Review of the Bosch GSB-18-2-LI-Plus Cordless Drill

Review of the Bosch GSB-18-2-LI-Plus Cordless Drill

Introduction

We get a lot of searches on our site for this drill so I figured it was about time we reviewed it. We’re all about giving the people what they want here at CordlessDrillers.com!
So where to start with the Bosch GSB-18-2-LI-Plus (Catchy name, eh?)?
It’s a combi drill aimed at the professional market, and as such you’ll get the normal professional features of a hard carrying case, a big battery, and a very decent 3 year warranty (2 year battery warranty) which is standard for Bosch’s professional range.

What’s in the box?

Bosch GSB-18-2-LI-Plus hard carry case
Bosch GSB-18-2-LI-Plus - Inside the box

You don’t get much in the way of accessories when it comes to the Bosch GSB-18-2-LI Plus. It’s very much just the drill, a battery, and a charger. Some sets come with a few drill bits, or some screwdriver heads but Bosch have decided to just go with the barebones essentials when it comes to this product! They supply a manual although it’s not particularly useful. But at least it’s not useful in 70 languages!
It comes in a hard plastic box which looks like it will be very hard wearing and will for sure take quite a beating before it ever breaks.

It comes with a class leading 4AH battery which should provide plenty of charge for a days light drilling, and a 240v charger (as I’m in the UK. If you buy it in the US, it’ll be 110V) to charge it. It also comes with an attachable belt clip which you have to screw on if you want it, although I imagine most people will chuck it away as it does make the drill a bit more clumsy. Only really good for if you spend a lot of time up ladders.
The drill itself feels very well made and is formed primarily from ABS plastic, which should allow it to take any small drops and knocks on its chin.
This is a brushed motor cordless drill, which means it’ll be less energy efficient than than a brushless one. The big battery should negate a lot of that, although I would have liked to see a 4AH battery and brushless motor as that would give a very long runtime drill.
It’s worth noting that if you work around flammable materials such as petrol, saw dust, etc then you will want to look at getting a brushless drill instead as they don’t create sparks inside the housing like brushed motor drills do.

Advertised Features

This drill comes with an 18 volt 4 amp hour battery and charger. The battery feels well made, and has a safety switch on the top which stops current going through the contacts unless it’s depressed which happens when it’s slotted into the drill.
4 amp hours is above average for this class of drill, and should allow for a long runtime, although we’ll find out in our tests later. Bosch advertises this drill as having a 125 minute charge time, which could be annoying if it dies on you early on in the day. Buying a spare battery will solve this issue. Some drill manufacturers choose to go for 2 x 2AH batteries and here at CordlessDrillers.com that’s generally what we prefer. You can have one charging, while you use the other.
The motor in the Bosch GSB18-2-LI plus is a brushed motor, which is the standard motor for a drill in this class. Brushless motors generally allow for more runtime and efficiency, so we’ll see how this one does in our tests below.
It has a two speed fully metal gearbox which is great, and should offer decent longevity. The alternative is plastic gearing, which is almost always found on much cheaper drills and is vastly less rugged. It boasts a 1900RPM no-load speed.
This drill comes with 3 modes. You’ve got standard drill for wood or metal, you’ve got hammer drill for masonry, and you’ve got driver mode for using screwdriver heads.

You’ve also got 20 torque settings, which is pretty standard for drills in this class. It’s certainly not a selling point.

Up Close and Personal

Battery charge indicator

You can press the ‘on’ button to the left and the battery will show how much charge it has left. Very useful if you have a few batteries around and you’re not sure which you charged.

18V 4AH Battery

Huge capacity battery for the price point of this drill. Means you can go longer between charges, but charges do take longer and the drill only comes with one battery.

Standard settings

This drill has 20 torque settings, as well as screw, hammer, and drill modes. Pretty standard for a combi drill at this price range.

Belt clip

Comes with detachable belt clip. Handy if you do a lot of work up a ladder, or just like to have your drill on you at all times. Just in case!

LED light

Very handy for if you need to work in small spaces with not much light. Turns on when you press the trigger. Unfortunately no option to just turn it on and keep it on.

2 speed gearbox

This drill comes with a 2 speed gearbox. Maybe would have expected 3 gears since this is apparently a professional model drill, but will be fine for most users.

The features of the Bosch GSB18-2-LI plus are exactly what you’d expect for a cordless combi drill in this price range. Nothing really jumps out at us here at CordlessDrillers.com as a selling point. The 4AH battery is great, but then it’s paired with the less efficient motor which will drain that big battery at a faster rate. We’ll have to see how it performs in a test before we can decide whether or not we recommend it.

Our Tests and Trials

We put the drills we review through a rigorous series of tests and trials to see how they perform. We try our best to make our tests and trials as ‘real life’ as possible to simulate the kind of use they’d get if you purchased one. These are the tests we perform.

We charge the drills battery until it’s indicated full, and then we hold down the trigger until the drill stops spinning. There is no load applied during this test, and the drill is set to the fastest RPM setting.
After the discharge test we put the battery in the charger and time how long it takes for the battery to reach a full charge.
We attach a 13mm masonry bit to the drill, turn it onto hammer mode, and attempt to drill 100mm into some concrete.
We attach a 13mm metal drilling bit to the drill, turn it onto normal drill mode in the highest gear, and attempt to drill 10mm into some steel.
We attach a 25mm flatwood bit to the drill, turn it onto normal drill mode, and attempt to drill 800mm into some pine.

The Results

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    Discharge Test Results

    In our test for how long a single charge lasts, the drill performed very well and lasted for 139 minutes before cutting off. This is better than approximately 60% of the drills we’ve tested.

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    Charge Test Results

    After the discharge test we put the battery on charge, and it reached fully charged status in 125 minutes, which was exactly what Bosch advertised.

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    Concrete test results

    Using a 12mm masonry drill bit we managed to put a hole in some concrete to the depth of 10cm in 8 seconds. That is better than 100% of drills we’ve tested so far!

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    Metal test results

    Using a 12mm HSS drill bit we put a hole in a piece of steel to a depth of 1cm in 18 seconds. That’s faster than 100% of drills we’ve tested so far!

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    Wood test results

    Using a 22mm flat wood drill bit we bored a hole through a piece of pine up to a depth of 10cm in 10 seconds. That is faster than 100% of drills we’ve tested to date!

Final Thoughts

The drill feels good in the hand with a nice ergonomic grip, and a good trigger pull which allows for nice accuracy when it comes to varying the speed of the drill head.
It feels solidly made, and the ABS looks like it could take quite a whack. Bosch apparently drop these things from 2 meters onto concrete for build quality testing. We’ve not mimicked this test, but it certainly feels like it could handle that without issue.
It’s got a plastic hand chuck, with over tighten protection which is very welcome to those of us who have a tendency to use the drill to do the tightening. I’ve personally lost a few drills that way!
As far as weight goes it actually feels quite light for a 4AH battery drill, so that’s good for anyone who does a lot of work with their arms above their head. I imagine the 2AH version is even lighter.
It performed very well in the tests we put it through, and Bosch have correctly advertised its capabilities.
All in all, we recommend it!

7

Battery

8/10

Masonry Ability

6/10

Metal Ability

7/10

Wood Ability

8/10

Features

6/10

Pros

  • Great runtime with huge battery
  • Very nice ability across all mediums of drilling

Cons

  • Long charge time, so might have been better to have two 2AH batteries
  • Highest RPM is a bit slow at 1900rpm, struggles with metal.

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