Skil 1/2" Hammer Drill - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A great drill that will handle most masonry drilling jobs a home owner is likely to encounter


Skil 1/2" Hammer Drill

Hammer drills are conventional rotational drills that include a hammering function that uses a spline gear type mechanism to create a vibrating action. The resultant energy is transferred to the chuck and the bit. The vibrating action causes the bit to chip away at whatever it's hammering against.
They're not to be confused with rotary hammers, which use a piston, driven by a motor and gearing system, to pound a bit into material. You'll find that hammer drills use straight shanked bits while rotary hammers typically use an SDS shank bit - a type of slotted shank bit that slides back and forth in a chuck. In general, hammer drills are suitable both for drilling and driving screws and lag bolts into wood, and for hammer drilling holes up to about 3/4" diameter, in concrete block or brick.
The Skil 1/2" Hammer Drill (6445-01) has a 7 Amp motor that delivers 3,000 RPM and 51,000 blows per minute (BPM), with a torque rating of 133.1 inch pounds. The body of the drill is made of glass-filled nylon plastic. There is a rubber overmold handle, and a fairly large trigger, which can be easily manipulated with gloves on. I always wear gloves when doing rough work, and the rubber overmold improves the grip quite a bit.
The forward/reverse switch is located where you would expect it to be - at the trigger. You can quickly toggle it with your index finger without having to move you hand offer the handle. There isn't a middle position on the switch to lock the trigger as on most cordless drills. However, it isn't a feature I'd likely use on this drill anyway. The lock-on button is a different matter; it's located on the bottom of the handle; which means you have to leave go of the side handle, and reach under the drill to turn it on. Seems an odd location to me, though I found I got used to it quickly enough. The variable speed trigger is quite sensitive making it easy to control drilling speed.

Large trigger with forward/reverse switch close at hand
Lock-on switch located on bottom of handle
The selector switch is located on the top of the motor housing just behind the front housing collar. Good location, and there are icons impressed on the sides of the housing so that you know which direction to move the selector for drilling more and for hammer mode. The switch is almost flush with the top of the motor housing, and with gloves on it can be a little awkward to move.

Comfortable grip even with gloves on
Selector switch
The 6445-01 is equipped with an all metal 1/2" capacity chuck. These chucks have been around for decades and are very dependable. You can apply a lot of pressure with the chuck key to hold bits firmly in place. The key is conveniently stored on the power cord. The auxiliary side handle is pretty well a necessity rather than an option. You definitely need it when using the hammer drill function to stabilize the drill. The handle can be easily rotated a full 360 by loosening the lower portion of the handle.
To advance or retract the depth rod you also need to loosen the lower portion of the handle. It takes a full 12 turns of the handle to loosen it - seems a bit much. I would really like to see this changed to a quick release feature. There is a scale on the depth rod, but it's indecipherable. There isn't a level bubble on the 6445-01, which I find somewhat useful. On the plus side it does come with a 10 foot power cord - and when it comes to cords, the longer the better.

All metal 1/2" keyed chuck
Chuck key is always close at hand
One of things you'll notice is that there isn't a clutch on this drill. Mainly because you don't need one. This won't be your go-to drill when you need to drill holes and sink screws in wood, unless you're working on a deck or building a gazebo. For day in and out drilling you're better off using a 12V cordless. This baby is for the tough work - drilling concrete and brick and sinking large screws. And if you're drilling more than a couple of holes in concrete or brick, purchase top quality masonry bits. They last considerably longer than lower quality bits. Hammer drills are loud, and the 6445-01 is no exception. I clocked it at 107.1 decibels - hearing protection would be sensible.

12 turns to adjust handle or guide rod
Guide rod scale is non too readable
At just under $70 the 6445-01 is priced for the DIYer/hobbyist market. It's a great drill that will handle most masonry drilling jobs a home owner is likely to encounter.



  • 7 Amp motor
  • 0-3,000 RPM
  • 0-51,000 BPM
  • 133.1 in-lbs of torque
  • Variable speed trigger
  • 1/2" keyed chuck
  • Lock-on button
  • Rubber overmold handle
  • 9-7/8" depth rod
  • 10' power cord
  • 6.1 pound weight
  • 2 year warranty
  • Includes: side handle, depth rod, chuck key, soft side carry case

AVAILABLE FROM:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
MODEL #:6445-01
 NOTE: This model is no longer available

Carl Duguay, June 2010

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