SDS Drills are extremely heavy-duty tools designed to drill and chip through brick, masonry, concrete, and more. However, there are so many different models available on the market, so which one should you opt for? Well, the answer is simple. It all depends on your budget, how often you will be using it, the applications you will be using it for, and whether you already own any tools from an existing battery platform.
If your existing tool collection is made up predominantly of Dewalt tools (or Makita and so on) you may wish to opt for a Dewalt cordless SDS drill as you will already have the compatible batteries to go with it. If you are new to the tool world or are just looking for some recommendations, take a look below at some of the most popular SDS drills on the market and why they are loved so much. If you are unsure as to what exactly an SDS drill is, you can check out our in-depth blog post. (link to the previous blog)
What features should I look for in an SDS Drill?
SDS drills typically come with either 2 or 3 modes. A 2-mode drill will have a rotary hammer and rotary only modes. You’ll be able to drill into wood or metal using rotary mode and masonry with rotary hammer mode.
A 3-mode SDS drill gives you the same functionality as a 2-mode SDS Drill only with the added addition of chiselling function.
Generally speaking, for the most demanding tasks, you want to opt for a 3 mode SDS drill.
Also keep a look out for BPM (beats per minute) and RPM (revolutions per minute). Typically, the higher the number, the better in terms of how hard the drill will chisel or drill.
Joules, or impact energy, is also important. Whilst a smaller machine will give you superior ergonomics and reduced fatigue, it may lack the energy to punch as hard as one of its larger relatives.
Best Cordless SDS Drill
Our top choice for the best cordless SDS drill is the Makita DHR242Z 18V LXT SDS Plus Rotary Hammer Drill. This high-performance machine has 3 operation modes; rotation + hammering, hammering only & rotation only, providing it with the versatility to complete a variety of heavy-duty tasks. It will drill up to 24mm in concrete and 13mm in steel. Its efficient brushless motor reduces energy loss by 30%, giving longer runtimes between battery charges.
- Brushless motor
- 3 operation modes; Rotation + Hammering, Hammering only & Rotation only
- Ergonomic design provides a comfortable grip in any operation, even overhead
- Freedom of working without trailing cables
- Max in Steel: 13mm
- Max in Wood: 27mm
- Max in Concrete: 24mm
- No Load Speed: 0-950rpm
- Blows per minute: 0-4,700bpm
- Single impact energy: 2.0J
Satisfied customers who bought this drill said: “Drill is surprisingly light even with the battery. It works just as well as any corded drill but with the convenience of no cords. I’ve used it to drill a 20mm, half-meter drill bit into a wall and it did it with ease.”
Best Corded SDS Drill
Securing a top place for the best corded SDS drill we have the Dewalt D25033K 2 Mode SDS Plus Hammer Drill. This SDS drill has an electric motor and is capable of drilling up to 30mm in wood and 22mm in concrete. It is well and truly designed for the most demanding applications.
It features Rotation-stop for light chiseling applications in brick, soft masonry, and occasionally concrete and an Impact-stop for drilling in wood, steel, ceramic, and screw driving applications. The mechanical clutch eliminates sudden high-torque reaction, should the bit jam, for optimum user safety. It weighs only 2.5kg, meaning it is lightweight in use for reduced fatigue.
- 2 modes for optimum versatility in a variety of jobs; rotation stop mode for chasing and chiselling applications, or impact stop mode for wood and metal rotary drilling
- Delivers more power than a conventional drill
- Ideal for drilling anchors and fixing holes in heavy-duty materials
- Power Input: 710W
- No Load Speed: 0-1550 rpm
- Blows per Minute: 0-5680 bpm
- Max in Wood: 30mm
- Max in Metal: 13mm
- Max in Concrete: 22mm
- No Load Speed: 0-1550 rpm
- Impact energy: 2.0J
Satisfied customers who bought this tool said: “Incredible piece of kit. Light and very powerful”
Best SDS Drill on a budget
Coming in at under £100, our top pick for the best SDS plus drill on a budget has to be the Bosch GBH 2-20 D SDS Plus Rotary Hammer Drill. It has a powerful 650W motor capable of drilling up to 30mm in wood and 20mm in concrete. You can expect a fast drilling rate and 30% higher chiseling performance than others in the entry-level class. It is compact and lightweight yet has 3 drilling modes for tackling a greater range of jobs.
- Top performance in the compact class
- High drilling rate and 30% higher chiselling performance than other rotary hammers in the entry-level class
- Competitive price point
- Continuously variable speed control for clean drilling starts
- Input Wattage: 650 W
- Number of functions: 3
- Impact rate at rated speed: 0 – 4980 bpm
- Rated speed: 0 – 1300 rpm
- Impact Energy: 1.7 Joules
- Drilling Capacity Wood: 30mm
- Drilling Capacity Concrete: 20mm
- Drilling Capacity Steel: 13mm
- Drilling Capacity Diamond core: 68mm
Best SDS Drill for Professionals
For the professional tradesman, our top pick for the best SDS drill has to be the Dewalt DCH614N 54V XR FlexVolt Brushless SDS Max Hammer Drill. Part of the 54V FlexVolt range, it produces power equal to that of a corded tool. You can expect unrivaled power output thanks to its brushless motor which allows it to carry out all heavy-duty demolition, chipping, and drilling applications.
- Brushless motor and 54V battery platform allow it to perform equal to that of a corded equivalent
- Perform & Protect: low vibration at 8.8m/s², minimises user fatigue
- Rotation stop mode with lock-on switch for chiselling
- Ideal for drilling anchors and fixing holes into concrete, brick and masonry up to 45mm in diameter
- Max Drilling Capacity Concrete: 45mm
- Max. Drilling Capacity Core Bit: 125mm
- Impact Energy: 10.5J
- No load speed: 190-380 RPM
- No-Load BPM: 1450-2900
SDS Drill with Best head to weight ratio
As we have previously established, SDS drills are big tools, which can often see them being quite heavy. For a full day’s work, this can take its toll. But new technology sees some SDS drills weighing less to reduce user fatigue. Our top pick for lightweight SDS drill is the Makita HR1840 SDS Plus Rotary Hammer Drill.
As it is a corded model, there are no bulky batteries weighing you down. This model weighs in at only 2kg! Fatigue upon use is now a thing of the past. Though compact and lightweight, this Makita SDS drill will drill up to 35mm in concrete with a TCT core. Its one-touch sliding chuck allows for easy accessory changes and two operation modes: Rotary Hammer and Rotary Only, which allow you to complete a number of tasks.
- Extremely lightweight design weighing only 2kg reduces fatigue upon use
- Easy bit changes
- Though compact and lightweight, it is still suitable for the most demanding tasks
- Max in Concrete (TCT bit): 18mm
- Max in Concrete (TCT Core): 35mm
- Max in Concrete (Diamond Core): 65mm
- Capacity in Steel: 13mm
- Capacity in Wood: 24mm
- Impact Energy: 1.4 J
- Blows per Minute: 0 -4,800 bpm
- No Load Speed: 0 -2,100 rpm
That was our top pick for the best SDS drill. Whether you decide to opt for corded or cordless, there is an option for everyone. Keep an eye out for RPM, BPM, Joules, the number of modes it possesses, and whether it is capable of drilling as far into the material as you need it to. These are our favorites, but there are many more great models on the market.
written by Katy Bruce (Toolstop)