How to Use a Hammer Drill

Hammer drills are used for impact drilling on concrete, brick, and stone, the tool can also be used to drill without impact on concrete, metal, plastic, and wood. Hammer drills are available in two types, we have the electric and the rechargeable battery-operated hammer drill. If you are using the electric hammer drill you must ensure that the equipment is connected to a power supply that offers the same voltage as the one indicated in the nameplate.

It should also be operable on a single-phase AC supply.  Power hammer drills are usually double insulated meaning that they can be used on sockets that don’t have the earth wire. Hammer drills are useful as much as they are dangerous, so before using them, ensure that your work environment is clear to prevent accidents from happening. Power drills should not be operated in areas that have flammable gases or liquids because they usually remove sparks that may ignite the fumes.

Kids should not be in the vicinity as they might cause distractions which will lead to accidents. Loose clothing and jewelry should not be worn as they might get caught in the moving parts.

How to use a battery-operated hammer drill  

A hammer drill will present itself as a regular drill and comes equipped with the forward and reverse function. The unit also features a drill speed adjustment and a switch that is used to alternate between a hammer drill and a regular drill. It is also possible to find hammer drills that are equipped with multiple torque settings and which can be used to fasten driving bits.

Install the drill bit

The hammer function on your battery-operated hammer drill is for use when working on concrete or masonry projects. The hammer drill additionally uses a masonry drill bit, which has a unique winged tip design at the front part made of hardened material. To install the drill bit, you will turn the chuck to the left to loosen the jaws, put in the drill bit, and then rotate the chuck to the right to fasten the jaws thus hold the drill bit in its place.

Set the hammer mode

Once you have installed the masonry bit, you will first set your drill to hammer mode, and then using the rotating torque feature behind the chuck, you will select the relevant speed. When using the drill in hammer mode, it usually creates a lot of heat build-up and which is known to damage the drill bit rendering it redundant.

So as you use the drill bit, you will have to improvise a way of getting rid of the heat build-up and which you will do by frequently withdrawing the drill bit as your drill. The withdrawal techniques allow you to clean the drill’s flits and the drill in general, especially when working on a large project. Important to note is that using a hammer drill can create sharp and loud noise thus it is necessary to get an ear protection device.

How to operate a hammer power drill 

Operating the power drill is almost the same as operating the battery-operated drill, but you might first want to ensure that the switch trigger actuates properly, and easily returns to the off position when released. Operators also have the option of locking the switch to the ON position, especially during extended use. If you decide to maintain the tool on the ON position ensure that you have a firm grip.

Install the drill bit

Installing the drilling bit in a power hammer drill calls for the use of a key, you will, therefore, place the drill bit into the chuck and push it in as far as it can go. You will first tighten the chuck with your hands and then proceed to place the chuck key in each of the three holes and tighten it clockwise. And as a rule of thumb be sure to tighten the chuckholes evenly.

Locate and use the switch trigger

To use the hammer drill locate the switch trigger with your index finger on the underside of the drill and pull it, and remember that it is this same switch that you will use to increase pressure on the switch trigger. So once you finish, you can always release the switch trigger, if you wish to keep the drill functioning, just pull the switch trigger and then proceed to push in the lock button. And to release the switch trigger from the locked function, pull on it fully and then release it.

The power hammer drill also features a reverse switch action that you can use to change the direction of the rotation. For clockwise rotation, you will push the arrow pointing forward, and if you want the drill to rotate to a counter-clockwise direction then you move the reversing switch to the back direction, follow the arrow pointing backward.

Once you are done using the hammer drill and want to remove the drill bit insert the key in one hole and turn it counterclockwise, don’t forget to also loosen the chuck with your hands.

How to use a hammer drill when drilling metal

The first thing that you will notice when you want to drill metal is that the drill will be slippery. So to prevent it from slipping, you could make an indentation using a center punch and then hammer at the point that you want to drill. You will then position the drill bit to the point that you want to drill and start drilling.

If you will be working on metal projects be sure to use cutting lubricant, except for iron and brass that must be drilled dry. If you will be working on wood projects, ensure to work with wood drills that feature a guide screw. The latter will make drilling easy because it pulls the drill bit into the material that you are working with.

And as you use the hammer drill to work on metal, plastic, or wood, don’t be deceived to press excessively on the material because the excess pressure will damage the tip of your drill bit. And if by any chance your drill bit gets stuck, you can set the reverse switch to the reverse rotation and it will easily back out. And as you do this ensure to hold the hammer drill firmly because it may back out abruptly and harm you in the process. Lastly, when not in use ensure that your drill is not connected to a power supply.


Hammer drills are usually adopted for heavy projects that involve tough materials. Note that there are varieties of hammer drills, such as the power hammer drill and the combo drills that have a hammer function. For big projects, the power hammer drill will be perfect, but for home repairs among other DIY, you can use the combo drills.


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Arthur Allen has been using all sorts of power tools for the last 27 years, gaining a lot of experience on how they work, how to determine what makes a power good, and becoming an expert on the subject through many years of real world trial and error. Not only is Arthur and expert in tools, but various building jobs as well.