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Bosch Pro power tools and customer support

In this article, I’m sharing my experience with the Bosch Pro power tools and their customer support in my country (Serbia).
BikeGremlin forum discussion about this:

Table Of Contents (T.O.C.):

  1. Problem’s description
  2. Bosch authorised repair service
    2.1. It’s not a bug – it’s a feature 🙁
  3. My problem
  4. Conclusion and the lesson
  5. Bosch GBH 187-LI hammer dril video presentation/review

1. Problem’s description

Online, via a shop in Serbia, I bought a new Bosch Pro GBH 187-LI hammer drill (German affiliate link). It had a problem that I tried to explain to the customer support via this email:


I have purchased a new Bosch GBH 187-LI cordless hammer drill.

When I start working in drilling mode, or percussion drilling mode: as soon as I press the activation button, the drill begins to rotate at about 500 revolutions per minute. Then, after a second or two, it slows down, and after that, it behaves, I would say, normally: the more I press the button, the more gradually it accelerates to maximum speed.

Up to now, my experience with Bosch drills has been that they start slowly from the outset, then only accelerate as I continue to press the button (i.e., when the button has already been pressed a certain distance).

Is this a fault with the unit I have, or is it normal for this model?

If it’s not a fault, can I exchange it for one that behaves, I would say, “normally” and which would you recommend?

Relja Novović

I sent the email near the end of the support’s working hours, so I was expecting an answer on the next (working) day. As the noon was coming near on the next day, I decided to make a telephone call, just in case. They politely explained that they’ve replied to my email, and upon my explanation that I got no reply, they said I could take the tool to the authorised Bosch repair service (there is one in Novi Sad, fortunately).

I took the tool to the repair shop, and upon my return, some 4 hours later, I got an email reply from the customer support:

To me, this answer looks as if the responder didn’t bother to read my email.
Based on the latest information I got from the official service, the tools was indeed designed to work that way!?! Who designed that, and who approved it for production – and why? Did those people ever try to drill a ceramic tile?

Hoping to avoid any misunderstanding, I replied with a video showing the problem:

Bosch GBH 187-LI cordless hammer drill abrupt starting problem

– T.O.C. –

2. Bosch authorised repair service

I went to the repair shop, and explained the problem. They said that it’s a new tool, but they have the diagnostics equipment to see if there are any faults with the tool’s electronics – which is wat they suspected first.

They explained they will look at the tool right away because it’s brand new, otherwise I would have had to wait for about a week.

Some 4 hours later, I got a call: they said they’ve confirmed the electronics to be faulty, that a repair would take about a month (until the spare parts they order are shipped), but since my tool is brand new, they will instead order another new tool and call me within a week to pick it up (I took the tool there on April 2nd).

That sounds more than fair. I wrote an email with this information to the customer support, to keep them in the loop.

Tuesday, April 9th:
I got a call from the repair service. They said a brand new drill came in, but it has the same problem. They called the Bosch central repair service, and they noticed the same problem with that model (GBH 187-LI) with the “one-chuck” head (the one that takes both SDS Plus, and “ordinary” round drill bits). The same model with an SDS Plus head only works normally.

They offered a spare drill for me to use for work until we see how the new one will be sorted out. That was awesome – though I declined the offer because I still have my old corded drill and it still works fine (after almost two decades), and I will manage a month or two more with it, while the new one is getting sorted out.

Here’s a link to the BikeGremlin forum discussion about the Bosch GBH 187-LI One Chuck hammer drill.

– T.O.C. –

2.1. It’s not a bug – it’s a feature 🙁

Wednesday, April 10th:
The official Bosch repair service got in touch with Bosch main service and Bosch engineers. They have confirmed that the problem I noticed with the drill is by design and that all the Bosch GBH 187-LI One Chuck drills work that way (the GBH 187-LI SDS-Plus only chuck drills don’t have this problem).

So, my drill is technically all good (on paper) and it is up to the seller’s good will whether they will give me my money back or offer an exchange for the model without the One Chuck system. At the time of writing, the seller has agreed to replace the drill for the model without the One Chuck.

The explanation from Bosch’s engineers:
“When people mount drill bits thinner than 6 mm, they often don’t align and don’t tighten them properly in the chuck, so we’ve designed the drill to start spinning fast right away, before any load is exerted on the bit, so that it can self-align and self-tighten to a degree.”

It is fair to note that the people from the Bosch repair centre were very patient and tried to find a solution in agreement with me and the seller.

Bosch GBH 187-LI One Chuck hammer drill with the problematic design
Bosch GBH 187-LI One Chuck hammer drill with the problematic design

– T.O.C. –

3. My problem

While this back-and-forth was taking place, the 14-day money return deadline for buying online in Serbia has passed (Serbian customer protection is pretty bad).

To make matters worse, from another shop I ordered the Bosch GDE 18V-16 Professional adapter for dust extraction when drilling, from a different Serbian store (where they had it in stock). That adapter is only compatible with drill models GBH 18V-24 C, GBH 18V-26, GBH 18V-26 F, GBH 18V-28 C, GBH 18V-28 CF, GBH 187-LI – and there is no way for me to return it because it is technically 100% working fine.

– T.O.C. –

4. Conclusion and the lesson

In an ideal world, I would have just gotten my money back. However, I know what it’s like to live & do business in Serbia, so I only have myself to blame.

I was stupid and naive to trust the renowned tool review websites and YouTube channels (both domestic and foreign) who sang praises for this tool, without mentining the problem that is an absolute show-stopper for me. It looks like something that should be noted (and bloody well noticed).

It looks like I’ll get the non-One Chuck model replacement and keep hauling the adapter (or a separate drill) for the “ordinary” drill bits (the non-SDS Plus bits).

This was an expensive lesson, but my health is good, which matters, and I’ll move on. Will probably make a YouTube review of the drill as soon as I find the time. 🙂

I’ve been using Bosch power tools for decades and have been happy with all the others so far.

– T.O.C. –

5. Bosch GBH 187-LI hammer dril video presentation/review

Bosch GBH 187-LI One Chuck - FLOP? 🙂
Bosch GBH 187-LI (One Chuck and SDS Plus) hammer dril video presentation/review

– T.O.C. –

2 thoughts on “Bosch Pro power tools and customer support”

  1. It could be a soft start feature. Designed to go to full power when the motor senses load (when you press it onto your work surface)

    • It does the “fast start” every time, regardless of the pressure applied to the bit (I tried with no pressure, moderate pressure, more pressure).
      Bosch says it was deliberately designed like that.
      I’ve relayed and discussed the explanation in the review video, but I should add it in full to this articles chapter 2.1.


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