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Choosing a Concrete Breaking Tool

(Chipping Hammers, Rivet Busters and Jackhammers)

Breaking and chipping tools for concrete.

It is difficult to speak of absolutes on breaking tools as the job requirements and sizes of tools very so widely. Do you need a 10 pound tool or a 100 pound tool? All hand held breaking tools work essentially the same way. A percussive blow from a hammer or anvil is transferred through the tool steel to the tip - breaking the surface of the material.

Chipping Hammers

The smallest of these types of tools is called a Chipping Hammer and usually weighs between 10 and 20 pounds. The main variation within these are the tradeoff between impact energy and blows per minute. A 2” cylinder will be the lightest and deliver less impact energy but will have a very high BPM. Conversely – a 4” cylinder will weigh more, have more impact energy, and a lower BPM. These tools will have a pistol grip or D handle and are more suitable for horizontal work. A pistol grip will have an outside push trigger and a D handle will have an inside pull trigger.

Rivet Busters

The rivet buster looks very similar to the Chipping hammer but is larger in size but don’t let this tools similarity to its smaller cousin fool you. By weight – it is the hardest hitting of all the demolition hammers. A 35 pound 11” stroke tool hits as hard as a 60 pound paving breaker! These tools usually will have an 8 or 11” stroke which again corresponds to amount of blows per minute vs power per each blow. They were originally used for slicing through steel rivets but have evolved to be more commonly used in rock and concrete work due to their relatively small size and massive impact energy. These tools will have a pistol grip or D handle and are suitable for horizontal work and some vertical work. A pistol grip will have an outside push trigger and a D handle will have an inside pull trigger.

Clay Diggers and Pick Hammers

Clay diggers are very small paving breakers and weigh in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 pounds. They have a D handle and are best suited for horizontal work. They are most often used in trenching and digging applications with a clay spade for digging and a point or chisel for light rock or concrete breaking.

Paving Breakers (Jackhammers)

Paving Breakers are T handled tools made to run vertically and break up rock and concrete or cut asphalt. Unlike the smaller tools which differentiate their power based on the bore and stroke of the tool – breakers are sold by the weight class. The classes are generally close to the actual weight of the tool itself ranging from 25lb class to the big 90lb class tools. To determine which tool is best for you - you want to determine what work you will normally be doing with the tool. Generally speaking – a 40lb breaker is good for 4” concrete, 60lb for 6” and a 90lb for 9”. The tradeoff here is weight vs ease of use. A lighter tool will be easier to handle but you will have to handle it for a longer period of time.