Author Topic: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?  (Read 2047 times)

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Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 349
Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« on: June 08, 2018, 04:39 PM »
Dear green hearted hive mind,
I require your assistance.

I‘ll be moving in the next couple of months and will likely have a new place with lots of concrete in the walls (compared to the brick in the current building).

So I think of finally adding a proper hammer drill to my arsenal.

How happy are you with your BHC18?
I am inclined to stay with Festool since I like the design and especially the vibration damping feature. I have enough batteries to go with the base unit for now (PDC, C18...).

I am inclined by the Fein, since this is the only other battery platform I already own. It offer a chisel-function, which the BHC does not. I know for real chiseling, a different tool is needed anyways, but for the odd fix around the house, might it be useful?

I‘d be open to adapt another battery platform from a different brand, but am more inclined to stick to what I have.
..A slight portion might also be my T-Loc OCD which would be able to be served by both, Festool & Fein(self-build insert...) but I can get over that as well, when needed.

Please share your experience with the BHC18 and maybe the Fein, if anyone has one (new since spring 2018, iirc).

Also please comment on how useful you find the chisel function to be. Any impact on tool lifetime experienced?

Thank you for your inputs, as always. :)
Uli

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Offline Sanderxpander

  • Posts: 149
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 04:51 PM »
A chisel function is really useful if there are (for instance) old tiles or cement patches that you need to remove. Even the one on my simple green Bosch hammer drill works pretty well, I removed probably 20 square meters of wall tiling with it. It wasn't too fast but waaaayy better than going by hand so for small stuff around the house it's definitely nice to have.

I don't know if either of the mentioned options has a dedicated dust extraction unit but I know some Makitas do, I'd definitely count that as a plus for use in your home.

Offline Distinctive Interiors

  • Posts: 316
  • Modern Kitchen Specialist
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Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 05:50 PM »
I can't comment on the Fein drill as I have never used one, but the BHC is a joy to use. I don't have an issue with the fact that it doesn't have a chisel function on it as I have other drills that perform that function (both corded and cordless drills).

I've used mine to drill all sorts of different brick, concrete and aerated block walls and the drill has never batted an eyelid.
I also have a number of 18v Festool batteries, so i bought my BHC as a Bare drill in a Systainer.

The vibration damping system also works really well and the drill itself is nice and light in the hand when you have a lot of holes to drill.

Tim.

Offline bwehman

  • Posts: 25
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2018, 05:53 PM »
With a quality carbide bit, the BHC18 is unstoppable. I just last week used it to drill 200 1/2" holes that were about 6" deep for a termite treatment and just barely used a full battery. So comfortable and lightweight. Seriously though, with any hammer drill, buy a good bit.

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 349
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 06:06 AM »
Thank you for your input so far. I have handled the BHC18 a couple of times in the past and always found it to be a very comfortable design in terms of weight distribution etc.

I will try and test both side by side to get a better understanding of the differences.
Just need to find a vendor that carries both.

In general I love my Festool drills, but I also enjoy the quality of the SuperCut and the Fein ABH having the chisel-function still leaves me undecided.

How about you guys that have the BHC18?
What do you use to chisel, if needed?
How often does it come up?

I think it will anyways not be a daily use for me and this tool, which is why I am more looking into versatility..
But the BHC18 is so sexy.... ;)

Offline six-point socket II

  • Posts: 639
  • aka @the_black_tie_diyer
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 11:22 AM »
Hi!

My thoughts:

Have a current Festool vac with bluetooth, or plan to upgrade either with the module or new vac? Get a Bluetooth battery, the drilling dust nozzle (if you're not already owning it) and the BHC.

Have FastFix/Centrotec OCD? Get the BHC (and drilling dust nozzle if you're not already owning it).

Love Festool? Get the BHC (and drilling dust nozzle if you're not already owning it).

Desperately want to use Fein's 18V batteries more regularly? Get the Fein.

The above + really, really need just the chiseling function? Get the Fein.

Want something super cool, brute force that sends people who look at you while you're working into pure tool envy? Get a Hilti TE 30-A36 or the new TE 6-A36 / TE 6-A22.

Want your hammer drill add-on dust extractor to spill dust and debris everywhere? Get a Makita.

Want a professional grade, meets end all, versatile, all around "home owner" rotary hammer solution? Get a Bosch GBH 18V-26 F with add on GDE 18V-16 dust extractor.

 [big grin] [wink] [big grin] [wink] [big grin] [wink] [big grin]

Honestly:

You asked about the BHC before, here: http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-tools-accessories/choosing-my-next-festool-drill(s)-drives-me-mad!-help-please!/ others and also myself wrote quite a bit about it.

Hi!

I start with the one that, in it's currently offered configuration, would be the last Festool drill I'd get: The BHC.

It's really a neat rotary hammer, it fits Festool's orientation speaking of the trades they mainly cater to and has more than enough power to drill small to well above your average medium diameter holes in concrete. BUT it lacks the "hammer only" function which in my eyes is pretty much unforgivable speaking of versatility. Speaking of 18V rotary hammers and (hammering) hole saws in masonry/concrete - don't do it. (Especially never in reinforced concrete) If you need to do this once or twice - no problem. But more often than that - no way. This type of use tends to wear out slip clutches rather fast and there are way better suited tools for this type of work. You're going to invest in a way more potent rotary hammer / drill anyway once you start to build your house.

Now for the C/T 18+3. The most important feature (which I in fact do miss on my PDC) to me would be the selector on top to choose between drilling and driving screws. If you do a lot of assembly type stuff this is great because it allows you to keep your preset torque for driving screws but overrides it to full speed/torque when switched to drilling mode. This is amazing!

Other than that, 1500 rpm aren't 3800 - that is true. Question is: if you really like the C-shape, are you willing to substitute that for the 3800 rpm of the PDC/DRC? Basically a question of how many times you're really going to (need) use top speed.

Speaking of the PDC - it's hands down the drill I'd get. I love it. It's an unbelievable versatile drill/driver but again, a percussion drill is NOT for drilling concrete and surely not reinforced concrete. Masonry on the other hand, yes. And I can tell you, with the Centrotec stone drill bits and at 3800 rpm - the PDC cuts in masonry like it's butter - you don't even need to switch to percussion mode. It's like a miracle. Especially compared to using your typical 2 kg type rotary hammer in drill only mode, that will only do about 900 rpm under load. Different world, entirely! The gearbox can be a little tricky at times. Another great thing: it reduces/increases speed depending on torque setting. This makes it very easy to drive a screw even in delicate materials - it's an amazing feature. Example: You're in 2nd gear with a top speed of 850 rpm in drilling setting. Once you set torque it also adjusts speed accordingly and will not go above a certain rpm. The PDC is a fantastic drill/driver and would be ( IS ;) ) my #1 choice. Just take your time to get to know it if you should buy it.

The hooks on the PDC might seem strange at first, I had my doubts - but they do work.

So my recommendation would be to get the PDC - and if you need to drill up to medium diameter holes in concrete and want to stay in the system, get the BHC, too. On the other hand - if you don't need it immediately, and can take pass on the free battery I'd wait and see if Festool updates the BHC. As far as I know, a hammer-only mode is wanted by a lot of people. Can't beat a light-weight, versatile rotary hammer that can hammer-only, too - and almost all competitors have this. Like I said in the beginning, pretty much unforgivable to not have it in todays market.

Kind regards,
Oliver

To this day, nothing has changed for me. I can see/understand why the BHC has no chiseling/ hammering only mode - but for an all around rotary hammer I think chiseling/ hammering only is an important function.

I don't see why you should buy the Fein either, except for the batteries. And as far as I know/ I was told it's Bosch technology inside anyway. So if you have a fantastic offer, go for it - but it lacks features (exchangeable chuck, dust extraction) that "other Bosch" rotary hammers have.

My honest recommendation today would be the same I gave initially in the "funny part" of my reply: Bosch Professional GBH 18V-26 F with add on GDE 18V-16 dust extractor. Sell the L-Boxx, get a SYS 4 or 5 and make an insert. This combination of rotary hammer and dust extractor is a game changer.

And please note, this comes from someone who (still) doesn't buy Bosch Professional (anymore) and who wholeheartedly, madly, deeply loves Festool.

Kind regards,
Oliver
Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2186
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2018, 02:00 PM »
I can't comment on the Fein drill as I have never used one, but the BHC is a joy to use. I don't have an issue with the fact that it doesn't have a chisel function on it as I have other drills that perform that function (both corded and cordless drills).

I've used mine to drill all sorts of different brick, concrete and aerated block walls and the drill has never batted an eyelid.
I also have a number of 18v Festool batteries, so i bought my BHC as a Bare drill in a Systainer.

The vibration damping system also works really well and the drill itself is nice and light in the hand when you have a lot of holes to drill.

Tim.
^^^^^^^^^^^  This.   I recent added Blue Tooth Batteries and Blue tooth module kit so my BHC now has added features over when I bought it.  I DO have a much larger Bosch Rotary Tool if I need electric Chisel only function or bigger drilling, but unless the drill bit/hole diameter exceeds my BHC, I reach for the BHC since it's small and powerful.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Sanderxpander

  • Posts: 149
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 03:09 PM »
Btw speaking in general about Fein drills, I have a slightly older ASB14 that's 14,4V but it's a beast. Rock solid construction, 55nm torque and 27,000 impacts a minute in the impact setting.
I don't know this particular one you mentioned but I was honestly surprised by the drill's quality, I mainly know Fein from the MultiMaster and I got the drill in a kit with one.

Offline Jmacpherson

  • Posts: 163
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2018, 03:50 PM »
I have the BHC and it is a great tool but it is not an all rounder in my opinion and you mention you want versatility so you might already have your answer. Many competitor models which are only slightly larger are rated for larger holes and have the chipping mode.
Like others I have a corded Bosch which can chip/chisel if needs be - never needed it.
I went with the BHC purely for vibration absorption and ergonomics, throw on the 3ah compact and its fantastic.

You want it to either be Fest or Fein due to batteries, maybe ask a different question. Of the two brands, currently what do they have in their cordless lineup that you may want to purchase at some point?

Offline BJM9818

  • Posts: 211
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2018, 04:18 PM »
I bought the BHC because I needed to anchor a bunch of kitchen cabinets to old brick walls.  I wanted something small so used that excuse to buy it.

I own a bunch of Hilti drills. TE-35/TE-60/AVR 3000 And one of their cordless models so I could care less that it has a chipping function. I would much rather use a corded tool if I need to chip a bunch of tile off the wall.

Balance is great with the BHC. Hilti store was late with an anchor order a month after I bought it so they gave me one of their $150 small hammer drill sets as a consolation. The round case fits perfectly in my BHC systainer.

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 349
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2018, 06:02 PM »
Thank you all for your input.

I really have a problem with spending months and months chewing on tool decisions. ;)
But on the other hand, once I decide, I am happy with my pick and do not doubt it afterwards.

My current plan is to try and get my hands on the Fein and the BHC again.
The Fein proves difficult to track down, but I might have found a place...

After the mentions above from Oliver and others, I also want to have a look at the Hilti offering, especially TE6 A22.

Due to a lack of experience with different hammer drill weight classes, I really have a tough time estimating my needs and transferring those onto tool specs.
Hands on should hopefully help.

As does all your input, which is highly appreciated!

Any comparative experience with the dust collecting add-ons? (Oliver you mentioned the Makita to be leaky...)
How do they compare to the vac-stick-to-the-wall ones like Festools version etc?

Initially I thought of trying to keep the battery platforms I have (Festool and Fein).
I am currently missing an impact driver, which would be a next addition, and an angle grinder, also preferably cordless.
What I like about Fein is the ability to use the 12V as well as the 18V on the tools (weight/power as needed).

Maybe I‘m still dragging decisions in hopes for a new Festool impact, followed by an angle grinder for the new sander batteries! [emoji7]

Offline Sanderxpander

  • Posts: 149
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2018, 02:41 AM »
FWIW I have the Festool vac-to-the-wall thingy and I rarely use it. It works pretty well but it's just a bit too much of a hassle. I've never used a drill with built in dust collection but it seems like it'd be way more practical.

Offline Jmacpherson

  • Posts: 163
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2018, 04:54 AM »
Any comparative experience with the dust collecting add-ons? (Oliver you mentioned the Makita to be leaky...)
How do they compare to the vac-stick-to-the-wall ones like Festools version etc?

Initially I thought of trying to keep the battery platforms I have (Festool and Fein).
I am currently missing an impact driver, which would be a next addition, and an angle grinder, also preferably cordless.
What I like about Fein is the ability to use the 12V as well as the 18V on the tools (weight/power as needed).

Maybe I‘m still dragging decisions in hopes for a new Festool impact, followed by an angle grinder for the new sander batteries! [emoji7]

I have the Festool drill-vac-nozzle and it works very well and I'm pretty sure every manufacturer has some sort of dust extraction fitting for their SDS drills that connects to a vac these days.
In terms of the Makita's being leaky perhaps the older versions were, newer model seems fine based on this video

Nothing is going to match a vac at the end of the day.
In theory an envelope and masking tape will catch the dust from horizontal holes in walls and your vac can cleanup the mess on the floor.
Anything attached to a cordless SDS will just add weight and if you are concerned about dust extraction  maybe the corded route is still best at the end of the day since a vac will be involved and you therefore have power?

I don't see Festool releasing a cordless grinder and if they do it would probably be along the lines of their current models so maybe tricky to turn it into an all-rounder without purchasing extra parts.
Impact driver, rumours were of a possible release this year but we are in June already. Don't think anyone makes a bad impact driver these days from the other reputable stables.

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2186
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2018, 02:27 PM »
Any comparative experience with the dust collecting add-ons? (Oliver you mentioned the Makita to be leaky...)
How do they compare to the vac-stick-to-the-wall ones like Festools version etc?

Initially I thought of trying to keep the battery platforms I have (Festool and Fein).
I am currently missing an impact driver, which would be a next addition, and an angle grinder, also preferably cordless.
What I like about Fein is the ability to use the 12V as well as the 18V on the tools (weight/power as needed).

Maybe I‘m still dragging decisions in hopes for a new Festool impact, followed by an angle grinder for the new sander batteries! [emoji7]

I have the Festool drill-vac-nozzle and it works very well and I'm pretty sure every manufacturer has some sort of dust extraction fitting for their SDS drills that connects to a vac these days.
In terms of the Makita's being leaky perhaps the older versions were, newer model seems fine based on this video

Nothing is going to match a vac at the end of the day.
In theory an envelope and masking tape will catch the dust from horizontal holes in walls and your vac can cleanup the mess on the floor.
Anything attached to a cordless SDS will just add weight and if you are concerned about dust extraction  maybe the corded route is still best at the end of the day since a vac will be involved and you therefore have power?

I don't see Festool releasing a cordless grinder and if they do it would probably be along the lines of their current models so maybe tricky to turn it into an all-rounder without purchasing extra parts.
Impact driver, rumours were of a possible release this year but we are in June already. Don't think anyone makes a bad impact driver these days from the other reputable stables.
  I think here in the US the Silica Dust Collection Rules that finally went into effect last year require a nozzle or DC at least tied into the Drill from what I understand. I know there are parameters too depending on certain factors, hopefully someone here who is more affected by the new regs can chime in on this.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline six-point socket II

  • Posts: 639
  • aka @the_black_tie_diyer
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2018, 03:30 PM »
Hi!

The Makita add-on dust extractor probably works as long as it has a clean, all new filter. I had a professional from our provider over, he installed the ONT. When I offered him my Festool Vac + drilling attachment he declined, his rotary hammer has "built in" dust extraction. ... Out came the heavily, heavily used Makita setup. He even started the drill away from the wall to make sure the dust extractor was running up to speed. When he was gone, I used my Festool Vac to clean up the mess his "dust extractor" left on the shelving. ;)

I've seen the same situation with a heavily used Bosch, and it works better. = No debris left.

Just my observation.

And again, the Festool drilling dust nozzle might take a little getting used to, but it works absolutely flawless. Depending on what I do, I use the Vac in manual mode, put the nozzle to the wall and then bring the drill bit to my marking and start drilling.

Kind regards,
Oliver

Kind regards,
Oliver

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 349
Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2018, 06:13 PM »
Thank you all for the feedback.

I finally built the Bluetooth remote into my CT26 yesterday and am already amazed how much easier it makes handling the dust collection. Brilliant bit of kit!
...I have used the Festool dust nozzle in the past, but the Bluetooth really makes it a lot easier.

I hope to be able to handle the Fein on the way to work (slight detour needed) tomorrow.
If not it will have to be early next week.
I found a dealer carrying it, finally.

The Hilti will have to wait until I build a house.
Stared long and thoroughly at the prices today... [emoji6]
If I have time, I still want to take a stroll in the store, but the battery prices alone make cordless Hilti a very, very expensive game. [emoji15]

Had a quick grab of the BHC today. If the Fein does not „wow“ me immediately, my Festool drill collection will definitely come one step closer to completion soon. [emoji41]

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 349
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2018, 02:00 PM »
FOG!
Thank you for your help.
The inevitable happened. [emoji51]

I have decided to purchase the BHC18. [emoji41]

Went to the Fein dealer this morning to look at the ABH18. It is a nice machine, but the design makes it very front-heavy, especially with the bigger batteries.
Also from a „free Air Test“ (No test drill area available), the vibrations are still quite prominent.

Both areas, where the BHC18 shines. It is just so tremendously ergonomic for the power it delivers and I really appreciate the Festool vibration damping tech.

I could not bring myself to take the Bosh range into account. Bad memories from an older Bosch Professional range drill... and the Hiltis look nice, but only for more heavy use.

I am very happy with my choice, even if the machine is not even ordered, yet. :)


So:
One more quest!
What SDS-plus drill bits do you recommend?

I looked at the new Bosch X7, look nice, maybe the Festool set, but I‘d rather have some longer bits.

Thank you for any suggestions.

Offline BJM9818

  • Posts: 211
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2018, 09:35 AM »
This is the set I carry in my case with the drill.

https://www.hilti.com/inserts/hammer-drill-bits-%28sds%29/r4701

I know Hilti prices are on the high end but I’be owned a ton of their bits including 5 SDS hole saws from 2”-6” and have never had a problem.

A Metric set is completely worthless since all masonry anchors in the us are specified in SAE.

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 349
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2018, 12:45 PM »
@BJM9818 thanks for the tip.

I will check it out. They have good set-choices available.

I‘ll get the metric set, though, since everything over here in Europe is completely metric. ( ;) )

Offline grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 349
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2018, 05:15 PM »
So, BHC is finally ordered and I also ordered two sets of Hilti drills to cover the range (L1 & M10 sets).

Thanks again for the input. Can't wait to use these...  [cool]

Offline awil66

  • Posts: 142
Re: Hammer drill: BHC18 or Alternatives? Fein ABH 18?
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2018, 06:43 PM »
You will enjoy the BHC. Very nice drill. Power to weight is exceptional. And we have both corded and cordless hilti sds drills available on site, and they are nice too, but for 1/2” x 8” holes in cured concrete the BHC is more than capable.