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What is SDS?

SDS stands for Slotted Drive System or Shaft. It is a system that was developed in the 1970’s by Bosch for the main purpose of drilling into hard, dense material such as masonry, concrete and stone.

If we look at normal drill bits they tend to turn and twist inside the chuck during the hammer motion when the bit strikes some resistance such as aggregate within the concrete.  When this occurs, it may score the shaft of the bit, wear down the chuck jaws and not concentrate the hammer’s force a the masonry surface. It was for this reason that the Slotted Drive System (SDS) was developed.



SDS Drill Bit Development


sds drill bits

The original SDS drill bits were designed by Bosch in the nineteen seventies to enable easier drilling of masonry and concrete. They used a hammering action combined with a rotary action and at the time revolutionised working with hard, dense materials. These are quite old tools and tend not be sold commercially anymore.

SDS drill bits have specialized slots along the shank which allows for the drill bit to be thrust forward, whilst at the same time being rotated by the hammering action of the drill. 

SDS drill bits will not fit standard drills, even those with hammer capabilities. A standard drill will only fit standard round drill bits due to the way the chuck is designed. These standard chucks have three jaws which tighten around the shaft.

SDS chucks are different because 

Rotary hammer drills or roto hammers are generally known as SDS drills. SDS drill bits have slots along the shank and are refer as slotted drive systems. As a result, the connection is stronger after inserting into the drill, which means less tightening is required when using. 

Specifically, they aim to perform tasks that standard drills couldn’t handle, such as building, renovating, and demolishing. While the drill bit punches through, SDS drills rotate and hammer back and forth.

Further, there’s no denying that the SDS is one of the most durable, versatile, and capable drills on the market today. These drills are more efficient and faster than rotary or hammer drills. 

An SDS tool can drill through solid surfaces such as brick, concrete, steel, etc. These drills use a combination of rotary motion and hammering motion. 

A hammer drill chuck applies to hammer action by moving forward and back. However, the hammering action in the SDS drills happens by a mechanism within the chuck. 

The drill bits can also move backward and forward within the chuck. By doing so, they can apply force more precisely. As a result, it is easier to drill through dense materials quickly and efficiently with SDS.

SDS Plus

An SDS plus drill is usually a little bit better than a standard SDS drill. Both drill bits have four rails and are suitable for drilling concrete, bricks, and other similar material. 

But none of them are capable of drilling concrete with the reinforcement inside. A hammering, rotating, and combining mechanism is present in SDS and SDS plus. There are grooves on the shank of the SDS-Plus bits

A groove holds the drill bit firmly, yet it moves freely independent of the chuck. The inserting and removing process is simple and requires no tools. You may also find a similar system on some big rotary hammers.

Difference Between SDS and SDS Plus

The following section will help you discover the similarities and differences between these two drills.


SDS and SDS plus differ according to the bits and chuck. A piston-based hammering mechanism operates in the SDS drill. When used with the SDS hammer drill, the SDS bit will fit into the SDS plus drill. 

As a result, you can consider the SDS plus as a little improvement over SDS. Compared to SDS Plus, SDS drill bits have a thinner diameter and are smaller. 

These bits have two grooves that are open and two grooves that remain closed. The grooves come with locking balls. Regarding chucks, it is not possible to use SDS chucks as SDS plus chucks. When it comes to fitting SDS drill bits, a chuck is very important.

Operational Modes

Additionally, SDS plus and SDS differ in their operational modes.

There are three modes of operation for the SDS drill. These are the following: 

  • Drilling only
  • Drilling Using a Hammer
  • No rotation, only a hammer

There are also three modes of operation available on the SDS plus drill. They are as follows.

  • Hammered rotary 
  • Rotation only
  • Hammer only


The SDS drill often comes in handy when breaking through hard materials. For instance, wood has a soft texture, which makes it easy for a drill to pass through. Therefore, you can use a standard power drill to drill through wood. 

However, standard power drills cannot punch holes in masonry due to their toughness and hardness. If you try using a traditional power drill, the results are usually a waste of time, with broken drill bits or holes too shallow for use. 

Therefore, you must use an SDS plus for such hard surfaces. The SDS Plus performs better in various situations than the SDS. When cutting through hard materials like concrete or masonry, the SDS Plus produces a more accurate hole.

SDS vs SDS Plus: So Which One Is the Best?

It is usually better to use an SDS plus drill rather than a standard SDS drill. There are four rails on each of these drill bits. The SDS and SDS plus can help you drill through various materials. 

It is important to note that the SDS plus and SDS are both hammer drills. The SDS Plus range has shorter lengths and is suitable for creating smaller diameter holes.

Therefore, you should not put them in the same category as household bits. An SDS Plus bit is sometimes necessary for situations that don’t require a large hole or work close to edges. If you’re curious to know more about the different sds/sds plus drill bits available in the market, have a look here.


After reading this article, you might know that there is no difference between SDS and SDS plus. A diameter of 10 mm is the same for the SDS and the SDS Plus. 

SDS Plus is a better version of SDS, but it is still workable with older versions of SDS. As a result, you can say that the SDS Plus is essentially the replacement for the SDS. 

Even though SDS drills are still around, the SDS plus has several improvements over the SDS drill system. Aside from that, they are newer and more widely available. It is also possible to find older SDS drills. However, they don’t offer any real advantages over SDS Plus. Hopefully we demystified the question about the difference btween SDS vs SDS Plus.

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