery change or recharge. Adding to this, speed control is precise. But above all else, a brushless drill will last longer. Much longer. Even if used all day, every day, it won’t overheat & won’t burn out.
Looking for negatives – cordless convenience and brushless longevity; does cost a few quid more. If you already own Makita batteries, then choosing this model is a no-brainer. Alternatively, if you need to buy batteries & a charger to go with your new drill, Makita is a great brand to invest in. The range of quality cordless tools is huge and being able to use the same batteries across all devices makes your next power tool purchase much cheaper.
A few years back, going cordless meant either spending a fortune or compromising on power. Not anymore, this cordless Makita does it all.
SPECIFICATION: 3 Mode | Impact Energy: 2.0J | Weight: 3.2Kg | Impact Rate: 0-4700bpm | No-Load Speed: 0-950rpm | Maximum Drilling Diameters: Concrete: 24mm / Steel: 13mm / Wood: 27mm | Warranty: 3 Years
Choose battery & charger separately
Makita SDS+ Drill | Verdict Price £185
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Choose the 18v LXT battery & charger separately for the best deal
SDS Hammer Drill Buyers Guide
Most drilling jobs on-site and around the home are easily handled by a decent cordless combi drill. Powerful, lightweight and affordable the combi drill is truly versatile. However, for tougher jobs that require a powerful hammer action, you need an SDS drill.
What is an SDS Drill?
SDS drills use a different chuck & fitting to a standard drill. The SDS shank simply pushes into a spring-loaded chuck (no tightening required). The drill bit therefore can slide back and forth and will not slip on rotation. Rather than the whole chuck moving, only the drill bit does the work. This efficient system means more power is delivered to the job in hand, rather than turning a heavy chuck.
The downsides are that the drills and drill bits are more expensive, plus they’re less accurate than a drill with a regular chuck. However, for drilling or chiselling tough materials the technical benefits of the SDS system are clear:
- High torque transmission
- Chiselling action with rotation-lock mode
- Quick & easy bit change
Once you use an SDS drill, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
Can I use normal drill bits in an SDS drill?
Standard rotary drill bits do not fit in an SDS drill chuck. However, you can buy adapters which allow the use of standard drill bits.
What does SDS mean on a hammer drill?
Developed in Germany, SDS stands for ‘Stecken – Drehen – Sichern’ which translates to ‘Insert – Twist – Secure’. However, SDS is often referred to as the ‘Slotted Drive System’.
SDS, SDS Plus and SDS Max
There are a few different SDS systems. The SDS Plus with a 10mm shank, is the most popular system and perfect for most jobs. Available for a few years now, it’s replaced the standard SDS design.
For very heavy construction jobs, consider SDS Max. Designed for large drill bits, using an 18mm shaft, these high-powered drills are powerful, expensive & heavy.
You may also see SDS Top, SDS Quick & the odd brand-specific fit quoted.
All the Verum recommendations here use the SDS Plus system.
TODAY’S BEST DEALS
UK VERDICT 2023
An SDS hammer drill makes drilling into concrete, stone & brick – easy. Plus, choose any of the Verum recommended models and your new drill will chisel, chip & channel too.
For most DIY tasks the Bosch is a great option. It has the ‘must-have’ three modes, it’s reasonably powerful, lightweight and good value for money.
For a few quid more, the corded Makita has additional power and 2.4J of impact energy. Drilling through the toughest materials is rapid. Affordable & effective, this is our overall best buy.
The Cordless Makita SDS Plus is our Ultimate choice. With a brushless motor, decent power, and cordless convenience, it’s capable of handling tough jobs all day, every day.
S H A R E