Rotary Hammers versus Hammer Drills: What's the Difference?

Lead Image

Rotary hammers are just one of the many types of hammers available today. Another is the hammer drill. Deciding which one to buy requires an understanding of how each works and the requirement of the job to which you will be putting it to use.

The Rotary Hammer

The rotary hammer is an excellent tool for drilling into masonry, stone, and concrete. The rotary part of the hammer moves the hammer around in a circular motion, allowing the user to either drill or bore holes into a surface, depending on what the job is. The rotary hammer is the more powerful than the hammer drill making it a better choice for jobs with harder materials.

The Hammer Drill

The hammer drill is similar to the rotary hammer but not as powerful. Both types of hammers punch at impressive rates, hitting the surface thousands of times per minute, but the hammer drill is better for use on softer materials that do not require as much power.

Differences and Similarities Between the Two

Rotary hammers and hammer drills can both include a lock that will stop the hammering, while allowing the drilling to continue. Some will find ways to stop the drilling, only pounding the hammer into the material. This is great for those who wish to bore into metal or into thick materials such as concrete.

The rotary hammer derives its power from a piston that puts more force to the punch. This allows the rotary drill to work faster and to create bigger holes than the hammer drill. Hammer drills use a clutch that allows them to hammer in, but it doesn't supply the kind of power you get from a piston.

While there are few major differences between the rotary hammer and the hammer drill, the rotary hammer is simply the more powerful of the two, and is perferred for larger jobs. It is also more expensive so if you are working on smaller projects, or are working on softer materials, the hammer drill is your choice.

But, if you need the power to bore holes through tough objects, and need to drill them fast, the rotary hammer is the one for you. Both types of hammers offer many of the same features and will get the job done.