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How to Drill Into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill?

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So you’ve chosen your next home project. It’s a big DIY, but you’ve done many jobs before, so you’re already prepared with all the necessary tools. However, this time you need to do something you have not done before– drill into concrete!

You have your regular drill, but you may believe that you need a particular hammer drill for drilling into concrete. Hammer drills can make the job faster and easier, but it is not absolutely essential.

There’s no need to rush out and purchase a hammer drill that you might only use once. They are quite a bit of an investment. It’s unnecessary when you have all the tools you need at home.

What Should You Use Instead of a Drill Hammer to Drill Concrete?

You can complete this project without a hammer drill! It is possible to use a regular drill to drill concrete. It will just take more time and patience and a greater variety of drill bits. Drilling into concrete is best done with masonry drill bits.

These have tips made of heavy-duty tungsten carbide, which have fewer chances of breaking and becoming damaged or dulled. They’ll stay sharper longer. The tips also have a much thicker diameter. Because a standard drill won’t have the power or hammering motion that a hammer drill will have, it’s crucial to have these masonry drill bits to puncture the concrete.

As you may be aware, concrete is a strong, heavy, but brittle material. It’s essential to be extra careful when nailing, screwing, or drilling into concrete to ensure that it doesn’t crack. To drill properly, follow the steps explained below. Continue reading to learn how to drill into concrete without using a hammer drill.

Related Read — How To Drill Into Bricks

Can You Drill Concrete Without a Hammer Drill?

Yes! It is indeed possible to drill concrete without a hammer drill, but it will take more care and a little bit more work.

A regular drill won’t have the special hardened drill bits a hammer drill has nor the persistent hammering action, so that the job may take longer, but it’s still possible. You can follow the article above for more details on how to accomplish this yourself.

How to Drill Into Concrete (Without a Hammer Drill)

1. Indicate Where to Drill and Begin Drilling With the Smallest Drill Bit.

Use a pencil or chalk to mark the center of the hole on the concrete. Don’t just eyeball where you’ll be drilling. Then place a small-sized masonry drill bit into the drill chuck. You need to start with the smallest bit because it will have a sharper tip. The sharper the tip, the easier it will be to penetrate the concrete.

Keep the drill perpendicular to the concrete and gradually increase speed. This process will take time, be patient and stay consistent. Don’t put too much pressure on the drill. You don’t need to fight with the concrete. Just apply a steady strength.

2. Slowly Increase the Size of the Drill Bit by 1/8th of an inch.

As you drill your starter hole further into the concrete, you can now increase the bit size. Transition to a larger masonry drill bit slowly. You’ll want to increase the size of the drill bit by about 1/8th of an inch at a time.

After each change, you’ll drill into the hole again, making it slightly larger than before. This continues until you reach the desired diameter for the hole. Remember not to rush through the drill bit sizes. Changing to a bit too much larger can cause the concrete to crack. It’s a slow process, but it’s safe and effective.

Related Read — Do You Need a Drill or an Impact Driver?

Step 3. Break up any aggregates before continuing.

If at any time you find that the drill is bogging down, then back off on pressure a bit, and then try again. At some point, the drill bit may refuse to go any further. This might be due to an aggregate stopping the drill. In this case, pressure alone won’t be enough. You’ll need to stop drilling.

Ensure the hole is large enough to insert a nail, and carefully hammer the nail to break up the blockage. Again, be wary not to crack the concrete.

When the stoppage feels like it’s loosening up, remove the nail and hammer, and resume drilling as before– gently and slowly with consistent, steady pressure. Continue drilling until you reach the desired size and depth of the hole in the concrete.

Tips And Tricks To Keep In Mind When Drilling Concrete Without a Hammer Drill

Now that the steps are laid out above, let’s discuss a couple of tips from fellow experts to ensure the project goes as smoothly as possible.

Use Sharp Drill Bits

First of all, one of the most critical features to consider before drilling into concrete is the drill bit’s sharpness.

Using a dull bit will not only take longer, but it will also be impossible to penetrate the concrete. Masonry drill bits are made with high-quality material to retain their sharpness longer. You can be more confident that they won’t dull mid-project.

Perpendicular Placement and Steady Pressure

Next, when you begin drilling, be sure that your tool remains perpendicular to the surface. No funny angles are wanted here! Also, don’t use force to drill.

This might cause the concrete to crack or break. Just lightly apply pressure and let the drilling motion and sharp drill bit do the work.

Related Read — Drill Press or Mill?

Determine Depth

In addition, don’t drill more than you need to. The deeper you drill into concrete, the greater the chances of becoming weaker and becoming damaged.

One way to determine the necessary depth is to measure the bolt or anchor that will be inserted in the concrete. Mark that distance on the drill bit with duct tape or masking tape. As you drill, notice how close the tape is, and stop when you reach the desired depth.

Avoid Overworking or Overheating the Drill Motor

Last but not least, it’s already been mentioned several times, but don’t rush! Be patient. Rushing the drill by maxing out drill speed may cause the motor to burn out, and then there’ll be no drill at all.

To avoid an overworked motor, your best bet is to go slow and steady. Increase the speed gradually as needed. Notice if you hear the drill motor sputtering or if it is overheating.

Applying water to the drill bit will help it to cool down a bit. However, a motor that has been overworked cannot be fixed by adding water.

Related Read — How to Drill a Hole in Granite


In a pinch, yes, a regular drill is an excellent alternative to a hammer drill, but for the most efficient job, you’ll want to use a power tool that was designed for the task. Hammer drills are made for drilling into concrete, bricks, cement, etc.

They function so that the user does not have to worry about overheating or overworking the motor. The drill bits also do not need to be changed as they do when using a regular drill. It’s evident that the most dependable choice for drilling into concrete is a hammer drill. If you find that drilling concrete is a common task for your projects, then it is time to look into investing in this power tool.

For the time being, if it’s just a single or handful of occurrences, then there’s no need to rush out to the nearest hardware store and dish out for a tool you may rarely use. Get creative.

Use a regular drill as a convenient alternative. It takes a little bit more work but gets the job done just the same. Remain attentive and patient, and the project should be successful with the regular drill you have on hand.

Related Read — How To Drill Into Stucco?

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We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

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