Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Do you want to demolish, crush or chisel concrete surfaces such as foundations or ceilings? Then a demolition hammer will come in very handy. Although it works like a simple hammer in principle, it has much more impact force and can therefore also crush materials such as concrete or asphalt.

Our big demolition hammer test 2021 should help you find the best demolition hammer for you. We have compared two different types, the electric and the petrol-driven impact hammer, and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Demolition hammers are used to tear down, crush and chisel up materials. As a rule, they are used to demolish concrete walls, tiles, screeds or similar.
  • Basically, we distinguish between two types of demolition hammers: power-driven and petrol-driven impact hammers. Power-driven breakers are used much more frequently.
  • Before buying a demolition hammer, you should think about the type of work you will be doing. As a rule of thumb, light demolition hammers are suitable for horizontal work, while heavier breakers are particularly suitable for vertical work.

The Best Demolition Hammer: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a chisel hammer

Where is a demolition hammer most often used and what functions does a demolition hammer have?

A demolition hammer is mostly used to break off, rip open or chisel concrete surfaces such as foundations, ceilings or other building structures. For this reason, the name chisel hammer is also often used.

In addition to concrete, stone materials or asphalt surfaces can also be crushed to create a channel or gutter, for example.

Regarding the exact functioning of a demolition hammer, it can be simplified to say that it works exactly like a conventional hammer.

If a light material is struck with a hammer or, for example, a roofing hammer, it shatters. The demolition hammer works on exactly the same principle. The difference, however, is that it applies many times the impact force and performs the impact movements very often in succession. This means that even solid materials such as concrete or asphalt can be crushed.

The required energy is supplied by a petrol-driven motor or a power connection. Due to its relatively high dead weight, a caulking hammer is usually applied perpendicular to the material. Horizontal work can only be carried out briefly or not at all due to the weight.

The demolition hammer has a higher impact force than a normal hammer. That is why it is often used on construction sites. (Photo: kadmy / 123RF)

However, many manufacturers also offer lighter models with a slightly lower impact force that can also be used to work on walls.

How much does a demolition hammer cost?

The price of a demolition hammer depends very much on its performance, i.e. the corresponding joule number, also known as impact force. The number of joules required depends primarily on the work requirements.

In addition to the joule number, the dead weight of the caulking hammer also plays a decisive role. As a rule, the more joules and the lighter the equipment, the higher the price. (Photo: Tuân Nguyễn Minh / unsplash.com)

If, for example, bathroom tiles are to be torn open, a low joule is usually sufficient. If, on the other hand, a solid concrete wall is to be torn down, you will have to use a high joule number.

A device with a low joule rating is already available for 100 to 200 euros. In this price category, you can get demolition hammers with up to 30 joules. Occasionally, however, there are also demolition hammers in this category that are a little more powerful. If necessary, also look out for special offers.

More powerful chisel hammers are usually more expensive and can be found in a price category of 200 to 500 euros. Professional demolition hammers can also cost considerably more. There are also chisel hammers for around 2,000 euros.

Power / impact force price range
10 to 20 joules approx. 100 to 200 €
20 to 30 joules approx. 200 to 500 €
30 joules and more approx. 500 to 2,000 €

Where can I rent demolition hammers?

Besides buying a demolition hammer, you can also rent one. Chisel hammers can be rented in DIY stores or directly from the manufacturer.

Renting a hammer is worthwhile if the rental fee does not exceed the purchase price of a new hammer. For this reason, a comparative calculation is recommended. The following questions are important for this:

  • What kind of work should the demolition hammer be used for?
  • Will the work be repeated or is it a one-off job?
  • What are the rental costs?
  • What are the initial costs of a comparable tool?

If your demolition work is one-off and only of short duration, it is most likely worth renting. However, if your demolition hammer will be used regularly, there is a lot to be said for buying a new one.

How heavy is a demolition hammer?

Since there are many different types of demolition hammers, it is difficult to determine a weight. The lightest chisel hammers usually weigh around ten kilograms. However, there are also much heavier models.

There are pneumatic hammers that cannot be operated without a carrier and weigh more than 500 kilograms. For simple use, such as chiseling up tiles in the bathroom, a light demolition hammer is recommended.

High performance, expressed in terms of a high joule number and low weight at the same time, always drives up the price of a tool.

What accessories are important when buying a demolition hammer?

The chisel of a demolition hammer is one of the most important accessories. The chisel is the attachment that converts the impact movements and hits the material directly. For this reason, the term attachment tool is often used. It is also important that the attachment is compatible with the demolition hammer. Furthermore, ear protection and safety goggles are almost obligatory.

Without a chisel, a demolition hammer is worthless, as the work cannot be carried out. For this reason, it is also of enormous importance that the attachment tool is of high quality.

If an inferior attachment is used, the chisel may not penetrate the material or may even break. There is also a risk that an inferior attachment will wear out more quickly. However, the chisels can be made functional again by forging.

Hearing protection and safety goggles are also particularly important accessories. Because of the splinters that can be thrown through the air when hammering out the chisels and because of the noise they make, these two protective measures are indispensable. Also think of lubricating oil as an accessory.

Light demolition hammers are great for smaller jobs around the house - like removing tiles from the bathroom. (Photo: Jamie Street / unsplash.com)

Are there alternatives to a demolition hammer?

In addition to the types of demolition hammers already listed, there are two alternatives:

  • Hydraulic breaker with carrier
  • Heavy current driven demolition hammer

A hydraulic breaker is usually used in combination with a carrier. For example, hydraulic hammers are often attached to (mini) excavators. The hydraulic breaker is mostly used in the professional demolition trade.

Without a suitable carrier, its use is extremely complicated. Occasionally, however, there are models that also allow a do-it-yourselfer to use a hydraulic breaker sensibly. A rather rare alternative to petrol or mains-powered demolition hammers are high-current powered chisel hammers. A special power supply is required for these tools.

In connection with the term heavy current, the term construction current is also often used. These are then powered via a construction power distributor. A construction power distributor is often found on a construction site.

This category of demolition hammers is usually very powerful. However, these devices also have the disadvantage that they cannot be operated with conventional mains current. Since the demand for high-current powered chisel hammers is very low, they are not considered further here.

Decision: What types of demolition hammers are there and which one is right for you?

The main distinguishing feature of demolition hammers is the type of drive. Generally speaking, there are two different categories:

  • Demolition hammers with (conventional) mains power
  • Petrol-powered hammers

The suitability of the percussion hammer thus depends very much on the intended area of use. If there is no electricity connection on your construction site, you can use a petrol-powered demolition hammer without having to lay cables.

In the following, we will introduce you to the different types and show you the respective advantages and disadvantages of the various chisel hammers in order to prepare you optimally for a possible purchase.

What distinguishes a mains-powered demolition hammer and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The most common breakers are powered by a conventional mains connection. This makes it very easy to supply them with power. There are also chisel hammers that have an integrated rechargeable battery and therefore do not need a cable at all. However, these battery-powered demolition hammers are relatively rare.

The most important advantage of a demolition hammer with a conventional power connection is the wide range of applications. A power connection with an intact socket is usually easy to find. The question of having enough petrol does not arise. You can start demolition work immediately.

Advantages
  • Relatively low weight
  • Unproblematic power source
Disadvantages
  • Possibly low power rating
  • Possibly annoying power cable

Mains-powered chisel hammers tend to be lighter than petrol-powered ones. The power cable may interfere with your work if it is above your work surface. When working, make sure that the power cable is always behind you or to the side of you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a petrol-powered demolition hammer?

Ease of use is undoubtedly the most significant advantage of the petrol-powered percussion hammer. Compared to the previously described type of demolition hammer, this one does not need a power cable. This eliminates the possibility of the cable getting caught in the tool and makes it easier to use.

However, it is necessary to always have enough petrol with you. So avoid an empty tank, which could annoyingly interrupt your demolition work. The petrol as an energy source is filled directly into the demolition hammer. Therefore, the noise pollution should not be underestimated.

Advantages
  • Powerful
  • Easy to use
  • No electricity required
Disadvantages
  • Relatively high weight
  • Sufficient petrol required
  • Very loud
  • Limited supply

However, compared to the electric-powered demolition hammers, the petrol-powered demolition hammer is a little heavier, as the petrol tank is located directly on the tool.

One of the biggest disadvantages of petrol-powered demolition hammers is the limited supply. There are only a few suppliers who have petrol-powered chipping hammers in their range.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate chisel hammers

In the following, we would like to show you which factors can be used to compare and evaluate chisel hammers. In this way, we want to support you in the decision-making process so that you can evaluate for yourself which demolition hammer is right for you.

In summary, the following criteria should be considered:

  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Power
  • Number of blows
  • Impact force
  • Tool holder
  • Auxiliary handle
  • Scope of delivery
  • Colour

In the following paragraphs you will find detailed information on the individual purchase criteria and how they should be classified.

Dimensions

The dimensions of the impact hammer provide information about the handiness of the tool. There are small, handy chisel hammers as well as large, bulky demolition hammers.

Accordingly, they differ in their handiness and feel. In principle, small demolition hammers are of course easier to handle than large ones. However, you should be aware that the smaller models often deliver less power.

Ultimately, the mix of the criteria listed here is decisive. If you have several chisel hammers to choose from that meet your requirements, a smaller model is certainly advisable.

Weight

The weight is a good indicator of whether you will be able to work for long periods of time with your chosen breaker. Especially if your work surface is horizontal to you, a light demolition hammer offers great advantages.

Some demolition hammers can be purchased in sets. This includes a toolbox and accessories. (Photo: huttersnap / unsplash.com)

The individual demolition hammers differ significantly in weight. There are demolition hammers that weigh a little over ten kilograms, but also demolition hammers that weigh up to 30 kilograms. Depending on your upcoming demolition work, you need to be aware of how heavy the tool actually is.

For demolition work that involves a floor underneath you, a heavy tool is also suitable. For this type of work, you do not have to hold the chisel hammer continuously, but you lean on it much more to apply pressure.

However, this does not apply to walls. Here you have to lift the demolition hammer perpendicular to the object. The amount of force required is therefore much higher. For this reason, we recommend using a lighter tool for this type of work.

Power

The rated power of a demolition hammer is an important criterion. It indicates how much current can be absorbed. This gives you an idea of how much power your breaker needs and how strong the motor of the tool is.

However, the credo should not be "more power". The rated input power ultimately only provides information about the power consumption and the performance of the motor. Although the motor power can also be used to draw conclusions about the actual performance of the device, the number of blows and impact force - also known as individual impact force - provide more precise information.

The higher the impact force and number of blows, the higher the performance. So when making your decision, first look at these two criteria and then at the rated power. An expensive tool with high power without the necessary individual impact force is ultimately money unnecessarily invested.

Number of strokes

The number of blows indicates how many blows per minute are transferred from the demolition hammer to the material. The higher the value, the faster the demolition hammer hits the material. The higher the number of blows, the faster the work can be done. However, a high number of blows is only of enormous advantage if it matches the impact force.

Impact force

The impact force indicates the force with which the material is struck. This is why it is also known as "single impact force". Here too, the higher the value, the higher the force applied.

Thus, the impact force is a very important parameter for a demolition hammer. A high single impact force is required for a solid material. However, if the material is rather brittle or very thin, a low impact force is sufficient. For example, bricks or tiles can be destroyed with a low joule number. For a reinforced concrete wall, however, you need a high single impact force.

You should always be clear about what kind of material you want to break off. This will determine your choice of model.

You should also pay attention to the combination of impact force and number of blows. These are the most important factors when choosing an impact hammer.

Tool holder

The tool holder determines how the chisel can be replaced. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most manufacturers use the SDS-Max system for replacement. With this insertion system, the attachment can be exchanged without any additional tools. This ensures that the chisel can be changed quickly.

However, there are also manufacturers who do not use this method. As a rule, they use a hexagonal spanner to change the chisel. This change takes a little longer, but with a little practice it should not be a problem. In these cases it is important that you always have the small tool with you when working, otherwise it is impossible to change the chisel.

Additional handle

The auxiliary handle is an important factor in terms of the ease of use of the caulking hammer and the transfer of pressure to the material. Since it is necessary to apply pressure against the material to be chiselled, an additional handle is very helpful.

This allows you to use both hands to push against the material. This is also possible with only one handle, but then you can only hold the tool at the upper end. With the additional handle, you can hold the tool offset and thus apply pressure more easily.

Scope of delivery

The scope of delivery provides information about the standard equipment of the demolition hammer. Thus, the scope of delivery gives you information about whether you need additional accessories or not.

Many suppliers deliver their demolition hammers in a tool box. As a rule, the necessary accessories are already included. However, there are also manufacturers who only include a pointed chisel in the scope of delivery. However, you may also need a flat chisel. Therefore, pay attention to the equipment in order to avoid possible additional costs for accessories.

Colour

Since a demolition hammer is primarily about functionality, the colour should only be a secondary decision criterion. However, if you have several models to choose from that meet your requirements, you can also be guided by your visual preferences.

However, the colour should not be the decisive purchase criterion. The different models from individual manufacturers differ only slightly in colour. For example, the demolition hammers of the manufacturer Bosch are always blue, whereas the Matrix company prefers red.

Photo source: LoboStudioHamburg / pixabay.com

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