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The Bosch Impactor is small, powerful and controllable. If you have not used an impact driver in your shop, you don't know what you are missing.
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Bosch "Impactor" (#23614), 14.4V Impact Driver

Small in size, huge in power

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

Impact drivers have been around for years in the mechanical trades but are relatively new to woodworking. Because of tools like the Bosch Impactor, they are gaining popularity quickly.

Initial Impressions

The Bosch Impactor is smaller than I anticipated. At only 6.5"-long, it fits in small areas easily. Even with the 14.4V battery pack, the Bosch Impactor weighs in at a surprisingly light 4 lbs. Don't let its demur size fool you; it has all the power you are going to need.

Batteries and Charger

Two battery packs and the 1-hour charger will keep you running smoothly for hours.
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The #23614 Bosch Impactor kit comes with a pair of 14.4V battery packs and a BC005, 1-hour charger. The packs feature the familiar, one-way stalk connectors and push-button release that makes changing them fast.

The 14.4V packs do not upset the balance of the Bosch Impactor but maintain the power over long periods. Considering the speed at which the Bosch Impactor drives even large lag screws, battery life with these packs will not be an issue.

The charger has an indicator light that blinks when in the fast charge mode.

Motor

Though compact, the Bosch motor delivers all the power you need - and more.
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Bosch has been a leader in cordless tool motor technology for a long time and certainly didn't spare the engineering horses when designing the one that powers the Bosch Impactor.

The motor housing is surprisingly small, in part because there is no high/low speed transmission. Despite the size, Bosch packed in everything necessary to produce a huge amount of power, in an exceptionally smooth-running package. To keep it running in top form, user replaceable brushes are included, accessed through screw-in caps on the outside of the motor housing.

Trigger Control and Grip

The grip is very comfortable and the trigger predictable and easy to reach.
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A full range, variable speed control is operated by a trigger that has plenty of throw to apply only the power needed. With this much power available we do not want the tool to be thinking for itself! The speed control rate of change is smooth and consistent throughout the 1 to 2,800 RPM range.

Changing between forward and reverse is accomplished with a positive-feeling cross-slide button located above the trigger. Reaching the reversing switch from either side is easy without having to move your hand. When positioned in the center detent, the reversing switch locks out the trigger to prevent accidental operation.

The ergonomically designed grip is very comfortable to the hand, in part because of strategically placed rubber over molds. In addition to feeling very secure, those over molds absorb much of the impact shock expected with this kind of tool.

A pop-up belt clip frees up both hands when needed. The belt clip can be installed on either side of the Bosch Impactor, making it handy regardless of the dominant hand.

Impact System

The impact system and chuck are simple, durable and will last a very long time.
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Capable of delivering a category-leading 3,200 BPM (Blows Per Minute) the Bosch Impactor hammer and anvil system is remarkably effective throughout the RPM range. That impact system delivers equal amounts of power in forward and reverse directions, delivering a maximum of 1,150 in lb of torque.

No Frills Chuck

With no need for a slip clutch, Bosch limited the hardware to a compact, tough but simple quick-connect chuck designed to handle the popular ¼"-shanked quick connect bits. Not having the extra mechanisms or a slip or adjustable clutch means the power of the impact system is delivered directly to the fastener, increasing its efficiency.

I See the Light

The turret-style work light (Top) can be aimed to shine on various length bits.
(Bottom) Though difficult to photograph, the work light is very effective without glaring.
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A positionable work light is built into the base of the Bosch Impactor that comes on automatically when the motor is operated and makes working inside cabinets or other dark places much easier. Located in a turret, the light can be positioned to shine at the end of different length bits. Rotate it straight up and the light shuts off.

In the Shop

Using the Bosch Impactor is a bit of an eye-opening experience. The compact overall size had me anticipating that its power would be on a similar scale. That assumption turned out to be wrong in a big way.

Driving large screws, long lags or tightening bolts are all surprisingly easy for the Bosch Impactor. Squeeze the trigger enough to maintain the driving speed wanted and the impact section handles the rest. Reverse the Bosch Impactor and removing previously stuck fasteners of all descriptions is surprisingly reliable. The impact action shakes them loose and keeps them turning.

(Right) The Impactor is well-balanced, handles easily and is not tiring. The retractable belt clip (Left) can be moved to either side of the handle.
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The trigger speed control is efficient and predictable. The tension/throw are sufficient to make controlling the speed and power of the Bosch Impactor easy to learn. Running a few lags in and out teaches you everything necessary to handle most jobs without problem.

Even with the 14.4V battery pack and small dimension of the driver itself, the balance during use is perfect. Combined with its light weight, the Bosch Impactor is neither tiring nor difficult to use accurately. Getting it on a fastener and then keeping it engaged while driving or removing is a simple task.

Even the yellowish work light is surprisingly effective. Initially, I though this might be a bit of glitter to attract buyers but though difficult to photograph, it is very handy in dim-light conditions. Being able to position the light where needed eliminates having to drag in a droplight to drive a fastener or two.

Conclusions

The Bosch Impactor is a powerful but controllable tool that is very well made in the Bosch tradition. The 14.4V battery packs provide plenty of power and keep it coming for long periods of time. In my shop, we never ran out of batteries before the second pack was ready for use.

If an impact driver sounds like a good idea in your shop or business, at $217.99 (street price, 9-30-2005) the Bosch Impactor should be at the top of your list.

Visit the Bosch Tools web site

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