BTP Review: Bosch Hammer Drill vs. Dewalt Hammer Drill

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Review by: overanalyze

My new Bosch cordless drill holds its own, even against corded models

Bosch and Dewalt Hammer Drill comparisonWhen 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.

Hammer drill battery comparison - side view.       Cordless Hammer drill battery comparison - top view.

The are the hammer drill candidates that I used for this tool test:

Bosch Tools RHH181-01Bosch-RHH181-hammer-drill-18V-cordless-brushless

  • 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”

Dewalt Tools DC233 36vDewalt hammer drill DCC233

  • 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”

Hammer drill comparison, profile view.

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.

Tool Review Hammer Drill Comparison Drilling Test

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.

My Bosch 18V Brushless Hammer Drill - RHH181BL from BeThePro.com's sponsor Bosch.

My Bosch 18V Brushless Hammer Drill – RHH181BL from BeThePro.com’s sponsor Bosch.

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18 comments on “BTP Review: Bosch Hammer Drill vs. Dewalt Hammer Drill

  1. Chad

    Awesome review OA! I am surprised how well the 18v Bosch kept up with the corded Dewalt – a cordless tool performing on par with a corded tool is impressive.

  2. Christopher

    Great review, comparison and vids! Nice that the Bosch RHH181-01 weighs in a little less but has some serious performance. Amazing that it could replace your 36v also. Going to have to check this out myself 🙂

  3. Brian

    Wow what a review, I don’t really need a drill like that Bosch, but after reading and watching your videos, man you might have changed my reward plans, great review, Bosch might be looking to hire you.

  4. Sven

    Looks like you even took the tools over they rated bit sizes. Great to know that if you need to go up to a 1″ on occasion, the RHH181 can handle it with ease. Sounds like a great addition. Thank you.

  5. Dan

    To echo everyone else, great review! The results certainly are impressive. I have thought about the Bosch RHH181-01 a few times, may have to revisit that idea.

  6. Boyd

    Really nice review OA, The videos were great. I’m so glad you did this on the Rotary Hammer, I’ve had my eye on it for a long time. Now I’m sure, Thanks

  7. Corey M

    Awesome review, thank you! Something I’ve been trying to figure out though… How do you think these new 18v drills compare to the slightly dated 36v lithium Bosch? I’m most concerned about performance and speed with a 3/8″ or 1/2″ in quartzite. Do you think the 18v drills can hold their own?

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