SDS Vs SDS Plus – Which One Do I Need?

In order to work on high-strength materials such as concrete, stones, masonry, and bricks, need a more powerful drill machine. A regular drill machine is not able to use on this material due to its less efficiency. Hence specially designed drill machines such as SDS and SDS plus have been designed to work with higher strength materials.

Normally, SDS plus is a little bit of improvement of SDS drill. Both can use the same drill bit with 4 rails and can be used for the concrete, bricks, stones, etc. But None can drill concrete with the inside reinforcement. SDS and SDS plus both have hammering, rotation, and combine mechanisms.

SDS and SDS plus both are hammer drills. There is a free front-back moving drill bit instead of a fixed one in the hammer drill. So let’s see, what are the other differences and how we can use them in detail.

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

SDS Drill Types And History

The name SDS comes from the German “S from Stecken, “D from Drehen, “ S from Sichern”. Stecken means “insert”. Drehen means ‘twist”. Sichern means “secure”. The “Slotted Drive Shaft (SDS)” had many iterations over the years with different variations. There are a number of SDS bit types:

  • SDS
  • SDS-Plus
  • SDS-Max
  • SDS-Top
  • SDS-TE-S

From those types, SDS plus is most commonly manufactured. Considering the SDS and SDS max, there are different drill bits. SDS bits is not spin inside the drill when in use.

SDS Drill Classification

What is a SDS Drill?

SDS drill can identify as, a type of chisel or hammer drill. SDS drill is a powerful type of hammer tool. Therefore: it is suitable for heavy-duty drilling applications. SDS drill can be used to drill through materials such as;

  • Steel
  • Brick
  • Masonry
  • Concrete and other hard materials.

Therefore; the SDS drill can use for the following industries;

  • Demolition
  • Construction
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Carpentry

Three main types of SDS Hammer Drills:

Compact SDS hammers
The compact hammer is the most commonly used of the SDS range and use the SDS Plus bits.

SDS Drill

Midsize SDS hammers
A midsize hammer is suitable for heavier-duty applications. It is not suitable for operating in a rotary-only mode. It uses the SDS-Max bits.

SDS Plus Drill

Demolition SDS hammers
A demolition hammer is used for demolition work and heavy-duty use and does not operate in rotary only mode.

SDS Max Drill

Read More About – Differences Between SDS, SDS Plus, and SDS Max drills?

SDS drills feature a slotted drive system. A slotted drive System means the chuck is designed to fit specialist SDS drill bits. These have slots at the end of their shanks and it’s ensuring a seamless fit into the chuck. The bit’s slots feature a pair of sprung ball bearings.

During the operation, the hammer action pushes the bit forwards. The sprung ball bearings are housed in the slots on the bit and act as a sort of safety mechanism and ensure the bit stays fitted in the chuck. SDS drills need to have a high strength to perform heavy drilling applications.

For that, the smooth action of the ball bearings in the bit helps to boost the drill’s strength while also working to reduce friction levels. The slots help to permit the back and forth hammer action. The hammer motion is driven by a piston.

What is SDS Plus Drill?

SDS-Plus bits have grooves on the shanks. Those grooves lock securely into the chuck but allow the bit to move back and forth independently of the chuck. They are super easy to insert and remove no tools are required. Some of the big rotary hammers also have a similar system, but a larger one called the SDS-Max.

Different With SDS and Hammer Drill

SDS drill is different from the hammer drill, in its

  • Mechanism
  • Usage
  • Hammering power
  • Chuck
  • Types of drill bits

Read More About – SDS Drill vs Hammer Drill: Which is the Best?

 SDS DrillHammer Drill
MechanismWith a piston-based hammering mechanismWith percussion mechanism
UsageHeavy-duty deep drilling Light drilling 
ChuckQuick changed chuckKeyless
Use hammer mode onlyYesNo
Drill bitsSpecial bitsCircular
ConclusionHas more power and more performance With less hammering power
Differences between SDS drill and hammer drill

NormallSDS drills can be named as “rotary hammer drills” also. Hammer drills can name “percussion drills” also due to their hammering mechanism different. A hammer drill chuck has three jaws. While tightening the chuck, these three jaws can move close, and the drill bit will tighten. Hammer drills (such as SDS drill types) do not need to provide much torque for the drilling there, for the chuck will not lose.

SDS drills are with a different chuck without a key or rotational tighten. Just move backward the chuck and then drill put it into the chuck and move forward. Then the drill will be tight with the inner bearings of the chuck. 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.

How to Identify SDS and SDS Plus Drill?

SDS is about phased out and SDS plus can buy from most stores. Both SDS and SDS plus are used with carbide drills. Drills from 5/32” to 1-1/8” and thin wall carbide core bits up to four inches. There are also several types of small chipping and chiseling bits. 

SDS, SDS plus, and SDS max are different by their drill bits, operational modes, and chuck. SDS and SDS plus drill bits are ten-millimeter diameters and four rails. SDS max is eighteen millimeters and five rails. SDS max is used for extremely heavy-duty jobs like drilling concrete with reinforcement, and SDS plus is not that much.

regular-SDS-plus-and-SDS-max-Drill-bits-sections
Hammer drill bit, SDS Drill bit and SDS Max Drill Bit

Difference Between SDS and SDS Plus

SDS, and SDS plus are different by their

  • Drill bits
  • Chuck
  • Operational modes

The mechanism of the SDS drill is a piston-based hammering mechanism. SDS bit with SDS hammer drill will fit into the SDS plus drill. Therefore, SDS plus can identify as a little improvement of SDS. The drill bits of SDS and SDS Plus is thinner and smaller compared to SDS Max bits. Those bits have two open grooves and two closed grooves. Locking balls are attached to the grooves. Especially those bits are interchangeable with SDS drill bits and are available in a variety of sizes.

When concerned about chucks of SDS and SDS plus; the chucks of SDS cannot use as a chuck of the SDS plus. Chuck is important to fit SDS drill bits.

SDS drill has three operational modes. Those are,

  1. Drill only.
  2. Drill with a hammer.
  3. Hammer only, no rotation.

SDS plus drill also has three operational modes. Those are,

  1. Rotary only,
  2. Hammer only
  3. Rotary with hammer 

Are SDS Drills Better than Hammer Drill?

SDS drills are also a type of hammer drill. As before mentioned, SDS hammer drills are more powerful and efficient than hammer drills. SDS drills are very suitable for heavy-duty drillings. Like concrete and masonry.

Can I Use SDS Drill Bit in Normal Drill?

Practically, You can use the SDS drill bit in normal drills (regular hammer drills), if the SDS drill bit can fit into the normal drill chuck. Due to the rails on the SDS drill bits, chuck jaws will not tight properly, hence it can loose or the drill bit will wobble and slip easily.

When you use an SDS drill bit in a normal drill, you can see, its expected performance has been reduced due to low power hammering action.

If you wish to use SDS drill bits in regular drills (only spinning, no hammer actions) it is useless. These drills do not have hammer action as well as lower torque.

Read More About – Can I Use an SDS Drill Bit in Hammer Drill?

Are SDS and SDS Plus Interchangeable?

SDS and SDS plus are interchangeable. Both SDS and SDS Plus have a diameter of 10 mm. SDS is the original slotted drive system. SDS Plus is an improvement of SDS but was designed to be backward compatible.

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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