What is a hammer used for?

Retrofitted: hammer drill or impact drill?

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A hammer drill is the all-round tool in almost every well-stocked do-it-yourselfer household. With the hammer drill you can both drill and screw. Drilling in light materials such as wood, aerated concrete or perforated bricks is no problem for this machine. However, if the subsoil becomes more massive or if you even want to do chiselling work, you can use a hammer drill. But what are the differences between a hammer drill and a hammer drill and which device do I actually need for my project?

The impact drill

As already mentioned, the impact drill is a universal tool that can be used both for drilling with and without impact or for screwing in screws.

Due to their mechanical hammer mechanism, the drill used is set in vibratory movements, the actual impact. The impact drill generates the impact purely mechanically through the arrangement of the gears in the gearbox.

The impact of the hammer drill can be completely deactivated using a switch for drilling wood or plasterboard. So it is possible to use the hammer drill as a classic drill.

When drilling in hard materials, an impact drill, in contrast to a hammer drill, requires an enormous amount of force. Since the impact is generated purely mechanically here, the impact drill lacks the actual propulsion. This lack of propulsion must be exercised by the user in the form of pressure on the machine.

Compared to the hammer drill, the impact drill has a much higher impact frequency and therefore a higher level of noise. When working with an impact drill, you should never forego wearing suitable hearing protection.

The hammer drill

In contrast to the hammer drill, the hammer drill has an electro-pneumatically driven hammer mechanism.

The rotary movement of the electric motor is diverted into a lifting movement via the drive bearing and a piston. Due to the resulting negative pressure, this hurls the so-called hammer in the direction of the clamped drill and thus generates an axial movement. Despite their lower power consumption and lower impact frequency compared to impact drills, rotary hammers are far superior to impact drills due to their different concepts in terms of impact force.

Thanks to its electro-pneumatic hammer mechanism, the hammer drill drives the drill almost independently into the wall. The effort required here is extremely low and focuses primarily on positioning the hammer drill at the right angle in front of the wall and holding it in position.

Chisel with a hammer drill

In addition to drilling holes in stone and concrete, a hammer drill can also be used for chiselling work, such as removing tiles or even removing an entire wall. For this purpose, a chisel is used in the SDS holder of the drill chuck instead of a drill. The rotary movement required for drilling can be completely deactivated using the switch on the device. The rotary hammer thus becomes a light mortise hammer, which independently drives the chisel point into the ground. Chisels for hammer drills are available in specialist shops in different lengths and with a wide variety of tips.

The standardized SDS system, which allows drills and chisels to be changed quickly without tools, makes it possible to use the drill from all manufacturers without any problems. The SDS or SDS-plus system allows the drill bit a little lateral play and thus ensures perfect holes in the wall, since slight changes in the angle of attack of the hammer drill are negligible.


In addition to classic drills and chisels, there is a wide range of accessories for the hammer drill in specialist shops. For example, diamond-coated drill bits for drilling socket holes or classic drill chucks to be able to work with conventional drills.

Rotary hammer or impact drill?

Anyone who torments themselves with the question of which type is the right one should ask themselves how often which material should be drilled. If the answer is in the direction of hard concrete, the rotary hammer is clearly the better choice.

If concrete is the exception, it is worth looking towards a powerful impact drill. For frustration-free work, however, this should have a power consumption of at least 650 watts.

If you already have a powerful cordless screwdriver and are therefore not dependent on being able to screw with the drill, you should decide in favor of the hammer drill.

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