Bosch 18V Die Grinder – Model DGSH-181 – Review

Bosch 18V Cordless Die Grinder – Model DGSH-181

As Bosch continues to expand their ever popular 18V cordless line of tools they continue to pressure the market with incredible tools. They recently sent us their all new 18V cordless die grinder, model DGSH-181. At first I was extremely skeptical about how a cordless tool would compete with an air powered tool. My review and the results will likely shock you as much as they did to me!

Features and Specifications

  • Best in class power-to-weight ratio – High performance 4-pole motor at <4lbs (tool w/ batt)
  • Superior ergonomics – Best handling with slim grip for reduced fatigue in extended use applications
  • Flexible Power System (FPS) – Compatible with Fat and Slim Pack batteries
  • Electronic Motor Protection (EMP) – Protects motor from overload
  • Slim, soft grip design – For more comfort in extended use applications
  • Electronic Cell Protection (ECP) – Protects batteries from overload, overheat and self discharge
  • Battery: Lithium-Ion
  • Collet Chuck Diameter: 1/4″
  • No Load RPM: 22,000
  • Rating: 18V
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Weight: 3.97 lbs with Battery

Performance and Evaluation

This new tool certainly fits into my “retirement” gig so to speak. Since retiring as a fire chief I spend my free time building hot-rod cars and restoring classics. So I’m very familiar with air operated die grinders as it’s one of the most used tools in our shop when it comes to body work and cleaning up welds.

We tested the new 18V Die Grinder in the Hot Rod shop for several days. We used it to not only grind but also cut! As you can see above this new Die Grinder is so powerful you can put cutting wheels on it and start cutting as well!

Overall we were blown away at the power the DGSH-181 has. Frankly it has as much power as the air assisted tools we’ve been using for years in the shop. In addition to the impressive power performance we also noted:

  • The 19 mm chuck wrenches that come with the grinder make swapping grinding heads quick and easy.
  • The battery performance was really good. We were very impressed on the run time vs the amount of tasks that it was used for in the shop day after day. In between tasks we just put it back on the charger seeing that the Li-Ion battery allows for more frequent charges.
  • The built-in battery gauge is a great feature! No more guessing!!
  • Well balanced tool with a prominent on/off switch location.
  • Weighing in at 3.5 lbs this grinder is considerably heavier than an air powered die grinder. However, in some situations the extra weight is a welcomed advantage for tool control.

Final Thoughts

The Bosch DGSH-181 is an exciting new tool to go “cordless”. In fact, the performance of this tool was so good that we believe it’s going to make an immediate impact on the industry. While it’s unlikely to kick air powered die grinders to the curb, it will likely offer a great solution for the jobs that don’t have access to a good compressed air source or for jobs where mobility is essential.

If we had one “knock” on the new tool it would be the size. As you can see above the Bosch 18V Die Grinder is considerably larger than it’s air powered cousin.  Obviously a smaller tool that does the same work would be preferred, however, there are times when the heavier grinder will be a welcome addition to the tool box.

Overall we think this tool is a great asset and a nice addition to any shop that grinds with power tools. If you’re looking for a more mobile die grinder this tool is great for the job. If you’d like to buy it you can at your local Bosch dealer or online at:



About the author

Pat Askren

Contributing Columnist Pat Askren is a retired Fire Chief who spends his free time building custom cars, repairing appliances and an assortment of home improvement projects. He has extensive experience using an assortment of tools from each of those categories. Pat is a text book Do-It-Yourselfer who loves getting his hands dirty and finding the right tool for the job!Pat recently opened his own "hot rod" shop where he builds and restores custom cars with friends and family. His new shop is the perfect place to test tools especially ones focused on the auto industry.In his free time he enjoys fishing and spending time with his four grandchildren.

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  1. Jeff Williams

    I can see a lot of guys pairing this up with their mobile welders. Looks like a great tool.

  2. VK Johnson

    Pat, I agree with your assessment that battery powered tools are beginning to edge up on air tools…the technology has finally caught up. As long as I’ve used air tools, I have a problem with the concept of turning on the compressor, hooking up a dern air hose, and contending with that same air hose as you work around whatever it is you’re workin’ on! I’m just beginning to replace my air tools with lithium cordless tools, and I really like the freedom that cordless tools have.

    I think that you’re correct about the weight of this die grinder being an asset in terms of controllability, however, the shape seems to me to be very cumbersome. I had that impression when you demonstrated it to me, and that one issue alone will prevent me from buying one. I think I will wait until the Milwaukee M12 line comes up with one…if they do so. I like where they are going with their compact, cordless tools, and M12 technology. Convenient size and weight is important to me, but I do like this Bosch tool over comparable air tools.

    The other thing about lithium cordless technology over air tools is that it really takes a heck of a compressor to keep up with many air tools, a die grinder and/or pad grinder being among them. The usual air compressor that a home user would typically purchase is way too small for using air tools on any size project. However, all ya gotta do is buy a couple of extra batteries and keep them hot on the charger, and you just swap them out. They don’t slowly start losing power like a air tool does…the tool typically just quits, or so it seems to me from using them. So, these will be far less expensive and more convenient for the casual and/or occasional user!

    Thanks for a great review!

    1. Todd Fratzel

      There’s no doubt that smaller batteries are literally at the doorstep. However, the M12 lineup just won’t have the torque and power to operate an effective die grinder in my opinion. The M12 lineup is awesome but I just don’t see it powering this type of tool. If anything I imagine there’s a better chance of seeing an M18 die grinder. Just my two cents from my visits to the Milwaukee facilities.

  3. VK Johnson

    Agreed… I don’t think the M12 lineup is designed for that, I think I had M12 on my mind instead of M18… the shape of the tool is also important to me, in that I like working with a power tool whose handle is in a different plane than the working end…ie the Milwaukee ‘Hatchet’ Sawzall, when it came out back in the day. When I saw that it had an adjustable handle, I HAD to have it because of the ‘feel’ of it… When I saw Pat demo the Bosch die grinder, the ‘same plane’ design issue struck me, although the power and usuability of the tool was awesome! And it’s the feel of the M12/M18 line that hooks me! Looking forward to more progress along those lines!

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