What is an SDS drill? Find out what they are and why you might need one

Person using asn SDS drill to remove plaster from a wall
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You know what a drill is, but what is an SDS drill? In simple terms it is a heavy duty hammer drill that is used for jobs that a standard hammer drill will struggle to deal with. So what does SDS stand for? It is an initialism for slotted drive system but is also known as slotted drive shaft.

SDS drills combine the standard rotary action and hammer action of a standard drill but use different drills and typically have more power. They have a chuck that is specially designed to fit SDS drill bits, and can be purchased – like a standard drill – in both corded and cordless versions. 

Here we give you an insight into what tasks an SDS drill can perform to help you decide if you need one for your latest DIY project.

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.