DeWalt 1/2 Hammer Drill DW511 (288773208926) Reviews
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DeWalt 1/2 Hammer Drill DW511 (288773208926)

2 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Good replacement for my Craftsman Hammer Drill

Jul 1, 2009 (Updated Jul 4, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Fast - real fast.  Nice Chuck Key, light and powerful.

Cons:No reverse switch, unmarked hammer drill selector, stop rod that may slip.

The Bottom Line: This drill will spin circles around the Craftsman.  But if you need reverse, you may be disappointed.  The chuck will really lets you tighten up those masonry drill bits.


The purpose: I needed to put a few concrete anchors in a basement wall to hold a storage cabinet.  So, I got out my ½" 6 Amp Craftsman Hammer Drill to do the job.  It was a few years old, but I only drilled two other holes with it, so it looked brand new.  I was drilling away, and not making very rapid progress.  I finished one hole and the drill sputtered twice, and never came back to life.  It was out of warranty, so I took it apart; found two wires shorted together, and a terminal melted right off inside. 

But, alas, this isn't a review about the Craftsman product.  I really wanted to finish the project that weekend, so I thought at first I would try to fix my original drill, but couldn't find the right part.  I did see someone who reviewed this DeWalt hammer drill on another site.  Made a comment about how much quicker it was than the Craftsman.  So, I purchase one from Lowes for $90.  I brought it home, and had three more holes drilled in less time than it took for the first one.  It really was fast.

For a little background: A hammer drill is primarily for masonry, concrete, bricks, cinder blocks and such. There is a selector that lets you use it as a regular drill much like you are used to. The hammer function generates a tap through the drill which helps the drill bit apparently crush and crumble hard brittle material as it also rotates. It's important to use carbide tipped drills that can take the extra stress of drilling these types of material. It sounds like a very fast buzzing when it's hammering.

I don't believe that you would want to use the hammer function when drilling wood or metal. My experience as a machinist tells me that would cause more problems than progress.

Details on this product: The DeWalt drill is smaller than the Craftsman, and I think a bit lighter.  It is rated at ~7.2 amps or so, so it should be about 20% more powerful.  The gearbox up front is plastic, as compared to the Craftsman, which is cast aluminum.  They both included a depth stop rod that slips into the handle.  The DeWalt rod is smooth compared to the Craftsman, which is serrated.  I believe that the Craftsman would be less likely to slip or loosen up. 

The speed control trigger is very easy to use.  I did find it odd that the selector for hammer drill vs regular drill was not clearly marked on the case, but it's obvious once you start drilling your hole. (Update: the two modes are marked down in a pocket, but in a poorly lit basement, I wasn't able to see the markings).  And one final thing, this drill did not include a reverse direction control.  That's a pretty common feature on most all drills now days, if only to assist in adjusting the chuck from small drill bit to large drill bit, or vice versa.  Oh, the chuck uses a chuck key, which has a nice long lever, so you can really tighten up those masonry drills. That's pretty important with a hammer drill.  The Craftman had a short chuck key, and I always had to re-snug it.  That wasn't a problem with the DeWalt.

The DeWalt drill feels sturdy enough, and seems well made other wise.  And it's already drilled as many holes as the Craftman product, and has remained trouble free.  I am happy with it so far. 

Ironically, the same day I bought the drill, another Epinioneer posted a less than glowing review, stating that it died an early death.  Having had this for only a few days, I can't really comment on the longevity of the product today.  But I do intend to use it more in the next few weeks or months.  I promise to post an update in the fall after I have used it for a while.

The final analysis: At this point, in spite of several short comings, I would have to recommend this drill just on its sheer ability to punch holes in concrete.  It really was 3 times or more as fast.  I was done before I knew it.  And there's something to be said for how much work goes into drilling holes in concrete, and how much you have to lean into it.


Recommend this product? Yes

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