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Bosch IDH182-02L - Week one


Peter Argyropoulos

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I'm an electrician, so the way I use my impact driver is different from the way a contractor or deck guy would use theirs. I have different needs and expectations, so this review may not be helpful if you need a tool for driving hundreds of screws in a day. You've been warned :)

 

I agonized over what to get to replace my aging - and failing - Hilti 14.4V impact driver. I use my impact driver for everything from drilling joists through the cutouts I make for recessed lights (it's better than a drill for that) through lags and all the way down to 6-32 device screws into both metal and plastic boxes or even #4x3/8-inch wood screws for undercabinet lights. I tried a Makita that came in the XT257M combo kit and wasn't impressed at all. I considered other Makitas, some of which have a great reputation, but nobody local stocks them, and I hate buying a tool in the dark and honestly, even the highest end, made-in-Japan impact looks cheezy with that plastic shroud on the front. I also considered a Milwaukee, but wasn't too happy about committing myself to another kit after my experience with the Makita. Ultimately, I went for the Bosch.

 

One thing I knew for certain after my experience with the kit impact from Makita was that I definitely needed the new impact to have a similar torque control like what I was used to on the Hilti. You can't go from drilling joists to installing a $100 dollar dimmer switch unless you can change the torque or you're going to do damage. I also knew I wanted a hard case similar in size to a Stanley parts bin since I stack them together in my truck. The kit cases I saw were too big for this and I was constantly struggling to find a place for the Makita kit case for the two months I had it.

 

From reviews and a dead tool hands on at Lowes (none of the three stores I visited had charged batteries in the Bosch tools), I ended up going for the Bosch. 

 

I ordered through Amazon. They had the lowest price. When it came, I unpacked and checked the tool, and noticed a price sticker inside the case with a price about $15 cheaper than what I had paid. Strange. I called Amazon to find out whether they had stuck it in there or whether this could possibly be a refurbished tool. Customer service was great, and they actually refunded me the difference, in spite of the fact that the price tag evidently came from the factory.

 

Now for some tool talk.

 

The Case

 

The case is great. I reversed the inserts so that when I stick bits and accessories in and carry it they are already on the bottom of the case and don't fall into the tool or charger. The L-Boxx fits all my bits and accessories better than the Hilti case or any other case ever did hands down and it's only slightly thicker. It's strong enough that I've been able to use it as a step. A really nice design detail is that the clasps are always in the correct position to lock as soon as you close the case. I also like the second handle on the flat side of the case as it makes it easier to move it on a jobsite without making a mess of a lot of small parts laying loose inside the case. Just close it and lift.

 

The Tool

 

The tool is well balanced and well proportioned. I like the thin handle and the small 2.0A/hr batteries in the kit, although I suspect the tool would be ideally balanced with the 4.0 A/hr battery. For me a smaller battery is important since I often drill joists through a 4 3/8-inch hole for a recessed light and the smaller the tool, the easier it is to pass through the hole and the lighter it is to use in that awkward position. I haven't done this yet with the Bosch, so I'm still interested in trying it out and seeing how the large, rubberized ring is to use in through a hole in the ceiling as I add extensions to the bit to drill through consecutive joists.

 

The lights are excellent, and the delay-off is a great upgrade from my old tool. What I don't like is that you can't squeeze the trigger when locked to get the lights to come on. This is useful at times. Also regarding the trigger, I've noticed that it's easy to accidentally engage it when releasing the chuck if you're working from the top of the tool. That's never happened to me with any other impact driver so I don't know if it's the release ring design or muscle memory or something else. Time will tell, but in the meantime I'll have to get in the habit of locking the trigger when changing bits. The battery level indicator LEDs are good. No complaints there.

 

Power and control are both great. High speed works great for drilling, while medium speed was excellent for pre-torqueing lugs in a meter socket and low speed is plenty gentle to handle small screws or installing plastic boxes with those flimsy old work ears or even pre-torqueing breaker lugs. It's nice being able to use a 1/2F-3/8M adapter for my sockets as it seems much more stable than using a 1/4-inch hex adapter on them. Runtime has been good. I haven't charged the batteries since I first got it and I'm still on my first battery.

 

The charger is nice and compact - probably the smallest one I've ever owned. The other thing I appreciate as a previous user of three German brand (and manufactured) chargers is that Bosch left the PVC insulated wire back in Deutschland where it belongs and instead used nice, pliable, cold weather resistant cord on their charger. My Fein cordless (of almost ten years ago), my Hilti and my Metabo all used European PVC coated lamp cords to the chargers which get stiff when the temperature falls below 80 degrees F and turn to stone when it's freezing out and every one of them cracked where the cord goes into the charger. In the winter time they would literally get stiff enough that they wouldn't unfold and stretch out and you had to plug the charger in right next to the outlet. That won't happen with this charger, I'm sure.

 

The main thing Bosch needs to address on this tool is the torque setting indicator lights. They suck. They're only really visible from one angle, and they're totally invisible in direct sunlight. Honestly, I think a slider switch for this is a better solution, but even better LED indicators would work. 

 

Conclusion

 

I'm a tough sell and I expect a lot when it comes to tools. Ultimately, if a tool doesn't fit in with my workflow, it's getting returned. In order to fit in, it has to be well designed, perform well, and be made to professional use standards. This Bosch does all of that so far, and does it really well for a fraction of the cost of a tool from a traditionally "professional" brand like Hilti or Metabo. I'm impressed, and the Bosch is staying on my truck :)

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The Hilti impact kit is only $300-$400 (depending on configuration), how much less was the Bosch? The Hilti comes with 5.2Ah batteries now as well.

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I got the Bosch kit for under $250. My price for the Hilti kit with hard case is $421.98, so almost $175 more. That'll get you a whole other tool, and in fact, it did. I ordered the Fein ASCM 18 for $169 from toolnut.com.

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I got the Bosch kit for under $250. My price for the Hilti kit with hard case is $421.98, so almost $175 more. That'll get you a whole other tool, and in fact, it did. I ordered the Fein ASCM 18 for $169 from toolnut.com.

$250 is a good price!

The Hilti hard cases are a little expensive!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I too have this impact and have really enjoyed using it. It loves to drive big screws and tapcons. Great handle size too.

Tapcons are tough with an impact, although the low setting on the Bosch seems to do alright with them. Out of about 8-10 I did the last few days, only one spun out and I think that was on medium.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was lucky enough to get the idh182-02 for $88 a couple weeks ago, but I got a soft case and not the l-boxx I wanted. I agree the lights are great; lights that are only on when the bit is spinning are worthless. I haven't had issues seeing the torque/speed indicator lights - though a sliding switch would be nice if it was dust proof or at least moved to a location where dust and debris wouldn't rain down on it. I have yet to try this tool on lug nuts. I'm curious to see if it has the torque to help with flats.

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I was lucky enough to get the idh182-02 for $88 a couple weeks ago, but I got a soft case and not the l-boxx I wanted. I agree the lights are great; lights that are only on when the bit is spinning are worthless. I haven't had issues seeing the torque/speed indicator lights - though a sliding switch would be nice if it was dust proof or at least moved to a location where dust and debris wouldn't rain down on it. I have yet to try this tool on lug nuts. I'm curious to see if it has the torque to help with flats.

I tried it on the lug nuts on my truck - no go. I don't know whether they were torqued down properly or whether some Jack-the-Bear mechanic beat on them with an air impact. 

 

$88 is a great price considering you got the tool, two batteries and a charger.

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I tried it on the lug nuts on my truck - no go. I don't know whether they were torqued down properly or whether some Jack-the-Bear mechanic beat on them with an air impact. 

 

$88 is a great price considering you got the tool, two batteries and a charger.

Amazon wants $99 for just two batteries. The cells in the Bosch batteries I opened are the same Samsung INR 18650s that I found in much cheaper Ryobi and Craftsman batteries.

 

My truck's lug nut are supposed to be tightened to 140 ft/lbs - a tad beyond Bosch's spec.  My car is supposed to be 100 ft/lbs so the Bosch should handle it. I need to look up my boat trailer, but when a tire on that blew out a couple years ago it was a huge pain breaking those lug nuts free. Loosening all those lug nuts and tightening with a torque wrench is on my to-do list because I'm sure the tire shop doesn't take the time.

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