September 11, 2008

Bosch PS20 12v Max Pocket Driver - Review

bosch_max_in_hand.jpgA while back Bosch unleashed their 10-Volt, Lithium Ion-Driver to much acclaim; it was pretty powerful and very compact. But then, some other companies released similar tools that were more powerful by two volts. These new 12-Volt tools clearly out-matched the 10-Volt Bosch, so now, Bosch's 10-Volt has been upgraded to a 12-volt capacity.


When Bosch released their original tool, they called it a 10-volt, because that was the nominal voltage. When the other companies released their 12-volt tools, they decided to pick the name based on the maximum voltage, even though the batteries were pretty much the same. So, you see, Bosch's 10-volt is, and always was, in the same class as their competitors' 12-volts. So, not wanting to get continually screwed by shoppers who rightly assume that 12-volts is more powerful than 10-volts, Bosch has recently re-released their 10-volt as a 12-volt. So those of you who own the 10-Volt, don't hang your head thinking that your tool has already been outdated, because it hasn't. Well, it sort of hasn't. The Bosch 12-Volt Max has an increased speed and torque, both about 25% higher than the previous model. But our point is that the battery is the same.

bosch_max_in_case.jpgOther features of the 'new' 12-Volt Max include a LED light, a 12 position clutch, a ΒΌ" hex quick-change chuck, and a forward/reverse switch. There's not a whole lot to this tool and that, honestly, it was we like about it. It's just a driver. That's it.

After the PS20 spent a punishing three weeks at the jobsite being passed around like it was the last tool on earth, the unanimous decision among the guys is that it's a really great tool. Although it has got some strength to it, it's the size that was the biggest hit. It really does fit in places where no other screw gun could go, and for working in cramped spaces, it was a lifesaver.

And, like we said, it does have a good amount of power, but you have to keep in mind that it is only 12 volts. Our one complaint with the tool comes with our own expectations: we were dying for it to be stronger. After getting used to the size, we really wanted it to be the only tool we'd ever need on the jobsite. We kept finding ourselves attempting to work three inch screws through 2x4s, and to give the tool adequate credit, it can do the task, its just a slow and squeaky process, and really not one that it is made for.


The 12-Volt Max is meant for smaller tasks; hinge work, electrical, interior finish, basic around the house stuff, and similar uses. Under these sort of circumstances, the tool exceeds expectations.

And it is tough too. Over the testing period, it took a number of falls and tumbles and, just like any other Bosch tool, it brushed them off like it was nothing.

The bottom line here is that the 12-Volt Max would work in the hands of anyone from the apartment owner to the carpenter.

The kit comes with the driver, two batteries, a charger, and a cool case that has plenty of room for bits and other stuff that ends up in the case at the end of the day. It costs about $120, which is a fair price for such a useful tool.


Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion | Power Tools

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at September 11, 2008 5:26 AM
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