For the average DIYer, it’s not every day that you have to drill through concrete. For that reason, you may be wondering whether or not your cordless drill is up to the task of drilling through concrete with causing damage.
Most cordless drills are capable of drilling through concrete. Cordless drills that have more torque, higher voltage, and a hammer function are a lot more efficient at drilling through concrete. It’s highly important to use a masonry drill bit in your cordless drill in order to successfully drill through concrete.
I will now explain in detail everything you need to know in order to successfully drill through concrete using your cordless drill.
What type of drill is needed for concrete?
While corded drills have long been the preferred choice for carrying out tough tasks, many cordless drills can now easily match them for power.
Despite there being many types of cordless drills available, there are four types that can be found online and in most good hardware shops.
- Drill (or driver): This type is usually used for inserting screws or drilling holes in metal, plastic, or wood.
- Hammer drill: This is similar to a standard drill, but it has an additional setting called a hammer setting that is selected when drilling into tough materials such as concrete or brick. The hammer setting creates a hammer action, almost as if the drill was getting hit by a hammer, which creates more vibration and allows the drill bit to move in and out of the hole, driving into the tough surface much faster.
- Rotary hammer drill: This is a much tougher and more superior hammer drill and is a professional-grade tool.
- Impact drivers: This type of drill is only used for loosening bolts and inserting screws.
The cordless drill that you most likely own is either a hammer drill or driver. When drilling into concrete, a hammer drill is the better option as its hammer action will make the job a lot easier.
Four features of a cordless drill that are needed to drill concrete
It’s important to consider the features of the cordless drill you plan to use to drill into the concrete, be it one that you already own or one that you are considering buying or renting. You should never overlook any of these factors as it could easily lead to you damaging your drill.
The top four things that you should consider when choosing a drill for the job are:
- Battery power
- Type of drill bit
- Torque settings
- Hammer action
Although a corded hammer drill would definitely be the preferred choice for drilling into concrete, a cordless drill with the four features above is more than capable of getting the job done.
1. Battery power
Regardless of the job you are doing, it’s always important to have a drill with a powerful battery as it can make a big difference. Tougher drilling jobs, such as concrete, can quickly drain the battery, requiring you to have to wait around until it’s charged up again to resume drilling.
Therefore, you need quite a large battery on your cordless drill for drilling into concrete, and one that is 18-20 volts is recommended. However, your drill is probably more likely to be 12-14 volts. Although your drill is still suitable for the job, the battery will drain quicker than one that has a higher voltage.
Many drills come with two batteries as standard when you purchase them. If yours only has one, then it would be a good idea to purchase an additional battery so that if one runs out, you can switch to the fresh battery and continue drilling.
It is also possible to buy fast-charging batteries. These work as the name suggests and charge much quicker than other batteries, while still being just as powerful.
2. Type of drill bit
Having the correct drill bit for the job can make a big difference to your project. It’s important to make sure that you are using a masonry drill bit when drilling into a hard material such as brick or concrete.
It’s easy to distinguish a masonry drill bit from other types as their tips are different. Masonry drill bits have a wide, flat tip that is wider than the shaft of the drill bit. There are plenty of different sizes available, with the most frequently used sizes being 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm.
It’s always a good idea to use drill bits that are of high quality, so I recommend this drill bit set for drilling into concrete, which is available to buy on Amazon.
Masonry drill bits that have tungsten carbide tips are much stronger and usually last much longer, although they are a little more expensive.
They’re well worth the investment though. You’ll make the job of drilling into concrete a whole lot easier with this 8-piece set of tungsten carbide tipped masonry bits available on Amazon.
If you are ever unsure which drill bit to buy, then it’s always better to ask someone at your local hardware store than risk buying the wrong thing.
3. Torque settings
It’s quite common to misunderstand exactly what torque setting is, with most people assuming that a higher torque setting makes the drill spin faster. In actual fact, the torque represents the power of the drill, rather than how fast it spins.
It’s always a good idea to check your drill’s manual to find where the torque settings are located. For most drills, it will be a ring with numbers on it that is located on the chuck.
You should always use a higher torque setting on your drill when you are drilling into concrete as it will mean that your drill has much more power for drilling into the tough material. However, not every drill has torque settings, and if yours doesn’t, then you can assume that it is already set to a high torque setting.
4. Hammer action
There are some cordless drills that have a hammer setting as well as a standard drill setting. Drills that offer both of these features are often referred to as combi drills.
The hammer setting causes the drill bit to move forward and backward in the hole as if it were being pounded by a hammer. This makes it much easier and faster to drill into particularly tough materials like concrete.
Although a drill with a hammer setting would make drilling into concrete much easier, it is possible to do the job without the hammer setting. The downside is that it will take a lot longer to drill the hole, and you will probably use several drill bits in the process.
For this reason, if you’re looking to buy a new drill, the better choice is to buy a combi drill as it has several uses, making it a great drill to have on hand for most projects you would wish to do.