Bosch 12V impact driver Cordless Drill Reviews & Impact Drivers

12V Impact Drivers

Speed Under Load
Measurable Torque
Weight
Feature Set
Value
Final Thoughts

We've seen some otherwise solid Pro brands neglect their 12V line, but the Bosch 12V impact driver has the fit, finish, and feature set that tells us Bosch puts real effort into the tools they design for it. The PS42-02 doesn't have many weaknesses but it's more expensive than some of its competition.

Overall Score 3.8 Shootout Results

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Bosch PS42 12V Brushless 1/4-inch Hex Impact Driver


Bosch 12V Impact Driver Offers a Compact, Comfortable Design

When we tested over 30 impact drivers, we had an idea of what to expect from certain manufacturers, but you never know when you’re going to get surprised by something. This is particularly the case with 12V tools. For whatever reason, we’ve seen some brands treat their 12V line like the red-headed stepchild of the company –  they’ll make the tools to just kind of check off the box. Thankfully, Bosch isn’t one of those brands.

Bosch 12V Impact Driver Shootout Results

  • 12V Ranking: 3rd place out of 9
  • Speed Under Load: 283 RPM (2nd place)
  • Fastening Torque: 390 in-lbs (4th place)
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 1200 in-lbs (3rd place)
  • Decibels Under Load: 97 dB(A) (tie, 3rd place)
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds bare, 2.1 pounds with battery (2nd place)
  • Footprint: 5.6″ head length, 6.3″ height (3rd place)
  • Feature Set: Highlighted by a 2-speed brushless motor and LEDs around the chuck (3rd place)
  • Value: $159.99 kit with two 2.0Ah batteries and charger (9th place)

Takeaway

We’ve seen some otherwise solid Pro brands neglect their 12V line, but the Bosch 12V impact driver has the fit, finish, and feature set that tells us Bosch puts real effort into the tools they design for it. The PS42-02 doesn’t have many weaknesses but it’s more expensive than some of its competition.

Results as of February 11, 2019. Check out our Best 12V Impact Driver page for the latest updates.

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Performance

On paper, the Bosch 12V impact driver cranks out no-load speeds up to 2,600 RPM and 0-3,100 IPM to go along with its 975 in-lbs of torque. On paper, Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel owns this category by a significant margin and Bosch settles in behind it with Makita.

Of course, when we run our tests, we like to actually put these tools under some pressure. After all, specs don’t tell the whole story.

Note: To see our testing methods, please check out our Best 18V Impact Driver main page.

Speed

We first tested speed. Under the load of a 1/4″ ledger screw, the Bosch PS42 cranks out 283 RPM. This is quick enough to earn it a 2nd-place ranking on our 12V charts. Milwaukee puts a pretty comfortable gap over Bosch by more than 100 RPM (397).

Bosch 12V impact driver

Torque

In our fastening tests, we found that the Bosch PS42 generates 390 in-lbs of fastening torque. Skil (700) and Milwaukee (804) don’t seem to be playing on the same field considering the distance they put on the rest of the field. Bosch settles into 4th in our ranking, just behind Hilti.

Next, we tested the Bosch’s breakaway torque. Again, Milwaukee and Skil kind of stomped everyone else’s scores, but the PS42 slides into the 3rd spot with 1,200 in-lbs of nut-busting torque.

Bosch 12V impact driver

Feature Set

The Bosch 12V Impact Driver includes a really solid feature set. Where quite a few 12V impact drivers seem happy to check off the box of having a 12V model, Bosch gives this tool the professional treatment.

Let’s consider what seemed to be the “standard fare” amongst most of the 12V tools we looked at. Most models have a single speed with a single LED on the base of the handle and call it a day. Contrasted to this, the Bosch 12V impact driver comes with a two-speed brushless motor.

Bosch 12V impact driver

It also has a really effective 3-LED light around the nose of the tool. Because the light is so even and effective, you lose the shadow that single LED lights cast. Plus, the PS42 has a toggle switch to turn on the LEDs, allowing you to use this tool as a flashlight in those dark corners without feathering the trigger to activate it.

Bosch 12V impact driver

We also really appreciated that Bosch includes a battery charge indicator on the tool. For some reason, not many 12V models include this feature.

Bosch 12V impact driver

We will say that the belt hook could use some help, though. It’s in a fine spot, but it doesn’t allow enough clearance between the clip and the tool to be able to quickly and easily slip it on to your belt. Some of the guys on our testing team just set it down rather than wrestle with it.

Bosch 12V impact driver

Ergonomics

One of Bosch’s strong suits has always been making tools that feel comfortable to use. The PS42 carries on that tradition with one of the most comfortable handle designs you can get from stick-style battery systems.

The Bosch 12V Impact Driver has a lightweight and compact footprint, finally leaving Skil and Milwaukee behind. Without the battery, it weighs a little over a pound and a half and is just 2.1 lbs with its compact pack. It also only measures in at 5.6″ long and 6.3″ tall.

Bosch 12V impact driver

Value

The Bosch 12V Impact Driver retails as a kit for $159.99. It comes with two 2.0Ah batteries, a charger, and a case. It’s on the premium pricing side with Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel coming a little higher. However, the M12 Fuel puts some serious distance on it in performance. Skil is the closest in terms of head-to-head scoring at this point, but it’s $100 price tag offers significant savings.

What adds value to the Bosch PS42 is it’s solid and well-designed build along with other options on the battery platform like the 12V FlexiClick drill driver, router, and planer.

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The Bottom Line

We’ve seen some otherwise solid Pro brands neglect their 12V line, but the Bosch 12V impact driver has the fit, finish, and feature set that tells us Bosch puts real effort into the tools they design for it. The PS42-02 doesn’t have many weaknesses but it’s more expensive than some of its competition.

Bosch 12V Impact Driver Specifications

  • Model: Bosch PS42-02
  • Power source: 12V
  • No Load Speed: 0-1,200 / 2,600 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 975 in-lbs
  • Impact Rate: 0-3,100 BPM
  • Bare Weight: 1.7 lbs
  • Weight with Battery: 2.1 lbs
  • Length: 5.5″
  • Height: 7.04″
  • Warranty: 1 year limited
  • Price: $127.64

 

This review originally published on September 11, 2016. It has been updated to reflect its performance in our 12V impact driver shootout.

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Kevin Brown
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Best one I’ve owned. Had to buy 2 more.

Matt
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Matt

I think what sets the Bosch 12v apart from other brands is their true-to-description 12v feel. Where other brands tools are still large, bulky, heavier etc Bosch stays on par with what a 12v tool should be. Small, lightweight, compact, with all day batt life. Their Brushless drill, pocket driver and impact are have a relatively minute footprint and I carry two of them at a time in my bag for the same weight as most brands’ impact alone. A very high emphasis should be put on battery life as well. I do not believe any other 12v tools have… Read more »

Geoff Potter
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I’m getting a little tired of seeing all these impact driver reviews.

Shawn Wayne
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So these specs on the new brushless PS42 sound identical to the older version brushed model PS41. I really like the PS41, I nearly pulled the trigger on buying one a few months ago before I decided to just get 18V instead. So it would seem if power is identical to the brushed version, I would guess run time is much better at the very least. Is it just me, or did they make the PS42 a tad uglier than the older model? lol, not a big deal, but I really liked the aesthetics of the previous one.