Enrgtech Guides

Docy Child

Everything You Need To Know About SDS Drills

Estimated reading: 16 minutes


In an extensive collection of innovative power tools, the SDS drill is a true workhorse. This versatile power tool has undoubtedly revolutionised drilling and chiselling in construction and DIY projects. The unmatched performance of these innovative hand tools makes them essential products for professionals and DIYers. These dynamic tools are of significant importance and necessitate their basic understanding. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about SDS drills–from their history, components, advantages, selection criteria, top brands, marketplaces, and popular types to applications and maintenance tips.  

Introduction to SDS Drills: Unveiling Their Significance 

SDS drills, short for “Slotted Drive System” or “Special Direct System”, are high-powered rotary hammer drills designed for heavy-duty drilling, hammering, and chiselling tasks. These hand-operated tools are designed with safety in mind and come with ergonomic handles for users’ comfort and secure grips. SDS drills are commonly used in construction, renovation, and various DIY projects due to their ability to effortlessly handle tough materials like concrete, masonry, and stone.  

Furthermore, highly reliable and advanced SDS drills are characterised by their impact mechanism–delivering powerful blows to the bit as it rotates, ensuring rapid penetration–accelerating drilling and reducing the risk of bit jamming or breakage. The importance of SDS drills lies in their ability to tackle challenging drilling tasks with speed, precision, and operator comfort, making them indispensable tools in various construction and industrial applications. 

A Brief History of SDS Drills 

The history of SDS drills dates back to the 1970s when Bosch, a renowned German tool manufacturer, introduced this innovative system. Before SDS drills, conventional hammer drills were commonly used for drilling into concrete and masonry. However, they often lack the power and efficiency needed for demanding tasks. 

Bosch’s SDS system revolutionised the industry with an integral unique chuck design that allowed for quick and secure tool changes without the need for additional tools. This design provided more efficient energy transfer from the drill to the bit, resulting in faster and more precise drilling. 

Over the years, other manufacturers adopted the SDS system with their own variations and improvements. Today, SDS drills have become standard in the construction and DIY sectors, with various types and models available to suit different applications. 

Core Components of SDS Drills: A Brief Overview of Their Functions  

The specific components and features of an SDS drill vary depending on the make and model. The following are the main components of an SDS drill with their functionality: 


The motor is the heart of the SDS drill, providing the power necessary to rotate the drill bit and perform drilling tasks. SDS drills can have different motor sizes and power ratings, depending on their intended applications. 


SDS drills feature a specialised chuck system designed for quick and secure bit changes. The chuck holds the drill bits in place and allows easy insertion and removal. Chucks come in multiple types, the SDS-Plus, SDS-Max, and SDS-Top being the most common.  

Handle and Grip 

SDS drills typically have a handle or grip near the front of the tool. The handle provides users with convenience, stability, and control during operation. Some models may have an auxiliary handle that can be adjusted for better ergonomics and control. 

Trigger and Speed Control 

The trigger is the control mechanism that functions to start and stop the drill. SDS drills often have variable speed settings for adjusting the drilling speed to suit the material you’re working with. Some models may also have a reverse function for tasks like removing screws or backing out of a hole. 

Depth Gauge 

Many SDS drills come with a depth gauge or depth stop. This tool helps you control the depth of your drill holes, ensuring precision in your drilling tasks. 


The gearbox is designed to transmit power from the motor to the chuck, adjusting the speed and torque as needed for the application. Some SDS drills may have multiple speed settings or a hammer drill mode for more versatility. 

Hammer Mechanism 

One of the critical features of SDS drills is their hammer mechanism, designed to perform both rotary drilling and hammer drilling. This mechanism produces rapid hammering action, making it easier to penetrate hard materials like concrete and masonry. 

Power Source 

SDS drills can be powered by electricity (corded) or batteries (cordless). Cordless models are portable and offer more flexibility but may have limited runtime compared to corded versions. 

Dust Extraction System (Optional) 

Some SDS drills may include a dust extraction system that helps control dust and debris during drilling, improving visibility and reducing the potential health hazards associated with dust exposure. 

Carrying Case 

Many SDS drill kits come with a carrying case or storage box to keep the drill and accessories organised and protected during transport and storage. 

How Do SDS Drills Work? Unlocking Their Operating Principle 

The operation of SDS drills is based on a combination of rotary and high-frequency hammering actions–different from standard drills. The integrated SDS-compatible accessories render for efficient and powerful drilling. By engaging the drill, the motor powers the rotation of the chuck, which in turn rotates the drill bit. Simultaneously, within a tool, a piston mechanism moves back and forth to deliver rapid hammer blows to the bit. This dual-action allows SDS drills to break through hard materials with relative ease, making them ideal for drilling into hard surfaces, including concrete and masonry. 

Understanding the Most Common SDS Drill Accessories 

SDS drill accessories are specialised tools and attachments designed for use with SDS rotary hammer drills. These additional yet crucial parts facilitate the drill’s versatility and functionality for different drilling tasks. The most common SDS drill accessories include: 

SDS Drill Bits:

SDS drill bits are specialised drill bits designed for use with SDS drills. They come in various sizes, types, and shank designs to accommodate different drilling tasks, allowing quick and secure tool-free bit changes. There are three common types of SDS drill bits: 

  • SDS-Plus Drill Bits – These drills come with a specific SDS-Plus shank that locks securely into the drill’s chuck. SDS plus drill bits find drilling applications in hard materials, including concrete and masonry.  
  • SDS-Max Drill Bits – These larger and more robust drill bits are designed for heavy-duty applications like drilling large holes in concrete or breaking through tough materials. 
  • SDS-Hex Drill Bits – Less common than SDS-Plus or SDS-Max, SDS-Hex bits are designed for hexagonal chucks common in lighter applications. 
  • Core Bits: Ideal for drilling large-diameter holes into concrete and masonry in plumbing and electrical installations. 


Chisels for SDS drills are used for chipping, chiselling, and breaking tasks in materials like concrete, brick, and stone. These chisels come in various shapes and sizes, each suited to a specific purpose, including: 

  • Flat Chisels – Used for chiselling and breaking tasks in concrete, stone, or masonry. They come in various widths and lengths. 
  • Pointed Chisels – These chisels have a pointed end and are ideal for more precise chiselling work, like removing tile or breaking through concrete. 
  • Tile Chisel – Designed for removing tiles and other thin materials. 
  • Scaling Chisel – Used for removing scale, rust, and coatings from surfaces. 
  • Bull Point Chisel – Has a pointed end for more precise chiselling and breaking tasks. 


Adapters for SDS drills are essential for attaching different accessories or bits to the drill’s SDS chuck. Common adapters include: 

  • SDS to Chuck Adapters – These adapters enable users to utilise standard drill bits with an SDS chuck, converting the SDS drill into a regular drill for non-hammering applications. 
  • SDS-Plus to Chuck Adapters – Convert the SDS-Plus chuck to accept standard drill bits and accessories with a regular chuck. 
  • SDS to Hex Adapters – These adapters can convert the SDS chuck into a hex shank, making it compatible with hexagonal drill bits and accessories. 
  • SDS-Max to Chuck Adapter – Convenient for professionals using SDS-Max tools but also requires using standard drill bits or other accessories with a chuck system. 

In addition to the above accessories, auxiliary handles, extension rods, carrying cases, dust masks, and grease and lubrication kits are vital accessories that make an SDS drill versatile and functional for multiple construction and renovation projects.  

Safety Clutches for SDS Drills: Enhancing Safety and Efficiency 

Safety clutches are essential features in SDS drills designed to enhance safety and protect the user, the tool, and the workpiece from mechanical damage. Choosing an SDS drill with a safety clutch is a wise investment; however, not all SDS drills have safety clutches, so it’s recommended to check the specifications or features of a particular model. Drills with integral safety clutches offer unparalleled benefits, such as: 

Overload Protection:

Safety clutches are primarily designed to prevent overload situations by disengaging the drill’s rotation, preventing the motor from continuing to turn. This can prevent the motor from burning out or the drill bit from breaking, reducing the risk of user injury. 

Reduced Kickback:

The clutch’s disengagement also contributes to a significant reduction in sudden kickback–a phenomenon occurring when a drill bit binds or gets stuck in the material being drilled, causing the drill to jerk or twist violently. A safety clutch can mitigate this by stopping the rotation and allowing the user to regain control. 

User Safety:

By preventing the drill from binding or becoming uncontrollable, safety clutches enhance the operator’s safety. They minimise injury due to sudden movements of the tool and provide better control during operation. 

Tool Longevity:

Safety clutches protect the drill’s internal components, such as the motor and gears, from excessive wear and damage, extending the tool’s longevity and reducing costly repairs or replacements. 

Workpiece Protection:

When drilling into delicate or brittle materials, safety clutches prevent excessive force that could crack or damage the workpiece. This is particularly important when working with delicate materials like ceramics, tiles, or glass. 

Most Popular Types of SDS Drills: Unveiling Their Varieties 

SDS drills come in several types and variations to meet users’ specific needs and preferences. Some of the most common SDS drill types include: 

Rotary Hammer SDS Drills 

Rotary hammer SDS drills are the most common and powerful type of SDS drills. They combine both rotary drilling and hammering actions, making them highly effective for drilling into hard materials like concrete, stone, and brick. These drills use a piston mechanism to deliver powerful hammer blows to the bit while it rotates, ensuring rapid drilling progress. 

SDS-Plus vs. SDS-Max 

SDS drills are categorised into SDS-Plus and SDS-Max based on the size and power of the tool. SDS-Plus drills are suitable for lighter to medium-duty tasks, while SDS-Max drills are designed for heavy-duty, industrial applications. The primary difference lies in the chuck size and the power of the hammer mechanism, with SDS-Max drills offering greater drilling capacity. 

SDS-Quick vs. SDS-Top  

SDS-Quick is a variation of SDS-Plus designed for quick and tool-free bit changes. It allows easy swapping of drill bits and accessories without requiring additional tools. SDS-Top is not as common as SDS-Plus and SDS-Max but is still used in some specialised applications, including chiselling and demolition work. 

SDS-Hex Drills 

SDS-Hex drills are a less common variation that uses a hexagonal chuck instead of the traditional round SDS chuck. These drills are often used in specialised applications and are known for their stability and durability. They are compatible with various chiselling attachments and bits. 

Corded vs. Cordless SDS Drills: Drill Varieties Based on Power Needs 

Corded and cordless SDS drills are two distinct categories of power tools that serve similar purposes but have notable differences in terms of power source, portability, and convenience. Let’s delve into a brief introduction of each: 

Corded SDS Drills 

As the name implies, corded SDS drills get power from electricity and are connected to power outlets using a power cord. These drills are typically known for their consistent and uninterrupted power supply, leading to higher drilling speeds and greater drilling capacity in heavy-duty tasks. Corded drills don’t rely on batteries–they operate continuously and are ideal for prolonged or demanding projects. However, the limitation of a cord restricts their mobility and versatility, as users must have access to a power outlet or extension cord. 

Cordless SDS Drills 

Unlike corded drills, cordless SDS drills are battery-powered (mostly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries), benefiting users with portability and freedom from cords. These drills are highly convenient for projects in locations with limited or non-accessible power supplies. Cordless SDS drills are easier to maneuver and are well-suited for drilling in tight spaces or at various angles. However, their battery life can be a limitation, especially when tackling larger or continuous tasks. Users should keep spare batteries on hand or take breaks to recharge the drill, which can extend project timelines. 

Potential Advantages of Using SDS Drills: Notable Reasons to Buy 

SDS drills offer several advantages over traditional hammer drills and other drilling methods, including:  

  • Efficiency:SDS drills are highly efficient, making quick work of tough materials. 
  • Precision:They provide precise control over drilling depth and location. 
  • Versatility:SDS drills can handle multiple tasks–from drilling to chiselling and more. 
  • Reduced User Fatigue: The design and technology behind SDS drills reduce vibrations and user fatigue during prolonged use. 
  • Quick Bit Changes: The SDS chuck allows rapid bit changes without requiring additional tools. 

Applications of SDS Drills: Use Cases and Success Stories 

SDS drills find numerous applications in multiple industries and projects. The fundamental applications of the SDS drills include: 

  • Drilling into Concrete and Masonry: SDS drills excel in drilling holes for anchors, fasteners, and electrical or plumbing installations in concrete and masonry surfaces. They can handle large diameters and deep holes with ease. 
  • Chiselling and Demolition Work: With the appropriate chiselling attachments, SDS drills can be used for tasks such as tile removal, concrete surface preparation, and small-scale demolition work. 
  • Drilling into Wood and Metal: Except for drilling into hard materials, SDS drills can also be used for drilling into wood and metal by using compatible bits. 

Choosing the Right SDS Drill: Considering Crucial Selection Parameters 

Selecting the right SDS drill is crucial to achieving optimal results for your needs. Consider the following factors when choosing an SDS drill: 

Power and Voltage

Choose a drill with sufficient power and voltage to meet your specific drilling and chiselling requirements. Higher voltage models are generally more robust and suitable for heavy-duty tasks. 

Chuck Size

Ensure the chuck size matches the diameter of the bits you intend to use. Standard sizes include SDS-Plus and SDS-Max, with larger chucks accommodating larger bits. 

Rotation Speed

Different models offer varying rotation speeds. Opt for a drill with adjustable speed settings to match the material and task at hand. 

Hammering Frequency

Consider the hammering frequency, often measured in beats per minute (BPM). A higher BPM indicates faster drilling and chiselling progress. 

Ergonomics and Handling

Choose a drill that feels comfortable in your hands and offers features like anti-vibration technology to reduce user fatigue during extended use. 

Top Models and Brands of SDS Drills 

Several reputable brands manufacture and provide advanced models of SDS drills known for their durability, performance, and reliability. The following trusted manufacturers represent the top and latest SDS Drill models, including: 

  • Hilti SDS Drills 

The Best Marketplaces for Buying SDS Drills 

There are several best marketplaces for buying SDS drills, depending on your location, preferences, and specific needs. However, among the most popular and reputable online suppliers and brands, the following platforms provide the best options: 


One of the largest trusted online marketplaces in the world, Amazon offers a vast selection of SDS drills from different manufacturers. Find the right drill for your needs by reading reviews and comparing prices. 


With an unrivalled reputation in an online marketplace, eBay provides an easy-to-use platform to users where they can find both new and used SDS drills. Ensure to check the seller’s ratings and reviews before making a purchase. 


Enrgtech is the UK’s major online e-commerce retailer that stocks SDS drills and other power tools from leading brands. Users can browse the Enrgtech website (www.enrgtech.co.uk) to make their purchase at the most affordable rates in the UK. 

Safety Tips for Using SDS Drills: Drilling with Confidence 

Safety should always be a top priority when using SDS drills. Follow these safety guidelines to minimise risks: 

  • Always wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), including safety goggles, hearing protection, and dust masks. 
  • Ensure the work area is well-ventilated to prevent dust buildup. 
  • Secure the workpiece firmly to prevent movement during drilling or chiselling. 
  • Always use the correct bit or chisel for the task at hand. 
  • Keep your hands away from the chuck and moving parts. 
  • Disconnect the power source when changing bits or performing maintenance. 

SDS Drills: Secret Maintenance and Care Tips 

Proper maintenance is pivotal to prolonging the life and performance of your SDS drill. Follow these maintenance tips: 

  • Regularly inspect the drill for signs of wear, damage, or loose parts. 
  • Clean the drill after each use to remove dust and debris. 
  • Lubricate moving parts according to the recommendations from the manufacturer. 
  • When not in use, store the drill away from extreme temperatures, i.e., in a dry and cool place. 

Bottom Lines 

SDS drills are indispensable power tools known for their consistent power, efficiency, and versatility in drilling and chiselling tasks in various materials. By understanding the different types, applications, and maintenance requirements, you can make informed choices and use SDS drills safely and effectively. A high-quality SDS drill serves as a cornerstone of a toolkit, whether for a professional tradesperson or a dedicated DIY enthusiast, to help you meet the most demanding projects with ease. 

Share this Doc