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.


DIY john says:

Love the reviews.

I hate the hard case for most of my tools. I throw my drill in a large bag, along with the regular twist bits, cobolt twist bits, spade bits, masonry bits, hole saws, diamond bits, tungsten grinding bits, grinding stones. No hard cases will ever fit those accessories.

Tecnica X says:

Exclente revision and very complete technical data. Thank you

shiningstaer says:

Wtf is festool?!?!??

Greg J says:

that’s a pretty comprehensive review, well done

Aaron Brandon says:

Rob, few points here that had me scratching my head and talking to my screen. First off I did read the article at toolboxbuzz and thank you to you and your team for all the hard work writing it.

Just a couple things here. First of all this entire test was in fact imprecise from the beginning and it all stems from the batteries. Look I get you test what the manufacturer sends you, but there was a fairly wide gap between battery size and difference in battery cells. The Bosch 6.3ah battery used 20700 cells over the 18650 found in a lot of other packs tested. Milwauke has a 6.0 with 21700 cells yet it was not tested. Why? If you’re not brand biased shouldn’t you be putting forward each brand’s top performing battery along with their top drill? Of course the Bosch won the first competition. More amp hours combined with better battery technology, giving improved heat dissipation and longer cell life. While I do like the winner you chose (because I own it) NOTHING was said about the heat these smaller more powerful drills emanate from their chassis. Again why? The 3rd gen Milwaukee m18 hammer drill gets insanely hot when using it for more than 5 min steady. Were you guys wearing gloves? What other drills got too hot? This review and contest is incomplete at best. Where you strive to build the most even testing ground, it was flawed before the first hole was even drilled. Match the batteries with manufacturer’s best offerings and consider re-testing. Good review Rob.

WurstExpress #616 says:

AMAZING test, thank you!

Alpha Removal says:

Team Red. Milwaukee and Hilti will always destroy everyone else

Dee Shiznittlebaum says:

we get the point you did good test geez holmes, how b
out a table or graph or some shit


I was surprised that you rated the Hilti SF 6H dead last, especially when you did ZERO metal drilling tests. And, you didn’t mention any safety features or warranties. That Hilti has vibration reduction and torque control where it’ll shut off if the bit gets stuck, instead of spinning around, risking injury. None of the other drills have either of those features. And, Hilti has the only wear and tear coverage for both the tool and batteries/chargers. The others only cover defects. If you have a chance to revise your testing criteria, or add some metal drilling tests (all MEP trades drill in metal), then your viewers will be better informed.

JronmanBuilds says:

I was surprised the Festool scored so high on the performance based tests. It is a pretty old unit now.

Resto Roze says:

at the beginning you’re wrong. the first drill is credited to Arthur James Arnot and William Blanch Brain of Melbourne, Australia who patented the electric drill in 1889. In 1895, the first portable handheld drill was created by brothers Wilhem & Carl Fein of Stuttgart, Germany.

Zeroplanetz says:

Kobalt feels and fits the best in my size hands. I like there performance for price as well.

Gabriel DeLapp says:

Guys! This was a home run! Thank you so very much! Interesting!

MadMetalManiac74 says:

You should really do a water dunk and dust test at the end of these. Bet alot of them drop out.

SouthFront says:

In real life work ,there where no speed tests needed Bosch is the winner!!!.Because is a machine that will work for ever and battery lasts longer!!

Cory Stansbury says:

What’s incredible is how physically compact the Milwaukee is while being a beast. It’s the LS engine of power tools.

Brian Helmold says:

Question on the auger bit test. Since there was 4 of the drills that cut out, could have it been a time out feature? Under normal working conditions you wouldn’t hold the trigger down for more than a minute. Maybe they have a time out feature so if its in a tool bag and the trigger gets pressed in it will shut the drill down before the battery dies. It just seemed odd to me since multiple drills had the problem.

Dee Shiznittlebaum says:

dude stfu and get to it

CamaroWarrior says:

Cool video, when is the impact driver and/or impact wrench version of this video coming out?

Rick Kramer says:

Great info but Dude, take a breath!! How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day? I know there is a lot of info to give but what’s the rush?!?!

Lars Kissmann says:

The German Company Fein brought the first handheld electric drill 1895 to market. 20 years before Black and Decker.

Nathan Hamler says:

Damn, what you guys must spend on wood, fasteners, and new bits for all these tests!! My hats off to you!!

Quentyn73 says:

Ads are getting smarter

Abdulla Shaikh says:

Nice tools
Thanks for Sharing with us
I am from INDIA and i love uour Channel
For me Dewalt is best

G Blah says:

4 carpenters on my crew. One of each used- Bosch, Makita, Dewalt and Milwaukee. All of them are fine. No one is winning any drill battles and none of us are asking for anyone else’s drills. Never had a day when one of us couldn’t perform a task needed on site because of the drill they had. Makes packing up the gear easy too. No confusing anyone’s batteries or chargers. I have had makita tools for 30 years. Can’t see me ever changing. Especially because any decent brand battery tool you have means you generally buy a bunch of other tools in that same brand so your batteries are interchangeable. Be buggered if i would buy a milwaukee drill just to drill 3 more holes a charge when every other tool in my box takes makita batteries.

Cyberslug1 says:

I’m assuming that was not the Ridgid octane ? I just watched a video where it beat the milwaukee at all speed tests.

imhavingillusions says:


Cotton C says:

Great contents. This channel should have more subs.

Jeff Porterfield says:

DYNO-MITE Great, comprehensive review. I just happen to be in the market for a new hammer/drill. Love your process of evaluation.

Colm finlay says:

SUBSCRIBED! I had been waiting ages on the test since you announced it in Insta, utterly excellent comparison, if I had not have bought a DeWalt prior to this Video I think I still would have picked one up, GREAT JOB GUYS, Keep it up!

Chris M says:

No Harbor Freight Bauer?

Austin Hansen says:

I’m a big fan of Bosch. I work on my own but occasionally I work with a contractor friend of mine. He uses hitachi. He cycles batteries on and off the charger throughout the day, while I rarely need to switch out batteries on any given day. That’s enough for me to stick with em!

Illmatic Tho says:

“We didn’t even catch that until we started looking at the DAH DAH”

I love it

SonOfPatriots says:

You can never go wrong with DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Makita

Lewie McNeely says:

I’d pick the top 3 just like you did. A-PLUS!

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