The Best SDS Drills For Heavy-Duty Drilling Tasks

Effortlessly tackle challenging drilling tasks with our handpicked selection of SDS and SDS Max drills.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: David White | Updated:
Best SDS Drill
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Compared to a cordless drill, SDS drills are far more powerful and best suited to heavy-duty applications. Whether you need to drill through concrete, brickwork, steel and other tough materials, you have plenty of SDS drill options to choose from at your disposal.

To assist you in selecting an SDS drill, our handpicked selection lists top-performing models, chosen based on our first-hand experience drilling through a range of tough materials and using several different SDS drills. Our testing and up-to-date research further ensure the quality of our recommendations.

Makita DHR242Z SDS Plus Drill
Best Overall: Makita DHR242Z SDS Plus Drill
DEWALT DCH133NT Cordless SDS Hammer Drill
Best Cordless: DEWALT DCH133NT Cordless SDS Hammer Drill
Best Corded: Bosch‎ GBH 2-26 Corded SDS Drill
Best For Performance: Milwaukee M18CHX-0 Cordless SDS Drill
Makita HM0871C SDS Max Demolition Hammer
Best SDS Max: Makita HM0871C SDS Max Demolition Hammer
Bosch GBH 5-40 Professional SDS Max Drill
Best SDS Max Runner-Up: Bosch GBH 5-40 Professional SDS Max Drill

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates The SDS Drills

As we own a number of properties (rentals and Airbnb’s), we find ourselves having to use SDS drills regularly for certain DIY tasks. For example, as shown in the main photo of this article, we used the hammer function on our Makita SDS drill to make space for us to install a new plug socket.

We’ve also owned other SDS drills in the past such as the DEWALT unit shown in the photo below. However, when compared to our Makita SDS drill, it lacked performance, which was the main reason why we upgraded.

Along with using a variety of standard SDS drills, we’ve also taken on demolition jobs that required an SDS max drill bit. As shown in the photo of the drill bits below, the SDS Max (left) is much larger than the standard drill bit (right).

It’s important to note that when you are using an SDS drill, the drill bit that it uses may differ. Both the standard SDS and SDS plus drill bits are interchangeable whereas the SDS max drill isn’t and it’ll need a dedicated SDS max drill. The SDS max drill bit is much larger and it’s best used for large demolition tasks or breaking through harder materials.

best sds hammer drill

David White/DIY Works
best sds drill bits

David White/DIY Works

During our ongoing testing of SDS drills, we analyse the tool’s performance, build quality, usability, additional functions, adjustability and the supplied accessories.

An example of recent testing of an SDS drill can be seen in the below video that we posted on our YouTube channel. In the video, we are using an SDS drill to break up concrete with ease.

It’s worth pointing out that you can use an SDS drill for much more than just hammering and breaking through tough materials. For example, in our guide on how to install a vented tumble dryer, we used an SDS drill to make an opening through a cavity wall, which was achieved using a high-quality core bit along with the SDS drill in a rotational mode.

To rate the SDS drills within our roundup, as well as our experience and testing of multiple SDS drills, we also carried out hours of research and considered several factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the blows per minute (BPM), no load speed (RPM), modes of operation, drilling capacity, build quality, ease of using the drill, weight, additional functionality, adjustability and comfort of the handle, speed control, warranty and value for money.

The Best SDS Drills

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best Overall: Makita DHR242Z SDS Plus Drill

(How We Review →)

By far the most popular and highly rated SDS drill available in the UK is the Makita DHR242Z. It’s a versatile drill that’s cordless and offers rotation and hammering, rotation only and hammering only modes of operation. In terms of its capacity, the brand state that it can drill into concrete up to 24mm, steel up to 13mm and wood up to 27mm.

In terms of the warranty of this SDS drill, the brand provides an additional 2 years if you register the drill within 30 days.

Pros
  • Delivers 4,700 blows per minute
  • Accepts SDS and SDS Plus drill bits
  • Variable trigger and constant speed control
  • Ergonomic and easy to grip adjustable handle
  • Electronic brake control
  • Backed by a 1 year manufacturers warranty
Cons
  • Lacks power when compared to some of the alternatives within this article

To conclude, the Makita DHR242Z is by far the best SDS drill for the money and it really does tick all the boxes. It provides excellent performance, adjustability and control as well as offering great value for the money too.

2. Best Cordless: DEWALT DCH133NT Cordless SDS Hammer Drill

(How We Review →)

DEWALT is another brand that produces a huge range of SDS drills to suit all budgets. However, by far their most popular SDS drill is their cordless option, which is ideal for drilling through concrete, brick and masonry.

It’s important to note that this cordless SDS drill only comes as a bare tool, which means you need to purchase a battery and charger separately if you don’t already own them.

Pros
  • Delivers up to 5,500 BPM
  • Drilling capacity varies from 4 to 22mm depending on the material
  • Intuitive rotation stop mode for light chiselling
  • Weighs just 2.3 KG without the battery
  • Supplied with a carry case
  • Backed by a three year warranty
Cons
  • Quite expensive unless you are buying it as a bare tool

Overall, the DEWALT DCH133NT is the best cordless SDS hammer drill for the money if you already own the battery and charger. However, even if you need to buy the complete package, it’s still a high-performing SDS drill that won’t disappoint. It’s also built by a reputable brand that provides a three-year warranty for complete peace of mind too.

3. Best Corded: Bosch‎ GBH 2-26 Corded SDS Drill

(How We Review →)

One of the cheapest SDS drills that’s manufactured by a reputable brand and is also very popular in the UK is the Bosch GBH 2-26. It’s a corded SDS drill that’s available as a 110V or 230V tool to best suit your requirements.

Although it’s an affordable option, it’s still able to perform just as well as the premium alternatives with an impact rate of 4,000 BPM and a no-load speed of up to 900 RPM.

Pros
  • Desirable chisel functionality
  • Variable speed control
  • Offers great value for the money
  • Soft ergonomic grip
  • Quick change chuck
  • Rotation clutch control
  • Supplied with a hard carry case
Cons
  • Limited manoeuvrability due to the fact that its a corded SDS drill

If you require a relatively affordable SDS hammer drill, you can’t go wrong with the GBH 2-26 model by Bosch. The popularity of this drill is a clear indication of its quality and it certainly won’t disappoint.

4. Best For Performance: Milwaukee M18CHX-0 Cordless SDS Drill

(How We Review →)

By far the most expensive cordless SDS drill within this article is the Milwaukee M18CHX-o and it’s the brand’s new and improved model. According to Milwaukee, the motor can last twice as long and it provides up to 25% more power when compared to previous generations of their drills. It’s also far more powerful and the brand themselves state that it’s the “second hardest hitting SDS hammer in its class”.

Pros
  • 4 mode operation
  • Keyless chuck changing
  • All metal gear case
  • BPM rated at 5,100
  • No load speed rated at 1,400 RPM
  • Weighs 3.3 KG
  • Integrated LED torch
  • Dedicated HEPA filter
Cons
  • By far the most expensive SDS Plus drill within our roundup

Although expensive, the Milwaukee M18CHX-o is the ultimate cordless SDS drill that’s ideal for anyone that uses these tools on a daily basis. It’s also packed full of unique features such as the LED torch and HEPA filter as an added bonus.

5. Best SDS Max: Makita HM0871C SDS Max Demolition Hammer

(How We Review →)

Another Makita SDS hammer drill is the HM0871C and unlike the other model mentioned above, this particular tool is adapted for SDS-Max drill bits. This makes it ideal for any large demolition jobs such as taking down a chimney stack to hammering through masonry or concrete. It’s important to note that with this SDS max drill, you are only able to use it for hammering only and it does this at a speed of 2,650 BPM.

Pros
  • Soft start functionality
  • Anti-vibration technology
  • Double insulated
  • LED power indicator
  • Variable and constant speed control
  • Supplied with a heavy duty carry case
  • 1 year manufactures warranty (plus another 2 years if registered)
Cons
  • Far more expensive than standard SDS drills

Although expensive, the Makita HM0871C is the best SDS max drill on the market and it’s well worth paying the extra for. The addition of the brand’s patented anti-vibration technology (AVT) also makes a huge difference whilst continuously drilling into hard surfaces. Therefore, if you require an SDS max drill, you can’t go wrong with this model.

6. Best SDS Max Runner-Up: Bosch GBH 5-40 Professional SDS Max Drill

(How We Review →)

Another SDS max drill that’s worth considering is the Bosch GBH 5-40 and it’s available as a 110V or 240V unit to best suit your requirements. Whether you are removing plaster or chiselling slots in masonry, the brand states that it’s a versatile and easy-to-use SDS drill that can be easily adjusted to suit each material and task.

In terms of the performance of this SDS drill, its power is rated at 1,150W with an impact rate of up to 3,050 BPM

Pros
  • Vibration control for comfortable continuous use
  • Ball grommet for improved movement
  • Ergonomic and adjustable grip
  • Automatic switch lock
Cons
  • One of the most expensive SDS Max drills on the market

Overall, the Bosch GBH 5-40 is a great option to consider if you require an SDS drill that uses the much larger SDS max drill bit. The only drawback is its premium price tag, which is more than the Makita SDS Max above. However, the improved performance and reputable brand backing make it a worthwhile investment that won’t disappoint.

Conclusion

As you can see from our usage of an SDS drill, it’s a very versatile tool and we can’t be without it for many of the DIY tasks that we carry out. All of our recommendations within this article are suitable for all jobs big or small as well as all budgets. However, if you need further information regarding SDS hammer drills, feel free to get in touch.

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