Bosch DDS181-102L Review 

By  Enda McLarnon

Please note that this model is no longer available in most stores. You may still be able to find this either as a second hand or used option.

You can check our top 10 list of Bosch drills by clicking here.

The compact and cordless Bosch DDS181-102L drill/driver is expensive with an average price of around $150 depending on where you decide to make your purchase.

Similar to other drills from Bosch, this model is made from Durashield, a composite of nylon and ABS.

That makes it close to unbreakable and can certainly stand up to falling or being dropped.

So although this is not a cheap drill you can begin to understand why it is priced at the higher end of the scale for cordless drills. It is a tough little beast.

Quick Guide to this Bosch Model

For those of you who just don’t have time to read my detailed review below, I have put together a quick guide that covers off the most important features.

  • Most compact design in this category of drill
  • Close to 100 buyer reviews who rate this one 4.7 out of 5 stars
  • You get the L-BOXX- for easy and stackable storage
  • Good range of gears and clutch settings
  • A high performance motor powered by an 18 volt Lithium-Ion battery


Detailed Review of the Bosch DDS181-102L

The drill features a new styling that is more ergonomically designed. It also includes a patented clutch and gear train system. A 4-pole open motor delivers two variable speeds; 0-500 rpm and 0-1700 rpm, and a maximum torque of 50ft/lbs or 600in/lbs.

Powering the device is an 18V, 2.0Ah SlimPack lithium-ion battery.

This nifty and small battery pack also has a gauge built into it so as you can see how much charge there is in it at any given time.

Other features of the drill include soft-grip housing, LED light, Optional Flexible Power System (FPS), variable speed trigger, and a 1/2-inch ratcheting single sleeve chuck.


Maximum control is achieved through the variable speed trigger while the inbuilt LED lighting improves drilling and driving in dark areas. The drill is not only small but also comes with adequate power courtesy of the 4-pole open motor that is connected to the 18+1 position clutch system.

To reduce breakage, damage, or accidental dropping the drill is housed in Durashield and comes in a more improved ergonomic design.

I mentioned earlier that is made from a composite of nylon and ABS. This ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene which is a long name but in essence the Acrylonitrile element gives materials a high level of chemical resistance and heat stability.

The Butadiene element gives it mechanical toughness and impact strength. Finally the Styrene element provides rigidity. When you combine all of these, you can see just how tough the casing of this drill has been designed.

Optimized performance is achieved through Electronic Cell Protection technology which also protects the battery and extends its lifespan by keeping it cool. During heavy duty or continuous drilling and driving, the motor is protected by Electronic Motor Protection (EMP) technology that ensures the drill is operating optimally without overheating.

The Bosch Lithium-Ion 18V battery provides improved performance in cold weather and up to 50% extra run time.


Light and Compact

The drill/driver is relatively light and can easily be carried around while working. It also comes with a compact design that is well-balanced, fits well in small as well as large hands, and doesn’t feel heavy at the front or rear. It measures 18.5 x 14.5 x 6.2 (L xW x H) inches and weighs 11.7 pounds.

Solid Built and Durable

Bosch is well-known for building quality tools. This tool clearly proves this notion as it comes in quality material and craftsmanship. The drill is resistant to breaking or cracking and maintains its appeal even after long usage. These Bosch drills do stand the tests of time.

Comfortable and Powerful

Working with the drill doesn’t feel like holding a brick or stone. Furthermore, it drives in screws and drills holes in metal, wood, or concrete with relative ease. The battery lasts for a good period of time especially if working on light duties.

Fast Charging Battery

This model comes with an 18 volt high capacity charger. Charging batteries is relatively quick with an almost empty battery taking between 20 and 25 minutes to achieve full charge.

Once charged, the high capacity Li-on batteries can preserve charge for a long time if not used. The battery also comes with a built-in indicator that alerts a user on the remaining charge level.


Case Size

Some reviewers said that the L-BOXX-2 case is a bit bulky and leaves too much space around the tool and its accessories. It also takes lots of storage space and can be a bit cumbersome.

That is what some reviewers said about this storage case but I have to disagree with them.

The case is part of a Bosch storing system that I think is a great idea, especially if you have to transport around a number of power tools. Have a look in the video and you will see what I mean by that.

No Bit Holder

The Bosch DDS181-102L compact drill/driver doesn’t come with a clip or holder to store bits. This is inconveniencing when working on various screws that feature Star or flat head/Philip heads. It does come with two starter bits and a belt clip. The bit holder would have been useful though but again hardly a show stopper.

The Charger runs hot

The charger can run hot at times especially when charging batteries continuously. Unlike some chargers in the market this one doesn’t come with a built-in cooling fan. The reason this can happen is because this charger does charge really fast.

What’s in the Box?

  • Bosch DDS181-102L 1 /2-inch 18V drill/drive
  • High Capacity Charger
  • An 18-volt 2.0Ah SlimPack high-capacity battery
  • Belt Clip and two bits
  • An Instruction Manual
  • The BOXX-2 case.

Summary and Verdict

This is a very high quality product though expensive as well. It is a powerful and compact drill that will handle almost any job you need to get done. We liked the way the battery charges quickly and then holds its charge. We also liked the storage system.

We would agree with the huge majority of buyers that the DDS181-102L model is rated with a 90% buyer satisfaction rate, then you know that this product seems about the right level for us here at Tool And Go. We would therefore have no hesitation in recommending this one.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon is now retired and is now enjoying writing about his love of power tools. All types of these tools are now available and they make working on projects and DIY jobs around the home a great deal of fun

Enda McLarnon

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