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

When you drill concrete, brick, stone or concrete with rebars, what kinds of drills can you use? You are not able to use the regular drill as well as drill bits. So you need a special drill with a special mechanism. These drills are called SDS drills. SDS drills are 3 types. SDS, SDS plus and SDS max are them.

What are the differences between SDS, SDS plus and SDS max drills? SDS, and SDS plus use 4 rail 10mm diameter drill bits and SDS max use 5 rails 18mm diameter drill bit. SDS and SDS plus are used for drilling concrete while SDS max used for extremely heavy-duty drilling and chipping the concrete.

SDS is stated for a 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 reading on!

Differences Between SDS, SDS Plus, and SDS Max Drills

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.

Difference Between SDS and SDS Plus Drills

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 drill
SDS plus drills have 2 modes

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 are always more powerful.

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

I have prepared an in-depth article about SDS and SDS plus drills. You can refer to that before you buy one of them.

Difference Between SDS Plus and SDS Max Drill Bits

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

SDS and SDS plus drill bit structure
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 smaller than the SDS max.

Difference Between SDS Plus and 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 are 3 modes of action such as drilling, hammering, and hammer drilling are them. Users can interchange the tool as they can.

Mostly SDS max drills are used for the chipping activities. Due to the heavy hammering action, it can be used as a chisel with flat bits. You can remove tiles, chip the concrete, break the bricks, concrete and many more heavy-duty tasks can be done that SDS and SDS plus can’t do.

SDS max drill
SDS Max drills have 03 modes

SDS Max drills have 03 modes. Hammering mode, Rotating mode and Rotational hammering mode are them. So you can use it as a hammer drill, chisel as well as a regular drill by changing the modes.

This article SDS plus vs SDS max will compare its functions, usage, drill bits and many things in detail.

Difference Between SDS Plus and SDS Max Drill Bits

SDS max drill bit structure
SDS max drill bit

SDS max drill bits are 18mm in diameter, and it has 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.

Difference Between Hammer Drill and SDS Drill

Hammer Drill Mechanism

SDS drills are heavy-duty 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 the hammering action happens, the chuck also moves with the drill bit. Therefore tool can not provide more force to the drill bit.

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

SDS Drill 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 backwards. There is a free-moving piston called Striker. The striker is moved forward and backwards 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-backwards at 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.

If you wish to buy a hammer drill and an SDS drill, Do you need both?

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 chiselling 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.

History of the SDS, SDS Plus, and SDS Max (In Depth)

The Bosch made SDS hammer drills in 1975 as a solution for 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 can’t 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 most durable with high-performance drill bits and drills.

Can I use SDS Drill Bits in 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 line up 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.

What You Should Select?

When you buy one of these tools, you should consider the material strength and the task you have to do.

  • If you have to drill smaller holes in concrete without reinforcement inside you can use an SDS or SDS plus drill.
  • But if you have to drill larger diameter holes with reinforcement, you can have an SDS max drill.
  • If you are looking for demolition concrete or chipping tiles the best solution is SDS max drill.
  • You should use suitable drill bits with drills.

Related Topics

SDS drill mechanism