When I moved into my current house our garden was pure poured concrete so I gathered by tools (at the time, a sledge hammer and a pick axe) and got to work but, my god, I wish I’d had a jackhammer instead.
It took about two weeks of solid labour to get the concrete out of the garden and into, not one, three skips. After I finished the job I stayed in bed for a week with a bad back, so, to save you thinking it’s worth the saving, here's our guide to the best jackhammers and hammer drills to buy in Australia this year.
Whatever size job you need there are a range of jackhammers available in different forms so we’ll be guiding you through the different types of demolition hammers, how to use them, and some of the best brands and models to buy in 2022.
Best Jackhammers for 2022
Why Do I Need a Jackhammer?
Well, like I said at the start of this article, you need a jackhammer to save your back from otherwise backbreaking work (literally). Older models had a shake on them which made them difficult to use and hard to control, but modern jackhammers have vibration control, and while they’re never silent, or smooth, are much easier to use than they used to be.
If you have even a small area of poured concrete in your garden, it’s best to remove it. Poured concrete can cause drainage issues, flooding and lead to severe damp if laid next to foundations, so any 1980s concrete gardens should be removed and replaced with either permeable resin, slabs or gravel – or better yet, planting.
Jackhammers, or demolition hammers, are the best tool for the job, and for smaller jobs, a high-powered hammer drill should do the trick.
Different Types of Jackhammers
The difficulty when buying a jackhammer is knowing exactly how much ground you need to break through. If, like me, you’ve bought a garden with a foot of concrete in some areas, you really need something powerful.
However, for most path foundations, or concrete patios and driveways, you can often break through with a decent hammer drill.
When choosing any of the below, understand that 00J is the power exerted (anything over 45J will break concrete), and 000 BPM is the Beats Per Minute (more powerful drills have lower BPM for higher control, while lower power drills have higher BPMs, which allows for faster breaking with less pressure.
A good breaker is somewhere in the range of 25-65J, and 1000-2500 BPM. Here’s our breakdown for which types of hammer drill need depending on the job:
The best all-round jackhammers are electric jackhammers. They’ll power through most concrete, and have changeable heads so you can use them for digging compacted soils, and breaking down old slabs. They’ll easily get through most poured concrete patios too.
The biggest benefit of electric jackhammers is that because they are less powerful than petrol demolition drills, they’re much more user-friendly, and tend to cause less strain on the shoulders.
Petrol jackhammers are the loudest jackhammers, and for most domestic purposes are surplus to requirements. For commercial or heavy duty use though, they really are the only option.
Without a generator or main power nearby they can be used anywhere, and most modern petrol jackhammers have spring assisted starts, which helps.
A good petrol jackhammer will break through a foot of concrete as long as you can access underneath to dig it out, but honestly there are almost no circumstances in domestic settings where you should need a petrol demolition hammer.
Hammer drills come in two main specifications, rotary drills (with hammer drill setting), and demolition drills, which will be powerful enough for most small demolition jobs with the right attachment.
Rotary drills are great for plasterwork, or render, but usually not strong enough for demolition or concrete removal – what they do come in handy for is digging through hard earth, because you can buy a range of Bunnings jackhammer attachments, including shovel and spade bits.
When buying hammer drills you’ll need the right attachments. The hammer setting is good for breaking through tough masonry with a masonry bit but for demolition, you’ll need a fairly wide steel chisel bit.
The Ozito Jackhammer from Bunnings comes with a good selection of bits (there’s more details in the review section).
Jackhammer Attachments for the Garden
Flat Breaker Chisel
Flat breaker chisels are the must have for any jackhammer, they come as standard with most breaker tools and hammer drills too. Simply attach, drill, and you’re done in most cases.
Point Breaker Chisel
For seriously hard jobs, a point breaker chisel is a great way to apply direct pressure on one point, either to exploit a weak point in concrete or to make one.
It’s always best to dig out underneath concrete if you can create access from the side, or find a weak point to dig through before starting the bulk of the work.
Creating the space underneath allows space for the jackhammer to essentially snap the concrete plate, which alleviates pressure and creates small cracks through the entire surface, making it easier to break up in the long run.
Clay spades are a really great garden tool in combination with a jack hammer, they come with pointed or rounded edges depending on the job, but pointed edge clay spades are the most versatile as they tend to cut through roots if there are any large shrub that have grown out under the area you need to prepare.
Even if the ground isn’t that tough, clay spades on a jackhammer can take a lot of work out of earth clearance, especially if you’re digging any sort of foundations for garden buildings.
Always use goggles with a jackhammer. There’s no telling what you’ll break through and what can fire up. Some jackhammers have debris shields, which will at least divert most of what gets through up by the drilling process.
However, in older gardens, there is often glass ceramic and metal shards buried under the concrete (there’s no reason for this other than builders and homeowners thinking it was a good way to get rid of building rubble).
It’s also strongly advised to use steel toe capped shoes too. Jackhammers exert a massive amount of pressure as they drill and can easily break toes and feet if they go off track (or if you stumble).
As you’re working, make sure to stop and sweep the area every so often to avoid creating uneven surfaces for working. The cleaner the areas you’re working in, the less likely you are to trip.
Thankfully, modern jackhammers have automatic shut offs when you let go of the triggers, but that wasn’t always the case.
Best Jackhammer Reviews
I’ve always liked DeWalt. They make great tools and are a wildly underrated brand, and this great lightweight jackhammer is one of the easiest jackhammers for domestic use you can buy.
It’s not the best at really tough concrete, but at 2040 BPM, it powers through what it can really quickly.
It’s at the lower end of concrete breakers, with just 25J of impact pressure, but it’s just enough to start clearing the garden and making way for new landscaping.
This corded Baumr Demolition Jackhammer is lightweight, and can be used for vertical and horizontal breaking. Slightly lighter than the Bosch so much easier to use with less strain, but less powerful on really tough concrete.
The bonus here is that it comes with two separate chisels; one for chipping, one for breaking.
With 62J of impact, this is the most powerful Bosch jackhammer ever built. Ideal for breaking stone and concrete. It’s a classic T shape jackhammer, and fully electric so is great for big garden jobs, and suitable for most commercial uses.
For simple jobs and renovations, the Ozito Hammer Drill SDS+ is a really good drill, but just because it comes up under Bunnings jackhammer searches doesn’t mean it can work through concrete.
This is a hammer drill, and it’s great for chipping away at corners, and tidying up brickwork, but it’s not going to do those really big jobs. Still, a great little hammer drill though.
On a budget, the Milwaukee will manage most concrete, but with a low 26J and a high 1950 BPM, it’s prone to being quite jerky, and needs a lot of manual pressure exerted on it.
Great for smaller jobs and concrete spot work, like post hole digging or driving in.
The ergonomic handles, with anti-vibration technology makes this one of the most comfortable jackhammers on review here. Another really trusted brand, and just like the Bosch this is built to last, so you can buy it with confidence.
It’s got two settings, so can be used for light work more comfortably, or up the pressure to 25J to get through tougher concrete.
I know it’s not important, but the Full Boar is a pretty cool looking jackhammer. It’s pretty powerful too, with the ability to smash through a good solid layer of concrete.
The only downside is that it has absolutely no vibration control, so while it’s accurate, it will rattle your bones like nothing else.
The Topex is a good drill for really small jobs, and its low BPM makes it a good choice for anyone worried about rattling or damaging things when the drill goes off course.
Weirdly, it’s got a tendency to go off track in rotary drill mode, so is much more suited as a light-use hammer drill.
While this isn’t a particularly high-pressured jackhammer drill, it’s incredibly fast. In fact, it’s the fastest jackhammer on review here. So, it might not pack much of a punch, but it throws them fast.
The Baumr BMJK comes with plenty of accessories too, so is great value.
Ok, so the DeWalt is a little pricey for a jackhammer drill, but it’s built for purpose, with a great 7.1J to 3150 BPM, meaning it’s easy to handle but fast, and can get through light concrete quickly.
Obviously, it’s a hand-held drill not a T drill so it’s for light breaking only, but it really does make light work of flagstones.
Best Jackhammers Australia
Aussie Green Thumb 2022 Top Pick
DeWalt 240V 10Kg SDS-Max Breaker Demolition Hammer is a seriously good jackhammer and it's well-priced too. With an almost perfect J:BPM ratio it’s great for domestic and commercial use, and because it’s by DeWalt, you know you’re buying something that’ll last for years to come.
Best Value Jackhammer
I love the Baumr-AG 2400W Commercial Grade Jackhammer. The horizontal jackhammers are generally pretty good, but the anti-vibration you get with the Baumr, even though it’s just the handle, is really effective, and it's not often the budget option that comes with accessories.
If I had to open my wallet and buy one of these jackhammers, it would be the Baumr. Thankfully, I don’t have to, but for readers, this is definitely the best value jackhammer you’ll find today.
Premium Choice Jackhammer
The Bosch Blue 1900W 30kg GSH 27 VC Demolition Hammer is the most powerful jackhammer on review here, and that power comes with a price tag. For commercial users, this really is the best jackhammer money can buy right now.
No surplus-to-requirement petrol engines needed, no refuelling. Just plug it in to the main, and you’ll be breaking until the floor gives in.
How to use a jackhammer?
Like any heavy-duty power tool, you bought it to do the work for you, so let it. A jackhammer is built to provide the pressure, and even though the heavier models are hard to handle, they have that weight so they can exert the force they need to. Just keep it steady.
Should you rent or buy a jackhammer?
Breaking work always takes longer than you think. Considering that rental can be as high as $100 per day, buying your own can actually save you money.
When we did our yard, I knew it was a one-time thing we needed, so I bought a decent jackhammer, and sold it a few weeks later.
What are jackhammers used for?
Jackhammers are used to demolish concrete floors, pavement and even dig hard compacted soils. Jackhammers are reasonably easy to use, but if you are ever unsure of your ability to use jackhammers, or any other power tool, hire a professional.
Wrapping Up Our Jackhammer Buying Guide
Whatever it is you need to break; a jackhammer is a much better choice than a pickaxe and a sledge hammer. I hope our guide to jackhammers got you on the right track.
However you decide you break up or dig through those challenging parts of your next job, make sure you’re taking proper safety precautions.
Jackhammer, pick axe, hammer drill or sledge hammer, they all have the same risks, but a jackhammer is the only one that won’t leave you laid out in bed for weeks afterwards.