Bosch HDS181-02 Cordless Hammer Drill Review 

By  Enda McLarnon

In this article we review and rate the Bosch HDS181-02 18-Volt Lithium-Ion 1/2-Inch Compact Tough Hammer Drill Driver. This one comes with 2 High Capacity Batteries, Charger and a case.

This is a drill for professionals and has been designed as a tough hammer drill that will get all those big jobs done with some considerable ease.  It gets a very impressive 86% customer satisfaction rating, from buyers that are generally hard to impress.

So not only is this one designed to do the tough jobs, but it looks great and feels even better when you get it into your hands.

For around $140-150 we think this one represents really good value for your money.

Check Availability at Amazon

Key Features of the HDS181

The Bosch HDS181-02 is a cordless battery-powered drill that fits in the category of small but yet powerful hammer drills. Powered by a pack of slim lithium-ion batteries that deliver 18 volts and 1.5 Ah, the drill plus driver works on various surfaces that include wood, concrete, metal, and plastic.

On full charge, it delivers up to 600in-lbs of torque and the 1 /2 inch metal sleeve chuck can drive as many as 500 screws per charge. The lightweight drill measures 19 x 14.8 x 5 (L x W x H) inches and weighs close to 4.5 pounds.

Featuring two variable speeds; 0-500 and 0-1700 RPM and a 4-Pole open frame motor, the Bosch HDS181-02 functions as a basic drill, hammer drill, and screwdriver. It comes with Electronic Motor Protection and Electronic Cell Protection for maximum efficiency and performance.

Main Benefits

  • As an ordinary drill, hammer drill and driver, the Bosch HDS181-02 is quite versatile and suitable for many applications. The drill is more improved and user-friendly courtesy of the new ergonomic design.
  • Besides improving its sturdiness, the Durashield housing ensures the drill can withstand daily usage and frequent banging.
  • The 4-pole open-framed motor system makes the tool smaller and more compact but delivers good power and torque.
  • The Optional Flexible Power System (FPS) allows a user switch between minimum weight and Maximum run time, while the variable speed trigger offers maximum control.
  • To make working in dark areas easier, the Bosch drill features LED light that turns on at the slighted touch of the trigger.
  • Changing the bit using one hand is also straightforward thanks to the ratcheting 1/2 inch single sleeve metal chuck.


Nicely Balanced and Lightweight

The tool feels comfortable on the hand due to its lightweight of about 3.5 pounds. The weight of the tool is also well distributed leading to a more balanced and compact tool.

The triggers and control are within reach and easy to select.

Comfortable and User-friendly

The drill features new and improved ergonomic design, and it wrapped in soft-grip housing. Using the tool for extended periods or from tight angles doesn’t cause aches or numbness.

The user-friendliness is further enhanced by the LED lighting.

Reliable and Solid Performance

The Bosch HDS181-02 offers a maximum of 1700 RPM and maximum torque of 600 inches per pound. Backed by the 18 volt, 1.5amp-hour batteries, the tool offers reliable and solid performance.

Extended Warranty

Under the ProVantage plan, every purchase of the Bosch HDS181-02 attracts a three year protection plan. During the period, a user can replace the tool within the year, replace the batteries free-of-charge within two years, or enjoy free tool repair in the second and third year.


Driving Small Bits Problematic

The 1/2 inch ratcheting chuck isn’t so user-friendly when it comes to using small bits. A person has to first loosen and reposition it, thereafter tighten it. This is not only inconveniencing but requires time and patience, until you get used to the drill.

Accidentally Slips to Hammer drill Mode

Users have complained of accidentally selecting the hammer drill when using the Bosch HDS181-02.This normally happens when changing bits. This is more of a user error than a problem with the drill.

No built-in bubble Level

The drill may not offer the best results especially in jobs that require great precision or accuracy. The tool lacks a bubble level which comes handy in driving in screws straight either vertically or horizontally.

A user has to rely on eyesight which at times isn’t very effective. For most jobs this will not be used, but it would have been a nice feature to have had.

Runs Out Of Charge Quickly

The drill/driver runs out of charge much faster compared to other products in the same range. This is especially experienced when driving long screws from 6 to 8 inches. Now we should point out that only a couple of reviewers found that to be the case.

I guess if you are driving 6 inch screws into a hard wood it is going to use a lot of battery power.


Check Availability at Amazon

What’s inside the Box?

One (1) Bosch DDS181-02 Compact hammer drill/driver kit, two (2)18-volt lithium-ion Slim Pack batteries, operating manual, double-sided Phillips drive bit, one (1) carrying case, and bits.

Our Verdict on the Bosch HDS181-02 Hammer Drill Driver

With a buyer rating of 86% it is clear that the majority of buyers rate this one highly, after they have bought and used it. It is an expensive purchase though at around the $200 mark.

For many buyers that will be just too much and in all honesty most home owners don’t really need a drill of this type.

This is one more designed for contractors, builders or people working in the various trades.

It is a compact drill for a hammer drill, is well balanced and has a great grip. The gears and clutch do make this one a very good choice for drilling into different types of materials. The fast changing chuck will help those who need to do quick bit changes.

This hammer drill/driver has plenty of power. That is useful if you are working on a project like a deck as it will easily drive in a batch of regular deck screws. The same applies to screwing the much longer 6 and 8 inch length screws.

If this is not the drill for you, then please check out our top 10 list of Bosch Drill/Drivers by clicking here.

Overall we like this drill and ideal for anyone who needs to do regular and consistent drilling and driving. At the price it is quite a large investment, so that decision is ultimately yours.

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

related posts:

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}