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Blog: What Is An SDS Drill?

What is an SDS drill 10 Apr 2019

What is an SDS drill?

An SDS drill is a more powerful and more capable drill than a standard rotary drill or standard hammer drill. SDS drills can drill through concrete, brickwork, steel and other tough materials. They combine the rotary motion of a standard drill with a hammering action that is much more efficient and effective than the hammering action of a hammer drill. Whereas hammer drills have a chuck that moves backwards and forwards to apply the hammering action, SDS drills apply the hammering action through a hammer mechanism in the chuck and special SDS drill bits that can move backwards and forwards within the chuck. This applies the force much more precisely, for faster and more effective drilling through tough materials.

What does SDS stand for?

SDS stands for Slotted Drive System (sometimes referred to as Slotted Drive Shaft or Special Direct System depending on the brand). It refers to the way in which the SDS chucks and SDS drill bits work in order to produce the extra force and torque needed to drill through concrete, stone and other tough materials.

How do SDS drills work?

SDS drills have a special chuck with a hammer mechanism inside. SDS drill bits feature indentations along their shaft that fit between two ball bearings within the chuck - giving them the freedom to move backwards and forwards. The hammer mechanism acts like a piston, firing the SDS drill bits forwards and backwards within the chuck, delivering a precise and powerful hammering action as you drill. This method of delivering the hammer action is much more efficient than a standard hammer drill, which moves its whole chuck backwards and forwards. With an SDS drill, the power is much more concentrated, for faster and more effective drilling.

What are SDS drills used for?

SDS drills are typically used for drilling through materials such as concrete, brickwork, block, steel and other hard materials. They can be used on DIY jobs and for jobs on site when a standard rotary drill or hammer drill just doesn’t have the capability to get the job done. Most SDS drills have a choice of different modes. They can operate with the rotary and hammering action, or hammer only, or rotary only. Hammer only is generally used for demolition and breaking jobs, whilst rotary only is used for drilling through softer materials like wood that do not require the SDS action.

What is the difference between SDS Plus and SDS Max?

The most popular type of modern SDS drill is an SDS Plus drill (or SDS+). The terms SDS, SDS Plus and SDS+ are often used interchangeably, but they are often referencing the same type of drill. These are the modern standard SDS drills. There are also SDS Max drills, which have larger drill bits with more indentations on them. They are generally used more for heavier duty work on tough masonry and rock. They are also used for demolition purposes. Most standard SDS rotary hammer drills are SDS+ drills, and heavy duty combination hammers are generally SDS Max drills, that use SDS Max drill bits.

Can I use normal drill bits in an SDS drill?

Standard rotary drill bits cannot be used in SDS drills. However, SDS chuck adaptors can be used with many SDS drills, which allow them to take standard drill bits. Though an SDS drill with an adaptor and standard drill bits must only be used in rotary mode, with the hammer action switched off.

Can I use an SDS drill bit in a normal drill?

You should not use SDS drill bits in a standard drill. The chuck on a standard rotary or hammer drill is not designed for SDS drill bits, so the bits can come loose, damage the drill and affect the quality of your work.

What is a hammer drill?

Hammer drills combine the rotary action of a standard drill with a hammering action, however they deliver the hammering action differently to SDS drills. With hammer drills, the whole chuck moves backwards and forwards in a piston-like motion to deliver the hammering action. This is a less efficient method and provides less concentrated power than SDS drills are capable of delivering. This means that whilst hammer drills are effective for drilling through brickwork, masonry and other hard materials more effectively than standard rotary drills, SDS drills provide extra capability for drilling through tougher materials more effectively, quickly and efficiently.

What is a percussion drill?

Percussion drills are similar to hammer drills, as they also produce a hammering action as they rotate, in order to provide a faster and more effective way of drilling into tough materials such as masonry and steel. However, they do this differently to hammer drills. Percussion drills have an internal mechanism with two geared disks which turn against each other, causing the chuck and drill bit to move back and forth in a hammering action as the drill rotates.

What is the difference between hammer drills and percussion drills?

The difference between a percussion drill and a hammer drill is that percussion drills do not have a choice of functions, as the rotary action cannot be switched off so that the drill can be used in a hammer only mode. This is due to the fact that percussion drills produce their hammering action through the rotation of the chuck. Whereas the hammering action produced by the chuck of a hammer drill is initiated separately to the rotary action. Therefore the rotary function on a hammer drill can be switched off and the drill can be used in hammer only mode.

Where can I get an SDS drill?

We have a range of SDS drills available for hire nationwide. Our range includes light duty and heavy duty 110v SDS+ models, as well as 18v and 36v cordless SDS+ models that come with a 240v charger. We also have heavy duty SDS Max combination hammers available for more challenging work. You can book an SDS drill hire online or over the phone & collect the drill from your local store at the start of the hire, or we can deliver to you!

We also have an extensive range of other drills for hire. We have professional standard 110v drills, including rotary drills, percussion drills and angle drills. We also supply cordless drills, such as cordless combi drills and cordless drill / drivers, as well as a range of core drills.

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