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Drills: When to Use a Rotary Drill

Updated: Jul. 06, 2022

Sometimes bigger is better

FH10MAR_ROTDRI_01-2Family Handyman

Hammer drills are great for smaller jobs, but for thicker walls or bigger holes, you need to step up to a rotary hammer drill. With more power and a 3/4-in. chuck, you’ll chew through thick concrete in no time.

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Hammer drill or rotary hammer drill?

Hammer drill vs. rotary drill

Use a hammer drill for smaller jobs like anchoring bolts in walls. Use the rotary drill for bigger jobs like drilling holes through thick concrete foundations.

Need to drill a 1-in. hole through a concrete foundation? You can buy a 1-in. hammer drill bit with a 1/2-in. shank, but it won’t be long enough, and drill bit extensions aren’t designed to take abuse from a hammer drill. Even if you didn’t need an extension, the 1-in. bit likely exceeds the rated capacity of your hammer drill. As a rule, a heavy-duty 1/2-in. hammer drill is limited to a 3/4-in. bit. Even if you could find a stepped down shank that you could chuck into your drill, you’re better off renting a rotary hammer drill with the proper length bit. It’ll get the job done in a fraction of the time and with a lot less sweat.