Bosch 36 Volt Litheon Hammer Drill $500
5 pounds 14 ounces with Slimpack; 7 pounds with regular battery pack
There’s a new boss in town and it’s the Litheon, a cordless hammer drill from Bosch. The Litheon is so light and powerful you can actually carry it on lead.
Checking in at just under six pounds, the Litheon is nearly four pounds lighter than other drills with equal power outputs. The weight savings primarily comes from its lithium-ion battery, used instead of the now old-school nickel cadmium (NiCad) battery. Lithium-ion batteries have the best energy-to-weight ratio, and don’t suffer from the “memory effect,” so you can recharge a partially drained battery without lowering its charge capacity. The 36-volt Litheon charges to 80 percent in a zippy 30 minutes, and 100 percent in about an hour. Three LEDs indicate battery charge. I've used the drill for four years now, and the original batteries still take a charge although they aren't as peppy as they were originally.
The Litheon has all the features you need: a relatively cheap price, a reverse toggle, a clutch, and hammer/spin or just spin mode. It is available with your choice of two battery sizes, the 1 pound 9 ounce “Slimpack” battery, or the full-sized battery that weighs 2 pounds 11 ounces. In bullet-hard granite, the Litheon will drill a 3/8- by 3-inch hole in 26 seconds. Smokin! So much so, in fact, unless you let the bit cool between holes you can melt the carbide tip right off it. With a fresh bit and charge, the Slimpack will drill about 16 of those holes, while the standard pack will drill about a dozen. In hard sandstone, I got 12, 4-inch by ½-inch holes, the same number as a much heavier (4 pound 6 ounce) 24-volt NiCad battery. A charge light shows you battery status, handy for knowing if the battery you head up with is dead or full of juice.
Update: The drill come with two Slimpack batteries. After two seasons, often charging the packs once per weekend, one battery has failed. This is a bummer because replacement batteries are $140 from Amazon. I suspect the second battery, which has been used much the same way and charged an equal number of times, is also about to go bad. If/when that happens the price of the drill will have gone up by more than 50 percent.
• Lightweight and powerful hammer drill.
• Litheon battery can be charged while partially drained.
• Practical for on-lead bolting.