The Ultimate Guide To Bosch Impact Driver
Bosch impact drivers are sometimes overlooked. They’re not as cheap as imports and don’t have the status of DeWalt, yet they’re superbly made, known for their reliability, and very popular.
They’re tough to beat if you’re looking for a midrange tool in terms of both price and performance.
We’ve been looking at the details for our concise report, and we’ve also picked a few favorites, which you’ll find at the end.
The top spot goes to the Twin-Tool 18-Volt Impact Driver and Drill Kit. It provides great all-around flexibility for home or Jobsite and offers excellent value.
Why Do You Need An Impact Driver?
- An ordinary drill driver is a very versatile tool but try putting in long screws or other fixings for more than a few minutes, and they start to flag.
- They’ve got plenty of speed, but they lack torque. That’s an impact driver’s strength — high, twisting force combined with a rotational hammer action that lets you drive big screws and long bolts all day.
- So, the critical figure is torque, measured in either foot-pound (ft. lbs.) or inch-pounds (in. lbs). Higher torque generally equates to more consistent performance for longer.
- The speed of the hammer action will also be given in BPM (blows per minute) or sometimes IPM (impacts per minute).
- Motor speed (in rpm) is also included, though less critical in an impact driver than for a standard drill.
Considerations when choosing Bosch impact drivers
Bosch impact drivers are either 12- or 18-volt (V). The former are known for their compact dimensions and are great for getting into small spaces, but you are sacrificing outright power: 260 in. lbs. for the 12V versus up to 1,650 in. lbs. for the 18V (divide by 12 if you want ft. lbs.).
That said, it’s unlikely you will come across significant fixings in the areas where the 12V Bosch impact driver is designed to go.
It’s perhaps a more focused tool — and frequently bought by pros for those times when a standard impact driver just won’t fit.
While substantially more extensive, the 18V Bosch impact drivers are still recognized for their light weight and good ergonomics. Both types also offer rapid chargers — typically a half-hour — which gets you going faster than many competitors.
Some (perhaps surprisingly not all) also feature functional LED work lights.
Bosch has introduced a gripping innovative chuck on their 18V models, designated “Freak.” It now has a 2-in-1 mechanism.
There’s the standard 1/4″ drive you’d expect for quick change driver bits. There’s also a 1/2″ square fitting that will accept sockets, thus turning the impact driver into a low-power impact wrench.
Both 12V and 18V Bosch impact drivers are often paired with standard drill/drivers to create a very economical kit.
You’ll get a charger, two batteries — so you can work while one’s recharging — and a bright, durable bag to carry them in.
The cheapest Bosch impact driver is a compact 12V model sold as a bare tool for around $50. However, the battery and charger will double that and more.
There are 12V and 18V combo drill/impact driver kits at anywhere from $130 to $160 that offer much better value.
If you want the efficiency of brushless, you’ll pay around $220 (which includes a spare battery and charger).
Q. Can I use a Bosch impact driver like an ordinary drill?
A. It’s possible — but not recommended. You’d need to buy drill bits that fit the impact driver chuck (you can’t use existing round shank bits), and the torque of the impact driver often snaps small diameter bits if you’re not careful.
The best solution is the Bosch twin tool kits we feature. Versatile and excellent value.
Q. Are brushless motors better than brush motors in a Bosch impact driver?
A. A brushless motor makes better battery power, so you’ll need to recharge less often. They’re also virtually maintenance-free.
However, they are quite a lot more expensive. For many, the performance difference may not be enough to warrant the extra cost.
Bosch Impact Drivers We Recommend
Our take: Great value kit for the DIY enthusiast and light- to medium-duty trade use.
What we like: Powerful, reliable tools that provide a terrific balance between performance and price. Impact driver has a clever 2-in-1 chuck. The drill has an LED work light. Comes with a rapid charger, two batteries, and a smart carry bag.
What we dislike: Occasional manufacturing faults, but nothing consistent.
Best bang for your buck: Bosch 12V Drill/Impact Driver Kit
Our take: Compact tools allow you to work in remarkably tight spaces.
What we like: Lightweight, go-anywhere tool delivers 930 in. lbs. torque for rapid driving of small fixings. Kit includes a 3/8″ drill/driver, two batteries, a quick charger, and a case—functional LED lights. Excellent value.
What we dislike: Nothing — as long as you’re OK with the torque limit.
Choice 3: Bosch 18V Cordless Impact Driver with Brushless Motor
Our take: Flexible tool offers high efficiency and low maintenance at a competitive price.
What we like: Brushless motor means up to twice the run time of brush equivalent. Versatile 1/4″ and 1/2″ chuck. Includes spare battery and charger.
What we dislike: Not for consistent heavy-duty work.