Despite the advent of robust and convenient cordless tools, the electric drill is still probably the #1 tool found in the everyday toolkits of professionals and DIYers alike. It will always be around as it has become as indispensable as your TV remote.

Because drills were the first tools to be converted to Electric Power Tools versions, the range of features and options is absolutely staggering. However, almost all available models are Hammer Drills. The addition of a hammer action, plus the high speeds, quickly made the old fashioned hand turned dills almost obsolete. So, what’s this hammer action for then?

Sometimes brute force is required to force a drill bit through tough materials like brick, concrete, stone and masonry in general. Ask any bank robber who has tunnelled to his prize over a bank holiday weekend. He will tell you that hammer action is the key factor. “I wouldn’t be here today guv if I’d a had a bit more bloomin ‘ammer action like,” he might say through the bars.

Hammer action can be measured in blows per minute. The Mike Tyson brand is hard to beat. Basically, it pulverises the material under the tip of the bit as the user bears down on it. This generates a lot of friction and heat, so the tips of the bits are often made with carbide steel to withstand this. You can switch this off when drilling through softer materials such as wood or when a hammer action is not needed as with drilling metal.

Typical drill speeds range between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM on most models and many have a handy reverse gear for unscrewing tough screws of extricating your drill bit from a difficult material or situation. The best accessory is probably the holster so you can wear it on your belt. Jam a hard hat on your head and you could be auditioning for Village People singing YMCA.