Hammer Drill Recommendations Sought

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On Tue, 12 Dec 2006 16:56:28 -0800, "CWLee"

My chicago cheapo broke after one year and no longer hammers, but it still drills just fine. It sound like the cheapest one you find at home depot will work for him just fine.
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DK wrote:

shelf or something like that, a little hammer drill is fine. if he is drilling in lots of 5/8" expansion bolts into concrete (like hanging a deck ledger) , then he might like a bigger rotohammer with a sds shank. up a step and you can get a rotohammer that both drills concrete and hammers for light demo. finally, if he needs to drill holes 1" plus through foundation walls, you better get the hilti. so we don't really know what he needs it for.
I have used a number of brands...Hilti, Bosch, Hitachi, Milwaukee. other than the Hilti, which is a cut above, but expensive, none of the others really stand out. they all work. I don't think you should get a really cheap one though--that's just an insult.
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I was going to skip this thread based on the number of replies until I saw your second post.
It really depends on what he wants to do with it. I have a 3/8" chuck Makita that I bought 10 years ago for way too much money. It does a wonderful job for 1/4" or smaller holes. I keep it on the truck for use as needed in commercial jobs or basements when I need to make a small hole in concrete or block. Excellent for tapcon screws or anchors.
Last year I bought a Harbor Freight roto-hammer for making larger holes when I needed to make some bigger holes. I paid about 1/2 what I paid for the Makita. Excellent for 3/8-1" holes in brick, concrete or block.
Both tools are designed to do different jobs. They both do their "proper" job well.
Stay away from battery power. They just won't do the job. I use a battery model all day every day for drilling and screwing. I would never use one for hammer drilling.
Corded and small any name brand variable speed should be fine for normal anchoring in concrete, brick or block.
Holes for rebar or water lines through brick, block or concrete you need a roto-hammer spline type bit with the low rpm motor. For occasional use a $60, on sale, model will work just fine. For everyday use you are looking at several hundred dollars.
Colbyt
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Thus spake CWLee:

It's not easy to recommend a size/type/style without knowing what he's going to use it for.
I bought a (cord-type) Makita drill/hammer drill that is the size of a normal drill, with a 5/8-inch keyless chuck. It works fine for drilling in concrete and cinder block for placing anchors and such. I think it was about $80 at Home Depot about 2 years ago.
These are the closest things I can find on their web site:
http://www.makita.com/menu.php?pg=product_det&tag=HP1620F
http://www.makita.com/menu.php?pg=product_det&tag=HP2050F
The difference seems to be the former is a 9/16 inch chuck, ligher-weight design with plastic housing (which has been fully strong enough for any task I've thrown it at), maybe appropriate for handyman. The latter is larger in chuck (3/4 inch) and uses steel as the front end of the body, making it a bit more durable.
HD has these 2 listed on their web site, which doesn't mean they are in inventory locally, however...
<http://tinyurl.com/yxk9n3
Happy Holidays!
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Thus spake CWLee:

Whatever you decide to buy, when it comes to gifts, I look for a retailer that will offer a cash-refund or exchange. That way you can give your son what you think -- after your extensive research has found (c: -- a good purchase, and if he finds he needs more he can leverage your gift to buy "more drill".
Enjoy,
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I tend to overbuy for those times when you actually do need to use that biggest size. Now, that said, you don't have to go out and buy a $900 rotohammer that will also demo concrete unless you think he will use it for that.
That is the thing about SDS bits. One size fits into the receiver, and the tips are the variable part of it. That also being said, you obviously can't use regular masonry drill bits in it like you would a hammer drill. They won't go into the SDS receptacle.
If it was me, I would prefer a drill and a rotohammer. A hammer drill will give you a drill, and a hammer drill, but it won't handle some of the tough hard stuff.
Steve
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Yes! Go one step better, and buy a small rotohammer with the SDS bits. Fergeddabout HILTI, as those bits will cost waaaaaaaaaaay more than they are worth. SDS are available everywhere, and at a fraction of the cost. Fraction as in 1/3, 1/4, 1/5.
A small rotohammer, like a Milwaukee with a decent capacity should run you around $200, IIRC. Maybe even more like $150. Tons of difference when push comes to shove and you have to drill 50 half inch holes in 5 sack mix. Everything less cuts like warm butter.
DO NOT get the cordless. You want a workhorse, and batteries won't cut it, and they are very spendy to replace.
Overbuy on this one for the times when a rotohammer outdistances a hammer drill like a dragster leaves a Volkswagen. It has to do with the hammering/rotating pattern/sequence of a rotohammer versus a hammer drill.
Hilti is a quality product, but why go spend $50 on a bit you can buy in SDS for $15 at the Borg?
Take it from me. I was a steel erection contractor, and burned many a hole in the hard hard concrete of government projects before I ever became aware of the difference between a rotohammer and a hammer drill. I had a Makita hammer drill, and thought it was hot stuff. Yes, it was a good hammer drill, but not against hard concrete or aggregate. A contractor lent me his Milwaukee Blackhawk (?) or something like that, and what took five minutes of sweating with the Makita took thirty seconds with the rotohammer. A hammer drill will eventually go through hard aggregate, or burn up the bit. A rotohammer will fracture hard aggregate and concrete easily, using percussion instead of high speed carbide cutting. I have pulled red hot bits out of concrete with a hammer drill.
Let us know how it goes.
You asked for advice, and that's what I'd buy and why.
Steve
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I have to agree. If his son is an amateur handyman he should already have a hammer drill. A roto hammer is the way to go and the 1" SDS roto hammer at Harborfreight is cheaper than most name brand hammer drills. I bought one as a throw away toy for couple of projects but it lasted over two years and still going strong. The Harborfreight drill through 7" 40 year old very hard concrete to sink in a fence post. Only thing I could not do was bust out the concrete (don't think the Hilti could do either), had to bring in my jack hammer.
If money is no object than a Hilti or a Milwaukee. If he wants top-of-the-line cordless hammer drill, check out Panasonic: (Amazon.com product link shortened)65979364/ref=sr_1_1/102-0191549-5968138?ie=UTF8&s=hi
The Rigid cordless hammer drill have a lifetime warranty including the power pack.
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Steve B wrote:

Not sure what you mean about Hilti and bits? Most every Hilti rotary hammer of remotely recent vintage uses SDS or SDS plus bits.
You can use top of the line Hilti bits that will outlast you, or you can use cheapo SDS bits from Depot or Lowe's that might last a couple projects.
You can use a top of the line Hilti rotary hammer that will outlast you, or you can use a cheapo rotary hammer from Harbor Freight that might last a couple projects.
In between the extremes there are midrange bits and drills that are probably the best bet for the average user. Hilti if you make your living from it, Harbor Freight if it's a one time project and Bosch, Makita, Milwaukee, DeWalt for in between.
Pete C.
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"Pete C." wrote:

On second thought, forget Harbor Freight for a one time project, just rent a Hilti from Depot for the day.
Pete C.
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In current English, EXACT -a - mundo.
Steve ;-)
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In 1985, my boss had a Makita hammer drill. It was about $270, so I saved my pennies and bought one like it. Since then, I've seldom used the hammer drill feature. But, I've used it for a lot of years, installing deadbolts and other locks. And odd jobs around the house.
Then, in 2005 my new boss has a SDS drill that does also straight in and out hammer. So he can use it for flat chisel, also. That comes in handy to make holes through cement walls to run HVAC ducting.
I'm with the other guys -- get a 110 volt cord model. For home use, a cord is perfectly fine. Portable cordless is only needed occasionally, and then it's far more expensive for batteries and chargers.
I havn't used Harbor Freight's Chicago line of drills, but their impact wrench $39.99 on sale, has worked well for me. The four or five times I've used it.
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Christopher A. Young
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