In theory, drilling a hole through concrete, bricks, and ceramic tiles needs a large power impact drill with concrete or ceramic tile bit. I googled, impact prevents drill bits head from wearing out due to high temperature. Since the problem is wearing out due to high temperature, can I use a brick or ceramic tile bit at a regular hand driller without impact function, to drill slowly and manually and repeatedly cool it by like putting it in water?

Further more, can I manually impact? Like knock a hole with bit while drilling? Will this damage motor or bearing?

  • 11
    Impact may indeed prevent some heat accumulation, but that's not its primary function.
    – isherwood
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 13:57
  • 3
    But HSS bits shouldn’t be getting warm in the first place. You drill holes by cutting not heating... anyone who thinks “hot drill bits is any kind of normal” misunderstands the process. Get feeds & speeds right, drills barely get above ambient. I handle them with bare fingers routinely. (Not if I see them cutting badly, obviously...) Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 15:29
  • 4
    mother nature can drill a hole in concrete with water drops
    – jsotola
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 19:24
  • 4
    Hammering on your drill (while drilling or not) will definitely be bad for the bearings and possibly the housing. Rent or buy a hammer drill before breaking your non-hammer drill, and then you'll have both kinds rather than a broken drill and the need to buy something...
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 15:19
  • 3
    It would take you longer to drill accurate holes in your concrete using a masonry bit and non-hammer drill that you regularly pound the back of with a hammer, than it would to drive to the store, buy the proper hammer drill required for the task, drive home and drill the holes.. It would also cost you less, as your life-hacked hammer drill will be quickly destroyed by the abuse and need replacing. I recommend you buy a decent hammer drill, with an SDS chuck if you plan on drilling a lot of holes in your lifetime
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 11:55

9 Answers 9


Impact drills are used in concrete and stone, with the appropriate drill bits, because they drill faster by causing micro fractures of the material surface and thus easier removal. The drill bits can get rather hot in the process.

It is still possible to drill holes in concrete with a regular plain rotary drill with the proper carbide tipped drill bits. It takes a lot longer to drill this way and the hole often ends up larger than intended because of the tendency of drill bit tip to wander around when pressure is applied it. The drill bit can indeed get hot but I've never actually seen the drill bit get so hot as to melt. Far more likely the end of the drill bit is going to wear away due to abrasion.

There would be nothing to stop you from repeatedly removing the drill bit from the in process hole drilling operation and cooling it with water when using either the impact driver or the regular electric drill. In fact you could even have a small stream of water running at the hole being drilled to help cool the bit.

  • 20
    I would emphasize "a lot longer". I've done it both ways. It's likely going to take you far less time to rent an impact drill or rotary hammer (better), do the job, and return it unless you are way out in the sticks.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 20:58
  • 12
    Melt? A drill only needs to get to ~160 degrees C and its overheated, blued, and generally dead.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 3:47
  • 11
    Remember that if you overheat and cool an incorrect bit over and over you are changing its molecular structure, and it will fail catastrophically. The correct bit typically isn't that expensive...
    – Dúthomhas
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 4:10
  • 14
    I've abused a masonry bit, caused it to overheat, and the entire bit acted like a wet noodle. The shaft practically unraveled itself and all the curves went parallel instead of helix.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 12:19
  • 6
    Along with other people commenting, I've had masonry bits melt. Everything from the tip becoming perfectly cylindrical to a ball of slag to warping when it comes out to shattering. These were usually smaller bits for screws, but it's easy to get into some really tough material and overheat. Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 17:21

Long before impact drills were available to the residential customer usually due to their high cost, a novice or home owner could replicate the actions of a "hammer drill" by starting to drill a hole in concrete with a concrete bit and if gravel was encountered, a center punch was used to crack the gravel. At that point the drilling could continue.

The drill bit will get too hot when the drill speed is too high or too much pressure is used when drilling. To keep the drill bit cool reduce the drill speed and/or pressure (push) from the drill operator.

  • 4
    Or too slow or too little pressure. That’s a big problem because correct feeds can require considerable force, and it’s very difficult to get sufficient speed from a modern drill due to market demands from the wristless that drills be able to drive screws. Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 12:45
  • 1
    @Harper-ReinstateMonica Dont most drills generally have adjustable settings these days ? Low power and speed for screws and then change to high power for drilling ?
    – GamerGypps
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 8:04
  • @GamerGypps sure, you can adjust between 60 RPM and 450 RPM... but when Machinery's Handbook is telling you that this material needs 2300 RPM, that really doesn't cut it... Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 15:00
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica i mean thats a very low estimate of what cordless drills are capable of. The low-end Ryobi cordless drill for instance has 2 settings which produce 0-440rpm / 0-1700rpm respectively. Granted its not 2300 but its alot higher than 450rpm. And thats Ryobi which are considered low end hobbyist/diy only, nevermind trade type cordless drills such as Makita.
    – GamerGypps
    Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 7:39

Your assumption is incorrect. The impact is what does the drilling, like a micro-chisel. The rotation merely removes the dust, and ensures that the impacts create a circular hole. This is for concrete/brick.

Tile drill-bits are very different, and must not be used with any sort of hammer action (as it would crack the tile).

Drilling through any type of concrete without an impact drill will fail as soon as the bit hits a piece of aggregate. You may get away with it in soft brick/breezeblock, but I wouldn't recommend it.

This was answered before the OP added "manual impacting" to the question

  • Plus one for being the only person to mention that a masonry bit is actually just a chisel with a built in Archimedes screw to carry the debris away from the impact site
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 11:49

Yes it can be done, though damage to both the bit & drilling machine may occur. I recommend using a "masonry" bit. It will have what look like small paddles on the tip & will work with or without an impact driver. Coolant is always a good idea, preventing damage to the work, the tools & preventing breathing the dust created by drilling. Just as in the consrction field a concrete saw is used with a constant flow of water & the operator wears a facemask, inhaling the dust can be extremely harmful.

A "Diamond" tip drill bit could also be used, but any impact action will damage it & it MUST be kept cool with constant application of a coolant. Such drill bits are more costly & gentle pressure is best, allowing the diamond bit to do the work, not your muscles. Diamond bits get more expensive as they get larger.


I have drilled lots of holes through the concrete with a regular drill without any hammer action. This action is a luxury, a serious one (way easier, no need to pres hardly, the hole diameter is more predictable and correct). But this is not a requirement.

Of course, you need a concrete drill-bit, not the one intended for wood. The intended purpose of the bit should be written on the package.


The first holes I drilled in concrete used an impact-only hand tool, with a hammer. It's the impact that breaks the bits of gravel that give rotary-only drills such a hard time.

It was made by Rawlplug, called a Mason Master. Very slow. You can still get them new, and there are few vintage ones on fleaBay.

  • 2
    Yeap. And "very slow" can be as slow as ten minutes per hole or even slower.
    – sharptooth
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 9:09

I googled, impact prevents drill bits head from wearing out due to high temperature.

This is only partially correct.

All drill bits get hot. The energy you get from the power cable ultimately ends up as heat, only a tiny fraction is actually used to tear the bonds in the material. (Sir Benjamin Thompspn discovered the mechanical equivalent of heat exactly by boring.)

What the impact does is to make drilling much more efficient in stone/concrete. These materials are resistant to cutting, but are much less resistant to impacts, they are fragile.

Having a way more efficient drilling method you finish drilling faster and the drilling bit gets out of the hole, so it can start to cool down.

Drilling a deep hole in a hard material, you may still benefit from getting the drill bit out once in a while and cooling it by air or water. Or you can use 2 or 3 bits with a different length and change them as you progress deeper.

And yes, you CAN drill a hole in a stone/concrete/tiles by a rotary, non-impact drill. I did it few times when an impact drill was not available. Sometimes it is faster to leave the drill alone and hammer the drill bit against the wall by hand.

Masonry is way easier than concrete or stone for drilling with a rotary drill.

  • No, drill bits do not get hot. When I am on a mill or drill press with proper feeds and speeds, I am cutting at fast production rates and handling the drill bits with my bare fingertips. They are barely warm to the touch. Hot bits is an indication of wrong feeds, wrong speeds, dull bits, or other bad workmanship. Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 15:04
  • 2
    Harper, how much concrete have you drilled on a drill press? Your experience drilling metal cannot be directly related to drilling in concrete. Without using a hammer drill, I suggest that you drill some concrete, then use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the bit. Use a large bit. I don't suggest that you touch it with your fingers to see if it is hot. It is true that overheating the drill bit can shorten the life of the bit or even ruin it, but there will be some heat.
    – Itsme2003
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 6:30

An impact drill produces very frequent low energy impacts on the drill bit. An alternative is a pneumatic hammer (usually with SDS+ bit holder) which produces less frequent but higher energy impacts on the drill bit. The difference is impressive - the pneumatic hammer drills concrete much, much faster, even the very hard concrete. The impacts crash the concrete and rotating bit yields you a neat round hole and removes the dust. The bit in a pneumatic hammer may easily get very hot and even lose its properties because of overheating if you don't cool it in between drilling.


I realize this doesn't directly answer the question as posed, but I think it's germane to the discussion.

I bought a name-brand mid-range ($300) hammer drill to drill a few dozen holes in concrete, some with a large bit for lengths of 1/2" rebar that were to be epoxied into the holes and serve as reinforcement for an extension to the slab, others with a much smaller 3/16-inch diameter for "tapcon" style fasteners.

After drilling four 3/16 holes 3 inches deep spaced about a minute apart with the drill on the hammer+drill setting using the manufacturer's SDS-Plus carbide-tipped hammer bits, the bit seized up on the next hole, and I couldn't get it out. When I was finally able to work it out of the hole, the tip was badly deformed, looking as if it had melted. So I learned that it's very important to keep these bits cool.

deformed 3/16 carbide-tipped masonry drill bit

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.