Having a home DIY project that involves concrete isn’t usually at the top of our “to-do list.” While concrete is an excellent building material, its strength can be an adversary when it comes to alterations. With such a strong material, even something as simple as hanging artwork or putting a mailbox becomes a daunting task. Plus, we don’t always think that we have all the tools around the house to do the job.
In most cases, yes. While a cordless drill will not be as effective in drilling through concrete, it can get the job done. Your drill’s battery power and other drilling features will play a role in its ability to drill into the concrete effectively.
Some homeowners own a wide array of power tools, where others invest in tools used most often. One of those tools is likely a cordless drill. A standard cordless drill has numerous applications when it comes to our home small projects, and surprisingly, it can be used to drill into stone or masonry.
In this article, we will discuss the aspects of a cordless drill, most importantly needed when drilling through concrete, as well as the best way to get results. So, before you put your drill to work, read on to be sure the drill you own can get the job done.
What Kind of Drill Will Go Through Concrete?
As our technology advances, it becomes easier and easier to use our cordless tools for more things. This includes our cordless drills when drilling through things like concrete, stone, brick, and cement.
While a corded drill is generally preferred, most cordless drills are on par as far as power goes with corded varieties. Now, this will not be the case for all cordless drills, but there are many on the market today that will work just fine.
Keep in mind that there are different types of cordless drills on the market.
The four most commonly found in hardware stores include:
- Drill/Driver: Primarily used when drilling a hole or driving in a screw into materials such as wood, metal, and plastic.
- Hammer Drill: Similar features as the drill listed above, but they will also have a hammer setting that allows them to drill into harder materials like concrete and brick. The drill does this via a hammering motion that rocks the drill bit in and out of the hole, similar action to a jackhammer.
- Rotary Hammers: Professional-grade or a heavy-duty version of a hammer drill.
- Impact Drivers: This drill has a particular application as it is used only to drive screws or loosen bolts.
You will likely have either a driver or a hammer drill at home. If you have a hammer drill, this will be the preferred option when drilling into concrete. We will explain more about why the hammer motion is imperative to drilling concrete in the next section.
Cordless Drill Features Needed to Drill Through Concrete
Whether you already own a drill or are going to buy one for this project, there are some specific features you should consider before you begin. Some of them may seem apparent, while others can be easily overlooked, potentially damaging the drill while attempting to use it on concrete.
The main features that you should look for when choosing an appropriate drill for a concrete drilling project are:
- Battery Power
- Type of Drill Bit
- Drill Torque Settings
- Hammer Action
Having a cord or not is another consideration; however, since we are focusing on the types of cordless drills that will work to drill concrete, it is not featured in this section. A corded hammer drill will be a preferred option if accessible.
1. Battery Power
No matter if you are drilling into concrete or not, having a powerful battery can make a difference. Especially if you are doing heavy drilling. Aggressive drilling projects can drain a battery in a matter of minutes, leaving you to wait until the next charge to start again.
So if you are drilling into concrete, you will want a larger battery. Something along the lines of an 18-20 volt battery will do the trick. Still, most of us probably are more likely to own a 12-14 volt drill. A lower voltage battery will work; you will have to change the battery sooner.
Most drills will come with two batteries. If that is not the case, opt to buy an extra interchangeable battery, so when one runs out, you can continue working while it charges. There is also an option to purchase fast-charging batteries. These will generally last as long and be just as powerful as other batteries, and they have the added benefit of charging faster!
2. Drill Bit
Choosing the right drill bit will be a vital part of your success. You cannot use just any old bit you have laying around your tool bench for this project. It would help if you used a masonry drill bit when working with materials such as concrete and brick.
A masonry bit will be identifiable by the tip shape. The pointed end will have a broad, flat style tip. The end will have an almost blade-like portion built into it, which is what makes this bit so unique. If you have never used or seen a masonry drill bit before and you’re unsure when buying, ask! Most hardware store employees are more than willing to help you find the right tools for your project needs.
There will be many different sizes and material options to choose from when you buy a masonry bit. The most common sizes are 8, 10, and 12 mm. Stronger bits will be tipped with tungsten carbide for an extended lifespan and durability. These masonry bits tend to be more expensive, but they will last much longer.
3. Torque Settings
The torque of your drill is often a misunderstood aspect or setting. The most common misconception in regards to the torque of your drill is that the higher the torque setting, the faster the drill bit will spin. A correct analysis of torque is in respect to the drill’s power, not speed.
To find the torque settings on your drill, it is recommended that you consult your user manual. However, most drills with different torque options will have a ring with numbers on the chuck of the drill to turn to.
If your drill has different torque settings, you should use to use a high torque. This will give you more power when drilling through such hard materials like concrete. Not all drills will have a torque setting, and if that is the case, assume that your drill is set to high torque at all times.
4. Hammer Action
As mentioned earlier in this article, some cordless drills will be equipped with both a standard drilling action and a hammer action (sometimes called “combi” drills). This action will enable the masonry bit to not only twist and drill, but also move up and down in a hammering motion. This is especially effective when working with hard stone materials.
Now, it is possible to drill into concrete without the hammer action on your drill. However, it will take you much longer, and you will go through several drill bits along the way. Since it is a common combination, if you know you want an excellent all-around drill style, get a combi drill right away.
If you don’t want to drill a hole into concrete but you want to know if cast iron can be drilled go and check this article.
It doesn’t matter in what type of material you are drilling don’t forget to protect yourself.
Cheers, tools owners!