As you will have no doubt guessed from other articles on this site, I am no stranger to mini drills!
Before I get into too much detail about this drill I would like to point out a small but very important fact. Dremel and Bosch are the same company! To be more precise, Dremel are a Bosch subsidiary (as I understand it).
I do have some experience with cordless Dremel tools..... Unfavourable experience! I was one of the lucky few that purchased a Dremel Stylus which was sooooo close to being an extremely good bench top mini drill. But suffered from a battery that wore out and couldn’t be changed. Even when I tool it apart and tried to find replacement components, the prices of replacements of that particular battery were astronomical! So its now sitting in a junk drawer at home. Bosch were very good about providing replacements, but eventually even they stopped supporting it. I found that they lasted about 6 months before the battery failed.
Since then I have shied away from cordless tools.... until my recent purchase of a Bosch GSR 10.8 2-LI. It was fantastic. Plenty of power and the battery could be changed when it wears out!!
I considered the Dremel 8200 and I admit its a good tool. Interchangeable batteries, plenty of power etc.... but the simple fact is that although its made by the same company as the other bosh 10.8 tools I have and its actually an identical battery, they have put a different clip collar around the base of the battery so I cant use a bosh battery in a Dremel and visa versa. HOW DUMB IS THAT????
Again, they have come so close to making a really great tool and failed at the last hurdle! Its crazy!
No great problem there but every now and then it would be nice to have a cordless tool. I do a lot of my layout work in the garage or the garden (they are the only places where I have enough space to set up the layout without interfering with my wife’s music lessons!) and frankly if I just want to drill a couple of very small holes, the Bosch GSR 10.8 2-LI is unsuitable as its simply not fast enough and I cant be bothered to drag out the 40 metre extension cord! So the work simply doesn’t get done.
I may have accidently told Screwfix that I was an electrician (which in a roundabout way is sort of true) and they very kindly sent me some vouchers! As I said earlier I was extremely impressed with the Bosch GSR drill and I had a look on their website to see what else I could get in the same range. I was a bit surprised to discover the GRO.
My first thoughts were
1. Why would they make that?
2. Is it a Dremel?
3. What’s performance like
4. How big is it?
5. How heavy is it?
I looked online to find answers and unless you are good at reading German there isn’t much out there!
So me being a sucker for new tools.... I bought it anyway!
As I already had the battery and charger, I purchased the tool on its own.
It came in a cardboard box with an insert for the L-Boxx if you like that kind of thing. It also comes with a couple of accessories. It has a few fiberglass reinforced cutting discs and a truly terrible mandrel! (really its junk! Why do they do that? Surely they would want to show off the quality of their accessories?)
Last but not least it comes with an alternative collar!
So lets answer those questions.
1. I haven’t got a clue. It really doesn’t make sense. I think Bosch have a problem with their smaller drills. Dremel seems to be loosing favour in the UK with many of the bigger chains keeping less and less of the range in stock. Even retailers like B&Q are only keeping Dremel products in the bigger stores and sometimes not even then. But they don’t keep this one either! Perhaps Bosch feel that having Bosch on the badge makes it more mainstream? I don’t know.
2. Well, they are made by the same company and I suspect its made in exactly the same factory by exactly the same people. The collets are identical. The collet nut is identical. Build quality is good as I would expect from both Bosch and Dremel. They have even put the Dremel thread for attaching flexi shafts and Dremel accessories Basically yes. This is a Dremel with a Bosch badge.
3. Pretty good. Its not quite as powerful as the mains Dremels. But frankly, does it need to be? Lets start at the low speed range. Vibration is nil. It runs as sweet as a nut. Its surprisingly quiet. Coming onto the mid range, again its nice and smooth. Its only when you put your foot down that noise really picks up and there is a bit of vibration. There was no measureable runout on the shaft. I was very impressed. It will happily drill 1/8th holes in Oak. Anything bigger than that and I would use a bigger drill anyway (I love reading Amazon reviews where people complain that their tiny little drill wont put a 1” hole in an old oak beam!).
4. It is a little bigger than mini drills I am used to. Its a bit chunkier than a typical Dremel like the 395 or the 3000 But still very useable. Something that drove me nuts was the advertising pictures. People don’t hold a mini drill like that! Its a recipe for kickback! The drill obviously has to be bigger than the motor and battery. But I feel that perhaps they could have paired it back just a little more but I guess that would be impinging on customers for the slightly smaller (and it really is only slight) Dremel 8200. I am looking forward to seeing what they have to offer in the future.
5. Its surprisingly light. The casing feels tough enough (typical Bosch) but its the slight increase in size rather than any weight consideration that causes me to think about how I tackle a task.
Would I recommend this drill? I would defiantly recommend this over the Dremel 8200 I really don’t see the point in the 8200 anymore. But I would stress that I think this is another tool in the arsenal rather than a replacement for one.
This is not a cordless replacement for a corded minidrill. The smaller form factor of the mains drills cant be ignored. I like to do detailed work holding the drill like a pencil. I can get away with it on the corded Dremels and if its just drilling then I can get away with it with this tool but this Bosch is just a little too long and tail heavy for detailed work with burrs and engraving.
There is another huge selling point on this drill. Because it takes the standard Bosch pro batteries, you can buy higher capacity ones! Currently up to 4Ah (the smaller batteries and physically smaller and the 4Ah will stick out a lot more but if you are going to be without power for a couple of days, its defiantly a major consideration. I am using mine with a 1.5Ah battery but in the same form factor you can now get 2.5Ah batteries which would keep this drill going for as long as I would ever need it to.
I still feel they have a little way to go. Firstly they have a choice to make. I feel they have gone out of their way by making the popular Bosch battery collar incompatible with the Dremel 8200 (or more to the point, they have made the Dremel Collar incompatible with the Bosch tools!). It would have been an excellent selling point and opened up another market for what is an excellent tool.
Next I would like to see a little more attention paid to the form factor. Its actually pretty good. But its a chunky drill. The Bosch battery technology is becoming popular (and quite rightly so). I liked the stylus. I wonder how difficult it would be to design a Dremel stylus that took the standard Bosch battery?
One last little thing... The Bosch comes with a 3 year warranty and in my experience, they are very good about sorting any problems you may have. In my opinion, that warranty is a good one!