Next Generation Drilling
Oct 30, 2011 (Updated Oct 30, 2011)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Small, light, powerful, LED light, run time, tough
Cons:Slightly excessive chuck runout, no bit holder
The Bottom Line: This drill is a complete evolution of the old Bosch Compact-Tough drills, offering incredible power and improved build quality in a much smaller package.
Every man with an ounce of testosterone should have a cordless drill. The utility of a cordless drill can't be beat for the money. The predecessor to this drill was the 36618...a good drill, without a doubt. The DDS181 has a new 4-pole motor slammed into an even more compact package, so let's see how it fares...
Recommend this product?
Packaging is very similar to the 36618. The hard case has a slightly different and smaller Bosch font. The case has room for the drill, a battery, charger and forward grip. The latches are metal and commensurate with the quality of most Bosch products. A manual us included as well as Provantage warranty card.
Two Slimpack batteries are included as well as a charger. The charger included with this is different than the one I received with my 36618; the included charger here is not quite as impressive, offering fewer indication lights.
The DDS181 is a tight little package - significantly smaller and slightly lighter than its predecessor. Rubber overmolding is tastefully featured throughout the drill, designed to absorb impact from being dropped or knocked over, and it works well (I've accidentally tested it). The plastic used throughout this drill is smooth and appears to be of high quality. The chuck collar is made from a very tough plastic labelled "Rohm". Don't be deceived into thinking this plastic is inferior to metal; I've found it to be incredibly resilient. 18V Fatpack or Slimpack batteries can be used with this drill; I've found Slimpacks to work plenty well for regular (not hammer or rotary hammer) drilling.
The DDS181 features an 18 position clutch with two speed ranges. This is two fewer clutch positions than its predecessor, which likely has little bearing on real functionality; this is irrelevant to me anyway, because I use an impact. The brake on this drill is a step up from the last generation, stopping extremely quickly after trigger release. The speed range switch feels fantastic, snapping into place with what I can only describe as an incredibly decisive feel.
The LED has been improved on this model, being mounted towards the battery pack instead of the chuck. This gives a much more thorough and unobstructed lighting pattern relative to the 36618. The light can be activated with a light pull of the trigger, without the drill mechanism starting.
Despite being downsized, this new drill is even more powerful than its predecessor, developing an impressive 600 in-lbs of torque. This is on par with larger drills and better than any other its size. This extra torque is handy for use with hole saws, spade bits and auger bits. The drill is fast enough to make quick work of small jobs, and it has enough torque to handle larger jobs as well. The chuck has a very solid locking feel and I've had no trouble with loose bits.
A couple negatives to mention:
The chuck runout is greater than I'd like to see. In other words, there is slight wobble in the chuck which slightly affects hole diameter and walking tendency of drill bits. This could be acceptable per Bosch standards, but to the naked eye it seems a little excessive. I haven't found it to be enough to really affect the end results, but it probably does in theory. If you needed really tight precision, you'd get a drill press; hand drills are inherently more inaccurate due to the mount (the unsteady hand of the user).
There is no bit holder. I'm not sure why they didn't build one in. It'd be nice to have a spot for a spotted/phillips combo bit for cases where a separate driver isn't available.
This is truly a fantastic drill. It's tough, small and very powerful with great run time. I'd highly recommend it if you are in the market for a good high end cordless drill.
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