How to Use a Hammer Drill Regardless of Its Brand

How to Use a Hammer Drill Regardless of Its Brand

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While you’re likely familiar with the common drills and hammers available to you, you may not be as familiar with their power tool relative – the hammer drill. That being said, you should know how to use this tool given its capacity for boring through hard surfaces.

As its name implies, the hammer drill shares some similarities with a standard electric drill when it comes to its form factor and basic method of use. Even so, this tool requires you to take several special steps in order to successfully drill into cement, concrete, brick, and more.

This guide will teach you how to use the successfully, even if you’ve never used one before.

How to Use a Hammer Drill

I’ll take a look at some brand-specific things to keep in mind later in this article. First, though, let’s start by going through the process of using a regular hammer drill regardless of its brand.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Put on Safety Gear

First, you need to take some time to gather up all of the materials necessary to facilitate the safe and successful use of a hammer drill. These include the following:

  • Hammer drill
  • Hammer drill bits (sized as needed)
  • A pencil or chalk
  • Safety goggles
  • Face mask
  • Compressed air or a shop vac

Once you’ve gathered all these things, you can begin the process of using this power tool by donning the necessary safety attire.

For this job, in particular, you’ll need to wear eye protection such as a pair of safety goggles. This is to prevent shards of brick or concrete from breaking off and lodging in your eye. These goggles can also help keep your vision clear if your targeted surface throws up excessive dust during the drilling process.

With that in mind, it is also recommended that you wear a face mask. This can ensure that you do not inhale the fine particulates thrown into the air during drilling. Also, be sure to wear worksite safe clothing to protect your arms and legs from flying shards of debris.

Step 2: Mark Your Drill Point

Before picking up your hammer drill, you’ll need to identify the precise spot where you intend to drill.

To do this, grab your marking tool and place an “X” where you want your hole. If necessary, you should use a tape measure to ensure that this “X” is evenly spaced from other holes and at the appropriate height from the ground.

Step 3: Attach Bit and Set Depth

Once you’ve marked your drill site, you can add your chosen hammer drill bit to your hammer drill. Like a standard drill, these bits are sized based upon the diameter of the hole you intend to make.

If you are unsure of how large a hole you’ll need in advance, start small and work your way up. This will make it easier to expand the hole if necessary.

With the bit inserted, you can begin to adjust your hammer drill’s depth. This causes the hammer drill to stop drilling into your work surface after reaching a certain depth. This can be a major asset, especially when your task calls for creating a series of uniform holes in concrete or brick.

Some hammer drills allow you to set depth through the device itself. If your model does not, you can simply wrap some tape around your bit at a chosen depth. This will allow you to visually see how far the bit has drilled into the hole without needing to withdraw it.

Using a Hammer Drill

Step 4: Start Slow and Make a Starter Hole

You are now ready to begin the process of drilling.

After plugging in the device, place the tip of your hammer drill’s bit up against the center of your pre-marked “X.” Then, lightly pull the drill’s trigger so that the unit spins at a slow rate. Continue to do this until a small indent appears in the target surface.

Step 5: Increase Speed and Finish

From there, you can continue to increase your hammer drill’s speed as you begin to bore into the surface. Continue drilling until you reach your desired depth.

As you drill, you may need to stop periodically to clean out the hole. This can be done using compressed air or a shop-vac. Cleaning the hole regularly can ensure that excessive debris is not thrown out at you as you finish or expand the hole.

DeWalt, Bosch, Ryobi, Makita: They’re All Similar

In power tool user circles, there’s an odd rumor that asserts that every brand of hammer drill operates differently than its competitors.

There may be some truth to this given that some brands include different accessories to supplement the main drilling function. However, in all honesty, all hammer drill operate in same basic manner, regardless of which brand you use.

If you have the opportunity to test out a few different brand’s hammer drills, you’ll quickly see that this is the case. However, you can also see these operation similarities by checking out the manuals for widely-used DeWalt, Bosch, Ryobi, and Makita hammer drills.

How to Use a DeWalt Hammer Drill

Using a Hammer Drill like a Pro: Tips & Tricks

If you’re looking to take your hammer drilling to the next level, consider applying the following tips and tricks.

First, don’t apply too much extra force to your hammer drill while it is in use. Your device already applies some force to its drilling motion via its “hammering” function. Applying too much extra force can cause your hole to become uneven or even cause your bit to break off.

Second, if you need to use a single drill bit to bore multiple holes in a row, consider keeping a basin of cool water nearby. After drilling each hole, your bit can be placed in this water to allow it to cool down. Otherwise, your bit may warp or chip after only a small amount of use.

Third, have a friend help you while drilling into brick, concrete, or any hard surface. This friend can hold a shop vac or a can of compressed air nearby and apply it to your target hole as necessary. This can make your drilling job go much faster because you won’t need to keep switching tools repeatedly.

Hammer Drill Tips & Tricks


As you can see, a hammer drill doesn’t require you to take too many extra steps in order to use it successfully.

Even so, it is important for you to learn the correct method for using this power tool so that your holes in concrete, brick, and more come out perfect every time. More importantly, using the steps, tips, and tricks outlined in this guide will keep you safe while working with this special use drill.