Best Cordless Hammer Drill Head to Head Review

Best hammer drill

Surprises Abound in the Best Cordless Hammer Drill Final Rankings

We tested more than 50 cordless drills and nearly half of those are in the running for the best cordless hammer drill. Let’s not get caught up in the details—at least not yet. Check out the winners!

Best Cordless Hammer Drill: 18V Heavy-Duty Class

DeWalt DCD997 20V Max Brushless Hammer Drill Driver with Tool Connect

DeWalt Tool Connect Hammer Drill Review DCD997

When it comes to raw power, DeWalt’s DCD997 gave us more measurable torque than other models boasting 1200 to 1300 in-lbs. They back it up with solid speed and a feature set that includes Tool Connect. If there’s a chink in the armor, it’s that it has a pretty big footprint. But if that’s a big deal, you probably don’t want something in the Heavy-Duty class to begin with.

Runner Up

Ridgid R8611506 18V Octane Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Best hammer drill

Ridgid’s Octane hammer drill driver doesn’t have the speed or smart controls that DeWalt does, but it’s in a close second for torque and the best value in the class by a pretty wide margin.

Also Highly Rated

Makita XPH07 18V LXT Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Best Cordless Hammer Drill: 18V Medium-Duty Class

Kobalt 24V Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Best hammer drill

Kobalt leads the Medium-Duty class with torque that can compete with the Heavy-Duty hammer drills. It maintains a high score for speed and efficiency while overcoming its higher weight and larger footprint with a first-place tie for value.

Runner Up

Bosch GSB18V-755CN Connected Ready 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

If you want power with a more refined fit and finish, Bosch’s GSB18V-755CN is an excellent choice. It doesn’t do quite as well as Kobalt with its speed/efficiency rating, but it’s the lightest in the group and ready for the Bosch Connected module if you want to add smart controls.

Also Highly Rated

Milwaukee 2806 M18 Fuel Brushless Hammer Drill Driver with One-Key

Skil HD529501 Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Best Cordless Hammer Drill: 18V Compact Class

Metabo HPT DV18DBFL2 18V Brushless Hammer Drill Driver

Metabo HPT notches its first shootout win since making the name change from Hitachi with a compact hammer drill that Tom Gaige said was his favorite in the Compact group even before we started tallying results. It takes top marks for the torque category by a wide margin without bulky weight or a giant footprint. The only downside is that it’s not as feature-rich as some of its competition.

Runner Up

DeWalt DCD797 20V Max XR Brushless Compact Hammer Drill Driver with Tool Connect

Best Cordless Drill

DeWalt finishes just over a point behind Metabo HPT for its second podium finish in the hammer drill category. It’s the fastest drilling model in this class with the second-highest torque available. Tool Connect highlights a solid feature set and it keeps its weight in check. The DCD797 has one of the bulkier footprints, but it’s still clearly compact.

Why Cordless Hammer Drills?

The best cordless hammer drill models take everything good about a drill driver and add light concrete drilling. Typically, there’s a very small weight and length penalty. They don’t replace a good rotary hammer, but they’re a lot easier to use for setting Tapcons or working on projects around a home or facility that need the occasional holes in brick or block.

Upgrading is relatively inexpensive—usually just $10 or $20 more than the drill driver. It has the same motor, speed, and torque. It just adds a little length and weight for the hammer mechanism. Most of our Pros opt for a cordless hammer drill over a standard drill driver because of that. Many combo kits also include this type of drill as well.

How We Define Classes

We started by letting the manufacturers define what class each hammer drill lives in with their specifications. 900+ in-lbs of torque qualifies as Heavy-Duty, and 650–899 in-lbs matches up with Medium-Duty. Less than 650 in-lbs falls under the Compact category. DeWalt and Craftsman are up in the air since they use Unit Watts Out (UWO) instead of torque.

Best hammer drill

Once we started getting results from our torque results, we saw some movement up or down. It’s not all torque, though. Before we shift into a different class, we looked at the speed to see how the manufacturer prioritized that compared to torque. We also looked at the size and weight to give us a holistic picture of the tool.

Bringing those four areas into focus lets our team make a determination to move it or not. For the Best Cordless Hammer Drill classes, each move was a unanimous choice. Here are the ones that moved:

  • Milwaukee 2806 – moves down to Medium-Duty
  • DeWalt DCD997 – moves up to Heavy-Duty
  • Festool PDC18/4 – moves up to Medium-Duty
  • Ridgid R86116 – moves down to Compact

Testing Results

Check out our Best Cordless Drill main page for the specifics on how we run each test.

Heavy Load Testing

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Self Feed Speed copy

Metabo HPT flexed its Heavy-Duty MultiVolt muscle by cranking out 509 RPM while driving a 2-9/16″ Milwaukee Switchblade Self-Feed Bit. Makita (474 RPM) and Metabo HPT’s 18V (469 RPM) weren’t too far behind.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Self Feed Efficiency copy

Percent of no-load speed (efficiency) is something we look at to see how hard the hammer drill’s motor is working to maintain speed. Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt led the efficiency standings by maintaining 98% of its no-load speed during the test. DeWalt held on to 95% with Metabo HPT’s 18V sitting in third at 88%.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Self Feed Speed copy

Skil rose up to lead the Medium-Duty group with 472 RPM. Kobalt averaged 459 RPM and Milwaukee’s 2806 wrapped up the top 3 with 446 RPM.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Self Feed Efficiency copy

While it didn’t make the top three in speed, Ryobi’s P251 kept its efficiency at 97% with Hilti (87%) taking second place. Kobalt and Skil wrapped up the top group at 86%.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Self Feed Speed copy

The Compact hammer drills dropped to a 1-1/2″ Milwaukee Switchblade Self-Feed Bit that DeWalt’s DCD797 kept at 550 RPM to distance the field. Craftsman sat in second at 451 RPM and Harbor Freight’s Hercules held onto 423 RPM.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Self Feed Efficiency copy

DeWalt also topped the efficiency rankings at 97%. Metabo HPT’s DV18DBFL2 finished nicely at 92% before a large gap opened up to Masterforce at 80%.

Light Load Testing

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Auger Speed copy

With a Bosch 1″ Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit providing resistance, Metabo’s SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I simply destroyed the rest of the Heavy-Duty field by ripping 3039 RPM. DeWalt sat in a distant second (1906 RPM) and Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt model finished with an average speed of 1656 RPM.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Auger Efficiency copy

DeWalt topped the efficiency ratings with 95% of its no-load speed. Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt (86%) and Ridgid’s Octane (81%) were the only others to finish above the 80% mark.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Auger Speed copy

The Skil brushless hammer drill led the Medium-Duty class with 1483 RPM. Second place went to Ryobi’s P251 with 1424 RPM, and Kobalt (1419) wrapped up third.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Auger Efficiency copy

Efficiency dropped for this group with Ryobi keeping 81% of its no-load speed. Hilti hung on to 77% with Kobalt and Skil tying for third with 74%.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Auger Speed copy

We switched to a 3/4″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit for the Compact hammer drills. DeWalt’s DCD797 led the charge again with 1948 RPM, putting a massive gap on the rest of the group. Hercules managed 1409 RPM and Makita’s XPH12 finished with 1347 RPM.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Auger Efficiency copy

Only DeWalt showed high efficiency in the Compact class with its 98% output. Metabo HPT stayed in the game at 80% and Hercules finished out a distant third at 74%.

Concrete Drilling

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Concrete Speed copy

Metabo again left the rest of the Heavy-Duty class in the dust by drilling a 1/4″ Bosch Daredevil Multi-Purpose Bit 3-inches deep in an average of just 2.52 seconds. The Makita XPH07 followed with 4.48 seconds, and DeWalt notched a third-place finish at 4.55.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Concrete Speed copy

Festool set itself on the Medium-Duty podium for the first time with concrete drilling, leading with a 4.36-second average. Skil wasn’t far behind at 5.08 seconds, and Milwaukee (5.92) was the last model to break the 6-second mark.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Concrete Speed copy

For the Compact hammer drills, DeWalt (5.92 seconds) maintained its familiar position at the top with Masterforce (7.18) and Bosch (7.72) wrapping up the top 3.

Torque Results

Like we said with our impact driver torque testing, this test doesn’t replace the same lab tests that lead to specifications. Notice the numbers aren’t anywhere close to the specifications for any of these drills. That’s because we use a soft-torque test.

Be sure to check out our testing methods on our main shootout page for the details.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Torque copy

DeWalt led the Heavy-Duty group by crushing our Ford Ranger front spring down with 618.8 in-lbs of torque. The Ridgid Octane was right on its heels with 615.6 in-lbs, and the Makita XPH07 asserted itself with a 585.6 in-lbs average.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Torque copy

Kobalt continued to surprise the Medium-Duty group with a 562.8 in-lbs average. Bosch settled in with a solid 523.2 in-lbs average before Festool left a big gap, finishing third with 392.4 in-lbs.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Torque copy

The Compact group clearly had less power, but the Metabo HPT DV18DBFL2 rose way above the rest to 312 in-lbs. DeWalt (220.8 in-lbs) also bridged the gap to the Ridgid R86116 (190.4 in-lbs) before the rest of the group fell away.

Feature Set

You don’t have to have a monster feature set to be the best cordless hammer drill, but it sure doesn’t hurt! Here’s what stands out in each group.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy-Duty Class

Best hammer drill

DeWalt DCD997

  • Tool Connect customizable controls, diagnostics, and tracking
  • Bind-up control
  • 3 gear settings

Metabo HPT DV36DA

  • Available AC adapter
  • Batteries are backward compatible to Metabo HPT/Hitachi 18V tools

Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I

  • Interchangeable chuck system
  • Available 3x torque multiplier attachment
  • 3 gear settings

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium-Duty Class

Best hammer drill

Bosch GSB18V-755CN

  • Optional module gives you custom controls, diagnostics, and tracking
  • Kickback control

Festool PDC18/4

  • Interchangeable chuck system dialed in for woodworkers
  • 4 gear settings

Milwaukee 2806

  • One-Key custom controls, diagnostics, and tracking

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Class

Milwaukee One-Key review

Bosch GSB18V-535CN

  • Optional module gives you custom controls, diagnostics, and tracking
  • Kickback control

DeWalt DCD797

  • Tool Connect customizable controls, diagnostics, and tracking


Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Weight copy

There’s a big difference in weight as we move from the Heavy-Duty beasts down to the weight-conscious Compact models. For the Heavy-Duty class, DeWalt is the lightweight at 4.88 lbs with its 5.0 Ah battery. The Metabo HPT DV18DBL2 cracks the 5-lb margin at 5.15 lbs with Makita’s XPH07 is a few ounces heavier at 5.44 lbs.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Weight copy

The race is tighter in the Medium-Duty class where Bosch leads at 4.74 lbs and Hilti’s SF6H-A22 (4.75 lbs) finishes 1/100th of a pound back. Milwaukee’s Gen 3 M18 Fuel (4.86 lbs) takes advantage of its weight loss to wrap up third.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Weight copy

But none of those compare to the relative comfort of the Compact class. Makita’s Sub-Compact XPH11 drops all the way down to 3.01 lbs with its compact battery. Craftsman (3.55 lbs) is about 1/2-pound heavier and DeWalt (3.56 lbs) just 1/100 of a pound heavier.


Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Footprint copy

The giants of the Heavy-Duty class are led in footprint by Makita with its 8.6-in height and 7.8-in head length. The two Metabo HPT models have the exact same footprint (8.3-in height, 8.1-in head length) to tie for second and Ridgid’s Octane wraps up third with an 8.4-in height and 8.3-in length.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Footprint copy

Milwaukee’s Gen 3 M18 Fuel Hammer Drill dropped about an inch of length off the Gen 2 model and it dominates the Medium class for footprint. Its 8.1-in height and 7.2-in head length have an advantage over Skil’s 8.1-in height and 7.5-in length before getting to Festool at 7.3 inches tall and 8.8 inches long.

Compact is where it’s at if you’re looking for the best cordless hammer drill in tight spaces. Makita’s Sub-Compact XPH11 fits the bill at 7.8 inches tall and 7.1 inches in length. Metabo HPT does a nice job keeping the size down with a 7.9-in height and 7.2-in length. Bosch’s compact model fits in nicely with an 8.0-in height and 7.2-in length.


Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy Duty Value copy

Value is more than just price and by the time we crunched all the numbers, we discovered who gives you the most bang for your buck. In the Heavy-Duty class, it’s Ridgid leading Makita in second place and the Metabo HPT 18V wrapping up third.

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium Duty Value copy

Kobalt leads a tight race at the top with Ryobi on its heels in the Medium-Duty class. Skil wraps it up in third but doesn’t have a bare tool option.

Harbor Freight’s Hercules has the performance to lead the value category. However, it took a 50% penalty for poor quality after we stripped the gears in it way too easily. If you’re looking for a longer warranty, Ridgid is your next best bet just ahead of Craftsman.


Best Cordless Hammer Drill Heavy-Duty Class

  • Metabo HPT DV36DA: Lifetime warranty
  • Metabo HPT DV18DBL2: Lifetime warranty
  • Ridgid R8611506: Lifetime service agreement
  • DeWalt DCD997: 3 years
  • Makita XPH07: 3 years
  • Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I: 3 years

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Medium-Duty Class

  • Hilti SF 6H-A22: 20 years
  • Kobalt KHD524B-03: 5 years
  • Milwaukee 2806: 5 years
  • Skil HD529501: 5 years
  • Bosch GSB18V-755CN: 3 years
  • Festool PDC18/4: 3 years
  • Ryobi P251: 3 years

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Compact Class

  • Metabo HPT DV18DBFL2: Lifetime warranty
  • Ridgid R86116: Lifetime service agreement
  • Bosch GSB18V-535CN: 3 years
  • Craftsman CMCD721: 3 years
  • DeWalt DCD797: 3 years
  • Makita XPH11: 3 years
  • Makita XPH12: 3 years
  • Masterforce 241-0464: 3 years
  • Hercules HC92K1: 90 days

Best Cordless Hammer Drill Final Rankings

Best Heavy-Duty Cordless Hammer Drill

  1. DeWalt DCD997 $369.00
  2. Ridgid R8611506 $159
  3. Makita XPH07 $229.95
  4. Metabo HPT DV36DA $349.00
  5. Metabo HPT DV18DBL2 $409.97
  6. Metabo SB 18 LTX-3 BL Q I $512.59

Best Medium-Duty Cordless Hammer Drill

  1. Kobalt KHD524B-03 TBA
  2. Bosch GSB18V-755CN $299.00
  3. Milwaukee 2806 $444.37
  4. Skil HD529501 $99.99
  5. Festool PDC18/4 $350.00
  6. Ryobi P251 $133.99
  7. Hilti SF6H-A22 $2,025.62

Best Compact Cordless Hammer Drill

  1. Metabo HPT DV18DBFL2 $141.80
  2. DeWalt DCD797 $228.48
  3. Ridgid R86116 $169.52
  4. Makita XPH11 $189.00
  5. Bosch GSB18V-535CN $189.00
  6. Craftsman CMCD721 $90.95
  7. Makita XPH12 $71.40
  8. Hercules HC92K1 TBA
  9. Masterforce 241-0464 $159.31

Best Cordless Hammer Drill: 5 Takeaways

1. Every Single Heavy-Duty Hammer Drill in Our Test is a Solid Choice

It’s almost a shame that we have to rank the Heavy-Duty class. Metabo finishes in 6th, but crushes everyone in speed and has an incredible feature set. There’s not a huge gap from first to last and we heartily recommend every single one. No, we’re not saying that “everyone gets a trophy,” but let’s face it—you’re likely not going to try and use a vice to compress a Ford Ranger suspension spring anytime soon, either.

2. Three Speeds are Nice, but Two are Enough

As we went through our testing, we thought the 3- and 4-speed drills would have an advantage in our self-feed bit test, but they all still had to drive in low. It proves that 2 speeds are enough for most of us. But I still like knowing I have more than that when I do.

3. Great Accessories Make A Huge Difference

When we designed our tests, we looked at the maximum capacity for each drill class. Then we reached out to bring in the following:

What we found in testing is that these accessories are so efficient that we could have easily used larger sizes. Buying quality accessories like these makes the job go faster and lets your hammer drill work more efficiently, giving you longer battery runtime and tool life.

4. Don’t Overlook the Compact Class

Even though I have hammer drills from both the Heavy-Duty and Compact classes in my go-to set, I use the Compact model with a compact battery for 95% of the work I do. It’s more comfortable on long days and easier to haul up and down a ladder. You need the Heavy-Duty model sometimes, but do yourself a favor and grab a compact drill to supplement your medium or heavy-duty workhorse.

5. The Final Call is Still up to You

We weight our results based on what our Pros agree is most important. If money is the biggest priority for you, your final rankings will look different than ours. We love diverse opinions, so tell us what you think is most important and which model you think is the best 18V impact driver.

Just remember that there are real people who do the work and who are contributing through their comments. I hate having to delete comments and ban people for acting like middle schoolers, so keep it on topic and clean.

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