The toughest jobs call for the toughest power tools. If you want to renovate your bathroom tiles or rebar concrete, a simple chisel and hammer might do the trick, but it’s going to be painstakingly time and energy consuming to get it done. You can use a jackhammer, but you might end up tearing up your driveway or bathroom more than you’d like. The best tool for light demolition projects is definitely the rotary hammer.
What is a rotary hammer?
A rotary hammer, also known as a rotohammer or a rotary hammer drill, is a power tool used to bore holes in tough materials such as concrete, stone, and metal. These are extremely time-efficient tools that can reduce a one-hour manual labor job down to only five minutes. What makes the rotary hammer such an awesome tool is its push and pull motion while delivering tremendous amounts of impact to create holes.
Unlike power drills, the rotary hammer uses an SDS (special drilling system) chuck to hold onto the drill and chisel bits without risk of losing it while boring holes in tough materials. There are three types of chucks that rotary hammers use: SDS-Plus, SDS-Max, and spline shank. The difference between each chuck is the size of the bit they can use. SDS-Plus uses 5/32- to 1-1/8-inch bits, SDS-Max uses ½- to 1-3/4-inch bits, and the spline shank uses the same sizes as the SDS-Max but is slowly being phased out by the Bosch-made SDS-Max.
The three variables used to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a rotary hammer are the RPM for drilling, BPM (blows-per-minute) for hammer-drilling, and impact energy (joules or foot-per-pound) for chiseling and hammering applications. The best rotary tools should meet your specific needs by delivering ample power and speed for getting work done.
A rotary hammer provides enough brute force to chisel or breaks down the toughest materials. If you’re in need of a concrete or stone breaker but aren’t willing to invest in a jackhammer, then the rotary tool is a good, lightweight option for you.
Pros use rotary tools to tear down the walls of rooms during demolition tasks. When fitting in a window or door in a concrete wall, you want the toughest tool that does the neatest job.
The rotary hammer differs from hammer drills and impact drivers by the motion and reciprocation of the chuck, resulting in the cleanest cut in concrete imaginable. They’re the go-to tool for breaking up tiles, bricks, stone, and they can be used horizontally and vertically.
Drilling into wood
Each rotary hammer comes with two different modes – drilling and hammer-drilling. Some rotary hammers have three modes where the final mode is for chiseling or hammering-only applications.
Due to the sheer power of a rotary tool, many people consider the tool to be too tough to use on wood since it will cause splintering and damage, but this is far from the truth. Using the drilling only mode, this tool can drill into thick boards of all densities.
It’s true that they can’t be used for delicate drilling work like pre-drilling 3/32-inch holes for softwood (use a power drill instead), but using a wide-diameter core bit, you can drill large holes in wood in no time.
Another thing that makes this tool different from impact drivers or power drills is that they don’t require the user to push the tool against the surface of a material to get work done. Instead, the reciprocating chuck delivers enough power to keep the tool working effectively so you don’t need to push up against your wood board. With a rotary hammer, you can let the tool do all the work.
Anchor bolts, pins, dowel, and rebar
When you need to drill holes in concrete or brick walls to attach bolts to your doors or cabinets, oftentimes, the power drill won’t deliver enough power to get it done. Either that or it’ll create a huge mess on both your floor and in the wall since you need to apply pressure while drilling into tough materials. In addition, you’re pushing the power drill to its limit which could potentially cause long-term, irreparable damage to your sensitive tool.
Instead, pick up a rotary hammer and get to work. They can make neat, clean holes in your walls without causing unnecessary damage. In addition, rotary hammers have a huge capacity range, and drilling into concrete walls of virtually any thickness won’t overwork the tool.
Say you need to install rebar in your concrete slabs while redoing your sidewalk or driveway. Simply pick up the rotary hammer, bore several large-diameter holes in the concrete, place you rebar in, and refill the holes with concrete mix. Try doing that with a power tool and you’ll most likely end up chipping away at the sides of your concrete slab without yielding any results.
A rotary hammer is a versatile tool that has many applications for home DIY projects and commercial settings. When purchasing or renting a rotary hammer, the speed and power variables that you should pay attention to are the RPM for drilling, BPM for hammer-drilling, and joules (impact energy) for chiseling tasks. Rotary hammers work on all sorts of tough materials like concrete, bricks, stone, and tiles, and they can even be used on more delicate materials like softwoods and hardwoods.