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When pros need to drill seriously gaping holes in masonry, they put the hammerdrill back in the truck and reach for a rotary hammer. And Hitachi recently updated their 1-1/2″ spline-shank hammer, shaving off just shy of three pounds of weight while retaining an 8.4 amp motor that delivers a whopping 5.9 ft-lbs of impact energy and an impact rate of 2,800 BPM.

They’ve put some effort into further reducing vibration as well, claiming a full-tilt-boogie vibration level of 18.8 m/s2 and 95.2 dB. (Admittedly, I’ve never seen a manufacturer publish a vibration level measurement before, so I’m not quite sure how that measures up to others. But I have tested a previous model Hitachi hammer and was surprised at how well it cushioned the blows.) The new model, the DH38YE2 (pictured), also includes a safety clutch that stops rotation when the bit binds.

Of course, lighter is a relative term. Rotary hammers are massive, and this one’s no exception, weighing in at 14.1 pounds. It’s about 16″ long, too. Pricing should check in around $400 street.

DH38YE2 Rotary Hammer [Hitachi]


8 Responses to A Lighter, More Powerful Rotary Hammer

  1. fred says:

    As you say, lighter is a relative term. When these tools first hit the market from vendors like Skil and others – they were essentially conversions of 1-inch or larger hex-shank breakers to drives that did both rotating and hammerring. Some of the early weight came with the clunky bit holders – and the tools were better used in the vertical (aimed downward) orientation unless you were a Paul Bunyon type. With the advent of spline drives and SDS Max these have gotten better and lighter – but I still lament that one of the old features that allowed for 3-way operation (hammer only, rotate only and hammer-rotate) no longer seems to be available (or at least I don’t think so.)

  2. Cameron Watt says:

    I’m sure Dewalt still has roatry hammers that allow you to select hammer/rotate/both. One place where I worked had a couple that were quite light and compact; a dream to use.

  3. Old Coot says:

    Has anyone ever read a comment by fred that wasn’t cogent, informative, and interesting? I sure haven’t.

  4. fred says:

    @ Cameron

    Thanks for the information – we don’t buy much of the Dewalt line – but I’ll take a look

  5. rob says:

    Bosh still has them I we use them all the time at work
    sds max we use the drill for blasting 1-1/2 inch holes and chipping and busting up what ever is in the way

    I have used a hitachi sds max as well had all 3 options as well was only a couple of years old surely most companies haven’t given that up makes the tool so much more useful

  6. fritz gorbach says:

    I have a metabo SDS plus form a pawn shop – 80 bucks and I think its about 500 new. Works great and does have all three modes. I have a couple of chisels and points for it, but it’s pretty light for most chipping work. Good though for larger and deeper holes than you want to make with the standard hammerdrill, and the extra weight makes it real smooth.

    SDS Plus is would be a nice choice if it’s gonna be your only hammer drill, (still fairly compact, yet big enough to do some real work) but if, like me, you already have a smaller hammer drill, make sure you at least step up to an sds max drill. This will at least give you some larger bits still, and the ability to use some small core drills.

    Really I think a small hammer drill, along with a smallish spline drive rotary hammer is about the perfect combination. My boss carries a bosch hammerdrill, and a milwaukee spline hammer, and with that combination you can do about anything except real heavy busting.

  7. TomC says:

    Using SDS+ and SDS Max is the way to go. Having a small rotary hammer is so much faster and easier than using a hammer drill. The days of using hammer drills has passed. Pick yourself up a SDS+ rotary hammer and never look back.

  8. John West says:

    FYI, you might want to refer to http://www.hitachipowertools.com instead of http://www.hitachi-koki.com. The former usually has more information.

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