SDS Drill vs Hammer Drill: (Do You Need Both?)

When I needed to drill through the concrete column, I could drill a few inches in depth using a regular hammer drill, and then I met the inside rebar. So I had to stop and I had to use a rebar cutter. I had to change the drill bit and spent my time on that. When I use the SDS drill next time, I could drill the hole one time. So there are differences between SDS drills and Hammer drills. This is a complete guide with preparing all in detail about these tools.

What is the difference between SDS and hammer drill? SDS drills are types of hammer drills. Becuase of the piston-based hammering mechanisms and a special structured drill bit it can be used for heavy-duty drilling tasks such as concrete with rebars due to it high performance.

When you are going to buy an SDS drill, you can see there are 03 types with different. So do you know which one is suitable for you? Here I have included all in detail here. So keep reading on!


Difference Between Hammer Drill and SDS Drill

These are the main difference between hammer drill and SDS drill.

Hammer DrillSDS Hammer Drill
UsageLight drillingHeavy-duty deep drilling
ChuckKeyless Quick changed chuck
MechanismClutch based percussionPiston based hammering
Hammering powerLess hammer powerMore hammer power
Use hammer mode onlyNoYes
Drill bitsCircularSpecial bits
Hammer Drill and. SDS Drill Comparison

Considering the hammer drill and SDS drill, both are different. Normally SDS drills are named Rotary hammer drills also. Hammer drills are named percussion drills also due to their hammering mechanism different. These tools are used for different purposes.

Read more – How Does a Hammer Drill Works

Hammer Drill

Hammer action of Hammer drill Image Source:

We called this is as a percussion drill. There are percussion actions (hammering actions) along the drill bit. This rate is measured by the blows per minute (BPM). This rate is more than 2,000, and it can crush the material parts into small particles and remove them by flutes of the drill bit.

But hammer drill can’t be used for drilling high strength concrete due to the low power of the hammering action. Chuck is move with the bit, and therefore there is no high power hammering action in the tool.

SDS Hammer Drill

SDS Hammer drill hammer mechanism Image source:

We called this is SDS max hammer drill also. It has been designed to provide more thrust to the drill bit. Chuck is not moving with the drill bit. The drill bit is mounted to the chuck with a special mechanism, and it can freely move forward and backward about 1 inch.

The inner hammerhead is powered by the piston. The piston is powered by another piston head, and compressed air is the medium for the piston movements.

The SDS drill is more powerful than hammer drills. There are special drill bits that are specially designed for the SDS hammer drills. If you buy an SDS hammer drill, you will need to buy the drill bits also. You can’t use the regular hammer drill bits in SDS drills.

More than the hammer drill mode, there is only a hammering mode that can be used. This hammering mode can use for the chisel for demolition purposes.

I have prepared indetail guide about What is an SDS Hammer Drill?. You can have depth information about SDS drill there.

Usage of SDS Drill and Hammer Drill

Hammer drills are used for drilling wood, metal, concrete, stones, and bricks. A Hammer drill is used for drilling small depths and not through the reinforcement bars. So it is very suitable for DIY projects or household usage.

But if you are using the SDS hammer drill, this has changed overall different. SDS plus and SDS max are used for heavy-duty drilling such as concrete with reinforcements.

Chuck Difference Between Hammer Drill and SDS Drill

Hammer drill and SDS drill

Hammer drill has a percussion mechanism with its chuck moving with the drill bit. A hammer drill chuck is with three Jaws, and when we tighten the chuck, these three jaws will move close, and the drill bit will tighten. Hammer drills do not need to provide much torque for the drilling there, for the chuck will not lose.

But SDS is with a different chuck. There is no key or rotational tighten. Just move backward the chuck and then put it into the chuck and move forward. It will be tight with inner bearings. The reason is SDS drill provides force directly to the drill bit. Therefore chuck does not move with the drill bit.

The drill bit can move about 1.5 inches forward and backward. Due to this back force effect is too much less.

Considering the SDS and SDS max, there are different drill bits.

You can’t use the hammer drill bit on the SDS drill bit, and interchange uses each other.

Drill Bits Difference Between SDS Drill and Hammer Drill

Hammer drill bits are with a circular cross-section, and SDS plus drill bits are with the 4 rails, and SDS max is with 5 rails, and it is much longer than SDS plus drill bits. This will prove that SDS max piston action is longer than SDS plus.

SDS plus is a more common design, and it is used widely. But SDS max uses for special drilling purposes.

SDS plus drill bits can be pushed into the chuck. There is no tightening. SDS plus drill bits are about 10mm diameter, and SDS max is about 18mm diameter drill bits. SDS plus and SDS max drill bits are not able to interchange because of their various cross-section.

Hammer drill bits are with double parts (straight head cutter), and SDS drill bits are with quad parts (cross head cutter). The end of the drill bit is made with a carbide tip. This can hold much temperature and resistance during the drilling.

SDS plus and SDS max can also use chisels for demolish the materials.

Performance of SDS Drill and Hammer Drill

Always SDS hammer drills are powerful and high performance.

Hammer drills have less hammering power due to the clutch percussion drilling. But SDS hammer drill produces the hammering power by using the piston. Hence it is more powerful.

Normally, SDS hammer drills are 65% more efficient than regular hammer drills.

The drill bits are very strong to transfer the rotational force into the hammering and rotation. Due to this reason, the drill bits are powered with Tungston, Titanium, and Cabide metals. Those tools can hold heat and resistance.

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Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.