What Does S.D.S. Stand For?

Posted by on April 27, 2006

Yesterday, I made reference to an email that we received some time back. I located the first of his emails and thought I’d share it with you, along with the answer to his question.

I am a Tool Specialist at [big box store], what does S.D.S.
stand for? I sell Bosch and DeWalt Hammer Drill bits and
a customer asked what S.D.S. was. Thanks.
Louis [last name removed]

Well, what Louis did was made us all laugh here. Any tool geek, or “Specialist” as he put it, should be able to tell you that SDS is Slotted Drive System or Slotted Drive Shaft. I found the following information on their website now, which makes me wonder if they published some of our answers to him on their site.

  • SDS (or Slotted Drive System) bits for hammer drills/rotary hammers allow the bit to slide in the chuck and enhance the hammering action of the tool. For most applications, these bits provide plenty of torque.

  • SDS Max bits are similar to SDS bits, but have larger shanks and come in larger sizes than SDS bits. These powerful bits are useful in industrial applications.

So, now that you know what SDS is, here are all the cordless SDS drills, electric SDS drills and SDS drill bits you’ll need to get the job done. Oh, and I’ll mention that SDS has moved on to being SDS Plus (or SDS+) which has some minor differences but still works the same way.

9 Responses to What Does S.D.S. Stand For?

  1. speedy1501

    Thanks for that info. As a serious diy practition I get great satisfaction out of the `salesmen’ of this world who bandy around acronyms and buzzwords but haven’t the faintest clue as to what they mean. It’s great to confront them by asking what they mean at a formal meeting
    Seriously though surely there’s more to SDS than just the slotted shaft. By my perception the whole SDS tool is differently engineered from an ordinary hammer drill.
    Is the drive system just gearing? Or is there some form of hydraulic function involved. In most SDS drills the motor is a right angles to the business end. What’s the rationale guys?

  2. Brian Mark

    SDS is just a bit retention system. Quite simply, it’s the way that the bit hooks into the rotary hammer.

    Any large rotary hammer, be they SDS or spline shank, such as this one, have the right angle positioning vs. the rotation. It’s just the way that allows the balance to be the best for the user. This SDS model has everything inline, so you can see that SDS has nothing to do with the angles and gearing.

    Taking a look at the insides of an SDS drill, you can see it’s all gearing, not hydraulics.

  3. TFP Admin

    Great information, Brian. I wanted to let you know one of our members linked to this entry to answer a question I had. We are all big power tool addicts, being as how most of us are flooring professionals. I’d like to invite you to drop by and say hi to some power tool fans and no doubt new regular readers. http://www.thefloorpro.com/community/tools-equipment-and-supplies/485-sds-plus.html

    Thanks again, Brian, nice blog.

  4. Anonymous

    thanks for thie info we couldn’t figure it out

  5. Anonymous

    thank for the info my dad and me were at the hardware store and they didn’t know what it meantso thanks again!

  6. Anonymous

    The electrician & joiner fitting my new kitchen have just had a coversation about SDS drills. I overheard one of them asking what it SDS meant & both agreed they hadn’t a clue. Imagine the look on their faces when the blond bimbo has just informed them it’s a slotted drive system – priceless! THANKS.

  7. Juli


    I work for a construction company in the US VI and have been asked to research SDS bits. Happened on to your blog and thought someone who posts here may be able to assist.

    We are thinking about purchasing a Metabo KHE-D28 that require SDS Plus bits. We already have a few Hilti TE2 models, and wonder if the “SDS” and “SDS Plus” bits are different, or if the same bits can be used in both tools.

    Thanks in advance

  8. Anonymous

    i was told it stands for Simple Drilling System

  9. Anonymous

    Juli, The SDS bits you use for your Hilti TE2 are interchangable with SDS-Plus bits for the Metabo KHE-D28. By the way, the KHE-D28 was named Tools of the Trade best overall in it’s class in their July-August 2007 issue.