Even long-time power tools users are often unsure about the difference between a hammer drill and a more traditional power drill. The truth is that these two types of drills essentially serve two different masters. A hammer drill is specifically designed to drill into harder surfaces like brick or concrete–materials that often prove to be too tough for a regular drill.
Working with Different Materials
A hammer drill operates in quite a similar fashion to a regular power drill in that it uses high speed rotation to drill through materials. But whereas a traditional drill uses high speed rotation alone, a hammer drill also utilizes rapid successions of forward hammering punches to be able to drill harder and faster into tougher materials. While these hammering punches don’t cause the drill bit to move too excessively, the successive blows are more than enough to significantly increase the impact of the drilling force–allowing the user to drill harder through tougher materials such as masonry with relative ease.
When you are drilling though relatively brittle materials like wood, plastic, and thin sheets of metal, a regular power drill is typically more than capable of accomplishing the task. For drilling into masonry and other more durable materials, you will most likely require the more powerful tool in the hammer drill.
Shopping for the Right Drill
If you are uncertain on whether you should be shopping for hammer drill or a regular drill–and if you have the budget for it–your best bet would be to shop for a hammer drill as most hammer drills are, in fact, essentially multi-purpose drills that require the user to engage its hammer action whenever necessary.