What does SDS Drill Stand for?

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The SDS chuck system was originally developed by Bosch.

SDS stands for Slotted Drive Shaft or Slotted Drive System. It is derived from the German phrase ‘steck, dreh, sitzt’ which means insert, twist, fits.

What is an SDS Drill?

An SDS drill combines the hammer action of a hammer drill with the rotary motion of a regular drill. This makes them highly effective at drilling in the toughest materials.

There are 3 types of SDS drills. Regular SDS drills, SDS Plus drills, and SDS Max drills. You can find out more about hammer drills and SDS drills in our dedicated blog post.

What is the difference between SDS plus and SDS max?

Below we have highlighted the main differences between the two types of drill.

What is an SDS Plus drill?

SDS Plus drills are a powerful type of hammer drill with an SDS chuck. They are suited to heavy-duty drilling, typically in masonry and concrete.

SDS Plus is an improvement on the original SDS system, though both are compatible with each other. SDS Plus drill bits are thinner and smaller compared to SDS Max bits. They have two open grooves and two closed grooves with locking balls attached to the grooves. The shank on SDS drills is much more secure than standard drill bits, which makes them extremely effective at chopping through tough materials. SDS+ drills are typically available in corded or cordless versions.

What is an SDS Max drill?

SDS Max is designed for the heaviest duty work in masonry applications. SDS Max bits are not compatible with SDS and SDS+ bits. SDS Max bits have a much thicker shaft than SDS plus bits and have three open grooves with a locking segment attached to the grooves rather than locking balls. They can drill much bigger holes than SDS plus bits.

Also available are SDS chisels which are perfect for carrying out heavy-duty demolition work. SDS Max drills are typically mains powered as they are much larger and heavier so require a lot more power.

So, SDS Plus or SDS Max?

The drill you decide to opt for depends on the application and trade. SDS Plus drills are heavy-duty and reliable, suitable for most demanding drilling jobs in masonry and concrete, but SDS Max drills provide that extra oomph for even tougher tasks like demolition.

Whilst they are both the ideal option for drilling through tough materials that standard drills simply couldn’t, SDS Max does so with more power.

For drilling in such heavy-duty materials, it is important that you invest in some quality SDS Plus and SDS Max drill bits. No matter how powerful your drill is, it won’t be able to do the job as quickly, easily, or to as high a standard if you don’t have the correct accessories to go with it.

We love carbide-tipped drill bits as they are specifically designed for drilling in masonry. Their heads are much harder than standard drill bits which means they are more durable and have a longer service life.

Can I use normal drill bits in an SDS drill?

Normal drill bits will not fit in an SDS drill. This is because of their special slotted drive shaft. If you wanted to use normal drill bits in an SDS drill, you would need to use a chuck adaptor. Please note, if you plan to use standard drill bits with an SDS drill, you must ensure that the hammer action is disabled before use.

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If you need to drill and chip through tough materials regularly, you need an SDS drill in your kit!

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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Itamar Ben Dor
Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.