Review: Bosch 26618-01 18 Volt Switchable Impact
What exactly is a switchable impact? Well, as the name suggests, it is an impact driver with a switch. This switch then allows users to completely turn off the impacts from the tool. It basically turns your impact driver into a standard drill/driver. One of the questions often asked of this tool is why one would need a switchable impact. The answer is simple; you now have a single tool that can take the place of two tools. When you are up on a ladder, do you want to have two tools to worry about, or just one? Switchable impacts can do many of the things a normal drill can do, with one small downside; they can only use 1/4 hex bits. There are adapter chucks that allow you to use regular bits in 1/4” hex chucks, but sadly none was included in the Bosch kit.
The Bosch 26618-01 is a powerhouse; it is not much bigger then a regular Bosch 18V Impactor, but it gives you much more versatility. I used the tool side by side with my Friends regular Bosch 18V Impactor and I did not notice any difference in how they performed. Even though it is a tool that is meant to replace two tools, you don't really feel like you are missing out on anything – other then a drill chuck. That being said, the tool is a little lackluster in the torque area while in drilling mode. It preformed fine with all standard drill bits used, but it had some trouble with a 1” Bosch Daredevil bit. Once switched back to Impact mode, the 26618-01 had no problems with the DareDevil bits.
The tool offers a full 1,500 in-lbs. of torque in Impact mode at 0 – 2,800 RPM, and two speeds in Drilling mode, 0 – 750 & 0 – 2,800 RPM. Switching between each mode is relatively simple, except I did notice it was a little harder to switch between drill speed 2 and impact at some times. This is not a huge deal, it is just not as smooth as switching between drilling speed 1 & 2.
The weight on this tool, like many Bosch tools, is a little heavier then similar tools offered by the competition. But this is due to the fact that they just seem to be built better. I have been a long time fan of Makita cordless tools, but they don't seem to be built like they used to, with plastic pieces that can fall off after a while. This is not the case with this Bosch Impactor. They have black rubber bumper areas on the tool that not only protect the tool from falls, but they also protect your work surfaces from accidental run ins. But unlike Makita, they do not look like they will be falling off.
Some of the other features included – which are now almost standard in all cordless tools – are the belt hook and the front head lights. Bosch uses a 3 LED light system that eliminates some of the shadows left by a single light system, plus it leaves a cool light pattern on the wall. The belt hook can be used on either side of the tool, and is attached with a single screw. This comes in handy when you need both hands, and can therefore hook the tool on to a pocket or belt. One of the smallest features, is also one of the coolest – the hex bit holder on the back of the tool with included double ended Phillips bit. I leave the bit in the holder, and use it as my backup in case I brake a bit. I can pull it out and use it until I have time to get a replacement. These are all small features, but when they are done right, they add to the enjoyment in uses tools.
Tool cases matter to some people, while to others they are the first thing to hit the trash. I go both ways depending on the tool, and how good the case is. The case used for the 26618-01 is one of the nicer cases I have seen. Everything had a nice comfy place inside with little wiggle room, and there is also plenty of space for extra bits, or even a full bit case. There is even a place for a third battery if you choose to add one to the kit.
The 26618-01 is part of the Bosch Litheon line of tools, so it uses and will accept any of the batteries from any other 18 volt Litheon tool. The kit includes two 3.0 amp hour batteries, but it can also use the smaller 1.5 amp hour batteries Bosch sells. The charger included in the kit is not as fancy as the music playing charger Makita offers, but it gets the job done in a timely manner. You will just have to check your charger to see when it is done, instead of listening for a completion song.
In conclusion, the Bosch 26618-01 is not a tool for everyone. It is a tool for people who do a lot of driving, who also need a good drill, but only want to carry around one tool. The 2-in-1 feature is the real selling point for the tool. It is priced between $330 and $400 depending on where you buy it, so you are paying for those extra features, but it is still priced below a Bosch 2-piece drill/impact kit. I used the tool for a few week on the jobsite, and never felt like I needed to switch to either a drill or an impact.
[:cicn:] Bosch 26618-01 - Amazon