Bosch, Makita

Makita 18V SubCompact Rotary Hammer used with Bosch 1/2 In. x 13 In. SDS-plus® Speed Clean™ Dust Extraction Bit- #THDProSpective #HomeDepot

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot


  I never had a hammer drill while I was growing up until one job we did where I forgot to set the anchor bolts on the top of the concrete walls before the concrete set up.  I was about 16 working with my Grandfather.  Next lumber yard run he came back with a Skil hammer drill. That job was where I learned how much I hate hammer drills.  It was a pretty large duplex so I got to drill a LOT of 1/2” holes for the wedge anchors. 

  Here is why I hate hammer drills:

  •  They are slow.  
  • They are extremely loud.  
  • They need a lot of force to make forward progress.  
  • They vibrate a lot.  
  • They burn up bits fast.  
  • They are tiresome when drilling walls.
  • They are exhausting overhead. 

  Some of them like that old Skil don’t hold up very well.  It didn’t even make it through the job before burning up.  We ended up exchanging it two times before my grandfather decided it was not worth having.  He went with a Makita after that and it was better in every way. It was still a hammer drill and I didn’t enjoy using it.   

  The day I got my first taste of  rotary hammers was a glorious day indeed. The first one I used was a Bosch rental unit. I was helping my uncle install 6”x6” angle iron in a grocery store to keep the forklifts from hitting the walls.  I couldn’t believe how effortless it was to use.  It made  that concrete feel like butter. 

  I knew I had to get one or two but there were so many choices.  I ended up going through about 20 different rotary hammers.  Today there are two main formats. SDS plus for smaller tools and bits up to about 1 1/4” and SDS Max for larger tools and bits. There is no single rotary hammer that is great at everything so you need to consider what your needs are.  What size hole will you be drilling and how many holes you need to drill in a day. 


  I was so surprised to see this tiny subcompact rotary hammer when the photos were first released.  It’s the size of a 12v with more power and runtime. It has all the benefits of any rotary hammer when compared to a hammer drill.  It drills faster with less effort especially horizontally and overhead.  Every second you are using it there is also less noise and less vibration to the hand.  Less time and less vibration during that shorter time is a win-win for everyone.

  Makita included rotation only and hammer with rotation.  I would like to have seen a chipping function as well.  I feel it would be very useful for tile removal and delicate chipping tasks.

  There is a very effective vibration control system.  The handle is spring-loaded so that the motor and hammer mechanisms can do their work without transferring all the energy back through your hand and wrist. There is also a nice soft over molded rubber grip.

  This is one of the very first rotary hammers I have ever seen that comes with the provision for a belt book. The belt hook was not included on my unit but I do have an extra from old Makita tools that bolted right on and I really like that functionality. 

  I would recommend using this for holes  up to 1/2″.  You can do larger holes but it’s going to take more time and cause more wear and tear on the hammer mechanism. If you need to do larger holes there are many rotary hammers on the market that will do just fine for those applications. 

Where I think this unit shines is in drilling holes for tap cons and similar concrete anchors in the 3/16 to 3/8″ range.  It is perfect for fastening plate down and for mounting different types of pipe supports  and HVAC brackets.  I also feel that it is a perfect tool for setting electrical boxes on concrete walls.  It is so handy to be able to hang this on your tool belt  and have it right there when you need it.  When I am  on a lift or a scaffold I really enjoy when I have everything within reach. 

  Now if you follow us on Instagram you will probably notice that we use almost every brand of tools and accessories that are available. One mash-up that I have enjoyed is this little rotary hammer paired with the Speedclean hollow dust extraction SDS plus bits from Bosch power tools. 

  We have used these bits for some time now.  They are some of my favorite rotary hammer bits that I have ever used.  They drill very quickly because the dust extractor pulls the dust through the bit and out to the extractor instead of the dust staying in the bottom of the hole where it interferes with the carbide cutters.  Since the hole is cleaner the bit also runs cooler contributing to longer lifespan.

  These bits are also approved for use with Simpson Strong tie chemical anchors without the normal blow brush blow cleaning process after you are done drilling the hole. It is surprising how effective this little combination is at speed and cleanliness.  To be able to breathe clean air while working is priceless. 

  Regardless of hole size or number of holes this will hands-down smoke any regular hammer drill for speed and ease of use. The effortless way it works is quite remarkable considering the weight and size. I actually have hammer drills but I’m going to tell you honestly I don’t use them unless it is my absolute last option. 

I feel this is somewhat of a niche tool.  It is very useful for many applications but is not necessarily going to be a universal fit for every trade and every task.  Size and power are always a consideration when selecting a power tool.  Match the tool to the job and it will be smiles all around.  Over load and overwork a tool and you will find frustration.  I would probably not choose this as my only rotary hammer but I would pair it  with a large SDS plus or SDS Max for the widest range possible.


I acknowledge that The Home Depot is
partnering with me to participate in
the ProSpective 2018 Campaign. As a part of
the Program, I am receiving compensation in
the form of products and services, for the
purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All
expressed opinions and experiences are my
own words. My post complies with the Word Of
Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics
Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission


  1. Jonathan Cole

    I work for a plumbing and heating mechanical contractor doing service, retrofit and commissioning around Victoria BC. I hesitat to buy the compact power tools as as they can be under powered and not preform. It sure would be nice to have a hammer drill that is chordless as I’m always just a few feet short on the extension chord and looking for outlets.

  2. Michael Lopez

    Restoration services from CA all day. @philflap

  3. David P

    Left my thoughts already but adding a little about me. Glazier from California’s central coast. Love Makita!


  4. Hamish Presbury

    Great review, this is exactly the kind of tool that would be great on our housing work down here in New Zealand, pre drilling for fixings into concrete walls, having to lug a lead around can be such a drag.

  5. Daniel

    This seems like such a perfect unit to bring along for smaller jobs to keep things quick and light. Great review toolpig. Would be awesome using this Makita on in an out oddjobs here in Montreal.

  6. Justin

    Seems that everything makita makes is something I need (want according to my wife).
    IG redtex206

  7. Chris Raub

    General contractor from New Jersey

  8. Matthew kohuch

    Good review you said no bigger then 1/2 inch but I used one for about 3 months punching 3/4” holes for slab and grade beam dowels so it’s a solid machine

  9. Nice review, I can definitely see how this would help me drilling for red head anchors in concrete.

  10. Really like how compact it is I can see several above the head situations for it and I too would’ve like to see a chisel mode too that would be very handy in the future with remodeling house and other structures. Perfect tool for the jack of all trades and master of none

  11. Daniel van weezep

    This thing is awesome would love to get my hands on one. I do small renos and new builds mostly framing. This would come in handy for doing tapcons for our landings or setting new anchors. seem to be doing that alot with how the concrete guys out here in London ON lol

  12. Brandon

    Excellent review. If I ever have an questions on tools, your website is the first place I go. Having one of these bad boys in my Makita like up would be sweet. I’m a framing carpenter from Minnesota. We use hammer drills for a number of jobs. Adding anchor bolts in the foundation, post brackets for building decks and porch colomns. Even ledgers for stair landings in foundation walls. Hanging a 2×10 for a landing could turn into a one person job with how easy this looks to operate one handed. And like you mentioned. Hammer drills are loud and they are worse when your drilling into green plate between studs on a sheathed wall.

  13. Caleb D

    This is a beautiful little tool. I was able to pick up the subcompact set with the small recommended saw, and I’m amazed at the power all three of those tools have. In my humble opinion , for light carpentry tasks, (hardware, cabinet install, screen doors, delicate finish work) , they can’t be beat. Im anxious to try out the rotary hammer as well. Just can’t justify the cost yet. I have a cordless Makita rotary I bought used from Warwick with the vac attachment, it’s a monster. But for tapcons, mushroom anchors, and those funky concrete “wedge” type anchors that I’ve used for sheathing plywood substrate over concrete with vapor barrier in between, I feel like this tool will shine. Thanks for your reviews. Great work!

  14. Josh B

    That looks like it would be perfect for a little diy work around my house. Drilling into brick to hang some shutters.

  15. Ronald

    Looks sweet I would love to see how it compares to the new Ridgid sds drill.

  16. Daniel

    Great review 👍 would love to have this for smaller jobs. Keep up the great work.
    Im a contractor in Burlington Ontario 🇨🇦
    IG @power7renovations

  17. Luke Small

    Absolutely love the sub compact sets, bought the impact and power drill combo and have never used a better drill (personal opinion). I’ve been looking at this drill for some time and have been putting it off as I feared it might be too underpowered but lugging around the bosses Milwaukee beast for holes just as big, seems more worthwhile to get something smaller to make things easier and less stressful (and also to add to my personal collection!) With more work coming up, I can tell I’d be needing one at some point, might have a look at the vacuum attachments as well

  18. Andrew Mchugh-Rego

    Looks like an unreal tool, would be perfect for drilling holes for mounting strut.

  19. Frank Criniti

    Great review very helpful of the positive and negative

  20. Ruben Rosas

    Hi I’m Ruben from shafter,ca I build wrought iron gates and this rotary hammer is solid when it comes to setting my anochor bolts on cement or for breaking concrete when I set my anchor post to hang my gates. Compact and easy to use with no hassle of pulling out extension cord quick and easy!

  21. Brian Nowakowski

    Very concise but through review of the SubCompact rotohammer. I agree that having a chipping only function would ideal for delicate work. But alas it looks like a dream for tapcon installations though.

  22. Matt

    awesome tool, great power for it’s size! would love one!!

  23. Nate Knyfd

    Looks like a totally rad tool!

  24. Erik Vandenbreemen

    Liking the size. I am a steel stud framer that currently relies on a Hilti cordless hammer drill to set door frames. This drill seems a lot less bulky and would look great with my Makita line up! Awesome review!

  25. Anthony

    Awesome Review. As an maintenance worker for my local city I use different tools daily. I run a makita set that I have fallen in love with that I purchased my own personal set for my house. I pretty much go cordless with all my tools except for my rotary hammer. I run an old bosch rotary hammer drill right now that was given to me for cheap money. It serves it purpose but it sucks always haven to pull out an extension cord when using it. Anyways love the reviews and the generosity for not only the giveaways but putting in the time to review these tools for guys like me.

  26. Matt McKeeby

    Awesome looking too and a great review too,. I have the subcompact recip Saw and impact driver and definitely want that sub compact roto hammer! 💯👍🏻

  27. Colin Kane

    Good read. I’m an Electricians apprentice from Broomall, Pa right outside of Philadelphia. I am always dragging around a 100 ft extension cord and old corded hilti drill that is hanging on by a thread. I’m already on the makita platform and still balling on a budget this would be a huge add to my small but growing arsenal.. Thanks!

  28. Mike Soucy

    Awesome! From New Hampshire, Iron worker.

  29. Roman

    My coworker has one, we do glazing in SoCal, it has power for its size. I have a Milwaukee m18 and the weight and size comparison is huge. I wouldn’t mind having one for small holes or lighter work

  30. Pierre Ortanez

    I am an electrical Apprentice living in Yucaipa, California. Nice review. Yes this a niche tool. The Makita Subcompact rotary hammer is really useful for electrician especially if you are and running conduit along a brick or block wall. Drilling 1/4 inch hole all day to put up straps on the conduit. The Makita sub compact rotary hammer is compact and light that it would be going to be really useful for me as and electrical Apprentice.

  31. John

    The Makita looks nice, would be great to have when I am drilling above my head into concrete headers, setting doors. I use a Milwaukee right now, it has good power but I have issues with it.

  32. Ryan

    Love this thing and really need one, I’m and electrician and this would be the answer to so many problems throughout my work day!

  33. Nielsen

    The compact SDS gun looks great. I have used the larger one a lot. I liked it.

  34. Nick Tanner

    These looks like a beast of a tool! I work commercial carpentry so this would be a great tool for drilling holes for tapcons!

  35. Elias

    Would of loved to have a tool this light setting overhead anchors for conduit last month.
    Bar owner/General contractor

  36. As much as I love my Makita hammer/drill/driver combo, it’s really meant for a very limited amount of drilling holes into concrete. I think this rotary hammer drill will do the job so much better. Will save my elbows for sure. And it’s black, so it’s going to awesome!


  37. Robert martinez

    My name is Robert from Pomona ca. I’m a mechanical plumber and have used many hammer drills and this one seems to be a great tool. Your review was very informative and really explained a lot. Thank you

  38. Mike M

    Looks like a great little drill. Gotta get my hands on one!

  39. Jay tyau

    From Utah, been eyeing this sub compact as we are just about to start a new residential build and was debating between sub compact drills…think you just sold me on this one!

  40. Cody

    I really appreciate this review because I actually remember looking at this hammer at Home Depot cause I wanted it to match my other Makita subcompact tools but like you said in your review it requires tons of force and effort to make any progress with these tools so I was a little worried and chose not to buy it. But that why I love seeing it in action and having your write up on the goods and bads makes us construction dudes know what we’re spending our money on. But seeing it in action I think it would make a nice addition 👍 Thanks ToolPig keep up the good work man!

  41. Zak Lotharius

    Nice review! Love Makita! Im going to need to add one of these to my Makita arsenal! I’m from Wisconsin and i’m a maintenance tech!

  42. Erin Hopke

    👋🏻 Nice review. Our hammer drill broke recently and we are in the market for a new one. Oops. I don’t have many tools of my own yet, much less a power tool! So to win one would be S-W-E-E-T! Fellow Missourian; what do I do? I try to do what my boss tells me. Learning the construction trade, and catching about 5%. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of these!

  43. Russ Mourey

    Always love the reviews and content you bring to social media. I’m a Makita user through and through. I’m newer to this trade (about a year and half in) and I’ve progressed quite well. Started picking up site trash, and now pouring foundations, framing houses, trim work, etc etc. I work for a full contracting company that specializes in custom homes. Since I stated a Homies line of credit I’ve purchased all Makita LXT products and they have served me very well. Love the look on an older guys face when I plug my battery chargers in and don’t have any cords to unravel.

    Would love to have this in my little arsenal.

    (Its a photography page, not work related..)

  44. Mike Rynk

    Looks like a great hammer drill. Thanks for a honest and unbiased review.

  45. Great review! My friends and I are apart of a DIY skatepark in Newport, Kentucky that has been an ongoing community project for the past 9 years. It consists of concrete obstacles created by all volunteer, amateur hobbyists and funded through community events and the blood, sweat, and tears of many good people. Prepping for a new obstacle requires us to cut and remove the existing slab at the seams, about 6 inches in. We would use this rotary to link rebar from the existing slab to the cage of the new obstacle. Right now we have a refurbished corded hammer drill that is on its way out with 3/8 bit completely stuck. Check out our Instagram page, @under471_diy, linked in the website box for more. Thank you so much for the knowledge!

  46. William Rech

    Concrete doweling made easy!!!!

  47. Eric maltais

    This looks like an awsome drill!

  48. Peter @railandstilewoodworks

    Really loving the new Makita cordless gear. I don’t currently have a cordless SDS but this one is definitely on my list!

  49. Jacob

    Awesome little hammer drill, quick and quite compared to the other ones I have used. Can’t wait to get my own and stop eyeballing my buddy’s all day. I would use it for the foundations I pour when sting load bearing beams in Long Beach California

  50. Awesome tool! This would be an integral missing tool for my metal shop and wood shop. I create my own boards, turn them into dimentional lumber, then use for furniture fine art purposes. This would be very handy indeed.

  51. Roman Zosim

    I like the idea of a compact hammer drill. I’m from PORTLAND Oregon and I install hardwood floors, we glue and screw down plywood to concrete quite often. Thank you for your detailed review. Thanx again.

  52. Roman Zosim

    I like the idea of a compact hammer drill. I’m from PORTLAND Oregon and I install hardwood floors, we glue and screw down plywood to concrete quite often. Thank you for your detailed review.

  53. Ahmed Alhamad

    Sweet and nice . It is small so itbmakes thing easier . I loved the review.

  54. Zach kincaid

    Great review! My friends and I are apart of a DIY skatepark in Newport, Kentucky that has been going for 9 years now. Check out our Instagram page (@under471_diy) for some photos. The skatepark is all volunteer, consisting of passionate, amateur hobbyists and funded through community events. We are constantly cutting the existing slab for our new obstacle seems and would use this rotary hammer drill to add rebar from the slab to the cage of our new obstacle. I’m sure we would find even more uses. Right now we have a refurbished corded hammer drill with a 3/8” completely stuck in it! Thank you for your knowledge!

  55. Jeremy

    Amazing review, I really enjoy makers products and never had an issue with them. I use corded hammer drills regularly for my formwork and it really annoys me with all the push I have to give it and having to run a cord everywhere. This drill would be a very good addition to my arsenal!

    Keep up with the reviews!

  56. Sam sheets DRC

    This thing looks awesome 😎. Love how compact

  57. Nice review! I bought myself the subcompact drill and impact during the holidays and love them and this rotary hammer drill really caught my eye when I saw it at Depot the other day! This would be a great addition to my tool collection, one tool id love to try!

  58. Great review! Definitely on the to buy list. Two things I’m curious about. How does it compare to the Makita 12v cxt rotary hammer? They seem identical except for the battery. I’m sure the 18v is faster and stronger but by how much? 2nd question is how do you get the big belt hook that Is featured in the product photos on Makita’s website? Thanks again for the great reviews!

  59. Jason Wooldridge

    Looks like its super handy! I definitely gotta try it out…

    Ig wooldridgehomes

  60. David

    Nice review of my dream tool! Before your Instagram post I was a little worried they would be underpowered, but I was impressed. And now I have to look into those Bosch vacuum bits as well. They seem to eliminate all the stuff I hate about drilling. I had it in my head that if they are hollow, they would break or wear out quicker while being more money. But makes sense they would eliminate wear on bit and hammer drill. Already a user/fan of the sub-compact line. If I dont win giveaway I’ll be purchasing from Toolnut! (Hopefully there’s a deal going on soon)
    Thanks for the review, you gave me confidence to pull the trigger sooner than later on this tool!

  61. Gabriel DeLapp

    Thanks for sharing many things I hadn’t considered before. This size of rotary hammer would definitely be useful. I never realized there was much of a difference between a hammer drill and a rotary hammer. I always assumed rotarys we’re larger, and didn’t think much about it. I have a large Bosch Sds max. Or hammer mode on my m18’s…. please laugh…lol. Anyway, This little Makita looks like a strong contender! Keep it up! @integritycarpentry

  62. Jason Wooldridge

    Looks awesome… i gotta check them out… 🤙

  63. Kevin Schneider

    Great review! I’ve been looking at getting this hammer , great to see it in action

  64. Keegan

    Thanks for the review, have been curious if the subcompact line is up to the task, as I haven’t laid hands on any of the tools yet. Sounds like this one is, just wish they would’ve included chipper mode on it too.

  65. Artem

    Great review, thank you! That fact that it lacks a hammer only function is a shame, but it seems that this a great performer regardless!

  66. Brian Barefield

    Great review toolpig!!! Hope all is well in Puerto Rico with the relief effort!! You do so much to give back bro!! God Bless…. as for the rotary drills and such, I’m a huge fan of both the Milwaukee and Makita Sub-Compact!!! I own and use the Milwaukee a lot , I’ve gotten my hands on the Makita Sub-Compact a couple times and love it SOOOO much I’m in the process of putting a lil $ back to purchase!!! Both GREAT TOOLS…. and as usual ANOTHER AMAZING tool review from the toolpig !!!

  67. Jim Ramsey

    Very cool little sds drill!

  68. Jim Ramsey

    I really like where the subcompact hammer drills are going. Such an awesome tool for crammed spaces.

  69. Benjamin Scriven

    Very nice subjective review. Most who promote a product constantly say it’s a “can do everything”. Thanks for keeping it real

  70. Jeff Hoepker, jeff_t_dadof3

    Very nice review as always. I agree with you, I hate hammer drills. When tapcons first came out we were building homes and I got to drill all the holes and anchor basement walls with a Milwaukee screamer if a drill. I truly hated that thing. I have since purchased a corded Hitachi sds rotary hammer. 😉👍 I love it! I really agree that this compact cordless unit is a niche tool but it would be perfect for the small anchor jobs.

  71. Caleb Minter

    Bro I love how you are always so detailed with your rewiews keep up the great work.

  72. Dana

    The Makita is nice and small. Would be perfect for my upcoming Reno… just saying.

  73. Nick Tanner

    Seems like a great unit! Wonder how it matches up with the Ridgid one?

  74. Kelly Payne

    Awesome review man!

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