Bosch vs. DeWalt: Who Wins…
If you were to list five of the most reputable power tool brands in the world, both DeWalt and Bosch would probably make the cut.
And this is because both have been around for many years, and are very popular with woodworkers, DIYers, homebuilders and professional contractors.
But, choosing between the two can be a tedious task as it is like choosing between German ingenuity and top-notch American quality.
However, understanding what each brand stands for, what sets it apart from the others and the products that they offer should make the choice easier for you.
In this piece, we highlight all this and also compare some of their best combo kits. But first here is an overview of both their histories.
The story of 2 Top-Notch Brands
Having been around for more than 130 years, Bosch is one of those power tool manufacturers with a long and rich history as they have seen the industry develop and transform into what it is today.
Bosch was started by Robert Bosch in 1886 when he created the Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.
Like most other companies, the early years were marked by highs and lows, and it was not until the 1890's that things took off quickly.
When starting, Robert Bosch and his few associates would do any project that came their way from installing telephone systems to mounting electrical bells in residential houses.
However, from 1897 Bosch started making and installing better-design magneto ignition devices which most historians agree was the spark that set it all off.
Growth and Expansion
Although the magneto ignition system was its main product in the first years of business, Bosch would soon venture out into the production of various other things.
In 1928 they launched a hair trimmer that is often considered their first electrical tool. It had the motor on the handle which gave it unparalleled compactness and convenience. And its success is one of the things that gave Bosch the desire to venture more into power tools.
Following the acquisition of a Swedish patent for making an electric hammer and a Berlin-based company that had done a lot of research on the same product, Bosch launched a hammer drill in 1932. It was the first electric drill that could strike and rotate at the same time.
From then until now Bosch has focused on making tools and equipment to service various sectors of the business world.
When it comes to power tools some of their most important milestones are the 1956 introduction of the first plastic power tools, the formation of a power tool division in 2003 and the development of their award-winning 12-inch dual bevel glide miter saw in 2011.
The company now boasts a presence in more than 150 countries and more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies around the world.
DeWalt is almost 40 years younger than Bosch but it has still been around for longer than many other power tool companies and also has a long and rich history.
The company began its operation in 1924 and was started by Raymond DeWalt as DeWalt Products Company with a plant and offices in Leola, Pennsylvania.
Like Bosch, they did not have a lot of products to offer when starting out. DeWalt mostly focused on their "Wonder-Worker" which was a universal woodworking machine that could be configured in 9 different ways.
However, they would also start offering a dedicated mortiser and jointer soon in an attempt to grow their catalog and bring in more business.
Growth and Expansion
The story of DeWalts growth starts during the Second World War and more specifically in 1941. The company was contracted by the US government to make tools and equipment in connection with the national defense and wartime machinery which led to a rapid expansion.
Following the rapid growth and expansion in the years that followed it was reincorporated as DeWalt Inc in 1947. But, it would then be acquired by the American Machine Foundry a couple of years later.
Their power tool manufacturing business history is also marked by lows and highs, but one of their first and most significant milestones was in 1992 when they launched a line of portable electric power tools and accessories.
And in 1994 they started a revolutionary system of 30 new cordless tools which included their famous 14.4V cordless drill/drive.
By 2001 they had more than 200 electric power tools and over 800 accessories for these tools in the market.
Other important breakthroughs in their long power tools history include the introduction of the 12V max lithium-ion system in 2011, and its expansion to 20V max the following year.
Key Product Features
Bosch is not one of Germany's largest companies by chance as they make some of the best performing tools and equipment. Some of the traits that make their power tools stand out include:
- Active Response Technology. A common feature in most of their hammer drills and a few other tools, and it is designed to make them safer by reducing the risk of injuries from kickbacks
- Durashield Housing. Bosch is also about making their products rugged and tough enough to withstand job site abuse. And their heavy duty construction makes use of their unique and tough Durashield housing.
- Compact Design. Apart from being tough and rugged, most Bosch power tools are also compact to make them ideal for working in tight spaces.
- Reliable and Innovative. Research and innovation have been at the heart of Bosch products since its inception, and even the founder Robert Bosch paid a lot of attention to this. The ever-improving product design, features, and performance prove this.
With DeWalt power tools, you can always be confident of top-notch performance and reliability. Some of their top power tool features include:
- Shocks-Active Vibration Control. If you are using a recent rotary hammer model from DeWalt, vibrations will be the least of your worries thanks to the Shocks-Active Vibration Control features as it helps to reduce them by up to 50%.
- 20V Max XR Line. Most of the new DeWalt power tools are in this line. What makes them special is that they make use of brushless motors and 20V lithium-ion battery to ensure maximum efficiency, power, and longer runtimes.
- Flexvolt Battery. Different DeWalt power tools will use the same battery, and if you buy their advanced Flexvolt battery you can also be sure of longer runtimes and increased power when you switch it from one tool to the other. And this is because it is designed to change voltage automatically to suit the tool you are using.
- Tool-Connect. If you have one of DeWalt’s modern Bluetooth batteries on your power tools, you can track your tools from anywhere by getting real-time updates thanks to the Tool-Connect feature.
When it comes to making a choice between Bosch and DeWalt, it is important to know some of the tools that they have to offer.
And because it is always a great idea to buy a combo kit, here we compare Bosch CLPK402-181 and DeWalt DCK590L2 combo kits to help shed more light on the matter.
Bosch CLPK402-181 is a 4-tool combo kit with a hammer drill, reciprocating saw, circular saw and work light. The DeWalt DCK590L2, on the other hand, is a 5-tool combo kit with everything that you get on Bosch's kit but also includes an impact driver.
Check out our head to head comparison below of individual tools on these kits to help make your buying decision easier.
#1. Hammer Drills
0-440 and 0-1,850 RPM
8.26 x 9.6 x 3.6 in
0-600, 0-1,250 and 0-2,000 RPM
10.19 x 2.94 x 10.19 in
Bosch HDH181X is a powerful hammer drill that runs on the Bosch engineered 4-pole motor that generates up to an impressive 752 in.lbs maximum torque.
It is also built to reduce the hazard that can come with sudden tool reaction in binding condition, and it does this with the highly efficient kickback control.
This hammer drill is also relatively more compact than the DeWalt DCD985 which makes it ideal for use in tight spaces. And like most other Bosch power tools, it features a heavy-duty construction with Durashield housing for maximum durability.
The longer auxiliary handle is more comfortable to use and also provides better control, and the drill also has a built-in LED to illuminate dark work areas.
Although the DeWalt DCD985 is a little bulkier than the Bosch HDH181X, it makes up for this by being relatively lighter to ensure it is still easy to handle.
This hammer drill also offers more speed ranges than the Bosch hammer drill which is 0-600, 0-1,250 and 0-2,000 RPM, and this helps to make it relatively more versatile.
It uses a heavy-duty 1/2-inch metal ratcheting chuck with carbide inserts to ensure both durability and superior bit gripping strength.
And because it also uses the 20V lithium-ion batteries, you can also be confident of always getting long runtimes.
Like the Bosch drill, it also has a built-in LED light that has a 20-second delay after trigger release.
Despite the fact that the two companies express maximum power using different units, it is still clear that Bosch’s hammer drill is more powerful. And given that it is also a more compact tool, it is the winner here.
#2. Reciprocating Saws
With a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches which is similar to what DeWalt's reciprocating saw offers, you can be confident that the Bosch CRS180 will remove more material per stoke to speed up cutting.
Also, it offers two speed ranges which are 0-2,400 and 0-2,700 SPM to help make it easier to match the speed of the cut to the material that you are cutting.
Although at 6.35 pounds it is heavier than DeWalt's saw, it is still lightweight enough for overhead use, and also quite compact for use in tight spaces.
This reciprocating saw uses Bosch’s unique Lockjaw system to allow for fast one-handed blade changes for minimal downtimes. And like most of their other power tools, it is made with a rugged and highly durable housing.
The compact and lightweight DeWalt DC381 is designed to ensure minimum hand fatigue whether you are using it overhead or not, and it will fit easily into tight spaces.
With a speed range of 0-3,000 SPM, you will get a faster blade than what the Bosch's reciprocating saw delivers. If you combine this with the 1-1/8 inches stroke length you can be sure of fast and easy cutting.
Like most other DeWalt power tools, it comes with a comfortable over mold grip that makes it easier to control. Also, the reciprocating saw has a pivoting adjustable shoe that will help to extend blade life while also allowing for depth of cut control.
The fast and tool-free blade change is also a great feature as it will help minimize job site downtimes significantly.
Although the saws have the same stroke length, DeWalt wins thanks to its higher maximum speed and also because it is more compact and lightweight.
#3. Circular Saws
Cut Capacity (at 90°)
13.4 x 8.9 x 11.2 in
12.5 x 9 x 10 in
The well-balanced and lightweight Bosch CCS180 is designed to provide maximum power and speed for fast and easy cuts. It delivers up to 3,900 RPM which is 200 RPM higher than what you get from DeWalt’s circular saw.
It has a bevel capacity of 0 to 50 degrees to increase its versatility and a cut capacity of 2 inches at 90 degrees which is less than what the DeWalt DCS393 can cut but is still quite good.
This circular saw also features a left-blade design to ensure that users always get a clear view of the cut line. And it also uses an exclusive anti-snag lower guard for minimal hang-ups when making the narrow cut-offs.
Other features like easy to read depth-of-cut gauge, heavy-duty aluminum upper guard and foot, and a spindle lock that makes blade changes fast and easy also help to make this a great circular saw.
Like with most other DeWalt power tools, this circular saw is made to deliver more power and speed for tackling even the most demanding cuts.
It delivers up to 3,700 RPM and with a relatively larger cut capacity of 2-1/4 inches at 90 degrees that is greater than what you get with the Bosch CCS180.
This 6-1/2-inch circular saw is also designed to offer great balance and control which comes from its optimized over-molded grip.
The high-strength and lightweight magnesium shoe ensures long-term accuracy. And because it also uses the 20V lithium-ion batteries you can be confident of always getting longer runtimes.
The relatively higher motor speed, compact size, and light weight give Bosch CCS180 a slight edge over DeWalt’s circular saw and hence the win here.
#4. Work Lights
The design of the Bosch CFL180 makes it easy to fit into tight spaces which ensures that you can use it almost anywhere. And it is also a rugged and highly durable light with a tough ABS housing that can withstand the occasional falls.
This work light uses an incandescent bulb with a light output of around 100 lumens which is less than what the LED bulb on the DeWalt DCL040 produces but still quite bright.
It can run for up to 4 hours but its most impressive feature is the wide beam angle as it will allow you to cover more area.
Handling it is also quite easy thanks to the 360-degree rotation of the handle that allows you to place it anywhere you want. And it also comes with a couple of screw holes to allow you to mount or position it above.
With the DeWalt DCL040, you get an impressive runtime of up to 25 hours which for many users should be enough reason to buy it but there is still more to it.
This LED work light has an output of 110 lumens which makes it brighter than Bosch's light, and it is also designed in a more compact, lightweight and ergonomic design.
Because it uses an LED bulb, it will also not produce a lot of heat which makes it much safer to handle. And it also has a 120-degree rotating head to make it easy to focus the light where you need it.
The integrated hook is also a great addition to the design of the work light as it allows for hands-free use.
DeWalt wins here because its work light not only lasts way much longer but it is also relatively brighter.
#5. Impact Drivers
0-2,800 RPM and 0-3,200 IPM
0-2,800 RPM and 0-3,200 IPM
The robust motor and an all-metal gear system on the Bosch 25618 deliver 1,500 in.lbs maximum torque to ensure that there is almost no impact driving task that it cannot handle.
Also, the motor provides speeds of 0-2,800 RPM and 0-3,200 IPM for fast results, and with the variable speed trigger, you can also match the speed to the task at hand easily.
Although at 5.7 inches long it is slightly longer than what DeWalt offer on their kit, this is still a compact impact driver. And it also has a soft and slim grip to make it even easier to handle.
Bit changes are also fast and easy thanks to the quick change 1/4-inch chuck and the brushes are also easy to replace as they are externally accessible.
The built-in LED light is also quite handy as it helps to keep the work area illuminated which can be very useful when working in dark and tight spaces.
With 1,400 in.lbs maximum torque, this impact driver might be less powerful than the Bosch 25618 but it still generates more power than most others in its class.
The 0-2,800 RPM and 0-3,200 IPM speeds are similar to what our recommended Bosch impact driver above produces. But at just 5.5-inch long from front to back and 2.8 pounds this is a more compact and lightweight impact driver that will be great for use in tight spaces.
Its one-handed loading 1/4-inch chuck will accept bits that are up to 1-inch long tor ensue convenient fastening in tight spaces. And the slim handle will fit into the user’s hand perfectly.
Also, this impact driver offers relatively longer runtimes thanks to the 20V lithium-ion battery, and it has a built-in LED light with 20 seconds delay for improved visibility.
While our recommended Bosch impact driver delivers more torque than DeWalt DCF885, we still have to give DeWalt the win because Bosch does not include an impact driver on their kit. And also because DeWalt’s impact driver is more compact and lightweight.
- Hammer Drill: Bosch wins as its hammer drill is more powerful and compact
- Reciprocating Saws: Higher speed and a more compact and lightweight design give DeWalt the win.
- Circular Saws: A higher maximum speed and a more ergonomic, compact and lightweight construction mean Bosch is the winner here.
- Work Lights: Longer runtime and relatively brighter light give DeWalt the win.
- Impact Drivers: DeWalt wins because Bosch does not include an impact driver in its kit.
The closeness of the results is enough proof that both are top notch combo kits, and so you will still end up with some great tools no matter which combo kit you buy.
However, DeWalt also offers a longer 3-year limited warranty compared to Bosch's 1-year limited warranty. And their combo kit is still relatively cheap despite having one tool more than Bosch.
While buying a combo kit can save you a lot of cash and is also more convenient since the tools use the same battery, it is always important to buy from reputable brands like Bosch and DeWalt.
And if you are torn between the two brands, our combo kit comparison above should get you closer to making up your mind. DeWalt DCK590L2 takes the day but Bosch CLPK402-181 is still a great combo kit with some well-built and high performing tools.
But, with all said and done, your choice between the two will always come down to your preferences, budget and the specific tools you are looking for.
Last Updated on August 7, 2020 by Tom Bradly