Bosch Tough Drills

Bosch_Tough_DrillsBosch makes very nice drills made for a variety of drilling applications such as wood, brick, and concrete.  While the top performers in Bosch’s lineup are currently brushed tools, they have a good solid reputation for being long lasting tough drills.  The two drills we picked out to be the best two drills from Bosch are named the Brute Tough HDH181 and compact Tough DDS181.  These two drills were picked for their performance with strong power and runtime.  Both drills use the 18-volt lithium-ion batteries that are currently available up to 6.0 Ah versions.  Both drills have two speeds (see specs below) and provide great torque. Each have a 4-pole open frame motor with adjustable clutch settings.  These drills can be purchased with or without the hammer option.  Keyless chucks are also standard with both.

HDH181 Brute Tough Specs

  • 8-inch overall head length allows for use in tight spaces
  •  Powered by Bosch 18-volt lithium-ion batteries
  • Two speed settings (up to 420 RPM and 1,800 RPM)
  •  Maximum of 752 inch-pounds of torque
  • 25+1 clutch settings and a variable-speed trigger
  • 1/2-inch keyless chuck
  • Active Response Technology cuts power a bind is detected
  •  Three-year ProVantage protection plan

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DDS181 Compact Tough Specs

  • 6.25-inch overall head length allows for use in very tight spaces
  • Powered by Bosch 18-volt lithium-ion batteries
  • Two speed settings (up to 500 RPM and 1,700 RPM)
  • Maximum of 600 inch-pounds of torque
  • 18+1 clutch settings and a variable-speed trigger
  • 1/2-inch keyless chuck
  • Three-year ProVantage protection plan

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Brute Verses Compact

Bosch_Compact_Vs_BruteWhen looking at the best offerings of drills from a company, we like to include two models of different size because sometimes the best drill is the one that fits your needs for a particular application.  In this case we have the larger Brute Tough model and the smaller Compact Tough model that share some similar specifications.  The main differences come from the applications each maybe asked to perform.  The Brute Tough drill has a full metal gearbox and is designed for heavy duty applications.  The Compact tough model is slightly smaller and lighter with less metal parts to save weight, but still has good durability.

When using these drills side by side, the difference in power is hard to feel.  It was not until we put some 3″ hole saws on them and tried to stop them by applying all of our weight to them.  While there is no doubt the Brute tough model has more power and our tests back that up, I would not buy one or the other over the power difference.  Both settings in RPM’s feel close and the torque is similar with both when drilling.  Holding the drills, they are both comfortable and the grips are similar.

Bosch_HDH181So let’s stop comparing the two.  If you need a compact drill, it is clear what to buy.  The Brute Tough model with Active Response Technology is a great drill to use in heavy duty applications every day.  The active response technology will shut the drill down if the sensors inside find the drill might be in a bind or jam situation, saving your wrist or arm from being twisted.  This can save injuries and decrease accidents on a jobsite.  It is also nice to have in such a powerful drill as it can get away from you quick.  The metal gearbox was designed for day after day of abuse.  The clutch settings are designed so you will always have the setting you need.  The tongue and grove handle with depth stop is great for hammer drilling or other heavy duty applications.  It is important to note that some other manufacturers do not include a depth stop with their hammer drill models.

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Future Technology

Bosch is doing very well leading some markets without having a large brushless lineup.  The Brute Tough drill is considered to many to be one of the best drills on the market with the competitors almost all being brushless.  Bosch does make some brushless models in drills, but they are not as powerful as the models we have looked at above.  While there is not much talk about it, I look forward to a possible brushless Brute Tough drill with even greater torque and increased run time.  Unfortunately, that could also equate to a higher cost.  No matter what one of these drills you pick from Bosch, we believe they will serve you well.

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