Working with Concrete, Masonry or Other Tough Materials? It’s Hammer Time!

You’ve decided to tackle a construction or renovation project on your own that involves drilling or breaking down concrete, masonry or other tough materials. If that’s the case, you’re going to need either a rotary hammer, demolition/breaker hammer or combination hammer.

For those new to working with concrete, a rotary hammer is a power tool that combines rotation with a hammering action to penetrate concrete. A demolition/breaker hammer chips or breaks up concrete—they can also be oriented for either vertical or horizontal positioning. A combination hammer can drill into or break up concrete. Note that the versatile Bauer rotary hammers listed below function as combination hammers.

When choosing a rotary hammer, knowing the size holes you’ll be drilling and the scope of your project will help you determine which tool will provide optimal performance. Bigger isn’t necessarily better though you may want to consider investing in the next size up to give you the flexibility of drilling larger holes if needed and not pushing the tool to extremes which could eventually lead to failure.

The same goes for demolition/breaker hammers. The 15 Amp 35 lb. Pro Demolition Hammer may be well suited for breaking up footings but for breaking up an entire driveway, the 15 Amp 70 Lb. Pro Breaker Hammer could be a better choice.


There are a variety of bits that can be utilized depending on the task, material and relative volume. Switching between bits is also quick and easy. The majority of rotary hammers employ one of three bit-holding systems: SDS-Plus®, SDS-Max® and Spline. SDS-Plus is generally used for smaller bits (3/16” to ¾”). SDS-Max is used for larger bits (½” to 1-3/4”) and is superior in design to Spline (3/8” to 1-3/8”) which is gradually being phased out.

While working with concrete and other hard materials isn’t complicated, improper technique and application can lead to bits breaking and that money you saved doing the project yourself may be spent replacing bits! Causes for bit failure include: working at an improper angle, blank-firing (hammer piston strikes the top of the bit without the tip having proper contact with the work piece or material), not warming the bit up with light or moderate breaking first in cold temperatures, mechanical damage like scratches or gouges, poor lubrication and corrosion.

Additionally, using the wrong bit for the wrong job is a surefire way to damage a bit, not to mention create a potentially dangerous situation—always use the appropriate bit for the task at hand! Seek out experienced users or do research on the Internet—there are a ton of videos, blogs and other resources to guide you. And be sure to follow all guidelines for maintenance and storage.

Bauer offers a professional line of rotary and demolition/breaker hammers. Here are some of their most popular offerings (drill bits are sold separately though two chisels each are included with the breaker/demolition hammers below):

1 in. SDS Variable Speed Pro Rotary Hammer Kit

This variable speed rotary hammer is ideal for boring into concrete, masonry or even drilling into wood with ease thanks to the 0–1150 RPM rotation-only mode. The tool features an ergonomic D-handle for a comfortable grip, adjustable 360-degree side handle for maximum control and a 3-in-1 switch for drill, hammer drill and hammer-only modes. The impact rating ranges from 0–5100 BPM with 1.9 ft. lbs. of impact energy for pounding through concrete and masonry.


1-1/8 in. SDS Variable Speed Pro Rotary Hammer Kit

This rotary hammer features Bauer’s anti-vibration technology that delivers more power to the bit and less to the handle for fast, precise drilling with less user fatigue. Other features include a powerful 10 amp motor, high power-to-weight ratio, adjustable 360-degree side handle for maximum comfort and control, and variable speed control dial to accommodate multiple applications. Switch out bits with the quick-change chuck to hammer, hammer with rotation or drill. The tool has an impact rate of 3900 BPM with 3.7 ft. lbs. of impact energy for pounding through tough materials.


10.5 Amp 1-9/16 in. SDS Max-Type Pro Variable Speed Rotary Hammer Kit

With its 10.5 amp motor and delivering 3780 BPM with 6.6 ft. lbs of impact, this variable speed rotary hammer features the most powerful motor in its class to power through almost any material. In addition to the shock-absorbent anti-vibration technology and adjustable 360-degree handle, this tool also features a built-in safety clutch for protection in case of bit bind-up.


12.5 Amp SDS Max Type Pro Demolition Hammer Kit

With a hardy 12.5 amp motor, this pro demolition hammer powers through concrete and mortar quickly and easily. This tool also features the Bauer anti-vibration technology along with ball-bearing construction for longer life, quick change bit retention, ergonomic handle to reduce fatigue, 360-degree side handle providing comfort and control, and an impact rating of 1900 BPM with 18 ft. lbs. of impact energy. Requires a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit.


15 Amp 35 lb. Pro Demolition Hammer Kit

For heavy-duty projects, you’ll want this pro demolition hammer delivering 1300 BPM with over 34 ft. lbs. of impact energy. The 15 amp motor is housed in a rugged cast aluminum housing providing durability with less relative weight. This demolition hammer also features the industry-leading anti-vibration control, adjustable 360-degree handle which enables vertical or horizontal usage, and auto-stop carbon brushes and ball-bearing construction for a longer tool life. Requires a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit. Two chisels are included.


15 Amp 70 Lb. Pro Breaker Hammer

Ashpalt, concrete and other tough materials won’t stand a chance against this 70-lb. pro breaker hammer. The 15 amp motor delivers 950 BPM with 55 ft. lbs. of impact energy. The tool also features Bauer’s anti-vibration technology plus a rubber grip to reduce fatigue and strain. Accepts both collared and collarless chisels and the heavy-duty chisel retainer accepts 1-1/8 in. hex steel. The cast-aluminum housing enhances its excellent power-to-weight ratio. Requires a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit. Two chisels are included.


Warrior brand bits are sold separately, including these sets:


12 in. SDS Max Type Masonry Chisel Bit Set 3 Pc


SDS Masonry Flat Chisel Set 3 Pc


8 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 6 Pc


12 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 5 Pc


16 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 5 Pc


The materials may be hard—but drilling and breaking them up is easy with Bauer rotary hammers and demolition/breaker hammers. Bauer brand tools are available at your local Harbor Freight Tools store!





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