This article originally appeared on the TOOLS OF THE TRADE website.

OSHA has updated the rules on acceptable exposure to silica dust. Tool manufacturers have developed several methods to help employers comply with the new rules. This is a big deal in construction because when silica gets into the lungs, it doesn’t come out and long term can cause major problems to the lungs and kidneys. Silica can be found in asphalt, brick, cement, concrete, drywall, grout, mortar, stone sand and tile, all of which are common materials on the jobsite.
The most common task I have as a framer that can generate silica dust is drilling concrete, so one of the most-used tools for us are rotary hammers; believe it or not, they can produce a fair amount of silica dust. Almost all of the manufacturers now offer onboard dust extraction attachments for cordless versions of these tools. Because there are so many options out there now, I asked Tools to reach out and send me cordless brushless models that are rated up to 1” cutting diameter and work with onboard dust extraction so that we could do a head-to-head. Rarely do I need to cut concrete, but when I do I wear a mask and use our Hilti cut-off saw which has an integrated water delivery system. When it comes to drilling, mostly I need to drill ¼” holes for split-drive anchors to attach mudsill to concrete slab. I typically drill ½’ or 5/8” holes for Titen HD bolts, and rarely ¾” holes to epoxy threaded rod.

Common Features. Every one of the seven tools shipped with a dust attachment tool that attaches to the roto-hammer. Either it came as part of the kit, or as an optional accessory. This attachment is basically a small dust extractor equipped with a HEPA filter that includes a suction head mounted to a rail. The drill bit centers on the suction head and as you enter the concrete the suction head sits flat against the surface, collecting the dust generated during drilling. Each of these attachments has a removable filter that you can open and empty.
Each of the cordless drills has three modes, drilling only, hammering only, and combination. They all manage vibration, and hold SDS+ bits. The battery attached to the drill powers the dust extractor as well. All of the dust extractor attachments stay on for a couple of seconds after letting go of the trigger.

For the dust extractor to be effective, a 6” bit is the maximum length recommended. This is because if the bit extends past the suction head, then no dust is being collected until the suction sits on the surface.

All of the tools have a depth gauge included. The battery platform for all them is 18yV except for DeWalt 20V (18V nominal) and the Hilti which is 22V (21.6V nominal). The most outstanding feature of these drills is just how well they all do their job. The run times vary, but all of them made my old corded rotory hammer obsolete.
There isn’t much to say to differentiate each of these models. The size varies on the units, some come with a box to hold all the components, others a bag, and some include the dust extractor in the kit. All of them did a great job except the Metabo HPT, which shipped with a 3Ah battery (compared to 5Ah, 6Ah, or 7Ah batteries in other kits). As far as runtime is concerned, tool couldn’t possibly perform as well as the tools with 6 or 7 ah batteries.

Runtime and Specs. Each of these tools shipped with a different ah battery. So I drilled into an old eco block on a jobsite using a full battery until the battery died. I then divided the number of holes into the battery’s Ah to see how many Ah it took to drill each hole; the smaller the Ah per hole, the better. I drilled ½” holes 6” deep with the dust extractor attached. For each tool, I drilled without stopping; none of the tools overloaded, though they all got warm.

DeWalt DCH232P2 equipped with the DWH303DH extractor attachment drilled 14 holes on a 5ah battery, which works out to be .35ah per hole. This drill is compact, manages vibration well, and the clear HEPA filter made it easy to see how full the filter was. This tool maxes out at a 1” bit in concrete. The drill comes as part of a kit that fits in a plastic case. The tool, charger and 2 5.0ah batteries fit in the case. The dust extractor is separate and doesn’t fit in the case.

The DeWalt rotory hammer drill kit retails for $529. The dust extraction attachment is $169. Total for this setup is $700. The rotary hammer kit includes: (2) DCB205 5.0ah Batteries(1) DCB101 Charger360 Degree Side HandleDepth RodRetractable Utility Hook. The dust extraction attachment includes: the unit and a side handle.

Specs: No Load Speed: 0-1100 RPM
Impact Rate: 0-4600 BPM
Impact Energy: 2.1 Joules
Max Bit Capacity: 1” SDS-Plus

Bosch GBH118V-26K24GDE drilled 24.5 holes with a 6.3ah battery, which works out to be .25 ah per hole. The HEPA filter on the dust extractor has a small window to show how full it is. The maximum bit diameter this tool will use is 1” in concrete. The drill has kick back control to stop the bit when it binds, say if you hit rebar. The drill, two batteries and charger fit in the case, but not the extractor accessory.
This Bosch kit sells for: $599 The kit includes (1) GBH18V-26 18V EC Brushless 1 In. SDS-plus® Bulldog™ Rotary Hammer, (2) GBA18V63 CORE18V 18V 6.3 Ah batteries, (1) GDE18V-16 SDS-plus® Dust Extraction Attachment, (1) 18V Fast Charger, (1) Auxiliary Handle, (1) Depth Gauge, (1) Carrying Case - that doesn’t fit the extractor attachment.

Specs: No Load Speed: 0-890 RPM
Impact Rate: 0-4350 BPM
Impact Energy: 1.9 Ft.-Lbs.
Max Bit Capacity: 1” SDS-Plus

Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2712-22DE drilled 16 holes on a 5.0ah battery, or .31 ah per hole. This dust extractor is the largest of the bunch and so holds the most dust. Max hole size in concrete is 1”. The drill, 2 batteries, dust extractor and charger fit into a large plastic case. There is no way to see into the filter and tell how full it is. The rail on the dust extractor has a ruler which can help as a gauge, though the tool does ship with a separate depth gauge.
The sells for $599. It includes: (1) M18 FUEL™ 1" SDS Plus Rotary Hammer, (1) M18™ HAMMERVAC™ Dedicated Dust extractor (2712-DE) (1) M18™ & M12™ Multi-Voltage Charger (48-59-1812) (2) M18™ REDLITHIUM™ XC5.0 Extended Capacity Battery Pack (48-11-1850) (1) Side Handle (1) Carrying Case (1) HEPA Filter (1) Depth Rod

Specs: No Load Speed: 0-1400 RPM
Impact Rate: 0-4900 BPM
Impact Energy: 1.7 Ft.-Lbs.
Max Bit Capacity: 1” SDS-Plus

Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi Power Tools) DH18DBLP4 + 402976 drilled 5 holes on a 3.0ah battery, or 0.6 ah per hole. This doesn’t really tell much because it drilled so slowly. This is not the battery that should ship with a tool that is designed to drill concrete. The dust extractor has a translucent extractor box to tell how full it is. The dust extractor attachment is larger than the average of this group and the rail is on the shorter side. Max hole-cutting capacity in concrete is 1”.
I could only find tool only online, so $279 (includes side handle and depth gauge) + (2) 6Ah $279 + charger $59 + $115= $ 732 for a kit. There’s no carrying case or bag.

Specs: No Load Speed: 0-1050 RPM
Impact Rate: 0-3950 BPM
Impact Energy: 1.9 Ft.-Lbs.
Max Bit Capacity: 1” SDS-Plus

Makita XRH01ZVX drilled 16 holes on a 5ah battery or 0.31 ah per hole. This ships without batteries or charger, though it does include the dust extractor attachment; online there are deals that include a promotional offer including batteries. The HEPA filter case is clear and the maximum hole-cutting capacity is 1” in concrete. The drill and dust extractor come with a bag for storage. The drill has a built in clutch to disengage gears when the bit binds.
While Makita uses a “Sequential Impact Timing” to minimize overlapping bit impacts and claims it results in 50% faster drilling, we didn’t notice any difference.
The kit which comes with and fits in a canvas bag retails for $399. Add two 5Ah batteries ($159) and a charger ($90): All-in cost is $650.

Specs: No Load Speed: 0-950 RPM
Impact Rate: 0-4700 BPM
Impact Energy: 2.4 Joules
Max Bit Capacity: 1” SDS-Plus

Metabo KHA 18 LTX BL 24 drilled 18 holes on a 7.0ah battery or 0.38 ah per hole. The drill, two batteries, charger and dust extractor will fit in the plastic case. The dust extractor has a clear box for the filter. It comes with a “fast drill chuck exchange for working with SDS+ or straight shank drill bits”.
Kit with tool, vacuum, 2 5.2ah batteries, charger and case $599

Specs: No Load Speed: 0-1200 RPM
Impact Rate: 0-4500 BPM
Impact Energy: 2.2 Joules
Max Bit Capacity: 1” SDS-Plus

Hilti TE6-A22 + TE DRS 6 -AT1-BA drilled 31 holes on a 5.2ah battery or 0.17 ah per hole. This tool wore me out because it just kept going. The drill, two batteries, charger and dust extractor fit into the carrying bag. The filter cartridge for the Hilti is opaque so there is not telling how full it is. What I noticed drilling ¼” holes for split drive anchors is that the dust extraction stopped working after fewer holes than the other tools. This is because the cartridge is smaller, so I had to empty it more often.
Hilti kit: $849 Includes: rotary hammer drill, (2) 22v 5.2Ah batteries, dust extractor attachment, charger, ¼”x6” bit, 3/8”x6” bit, ½”x6” bit, 5 filter cartridges, and carrying bag.

Specs: No Load Speed: 0-1050 RPM
Impact Rate: 0-5100 BPM
Impact Energy: 1.8 Ft.-Lbs.
Max Bit Capacity: 1” SDS-Plus

Dust Extraction. I took the filter cartridge, knocked out all the dust and weighed it, then I drilled 10 ¼” holes bottoming out the same size bit and then weighed the cartridge with whatever dust it had in it.


After 10 holes

Weight of dust

















Metabo HPT












Metabo collected the most dust per hole while Milwaukee collected the least.
So what’s the best option? We had two basements to frame out with these tools, so we were drilling a lot of split drives. We were amazed at how much power they all have. I never once wished I had a corded model. I would say the best option is to buy the tool that you already have a lot of batteries for. With the exception of the Metabo HPT, they all performed great in practice. Metabo HPT was very slow due, I think, to the lower Blows Per Minute (BPM) compared to other drills, but it did very well on the extraction side, in part because of the tip.

When it comes to cordless tools my advice is to buy into a brand based on which tool you need and use the most. For me that is the Makita cordless inline saw so I would build around Makita. Our electrician loves his Milwaukee Fuel drills and has built his tools around those. Our plumber loves DeWalt for their FlexVolt 60v so he built around that.

All of these rotary hammers do a great job. If you need to build around these tools I would recommend the Hilti. It is more expensive, but it is a work horse. The only thing I didn’t care for was that it seemed I had to empty the filter more often. A very close second are the Bosch and Metabo. They just feel solid and are very fast. I love that both tools come with a case, though only Metabo and Milwaukee fit the dust extractor along with the tool, battery and charger. The rest of the tools are great tools. For me we have a lot of Makita batteries, so that’s what I’ll use most often.