Bosch Quietly Updates its Cordless Drill – Meet the DDS181A

Bosch DDS181A Cordless Drill

A reader&#8217s email (much more on that tomorrow) led me to discover out about Bosch&#8217s newest cordless drill, the DDS181A.

At a glance, I can tell that the Bosch DDS181A is visually distinct from their DDS181, and a look at the specs describes changes beneath the surface.

Bosch DDS181A Cordless Drill Side

Here&#8217s a swift look at the Bosch DDS181A&#8217s side profile. I can quickly see that the chuck is metal &#8211 or appears to be metal &#8211 and that the grip has some new overmolded texturing.

The adjustable clutch also appears different, which I can only tell considering that I own a DDS181 as my personal drill and know it very well.

Bosch DDS181A vs DDS181 Cordless Drill Side by Side Comparison

Taking a appear at both drills side by side, with at attempt to scale them according to battery pack width and screw spacing, as properly as trigger switch length, the new drill appears to be comparable in size.


  • 600 in-lbs max torque
  • -500/-1700 RPM
  • 7.&#8243 length


Solution pages for the Bosch DDS181A drill don&#8217t describe several variations. A sales page for the DDS181A kit that comes with compact battery packs reads the same as one particular for the DDS181. There are a couple of added details for the DDS181A kit that comes with FatPack batteries.

Sturdy, heavy-duty chuck – greater bit retention and excellent torque transfer.

The chuck does appear different, and it appears to be metal instead of plastic. (But&#8230 if you go by our current plastic vs. metal drill chuck post, it appears that despite the appeal of a metal chuck, couple of users have had concerns with plastic-sleeved chucks.)

Revolutionary, lighter 18V canned motor – more compact but the same power.

The DDS181A weight is listed as being four. lbs, whilst the DDS181 weight is listed as three.four lbs.

Comfy to use – weighs only 3.five lbs. and is only 7. In. extended.

Oh, so it&#8217s three.five lbs and not four. lbs regardless of what the specs tables show for all DDS181A models?

This is a durable and beefy drill that can energy via the toughest materials.

Sorry, as significantly as I adore my DDS181, it could NOT energy by way of &#8220the toughest materials.&#8221 For genuinely heavy duty drilling jobs, I&#8217ve had to attain for my corded drill, even though these days competitors&#8217 super-duty cordless drills may possibly suffice.

Searching at the product summary for the FatPack kit, it says:

The Bosch DDS181A-01 Compact Tough 1/2 In. Drill/Driver kit has a tool that attributes Bosch&#8217s innovative canned motor, which offers the drill/driver the identical energy but at a lighter weight and a much more compact design and style.

And for the SlimPack kit it says:

The Bosch DDS181A-02 Compact Tough 1/2 In. Drill/Driver kit has a drill that characteristics Bosch&#8217s effective, lighter canned motor, an innovation that offers the drill/driver the exact same energy with lighter weight and a far more compact style.

Okay, so it&#8217s becoming a little clearer. Unless some of the advantages carried over from the DDS181, the main highlight of the DDS181A is that it is much more compact and lighter in weight, while delivering the identical level of energy and efficiency. Plus there&#8217s that updated chuck.

I wonder why Bosch didn&#8217t just give the new model its personal model quantity. DDS181A? That appears most likely to lead to some confusion.

Ah, hunting at the SlimPack kit on Amazon, it&#8217s described as the metal chuck version, with the DDS181 described as the plastic chuck version. So perhaps that&#8217s the principal differentiation after all.

Pricing: $ 159 for the 2 SlimPack battery kit, $ 229 for the 2 FatPack battery kit, $ 99 for the bare tool, $ 169 for the drill and effect combo kit

There will also be an L-Boxx kit, pricing unknown.

Acquire Now(Bare Drill)
Acquire Now(Compact Battery Kit)
Get Now(FatPack Battery Kit)
Get Now(Drill &amp Impact Combo)

Initial Thoughts

So&#8230 the new drill looks to offer you two principal updates: a new metal chuck, and a lighter motor style that is stated to result in lighter tool weight.

It&#8217s tough to make sense of all this when the new drill&#8217s specs really show a greater weight (3.5 lbs or 4. lbs, based on regardless of whether you look at the specs table or description bullet points, vs. three.4 lbs).

But hey, surely it must be far better, right? Appropriate?

It looks to me like the drill has been redesigned from the ground up. So why give it a confusing model quantity, DDS181A? I would be a lot more understanding if Bosch had merely changed the plastic chuck for a metal a single. But the whole housings are various, the base location is distinct, the adjustable clutch is different, the grip is diverse, the vents are various.

The torque, motor speeds, and overall tool length are said to be the exact same, but that doesn&#8217t seem like sufficient for this to merely be an &#8220A&#8221 version.

I was initially excited to learn of a new Bosch cordless drill. Now, after attempting to locate out what&#8217s new and improved, I&#8217m a little confused and somewhat underwhelmed. Come on, Bosch, at least pretend that you want our money.


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