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Bosch GDR18V Review

This Bosch 18-volt impact finished close to the bottom of the charts and overall disappointed us
Bosch GDR18V
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Price:   $130 List | $139.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Compact, built-in bit holder
Cons:  Didn’t do well in our torque and battery tests, slower than other models
Manufacturer:   Bosch
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 22, 2020
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28
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Speed - 35% 2
  • Torque - 25% 3
  • Convenience - 20% 4
  • Battery - 15% 3
  • Noise - 5% 2

Our Verdict

Unfortunately, the Bosch 18-Volt GDR18V couldn't really hold up all that well against the competition in our tests. This impact delivered a series of very disappointing results in our speed, torque, and battery tests, finishing close to the back of the group overall. It's missing a handful of convenience features common on other tools and is also one of the loudest impacts when we measured the sound levels. It does have one of the lower list prices but there are plenty of other products out there that are much better both in terms of performance and value, making it quite difficult to recommend the GDR18V.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Bosch GDR18V
This Product
Bosch GDR18V
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $130 List
$139.99 at Amazon
$135 List
$115.99 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
28
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58
Star Rating
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Pros Compact, built-in bit holderIncredibly fast, phenomenal torque, four speed settingsExceptional torque, very fast, great battery lifeFast, lots of torqueConvenient, compact, several settings
Cons Didn't do well in our torque and battery tests, slower than other modelsNot the best battery life, noisyLoud, only one RPM settingLoud, average battery lifePricey, battery doesn't last long, loud
Bottom Line This Bosch 18-volt impact finished close to the bottom of the charts and overall disappointed usIf you're looking for a fast 18V impact driver with excellent torque in a condensed size, we recommend this modelThis driver had the most impressive battery life in our test and offers torque performance that is on par with the bestThis driver is fast and provides excellent torque at an affordable priceGet this if you're looking for a light, small, 12-volt impact driver with great performance
Rating Categories Bosch GDR18V Milwaukee M18 FUEL... Makita XDT13 Ryobi P238 Milwaukee M12 Fuel...
Speed (35%)
2.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Torque (25%)
3.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
6.0
Convenience (20%)
4.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Battery (15%)
3.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
Noise (5%)
2.0
2.0
3.0
1
3.0
Specs Bosch GDR18V Milwaukee M18 FUEL... Makita XDT13 Ryobi P238 Milwaukee M12 Fuel...
Impact driver model # GDR18V-1400 2853-20 XDT13 P238 2553-20
Average measured fastening torque 115 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 282 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 143 ft-lb
Measured breaking torque 175 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 275 ft-lb
Measured length 152 mm 116 mm 126 mm 161 mm 132 mm
Average measured sound pressure level 101 dBa 99 dBa 97 dBa 104 dBa 97 dBa
Quick bit insert No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bit holder Yes Yes No Yes No
Multiple fastening modes No Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The GDR18V will effectively drive in most smaller screws, so it might be worth considering if you are already invested in Bosch's 18-volt battery line of tools but this is really the only reason that we could come up with for why you should check out this tool.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


While the majority of our observations regarding this impact were fairly negative in nature, we did find a few things that we liked about this product. The Bosch provides a decent amount of light if you are working in a dark area. It's bright and doesn't cast a shadow across where the bit is but we were a little bummed that the light won't turn on unless the chuck is actually rotating.

The light produced by the Bosch 18V is nice and bright.
The light produced by the Bosch 18V is nice and bright.
Credit: Laura Casner

The tool is also on the more compact side, only measuring 152 mm from front to back. It also has an integrated bit holder at the back of the battery for the included double-sided phillips bit and a belt clip, as well as an included wrist strap.

This is one of the only models that we've seen that includes a wrist...
This is one of the only models that we've seen that includes a wrist band.
Credit: Laura Casner

Dislikes


Regrettably, there wasn't much we found to like when it comes to the actual driving performance of this impact driver. It delivered significantly below average results in our speed test, with the Bosch failing to keep up when it came to setting ledger or lag bolts. It took an average of 9 seconds to sink a 3-⅝" ledger screw into a stack of plywood and 7 seconds to drive it into stacked 2x12s, which more than twice as long as the speediest impacts.

Unfortunately, this driver is not very fast at all.
Unfortunately, this driver is not very fast at all.
Credit: Laura Casner

It also took over a minute to drive a ½"x3" lag bolt to the full depth — in a properly predrilled hole, of course — and almost 30 seconds to remove it. This pales in comparison to the top-tier tools, which could set this screw in 15 seconds or less and remove it in 5.

Credit: Laura Casner

The GDR18V did a little better in our torque test but not by much. We found its performance to be very inconsistent in our tightening and loosening tests with a ¾" nut, earning it some disappointing scores. It maxed out tightening the nuts to 115 foot-pounds and took some time to break them loose if they were only tightened to 100 foot-pounds. Other models could reliably crack them loose from 300 foot-pounds and tighten them just as much.

The Bosch 18V is very loud, especially while fastening to metal.
The Bosch 18V is very loud, especially while fastening to metal.
Credit: Laura Casner

This impact doesn't have different fastening modes and lacks a quick-insert bit holder. It's also relatively noisy when driving in screws, with our sound meter recording an average of 101 dBa at the level of the user's ear. This is definitely loud enough where you will want to consider using hearing protection for your own comfort and should always consult with the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you are using these tools safely and with all the proper protective equipment in use.


We also thought the Bosch botched it in our battery test, with the battery dying disappointingly quickly. We alternated between setting 14 ledger screws and driving in and removing a lag bolt from our speed tests to compare performance, with the GDR18V failing to complete two full cycles before calling it quits.

Value


The Bosch's price does make it a reasonable bargain buy but there are still some slightly less expensive tools that we thought performed a bit better and would preferentially recommend if you are on a limited tool budget.

Conclusion


Overall, the 18-volt Bosch GDR18V fell far short of our expectations and scored close to the bottom of the pack. It will handle light to moderate-duty tasks alright but we would be hard-pressed to find a reason to recommend this tool over tons of other ones unless you are set on sticking with 18-volt Bosch tools.

David Wise and Austin Palmer

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