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…