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Skil vs Ryobi vs Craftsman | Hammer Drill Test Track Video Review

With the release of Ryobi’s 18V One+ HP Brushless Hammer Drill on the horizon, we figured it would be the perfect time to put the Prosumer class hammer drills to the test with a head-to-head competition on the PTR Test Track. In addition to Ryobi’s HP model, we’ve got Skil’s HD529501, ready to show what it’s made of, and Craftsman’s CMCD721D2 hammer drill hoping to put its opponents to shame. After running these hammer drills through each section of our test track, we’ll rank them on our leaderboard to see how their times stack up against other 18/20V drills including pro models like Milwaukee’s 2804, Makita’s XPH07, and DeWalt’s Flexvolt Advantage!

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Full Transcript

You guys have been great about giving us suggestions for more Time Trial tests and a lot of you have mentioned the Prosumer class. Not only did we bring in hammer drills from Craftsman, Ryobi, and Skil we were able to get our hands on Ryobi’s latest HP model for this test. Fasten your seatbelts and place your bets!

Thanks for clicking on our video—we hope you enjoy it! While you’re here, consider subscribing and give us a thumbs up if you like what you see. When you’re finished with this video, check out how well a $50 Amazon impact driver does for a quick comparison.

Before we dive into the Test Track, let’s bring out our three contenders—which are remarkably similar. Each of these hammer drills uses a brushless motor with a two-speed gearbox. All three use an all-metal chuck—and finally, they’re all powered by an 18V or 20V Max battery.

The three hammer drills also fall within about a 1/2-inch of each other in length, with Ryobi being the shortest. Weight is a little different story. With a 2.0Ah battery, Craftsman is the lightweight at 3.6 pounds. Ryobi comes in just under 4 pounds, and Skil is the heaviest—but only by 6 ounces or so (4.4 lbs).

Aside from that, Craftsman carries the distinction of being Made in the USA with global materials.

All that’s good to know, but let’s get to the business at hand. If this is your first time watching one of our Time Trial Videos, the PTR Drill Test Track is designed to give us an idea of each drill’s real-world potential. Our resident Pro, Tom Gaige, mans the trigger to give each tool its best chance.

We’ll start by driving 20 drywall screws, move onto a 1/2-inch twist bit for 10 holes, bore 10 more holes with a 3/4-inch spade bit, before making another 10 holes with a 3/4-inch auger bit. Finally, we’ll wrap it up with a 1-inch hole saw followed by a 2-and-an eight-inch hole saw—drilling through a 2 x 4 stud. The clock starts at the first trigger pull and stops when the last hole saw breaks through.

Craftsman is up to the plate first. It tops out at 2,000 RPM in high and boasts 400 unit watts out of power. They don’t list a torque value, but it’s okay—that’s why we run the tests! Drywall screws aren’t much of a challenge at this level and Tom is pretty smooth, but he has one dropped screw to make up for.

The Craftsman V20 is very confident with that titanium twist bit. It’s not the fastest we’ve seen, but its control is excellent. There’s no gear change with the spade bit as Craftsman’s brushless motor continues to keep up with the load. It seems a little slower with the auger bit, but still looking good, and now it’s over to the first of two hole saws. 

The RPMs are dropping a bit as Craftsman needs a little help clearing the dust—it’s still in high speed, though. Over to the larger hole saw and Tom dropped the gear down pretty quick there. Getting closer… surely he’s got to be through any second… and now he is! 

Ryobi’s latest hammer drill comes with the HP designation, making it one of their advanced High-Performance tools. It has a slightly higher 2100 RPM max speed and an impressive 750 in-lbs of torque. Tom’s doing a great job of getting Ryobi off to a solid start on those drywall screws and the first change is a good one.

He’s very smooth with the twist bit and Ryobi’s brushless motor is keeping those RPMs high. With the pressure increasing and a self-feeding spade bit, there’s no sign this drill is feeling the heat. Slowing down somewhat with that smoother-boring auger bit, but still in high speed, we’re onto the first hole saw. 

That HP performance is showing as Tom can really lean into it and, wow, that’s a fast hole! Just one more to get through, but it’s a tough one. He’s still in high speed, but can he hold it? There’s the switch to low and he’s making good progress. He punches through—what a great run from Ryobi! 

Skil steps up next with its brushless heavy-duty 20V hammer drill. It puts its 2000 RPM max speed and 859 in-lbs of torque on the line. Starting smooth, but with a couple of small slips, Tom may have cost Skil a second or so through the drywall screws. That fast bit change might make up for it, though, and that’s a very good run with the twist bit.

Looking good with the spade bit… that’s about as smooth as you can hope for. Just like it was for the other two, the auger bit is just enough of a load increase to slow Skil down a little. It’s another quick bit change and Tom is able to keep the drill in high… a little help to clear the sawdust now… there’s the punch through. Just one more hole where Tom is electing to start in low speed to pull more torque. He’s really leaning into the drive and rotating the bit to clear dust… nearly there now but needing another pull to clear the teeth and there’s the finish!

None of our hammer drills struggled in their runs and this might be closer than we first thought. DeWalt’s Flexvolt Advantage owns the course record at 2 minutes, 19 seconds. Avid Power—a budget brand sold on Amazon—holds up the…subfloor…with a 9 minute, 56-second effort that required two breaks for cooldowns. 

Craftsman’s V20 brushless model puts in a solid 2:45 and puts itself ahead of several Pro brands. Well done, Craftsman!

Ryobi’s HP managed to do one better, though, finishing in 2:37. It’s not a huge gap, but it’s a convincing difference.

Last, but certainly not least, Skil’s PWRCore 20 settled right in between the other two at 2:42. 

That’s a much tighter finish than we expected at the outset, but there’s a little more to the story. We also tested Ryobi and Skil with 4.0Ah batteries and their times improved a bit more. Ryobi took another 11 seconds off to finish in 2:26 and Skil dropped 8 seconds, coming in at 2:34. 

We didn’t have a 4.0Ah battery on hand to test Craftsman with, but we’ll give it another shot once we get one in. 

The big takeaway from this test is that all three of these hammer drills are very capable for light and medium-duty work and just look where they finished compared to the Pro models we’ve tested! If you work frequently with bigger bits, Ryobi and Skil have a noticeable boost in torque that’s better suited for heavier work. On the other hand, Craftsman’s lighter weight is very appealing for general drilling and driving. 

The prices are all pretty close, too. Craftsman runs $179 at Lowe’s and comes with two 2.0Ah batteries. You can find Ryobi at Home Depot for $179 with a 4.0Ah High-Performance battery. Skil is a little lower at $169 on Amazon and includes a 5.0Ah battery. Skil also includes their upgraded PWRJump charger instead of a standard one. 

So now that it’s all said and done, which one is your pick? Let us know in the comments below and as always, thanks for watching!

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