Bosch Mashes Its Hammer Drill Into A Compact Frame
In our recent best cordless hammer drill shootout, the GSB18V-535CN Bosch 18V Compact Hammer Drill placed 5th in the compact class. Offering up 535 in-lbs of max torque, as well as a smaller frame than the GSB18V-755CN, it fits nicely into that niche we call “compact”.
It won’t outpower the larger models, but it should fit into tighter areas and weigh little enough to not be a burden to use over longer stretches. This model even comes with the option of turning it into a smart tool. While we met other compacts with a bit more muscle, we really like the ergonomics, fit, and finish that Bosch brings to the table here.
While we’re focusing on the Bosch GSB18V-535CN, the GSR18V-535CN is its drill driver counterpart. With the exception of concrete drilling, you can apply the rest of what you see here to the drill driver.
The Bosch 18V Compact Hammer Drill scored really high in our features category. It comes with a brushless motor, all-metal keyless chuck, and precision clutch with 20+1 settings for better driving accuracy and reduced fastener damage. An LED light keeps your workspace visible, and it comes with an extended belt hook.
Most of the compact hammer drills we tested had these features, and they don’t set the Bosch model apart by themselves. What does set this hammer drill apart from other models in its class starts is its compatibility with the Bosch Connected system.
Inserting the Connected module into the access point on the handle turns this drill into a smart tool, allowing you to inventory and track your tool, manage battery life, and customize your power settings via the free Bosch Toolbox app. Of course, if you don’t care about the shiny, newfangled-ness of this modern convenience, you can avoid it altogether and still have a really nice compact hammer drill.
The Bosch GSB18V-535CN also features Kickback Control in case the bit binds up. If it does, the sensor cuts off power to the drill to keep it from trying to yank your wrist off your arm.
We’re transparent about our testing methods. Check out our Best Drill Head to Head Review to see how we come up with our results.
The GSR18V-535CN produced 169.2 in-lbs of soft torque, which was enough to place it dead in the middle of the pack with a 5th-place finish. Even though it’s right in there with other top-half hammer drills, Metabo HPT’s compact model put a big gap on everyone else at 312.0 in-lbs.
Next, we used the Bosch compact hammer drill with a 3/4″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit to test its speed under load. Again, it finished in the middle of the pack with an average of 1276 RPM in high speed. Holding 69% of its tested no-load speed, there are a few more drills working more efficiently and it has a healthy cushion ahead of Craftsman at the bottom.
Kicking it into low gear, chucked up a 1-1/2″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed bit to really see how the tool’s speed and torque work together. It averaged a very average 394 RPM with a 70% efficiency score.
Finally, we tested the Bosch 18V Compact Hammer Drill in our concrete slab. We used a 1/4″ Bosch Daredevil Multipurpose Bit and timed how long it took it to drill down 3″. The Bosch GSB18V-535CN averaged 7.72 seconds to merit a 3rd place finish.
None of these results are particularly disappointing and it’s actually a pretty steady performance for Bosch. Its ratings would be higher, save for Metabo HPT and DeWalt really skewing things with much higher torque and speed tests than the rest of the group. But hey, give credit where it’s due, right?
Size and Weight
The entire purpose of a compact tool is to be, well, compact. Bosch keeps that in perspective with a design that’s 8.0″ tall without the battery ad 7.2″ long. All in all, it’s a nice, tight design that ranks as one of the more compact ones, save for a couple of sub-compact models.
With a 4.0Ah Core18V battery, the Bosch 18V Compact Hammer Drill weighs 3.86 pounds. It’s a reasonable weight and you can shave a few ounces with a standard slim pack, but we like the extra runtime and bump in power from Bosch Core18V battery system.
When we originally published our shootout, you could only get the Bosch GCB18V-535CN as a bare tool for $169. Now it’s available as a kit for $169. You can also snag it with the upgraded impact driver and two batteries for $369. That boosts its value rating significantly if you’re looking to get your hands on it with a battery or as a combo.
The newest Bosch 18V Compact Hammer Drill is a steady performer across the board and has one of the best feature sets available in the Compact class. It complements its big brother very well with excellent ergonomics and a lightweight, compact package. At the end of the day, it does the job we ask of it and it’s comfortable to use. That’s a win in our book.
Bosch Compact 18V Hammer Drill Specs
- Model Number: Bosch GSB18V-535CN
- Chuck Design: Keyless
- Chuck Size: 1/2″
- Height: 7.9″
- Length: 6.8″
- No-Load RPM: 0-600 / 0-1,900 RPM
- Torque: 535 in-lbs
- Weight: 2.5 lbs
- Width: 3.0″
- Compatible with Bosch Bluetooth Connectivity Module
- Warranty: 3-Year
- Price: $159
For more information on this drill and to see its individual results, please check out our Best Cordless Hammer Drill head to head review.