Choosing the best cordless drill is not easy these days, especially for a demanding contractor like me. Every company out there has their version of the best cordless drill for sale. Some of them are pretty good, too. But some just don’t live up to all the hype!
As a professional General Contractor for 30 some years, I expect a lot out of my tools. Maybe too much. They need the power to do the job, be easy and comfortable to use, and I need them to work after I drop them repeatedly. I like to think that I am just focused on the task at hand. My wife would probably say I am just clumsy. While I can’t be sure of the reason, I know there are only a few cordless drills that can meet all my standards. The Bosch 36618-02 18volt 1/2-Inch drill does, which is why I selected it for a review. It’s a good all-around choice for drilling and driving screws and it’s a tool you can count on to last many years.
Great design makes this tool a pleasure to use
The Bosch 36618-02 18volt 1/2-Inch cordless drill is built to fit your hand for safe comfortable control. The new angled ergonomic design is compact enough to work in tight spaces and makes it easy to apply the correct pressure as you drill or drive fasteners without straining your wrist. The angle also helps to work between studs or in small spaces where a square handled tool would not fit. “Toe-nailing” screws and access to tight corners is easy, and the grip provides good control with the newly designed handle with finger supports.
No more fumbling around with a flashlight – It’s built-in!
Bosch also added a few extra features that make using this tool easier than those in previous generations. Many jobs take one hand to hold the work and one hand to operate the drill. That makes it difficult to hold a flashlight, at least it was a problem until now. An LED light built into the front of the drill provides illumination when you are working in dark or enclosed areas. I have found this feature very helpful when installing hardware inside a cabinet or working a dark corner of a room. Now there is no need to use a flashlight to get the screw centered exactly where you want it. I have used them as my only light source for small jobs in dark closets and in buildings without power. It’s not really a substitute for a flashlight, but it often provides enough light to get the job done. Very handy.
The oversize chuck centers bits automatically
Another good feature is the single-sleeve 1/2-inch keyless chuck that handles all common size bits. The large 1/2 inch capacity is far more convenient than the 3/8 inch chuck that is standard on many other drills. This chuck design makes it possible to just insert the bit and tighten it by hand without a key or even the need to center the bit. When using small bits they often got stuck in the teeth as you tighten the chuck. It often took several tries to get them centered just right so they would rotate properly. This chuck centers itself around the bit automatically as it is tightened so you need only one hand to change bits. No more hit-and-miss bit centering required. Click here to check it out for yourself.
Choose the right speed for the job
Speed settings are fully adjustable so you can use the perfect speed for the job. There are two basic speed selections, slow and fast, and both are controlled by the convenient variable speed trigger so you can adjust the speed of the tool as needed while you work. In the slow mode, you can adjust speed from 0 to 500 RPM to drill materials that typically require slow speeds like metal, ceramic tile and marble. Using the fast mode you can adjust from 0 to 1600 RPM for wood and composites that often splinter at slow speeds.
Drive screws easily to any depth
This drill/driver has a built-in clutch allows you to “dial in” the torque you need for driving fasteners. It adjusts in 20 positions to provide torque over 500 in. lb. (dynamic torque). This adjustment feature is especially useful as a depth adjustment. When driving screws into soft materials like plaster or drywall it is far too easy to drive a screw deep into and though the soft drywall material before you can release the trigger. By using the clutch adjustment and dialing the exact torque power you want, the drill will stop driving the screw automatically so you are far less likely to damage your work. This feature alone has saved me a lot of unnecessary drywall patching from screws that quickly powered right through soft material. It also works well for wood where you may split or damage the finish if you drive a fastener too deep.
The lithium-ion battery has many advantages over the older Ni-Cad batteries
The Bosch 36618-02 18volt 1/2-Inch drill has plenty of power to get the job done. The 18-volt lithium-ion battery is large enough to provide the power and long run-time for the really tough jobs, yet small and light enough to comfortably use for extended periods. The lithium battery is a big improvement over the old Ni-Cad battery technology. It is lighter, so if you are drilling or driving screws overhead or reaching deep into a cabinet with your arm extended, your arm will not give out before the job is done. This drill includes two slim-Pack (1.3-Ah Bat609) lithium-ion batteries that can be fully charged in only 30 minutes. For power-hungry jobs, you can charge the second battery to 85% in only 15 minutes, so you can keep working non-stop if you switch between the two batteries. Extra batteries are also available in a 2.6-Ah BAT318 Fat Pack that is heavier, but offers even longer run-time, but I doubt you will ever need them. Most users will appreciate the light weight of the slim-pack batteries that offer plenty of power for most jobs. I’ve never needed the extra capacity of the large batteries, especially with the fast recharge time the Bosch charger delivers.
Batteries have been a real sore spot for some other manufacturers but Bosch has designed their batteries to avoid the problems that trouble their competitors. The Bosch batteries come with their proprietary ECP (Electronic Cell Protection) to provide max cycle life, minimum self-discharge, and no memory effect. For you, this means that you can recharge them time after time without losing power capacity, and there is no problem just storing them fully charged so they are ready to work whenever needed. The Bosch website claims that their batteries provide 35% more run-time and two times the recharge cycles of its competitors. Based on actual user reviews, I believe it. I own a number of Bosch tools and I can agree with all the other users that Bosch batteries deliver as promised even with the heavy daily use I give them on my jobs.
Tough durable construction will keep this drill working for many years
It’s easy to accidentally drop your drill as you work, and I’ve broken more than a few this way. The Bosch 36618-02 18volt 1/2-Inch drill is built for harsh jobsite conditions. The housing is made of Durashield, a tough ABS/Nylon composite with a unibody construction that is steel reinforced to protect the tool from damage if you drop it. This housing is both flexible and impenetrable, and is designed to easily withstand 10-foot drops without cracks or damage. Don’t try that with other drills! You will appreciate this protection the first time your drill tumbles off your step ladder and hits the floor. It’s internal steel straps hold all the components in place so they stay aligned to keep working even after repeated drops. This unibody construction is also designed to help keep out water and dirt that can quickly damage the motor and other moving parts.
The Bosch exclusive 3-year ProVantage guarantee – It’s pretty darn good!
Bosch offers one of the best guarantees in the industry on their tools. In fact, it is twice the guarantee of major competitors. I suppose that when you build a quality tool, you can afford to offer a better guarantee than the others. The Bosch 36618-02 comes with the ProVantage three-year protection plan. This includes two years of battery protection and one year of tool protection. Under this plan, you can receive two years of free battery replacements, tool replacement for one year, and a free tool repair package for the second and third years. No other company offers this kind of guarantee for their tools.
This is what’s in the box
Bosch 36618-02 18volt 1/2-Inch drill Drill/driver
Two Lithium 18 volt 1.3-Ah Slim Pack Batteries
30-minute battery charger (Charges to 85% in only 15 minutes)
Protective carrying case.
This drill has earned amazing customer reviews
The Bosch 36618-02 18volt 1/2-Inch drill gets very high rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from users at Amazon. This is almost unheard of, and is just about as good as it gets. Here are the kinds of comments you can expect to see:
• Excellent product from Bosch!
• Big power in a light package
• I love this drill.
• Great drill!
You can read all the reviews here.
Where is the best place to buy the Bosch 36618-02 18volt 1/2-Inch cordless drill?
I always recommend buying from a trusted source that also has low prices. That’s why I like Amazon. They almost always have the lowest price, plus they offer free shipping and in most states there is no sales tax. All that adds up to a pretty good savings. They have a good reputation for customer service, and you know Amazon will always be there to take care of you if you ever have a problem with your order. Click here to view the current discount price on Amazon.
|Reviewed by Robert Kay: Robert is a professional woodworker and a General Contractor with 30 years of building experience. As a real-world tool expert, he provides reviews and insight on the best tools around.|