PB tests the Bosch 36V Cordless Rotary Hammer drill

PB tests the Bosch 36V Cordless Rotary Hammer drill

Gary Fisher tames the powerful 36V VF-LI Plus Professional Cordless Rotary Hammer drill from Bosch.

I always get excited when I get the chance to take a look at the heftier power tools and this beast from Bosch certainly didn’t disappoint. Operate the trigger and the drill roars at you and you can feel it wants to go tear through some brickwork.

Key features
The drill has three main functions; drilling without impact (suitable for drilling into wood, metals etc.), hammer drilling (suitable for brick, concrete etc.) and chiselling. Selecting between the three is as easy as turning the dial on the side of the tool.

There is a quick change chuck system, which enables a quick and easy inter-change between SDS chuck and keyless chuck. I have seen this system on early models of drills but it’s still nice to have it here. There’s also an LED work light, great for accurate drilling in those awkward, dark areas.

The batteries are 36v 4AH li-ion type with an output of 600w, more than enough grunt to get the job sorted I would think, and it has the capacity to charge from empty to 100% in 30 minutes (and able to quick charge and use in less time if required).
The charger lets you know when you have full charge and when in use the drill has a green gauge indicating how much charge is left.

Comfort and precision
This is a hefty bit of kit, weighing nearly 5kg with the battery attached. Your arm is going to ache if you use it for a long period of time. To help with fatigue the drill features a vibration dampener and overall it feels well balanced, safely standing upright on its battery if you need to put it down between uses.

The trigger can be operated variably, giving you more control over the drill, easing it for a slow rotation and pressing down hard when you want to let rip. Control over the tool is also helped by the adjustable auxiliary handle, which is a nice touch when you need to get a comfortable grip but maintain precision when drilling at a high angle.

The verdict
I do have an older type Bosch 24V drill, which I have owned and used for the last 10 years, but it didn’t come in a box or have the quick change chuck system. It has been a great tool but it did lack that raw power when drilling bigger holes over a period of time, where this new version is like a hot knife through butter. Now I know new drills are always good at first but, from the look and feel of this drill, and with the right care and maintenance, I would expect this current version to maintain its performance.

Drilling standard wall fixings has been easy and it has handled larger and deeper holes in brickwork without any problems. I’ve also found the ability to switch straight to the chisel function a lot more useful than I initially expected.

In control
When you are dealing with a lot of power it’s important to feel in control. The 36V Rotary Hammer utilises Bosch’s Electronic Rotation Control and Electronic Precision Control. ERC means a sensor will shut the tool down automatically if it detects a jam reducing kickback. When EPC is activated the power is limited to 70%, with less risk of unintentional damage.

Click here for more information on the 36V VF-LI Plus Professional Cordless Rotary Hammer

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