Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench Review
Long story short: the Bosch HTH181 is a great cordless high torque impact wrench that could really stand to be updated before we all get too old to use it anymore.
We’ve been on a mission to look at the newest models of cordless high torque impact wrenches for the last couple months. If you’re new to this series, we’ve already covered wrenches from Milwaukee, DeWalt, Ingersoll Rand, AC Delco, MAC Tools, Matco Tools, and Makita. All of these models, as well as this last one, all featured in our Best of the Best Cordless High Torque Impact Wrench Shootout. We’ve seen some really great wrenches, as well as a couple that could use some serious improvement. To continue on with the latter part of that sentiment, this week, we’re looking at our 9th place finisher, the Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench…
…Well, that might not be totally fair. The truth is that Bosch makes a great tool, and the HTH181 is not the exception. It does have a few things going for it that do really stand out. And, if Bosch ever took the opportunity to update and upgrade their catalog, their cordless impact wrenches would probably compete. And, this seems to be the major issue with the Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench: their newest, and best, model of impact wrench is still 7 years old. This dinosaur is competing in the marketplace with tools that are using cordless technology that wasn’t developed almost a decade ago. So, while Bosch does make a quality cordless tool, on a performance level, this old model just can’t keep up with the younger guns.
The Good News
Let’s start with the good news first. By far, the Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench was the most comfortable model we tested. The contoured handle felt like an extension of our hand, and the rubber overmolding added another element of comfort that none of the other models could touch. If all other things were equal, this would be the wrench we would reach for first.
It was also one of the lighter options that we looked at. At just 7.04 lbs with a 6.3Ah battery attached, the Bosch model finished in second place for weight testing.
The Bosch HTH181 also excelled with its price point. Beaten only by the DeWalt model (and honestly, we’re not entirely sure how DeWalt is keeping their price so low), this wrench carries an MSRP that punches in just under $400.
The Bad News
Seven years since an update or improvement means there will be a marked difference between the Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench and any of the newer models. The main area where we see this gun suffer revolves around performance. We found that the Bosch only generated 73% of the torque that the winner of our shootout did. And, looking at the specs of the various wrenches, this should not come as a surprise. Where Milwaukee rates our winner as being capable of generating 1,000 ft-lbs of tightening torque and 1,400 ft-lbs of loosening torque, the Bosch can only do 500 ft-lbs in both directions.
Speaking of loosening power, the Bosch really suffered in our speed test. In an effort to replicate some real-world applications, we ran off ten nuts that had been torqued down at 500 ft-lbs. Where all of the models clocked in around 15.3 seconds or under, the Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench finished at a sluggish 23.9 seconds.
The HTH181 really shows its age when it comes to feature sets as well. While it does have a work light, it’s not a particularly bright or helpful one. It also has a brushed motor; most models have gone brushless at this point. It lacks any sort of electric brake as well, which means that the motor keeps spinning after the user releases the trigger. One speed is all you’ll get with this model as well. Other newer models will generally include three or four speeds at this point.
It really is a shame that Bosch hasn’t updated this impact wrench. They have a great understanding of ergonomics and place a high emphasis on comfort and build quality. The HTH181 weighs less than most models, and it carries a lower price tag than most as well. With an updated feature set, such as multiple speeds, a decent work light, and a brushless motor, this impact wrench could compete with the newer models.
And, while the vast majority of users probably won’t need more performance than the Bosch wrench provides, the truth is that you can get a lot more gun for the same amount of money or less. In fact, this was one of the more eye-opening things we’ve encountered by looking at all these impact wrenches: a higher price tag does not necessarily ensure that you’re getting a better product.
At any rate, if you already work from the Bosch battery platform, and if you don’t necessarily need peak performance from an impact wrench, this might be the model for you. At the end of the day, the Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench provided the most comfortable user experience. We just wish that this company would get to working on a new model before this decade ends.
Bosch High Torque Impact Wrench Features
- Spring load hammer and anvil high amounts of torque with little torque reaction, comes with detent pin with 2 FatPack batteries and charger
- 1,900 RPM with 2,100 IMP optimized mechanism creates added efficiency
- Soft-grip wrapped housing fits comfortably in hand for extended working time
- LED ensures the best visibility in dark areas great for night use
- Includes: HTH181 18-Volt high torque impact wrench with pin detent, (2) 18-Volt cordless lithium 4.0Ah HC batteries BAT620, charger, belt clip, case
- Bosch difference the most durable cordless tools in their class, 3-year provantage tool protection plan the best tool service program available, 2-year battery life guarantee
- Compatible with Bosch BC660 (60 minute) charger, works with Bosch 18-Volt batteries BAT609, BAT612, BAT618, BAT610G, BAT619G and BAT620
- Model: HTH181-01
- Anvil: 1/2”
- IPM (Impacts Per Minute): 2,100
- Max Tightening Torque: 500 ft-lbs.
- Max Loosening Torque: 500 ft-lbs.
- Battery Volts: 18
- Battery Amp Hours: 4.0 Ah (**6.3 Ah as tested)
- Mfr. Weight: 6.7 lbs. (at tested – 7.04 lbs.)
- Speeds: 1
- RPM: 0-1,900
- Warranty: 1 Year
- MSRP: $395
Click the link to purchase your Bosch HTH181-01 impact wrench.