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Bosch-PSB-1800-LI-2-Cordless-Combi-Drill-Review

Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Cordless Combi Drill2022 Review

Part of German tool royalty, Robert Bosch started the company back in 1886. That’s plenty of time to come up with some of the best drills, saws, and sanders on the market today. The Bosch “green” stable of DIY tools are loved by many, and the PSB 1800 doesn’t disappoint.

Making the most of Bosch’s Power for All battery alliance, this is a small and lightweight cordless hammer drill driver. It might not have the huge specs of the more professional DeWalt and Makita entries, but you get a pair of batteries and a decent case. 

Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Cordless Combi Drill Review

  • Where to buy
  • Our Scoring
    Design
    Performance
    Power
    Noise
    Safety
    Value for Money
    Overall
    3.6666666666667
  • Hammer Drill / Drill Driver
    Hammer Drill
  • Power
    18V
  • Batteries Supplied
    2 x 1.5Ah
  • Charge Time
    1 hour
  • No-Load Speed
    0-400, 0-1,350rpm
  • Torque Settings
    20+1+1
  • Max. Torque
    38Nm
  • Chuck Size
    10mm
  • Max. BPM
    20,250bpm
  • Weight (Excluding Battery)
    1.15kg
  • Accessories Included
    No

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How I Tested The Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Cordless Combi Drill

No self-respecting review of the best cordless drills available right now would be worth it without a proper head-to-head comparison of each tool. I set up a test rig that would put all the drills through the same challenges to get an idea of how each performed.

The first round of testing was carried out by drilling into a range of common materials: timber, aerated concrete block, and metal plate. I then drove a whole host of screws into timber to try out the other mode and see what it felt like.

It was also important to just spend some time with the drill in my hand. The look, feel, and handling of a drill isn’t as easy to quantify but it can give you an idea of the quality of production and other benefits. There’s no point rating a drill highly because it can make holes quickly if it’s not comfortable to use.

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Our Verdict of The Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Cordless Combi Drill

One of the big power tool brands, especially in the UK, Bosch have a decent slice of the market with their two broad levels of equipment. Their “blue” professional tools and “green” DIY tools vary massively in their capabilities as well as cost. I think it’s fair to say that the PSB 1800 fits squarely in the green DIY camp.

The overall feeling I got from this cordless drill is that it’s all a bit underwhelming. The design is unremarkable, and the grip isn’t the best. There are a couple of little features like the direction indicator that look good but don’t add to the performance. The drill isn’t very responsive, and the uninspiring drilling speed makes for slow work.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You get a decent case and two batteries to play with. These two Power Alliance batteries can fuel a range of tools by different brands, which is remarkable in the age of proprietary systems. It’s a good place to start as long as you don’t expect this cordless drill to perform like one of Bosch’s Professional level tools.

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Design

Bosch-PSB-1800-LI-2-Cordless-Combi-Drill-Review-design

Delivered in a sturdy blow moulded case with plastic catches, the drill, batteries, and charger are all held firmly for transport. There’s plenty of room in the case for the tiny charger and more than two batteries, plus you can put the drill back with a bit still in the jaws.

If you’ve used Bosch tools before, you’ll know they come in two different levels. There are the blue Professional-level tools and the green DIY tools. The PSB 1800 fits into the DIY level, which means it’s a capable drill but not designed for heavy everyday use.

Weighing just 1.3 kg without the battery, this is a nice and lightweight cordless drill that feels slimline as well. Measuring a modest 185 mm from front to back and the same in height, you’d be surprised to know that this cordless drill uses a brushed motor. It’s simply more compact compared with the DeWalt DCD776, making it more suitable for tight spaces.

One place that this drill falls behind is in the maximum bit size you can fit into the chuck. With a maximum size of just 10 mm, you’ll not be able to work with large-size accessories. It’s worth bearing in mind in case you wanted to drill wide holes in things like garden posts.

The grip shape is fine, but it’s not as refined compared to the ones on the Ryobi R18PD3 or the DeWalt DCD796. Bosch have been a bit stingy on the rubberised sections as well, as the tips of my fingers are trying to grip on to hard plastic during use. It’s just not as comfortable as some of the other cordless drills on my list.

If anything, the grip is a little on the small side. I’ve got large hands, and the bottom of my palm started rubbing on the battery release button surround almost immediately. I don’t know how comfortable this will be over time, and I don’t think it would be great to use with gloves on.

On the plus side, all the moving parts feel solid and provide a hefty click when moving them around. The chuck doesn’t have any nasty play in it, and there are no wobbles or rattles coming from the battery if you shake the drill around.

There’s plenty of control when it comes to torque settings on this cordless drill. Bosch have called it ScrewControl, but it’s the same principle. You get 20 different settings that control how much power you can put into a screw, to help save the surface of delicate materials you’re working on.

It’s great that Bosch have included a charge level indicator on the base of this drill. It takes the guesswork out of knowing how much juice is left. It’s something that Ryobi could take on board. Right in front of the indicator is the LED work light. It’s reasonably powerful but turns off as soon as you let go of the trigger. You can, just about, run the light without turning the drill on as well, which is nice.

On top of the cordless drill behind the dual gear control switch, there’s an interesting feature added by Bosch. You get a pair of indicator lights that tell you whether the drill is running in forward or backward mode. I’m not sure when this will come in handy, but it’s a fun thing to have on board.

Performance

Bosch-PSB-1800-LI-2-Cordless-Combi-Drill-Review-performance

It’s worth noting the annoying thing about this cordless drill first. When you pull the trigger, it takes half a second or so for the drill to kick in. Compared with the instant power you get from cordless drills like the Makita DHP484, it’s a bit disappointing. It’s just not as responsive as some of the competition.

This was most noticeable when I drilled 30 holes into 38 mm thick CLS timber. Using a 5 mm wood bit, it felt a lot slower than some of the other cordless drills on my list. Whether it’s the lack of motor power or an electronic speed controller, if you push down too hard on the material you’re drilling, the drill won’t start. It’s rather annoying, and the lacklustre drilling speed doesn’t help here.

Next up, driving ten 70 mm screws in and out of some CLS timber. Even on the highest torque setting, the PSB 1800 started slipping almost immediately. I switched to drill mode and it drove the screws home, but not very quickly. It was able to cope with the 150 mm screw, but I wouldn’t want to do it too often. Unfortunately, this cordless drill feels rather underpowered.

Drilling through a 3 mm thick steel plate was also rather unremarkable. It took 45 seconds to get through the steel with a fresh 3 mm HSS bit. I also at this point noticed that there was a fair amount of chuck wobble. It made it through, but not without a fight.

The last job to tackle was drilling a 5 mm wide hole in a house brick. As I expected, the low bpm level made for a slower performance of just under 30 seconds to drill the hole. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but definitely a longer process.

Power

Bosch-PSB-1800-LI-2-Cordless-Combi-Drill-Review-power

The Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 is named that because it comes with two Lithium-Ion batteries. Rated at 1.5 Ah, they’re not enormous trade-size power packs, but plenty big enough for around the home and garden.

Something that is incredibly interesting about this battery system is all in the name. The Bosch Power for All 18 Volt Alliance bucks the trend for proprietary systems and shares its technology with a range of tool brands.

The same battery and charger set you get with this cordless drill will work in a range of cordless tools from trusted tool brands including Flymo and Gardena. It’s something I’d like to see more tool brands get involved with, in my opinion.

These clever Power for All batteries can push the business end of the drill to a maximum drilling speed of 1,350 rpm. It’s not class-leading but it’s fast enough for most jobs. In hammer mode, you get a maximum of 20,250 bpm, which is the slowest of all the combi drills I’ve tested and reviewed. The 38 Newton metres of torque it puts out isn’t beating any of the bigger name brands on the list either.

The battery charger is worth a mention as well. This must be the smallest charger on my list, besides the Terratek 18V cordless drill that just plugs directly into the battery. To get an idea of how small it is, it looks just like a corded computer mouse.

Noise

The noise rating of this cordless drill at full speed is 98 dB. Roughly equivalent to the sound levels you experience when riding a motorbike, proper hearing protection is essential. If you’re just driving in screws at low speed, the noise levels are obviously much lower.

As you’d expect from a respected tool brand like Bosch, the noise this drill puts out isn’t harsh and it sounds quite professional. Unfortunately, the Bosch joins the DeWalt DCD796N when it comes to letting go of the trigger at full speed. The electronic brake makes a loud click when it engages.

Safety

Even though this isn’t the most powerful cordless drill that I’ve tested, it’s still powerful enough to cause injury. 38 Nm of torque is more than enough to cause kickback unless you follow a safe drilling technique. Always use the correct drill bit and make sure you’ve got the correct level of PPE on.

Having the right eye protection, ear defenders, and dust mask on is important if you want to avoid injury. Never wear baggy clothes and make sure long hair is tied well back. It can also be dangerous to wear gloves when operating rotation equipment.

If these simple measures are put into place, the likelihood of injury is relatively small. Thanks to the wide range of torque settings, good trigger, and two gears, you have a lot of control over the drill. It’s as safe as any power tool on this list.

Value for Money

For a starter kit, the Bosch PSB 1800’s moderate price tag is quite reasonable. You can get to work straight away thanks to two batteries, a fast charger, and even a double-ended screwdriver bit thrown in! It’s ideally priced for anyone who wants to get into 18 Volt cordless tools and wants a reliable name on the side of them.

When you consider the scope of the batteries, the value for money improves a bit. Rather than just fitting Bosch tools, you can use them in a range of tools from different brands. It could save you a fair bit of money down the line.

Overall

6 3.6666666666667

One of the big power tool brands, especially in the UK, Bosch have a decent slice of the market with their two broad levels of equipment. Their “blue” professional tools and “green” DIY tools vary massively in their capabilities as well as cost. I think it’s fair to say that the PSB 1800 fits squarely in the green DIY camp.

The overall feeling I got from this cordless drill is that it’s all a bit underwhelming. The design is unremarkable, and the grip isn’t the best. There are a couple of little features like the direction indicator that look good but don’t add to the performance. The drill isn’t very responsive, and the uninspiring drilling speed makes for slow work.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You get a decent case and two batteries to play with. These two Power Alliance batteries can fuel a range of tools by different brands, which is remarkable in the age of proprietary systems. It’s a good place to start as long as you don’t expect this cordless drill to perform like one of Bosch’s Professional level tools.

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Product Price Comparison

Every day DIY Garden scans thousands of products to help you find the cheapest prices. Not only do we want to help you find the best products through our in-depth testing, but we also want to help you find the best places to buy them too. We’re working hard to expand our network of retailers, and will be continually adding in new options.

The Cheapest Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Cordless Combi Drill Found Today

Prices last updated: 17 May, 2022

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