Oct 05 , 2019
Probably the most common question we get from customers is what the difference is between SDS Max and SDS Plus. The short answer is SDS Max is a larger shank (approx 2 times the diameter of SDS Plus). SDS Max and SDS Plus are not interchangeable although there are some adapters commercially available that allow for the use of an SDS Plus bit with an SDS Max machine or vice versa (which is not always a good idea, more of that in a future post).
A secondary question that often follows is which route customers should go down and the answer really depends on the job at hand and budget. The obvious benefits of SDS Max hammers are the increased power it provides. As an example a flooring contractor may find it beneficial to invest in an SDS Max hammer if they often find themselves in need of large tile/thinset demos. SDS Max rotary/demo hammers have a larger assortment of compatible floor scrapers with wider blades that will likely save them time and thereby save them money in the long run. However, the added power comes with an added cost as a decent SDS Max hammer will start around $500 vs $150 for an SDS Plus variant (don't forget the cost of the bits /accessories are usually much more expensive as well). Additionally, the added weight of the SDS Max hammers will result in higher operator fatigue rates. Depending on the SDS Max hammer, they are often not as user friendly when drilling or chipping horizontally or vertically.
Generally, for the average DIYer, a quality SDS Plus rotary hammer should be sufficient for most tasks at hand. However, for the professional you'll most likely need to keep one of each as part of your arsenal.