Bosch recently introduced a new corded rotary hammer — a 1-1/8″ model that delivers a whopping 2.4 ft-lbs. of impact energy. But what’s most interesting here is Bosch’s apparent desire to switch to the traditional long, D-handle design. DeWalt, Milwaukee, and others have long adopted a chunkier vertical-motor design (see above) for their largest hammers, generally claiming a better in-hand balance as the length of the traditional D-handle models proves relatively front-heavy.
DeWalt, for example, has even moved the vertical design down to their smaller hammers, while Milwaukee still offers a mix. On the Bosch’s product page, they list the D-handle design as “ideal for overhead and downward drilling applications,” which would seem true; the same weight shift that makes the vertical models more balanced in side drilling would work against them in an upward/downward mode.
Besides the overall form factor, the Bosch’s spec list looks pretty hefty. A “cord turret” allows the power cable to swivel 35 degrees, keeping it from binding — and eventually wearing down. You not only get a metal gearbox, but also a metal gear cover, too, as you can see in the photo. We definitely like the idea of Bosch’s “Vario-lock” system, which enables you to rotate a chisel “into 40 different positions to optimize working angle.” That sounds a lot better than cranking your arm around to get the perfect position. And, of course, you get Bosch’s anti-vibe system, which includes a counter-balance in the hammer mechanism to reduce vibration up to a claimed 30%. Though we haven’t tried this specific Bosch, we can attest to the value of good anti-vibe in a rotary hammer. These systems have come a long way in the last few years, and they make using this relatively hard-on-your-ass tool a lot more comfy.
Expect to pay around $225 for one, and it looks like they’re in stock now.
Note: I have to admit that I’m stupefied by the huge assortment of rotary hammers offered by the major tool companies. I’d be interested to see a rundown of target users for each of the models and ranges, but in the meantime I’d love to hear from any of you who regularly uses one. What do you do with it, what do you use, and why did you choose it?