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What Is A Concrete Breaker?

Over the years, we’ve used just about every method you could imagine to get rid of solid concrete foundations, from basic sledgehammers to controlled demolition grouts, all the way up to massive hydraulic breakers. But the concrete jackhammer is one tool we’ll often choose above the rest! 

Thanks to its versatility, durability and fairly inexpensive ingredients, concrete is the go-to construction material for most modern projects. However, when it comes to removing this stuff, the process can be pretty challenging! 

If you’ve been looking into replacing a tired and worn concrete surface, you may have come across today’s tool, but what is a concrete breaker?

Concrete Breaker Machine Definition 

A concrete breaker is a power tool that uses directional force to break apart hard construction materials like rock and concrete. Breakers can be pneumatic, hydraulic, electric or fuel-fed, though regardless of their power source, they’ll feature a moving piledriver which can be fitted with a range of specialised drill-bits, chisels and stakes, each suited to different applications.

Concrete breakers range in size from handheld devices best suited to delicate chipping work to heavy-duty jackhammers capable of breaking concrete slabs over 10” thick. You can find out more with our instructions on how to break up thick concrete. Hydraulic breakers are even larger and connect to excavators to produce over 5000J of impact energy.

What Other Names Is A Concrete Breaker Called?

Though concrete breaker is the most descriptive term used to define these machines, they also go by several different names, some of which refer to specific variations of a breaker.

  • Air Breaker / Pneumatic Drill – A breaker powered by compressed air
  • Kango Drill / Hammer / Breaker – Used to describe electromechanical breakers
  • Jackhammer – A hand-held pneumatic or electromechanical breaker
  • Demolition Hammer – A hand-held concrete breaker
  • Hydraulic Breaker – Generally used to describe excavator-mounted breakers.

Though these terms have specific meanings, many people use each interchangeably to refer to concrete breakers as a whole, so it’s always worth double-checking the technical information for any concrete breaker you’re planning on purchasing or hiring for your project.

What Is The Difference Between A Breaker And A Demolition Hammer?

A demolition hammer will rarely weigh over 40lbs, making them much smaller than medium-sized and heavy-duty concrete breakers. Most commonly, these devices are powered by an electric motor rather than compressed air, petrol or diesel-fed engines.

Demolition hammers are hand-held power tools that feature a motor, an internal impact mechanism and some form of hammer, chisel or stake attached to the end of their moving piledrivers. These tools look similar to rotary drills, though they don’t provide rotational force.

All demolition hammers are concrete breakers; not all breakers are demolition hammers.

Is A Breaker The Same As A Jackhammer?

A jackhammer is similar to most concrete breakers, though smaller tools like demolition hammers and larger ones like hydraulic breakers are visually and operationally different. 

Jackhammers are vertically operated breakers, commonly weighing 40-60lbs, and can be powered by compressed air, hydraulics, eclectic motors or fuel-fed engines. They’re too large to be used horizontally like demolition hammers, though too small to be fitted to an excavator like hydraulic breakers.

Once again, all jackhammers are breakers; not all concrete breakers are jackhammers.

Last Word 

We hope the information in this article has helped you get to grips with concrete breakers. Generally speaking, the term concrete breaker can describe a wide range of machines that use directional force to break apart hard construction materials like concrete and solid rock. We often get asked, can anybody use a concrete breaker, so we thought we’d put together a guide to show you.

Smaller breakers are often referred to as demolition hammers, though they’re still concrete breakers all the same, whilst midsize to large hand-held tools will often be found under the name jackhammer. 

Giant breakers attached to excavators are almost always called hydraulic breakers. Several catch-all names are used to describe concrete breakers based on their power sources, such as kango drills and air breakers. 

If you’re ever in doubt, check for the manufacturer’s technical information, including the tool’s size and recommended application.