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Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver
A great idea – and size – for the shop
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Cordless drill/drivers revolutionized how we work in the shop. The freedom and versatility of these powerful tools made common tasks faster and easier than ever. However, the size and power of drill/drivers could be hard to handle on many of the smaller projects we so often build. Installing hardware on jewelry boxes and similar projects can be especially challenging. Enter the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver which fills the gap between full-sized drill/drivers and a hand operated screwdriver perfectly.
Size and Features
With dimensions of 6” by 6 ½”, the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver is roughly 50% smaller than full-sized drill/drivers but is capable of driving screws up to ¼”-diameter and up to 100 3” screws per charge according to Bosch literature. Try as I may, I could not disprove that claim in our testing.
While the motor is stout, it is not overpowering when trying to install small screws, drastically reducing the chances of slipping off the fastener and gouging a nearly complete project. With 80 inch-pounds of torque, the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver handles most of the screws we commonly use with ease.
Despite its small size, the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver retains many of the features found on its big brothers to make it very capable. A variable speed trigger, 10-position clutch, ¼” quick-release connector and reversing, are all there and fully functional.
Also making the jump from the big boys is the cutting-edge Litheon (lithium ion) battery that powers the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver. At 10.8 volts, these packs supply lots of power over a surprisingly long period. Because lithium ion batteries do not gradually lose power as the charge is depleted, the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver0 keeps on working at its full capacity right up to when the pack needs to be recharged. Bosch includes a second pack along with a 30-minute charger, which means you will have to make up your own excuse to stop working.
In the Shop
Though it is nifty looking, actually using the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver0 in the shop really shows how good of an idea this tool really is. The size, power and features are perfect for so many jobs you may wonder how things ever got done with the full-sized versions. The full sized drill/drivers still have their place but I find myself reaching for the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver0 much of the time.
While the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver handles driving virtually any screw commonly used in woodworking, it’s top speed of 400 rpm makes it marginal for drilling all but small pilot holes. It can drill holes up to ½”-diameter (in wood) but don’t expect it to just blow right through. Since I also have the full sized drill/driver, I leave the hole boring to it and the screw driving bit in the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver and work gets done even faster.
The 10-position clutch is especially well-suited for handling smaller screws because it can be set to slip before even #4 brass screws twist off. That means my old procedure of running small screws down close and then finishing their installation with a hand-operated screwdriver is finally obsolete.
The overall size of the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver makes it a natural for working in confined spaces but Bosch took it a step further and added an LED work light that illuminates the area of the bit. Initially I thought this feature to be a little frivolous – until I used the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver a few times. I don’t know if it is my 50-something eyes but having that work light makes seeing little screws much easier, especially in confined areas that are usually as dimly lit as they are small.
The Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver is a well-designed, ruggedly built tool that comes in a kit (#PS20-2) complete with two battery packs, a 30-minute charger, the gun itself, two bits and a nice fabric carry case. With a street price of $129.99 (5-4-2006) the Bosch PS20-2 is an exceptional value especially considering the cutting edge battery technology.
In addition, the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver is included in their PROVANTAGE protection plan that provides one-year of tool and two-years of battery replacements should they fail and three years of free tool repairs. The purchaser must register to take advantage of this program but that process is free and can be done on-line.
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