how to drill into concrete without a hammer drill

How To Drill Into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill (6 Useful Tips)

Drilling into concrete without a hammer drill can be done, but it will not be an easy task. Ideally, to drill into concrete you would want to use a hammer drill, but unfortunately not all of us have access to those kinds of drills.

So we do with what we've got.  And if all you have on hand is a regular drill, then you're going to want to know how to drill into concrete without a hammer drill. 

Recommended For Drilling Into Concrete

How To Drill Into Concrete Without a Hammer Drill

Concrete is made to last, which means its an incredibly strong and durable material.  The thing that makes concrete so strong is all of the aggregate, gravel and sand that makes up about 65% of the concrete mix.

So the first thing to realize is that you're going to have to get through all that aggregate.  And that's going to be a chore with a standard drill.  But it can be done!

The best way to get through all that concrete aggregate is with a very high quality and durable masonry drill bit. These drill bits are specifically designed to drill holes into concrete.  

If you try to use a regular drill bit designed for softer materials, such as wood or metal, you can kiss that drill bit good bye.  The concrete will wear that bit down in a matter of seconds and all you’ll have left is a stubby piece of metal sticking out of the chuck of your drill.

Drilling into concrete is a beast that requires a specialized drill bit that's designed to do one thing, and that is to drill holes through concrete. 

Best Drill Bit For Concrete

As mentioned above, you really to use a good quality masonry drill bit to drill into concrete. An example of good quality and durable masonry drill bits for concrete drilling is the DEWALT DW5207 7-Piece Premium Percussion Masonry Drill Bit Set.

By investing in a set of different size drill bits like these, it gives you more flexibility in choosing different hole sizes for your project, and for future projects.

How Do Masonry Or Concrete Drill Bits Work?

Masonry drill bits are designed to work with a hammer drill.  That means the drill bit, in addition to turning, simultaneously hammers away at the concrete.  But since we’re not using a hammer drill, the only thing we have working in our favor is the turning action of the drill bit.

Have Water Close By

Be sure to have water nearby while you are drilling your hole into the concrete.  Without the hammering action of the hammer drill, the masonry drill bit will get very hot. This is from all the friction that's created by going round and round against the concrete material.

As you drill into the concrete, add water to the drill site frequently to prevent the bit from getting too hot too fast. By doing this, you’ll protect your drill bit from being destroyed, and it will last you much longer.


While drilling into the concrete, be sure to lift the drill bit out of the hole regularly. By doing this, you are removing the dust and other material from out of the hole. This allows the masonry drill bit to work more efficiently and create less friction.


While drilling holes into concrete without using a hammer drill, you may be tempted to apply your own hammering action with the drill to help the process.  Don’t do this.  We’re not using hammer drills for this project, so we don’t want to treat our drill like it’s a hammer drill. By applying your own hammering action to the drill site with your non-hammer drill, you’re taking great risk at not only damaging your drill, but you may also damage the drill bit.

Instead, frequently lift the drill bit out of the hole and remove the material, as stated in the Do section of this project.

How To Drill Into Concrete: 6 Useful Tips

1. When drilling it is important to constantly be lifting the drill out of the hole to let the debris clear the flutes.  

2. If your project requires larger holes, start with a small size masonry drill bit then slowly expand the size of the hole by using increasingly larger sized drill bits. This will be much easier than starting the project with the larger bit.

3. If you come across a hard spot, which is probably stone in the concrete, use a large nail with a hammer to smash the pieces that are blocking your progress.

4. Never buy cheap drill bits to do any job. They will not last and you’ll end up paying more money in the long run.

5. Concrete, brick or mortar are very strong materials. Concrete is even harder and more difficult to get through than normal cement, mortar or brick.

6. If all else fails, you can rent a hammer drill for  your project. They are fairly inexpensive to rent, and may even come with a set of masonry drill bits.


Have you tried to drill a hole in concrete with a regular drill?  If so, or if you have any additional tips you'd like to share, leave a comment below.  Let us know! How'd it go for you? What did you learn to help make the process easier for the next go around?

About the Author

Oscar O'Malley - October 31, 2017

I really like that you mentioned which bits are good for a particular type of job. My brothers and I are planning on renovating a room at our parent’s home, and having the proper tools will make the job much easier and faster.
Thanks for the information on drills, I’ll keep it in mind as we prepare to begin working on the project.

    Cathy Seiser - August 24, 2018

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Bobby Saint - February 8, 2018

I like that you shared some tips on how to drill into concrete without a hammer drill such as considering using drill bits. This equipment is designed to drill holes into concrete without exerting too much effort. Nevertheless, it’s still important to make sure that you purchase drill bits that are made of high-quality material. This would ensure that it would last for many years. I would make sure to keep this in mind if I were to ask for assistance from a drilling service company. Thanks.

Kyle - April 27, 2018

If you only have a small hole to do.. for say in a grout joint or mortor joint and you have self tapping screws on hand you can use a few of them at high speed on an impact. I’ve done it in a bind a few times and didn’t want to ruin any of my masonry bits. One thing to keep in mind if it starts binding and impacting stop and clean the hole out or you will break the screw in the hole. Again it’s only an alternative and only recommend if you only have a few small holes to drill in mortor or grout. By small I mean no bigger than like 3/16 to run a wood screw into a stud in a shower or put an anchor in.

    The Clever Homeowner - May 9, 2018

    Thanks a lot Kyle for this tip!

Jason - September 21, 2018

A masonry bit will go dull real fast if used in a regular hand drill on concrete. You can get away with it on softer materials, but even a hammer drill will just wreck the drill bit if you try using that to drill a hole in concrete of any real depth. And even if you succeed, it’ll take a long time. Just use a rotary hammer – you can get a small one for about $100, and a pretty good one for around $160, and it will drill a much cleaner hole in seconds.

Derek Dewitt - September 24, 2018

My wife and I want to redo our driveway before it gets cold again, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about never buying a cheap drill bit for the job. I’ll be sure to find a professional with solid drill bits that won’t break during the project.

Victor - October 15, 2018

WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for

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