What Is a Rotary Hammer For?

Throughout my recent experience being a homeowner, I have taken on quite a lot of DIY projects at home. From remodeling certain rooms to building decorative storage and even creating a garden outside, there is not much that I haven’t tried, with the exception of a rotary hammer. So, I did some research to find out what it does.

What is a rotary hammer for? A rotary hammer is a power tool used in heavy duty tasks, that require drilling or chiseling hard materials, such as concrete. In other words, these types of tools are best suited for masonry tasks.

The rotary hammer tool functions almost exactly like how the name sounds. It is an electrically powered hammer that moves itself back and forth with force to break into materials, while also spinning itself around on rotation. These settings can usually be adjusted to where you can use both or only one at a time.

Using a rotary hammer is useful in many construction projects, and should be used by professionals. However, they can also be used in a home setting if you are careful with safety precautions and you educate yourself on how to properly use one.

In this article, we will be breaking down all the details that have to do with rotary hammers: from what they are to how you can use them, and even the best ones that you can buy if you like what you see. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the topic.

How To Properly Use A Rotary Hammer

Whether you are a professional in the field of construction, a homeowner, or a frequent DIY-er, it is likely that you might have come across a rotary hammer at one point or another. Or, maybe you haven’t, but you would just like to find out more information about it.

If you are curious about anything that has to do with rotary hammers, you have certainly come to the right place. Before we fully break down everything that you need to know about the tool, we will begin with a quick explanation of what a rotary hammer actually is.

Because we can’t begin to discuss the tool if we don’t have a perfectly clear understanding of what it actually is, right?

Take a look at the short list down below, where you will find some of the main points that will give you a visual of what a rotary hammer is, with many more details to follow.

Rotary Hammers:

  • Heavy duty power tool
  • Has a handle and a long drill bit (looks similar to a drill)
  • Performs tasks like drilling, chiseling, etc.
  • Pounds drill bit into surface with the hammer function
  • Rotary function (uses a piston mechanism) spins it around at the same time

Rotary hammers, first and foremost, are heavy duty power tools that are used for difficult tasks like drilling into brick or concrete.

To help you get a visual of what this kind of tool actually looks like, think of the average power drill or screwdriver. It looks somewhat similar to this, but larger and with some slight differences.

It comes with a handle that the user can hold on to, with a long and heavy drill bit that protrudes out of the front. This drill bit can be used for drilling, chiseling, and more purposes that will be outlined later on in this section.

When you use a rotary hammer, the bit at the end will be pounded into the surface using the hammer function of the tool. This is very similar to the functioning of a jack hammer, only you can hold it in your hand like a regular power tool.

Unlike some other power tools, the rotary hammer uses a piston mechanism for the rotary function. In other words, the rotary function makes the tip of the hammer spin around as it is being pounded in.

So, when you use a rotary hammer, you are holding onto the body by the handle as the tip moves forward and backward into the material that you are targeting, all while spinning around. Pretty cool, right?

Rotary hammers just so happen to be one of the most advanced categories of power tools that you can possibly find and use. To continue on with this description of rotary hammers, we will now discuss, in more detail, what these types of tools are actually used for.

A rotary hammer looks similar to a drill, as previously mentioned, it has a long handle where you can grip the tool, along with a supporting rod that allows your to control while drilling.

However, rotary hammers are not only used for drilling; they can be used for even more functions than you might think after you have heard the name. Refer to the list below to find out what some more of these functions are.

Functions Of a Rotary Hammer:

  • Doweling
  • Chiseling
  • Hammering

The rotary hammer allows you to use significant force to manipulate, chisel, and blast through tough masonry materials, such as concrete. These are the most basic functions of the tool, which were briefly explained earlier in this section.

When you first use a rotary hammer, it will feel heavy in your hand. This is normal. You will use your dominant hand to grip the handle, while using your other hand as support, on the dowel placed in front of the handle.

Using your dominant hand, you will release the trigger, which releases the piston. This is the mechanical “hammer.”Since rotary hammers use a lot of force, they can be used for a multitude of projects on several different materials and surfaces.

Along with just the regular rotary hammer functions that you already have an understanding of, this type of tool can be used for chiseling objects. So, instead of spinning and hammering through the surface, they can instead penetrate the material and break it apart, just like a chisel.

When you use a regular chisel, it requires you to hold the object in one hand and use blunt force through a hammer or something similar in the other, using your strength to break through it. With the rotary hammer, it is possible to stand still in one place, hold the equipment as described previously, and get the job done even quicker.

Lastly, the rotary hammer is able to carry out a hammering function. While this might seem obvious since the tool is called a rotary hammer, and we already established that it can move back and forth automatically, this can sound confusing.

To be more clear, most rotary hammers have a switch that you can flip in order to change the settings of how it works when you turn it on. This particular function is for hammering only.

So, basically, you can use all of the functions of the rotary hammer at once, meaning that the bit will be spinning and hammering itself into the surface all at the same time, or you can turn off the spinning part for the hammering only function.

This can be helpful in a variety of situations, because sometimes you might just need the force of the tool without all of the spinning. When you are using a rotary hammer, especially if you have spent lots of money to purchase one of your own, it really helps to know that you can use It for more than one thing.

To conclude this section, the rotary hammer is one of the most versatile and helpful power tools that you will be able to find. You can switch the settings to make it exactly what you need for each particular task, making it increasingly convenient, and even cost effective.

Should you choose to purchase a rotary hammer for yourself, you will not be disappointed with the features that it offers you. However, there will be more details about that in another section.

For now, keep reading to find out what some of the projects are that you might need a rotary hammer for.

Projects You Might Need A Rotary Hammer For

So, now that we have established almost everything that you need to know about rotary hammers, you might still be in need of an explanation in one particular area, which is what you might need one of these tools for.

While it is true that you can read about the characteristics and features all day, the explanation might not be as effective if you are not able to apply it to yourself and reflect on what you might use it for.

Or, on the other hand, you might be in search of something like a rotary hammer for a particular project, but it just hasn’t been brought to your attention yet!

Either way, this section will help you out with getting a full grasp and understanding on what rotary hammers are actually used for. Take a look at the list down below to discover some projects that you might be in need of a rotary hammer to complete.

These are the projects that rotary hammers can be used for:

  • Demolition
  • Anchoring bolts and dowels
  • Drilling holes into wood, concrete, and other masonry

First and foremost, rotary hammers are most ideal for demolition. As previously described, the function of a rotary hammer includes pounding a large hammer into a surface while spinning at the same time.

The ridges on the hammer are very similar to a giant drill bit, meaning that the rotary hammer can easily cut through even the hardest of materials.

This makes the tool great for demolition, or destroying anything. So, if you need to break down a wall for a home improvement project or remove some hard concrete or stone from a particular area, you can consult your handy rotary hammer to do the job for you.

Similarly, you can use one of these tools to anchor bolts and dowels. This tool can be used in any project that is related to something like this, including drilling holes.

Rotary hammers are very helpful in drilling holes into wood, concrete, and other masonry. If you need to drill a hole into a brick, you will probably use a rotary hammer for the job.

These tools are superior to most of the similar alternatives, which we will get into in the next section. Keep reading to get a further explanation of what a rotary hammer is and what it does through a direct comparison of a similar tool: the hammer drill.


Rotary Hammer Vs Hammer Drill

After reading so much about rotary hammers in the previous sections, you might have realized that it sounds very similar to something else that you probably have heard of before.

The features and purpose of a rotary hammer is very similar to that of a hammer drill. In fact, they can sometimes get confused with each other if the difference is not directly called out.

In this section, we are going to explore the similarities and differences between a rotary hammer and its cousin, the hammer drill. Whether you have used one or the other or you are just interested in learning everything that you can about the rotary hammer, the information to follow will provide you with everything you need to know.

To begin, we will get into the discussion of what rotary hammers and hammer drills have in common, because they are so frequently confused. Before we can talk about the differences between the two, it is important to highlight the similarities as well.

Take a look at the list down below to get a quick idea of what these two tools share in common as far as features and characteristics, and keep reading to get the full scoop on both of these tools.

This is what rotary hammers and hammer drills have in common:

  • Power tools
  • Used for drilling masonry
  • Produce a force that pounds tool into hard surfaces (brick, concrete, etc.)

First and foremost, both rotary hammers and hammer drills are considered to be power tools, which seems very obvious. They are electrically powered and do most of the work for you.

So, instead of taking a hammer and chisel and trying to carry out these tasks with your own force and muscle power, you can pretty much stand there holding it in place while it does everything on its own.

This is increasingly convenient, especially for those hard labor tasks that would take you all day if you didn’t have one of these tools.

This brings us to the next point, which is the fact that both of these tools are used for drilling masonry. In other words, they are used to cut and break through hard, solid materials such as concrete and brick, with just the push of a button!

If you ever need to break through concrete or drill a hole in a brick wall for any reason, the hammer drill or rotary hammer should be your go-to.

Finally, both rotary hammers and hammer drills produce an internal force that pounds the tool into the hard surfaces that were previously mentioned. Almost like a jack hammer, if you have ever seen one of those, they move themselves toward the material that they are drilling into or cutting through for increased speed and strength.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what these two tools have in common and why they are so frequently confused with one another, it is time to get into the comparison of each individual tool.

Let’s start with the rotary hammer, since it happens to be the topic of this article. Take a look at the list down below, where you will find some unique characteristics of the rotary hammer that is different from the hammer drill.

Rotary Hammer:

  • More powerful than hammer drills
  • “hammer only” setting where it does not rotate
  • SDS chuck (great for hammering)

Rotary hammers, first of all, are much more powerful than hammer drills in general. So, if you are needing to cut through concrete that has been there for 50 years and it’s just not budging, chances are you will probably need to take the rotary hammer over the hammer drill.

These types of tools are also very versatile and convenient, due to the individual settings that they possess for different circumstances that you might need them for.

To be more specific, there is a “hammer only” setting on rotary hammers that allows you to only use the hammering function. In other words, when you press the button, it will stop spinning around like it usually does, and you can focus on hammering one particular area.

Lastly, the rotary hammer comes with a built in SDS chuck, which is a power tool component that happens to be great for hammering. This point also goes back to the first one, highlighting the fact that the rotary hammer is much more powerful than the alternative option.

Speaking of the alternative option, we have one more list of characteristics to discuss: the hammer drill. To finish off this section, we will be going over a quick description of the hammer drill tool as it compares to the rotary hammer that was previously discussed.

Refer to the list down below, where you will find a quick and easy outline of the hammer drill’s characteristics, and keep reading to get all of the details.

Hammer Drill:

  • Two discs with ridges
  • Can be used as a regular drill (turning off hammer function)
  • More cost effective than the rotary hammer (also less function)

The hammer drill is constructed a little bit differently than the rotary hammer. The basic structure of one of these tools is made up of two large discs with ridges.

When you are picturing these discs, think of a small poker chip. When you turn a poker chip over or run your fingers along with outer edges, you will notice ridges along the surface.

This is very similar to the discs of a hammer drill. They look almost exactly like that, with the ridges to match.

The hammer drill, just like the rotary hammer, can switch to a different setting that will allow it to complete only one function instead of both. However, this is not a hammering function.

Instead, the hammer drill can be switched to another mode in order to be used as a regular drill. Since power drills can be purchased and used separately, this is not much of a special feature in comparison to the rotary hammer.

The rotary hammer offers the valuable feature of an automated hammer, which is not something that you will find in the average tool box.

Finally, the hammer drill is more cost effective than the rotary hammer, which is beneficial if you are just trying to get a simple job done without breaking the bank.

However, if you will be needing to use a tool for a larger project or you need to use it on a regular basis, you might want to go with the rotary hammer. Even though the hammer drill might look better as far as price goes, you will get a lot more features with the rotary hammer instead.

What Are The Best Rotary Hammers?

Now that you have gotten the full scoop on what rotary hammers are, how they are used, and some more information about how they compare to other tools that probably swayed you in the direction of buying one for yourself, you might now be in search of the best one for you.

If you are convinced about buying a rotary hammer, that is only the first step. You will need to make sure that you are thorough in your process of choosing and buying one, to ensure that you make the right choice.

Since rotary hammers can get pretty expensive, the last thing that you want to do is buy something that is going to break in the future or won’t last for very long without becoming worn down.

Additionally, you will not want to have to deal with frequent repairs, replacements, or anything of that nature. These are just a few of the reasons why you should take your time in choosing a quality rotary hammer for purchase, but you get the point.

In this section, we will be going over, as you might have guessed, the best rotary hammers that you can possibly buy on the market. To make it easier, I came up with an organized list of the best options, so that you don’t have to do much of the work.

Instead of conducting your own search, you can go off of the items in this list and research them further before making your final decision.

Here are some of the best rotary hammers that you can buy:

  • Dewalt Spline Rotary Hammer
  • Bosch SDS Max Rotary Hammer
  • Hitachi DH24PF3 VSR Rotary Hammer

When it comes to choosing the right rotary hammer for you, the correct decision will depend on your personal preferences and what you need the tool for. For the purpose of keeping the list short, I came up with the top 3 best rotary hammers that are available for purchase.

However, there are many more options that might suit you well. In fact, when you are looking for a rotary hammer, or any kind of power tool in general, you will need to stick with the brands that are reputable and trusted.

That way, you can rest assured that you will be purchasing a quality product that will hold up in the long run. When you are looking for the right brand for your new power tool, you can stick to a few of the most popular.

Best Brands For Power Tools:

  • Bosch
  • Dewalt
  • Milwaukee
  • Black + Decker
  • HItachi

While you don’t have to stick to the exact options that were mentioned in the first list at the beginning of this section, you should stay pretty close to these trusted brands. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with any of these. Plus, you might even be able to find a deal when you widen your search and check thoroughly for all of them.

As you can see, the rotary hammer is a very useful and versatile tool. Depending on the exact brand and model that you choose to purchase, you will likely be able to enjoy a wide array of advanced features to get the job done.

With the proper instructions of use, along with some safety precautions being followed throughout, you will be able to successfully use your new rotary hammer for almost any project that you need it for.

We have already established that rotary hammers can hold up against hard materials like wood, concrete, and even brick, so the durability of this heavy duty power tool is not a problem.

Now that you have all of the tools that you need to become a rotary hammer expert as well as purchase the right one, the possibilities are virtually endless.

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