A rotary hammer, which simultaneously turns and punches a drill bit, is the ideal tool for drilling holes into brick and concrete. But making those holes also creates a huge, powdery mess. Snap-on HEPA vacuums developed by tool manufacturers can now trap dust right at the source.
Pulverized concrete contains silica, a known carcinogen. In the past, DIYers had to tether their tools to freestanding shop vacs to keep the dust contained. They can now attach a compact vacuum directly to the tool. Suction from the vacuum pulls debris through a nozzle near the tip of the bit, into aluminum tubing, and directly into a canister. The only cleanup required is dumping the waste.
1. DeWalt DC233KLDH: Despite a huge 36-volt battery pack, the DeWalt DC233KLDH fits into tight spaces. The vacuum canister snaps onto the bottom of the hammer, instead of its side. Both the hammer and vacuum connect to the same power source, so pulling the trigger simultaneously starts the drilling and the suction. $899
2. Milwaukee M12 HammerVac 2306-22: The M12 is the only vacuum that can attach to any corded or cordless rotary hammer—regardless of brand. Users adjust a metal strap to fit over the drill head, and a jaw on the strap grabs onto the 3.3-pound vacuum, which draws power from its own 12-volt lithium-ion battery. $250
3. Makita LXRH011: Though one 18-volt battery powers both the vacuum and the hammer in Makita’s system, a single charge lasts 50 percent longer than on the company’s prior vacuum-less hammer. To extend the runtime, engineers swapped the old motor for a brushless model; without brushes, there’s less internal friction for the motor to work against. $539
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.