what is a hammer drill used for image

What Does a Hammer Drill Do – Simple Guide on its Uses & Operation

A hammer drill is a powerful power instrument that is particularly effective for drilling through hard and brittle surfaces such as masonry and is intended for drilling into stone, concrete, brick, and mortar surfaces. To penetrate resistant materials, hammer drills employ both rotary drilling motion and hammering thrusts in conjunction. Before knowing what is a hammer drill used for, let’s see a bit more about what it is and how it works.

Hammer drills are basically small but powerful specialized drills used to make small holes in materials that would be impossible to drill with a regular drill. They does not “bore through” materials. Instead, the slight hammer motion effectively pulverizes the drill bit. Even so, the pulverization is so precisely targeted that no other material is damaged.

What is a Hammer Drill Used for?

It is important to know the exact purpose of a tool before getting one for your job. Below is the brief list on what do you use a hammer drill for.

  • Most hammer drills have a switch that allows users to switch between rotary and rotary plus hammer modes. A rotary drill can do everything a regular drill driver can do.
  • For masonry, set the drill to rotary-plus-hammer. A hammer drill required for light masonry work. This tool works best with concrete, bricks, and mortar. This tool can handle even small holes in poured concrete. Hammer drill bits don’t have to be expensive, but they should have superior carbide tips and be more securely attached to their shanks to avoid shattering after prolonged usage.
  • To install electrical boxes and other fixtures in brick and block walls, hammer drills are commonly employed by contractors and experts alike.
  • Installing shelves and cabinets on masonry is the most prevalent usage for hammer drills among do-it-yourselfers and homeowners.
  • A hammer drill required when drilling 40 holes in concrete in one day. They can be utilized for a variety of home renovation projects. It’s a common misconception that they are exclusively used for nailing. You are misusing the hammer drill if you use it for this purpose.
  • They frequently run faster (0 to 1100 or 3000 rpm) than standard 1/2-inch corded drills (0 to 850 rpm). The added speed makes hammer drills more versatile. To use 1/4- and 3/8-inch-shank sanding drums, wire brushes, and polishing pads, switch your drill to rotary mode.

How to Use a Hammer Drill?

Step 1: Safety

You’ll need safety gear, including gloves, eye and ear protection before you start.

Step 2: Organize Your Workplace before You Begin

Always make sure your work area and drilling material are clean and clear of debris. Set up tarps or groundsheets around the drilling area to catch debris. Assure that you have ample room to stand.

Step 3: Drilling Target Holes

Mark the position on the masonry where you wish to drill. Take your time here and double-check your location. Then, while you have your ruler or measuring tape out, plan the drilling depth.

  1. If your drill doesn’t have a built-in stop bar, mark the depth on the drill bit with masking tape.
  2. Select the right masonry drill bit size for your home and secure it.

Step 4: Maintain proper drilling stance

When using a hammer drill, maintain your feet shoulder-width apart and firmly planted. Grab the drill handle with one hand, fingers wrapped around it. Use your other hand to support the tool’s back.

  1. Make a guide or pilot hole before hammering in the big one.
  2. Position the drill bit parallel to the surface and expect some bounce back.

Step 5: Start Drilling

Using the lowest speed setting on your hammer drill, slow down your work. If your gadget provides on/off options, drill in controlled bursts of no more than two seconds. Drill to a depth of 0.25 inches or less.

  1. Now you can drill the rest of the hole. Reaffirm your stance and keep the tool firmly in your grip. The hammer action will perform most of the work for you, which is why you use a hammer drill.
  2. As your confidence rises, you can speed up, but it isn’t necessary – steady wins the race.
  3. Occasionally remove the drill and clean away any dust.
  4. Stop drilling when you reach the drill bit’s marker. Spray lightly into the hole with compressed air to remove any concrete dust.

Some Additional Tips for Using a Hammer Drill

  • Hammer Action: With forward and backward, variable speed, and a switch to select hammer drill or conventional drill mode, most hammer drills are easily identifiable as such. Some types have several torque settings for driving bits.
  • This is not to be confused with an impact driver designed solely for fastener installation.
  • Drill Bits: To penetrate the surfaces, masonry drill bits required, recognizable by their winged tip made of hardened material, to pierce these surfaces. Switch it to hammer mode and choose your preferred speed to use your power drill.
  • Heat: Using a hammer drill generates a lot of heat, which might damage the hardened drill bit. When drilling large holes, remove the drill bit often to clean the flutes and rest it between holes.

Unless you’re an electrician, a cordless hammer drill won’t be as useful as a corded one. Still, a cordless one is a great starting drill. When using your cordless drill driver, you need to drill into masonry. A corded hammer drill gives you this capability.


Can a hammer drill be used as a regular drill?

Yes, you can use most of the hammer drills as a regular ones. But to do so you need to turn off the hammer action.


Your new favorite power tool, the hammer drill, should feel easy to use now that you’ve gone through this comprehensive guide on how to operate one. Hammer drills are mainly designed to drill into masonry. Means, you can break through hard materials like concrete, but you can also drill holes in materials you previously thought were impenetrable with it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.