Review by: overanalyze
My new Bosch cordless drill holds its own, even against corded models
When I received my Bosch hammer drill from BeThePro.com I wanted to test out if the Fat Pack 4 Ah batteries were up to the tasks I perform each day at work. I have been using a sds hammer drill in my work for a long time. We use hammer drills for driving Tapcons, LDT’s, rebar pins, and other misc. masonry fasteners or holes. Once we switched from a regular hammer drill to an sds 13+ years ago, there was no going back. I received the new RHH181-01 18V brushless rotary hammer drill from Bosch tools from the BTP rewards list for posting to the forum and writing articles like this one. This is my tool review and comparison to the other 2 sds corded and cordless hammer drills I own and have used frequently in the past.
The are the hammer drill candidates that I used for this tool test:
- Weight: 5.8 lbs with handle and 4 amp Fatpack battery; 4.2 lbs bare tool
- DB level no-load: 84
- No-load RPM: 1400
- No-load BPM: 4500
- Rated Max Capacity in concrete: 3/4”
- Weight: 8.8 lbs with handle and battery; 5.6 lbs bare tool
- DB level no-load: 84
- No-load RPM: 1150
- No-load BPM: 4400
- Rated Max Capacity in concrete: 1”
Dewalt Tools D25303 110v (discontinued)
- Weight: 7.6 lbs with handle
- DB level no load: 84
- No-load RPM: 1000
- No-load BPM: 4300
- Rated Max Capacity in concrete: 1”
The Hammer Drill Noise Test
The noise level was determined by running the tool next to my phone using a free DB app. I don’t know how accurate the numbers are, but they do all seem close in noise level. If anything the Dewalt 36v sounds a little quieter to me.
Hammer Drill Speed of Drilling Test
I wanted to test the difference in speed of drilling between the tools. I used a CMU block (Concrete Masonry Unit) to drill into. I used a stopwatch and stopped as soon as the bit broke through the bottom of the web. The web was 2.25 inches thick. A standard CMU can be anywhere from 1,000 psi to 2500 psi. in strength.
Here are the results from different size bits. When I used pressure or weight I did my best to apply my weight to each hammer drill the same, but this wasn’t a scientific test.
1/2” Bit no pressure applied:
- Bosch: 15 seconds (Note: the Bosch weighs 35% less than the Dewalt cordless and 24% less than the corded Dewalt, so this could have some effect)
- Dewalt 36v: 13 seconds
- 110v Dewalt: 14 seconds
1/2” Bit pressure applied:
- Bosch: 5 seconds
- Dewalt 36v: 8 seconds
- 110v Dewalt: 7 seconds
3/16” Bit pressure applied (most common Tapcon bit)
- Bosch: 4 seconds
- Dewalt 36v: 5 seconds
- 110v Dewalt: 3 seconds
1” Bit Pressure Applied
- Bosch: 23 seconds
- Dewalt 36v: 43 seconds
- 110v Dewalt: 27 seconds
The results were a bit surprising. I expected the 36v Dewalt hammer drill to perform better due to its size. The Bosch performed much better with weight or pressure applied while running the drill. This is the normal way for me, and I presume most, to drill holes in masonry. The brushless motor seems to give it plenty of power and it holds its own compared to the other two models.
Hammer Drill Vibration Test
The vibration between the models varied quite a bit. The Dewalt 36v has “Shocks” anti-vibration. It makes a difference. The 110v Dewalt we own does not have any anti-vibration nor does the Bosch. The Bosch definitely transferred some vibration to the handle, but not anywhere close to the 110v Dewalt. I also noticed the Bosch bounced around a bit more on the initial start of drilling holes than the other two. If you would start with a slower speed, it was easier to start a hole in a specific location using the Bosch.
Hammer Drill Chipping Mode Review
I also operated the two cordless models in chipping mode to see how they compared. They both felt very similar to each other. I use this feature when I need to remove a few bricks or clean some mortar off of concrete in small amounts. This feature is important to have, but not used a lot by me. If you have a bunch of demo to complete a larger demo hammer and/or air hammer is still better.
Hammer Drill Balance and Feel Comparison
The balance and feel of the Bosch cordless rotary hammer drill was very comfortable. It is not my favorite handle design though. I prefer the style of handle the Dewalt hammer drill has, though that may be just because that is what I have gotten used over the years. I tend to grip the Bosch like a drywall screw gun. It seems balanced when I do that. The Bosch is the lightest of the three and you can feel the difference a few less pounds make. I actually thought the 110v Dewalt felt the heaviest, but it was in the middle of the three. Using the Bosch overhead or in a horizontal position all day would definitely be better due to its lighter weight.
Final Thoughts on The Hammer Drill Comparison
I know the overall head-to-head isn’t a perfect comparison between the models. Only a true laboratory could provide true scientific results. But for how most guys who deal in concrete and masonry regularly use a hammer drill, I think I was able to put them through their paces. The two hammer drills I own are 7-8 years old and have been used quite a bit. I would expect new tools with new technology to perform differently/better than my older tools.
My overall impression of the Bosch RHH181-01 cordless hammer drill is a positive one. I wished they had included anti-vibration technology into this drill though. It would be a nice feature to have. Having said that, this is one SDS hammer drill that is very comfortable and balanced while using it. When we drill concrete, we tend to drill a lot of holes at once. The tool seems like it will be more comfortable to use all day than what I am used to because of the lighter weight. The power of the tool was equal or better to the other models I am used to operating, even the 36V Dewalt hammer drill, which was surprising to me. I look forward to this replacing my heavier 36v for daily use as the best rotary hammer drill I own.