This just in – Bosch makes some pretty impressive power tools for working with concrete. We took a look at one of Bosch’s top corded rotary hammers earlier this year and were impressed with the performance and the build quality. Now we’re switching over to the cordless side of things with the Bosch RH328VC-36K 36V SDS-Plus Bulldog Rotary Hammer.
As a contractor for the Florida Department of Transportation in the Tampa Bay area, my crew and I are using rotary hammers all the time. The vast majority of our work is an asphalt and concrete. One of the challenges of my job is that people making decisions above my pay grade are constantly trying to push us to be more green.
What they really mean by that is that they want to see my work truck lose its generator. All of our trucks have to carry a gas generator to run the heavy-duty tools required to repair and upgrade roads in our area. Now this isn’t my first rodeo and I know cordless tools have come a long way, but there’s still a sense that there’s a big trade-off in power if you move to cordless with heavy-duty tools like rotary hammers.
Having already changed opinions about cordless tools within my company thanks to Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Deep Cut Band Saw and knowing Bosch’s reputation for concrete tools, I didn’t hesitate when asked to review the Bosch RH328VC-36K.
Corded Versus Cordless
The Bosch RH328VC-36K 36V SDS-Plus Bulldog Rotary Hammer has a corded brother – the Bosch RH328VC. They look similar and are clearly in the same class with one another. The big differences are that the cordless model has slightly less impact energy at 2.4 foot-pounds (but matches other corded rotary hammers from Bosch). It’s also about an inch longer and weighs almost 2 pounds more. A lot of that weight increase is due to the battery and is the trade-off you’ll need to make to cut the cord.
For the most part, I don’t need a rotary hammer that looks really pretty and has a bunch of cute features on it. I need the thing to work hard and not beat up my guys in the process. Bosch delivers features that help me meet that goal.
It starts at the battery pack. Bosch included two 4.0 amp hour batteries running on their 36V platform. That’s 144 total watt hours of battery capacity each – the equivalent of an 8.0 amp hour battery on an 18V platform. With 288 watt hours of capacity at your disposal in the kit, there’s the potential to get a lot of work done if the tool has enough power.
Two major technologies help reduce the amount of abuse my crew and I experience when using the Bosch RH328VC-36K. The first is built-in vibration control. Bosch doesn’t specifically tell us what they’ve done inside the housing to reduce vibration, but you can see the separated handle where they’ve introduced a dampening mechanism. The second technology is Bosch’s Kickback Control that stops the chuck when it senses a bind up situation before it can wrench the tool out of my hands.
We also found a couple of secondary features to be incredibly beneficial. Electronic Precision Control offers more controlled startups when creating a hole that leaves little room for error. This setting ramps up the motor slowly so you can maintain control and maxes out at 70 percent of the tool’s power. Also helpful is what Bosch calls their Vario-Lock positioning system that allows you to rotate your chisel bit 360 degrees so you can attack material exactly how you want to.
Other Notable Features
- Standard three working most: rotary hammer, rotation only, and hammer only
- LED worklight
- Auxiliary handle rotates 360 degrees
We started off by putting the Bosch RH328VC-36K 36V SDS-Plus Bulldog Rotary Hammer to work installing road markers. You know that slow, stupid grin that spreads across your face when you’re not sure something’s going to work the way it’s been billed and then it begins to exceed your expectations?
Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what happened when we started drilling through asphalt. There was clearly enough power to handle all of the asphalt and concrete applications we normally put our SDS-plus rotary hammer through. With that much power, I was curious how much run time we could expect.
On the first day, we worked with the Bosch RH328VC-36K for about four hours without coming close to draining the battery. Of course, that’s not continuous runtime. However, I can hand this to my crew, and they’ll be able to work the entire day. That includes 8 hours or 12 hours with the included batteries—a huge advantage.
Ergonomically, I’m not sure how much more I can ask for. The vibration and kickback controls work as intended so we didn’t feel like we had to fight the tool just to get the work done. The hammer weighs in at 9.6 pounds. While that’s certainly not lightweight for a handheld tool, I’m not willing to give up any of the build quality that Bosch offers just to get something this lighter. For me, I’ll take the extra 2 pounds to lose the extension cord and be that much closer to eliminating the generator.
The Bottom Line
The Bosch RH328VC-36K 36V SDS-Plus Bulldog Rotary Hammer lives up to the reputation Bosch has built with their concrete tools. It cuts the cord without sacrificing the performance my crew and I require from a rotary hammer.
What will take Bosch to the next level would be the introduction of a brushless motor and an SDS-Max rotary hammer. They are already making tough tools and getting solid run time from them. It seems that all they’re lacking is the power to run that higher level without a drop in performance. As it is, they are already running brushless motors in several of their 18V models. Hopefully, that jump is made in the next 36V generation.
No tool is perfect, but I don’t have any complaints about the Bosch RH328VC-36K. Sure, it could be lighter, but I don’t want to give up build quality. Could I use the extra 0.2 foot pounds of impact energy? Yeah, but I don’t want to give up any runtime. Bosch has dialed in the combination of power, runtime, and ergonomics while managing the trade-offs in a way that suits my crew beautifully.
Bosch RH328VC-36K 36V SDS-Plus Bulldog Rotary Hammer Key Features
- Power of corded hammers with cordless convenience
- Vibration Control for comfort and control
- KickBack Control to help with bind-up situations
- Long battery runtime with included 36V batteries
- Industry-standard 1-1/8″ SDS-plus chuck
- Hammer delivers 4,100 bpm
- Three modes: rotary hammer, rotation only and hammer only
- Electronic Precision Control for smooth starts
- Vario-Lock positioning to rotate the chisel 360 degrees
- LED light is included for drilling in reduced-light environments
Bosch RH328VC-36K 36V SDS-Plus Bulldog Rotary Hammer Specifications
- Model: Bosch RH328VC-36K
- Battery: 36V, 4.0 Ah
- Impact Energy/EPTA: 2.4 ft-lbs.
- No Load BPM: 0-4,100
- No Load RPM: 0-940
- Chuck: Keyless 1-1/8 in. SDS-plus
- Max. Capacity in Concrete: 1-1/8 in.
- Max. Capacity in Wood: 1-1/2 in.
- Dimensions (LxW): 13.5 x 3 in.
- Weight: 9.6 lbs.
- Includes: (2) 4.0 Ah FatPack Batteries, 18V Charger, 360° Auxiliary Handle, Depth Gauge, Carrying Case
- Warranty: 1-year Limited, 3-Year with ProVantage
- Price: $749.99