When it comes to breaking up tough, aged concrete or walls, contractors and DIYers get confused due to the array of choices they have. From lightweight, handheld rotary hammers to bulky mounted breakers, there are lots of tools that all work in a variety of ways to drive metal against the concrete. A jackhammer is known for its simplicity and versatility.
You don’t need to deal with any mess related to rotation modes or drill bits – all you get is a wide range of sturdy hammer-driven chisels that work efficiently in breaking up and chipping away concrete, tile, rocks and other materials.
So, whether you are a professional or just a DIYer who loves to do at-home renovation projects, you will need a high-quality jackhammer to perform your tasks. In this article, we have put together a brief buying guide along with some top-notch jackhammers of different types that will surely help in making your work easy. Let’s get started with how a jackhammer works:
How A Jack Hammer Works
Jackhammers are often referred to as demolition hammers, pneumatic hammers, or electric hammers. However, all of these are just types of jackhammers. You might be aware of the classic jackhammer that is often seen chipping away a road – It is a larger in-line tool that is powered by compressed air. There are smaller jackhammers as well that weigh less than 30 pounds and are used in interior work to chip away on walls and other things to open up spaces.
Most, if not all, jackhammers use spinning gear to drive a piston inside its cylinder. This is how a jackhammer works: upon pressing down on the handle, the air pumps from the compressor to the jackhammer through a valve. The air pressure forces the pile driver down, and it pounds on the drill bit, smashing it into the surface. This was the working of an air hammer, but in an electric jackhammer, the mechanism is updated through the usage of electric motors that rotate a crank or cam, converting the motor’s rotary motion into reciprocating motion and so on working its way into hammering the business end into the ground or any object.
Features to Look for In Jackhammers
Pneumatic jackhammers produce more noise than electric ones because of their mechanism. Noise level control feature in a jackhammer doesn’t just help preserve your hearing but also ensures that your job site and tool are compliant to noise.
An electric motor or pneumatic mechanism causes a lot of vibration that can even lead towards Raynaud’s disease or carpal tunnel. Vibration control features in a jackhammer such as vibration dampening handles and internal shock absorbers can contribute to avoiding any disease or inconvenience while working.
Accessible Power Controls and Dials
Power control and dial let you use the jackhammer easily without taking your hand off the handle every time, while an ergonomic design of the handle allows you to operate the machine efficiently even with gloves.
This is the feature that you should look for in an electric jackhammer as it will let you run the tool safely even when it’s wet outside.
LEDs and Power Lights
LEDs and power lights on a jackhammer alert you when there is a need to replace the electric motor brushes or if there is any problem with the cord that may damage the motor.
Variable Speed Control and Soft Start
Most demolition jackhammers are equipped with this useful feature that lets you start it gently for better control and accuracy near sensitive things like pipes, conduits, or other breakables.
Lock-on Button Control
This feature allows you to grip the tool firmly for extended use without tiring you.
Yes, you have an option to use an extension cord, but it doesn’t hurt to opt for a jackhammer that already has a long cord. It will come in handy in many situations.
Types of Jackhammers Explained
There’s no perfect jackhammer out there that can suit everyone’s needs, this is why they come in various types, and you can choose the best one according to your requirements. Here are three prominent types of demolition hammers to choose from:
Electric Jack Hammer
If you are a DIYer, your best bet would be getting an electric jackhammer rather than any other type. It is super easy to use, doesn’t produce noise like other types, affordable, portable, works in cold temperature, and doesn’t require an expensive external power source.
Best Electric Jack Hammer
XtremepowerUS 2200Watt Heavy Duty Electric Demolition Jack hammer
XtremepowerUS electric demolition jackhammer is one of the best options for performing tasks that require heavy duty performance. It is also an excellent option for anyone looking to do at-home or DIY projects efficiently. It has a 2200Watt powerhouse of an electric motor that works well in trenching, chipping, breaking holes in concrete, brick, block, concrete slab and many more.
Its adjustable 360-degree foregrip adds into its stability and provides extra control based on the required positioning according to the job at hand. It is equipped with a vibration control feature that reduces vibrations at both the hammer and handle side— a great choice for both home and business.
DEWALT D25980K Pavement Breaker with Hammer Truck
The DEWALT D25980K is also a jackhammer but much more heavy duty than normal ones – this is why it is known as a pavement breaker. It is ideal to be used on residential driveways, streets, and even on highways (but only if the thickness of concrete is within six inches). However, it might not be the primary consideration for a DIYer, but it is a great choice for professionals looking to get a powerful jackhammer.
It features an excellent 14A motor that can deliver up to a whopping 2,040 BPM! It has a soft rubber rear the D-handle that provides a firm grip to both your hands. It has a keyless chuck that supports only SDS-max chisel bits, and you can set it to one of the 12 available positions. No matter how hard the material is, the DEWALT D259080K is up for crushing it efficiently. Also, it is backed up by a 3-year limited warranty.
Neiko 02845A Electric Demolition Jack Hammer
The Neiko 02845A is an electric demolition jackhammer that comes equipped with a powerful 11.3A high-performance motor – capable of delivering 1,800 BPM! It means this robust machine can easily break through concrete, ground, and earth. It has an all-metal body that adds into its stability and provides resistance against corrosion. The Neiko 02845A also features a helical gear system that operates noiselessly and smoothly as compared to most other models, making it a wonderful choice for at-home demolition jobs.
Another best thing about this jackhammer is its 360-degree swivel auxiliary handle with a non-slip grip, which will enable you to have optimal control and flexibility during demolitions.
Pneumatic Jack Hammer
A pneumatic hammer, also known as power hammer or air hammer, can be seen widely on construction sites but those are the larger models. There are lightweight models of air hammers available as well. Unlike electric jackhammers, a pneumatic jackhammer uses compressed air to break up or chip away at stones, metals, and other suborn materials. Generally, this tool is used to smooth a surface area, cut through a surface, or dig holes. It is a replacement for the traditional hammer and chisel but with double the power and strength.
However, it might lack a bit in precision in the final result, but that doesn’t mean it compromises on the hammer power it provides. A pneumatic jackhammer is usually attached to a pipe or a hose that is further connected to a compressed air tank, which pumps up air and hence, makes the pistons move.
Best Pneumatic Jack Hammers
Ingersoll Rand Air Hammer is a handheld jackhammer that needs to be attached to a tank of compressed air. It works great in cutting panels, making general repairs, fixing exhaust systems, etc. This sturdy hand-held tool is capable of delivering 3,500 BPM. It comes equipped with a quick-change retainer so you can easily swap chisels when required.
Its award-winning ergonomic grip makes it easy for you to work for an extended period of times without losing grip and getting tired. The package contains a three-piece chisel set with a tapered punch, a panel cutter, and a flat chisel — a fantastic choice for at-home projects.
The DEWALT DWMT70785 is another top-notch air hammer that features a lightweight aluminum body with a medium barrel design. Its handle is shock absorbing for enhanced comfort when working for an extended period of times. There is a touch control trigger on the air chisel for easy user control. It is capable of operating at a speed of 2,600 BPM. The DWMT70785 supports standard 0.401” chisel shanks.
Its average air consumption is 4.5 CFM, plus it comes with a 3year warranty.
The Chicago Pneumatic CP7150 is an affordable air hammer that provides longer piston strokes for more force on every blow. It supports a standard 0.401” round shank and has an internal muffler for minimizing exhaust noise. It is capable of providing 2,300 BPM. If you are a DIYer who loves getting his hands dirty around the house outside, then you can absolutely consider it. The CP7150 air hammer can help you in pipe removal, body shop work, light front-end work, and scraping work. However, you need a portable compressed air tank to operate it.
Alt-text: An excavator-mounted hydraulic jackhammer being used to break up concrete.
This type is not used in at-home projects or preferred by DIYers because it is costly and suitable for large-scale projects only. It is construction equipment that you can commonly see in action on under construction roads. Hydraulic Jackhammers are used for demolition of a structure or crushing rocks into smaller pieces. They are attached to an excavator and work on the principles of hydraulics.
They have a canister containing pressurized hydraulic oil, which is used by the hammer to apply high pressure. Hydraulic hammers are much more potent than all other types. Plus, their force depends on the pisto jackhammer, demolition jackhammer, electronic jackhammer, jack hammer, air hammer, pneumatic jackhammern strokes and their size.
Each type of jackhammer is practical and versatile – selecting the right one entirely depends on your requirements as each offer both advantages and disadvantages. However, if you are a DIYer and do not intend to use it professionally, then an electric jackhammer such as XtremepowerUS 2200Watt Heavy Duty Electric Demolition Jackhammer would be an appropriate choice. But if you are planning to work on large-scale projects or looking for a jackhammer for business, then we suggest you go for DEWALT D25980K Pavement Breaker.