Differences Between SDS, SDS Plus, and SDS Max drills?

SDS hammer drills are the main turning point for the drilling machines. There are plenty of drilling machines for different purposes. Mostly SDS is used for the heavy-duty drilling process. There are 3 types of SDS drills. SDS, SDS plus, and SDS max are them. There are different from each other.

SDS, SDS plus, and SDS max are different by their drill bits, chuck, and operational modes. SDS and SDS plus drill bits are 10mm in diameter and 4 rails. SDS max is 18mm and 5 rails. SDS max is used for extremely heavy-duty jobs like drilling concrete with reinforcement, and SDS plus is not that much.

SDS is stated for slotted driveshaft or slotted drive system. According to the usage of the tool, it can be used for different purposes. SDS plus and SDS max are mostly used for heavy-duty tasks. The specific drill bits are also used for this. So let’s see in detail about SDS category drills. So keep read on!

12 Types Drill Bit for Wood
12 Types Drill Bit for Wood

History of the SDS, SDS Plus, and SDS Max

The Bosch makes SDS hammer drills in 1975 as a solution for the hard material drilling, and the 1985 SDS max system (< 5 kg) was introduced for large rotary hammers (≥ 5 kg), and the 2012 bosch launched a Power grip system for cylindrical shank drill bits. It enables 100% power transfer from the machine to the drill bit.

SDS and SDS plus is the same, and SDS max is different normally, we can use SDS and SDS plus drill bits by interchanging, and we cant use SDS plus and SDS max. There is a difference So let’s see what they are.

SDS drills are considered a new generation drilling tool, and most companies try to produce the best and durable with high-performance drill bits and drills.

Mechanism of the SDS plus and SDS max

Hammer Drill Mechanism

SDS drills are hammer drills. There is a hammer action along the drill bit. This hammer action is produced with the clutch and bearings in the regular hammer drill. This hammer action is measured with the Blows Per Minute (BPM). This rate is a quantifying value of the hammer drill performance. More value is the best.

While hammering action happens, the chuck also moves with the drill bit. Therefore tool can provide more force to the drill bit.

Using this hammering mechanism, we can drill to a small extent. We are not able to drill too deep and width more diameter holes. So hammer drill is not a perfect solution for the deep and more hard materials such as concrete with reinforcement.

Read More About – SDS Plus Vs SDS Max: Which One Do I Need?

SDS Hammering Mechanism

SDS drills are used for heavy-duty purposes. Therefore the hammer action should be more powerful. The piston is used to produce the hammering action. The rotating gear wheel is mounted to the position crank, and then the piston head is moved forward and backward. There is a free-moving piston called Striker. The striker is moved forward and backward due to the piston head movements. The striker is hit on the anvil.

The anvil hit on the drill bit. In this situation, chuck does not move with the drill bit. Therefore more power can be applied to the drill bit from the anvil.

The drill bit can move forward-backward about 10 m/s. And also, the drill bit hit back as soon as possible its push the material. Due to this motor receive extra force.

The extra force is stopped by the striking piston by compressing the air.

SDS drill mechanism

Why there is a Difference in SDS, SDS Plus and SDS Max

Although the SDS category has the same mechanism, there is a difference between the SDS plus and SDS max. So let’s see what these differences are in detail. According to the drill bit mechanism, the tool is named.

SDS and SDS plus

There is a difference in SDS Vs SDS Plus.

SDS and SDS plus drill are the same by their usage and mechanism. Mostly this can be seen by the drill bit and operating modes. SDS plus drill is with rotating and hammering + rotating option. This tool can’t be used single hammer option. Therefore this is called a rotary hammer.

SDS plus 2 mode

There is a drilling mode as well as a hammer drilling mode. This is called 2 mode SDS hammer drill ( SDS plus). This tool is more powerful than the regular hammer drill. The tool can be powered by a cord or cordless as well as brushed or brushless. Brushless is always more powerful.

Both SDS plus and SDS max have keyless chuck. Those are designed to provide maximum power to the material. There fore both are with bearing ball-based chuck. But inner rails are different.

SDS plus use the 10mm diameter drill bits, and those ends should be like this.

SDS plus drill bit

SDS plus is with 4 rails (shank) end. This cross-section can tight well to the SDS plus drill.

More than that, chuck is also different. Chuck has designed to mount this kind of drill bit easily. There is a ball bearing that can hold the tool without throwing away under force. These tools are small than the SDS max.

SDS max
To provide more drilling power, SDS max drill bits have been designed. Because of these drill bits, there is a wide usage also invented. There is a 3 mode action such as drilling, hammering, and hammer drilling are them. Users can interchange the tool as they can.

SDS max 3 mode

He can use single-action also. Therefore users can use chisel also. The drill bit is also different from the SDS plus drill bit. We called this is a rotary hammer drill.

SDS max drill bit

SDS max drill bits are 18mm in diameter, and it is with 5 rails. These 5 rails are specially designed for the drills as well as chisels.

Drilling a hard material will need more torque. To hold the torque, the bit is specially designed as 5 rails.

And also rails length is more than the SDS plus. Due to this drill bit can move about 1″ in the chuck with force.

Usage of SDS, SDS plus and SDS max

These drills are used for many purposes. SDS and SDS plus are used for light jobs such as drilling a small hole such as 10mm without reinforcement. But SDS max is the most heavy-duty drill that we can use for hard works. SDS max is a big brother of the SDS plus.

SDS max is used for most heavy-duty jobs such as drilling with reinforcements and chiseling also. Therefore the drill bit is also different with considering the SDS plus. The drill bit has been designed to resist more load and resistance.

The end of the SDS max drill bit has been powered with high-strength metals. Those are highly resistant to heat and torsion.

Can I use SDS Drill Bits for the Hammer Drill?

SDS drill bits can’t use for hammer drills to get maximum efficiency. The bit does not tight well as well as that will not properly lineup due to the rails and jaws. So using an SDS drill bit in a hammer drill is not a wise solution. That will damage the hammer drill easily.


When considering the SDS, SDS plus, and SDS max, there is a difference. The difference occurred with the drill bits and usage. 4 rail drill bit tools belong to SDS plus and 5 rail.

SDS max can use with the hammering modes chisel also can be used for demolitions, clay spade, asphalt cutter, tamping rods, bust tool, etc.

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Tom Mackenzy

I am Tom, I am really interested in DIY projects. I have my own workshop and I spend my free time with so many projects. So I would like to share my experience with you regarding power tools, woodworking, metalworking, etc.

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