Best 1/2″ Cordless Hammer Drill – Head-to-Head

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Best Cordless 1/2″ Hammer Drill – Head -to-Head

Arguably the most used tool of any trade is the ½” cordless drill.
The first handheld electric drill was brought to market by Black and Decker in 1917, and the cordless drill was also developed by Black and Decker in 1961.

Since then many manufacturers have contributed to the design and improvements by incorporating lithium ion batteries, hammer drill functionality, and most recently, brushless motors.

For this head-to-head we’ve asked 12 manufacturers to send us their top-of-the-line 18 to 22 volt ½” hammer drill drivers. 

We asked manufacturers to keep their batteries in the 6.0 Ah range.
The Tool Box Buzz Crew put these drills through the paces with a battery of tough tests to see which is fastest, has the longest run-time, the best ergonomics, and the most power in day-to-day job site use.

If you’re that guy that wants ALL the information, and stats on these tools, then you need to read the article on
The article ALWAYS is more detailed!

Hammer Drill Test Criteria
We strive to make these tests as fair as possible by ensuring that we use the same accessories, average out multiple tests, design tests that have consistent, repeatable, results, and eliminate the human error when we can.

There are endless testing situations for any tool so we discuss the tool in question and try to develop tests that users can relate to.

For this head-to-head we decided to focus mostly on productivity.
In order to do that, we looked at several common uses for hammer drills, focusing on speed and endurance.

We chose common tasks that our crew, or sub-contractors perform on a regular basis to provide a good comparison of relative performance.

Testing Stations
Performance Drilling Sled:  7/8” x 18” auger bit drilled thru 6” of framing lumber.

3/8″ x 6″ TimberLOKs– Ave Drive Time to install 6 fasteners in framing lumber.
2-9/16 Self-feeding Bit– Ave Drive Time to drill 6 holes in framing lumber.
3/16 Masonry Bit– Ave time to drill 6 holes [preset depth] into precast concrete.

Ergonomics and features – This is a round table discussion with the entire crew to develop the rankings.


malthus101 says:

I’m not a professional but I bought a Makita cordless drill once and it was stunning! I know quality when I handle it. Charge time was insanely fast too. Sadly I had to sell it to a tradesman to raise some cash but I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another in the future when I need one.

Steve says:

Bosch has been nothing but trouble for me. Bad battery, bad electrical connections inside the tool, and wobbly rotation on my hammer drill. I even live in Germany so I expect better from German products. Would never buy Bosch again.

Joseph Bondi says:

Please gentlemen, no model #s. Absolutely worthless reviews. Without the current model indicators to define the drills. What the hell, only one model to each brand, and not named to boot. Go to Amazon’s reviews, see the multiple 1/2″ drill types available. Each reviewed brand product model, carries differing opinions. Confused, am I missing your point?

JustinL614 says:

My shop has alot of old dewalt, bosch and makita powertools but as of late whenever they buy new tools for the job they always go for milwaukee. Never did a direct test but we use them alot. They get tossed around, thrown in a gangbox and the workers are probably too tough on them.

Hendertucky Rebels says:

Great review, would’ve been great to see a couple of durability tests though like drop test, dirt test, water test, etc. Fun to watch these things.

david vines says:

My older Milwaukee Drill was great, till I tried charging it with and inverted sine wave, what comes with portable power inverter. It melted my charge and left me without a drill. I bought a Makita and have repeatedly recharged it with the same power inverter.

I would hope Milwaukee fixed that problem.

Reckless entertainment says:

I used to put up garage doors for a living and the top 3 drills in this test were the same 3 company’s that were most common in the garage door business. Milwaukee, dewalt, and makita. I will say dewalt seemed to be the most common but I always preferred Milwaukee.

Claud show says:

I like hammer impact drills

Drizzy Williams says:

I dont know how you guys gave Makita a low score on the chuck. The Makita chucks are superior. If build quality was a catergory Makita would have won.

Tonenology says:

Great video.

William Kiene says:

If you buy a Milwaukee, Dewalt or Makita you will be fine. This is an amazing video……..thanks guys. I sent it to friends.

Daniel Gomez says:

I just got my gen 3 Milwaukee drill and impact I got for $239 dollars at Home Depot special buy of the day can’t wait to try it out and the octane ridgid hammer drill there tough tools

Nevyn says:

Have any of you heard or seen an issue with Hilti vacuums blocking and sucking the filter into the bucket?

VicJackpotRider says:

I’m thinking of buying a brushless cordless 1/2 impact wrench by Kolbalt? Do you think they are sticking around with craftsman taking over?


Im from Indonesia.. ur video really help my decision to buy new my cordless drill

D Stone says:

I just bought the Milwaukee 2804 kit with two batteries. I am shocked to say that I couldn’t be more disappointed in the quality. The trigger hangs up on the forward/reverse switch and cannot be fully depressed without serious force and a “click” when in forward. Additionally, one of the batteries will not charge and the charger just blinks red and green. I have never purchased a product before that I had to send back. I’m done with red forever. Back to Dewalt.

jawojnicki says:

Love the videos!
How about a head to head on 10 inch compound miter saws!?
Any plans?

Donald Daniels says:

Why not test the makita contracter model? You tested the cheap makita drill.

Jason M says:

First time coming across your channel, quite impressed with the attention to detail and thoroughness of your testing. And your lead up and delivery of results was well paced so as to not be one of those “watch to the end to find out!” but you still wanted to watch every second.

Dan James says:

I was surprised and disappointed in the Kobalt. Seeing how it has the largest rating at 24V it still didn’t finish at the top in any of the performance tests. Lowes markets it’s 24V as delivering superior power yet it was beat by many of the 18V drills. Obviously voltage isn’t the only feature that makes for a powerful drill, yet Lowes wants us to believe it is.

Lucas W says:

I chose Bosch because of their diversity. They make every power tool there is and it’s a huge benefit for a carpenter to use the same brand because of the batteries. And because it’s german

Sam S says:

So you tested the batteries, not the drill. I suppose that’s really what these drills come down to. Bursts of high amperage like a handful of start capacitors

yooo711 says:

First of all Robert is an impressive speaker.

I have the Bosch the brushed one with the silver chuck. Love it. Ergonomics are great, gets the job done and i got it 160 euros from ebay. Coupled with a pro core 7ah priced 85 euros. One could say bosch impacts and drills are slow but you get more work done with one charge. I suspect this is better for the longevity of the tool and the battery. Good test.

patrick young says:

Just bought the latest 20V lithium Craftsman drill/screwdriver/sawzall/circular saw/flashlight set with 2 batteries for $199.99. Great deal, BUT some clown decided the 20V series had to LOOK space age with weird tool bodies that look like a fancy tennis shoe for rappers. And, UNFORGIVEABLY, the new impact driver, and drill have omitted the wonderful little clips that could hold a couple of bits. WTF? WHY? I cannot believe they went to their latest series and apparently never asked the opinion of anyone who actually uses these tools. The flashlight is excellent, and I expect everything to work well like all the Craftsman cordless stuff I’ve owned before. But I am still dumbstruck about this oversight.

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