Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic review in a sentence: an easy to control drill that’s both lightweight and comfortable to use. It lacks power though, and many will be able to find punchier drills for less.
Bosch has long been one of the biggest names in the DIY power tool game and its catalogue of home and garden products is full of tough, dependable implements. Its power drills, hammer drills and impact drivers are also great, but can err on the expensive side.
This PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic number is pricey and is aimed more at the beginner hobbyist or burgeoning DIY enthusiast, as it places comfort and ease of use over all-out power and the ability to survive the hardships of a professional building site. It's not one of the best cordless drills in terms of power, then, but it is a good, low-cost choice if you only ever intend to do light jobs, and you live in a modern flat, where the walls are made of plasterboard rather than 18 inches of reinforced concrete.
It is small, for a start, and offers a relatively light 32Nm of torque, which is good enough for most at-home drilling and screwing jobs but can’t live up to the 70+Nm offered by cordless models from DeWalt or Milwaukee.
That said, there is both a drilling/driving function and a hammer mode for creating larger holes in tough concrete, brick or masonry. When we say large holes, it’s only designed to handle up to 11mm drill bits when tackling masonry work, so probably not great for producing holes big enough to run cables or stick your head through etc. Although that figure increases to 38mm when working with wood.
Above all else, it is super light and a complete doodle to use, with a nice double grip set-up that makes putting pressure through the drill really simply and aids precision greatly. The grip is soft and, as the name suggests, ergonomically designed, while a built-in LED neatly lights up the work surface.
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic review: build quality
Like so many other drills at the price point, the overarching material of choice is plastic, or plastic with a little bit of rubber thrown in for good measure. Even the gearing and motor are covered in plastic and that typically indicates that this is a drill that is not designed to withstand professional use.
It’s nothing to worry about, just don’t expect it to withstand being thrown around too much, dropped from great heights or be able to stand DIY sessions that go on into the early hours (have that, neighbours!). The technology inside is pretty decent though, with a state of the art brushless motor and something called a Syneon Chip looking after the torque delivery and eking the most of out the battery life.
This also takes care of Bosch’s “KickBack Control” technology, which it claims can detect sudden jamming and shuts down the tool to prevent scary moments. It works, too, although this often only serves to prove that the motor can’t quite deliver enough power for those tougher drilling jobs, as the bit gets jammed and stops mid hole-making.
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic review: features
It's a drill, bro. It's not going to do the washing up or walk your dog. So aside from the aforementioned chip technology, brushless motor and 18 Volt battery, the most obvious feature here is the dual handle set-up. This generally makes it much easier to wrangle the Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic, meaning it remains comfortable even after extended hardcore drilling sessions.
This is on account of the fact that the front handle allows you to put some welly into the drilling process, which also stops the drill bit from skipping and allows for much more precise positioning of holes. There’s nothing worse than measuring something up, only for the drill bit to drift a few millimetres to the left or right, completely screwing up your DIY project and leading to shelves that shed books seemingly at random.
According to Bosch, the dual closed handle approach also has the backing of Aktion gesunder Rücken (AGR), which translates into Campaign For Healthier Backs from German, and this is largely thanks to the fact it requires a little less of a rear delt workout.
Oh, it also uses the same batteries as a bunch of other Bosch tools, allowing you to quickly swap between jobs, rather than investing in a ton of expensive power packs. It's nothing new, because Ryobi, DeWalt and even Worx boast similar gimmicks.
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic review: performance
The lady in the picture above might be thinking, "fella, you don't know what you're doing," but little does she know that the Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic is extremely easy to use, with a series of well thought-out features that go some way to explain the lofty price tag. Yes, there’s the now ubiquitous LED working lamp and a nice fancy handle to grab on to, but the experience of swapping drill bits and adjusting torque settings is also satisfyingly simple.
For small jobs, like drilling 6mm holes in plasterboard or soft masonry, it’s perfectly up to the task, but it’s not quite beefy enough to take on anything above the 11mm mark. Similarly, it can only drill up to 13mm in steel, should you wish to fabricate some metalwork for your Harley-Davidson, but it's perfectly strong enough for wood projects, handling holes up to 38mm in diameter. Wooden Harley, anyone?
With its keyless chuck, it’s really simple to swap bits and the two-bit screwing tool that comes part of the pack is one of the better freebies packaged in with drills at this price point. Regardless, it will pay dividends to invest in a good set of brill bits, especially those specialist bits for metal work or masonry.
Battery life is also excellent and this drill seems to go on forever on a single charge. This is partly down to the fact it’s not quite as powerful as rivals but it is also testament to the Syneon Chip and battery tech dong what not’s supposed to do and eking out as much life as possible.
Above all else, it is really light and comfortable to handle, making working overhead or having to drill in awkward spaces a little more pleasant and easier on the back and shoulders.
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic review: what customers say
From Amazon UK
“Bought this as we already had Bosch Power4All batteries and charger at home. Made short work of drilling a 6mm hole in a dry wall and then putting in the screws. Can't comment how this would handle stone, but for wood it seems to be excellent”
"This is the BMW of cordless drills. The excellent design, incorporating ergonomic efficiency, together with a series of well thought out functions, make it easy to use and very powerful. As good as drills costing twice as much.”
“The device itself, due to its light weight, is convenient to use for simple hobby activities, but otherwise it is more of a toy. There are better devices with a torque of up to 50 Nm in the same price range, which can be screwed more solidly”
“Light and handy tool, very powerful but at the same time gentle when more control is needed. I used this drill for many different tasks and every time i was very satisfied. The charge is very durable. Definitively worth the price.”
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic review: verdict
Echoing the thoughts of one slightly disgruntled Amazon customer, the Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 Ergonomic feels like it was made for the hobbyist or home DIY-er, one who perhaps doesn’t need mammoth amounts of torque, nor has the desire to drill whopping holes in brick walls.
Its comfort and ease of use make it a nice thing to have in the toolbox - or lying around the house - and its superb battery life means most will rarely need to charged it.
Great for making quick work of flatpack furniture and perfectly adept at creating small holes for hanging shelves or picture frames, it’s well-judged for its intended use, which is less building site and more building a bird bath.