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ProStaff Review: Bosch PS42 12V Max EC Brushless Impact Driver

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ProStaff Review: Bosch PS42 12V Max EC Brushless Impact Driver

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Jason Ridgeway

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Jake Mengelkoch

Eric Aune Mechanical Hub

Eric Aune

PS42_heroThe Bosch PS42 12V Max EC Brushless tool was put in the hands of some ProStaffers recently, and the verdict is in. Jason Ridgeway, HVAC contractor and owner of Ridgeway Home Services; Jake Mengelkoch, cabinetmaker; and the Hub’s own Eric Aune “played” with the tool for a couple of months and took it for a spin.

The Bosch PS42 12V Max EC Brushless 1/4″ Hex Impact Driver has an optimized impact system to deliver outstanding impact force, fits all standard hex drive bits and accommodates 85% of impact driver applications.

After receiving the PS42 brushless impact driver to test, Ridgeway came away very impressed.

“I switched it out with my previous drill in my daily service pouch and put it through the normal daily paces,” Ridgeway said. “The battery life on this unit is great, going several days without needing charge while used for both opening and closing-up units, as well as installing sheet metal duct work.”

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This impact driver works great for installation work, as well. The small size makes it easy to maneuver into tight spaces, and the brushless motor keeps you from swapping batteries all day.

Regarding the brushless advantage, Mengelkoch says, “The Bosch PS42 features a brushless motor that gives you a leg up on the previous iteration, which featured a brushed motor and required more frequent charging.”

This 1/4″ hex-shank impact driver has variable speed control that contains two settings. The lower of which can be painfully slow, says Mengelkock, but it allows for extra accuracy when driving screws that may be likely to spin out with more power. On the higher of the two settings you obviously get a bit more punch, but it is very easy to keep under control for precision fastening.

IMG_6409 copyAccording to Bosch Tools, the drill provides two speed settings: one for high speed and high torque, and one for low speed and low torque. Users are able to match the correct setting to the specific application and material to prevent overtightening. In addition to the impressive torque rating, these tools offer no-load rpm ratings of 0-1,200 and 0-2,600 rpm; no-load bpm ratings are 0-2,700 and 0-3,100.

The PS42 driver has a 5.5 in. head-length and weighs just 1.6 lbs. The Bosch PS42 delivers a maximum torque rating of 975 In.-Lbs. and weighs just less than two pounds (w/2.0 Ah battery).

“The drill is probably the strongest 12V out there,” says Ridgeway. “It’s powered through rusted screws, it’s drilled through laminated wood and has no problem with bit tips through three layers of metal.”

Yet there are some differing opinions from the ProStaffers on the drill’s overall power.

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“While the impact has one of the smoothest brushless motors and drive transmissions I’ve ever experienced, I feel it’s a bit under powered,” says Aune. As 12-volt platforms expand throughout the market, more professionals are finding the power within these tool lines to be very usable on the job.

“The ergonomics, quality materials and smooth operation of the Bosch PS42 impact position it at the top of the list for 12V impacts in those categories, but an improvement on speed and torque are needed to truly take over the tool category, in my opinion,” continues Aune.

The Intangibles

The drill includes an LED light ring to illuminate the work area and dark locations, as well as a battery gauge indicator for easier charge monitoring. Seemingly arbitrary, that’s one feature that Mengelkoch loves the most.

“You can turn the LED on or off. At the shop I am constantly putting slides on drawers and as I’m driving the screws into the slides, the LED on most drills/drivers nearly blinds me every time, to the point where I’ve put tape over other LEDs to avoid it. The simple on/off button on top of the PS42 reduces the strain on my eyes for working with reflective pieces.”

IMG_6462-1 copyRidgeway seconds that feature, “It has a new feature where you can adjust the light to turn on or off, which is a nice, but one I left mostly up to the trigger pull to activate. It did take a minute to figure out as at first I thought there was something wrong with the light not working. Understanding this little detail is important.”

The drill comes in a really nice soft case that holds the drill charger and batteries, with plenty of room to put my bits and bit holder. “It makes it very convenient to keep it all together in one spot,” says Ridgeway, but if a suggestion could be made, “If there was anything to add to the drill I would say maybe the newer quick attachment for bits like found on some of the other drills.”

Oh, and, “I wish they would have a shoulder strap for the case to make it easier to haul around and up and down ladders to rooftops,” says Ridgeway.

Speaking of rooftops, Ridgeway accidentally dropped it from an 8′ ladder and it’s built strong enough to not even blemish the drill. “This drill can take a beating.” These tools are tough thanks, in part, to Bosch’s exclusive Durashield housing, a tough, flexible exterior that withstands the toughest jobsite conditions.

Each tool’s manageability is enhanced by its lightweight and ergonomic, easy-grip handle—an ideal solution for overhead applications. Other ProStaffer Kudos include:

• The materials and grip on the gun feel very natural and comfortable to hold.

• When you hold it in your hands, it’s very balanced weight-wise.

• The lightweight design won’t fatigue the user’s arm or wrist—which is important then the job requires working in tight spaces

The Skinny

PS42_App_HVACMengelkoch: This little guy packs a punch. After spending a few weeks with this in the cabinet shop, I’ve grown to appreciate it quite a bit. All in all, it’s a well-constructed, comfortable impact driver that helps you keep moving forward.

Ridgeway: Overall, the drill itself is a small but powerful, lightweight and well-built drill that I’m very happy to use. Honestly, if Bosch came out with more innovative tools like this and had more of an offering like Milwaukee and DeWalt, I’d start to think really hard on making a switch.

Aune: If you’re looking for a truly compact, very well-built impact for HVAC, plumbing or electrical service tasks, this impact will fit the bill. If you are drilling, driving fasteners larger than 5/16” or need an impact that does all of this all day and then some on one or only two batteries, then you’ll want to purchase the larger capacity [BAT420] 12V MAX 4.0 Ah Lithium-Ion battery.

 

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