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Steel Workshop Tool Review: DeWalt 1/2″ Pistol Grip Hammer Drill

If you’ve followed the steel workshop tool reviews in the past, you’ve gotten a chance to read about circular saws, inductive battery chargers, and even snow blowers. I like to try and pick tools I think you’ll actually use in your steel workshop, around your steel workshop, as well as on your steel workshop. Some power tools you might use everyday, and some just every so often. Some might make your heart skip a beat, while others might have you howling like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor from an old episode of Home Improvement. For me, the DeWalt ½” Pistol Grip Hammer Drill has me doing my best Tim Allen impression.

This rotary hammer, or “roto-drills” as they are referred to, have an extra hammering action that regular power drills lack. Think of using a regular drill, but having someone else smack the back end of the tool. It provides a short rapid hammer push to pulverize anything in its way, without the extra exertion on your part. Pretty nifty, huh?

This particular design is a corded-electric drill, and must be plugged in to operate. Its 10-Amp motor provides high drilling performance up to 1,200 rpm, which translates to quick drilling and driving. Keep in mind that 10 amps is a lot of power for a handheld drill. The manufacturer even claims the patented motor design generates 50% more power than other drills. One great feature of this tool is its overload protection, which extends the life of the tool and provides added durability. The gear housing itself is metal, while the handle and body are plastic. As versatile as it is powerful, it can be used on several types of construction material, like masonry, steel or wood. When working with a spade or an auger bit in wood, the tool offers a 1-½ inch capacity, and can handle a capacity of 2-9/16 inches when used with a self-feed unit. The drill uses a 12-inch twist bit when working with steel.

steel workshopLet’s get to the good part. How did it operate? Honestly, the drill fit very comfortably in my hands. This model is built with an ergonomic grip, and the two-finger trigger depresses easy. I really felt like I had pretty good command of this drill, but only because I could grab the grip with my other hand. That’s how I felt before I turned it on. This tool has so much torque, I’ll say it’s easy to handle, but you really have to work to hold on to it while you’re drilling. I even found myself bracing the handle against my body to steady it! The handheld grip itself is reversible and the drill also has a variable speed motor. I have several drills in my steel workshop, and I really enjoy using this heavy-duty tool for all my jobsite drilling and fastening needs. If you’re really looking for a household tool, this drill might be an overstatement. It seems like it was made to withstand its heavy-duty use and run in your steel workshop without heating up too quickly.

While powerful, I did notice that when I pressed the trigger, the drill would start with a jump, and then make its way to full speed. I read some other online reviews and found that others had some issues with the speed. Some people didn’t like that the drill only had one speed: FAST. I don’t think this is a big drawback, and is exactly what DeWalt advertises. However, you should know what you’re getting before you buy. If you have weak wrists or you’re not accustomed to this kind of power, this might not be the tool for you.

If you have a hammer drill in your steel workshop that slows down or stops when drilling tougher materials like aluminum, or drills that simply break, look into more power. Remember though, with great power, comes great responsibility. Practice good safety techniques at all times when using power tools.

If you’re a power tool enthusiast like I am, you’ll love the Armstrong Steel Contractor Central blog. Check back frequently for more steel workshop tool reviews, as well as advice and tips for general contractors!

Photo courtesy: DeWalt