If you are looking to get a new drill, even if you only have a passing knowledge of power tools, you will know that there is a dizzying amount of different terms used to describe specific drills.

Take for instance the SDS drill. If you are interested in purchasing something a bit more advanced than the average hammer or rotary drill, this is one drill you should consider. What does the SDS part mean and why might you want to buy this type of tool? That’s exactly what we are going to discuss in the following post. 

What Does the SDS in the Name Stand For?

The SDS in an SDS drill is an abbreviation that stands for Slotted Drive System. This is often, depending on the brand of the particular drill bit you are looking at or using, Special Direct System or Slotted Drive Shaft.

It basically describes the way the chucks and drill bits work to produce the torque and force necessary to work on the tougher materials this type of drill are designed to work with, like stone, concrete, and other similar substances. 

How Does it Actually Work?

SDS drills are built with a special chuck that features a hammer mechanism on the inside. The drill bits feature indentations along the shaft that sit between 2 ball bearings inside the chuck, which allows them to move forwards and backward freely.

This hammer mechanism works like a kind of piston, firing the drill bits backward and forwards inside the chuck, providing powerful and very precise hammering while you drill.

This hammering technique is more effective than the normal hammer drill you may be used to, as those tend to move the full chuck forwards and backward. Therefore, with an SDS drill, that supply of power is more focused.

What Are They Used For?

As we’ve already noted, SDS drills are most commonly used for drilling into surfaces made from steel, block, brickwork, concrete, and other hardy and robust substances. They are required when a simple hammer drill or rotary drill does not have the power and torque behind it to get through harder surfaces.

You will find that most models are designed with different modes you can choose from. Many offer the option to work with just the hammer action on its own or a combined hammer and rotary action. While hammering is preferred for breaking and demolition work, the rotary is better for drilling tasks where you are working with softer substances and materials that require a little more finesse than brute force.

At Best Reviewer, you can find a list of great SDS drills to choose from.

Can You Just Use Any Drill Bits in SDS Drills?

SDS drills are specifically designed to work with special SDS drill bits. Therefore, straight out of the box, you cannot and should not use standard drill bits in an SDS drill.

If necessary, though, you can invest in SDS chuck adaptors that allow you to use standard drill bits, which can save you a lot of time and money and means you don’t need to keep switching between power tools, depending on the surfaces you are working with. 

Can SDS Drill Bits Be Used in Standard Drills?

Likewise, SDS drill bits cannot be used in a standard drill. Standard hammer and rotary drill chucks are not designed to hold SDS drill bits. If you attempted to do so, they could either come loose and fall out or worse still, affect the quality of your drilling and even damage the drill. So, you must make sure you only use SDS drill bits with SDS drills.