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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 | $142.82 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  ⋅  Sep 17, 2022
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28
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Speed - 35% 2.0
  • Torque - 25% 3.0
  • Convenience - 20% 4.0
  • Battery - 15% 3.0
  • Noise - 5% 2.0

Our Verdict

Unfortunately, the Bosch 18-Volt GDR18V couldn't hold up all that well against the competition in our tests. This impact delivered 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 measure the sound levels. It has one of the lower list prices, but there are plenty of other products out there that are much better in terms of performance and value, making it quite difficult to recommend the GDR18V.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on September 16, 2022, with additional sections on value and comparisons to other products that may better suit your needs and budget.

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
$142.82 at Amazon
$135 List
$102.99 at Amazon
$129 List
$84.00 at Amazon
$110 List
$72.99 at Amazon
$120 List
$77.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
28
84
80
77
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 we could come up with why you should check out this tool.

Performance Comparison


Bosch GDR18V impact driver - not much stronger than your average drill, unfortunately the bosch...
Not much stronger than your average drill, unfortunately the Bosch GDR18V is really only good for driving screws.
Credit: Laura Casner

Speed


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 with 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 is more than twice as long as the speediest impacts.

Bosch GDR18V impact driver - 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.

Torque


The GDR18V did a little better in our torque test but not by much. We found its performance 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 we only tightened them to 100-foot pounds. Other models could reliably crack them loose from 300-foot pounds and tighten them just as much.

Bosch GDR18V impact driver - 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

Convenience


While most of our observations regarding this impact were fairly negative, we found 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.

Bosch GDR18V impact driver - 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 more compact, 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, a belt clip, and an included wrist strap. This impact doesn't have different fastening modes and lacks a quick-insert bit holder.

Battery


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.

Bosch GDR18V impact driver - 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

Noise


The GDR18V is 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 loud enough that you will want to consider using hearing protection for your comfort. You should always consult the manufacturer's instructions to ensure you use these tools safely and with all the proper protective equipment.

Bosch GDR18V impact driver - despite its lack of power, the bosch gdr18v is incredibly loud.
Despite its lack of power, the Bosch GDR18V is incredibly loud.
Credit: Laura Casner

Should You Buy the Bosch GDR18V?


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.

What Other Impact Drivers Should You Consider?


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 that we would preferentially recommend if you are on a limited tool budget. Notably, for a few dollars more, you can upgrade to the Milwaukee M18 Fuel, a top-of-the-line impact driver. But if you want to save a few bucks, the Ryobi P238 presents an excellent balance of value and performance.

David Wise and Austin Palmer
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