Do You Need a Hammer Drill for Concrete?

A drill is one of the most essential tools you’ll find around the house. Coincidentally, one of the most common materials you’ll find in most houses is concrete. That means there’s a good chance you’ll need to drill into concrete some day.

But most people have drills that are made for softer materials, like wood or drywall. So when you need to drill a hole into concrete, the question is: do you need a hammer drill for concrete?

To get to the bottom of this question, we’ll take a look at what hammer drills exactly are, and what it would take to drill into concrete with a normal drill. Lastly, we’ll give some general tips on drilling into concrete, to make sure you’re safe and as effective as you can be.

What is a hammer drill?

A hammer drill is a hand drill that combines a normal drilling motion with a rapid hammering motion. This makes a hammer drill almost a handheld jackhammer for small jobs, creating little holes just as a normal hand drill would. As you can imagine, a hammer drill is a perfect tool for drilling into concrete, as the hammering action will loosen little bits of concrete as it moves deeper, while the rotating drilling motion can now easily drill through the loosened-up concrete.

Hammer drills are usually corded, although cordless drills have also entered the market over time. Because of the hammering function, hammer drills are more a power tool than a common ‘power drill’, the drill that you use for normal around-the-house jobs. The step in between those two is an impact driver.

So now that we know a hammer drill will get into concrete, the question is: can you also drill into concrete with a power drill or an impact driver?

Can you drill into concrete with a power drill or an impact driver?

A normal power drill by itself isn’t quite powerful enough to drill through concrete. But if you have no other option, there are some ways to go about this. It will take longer and it might not look as pretty, but it’s possible. And the more powerful your drill is, the better your results will be.

To drill into concrete with a power drill or an impact drill, make sure you have a quality masonry drill bit (that fits your drill) and water. The water helps your drill bit keep cool, as it has to work longer than it’s designed to do. Not only do you need patience and water, but also make sure you take regular breaks.

While you should always wear safety glasses, it’s even more important to do so when you’re drilling into concrete. Remember that a hammer drill loosens the concrete to aid in the drilling. 

That means there are tiny pieces of concrete flying around when you’re drilling, and a pair of safety glasses will keep these fragments out of your eyes. 

One of the things to remember is that a normal drill isn’t made to hammer. Don’t try to hammer with an ordinary drill, as it might damage the drill bit and the drill itself.

Now, take your time. The most important part of drilling into concrete with a normal drill is that you need to take it slow. Going too fast will ruin the drill bit and the drill as well, leaving you without a drill or a hole.

To answer the main question, you can drill into concrete with a drill that’s not a hammer drill. But it does pose a risk to your drill, and results depend highly on the power of your drill and the quality of your drill bit.

It also takes a lot more time, so if you’re planning to regularly drill holes into concrete, you’re better off renting or buying a hammer drill.

What are the best ways to drill into concrete?

First of all, a general warning.

Then, make sure you work with a quality mason bit. Even a hammer drill won’t do a good job when you’re not using the right drill bit. When you have a big job ahead, consider buying a new drill bit, especially if you’re not sure of the condition of your current drill bit.

When everything is set in place, start drilling slowly. A hammer drill might start to shake a little, so getting used to holding it the right way will help you with the rest of the hole, too.

By making a pilot hole, you can be sure that the hole will look neat and the hammering goes right into the hole. Even if you don’t have a hammer drill, try to make a smaller hole at first. When the pilot hole is in place, you can start actually drilling the hole. Also, even if you’re using a hammer drill, make sure to take some breaks every now and then to stop the drill bit and the drill from overheating.


You don’t absolutely require a hammer drill to drill a hole concrete, but it really helps. With a normal drill, you need a lot more patience, a great drill bit and some water.

When you have a big job coming up that requires a lot of drilling into concrete, consider buying or renting a hammer drill for the duration of the project. If you do choose to stick with a normal drill, make sure you take your time and be careful.

Every drilling project requires patience, but drilling into concrete takes even more. A hammer drill might be faster, but also takes some practice and a steady hand, as it’s a true power tool.

With the density of concrete, a power tool will give you the best results, but as we’ve seen, you can take it slower and drill into concrete with a power drill or an impact driver.

The most important part will be the drill bit you select, so if you can’t find a hammer drill, find the best possible drill bit instead.

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