Drop-In Anchor Setting Tools: The Ultimate Guide To Drop-In Anchors & Setting Tools


Welcome to the ultimate guide on drop-in anchors and setting tools. This guide will cover the most critical information you need about drop-in anchors and how to use a drop-in anchor set tool to secure them into the concrete. Drop-in anchors are female anchors designed for anchoring into concrete. The professional drills a hole into the concrete and then "drops" the anchor into the pre-drilled hole to secure it. The setting tool for drop-in anchor an integral part of the process because you need the tool to expand the anchor within the hole you drilled.

The drop-in anchor, sometimes referred to as the 'flush shell', can only be used in hard concrete. Once the drop-in anchor is installed, the installation remains forever. Drop-in anchors require a wedge anchor setting tool to bolt certain objects into concrete - such as railings, signs, light fixtures, and more. You can use these anchors both on the ground and on the overhead in order to secure objects in the desired place. Despite the permanent nature of the drop-in anchor, you essentially drill a threaded hole, which means that the bolt can be unscrewed whenever you need it.

Pro Tip: Drop-in anchors require anchor tools called “setting tools” in order to install them. If you don't have an anchor set tool, you can purchase it directly from our website. We provide setting tools of different sizes that can be used for all anchoring purposes.

What Are Drop-In Anchors Used For?

There are many uses for drop-in tools, and the main advantage is that you can use them for bolts that can be removed periodically. Here are the top uses for drop-in anchors:

✔Drop-in anchors are used for managing cable trays, organizing HVAC systems, fire sprinklers, and more.

✔The anchors can be used for situations when you need a bolt that has to be inserted and removed regularly.

✔Drop-in anchors are exclusively used in solid concrete material.

✔An anchor set tool is required to secure the anchors in place.

Tools Needed To Install Drop-In Anchors

The drop-in anchor can't be installed with a single motion. You're going to need an array of tools in order to install anchors. Here's a list of tools you need to install anchors:

  • Rotary hammers (sometimes known as 'hammer drills').
  • Masonry drill bits.
  • Wire brushes.
  • Drop-in anchors.
  • Anchor setting tools/wedge anchor setting tool.
  • Threaded bolts.

Size/Material Of Drop-In Anchors

Drop-in anchors come in different sizes and materials, depending on your needs. There are separate setting tools depending on the diameter of the anchor, which you’ll need to install them.

  • Drop-in anchors are exclusively manufactured in 5 separate diameters (1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4"), and each one has only 1 length. This makes it easy to buy all the sizes you need.
  • Most drop-in anchors are made from stainless steel (304 stainless steel or 316 stainless steel) or zinc-plated carbon material.
  • The drop-in dimensions available range from 1/4" up to 3/4" and they all install flush.
  • Drop-in anchors, regardless of material and size, require expansion tools for installation (also known as ‘setting tools’) which have to be of adequate dimensions in order to support the anchor.
  • Galvanized carbon is not available for drop-in anchors.

Drop-In Anchor Holding Power

The holding power of drop-in anchors varies:

  • The main variable that determines the holding value of your drop-in anchor is the depth of the embedment and the psi of the concrete.
  • Other factors that affect the holding value are whether the steel rebar is in the concrete.
  • Drop-in anchors have smooth sides which provide more space for the surface area to remain in contact with concrete which boosts the holding value.

Drop-In Anchor Installation Basics: 101

  • Similar to other female anchors, the specific drop-in anchor dimension serves as a reference for the side diameter of the anchor.
  • The measured outside diameter has to be equal to the hole diameter that you're going to drill into the concrete.
  • The length of the drop-in anchor is essentially the minimum embedment of the diameter.
  • The bottom of the hole is used to set the anchor.
  • To install the anchor, a professional has to drop the anchor in the hole with the threaded open end facing the surface and use a setting tool + a hammer until the anchor is set in place.

How To Install Drop-In Anchors: 10 Steps

The following is a 10-step process for installing drop-in anchors. If you have the tools mentioned above, you can get started immediately. It may take you a while to obtain the necessary tools in order to secure anchors onto handrails, machines, overhead hangers, lights, and more. Most anchors are suitable for heavy-duty fastening.

The 5 dimensions available are 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4". These can be found in zinc plated steel, 304 or 316 stainless, depending on the project’s needs. The fixture is removed after a successful installation and while the drop-in anchor is left in the concrete, the bolt itself can be removed by unscrewing it. Here's how to install drop-in anchors in 10 steps:

Step 1) Prepare the equipment. To get started, you need to have the anchor and the adequate masonry drill bit. The drop-in manufacturer should list the exact size hole you need to make to install the anchor.

Pro Tip: Research this information from the specific manufacturer of the anchors you're installing.

Step 2) Adjust the drill bit depth. The adjustment should be based on the hole you need to drill (after doing your research on depth). The depth should be adjusted on the hammer drill. Mark the area on the drill bit at the exact point you need to stop drilling, in order to drill an accurate hole.

Step 3) Switch your hammer drill to "hammer mode". The default mode will be "drill mode". Note: With certain setting tools, you don't need to do this.

Step 4) Put on your protective gear. You need to wear protective equipment before you start drilling. At this stage, you're getting ready to drill and you should protect your eyes and ears adequately.

Step 5) Start drilling in the marked point of the concrete. Keep drilling until you reach the required depth. The marking on the drill bit should indicate where you need to stop. Use the hammer drill to drill the hole and use a carbide drill bit for the drop-in anchor you're using. The drill bit size required should be listed on the drop-in anchor's manufacturer website.

Step 6) Clean up the hole with a vacuum. This is done in order to remove the debris from the area. Take the wire brush and use it to clean up debris that is stuck to the corners of the hole. Use the vacuum to re-vacuum a second time and make sure the hole is fully cleared of debris. Insert the setting tool and the hammer until the set tool and the anchor shoulder meet. Alternative: Get a blowout bulb instead of a vacuum because they work similarly.

Step 7) Start the anchoring process by dropping the anchor inside the hole. Make sure the opening of the anchor is facing the exit.

Step 8) Take the setting tool for the anchor and insert it at the top of the anchor. Proceed to hammer down on it until your setting tool touches the top of the anchor. The anchor should be fully secured in the hole.

Step 9) Once the anchor is secured, you can start attaching your fixtures to the concrete. Take the bolt and insert it in the hole. Secure the bolt in the hole by using a wrench to tighten it.

Step 10) Insert a threaded rod or bolt into the fixture. This is the final step once the fixture is over the drop-in anchor.

Warning: Apply Caution

There are certain things you need to pay attention to when it comes to the weight capacity of the anchors:

  • The anchor's load capacity can be affected negatively if you drill oversized holes because this makes it harder to set the anchor securely.
  • The load tables you see by manufacturers are usually from their own tests and may not be reflective of reality when you anchor them yourself.