Best SDS Drill
- 1 Best SDS Drill
- 2 Our Best Pick – Best SDS Drill – Milwaukee PH26X
- 3 Quick Comparison of the Best SDS Drill
- 4 Makita HR2631F/2 SDS Drill Review
- 5 Corded or Cordless SDS Drills?
- 6 Bosch GBH 2-26 DRE SDS Drill Review
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 Like our reviews?
Why do you need an SDS drill?
Is an SDS drill required for the home DIY enthusiast?
A drill is just a drill, right? Why would you need something as powerful and substantial as an SDS drill around the home when performing DIY tasks? Well, you see a standard combi or hammer drill whilst it has power and can easily drill into masonry when hanging a picture, etc isn’t really designed for a lot of abuse. Don’t get me wrong, some of the combi drills on the market today from brands such as DeWalt and Makita are fantastic workhorses and a lot of battering! But they really aren’t designed for tough work! You need the best SDS drill you can lay your hands on!
Around the house from time to time, there is the requirement to either drill through from the outside of the house to the inside, going through several layers of brickwork, some of which can be incredibly tough. There is also often the requirement to drill a hole that is a fair size in width. Putting this sort of strain on a combi drill is a sure fire way to blow its motor and waste hours of your time!
An SDS drill is designed for such workload and pressure. The drill bit is locked into the shank via clever mechanism keeping the bit in place regardless of how tough the masonry we are drilling through is and the brushless motors are designed to take a heavy workload. A typical SDS drill bit can be over 1 foot long, something of this length in a regular combi drill wouldn’t be advised.
SDS usage in the home
So, when else would you use an SDS drill around the home, as surely you don’t drill holes from the outside of your house in, twice weekly? An SDS drill is also a great tool when it comes to chiselling masonry. This would be a great addition if you were doing a house up, channelling existing brickwork to add electric cables or sockets, etc.
It is a tool that I feel I wouldn’t be able to do without and below we take a look at some of the best 3 on the market today for a very reasonable price.
What to look for when choosing the best SDS drill?
What are must have features of an SDS drill?
When trying to choose the best SDS drill for your tool collection there are several features worth considering. This isn’t an exhaustive list and I’m not saying if the SDS drill doesn’t have these features completely discount it. However, if I was looking for a new SDS drill these are some of the features that would be on my shopping list.
The two most important features when it comes to choosing the best SDS drill for me are power and safety. Whilst I’m not trying to drill for oil I want plenty of power at my disposal. If there is plenty of capacity in the drill then I know I can achieve the task at hand with relative ease without putting too much strain on the SDS drill. Just like any power tool we review or use, safety has to be our number one priority. The tool can have all the features in the world, an amazing warranty, but if it can’t keep you safe you might as well pack it back into its box and not bother.
How much power?
Ideally, something like an 800w motor should provide you with ample power to take on a whole range of tasks. I am talking about a corded SDS drill here, you can opt for cordless models too, which we take a look at later on.
You should be looking for something that can achieve about 1500-1600 RPM and can drive 4000-5000BPM. With a model that can achieve this level of power, you should be fairly confident that what ever your home DIY task is the SDS drill will glide through it no problem at all.
Safety is always an important consideration when using power tools. Whether that be a drill or a saw, serious damage can come from using the tool itself. Along with the associated issues of decibels of noise coming from the tool, dust being expelled with regard to your lungs and also dust and objects getting in your eyes.
One of the main safety concerns with using an SDS drill is the power that is being forced into the material being drilled, can be transferred back to you in an instant should the drill bit become stuck in the masonry! Thankfully there is a solution. If you ensure the SDS drill you are purchasing has a mechanical clutch this will stop your hand or arm being wrenched should a bit get stuck. It will also help protect the drill itself.
Our Best Pick – Best SDS Drill – Milwaukee PH26X
- FIXTEC System - Keyless chuck changing for fast & easy handling
- Most compact, slimline hammer available in its class
- Unmatched performance with 2.9 J blow energy and 4500 bpm
- Maximum drilling capacity in concrete 26 mm, in wood 30 mm and in steel 13 mm
- Fast tool changing from the FIXTEC system
Last update on 2021-09-25 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
The Milwaukee PH26X is a fantastic drill and the one that has won our best SDS drill in the category. We opted for the 110v version for our review, but there is also the option of the 240v should you be working on a building site.
The first thing we noticed was the balance of the weight. It weighs in at 2KG which is the heaviest SDS drill we have on test, but a long way from being the heaviest SDS drill we have ever used. Out of the three SDS drills on test whilst being the heaviest we felt it was the most well balanced. This is a massive deal when you are trying to guide a drill in a straight line through a wall and using it for a prolonged period of time!
The is the model X which includes the FIXTEC adapter with a keyless chuck. This makes changing the shank to a standard chuck very simple.
Milwaukee has included a 2-year warranty as standard on the PH26X which offers great peace of mind. When you consider the abuse that an SDS drill can be put through, the safety in knowing that it is backed by a great warranty really does help.
Another great feature which stood out with the Milwaukee was the 4m rubberised cord, not only does it allow you to be further from a power socket, but it also has a nice thick rubberised cord, which again can take a fair amount of abuse.
All of these features coupled together make it what we consider the best SDS drill we have on review.
- Mechanical clutch
- 2 Year warranty
- 4m Rubberised cable
- Well balanced
We have reviewed the Milwaukee PH26X in detail in a standalone review, should you wish to find out more.
Quick Comparison of the Best SDS Drill
We’ve picked some key features from our reviews of the best SDS drill and dropped them into our comparison table below:
Last update on 2021-09-25 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
Makita HR2631F/2 SDS Drill Review
- 3 mode operation
- One touch sliding chuck
- LED job light
- Anti-vibration technology
- Torque limiter
Last update on 2021-09-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
Makita is often a brand we review highly and they really have impressed us with their HR2631F/2 SDS and rotary hammer drill. It comes with some great features, is well balanced and features a 2 year warranty to boot.
This bad boy can kick out 2.4 joules of impact energy from its 800w motor, that is enough to get any task you should want to achieve with it done!
The Makita HR2631F/2 is one of the cheaper SDS drills we have on review, but there is no way you would know based on the power and quality of the drill itself. It is a very well built piece of kit and performs well under pressure!
Going back to what I said earlier about the more power the better when it comes to an SDS drill, the Makita certainly delivers! However, one consideration has to be if you are chasing out some brickwork to hide some cabling you don’t want to blast the wall to bits. So, yes power is important for drilling and the more of it the better as then you drill isn’t under as much strain or load. However, this needs to be coupled with a very important feature which the Makita thankfully has! It has an intelligent variable trigger switch. You can apply just the amount of pressure to give just the right amount of power when it comes to a more delicate task such as chasing out brickwork.
If you are using an SDS drill and you hold the side handle and trigger in, then hold on for dear life as you drive the bit through some masonry, you will achieve three things. Firstly you will soon burn the motor out as you are pushing the drill through and not letting it do the work for you. Secondly you are likely to go in at an angle rather than straight and finally, you are likely to suffer from the vibrations coming back through the drill to you.
Makita have included anti-vibration technology which really helps with this. But also a grove at the rear of the drill and a lock off switch. If you lock the power in place then using your thumb and middle finger place them in the groves at the rear of the drill. You can comfortably hold the drill whilst leaning your palm on the rear of the drill. This not only provides a comfortable position to hold the drill, but also elevates the above issues.
The Makita HR2631F/2 is also an improvement on it’s predecessor, the selector switch to choose between the three drilling modes was located underneath the drill on the last model. Why, i’m not quite sure, it was unergonomic and a pain to use. They have however listened to the criticism and feedback and located it on the side for a much easier operation.
- LED Light
- Modified operation-mode change lever between rotation and hammering modes.
- 360 degree handle
- Lock off switch
Corded or Cordless SDS Drills?
Why should you opt for a corded solution when it comes to an SDS drill? Normally with power tools, we would advocate a cordless solution, for practicality, work anywhere and less fuss.
So why would you want to consider a corded option when it comes to SDS drills? There are several reasons, firstly battery life, nothing is going to drain the power of any battery no matter how many amp hours you have on offer like an SDS drill. If you are using the SDS drill to chase out brickwork, then a cordless solution would do just fine. However, if you are drilling 1-2 feet through Accrington brickwork you are going to eat batteries!
Whilst some of the latest cordless options on the market come with support for two 18v batteries, delivering 36v of power, the traditional 18v models don’t quite cut the mustard in my opinion when it comes to delivering the unrivalled power of a corded model.
Corded models are usually cheaper in price too. The price of a battery and charger can add significantly to the cost.
Looking at the above reasons of why a corded should be the go to option, why would you even consider a cordless SDS Drill?
Firstly the portability, sometimes you are drilling in a place where a corded solution simply isn’t an option! Let’s say you are working on doing up your house and there is no power in place yet, you are going to require a cordless solution to get the job done.
As I said power was certainly a limiting factor in times gone by when it comes to 18v variants. Now thanks to some clever thinking and the addition of two battery ports, these things can suck in 36v and push back out comparable power to their corded cousins.
Weight has always been a limiting factor with the cordless options in the past, due to the addition of a battery in the mix the weight could be significantly increased. However, thanks to Lithium ION batteries the weight has been reduced and the tool is much more manageable.
Corded or Cordless?
So, now that’s as clear as mud, which one should you choose?
Personally, I think it is down to your needs. If you have an unlimited budget, get a 36v cordless option and a few 5Ah batteries to go with it. Even if you are changing them fairly regularly if you have enough of them it isn’t a problem. You have the benefits of the portability and the power of the 36v version.
But from a sensible option, most of us don’t have a bottomless pit of money. In the first instance unless you have an absolute necesity for cordless I would go corded. Thanks to the power, relatively low price point and no messing with batteries.
If you have slightly more money, you could go for a reasonably priced corded SDS drill, along with a budget cordless SDS that would be ideal for occasional use or useful for chasing out brickwork.
Bosch GBH 2-26 DRE SDS Drill Review
- Wide range of applications with rotation stop for chiselling work
- Rotating brush plate for equal power in forward and reverse rotation
- Gets the work done quickly due to fast drilling rate and high chiselling performance because of 800 W powerful motor and 2.7 joules of impact energy
- Reliable and robust with long lifetime due to high-quality components
- Scope of Supply: 1 x GBH 2-26 SDS+ Plus Hammer Drill; 1 x Auxiliary Handle; 1 x Depth Stop 210 mm; 1 x Machine Cloth; 1 x Carry Case
Last update on 2021-09-17 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
If you were to ask us which of the three SDS drills we have on review was our least favourite we would have to say the Bosch. So, does that mean stop reading right now, don’t bother? No! Not at all, it isn’t a useless SDS drill at all, it has some fantastic features which we will uncover below, but in my opinion it doesn’t pack the same punch, isn’t as well put together and isn’t as well balanced as the other two. It is a more budget solution compared with the Milwaukee and for what it is, it’s a fantastic drill! We wouldn’t suggest using it if you are a tradesman, but for the DIY enthusiast, it’s great.
So, when you hold the Bosch GBH 2-26 DRE it’s not the most well balanced drill, it is very top heavy and I think from prolonged use you may start to feel discomfort. Whilst it isn’t the heaviest drill we are reviewing the weight makes it uncomfortable to hold.
The drill and the blow-moulded case feel pretty flimsy by comparison to the Makita and Milwaukee SDS drills, which considering it’s mission in life isn’t such a great feature.
What about the positives though?
They have satisfied every safety feature that we feel is important when it comes to an SDS drill. Firstly, the overload clutch, not only can getting a bit stuck in tough brickwork break the drill. It can also cause serious injury to the person operating it. An overload clutch will help reduce the chances of this ever happening.
The second safety feature is the ball grommet on the cable, this reduces the amount of wear on the cable from dragging it about at different angles. Power and electricity are serious considerations when it comes to power tools and ensuring that there is less chance of something going wrong is an important consideration.
The Bosch GBH 2-26 DRE has plenty on offer when it comes to raw power, offering 2.7 joules of power, this is enough to get through the toughest of walls, no problem at all.
One thing we love about Bosch power tools is that 90% of them come with their amazing 3 year warranty, as long as you register you power tool online with them. The Bosch GBH 2-26 DRE, doesn’t fail to impress and is included in their 3 year warranty program.
When it comes to reducing the power on offer from this drill, Bosch have also included a variable speed trigger. This is something that allows the SDS drill to be used for tasks such as chasing brick work without destroying a wall. It also allows you to vary the amount of power needed when coming the the end of the wall, reducing the chances of blasting the face of the brick off the other side.
So all in all, we like the drill, it has plenty of good features and the best warranty of all 3 drills on review. If you are a looking to add an SDS drill to your tool collection for occasional use, then this could be just the ticket. If, however, you are looking for something that can take on any task, may we suggest the Milwaukee.
- 1 Year warranty
- 2.7J of energy
- Intelligent variable trigger
We have reviewed the Bosch GBH 2-26 DRE in detail in a standalone review, should you wish to find out more.
This is very dependent on your circumstances, if you are looking for the best of the best I would recommend the Milwaukee PH26X, it provides the robustness, safety features, power and reliability to get the job done time after time. It doesn’t have the 3 year warranty of the Bosch GBH 2-26 DRE, but it certainly makes up for that in the quality of the drill.
If you are on a strict budget then maybe opt for the Bosch SDS Drill. It delivers enough to get basis SDS tasks done, but I wouldn’t consider it if I were a tradesman. The Makita sits somewhere in the middle offering a great SDS drill at a mid price point.
There really is something for everyone with these three corded SDS drills. As I said above there is a time and a place for cordless SDS drill, but you have to be mindful of the amount of batteries you would require to make it a justifiable choice and the price point you would be at if you didn’t already have the batteries yourself.
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