Difference Between Impact Drill & Rotary Hammer Drill

Drills are the primary type of power tool included in every tool kit. Their basic function is driving screws and drilling holes in timber, metal, or plastic material. These drills come in different types based on various features and applications. Two of its common types that you can easily find in the hardware shop are Rotary hammer drills and Impact drills.

What Is The Difference Between Impact Drill & Rotary Hammer Drill

Impact Drill

Makita HP2050 20mm 2 SPEED IMPACT Drill


Makita DTD170 LXT Cordless Impact Driver

The primary purpose of using this tool is to drive the screws or loosen the bolts. This drill can easily achieve all the basic drilling tasks. As it can produce high rotational force, impact drills can instantly drive the largest wood screws.

Rotary Hammer Drill

These drills, as their name suggests, have in-built hammering capability to facilitate boring into masonry and other more robust materials. It has a piston mechanism rather than a clutch-type. The rotary hammer drill is a heavy-duty type of device that is mostly used by tradesmen or craftsmen.

Makita HR1841F Rotary Hammer Combination Hammer

Makita DHR171 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Hammer


Difference between an Impact Drill and Rotary Hammer Drill

Impact Drill – One of the common applications of impact drill is to drive the screws. It performs this work with intense speed and power. Usually, it doesn’t have a key less chuck, but it uses a collet that works on hex shanked driver bits. It can drive even the longest and fastest screws with high efficiency. This drill proves to be an ideal option for driving thick screws into the hardwood and removing the stuck screws

Pros of using Impact Drill

  • It is preferred for safety and accuracy factors in any job.
  • It applies constant torque throughout the process.
  • It is compatible with almost all types of drill and screw-driving bits.
  • It can be configured with additional accessories like wire wheel brushes and rotary sanders.
  • It has the option of the slip clutch to adjust the torque parameter.
  • It comes at an affordable price rate.
Cons of using Impact Drill

  • It can stall when driving long and large fasteners.
  • Sometimes it can strip the screws that are getting a drive.
  • There is a possibility of bits loosening in the chuck.
  • It can put a strain on the user while using the device. 

Rotary Hammer Drill

A rotary hammer drill can perform heavy tasks such as drilling and chiselling hard materials. It is used for hammering brittle materials and ensuring quick drilling with smooth operation. It provides a lot more impact on energy and has high durability. The rotary hammer is meant for larger jobs like drilling holes in hardened concrete materials. It can also be fitted with all sorts of other attachments. A few of its accessories include chisels for breaking metals, breaking concrete, etc.

Pros of using Rotary Hammer Drill

  • The drill has three settings drill mode, hammer drill and just hammer mode.
  • It is a more powerful tool than other drill types. Thus, it can drill holes larger than the one-inch diameter.
  • It possesses a large piston to produce a large amount of power.
  • It is one of the most comfortable tools. Users can experience very fewer vibrations by using this drill type.
Cons of using a Rotary Hammer Drill

  • A rotary hammer drill is bulkier and heavier.
  • It is usually very expensive to purchase.
  • As the tool mostly uses SDS chucks, the bit needs to screw into the chuck twice.


Based on the devices’ features and pros & cons, you can relate to and analyse which device is more suitable for your job requirement. This post shows us that a rotary hammer is an advanced version of the hammer drill. Thus, it is more powerful than the hammer drill and mainly used in construction. In comparison, the impact drill is generally used for driving or removing the screws, nuts and bolts. Also, it can be used as a regular drill, but in that case, the user needs to use hex shank drill bits.