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Bosch Green or Bosch Blue?

I like tools, I always have done and I still regularly use pliers, wire cutters and a ball pein hammer that I bought when I started my apprenticeship in 1967. I bought my first power tool in the mid 1970s which was a British made, two speed, 420W Wolf Sapphire and which, believe it or not, is still my only ‘go to’ corded drill.

Wolf and other power tool names (remember the old Stanley Bridges drills and Arcoy Dovetailer?) have long since gone to the wall and have been replaced by the new kids on the block, such as the MakitaFestool and Hitachi brands. One such maker is, of course, Bosch and we stock a huge variety of their power tools, both with tails and without…those are the ones with the new fangled battery things, although the Luddite in me suspects they’ll never take off!

Seriously though, the Bosch range, unlike some other brands, is deliberately split into two quite distinct areas: the lean green tools pitched at the DIY spectrum of users and the tougher, steel blue stuff ranged squarely at the big booted, multi-tool-belted, check-shirted trade users (see, I was paying attention the other night watching ‘The Company Men’).

The green stuff is built to a less demanding specification, as they’re intended for occasional use at weekends to cut the odd bit of shelving or to drill a few holes in the wall to hang a new cupboard. They’re not expected to last quite so long and, as a consequence, they don’t stretch the pocket quite so unnervingly.

Bosch blue tools, on the other hand, are built to an altogether more rigorous standard, designed to go the distance and do the job in a multitude of different trades. However, that didn’t prevent me from burning out the motor in one of their corded drills a few years ago; but my guess is that it was an exception to the rule.

Whilst it’s great to own top quality gear, there’s a convincing argument to suggest that a trade user might not necessarily want to load his (or her) van up with the latest, all singing, all dancing, hi-tec blue Bosch power drill, for example, when a much simpler, cheaper, green one will do the job just as effectively.

This idea might be even more appealing when a green drill has been bought for one job and if it burns out or, Heaven forbid, some light fingered ‘colleague’ takes a shine to it (and it’s been known to happen), it’s not too exorbitant to replace it. To do the same with a Festool would cause me to shed some tears together with a distinct sucking of the teeth as the credit card was handed over.

This trend was noticed at first hand some years ago when the current AxHQ was being constructed and it caused some comment amongst the staff at the time. It would be extremely interesting to hear your views on this issue, not just as a trade user, but also if you use power tools for any application, be it on site, at home, college or in the workshop.

If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, please pitch in on our Facebook page or at the end of this entry and as Jim Rockford would have said “leave your name and number. I’ll get back to you…”

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16 Comments on "Do the Trade really prefer Bosch Green or Bosch Blue?"

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Alfred Chow - Maker of Things
Alfred Chow - Maker of Things

I use Bosch Blue tools where ever I can but do have a few Bosch Green tools my dad got in part ex when he was selling tools. The Green tools have been great in the workshop where they have an easier life then on site and can be swapped for another if they fail mid job.

Rob Stoakley

…which was one of the salient point of this AxBlog entry, n’est pas? If it packs up mid-job or even in the ‘shop, then discard and buy another. Simples…and even better, cheap.
I still like Festool in the ‘shop though.

Jon 'Jim'll' Knight

Bosch green might be intended for a few shelves at weekends, but my ones have stood up to some rather more serious “DIY” at my local preserved railway. Bosch green might be dearer than some of the other DIY brands, but they do tend to solider on remarkably well – certainly a lot better than many other DIY brands (Black & Decker – I got through two of their drills on one loco before switching to the Bosch I still have)

Rob Stoakley

Thanks for your comment Jon. I’ve never used a Bosch ‘green’ in any serious sort of way so can’t really comment on their supposed reliabilitly, though I’d tend to agree with you on B&D stuff. In my experience though, it’s not the actual power tool itself that fails, but the battery that goes ‘fubar’…fortunately they can be replaced for a moderate amount of shekels.

jaso

No the trade prefer makita. Lol

DIYer
I’m a DIYer, and I’m a fan of the pro tools, Bosch included. I’ve had a good number of consumer grade tools as well as plenty of pro tools. Bosch are a good example, but B&D/DeWalt also count, and others too. Over the years, I’ve given up buying consumer grade tools. I’ve burned out sanders and a planer/thicknesser, worn out drill chucks (one on a cheap pillar drill, one green Bosch), stripped the gearbox from a cheapy-cheap SDS drill, and probably others that don’t spring to mind right now. The trouble is that if one of my tools dies (unless… Read more »
Stiubhart
I use green Bosch for some serious / heavyweight DIY and hobby work (wood-turning and carving) and have never had any problem with them. My sister (professional vehicle trimmer and upholsterer) had a couple of blue Bosch tools (drill and jigsaw) in her workshop which I used on a few occasions when helping out; given my albeit limited experience with them I will stick with the green variety. This may well be a personal thing but I thought the equivalent green job handled better and ‘felt right,’ maybe a case of what you are used to; as a pensioner I… Read more »
Amclaussen
During my younger years I was very frugal and tried to save as much as possible when buying tools, both in quantity and sometimes, skimping on quality too. One day I was performing an installation at the home of one of my clients, installing a large Audio system that comprised the building of large and strong acoustical cabinets built into his wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, the walls of the speaker cabinets were to be integrated with the shelves paneling, and everything had to be solid, strong and completely impervious to any vibrations and rattles, which meant a lot of wood… Read more »
Rob Stoakley
Many thanks indeed for this very insightful reply. I guess what you’re saying is that there appear to be several informal grades of manufacture within one company range, but as the ‘bean counters’ get a grip (along with other competitors with similar gear), the overall quality may possibly decline. As far as I can tell, there’s little today that can rival my Wolf ’76 Sapphire in terms of build quality and in fact some years ago I saw one of my ‘pals’ attempting to burn out the motor by drilling a deep 3/4″ hole in concrete. He didn’t succeed but… Read more »
justinwood_56
I’ve been both, as a trader and home workshop, I now have a tendency to buy cheap when trying a new type of tool, then buy better when I know the use It’ll get, I still have my corded bosch drill from 1987 and it works just fine but it’s just for home use.. I tent to use battery drills more these days… my home hobby workshop is mainly hand tools for woodwork but use corded tools for cutting and routing …. basically for hobbists n DIY’ers you’ll buy whats needed and affordable… lets face it, all electric tools die… Read more »
Niall Hammond
Because I want to have something I can depend on and being a fan of the Bosch brand I do tend to buy a lot of Blues and generally they serve me well and have proven to be good investments. A few years ago though I was caught out when an ageing, non Bosch, cordless drill/driver stripped its gear box just before I needed it for a substantial piece of work (drilling and the screwing in countless screws into green oak) that would have been a nightmare to use a manual screwdriver for and was way to far from the… Read more »
Rob Stoakley

Interesting Niall, that’s been the response of one or two users of the green stuff. It just goes to show that all their stuff is pretty good, regardless of colour.

Izzy Woodgears
I have been fully involved in home woodworking for just over 2 years now,aftr having my very first exposure to woodworking machinery like bandsaws thicknessers and belt sanders and basic woodworking taskts like finishing, more than 20 years ago (the big gap was due to lack of time in hichchool and too much focus on partying on weekends in the earlier years. now that I am fully int construction of different things like basic furniture and other such things,I can say after using Bosch Green small tools from back then such as cordless drill jigsaws etc,they certainly did what they… Read more »
topspot

I wanted to just say I will pick one since they are from the same company with only the color being different. But from reading the article, I know each is made for a specific section of the market. Thank you for the comparison…

Feanorr
All lithium-ion batteries fail after a few years especially when rarely or infrequently used so when it comes to cordless I’m really not convinced about the benefits of buying a more expensive pro tool for DIY. If you’re not a pro but use your tools several times a month, month in month out then you’re more of a pro when it comes to wear on the tools so it makes sense to get the higher quality. And if a tool packs up mid job, well, I have multiple B&Qs, Screwfixes, Toolstations and others all within 20 minutes drive of me,… Read more »
Pie_t

Don’t agree about Bosch green. In my experience they’re decidedly ordinary, bordering on downright poor, depending on the particular tool. I wouldn’t touch them.
Bosch blue on the other hand are much better quality.

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