How to Drill and Screw into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill

How to Drill and Screw into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill

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So, you just scheduled your next big home project, and this one happens to include drilling into concrete. Your garage is stocked full of power tools and drills, yet you don’t have the one tool recommended for the task: a hammer drill.

A hammer drill should be your go-to power tool when it comes to concrete. But, there are other options if you don’t have immediate access to such a tool. Specifically, a regular drill with a wide array of masonry drill bits might just be what you’re looking for.

How Do Masonry and Concrete Drill Bits Work?

The best bits, by far, when it comes to drilling into concrete are masonry drill bits. They usually come in a much thicker diameter at the tip and are made of heavy-duty tungsten carbide for a lower risk of breakage and damage.

Your regular cordless drill has been by your side for every home project. It can easily drive screws in rather quickly and drill brand new holes into your walls or wood. But, your regular drill is only so effective.

A hammer drill is built more for heavy-duty materials like bricks, concrete, and cement. Rather than just using rotational movement, it also “hammers” the drill bit into the concrete. So, while digging out a hole in the cement, the hammer drill is also forcing the drill bit into the concrete at an extremely high speed and power.

Masonry Bit in Action

Can You Drill into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill?

So, a hammer drill just isn’t in the cards right now. Though that makes your task of drilling into concrete a bit more difficult, there is at least one other option – a regular drill.

A regular drill on its own isn’t all that effective when it comes to drilling into concrete.

But, when combined with masonry drill bits, a nail, and a ton of time and dedication, you can technically use a regular drill when it comes to concrete drilling.

4 Tips for Drilling into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill

Tip #1: Have several different sized masonry drill bits on hand and ready to go. Your regular drill isn’t nearly as powerful as a hammer drill when it comes to penetrating into concrete. You’re going to need to start with smaller masonry drill bits and work your way up.

Tip #2: Focus on efficiency, not time. Maxing out the speed of your regular drill when attempting to drive a masonry drill bit into concrete is not the way to go! In fact, this can cause your drill’s motor to burn out and leave you completely stranded. Start out slow and gradually increase the speed as you see fit.

Tip #3: Consider the age of the concrete. Decades ago, a lot more effort was put into pouring concrete that was particularly dense. With that in mind, a regular drill is much more capable of drilling into newer samples of concrete than old. If the concrete is old, you just might need a hammer drill.

Tip #4: Have some water with you. Since your regular drill isn’t exactly built for this job, it’s more likely that it’ll overheat during the process. So, you might need to apply some water to the drill bit occasionally to cool it down. Just be careful that you’re not overworking the motor too much.

The Best Way to Screw into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill

For this task, you’re going to need a regular drill and some masonry drill bits. Here’s a step-by-step process of how this works.

  1. Start with a smaller masonry drill bit. This is going to take a lot of work. You’re going to need to penetrate the concrete first with a smaller bit with a much sharper tip. Try to keep consistent pressure on the drill, but keep an eye on the motor to watch for overheating.
  2. Transition to larger masonry drill bits. Now that you’ve created a starter hole, it’s time to work up to larger masonry drill bits. Slowly increase the size of the bits to increase the size of the hole. Re-drill the hole with these larger bits.
  3. Work through the blockages. You might notice at a certain point that the masonry bits aren’t going any deeper and that they appear to be “stuck.” If that’s the case, you might need to take advantage of a nail and a hammer to break up the blockages that you’re hitting.
  4. Apply water to the drill bit if it overheats. Since your regular drill wasn’t made for concrete drilling, it might begin to overheat. Apply some water to your drill bit if you notice it’s getting too hot or the motor is sputtering.

All That Said, Consider Buying or Renting a Hammer Drill…

A regular drill is a great alternative to a hammer drill in a pinch. Yet, it should never be your “go-to” power tool when it comes to drilling into concrete. You want a tool that’s designed specifically for the task you’re using it for. A hammer drill will successfully drive your masonry drill bit into concrete without the motor overheating, the drill bit breaking, or the need for several different drill bits. A hammer drill is the most dependable option for concrete.

So, look into buying a hammer drill if you’re planning to drill into concrete pretty frequently or just rent a hammer drill each time one of your projects calls for it! Once you get this tool, read this guide to use it efficiently.

SKIL 6445-04 7.0 Amp 1/2 In. Hammer Drill


You’ve got yourself a project, but you don’t necessarily have the tools meant for it. You can run out to the hardware store and drop a pretty penny on the tool you’re going to probably only use once or twice, or you can get a little creative.

When a hammer drill just isn’t an option, a regular drill can take its place.

It might be a bit more difficult to work a regular drill into concrete, but using a large variety of masonry drill bits and being attentive to your drill’s motor can prove to be successful.