Do Hammer Drills Need Special Bits?

When starting a DIY project, one of the first things you think of are the tools you’ll need. With so many options and tools for different projects, though, it can be difficult to determine which you need and if there’s anything else you need before using that tool.

Hammer drills need special bits to function the way they were intended. They use a certain type of drill bit designed to drill into concrete or masonry. What’s great about it is that the hammering part of the drill can be turned off, allowing it to function as a regular drill.

Keep in mind, using your hammer drill as a standard drill without the special drill bits won’t result in you being able to cut through cement or like materials. Read on to learn more about special bits in a hammer drill. 

Can You Use Regular Drill Bits in a Hammer Drill?

You can use regular drill bits in a hammer drill if you’re not using the hammer function. If you’re using the hammer drill for its original purpose, you’ll need specialty drill bits to work with your hammer drill. 

Regular drill bits can be used for a number of things, such as wood, metal, plastic, fiberglass, etc. You’ll most likely use a regular drill bit as you’re more likely to be drilling holes in these materials compared to some of the heftier materials like concrete.

Hammer drill bits are used for masonry, rock, or concrete materials. These drill bits are specially made to handle the power of the hammer drill. They can withstand drilling into hard materials. You don’t need a hammer drill or hammer drill bits if you’ll be doing projects involving the materials listed above. 

Hammer drills are expensive, so ensure you’ll be getting a lot of use out of them before buying.

Try these two hammer drill bit sets:

  1. The DEWALT Masonry Drill Bit Set has 7 bits to drill through rocks, concrete, asphalt, and other heavy-duty materials. The carbide-tipped bits can work with battery-powered or corded drills, making them an excellent choice for anyone with a hammer drill. Furthermore, they come with a one-year manufacturer warranty.
  2. The BOSCH 7-Piece Hammer Drill Bit Set has everything you need to cut through bricks, concrete, and everything in between. Much like the previously mentioned DEWALT bit set, these ones come with carbide tips that won’t wear down for many years to come. They also have a durable case to carry them with you wherever you go.

How Does a Hammer Drill Work?

Hammer drills work using 2 gears that interact with each other. These gears simultaneously hammer while rotating the attached drill bit. The hammering feature adds power, allowing for drilling through tough, hard materials. 

A regular drill simply rotates to drill holes, while the hammer drill adds the hammer action to create more force. A hammer drill could also be described as a mini jackhammer.

The purpose of a hammer drill is to drill holes in concrete and other types of masonry that a normal drill wouldn’t be strong enough to handle. Some instances where a hammer drill might be necessary are drilling through stones, bricks, and mortar. 

A hammer drill is also used for drilling holes in slabs and metal. Using a hammer drill for these projects saves time in that the speed at which it can drill holes is much faster than an ordinary drill.

Is a Hammer Drill Good To Have?

If you’re thinking about investing in a hammer drill, you should consider the amount and extent of the projects you’ll be using it for. If you only need it for 1 or 2 projects, it might be worth borrowing or renting one instead. 

A hammer drill is good to have if you’ll be doing projects in which you’ll use it consistently. It’s good to have because it can also be used as a regular drill, cutting out the need for 2 drills.

I consider buying a hammer drill as a sort of 2-for-1 deal. That allows me to get the best of both worlds. The hammer drill is great for projects that regularly use a lot of power and strength but can be doubled as a regular drill useful for many things. 

If you’re just starting to buy tools and you’ll need a hammer drill for some projects coming up, I recommend buying one to replace a regular drill as well. Although they’re more expensive than a regular drill, you’ll be able to accomplish more with this one powerhouse tool than you would with a regular, less efficient drill.

I suggest getting the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill. It works with both of the hammer drill bit sets mentioned earlier in the both and boasts a 20V battery for powerful drilling throughout the day. They also sell a kit that comes with the hammer drill and bits to save time and money. This hammer drill comes with a one-year limited manufacturer warranty.

Differences Between a Hammer Drill and a Rotary Hammer

With so many tools to choose from that all sound familiar or can handle similar jobs, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for you. 

The tools that are commonly confused are the hammer drill and the rotary hammer. While both of these are great to use for masonry, they’re very different tools with very different functions. 

The hammer drill works by 2 discs sliding past the other to slam back and forth creating force while drilling. On the other hand, the rotary hammer has a piston that creates air pressure when you drive it forward. 

A lot of the hammer drills currently available can be used as a regular drill by turning the hammering action off. The rotary hammer, on the other hand, has 3 settings from which you can choose:

  • Drill mode
  • Hammer drill mode
  • Hammer mode

This gives the rotary hammer the upper hand if you need a tool for big masonry jobs. However, for someone doing smaller, less frequent jobs that still need a powerful drill, the hammer drill is the way to go. 

Hammer drills are great for drilling holes through bricks and concrete blocks. While there are many drill bits to choose from, the more expensive bits will typically better serve you for your needs. Because these are different tools, you’ll need specific rotary hammer bits if you’re going that route.

Rotary hammers are typically used for a more heavy-duty project. With so many different attachments, you’re sure to find one to suit the specific needs of your project. Drilling into tile, chiseling, clay, and concrete are all things for which you can use a rotary hammer. 

If you need something simple to drill holes into concrete, brick, stone, etc., the hammer drill will be your best option. Although these hammers complete a lot of the same jobs, a rotary hammer is only needed for large jobs. A hammer drill is a perfect tool for someone needing something strong, powerful, and quick for smaller jobs.


Using the correct hammer drill bits will save you frustration in the long run and will make your projects more time-efficient. Regular drill bits are great to use on the hammer drill when the hammering mode is turned off. It’s safe to use a hammer drill as a regular drill when you turn this feature off, as long as you’re using it for projects a regular drill would be used for, as well.

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