In this guide we’ll take a look at the best SDS drills for the UK market.
I’ve compared power, weight performance and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best SDS Drill?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
If you’ve ever tried drilling holes in concrete or masonry without the best SDS drill in your hands, you’ll know it’s hard, dirty, and dusty work. The Bosch Boschhammer GBH 2-26 cuts through hard concrete like a knife through butter- it’s extremely well built and remarkably easy to use.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed SDS Drill Reviews
Bosch Professional GBH 2-26 SDS+ Hammer Drill Review
The Bosch Boschhammer GBH 2-26 is probably the best SDS drill because it combines superior build quality with a powerful and safe hammer action.
Forming part of Bosch’s popular “blue” line of professional power tools, the Boschhammer GBH 2-26 is a formidable bit of kit designed for drilling a range of materials and chiselling masonry or concrete. The build quality’s what you’d expect from a professional-level Bosch drill, everything is as solid as a rock and made for reliable service. I can see this lasting for years, even on site.
It’s a heavy power tool at 2.7 kg, but it doesn’t feel unbalanced when you use the multi-position front handle, and the rear rubberised section of the handle makes it comfortable to use and helps to damped down the vibrations, even when in hammer-only mode.
The 830 Watt motor puts out up to 900 rpm and 4,000 bpm in hammer mode with each impact rated at 2.7 Joules of force. You can drill up to 26 mm holes in concrete or masonry, up to 68 mm with a core cutter or up to 30 mm in wood.
Switching between drill, hammer drill and hammer only mode uses a chunky safety dial, and you can switch the rotating brush plate for equal power in reverse, a handy feature if your drill bit gets well and truly stuck.
One of my favourite features on the GBH 2-26 is the safety clutch- if the safety handle is properly engaged and the drill bit gets trapped, the chance of dangerous kickback is greatly reduced. It’s something Bosch take seriously, and I’m glad they do.
This SDS drill is a reliable workhorse- it’s supplied with a robust metal depth stop and blow-moulded carry case as well. When paired up with Bosch’s excellent range of SDS drill bits and chisels, it becomes a versatile and heavy-duty drill.
Dewalt D25133K-GB SDS Plus 3 Mode Hammer Drill Review
One of my favourite power tool brands is US-based DeWalt. Easily one of the most used names by professionals and DIYers across the world, their D25133K SDS-Plus hammer drill is well-designed and tough tool.
Starting with the ergonomics, DeWalt have sculpted the hand grip superbly- it fits comfortably in the hand and the top lip portion helps you grip with your thumb and forefinger much more easily. The rubberised grip helps to keep down vibration as well.
It’s not overly heavy at 2.6 kg but it still packs a mighty punch. The front grip is comfortable and easy to position where you need it and switching between modes with the selector switch comes with a nice, positive click.
Specs-wise, the 800 Watt motor provides up to 1,500 rpm and 2.6 Joules of force per hammer blow. You can drill up to 26 mm holes in concrete or masonry, up to 13 mm in steel, or up to 30 mm in wood.
This is another robust SDS drill that’s well sealed to protect from dust intrusion, features a decent safety clutch mechanism and feels like it’s built to last. I love the sturdy carry case, but it’s a shame that the depth stop is made of plastic.
Makita HR2630 3 Mode SDS+ Rotary Hammer Drill Review
I’ve used Makita power tools for a long time, and they’ve never let me down so far. The HR2630 SDS+ rotary hammer drill is one of the best SDS drills available right now- it’s seriously study and has the most comfortable grip I’ve tested out so far.
As you might expect from one of the best names in the industry, Makita are famous for their build quality. The rubber overmoulding spreads across a lot of the drill, making it easy to hold on to and damping down a lot of the vibration. The pistol grip moulds to the hand well and the trigger is huge.
Weighing in at 3.3 kg, it’s a bit heavier than some of the competition, but not enough to make my arms fall off even after a long drilling job. It’s a bit odd that the mode selector switch is on the bottom of the tool, but everything else makes perfect sense.
The 800 Watt motor produces up to 1,200 rpm and a maximum 4,600 bpm at the business end. Each impact creates a reasonable 2.4 Joules. You can drill up to 26 mm holes in concrete or masonry, up to 68 mm with a core cutter, 80 mm with a diamond bit, or up to 32 mm in wood.
My favourite feature on this SDS drill is what the extra setting on the selector switch is for- you’ve got the expected drill, hammer drill and hammer only options, but there’s also a little dot in between. By selecting the dot, you can rotate any chisel bit through 40 different angle settings- this means wide chisel bits can be set to any angle you need, ideal for tight spots or getting flush with the floor so the drill handle isn’t in the way. It’s a simple feature but it shows that Makita know their stuff.
There is of course a reliable torque limiter and mechanical clutch for safety, one of Makita’s super sturdy cases, (sadly) a plastic depth stop and a comfortable front handle. I’m a big fan.
Meterk 3 Function SDS Plus Heavy Duty Hammer Drill Review
Meterk have created a seriously heavy duty tool with their E1455 rotary hammer drill. It’s a big, heavy beast, but it’s powerful and comes with a comprehensive set of accessories to get you working straight away.
The grip shape and ergonomics on this heavy SDS drill aren’t quite as refined as the Makita or Bosch offerings, but they’re comfortable enough during use. All the switches and the trigger feel big and solid so it feels like this will be fine for even heavy DIY use.
The weight is what makes this a bit of an unwieldy beast- the whole kit weighs in at just under 9 kg, which is a whole lot heavier than the best SDS drill on my list. Sure, there’s a lot more power at the sharp end- but unless you’re planning on doing a lot of heavy jobs it might be too much for some DIYers.
The massive 1500 Watt motor puts out up to 880 rpm and 4,350 bpm, but the real power is in each impact- 7.4 Joules of striking force. You can also drill up to 32 mm in concrete, 38 mm in wood and nearly 13 mm in steel.
Rather than using a trigger-based speed controller, the Merterk uses an adjustable speed dial, which is rather good, it means you can’t accidentally slip and put too much power into a hole at the wrong moment. An issue I had was with the cable length- most SDS drills have between 3 – 4 metre cables, but the 2.2 m cable issued with the Meterk feels a bit stingy and means dragging an extension cable around as well.
Even so, it’s the accessory kit that makes this one of the best SDS drills on the market- Meterk include everything you need to get to work- 8, 10, 12 mm drill bits, a point and flat chisel, and a decent box to keep it all together.
Bosch PBH 2100 RE Rotary Hammer Drill Review
If you want to get a solid-built and reliable SDS drill from one of the most respected names in the game, the Bosch PBH 2100 RE is a handy tool to own. Making up part of Bosch’s “green” line of DIY level tools, the specs won’t beat the formidable Boschhammer GBH 2-26, but it’s also a lot less expensive.
Even though this is a drill aimed at home DIYers, the build quality of all the components is surprisingly good. Everything feels solid and chunky, and the big ergonomic pistol grip fits nicely in the hand. The rubberised sections on the back should help keep vibration levels down too.
You can choose four operation modes with the selector switch- normal drilling without hammer, hammer drilling, “Vario-Lock” which allows you to adjust the rotation of a chisel bit, and hammer only mode. The trigger controls the speed of rotation or hammer action and feels pretty solid too.
The 550 Watt motor produces a reasonable 2,300 rpm and 4,600 bpm and 1.7 Joules of impact force, which isn’t even close to the best SDS drill on my list, but it’s still enough for most DIY jobs. You can drill holes up to 20 mm in concrete, 13 mm in steel and up to 30 mm in wood.
Even though the PBH 2100 RE lags behind more professional SDS drills for power and speed unless you’re planning on using it all the time or for heavy drilling jobs you probably don’t need the extra grunt. This is still a good, solid drill that only weighs 2.2 kg and will work hard for you for years.
Evolution Power Tools SDS4-800 4 Function SDS+ Hammer Drill Review
Sheffield-based tool heroes Evolution Power Tools make some brilliant bits of kit, and the SDS4-800 hammer drill is one of them. If you need a full kit with bits and a box, you can’t go far wrong with this option for the price.
Although this tool looks a bit more “plasticky”, it’s been well put together. The trigger guard should help to keep the trigger assembly, and your hand, safe during use, and the rubberised portions make the grip quite comfortable.
The four-position mode selector is nice and chunky, and you can control the speed with either the trigger or the speed dial on the front of it. It’s good for setting a maximum speed or using it with the lock-off switch for longer drilling or chiselling jobs.
The 650 Watt motor is adequate for DIY jobs and creates 1,100 rpm and 1.6 Joules of force per impact. That’s not much compared to some of the heavy duty SDS drills on my list, but more than enough for most home users. Weighing in at 3.5 kg, it’s not too heavy either.
What makes this one of the best SDS drill kits is the included bits- they’ve thrown in 6, 8 and 10 mm drill bits and a pointed and flat chisel. Not bad at all, considering the price.
Einhell RT-RH 32 3 Function SDS Rotary Hammer Drill Review
Germany’s Einhell are fast becoming one of my favourite budget tool brands- they combine solid and reliable engineering without the massive price tag. The RT-RH 32 rotary hammer is a serious, heavy duty bit of kit for the biggest DIY jobs.
Starting with how it’s been put together, this SDS drill feels like it’ll last for a lifetime- everything is over engineered and there’s plenty of metal in the drill body. Even though it’s heavy at 6.1 kg, it’s got a powerful motor and impressive drilling capacity for the money.
The vibration-reducing handle is comfortable to use, and the rubberised portions help with grip. It’s nice to see another metal depth stop, and Einhell make it clear that it has an aluminium gear head and overload slip coupling, or safety clutch, to prevent sudden twist if the bit gets stuck.
The beefy 1,250 Watt motor powers the drill bit up to 800 rpm and an impressive 4,300 bpm at the sharp end. You can drill up to 32 mm wide holes in concrete and put 3.5 Joules of force into each hammer action. It’s great for hammer drilling and chiselling jobs.
Einhell have included five bits as well to get you started, 8, 10 and 12 mm drill bits, and a pointed and flat end chisel. It’s a big and powerful SDS drill kit that will get the job done without emptying your wallet.
Draper 81077 SDS Max Breaker Review
Well-known to professionals and DIYers across the UK, Hampshire based Draper have been in the tool game for more than a century. Their 81077 SDS Max Breaker takes the big size bits that are built for the toughest DIY jobs in the game.
Where some of the SDS drills on my list have been more suited to drilling than breaking, the Draper 81077 is just a breaker. But it’s exceptionally good at its job- you can break and chisel out concrete or masonry easily and it’s not overly heavy or difficult to handle.
It needs to be tough-built to deal with heavy breaking jobs, and it doesn’t disappoint- even though it’s only a DIY rated tool that you wouldn’t use on a building site, everything on this breaker is tough and oversized. The rear handle is easy to hold on to and you can handle the trigger while wearing gloves easily.
The powerful 1,050 Watt motor powers up the breaker head to 4,300 bpm and delivers a crunching 25 Joules of force per impact. It’s a brilliant bit of kit that still only weight 7 kg, an impressive power to weight ratio that puts a lot of breaking power into just about anyone’s hands.
Draper have included a pair of SDS Max chisels, one pointed and one flat for heavy breaking and chiselling jobs. If you need to get rid of concrete or masonry at home, use this beast.
Things to Know Before Buying an SDS Drill
Sometimes you need a bit more grunt to get the job done right. Drilling holes in brick or concrete can take ages and burn out a regular drill, but the best SDS drill will make holes in the hardest materials quickly, safely and without a problem.
Slotted drive shaft, or SDS, is a universal bit type that allows a rotary drill or breaker to deliver the maximum amount of torque into the workpiece. Regular drill chucks are rounded, so there’s only so much grip they can put on a drill bit, which would lead to slip under high torque. SDS drill bits contain sets of grooves that help lock them into the drill for high torque applications as well as sliding up and down in a powerful hammer action for breaking hard materials.
Hammer drilling is ideal for making holes in concrete or masonry. For every twist of the drill bit, an internal hammer impacts it, forcing it into the workpiece and making light work of even hard materials.
Rather like the noisy pneumatic breakers you might see on a building site or being used on roadworks, an SDS drill can be switched to hammer-only mode. This, combined with pointed or chisel shaped bits turn your drill into a breaker or power chisel. Ideal for removing tiles or breaking up concrete.
The diameter of SDS and SDS Plus bits is the same- 10 mm, but the Plus part is just an improvement in the shape of the grooves. They will both fit in the same SDS drill chuck. SDS Max is a larger, heavy-duty bit size of 13 mm.
There are plenty of different breaker bits on the market, but the most common is the pointed bit for breaking apart concrete or masonry. Chisel bits of different widths are suitable for removing tiles or chasing out plaster. An interesting bit shape is the scutch comb, its aggressive shape is ideal for removing and levelling masonry.
SDS Drill FAQs
The best place to start is with quality drill bits. They can make all the difference when it comes to drilling accurately and with the least effort. Investing in quality bits might cost you a bit more money, but like they say- “if you buy cheap, you buy twice”.
Like any drilling task, start with a smaller bit size and work up to the target hole size in stages. Don’t try to drill a 26 mm hole directly into hard concrete, start with a smaller pilot size and work your way up. It will put less strain on the machine and should produce more accurate and neater results.
Don’t push too hard on the drill during operation. A firm, even pressure is all that’s needed to drill through hard materials. Let the drill bit do the work and there’s less chance of binding in the hole as well.
All the best SDS drills come with lock-off switches that mean you can set the drill speed and lock the trigger. Once you’re drilling you can then move your hand further up the grip to where it’s inline with the drill bit and resting against the top lip. This is an ideal drilling position and means you can apply the right amount of pressure easily.
One of the most dangerous parts of heavy drilling is the chance of kickback. If the drill bit binds inside the hole, the rotational energy can be transferred back into your hands and arms. This can cause serious injury unless you’re prepared and are using the correct safety measures.
The best SDS drills come with a manual safety clutch and front handle, but you need to use it correctly for it to do its job. Make sure that any kickback will push the front handle into your palm, and not the other way round. “Catching” the handle will engage the safety clutch and avoid injury.
You should always read the manual supplied with your SDS drill, so you know how to use it safely. These are powerful machines that can cause serious injury if not used correctly.
If you follow the safety instructions and wear the proper level of personal protective equipment (PPE), SDS drills are as safe as any other power tool. Always wear correct eye and ear protection and remember that drilling or breaking concrete or masonry creates a lot of dust.
You should avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and tie back any long hair while using any rotary power tool. Gloves are also not recommended as they can become tangled in drill bits, but special anti-vibration gloves are brilliant when you’re in hammer only mode.