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.
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"
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.
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:
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
HD has these 2 listed on their web site, which doesn't mean they are in
inventory locally, however...
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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