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10 Best SDS Drills for Heavy Duty Drilling (2021 Review)

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The best SDS drill should be capable of drilling through concrete or masonry like a knife through butter! If you’ve struggled with a combi drill or conventional hammer drill, an SDS drill, with its special chuck and drill bit, is the way to go.

Your first consideration is whether you want a corded or cordless SDS drill. Cordless versions are safer (no lead to get in the way) and provide more mobility but they are more expensive, not least because of the cost of the battery. Unlike a cordless SDS drill, a corded version obviously provides a constant source of power. The best cordless SDS drills also come with a brushless motor. This reduces wear and tear on the mechanical components and increase the drill’s longevity, and also regulates the supply of battery power to the motor.

In terms of functionality, although all SDS drills include a rotary hammer mode for drilling into concrete or masonry, the best SDS drills also include a hammer-only mode to turn your SDS drill into a power chisel or concrete breaker.

The power of an SDS drill is arguably its most important feature. This is translated into impact energy and measured in Joules, with typical values ranging from 1-3 Joules. Impact energy also governs the SDS drill’s impact rate (measured in bpm – beats per minute). Look for at least 0-4,000bpm.

Other SDS drill features to look for include the maximum drilling depth into concrete – ideally over 20mm – and noise and vibration levels (stated in the drill’s technical specification).

SDS drill weight is also a factor to consider, particularly if you are going to be using the drill at shoulder or head height. More powerful drills or those with higher capacity batteries tend to be heavier.

These are just the main features. I’ve spent many hours researching the best SDS drills for professionals and DIYers and I’m extremely familiar with the best models. Here’s what I’ve found out…

What is the Best SDS Drill For You?

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Comparing the Best SDS Drills

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Type
  • Power
  • Modes
  • Impact Rate
  • Impact Energy
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal)
  • No-load speed
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless)
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended SDS Drills

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Makita DHR171Z LXT Cordless Brushless Rotary HammerMakita DHR171Z LXT Cordless Brushless Rotary Hammer

Best SDS drill without hammer only mode

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Makita DHR171Z LXT Cordless Brushless Rotary Hammer Review

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless, Brushless
  • Power: Battery - 18V (bare)
  • Modes: 2 (no hammer only mode)
  • Impact Rate: 0-4,800bpm
  • Impact Energy: 1.2J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 17 / 13 / 10mm
  • No-load speed: 0-680rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 2.2kg

The experts at Makita have done it again! In the DHR171Z they’ve managed to create a cordless SDS drill that outperforms other corded drills in the same class. The Japanese tool firm make some of the best drills for professionals out there, and this one blew me away.

Taking advantage of a brushless motor and Makita’s excellent LXT battery system, you get a whole lot of power in a small, lightweight package. Ideal for getting into the tight spots that other bulky SDS drills can’t reach, it’s the sort of drill you can use up a ladder without fearing for your life.

Weighing in at less than 3 kg with a battery connected, it’s lighter compared to the DeWalt DCH273N cordless SDS too. If you know what you’re doing, you can even use this drill one handed, a bit of a game changer when you’re in a tight spot.

Specs-wise, you can spin a drill bit from 0 – 680 rpm, and breeze through concrete and masonry with a whopping up to 4,800 bpm impact rate. That’s the highest impact rate compared to any other cordless drills I’ve tested out so far. You can drill up to 10 mm holes in metal, 13 in wood and 17 in masonry. It might not have the biggest capacity in comparison with the Bosch GBH 2 -26D, but it’s designed to be much more portable.

I like the fact that you get a powerful LED work light on this drill. It’s something that’s missing on even the best SDS drills I’ve tried out. Overall, this is a capable, comfortable. and light drill that will suit most professionals and savvy DIYers out there.

Pros

  • The variable speed trigger is accurate and comfortable to use. Paired up with the automatic constant speed control, you can drill reliably without much effort.
  • This drill is light enough for overhead work. Drilling 7 mm holes into concrete above your head isn’t anywhere near as tiring compared to a bigger SDS drill.
  • The brushless motor is ideal for cordless drilling. It lasts for ages, especially when coupled up with a high Ah battery.
  • The secondary handle is supremely comfortable. It can be easily positioned wherever you need it through 360° and helps to keep vibrations to a minimum.
  • It’s a small SDS drill compared to the chunky DeWalt D25133K. The handle is still big enough to accommodate large hands in gloves though!

Cons

  • This drill doesn’t include a hammer only mode. It’s not designed for breaking or chiselling, you’ll have to buy a heavy duty SDS drill for that.
  • The maximum rpm this drill can put out is just 680. Compared to Makita’s corded HR2630 at 1,200, it’s slow.
  • With a maximum drilling capacity of 13 mm into wood, don’t try to overload the drill with massive wood auger bits.
  • It’s sold as a “naked” tool. Don’t expect batteries, chargers or one of Makita’s excellent MakPacs.
BUY HERE →

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Bosch Professional GBH 2-26 SDS+ Hammer DrillBosch Professional GBH 2-26 SDS+ Hammer Drill

Best for quality and value

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Bosch Professional GBH 2-26 SDS+ Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Power: Mains - 830W
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: 0-4,000bpm
  • Impact Energy: 2.7J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 26 / 30 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 0-900rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 2.7kg

The Bosch Professional 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 Bosch GBH 2-26 is a formidable bit of kit. It’s been specially 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. 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. You can also 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.

Pros

  • This drill delivers a massive amount of power. Compared to the equivalent Makita HR2630, the motor’s bigger and each hammer strike delivers more force.
  • You can drill some serious size holes with this drill. 26 mm in concrete is impressive for any heavy duty drill.
  • The 2.7 Joules of impact energy mean you can use this as a decent breaker. It’s perfect for removing tiles, chasing out plaster or even breaking concrete.
  • You can set a chisel bit to any angle inside the chuck, and it will stay there.

Cons

  • Plenty of users have problems with Bosch’s L-BOXX system. They keep your tools safe, but only open a certain amount and aren’t as rugged as they used to be.
  • The power cord isn’t quite long enough. I’d like to see 3 metres on an SDS drill to make sure I don’t have to use an extension cable.
  • This drill vibrates a lot when tackling concrete. Even though it’s powerful, it can take its toll on the arms after a while.
BUY HERE →

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DeWalt DCH273N 18V XR Li-Ion SDS Plus Rotary Hammer DrillDeWalt DCH273N 18V XR Li-Ion SDS Plus Rotary Hammer Drill

Best for vibration suppression

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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DeWalt DCH273N 18V XR Li-Ion SDS Plus Rotary Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless, Brushless
  • Power: Battery - 18V (Bare)
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: 0-4,600bpm
  • Impact Energy: 2.1J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 24 / 26 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 0-1,100rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 2.5kg

US tool heavyweights DeWalt have made some of my favourite bits of kit over the years. The DCH273N must be up there with the best. If you’re looking for one of the best cordless SDS drills for professional use, this is probably it.

As you’d expect from one of the best names in the business, this is a tough and well-designed tool. I love the grip; it feels as comfortable as one of DeWalt’s combi drills. But compared to an ordinary drill it packs an enormous amount of torque into its small frame.

Seeing as this is a brushless SDS drill, you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. Team it up with DeWalt’s XR Li-Ion battery system, and you’ve got a bit of a monster on your hands. Weighing in at 2.5 kg without the battery, it’s light enough, but watch out if you’re using a 6 Ah battery as well.

Compared to the Makita DHR171Z, this drill runs faster at 1,100 rpm, but puts out marginally less bpm at 4,600. It’s impressive when you consider that this drill has a hammer only function though. Each impact of 2.1 Joules is plenty for most jobs, and the drilling capacity of 24 mm in concrete, 26 mm in wood and 13 mm in metal is notable.

The best thing about this SDS drill is the anti-vibration technology. Compared to the rest of the drills on my list, the DCH273N has the lowest M/s2 at 6.6. If you’re planning on drilling lots of holes in a row, this is the best SDS drill to go for.

Pros

  • To remind you that this is a lightweight SDS drill, it comes with a belt hook.
  • The LED work light is another handy feature when you’re working indoors.
  • Switching between drilling modes is easy. The lock button is underneath the switch, which means you can’t accidentally knock it during use.
  • Having a brushless motor makes the most out of the XR batteries. They’re more efficient and deliver more power than brushed ones.
  • The depth gauge is integrated into the body, so you shouldn’t be able to lose it too quickly.

Cons

  • For a power-hungry tool, it’s annoying that there isn’t a battery charge level indicator built in.
  • This is a “naked” tool. You won’t receive batteries, a charger, or a case.
  • The depth gauge doesn’t have any markings on it, you’ll have to have your tape measure on hand.
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Makita HR2630 3 Mode SDS+ Rotary Hammer DrillMakita HR2630 3 Mode SDS+ Rotary Hammer Drill

Best for extra features

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Makita HR2630 3 Mode SDS+ Rotary Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Power: Mains - 800W
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: 0-4,600bpm
  • Impact Energy: 2.4J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 26 / 32 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 0-1,200W
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 3.3kg

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. It makes it easy to hold on to and damps 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. It’s 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. You also get one of Makita’s super sturdy cases, (sadly) a plastic depth stop and a comfortable front handle. I’m a big fan.

Pros

  • Reliable and well-built. Makita make quality tools for trade use. They’ll last a long time.
  • The grip shape is ideal. Set the drill running, lock it off and move your hand up to the ergonomic rubberised portion. Your hand is locked into the optimum drilling position.
  • The SDS+ chuck is chunky, robust, and easy to use.
  • Makita’s blow moulded cases are rugged, easy to close and keep everything well organised.

Cons

  • Some users mistakenly thought this drill is supplied with a keyless chuck. The HR2630 is supplied with the SDS+ chuck only.
  • The drill can get rather hot after use, especially around the vents.
  • A plastic depth stop on an SDS drill is a recipe for disaster I wonder how long it will last.
  • The hammer only impact energy is a bit low compared to the Bosch GBH 2 -26D.
BUY HERE →

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DeWalt D25133K-GB SDS Plus 3 Mode Hammer DrillDeWalt D25133K-GB SDS Plus 3 Mode Hammer Drill

Best for impact rate

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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DeWalt D25133K-GB SDS Plus 3 Mode Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Power: Mains - 800W
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: 0-5,500bpm
  • Impact Energy: 2.6J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 26 / 30 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 0-1,500rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 2.6kg

One of my favourite power tool brands is US-based DeWalt. They’re easily one of the most used names by professionals and DIYers across the world. Their D25133K SDS-Plus hammer drill is a 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. Switching between drilling 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. It 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.

Pros

  • The sort of tough-built quality you expect from DeWalt. It’s a rugged SDS drill for professional or DIY use.
  • The rubberised pistol grip is comfortable, and the massive trigger is easy to grip with any finger.
  • In comparison with the Bosch GBH 2 -26D, this drill has a much higher impact rate at a massive 5,500 bpm.
  • The no-load speed of 1,500 rpm is impressive for an SDS drill. It’ll make short work of fast drilling jobs.

Cons

  • Even though the impact energy is decent enough at 2.6 Joules, it’s not going to replace a heavy breaker.
  • Plastic depth stops always seem to break or get bent. It’s a shame that DeWalt haven’t gone for a metal one here.
  • Compared to the Makita HR2630, there isn’t a trigger lock. For long drilling jobs in the optimum position high up on the drill, you need to use your little finger.
  • There never seems to be a work light on corded SDS drills.
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Bosch Professional GBH 18 V-EC Cordless Rotary Hammer DrillBosch Professional GBH 18 V-EC Cordless Rotary Hammer Drill

Best for ease of use

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Bosch Professional GBH 18 V-EC Cordless Rotary Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless, Brushless
  • Power: Battery - 18V (Bare)
  • Modes: 2 (no hammer only mode)
  • Impact Rate: 0-4,550bpm
  • Impact Energy: 1.7J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 18 / 20 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 0-1,400rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 2.6kg

Bosch’s “blue” line of professional quality tools are trusted by thousands of tradespeople and DIYers around the world. Their GBH 18 V-EC is the result of combining a powerful brushless motor with professional 18V battery technology. It’s lightweight and portable, but still powerful enough to tackle most masonry drilling tasks.

Quite similar in looks compared to the DeWalt DCH273N or Makita DHR171Z, the grip is ergonomic and feels good in the hand. The front grip can be turned through 360° and is rubberised to help keep the vibrations down. Overall, it feels like a professional bit of kit and not a plastic toy.

What makes this the best SDS drill for working at height is the size and weight. It’s as compact as one of Bosch’s combi drills and weighs just 2.6 kg. This means you can work with it above your head for some time without getting too tired. And because it’s cordless, working up a ladder is much more straightforward job.

The specs: the GBH 18 V-EC puts out up to 1,400 rpm and follows it up with up to 4,550 bpm in hammer mode. Each blow of the hammer produces 1.7 Joules of impact energy. You can drill a maximum size hole of 18 mm in concrete, 20 in wood and 13 in metal.

It might not be that powerful compared to the corded Bosch GBH 2 -26D, but it’s a battery powered tool. You can forgive it for not having the same impact energy. I know which one I’d prefer to use at the top of a ladder drilling 6 mm holes into concrete all day!

Pros

  • The brushless motor gives you excellent power to weight ratio.
  • Not much bigger than a combi drill, it’s amazing what you can get done with this tool.
  • The LED work light is bright and works well in tight spots.
  • The safety clutch is designed to limit any snap if the bit gets jammed. It really works.

Cons

  • For a drill designed to drill into concrete, a max size of 18 mm is a bit limiting.
  • This isn’t supposed to replace a heavy duty breaker, don’t expect it to smash through solid concrete.
  • Don’t forget that you won’t get a battery, charger, or case with this drill.
BUY HERE →

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Ryobi R18SDS-0 ONE+ SDS Plus Cordless Rotary Hammer DrillRyobi R18SDS-0 ONE+ SDS Plus Cordless Rotary Hammer Drill

Best lightweight

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Ryobi R18SDS-0 ONE+ SDS Plus Cordless Rotary Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Cordless
  • Power: Battery - 18V (Bare)
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: 0-5,000bpm
  • Impact Energy: 1.3J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 16 / 16 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 0-1,300rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 1.7kg

The other big Japanese tool brand, Ryobi, have been making excellent DIY level drills and saws since 1943. Their R18SDS-0 is an impressive and compact drill for anyone that needs to put holes in bricks or concrete.

Making good use of Ryobi’s excellent ONE+ system, if you’ve got any of their 18V tools, the batteries will fit this. It means you can buy their “naked” tools and save yourself a fair bit of money.

The first thing you’ll notice about this drill is how light and compact it is. Even compared to the lightweight Makita DHR171Z this is about as featherlike as an SDS drill can get. It’s nowhere near the most powerful, but if your main requirement is portability then you can’t go wrong.

The 18V battery powers a brushed motor that puts out up to 1,300 rpm, and a not-too-shabby up to 5,000 bpm in hammer mode. It’s a bit underpowered at just 1.3 Joules per impact strike, but it’s not supposed to be a heavy duty hammer. You can drill up to 16 mm in concrete, 16 mm in wood and 16 mm in metal.

I’m a big fan of the huge LED work light on the front of the drill. It’s a generous size compared with the Bosch GBH 18 V-EC and lights up the work area well. If you’re already a Ryobi convert, and not planning on doing too much heavy work, this is a great drill to pick.

Pros

  • Compared to the professional level SDS drills like the DeWalt DCH273N, this is a bit of a bargain. Especially if you already have some Ryobi batteries.
  • Weighing just 1.7 kg without the battery, this is an ultra-light SDS drill. One handed operation shouldn’t be an issue.
  • The grip shape is set up so that your hand and arm are always in line with the drill bit. This helps with accuracy and stability.
  • Even though there’s no auxiliary handle, the front of the drill has a grip section for two-handed use.

Cons

  • Without an auxiliary handle, this drill will never be as easy to handle as the competition.
  • The forward/reverse toggle switch is too easy to knock during use. It’s a bit too close to your finger when drilling.
  • A lot of the weight of the drill is towards the front. It can’t stand up on the battery when not in use.
  • There’s no depth gauge. You can always wrap tape around the bit to mark the depth, but I expect a bit more from an SDS drill.
  • Some users have noted that the drill motor gets hot quickly. As the motor sits under your hand, it can get uncomfortable.
BUY HERE →

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Bosch PBH 2100 RE Rotary Hammer DrillBosch PBH 2100 RE Rotary Hammer Drill

Best for no-load speed

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Bosch PBH 2100 RE Rotary Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Power: Mains - 550W
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: 0-4,600bpm
  • Impact Energy: 1.7J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 20 / 30 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 0-2,300rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 2.2kg

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 reasonably solid too.

The 550 Watt motor produces a reasonable 2,300 rpm and 4,600 bpm and 1.7 Joules of impact force. This 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.

The PBH 2100 RE lags behind the Bosch GBH 2 -26D for impact power. But 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.

Pros

  • A solid and dependable DIY-level SDS drill from a reliable brand.
  • The no-load speed of 2,300 rpm is class leading. You can use this for any drilling job you can think of.
  • This drill is a bit of a bargain, considering the specs. It won’t compare to the big Bosch GBH 2 -26D, but it’s also nearly a third of the price.
  • Being able to drill up to 30 mm holes in wood is impressive for a drill in this price range. It keeps up with even the professional-level Makita and DeWalt drills.

Cons

  • Several users have complained about “chuck wobble”. This can cause large drill bits to circle round rather than stay on the mark.
  • An impact power of 1.7 Joules is a bit weak. It might be excusable in a battery powered drill, but I’d expect a bit more from a corded one.
  • A 550 Watt motor in an SDS drill is underpowered if you plan on doing anything more than light jobs.
BUY HERE →

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Einhell RT-RH 32 3 Function SDS Rotary Hammer DrillEinhell RT-RH 32 3 Function SDS Rotary Hammer Drill

Best for raw power

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.75
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Einhell RT-RH 32 3 Function SDS Rotary Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Power: Mains - 1,250W
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: 0-4,300bpm
  • Impact Energy: 3.5J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 32 / unknown / unknown
  • No-load speed: 0-800rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 6.1kg

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 a premium metal depth stop. 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 a massive 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.

Pros

  • Compared to the expensive Bosch GBH 2 -26D it has a higher bpm and impact energy! Not bad for a budget SDS drill.
  • This drill comes as a proper kit. You get a case and five different bits to get you started.
  • With a maximum drilling capacity of 32 mm into concrete, this is a seriously powerful SDS drill.
  • For such a big and heavy drill, there’s not too much vibration. The grip is ergonomically designed and comfortable to hold too.

Cons

  • Don’t expect to use this drill above your head for long. At 6.2 kg it’s a bit of a monster that’s better suited on the ground.
  • There are two dials to set the three different drilling modes. It’s a bit of a strange setup, but it works in the end.
  • The big 1,250 Watt motor gets extremely hot after prolonged use.
  • Some users have complained about the maximum no-load speed. At just 800 rpm, it’s not going to win any races.
BUY HERE →

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Evolution Power Tools 4 Function SDS Hammer Drill Evolution Power Tools 4 Function SDS Hammer Drill

Best budget option

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
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Evolution Power Tools 4 Function SDS Hammer Drill Review

Specifications

  • Type: Corded
  • Power: Mains - 650W
  • Modes: 3
  • Impact Rate: unknown
  • Impact Energy: 1.6J
  • Drill depth (concrete/wood/metal): 20 / 30 / 13mm
  • No-load speed: 1,100rpm
  • Weight (excl battery if cordless): 2.8kg

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 drills for beginners 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.

Pros

  • One of the few SDS drills to include a speed control dial. Compared to the Ryobi R18SDS-0 there’s an amazing depth of control.
  • In comparison with the more professional SDS drills on the list, this one’s a bargain. If you’re a DIYer and don’t need to drill holes every day, then why overspend?
  • This is a far cry from a “naked” tool. Compared to the Makita DHR171Z you get a whole tool kit and a case.
  • In comparison with the Bosch PBH 2100 RE, you get 100 Watts more power for a lot less money!

Cons

  • It’s clear this isn’t a professional grade SDS drill. It’s ideal for light use and home DIYers, but it won’t last on a building site.
  • Some users have complained that the drill develops “chuck wobble” over time. This isn’t ideal if you plan on drilling precision holes.
  • The 1.6 Joules of impact energy isn’t exactly heavy duty. This isn’t the best drill for chiselling jobs.
  • The case is a bit on the compact size. Trying to fit the cable back in when you’re finished is a bit of a slog.
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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.

SDS Drills Versus Regular Hammer Drills

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.

Corded and Battery Powered SDS Drills

The biggest evolution in power tools is battery power. Making use of powerful and stable Lithium Ion battery packs, you can wield a whole lot of power without getting tangled in cords. Sure, the battery powered versions of SDS drills don’t pack quite as much of a punch, but you don’t always need maximum grunt.

What you need depends on the job at hand. If you’re planning on drilling narrow diameter (2-8 mm) holes in concrete, you don’t need a huge drill. Get hold of the lightweight Makita DHR171Z or the DeWalt DCH273N. They’re ideal when you need to work up a ladder or when portability is more useful than breaking power.

However, if you’re buying an SDS drill to drill wide diameter (10 mm +) holes or to break up concrete all the time, get a corded drill. The beefy Einhell RT-RH 32 or the hugely powerful Bosch Professional GBH 2 -26D are heavy bits of kit but they pack a serious punch.

In summary, cordless drills free you up to move and save your arms a bit of ache. Corded drills need to be close to a power source but get the job done. The best SDS drill for you is the one that fits your needs most of the time.

Hammer Drilling

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.

Hammer Only Mode

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.

SDS, SDS Plus and SDS Max

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.

Types of Breaker Bit

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.

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SDS Drill FAQs

What’s the best way to drill holes with an SDS drill?

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.

How can I avoid kickback?

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.

Are SDS drills safe?

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.

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Sources

“Rotary hammer”.Wikipedia

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