Drills have come a long way over the years.  We have gone from tool-less chucks to cutting the power cord.  Batteries have increased in power and motors have become more efficient over time.  So with that said, it’s only natural that with all the technology, companies would start creating more compact drills for those who need a fair amount of power, but don’t need a ton of power that is offered with the bigger drills.  So here is the complication, they need to create a tough drill, that is compact, but not too small.  The drill has to have power and be able to perform tough applications, but the weight can’t increase.  There is a little more to it than just what I mentioned, but I think you get the idea.  As of today most of the major brands offer a compact drill, but when it comes to compact drills, I think the Bosch is in the top for compact drills and hammer drills.  It’s not a knock against other manufacturers, I just love the Bosch compact drills.

Two years ago, we took a look at their DDB181-02 1/2? Compact Drill Driver and the 18V Compact Drill/Driver DDS182-02.  Again, I was a fan of both drills.  So today we get to check out their two newest 18V compact drill/driver and hammer drill.  The compact drill/driver is DDS183-01 and the compact hammer drill is HDS183-01.  Now before you say I am a Bosch fanboy, I am going to tell you why I love these two new additions, I also would like to see a couple of items changed in future designs.

Bosch Compact DrillsBoth the Bosch compact drill and the hammer drill are pretty much the same with a couple of differences, which I will cover first.  Obviously, the hammer drill is for concrete work.  So with the hammer drill, you get an impact rate of 0-28,500 bpm.  Since this is a hammer drill, you can expect it to weigh a little more than the drill driver.  The drill/driver is 3.9 lbs, while the hammer drill is 4 lbs.  Not a noticeable difference.  Another difference is the length.  The drill/driver is 6.8″ while the hammer drill is 7.25″.  I think the difference in length is only because of the collar system on the hammer drill.  If you look at the housing system where the motor sits, they are identical in size.  Other than those three items, both drills are identical.

With Bosch’s older compact models, they used a four pole motor.  The new compact drills are a brushless motor, which means they will deliver more power and have a longer run time.  Here is one huge item that Bosch designed into these drills and that is Kickback Control.  Now I could be wrong, but I believe Bosch is the first to introduce this into a compact drill.  I have seen it in rotary hammers before.  The kickback control is designed to shut the tool down if it senses binding, so it protects your wrist, arm and shoulder.

Bosch Compact DrillsCompared to the older models, Bosch designed these with a single sleeve metal chuck, which means you will get the same durable chuck in the compact design as you get with their big bad boy drills.  Both drills put out speeds of 0-600/0-1,900 rpm’s using a two-speed transmission system located on the top of the drill.  In regards to torque, both produce 531 in-lbs of torque which is a lot of torque in such a small tool.

Both drills feature a base LED light that lights up when the trigger is pulled.  While not making this tool shadow-less, it does a decent job in lighting up your area of work.  I have never been a fan of base LED lights, but where else are you going to put a LED light to completely eliminate the shadows?

Earlier in the article, I said there were two items I would love to see changed in future designs.  First, would be the battery configuration.  I understand these are 18V drills and designed for tough applications.  However, there are plenty of times these tools will be used for small applications since they are perfect for smaller places.  I would love to see future models come with one Fat Pack and one Slim Pack.  The Bosch Slim Packs are awesome.  They hold a charge, they last a long time, so I have no doubt the Slim Pack will work great with these drills. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a smaller pack on when you want a smaller and lighter tool.  This is not a huge deal for me, but just a future thought.

The second item I would love to see is on the Drill/Driver tool.  Bosch uses a single collar to change torque settings, 20+1.  If you are on a low torque setting, you have to turn the drill collar almost all the way around to set it to drill mode.  Having another collar, like on the hammer drill, would be much easier and quicker.  I get it, it does save on the length of the tool, but hey I can dream, can’t I?  The most important one is on the hammer drill, which they have, but having this system on the drill/driver would make this a perfect tool, at least for me.

Bosch Compact DrillsIf you are looking for a recommendation on which one to buy, I would buy the compact hammer drill – HDS183-01.  Both are extremely nice, but with the hammer drill, obviously you get the hammer feature.  With this extra feature, you will pay about a $50 premium at the time of this article.  The weight will increase from 3.9 lbs to 4 lb, not a big deal.  The length will also increase from 6.8″ to 7.25″.  But for the $50 premium you get the hammer feature and two collar system, which I like much better.

In the end both the Bosch compact drill – driver and the compact hammer drill are great additions to the Bosch lineup.  While the tools are small, they have packed a ton of technology into these tools.  Not only do you get the Brushless motor, that will last longer and run more efficient, but you also get the kickback control, which is huge.  The tools are compact and lightweight, just as Bosch advertised.  While I would like to see a design change with the drill/driver and having two collars instead of one and while I would like a different battery configuration, these are great tools.  In my opinion, Bosch makes some of the industries toughest tools.  Out of all the years we have been doing Tools in Action, I have seen the least complaints and issues about Bosch tools than any other company around.  If you are looking for a tough tool that will last for years to come, it’s hard to compete with Bosch and what they have to offer.