Bosch knows concrete and it shows with their concrete tools. Well known for their Bulldog series of rotary hammers, they’ve recently come out with a new cordless 18V Bulldog EC Bruhless SDS plus 1 inch rotary hammer GBH18V-26K.
Rotary hammers are for those that need to drill holes in concrete – often and need the improved speed and performance over traditional hammer drills. Rotary hammers are purpose built machines for hammer drilling and as such put an emphasis on hammer drilling. They can also be used for drilling into lumber and metal and driving fasteners although this comes as a secondary feature and will require a special chuck and or adapter to do so.
This is the swiss army knife of 18V rotary hammers, it has several features an efficient yet powerful brushless motor that puts out 1.9 ft-lbs impact force, kickback control to save your arms and wrists in case of sudden bit jams, vibration control, EPC (Electronic precision control) which is a fancy soft start system that reduces surface blowouts for delicate surfaces, LED light, 3 modes – drilling only, hammer only, and hammer drilling, and low weight at 7.7 lbs.
It offers a great performance to weight ratio and very good hammer drilling performance. The only other 18V 1 inch rotary hammer I’ve tried out is the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1″ SDS+ rotary hammer which is fast at drilling into concrete and this model has similar drilling speed and performance, although a tiny bit faster. Vibration control is done by a built in shock absorber built into the handle and reduces vibration and is more effective at smaller diameter holes up to 1/2″. Anything over that and it gets bad. I tried out drilling with a 3/4″ bit and there was lots of vibration which left my hands tingling after a few holes, but things look good with small bits.
I found a big red switch behind the motor which activates or deactivates EPC which stands for electronic precision control which is Bosch’s fancy soft start. This feature is designed to reduce blowouts on delicate surfaces. The most critical part of hammer drilling is the start and if we go to fast there’s a high chance of taking a lot of material around the hole as it gets drilled. It prevents surface blowouts by starting the drilling process very slowly and gradually ramps up in speed until it finally reaches 70% max speed.
In practice the EPC mode does work and I drilled a set of 10 holes with it on and only got 4 blowouts. It’s not perfect because I was able to get 4 out of 10 but I did another set of 10 equal holes without EPC and got 7 blowouts. So EPC doesn’t guarantee perfect starting holes but it does lower the chances of blowouts and is very useful when working with delicate surfaces such as granite or marble countertops, and stone tile where any mistakes will be visible.
Going back to the brushless motor, it provides great power and drilling speed in concrete and it also offers great runtime. My review sample came as a kit with 6.0 batteries and to test out runtime I ran a series of 1/4 inch holes into a concrete slab (4500 psi) with each hole being 3-1/2 inches deep. 1/4″ holes are a common drilling size for tapcons which is one of the many uses for using rotary hammers. So I was able to get 120 holes on a single charge which was very impressive to say the least. This was no doubt due to the combination of a brushless motor plus a large capacity 6.0 ah battery.
Being a 3 mode rotary hammer, we can also insert chisel bits and get to chipping in the hammer only mode. This is great for chipping away bits from concrete for light duty concrete removal and with the right bit makes removing tile a breeze. As expected it got decent chipping performance which fits right in with typical SDS Plus rotary hammers. This makes it a perfect tool for light duty chipping since it’s compact and light weight and can be taken anywhere although users requiring heavier duty needs will need to look at SDS Max rotary hammers or demolition hammers.
Sometime in 2017, an optional Dust extraction vac will be available for use with this cordless rotary hammer. It will attach itself to the bottom of the unit and slide on. It also appears that the dust extraction vac will be powered by the same battery that powers the rotary hammer.
Overall this is a great rotary hammer which is no surprise since it is a Bosch Bulldog model with great hammer drilling performance and speed while being low weight and with a ton of features in the mix. The EPC mode isn’t perfect but it does reduce the chances of surface blowouts.
- EC Brushless Motor
- 1 inch capacity in concrete
- delivers 1.9 Ft.-Lbs of impact energy
- 0-4,350 no-load BPM
- 0-890 no-load RPM
- 7.7 Lbs weight
- 13-3/4″ length with battery
- KickBack Control technology – reduces the risk of sudden tool reactions in binding conditions
- Electronic Precision Control – provides slower ramp-up for accurate bit starts
- Vibration Control – affords great user comfort for extended periods of work
- Bare Tool includes side handle, depth rod, and cleaning rag
- can accept an optional dust extraction vac which will be available in 2017
- Kit includes Drill, side handle, depth rod, cleaning rag, 2x 6.0 batteries, fast charger, and case
- Price for baretool $349
- Warranty: 1 year warranty; 30 day money back guarantee