The PS32 Drill/Driver and PS22 Hex Drill/Driver have brushless motors. The technical term would be electronically commutated (EC), a design which yields greater runtime and longer motor life.
Doug Mahoney The PS32 Drill/Driver and PS22 Hex Drill/Driver have brushless motors. The technical term would be electronically commutated (EC), a design which yields greater runtime and longer motor life.
At 5.6 inches long the new hex drill/driver is exceptionally compact.
Doug Mahoney At 5.6 inches long the new hex drill/driver is exceptionally compact.
The bit storage and reversible belt clip are welcome additions.
Doug Mahoney The bit storage and reversible belt clip are welcome additions.
The new drill/driver (left) is similar to the earlier model (right)—though as you can see, it has a belt clip, bit storage, and considerably less rubber overmolding.
Doug Mahoney The new drill/driver (left) is similar to the earlier model (right)—though as you can see, it has a belt clip, bit storage, and considerably less rubber overmolding.

As a long time user of the original 12-volt Bosch PS31, I was interested to see what the newest generation of subcompact tools had to offer. The PS32 drill/driver (with a 3/8-inch chuck) and the Bosch PS22 Pocket driver (with a ¼-inch hex drive) came out early this year and are the first 12-volt models from Bosch to have brushless (electronically commutated—EC) motors. According to the manufacturer, this provides more efficient use of the battery’s power, which makes for greater runtime and longer motor life.

For the past several weeks I’ve been using these tools for punch list work and odds and ends in the shop. Their overall look and feel is similar to that of earlier subcompact tools from Bosch, but the new models have quite a bit less rubber overmold—particularly on the top and rear of the tool. And the rubber no longer sits proud of the plastic housing, so if the tools are dropped it’s the plastic and not the rubber that takes the brunt of the hit.

Like earlier Bosch 12-volt drills and drivers, the new tools are well-balanced and comfortable to hold. While I generally prefer thinner handled 12-volt models, like DeWalt’s and Hitachi’s, no one would ever refer to these tools as uncomfortable. Both have a nice solid feel to them.

The Bosch tools are very compact and light, particularly the pocket driver which is a stubby 5-1/4-inches. This makes them ideal for my punch list work like tightening a drawer slide, working in and around furniture, and doing small fussy overhead tasks. Both tools can fit in a joist bay with plenty of room to spare, so they’re also good for things like screwing a pipe hanger into the side of a floor joist.

As for capability, I think once you’re past framing, these Bosch tools should be able to handle about 90% of your day-to-day tasks. With just medium to light duty items on my list, it was nice not to have to lug around a bulky 18-volt drill. I still needed one from time to time for paddle bits and hole saws, but since the Bosch subcompacts can drive 2-inch screws into PT with no problems, I could do nearly everything with them.

Both tools have some pretty nice features. I like the belt hook and the storage space for extra bits. The hook is a simple metal clip that screws into the rear and can be set to either side depending if you’re a righty or lefty. It’s only about 1-1/4 inch deep, but that’s more than enough to catch on a pocket or a belt and hold the tool in place. My only complaint is that the hook doesn’t flex and that makes it harder to use.

The bit storage rides at the back of the tool and can house four 1-inch bits. Because it is positioned at the rear, it doesn’t create any clearance issues, like when I was putting a screw in the upper corner of a cabinet. It’s an invaluable feature because I always know which bits I have on hand.

Next to the forward/reverse toggle is a 3-light battery power gauge. These should be considered essential on any cordless tools, since Li-Ion batteries die with very little warning.

Each tool also has an LED light. Again this is something that I consider essential. Because of the stubbiness of the Pocket Driver, the LED is far more successful on that one. With nothing to get in the way of the beam, the entire work piece is lit up. On the drill/driver, the chuck obstructs the light so only half of the area around the bit is illuminated.

I didn’t perform any specific run-time tests, but it’s safe to say that the battery lasts a very long time. Under intermittent use days would go by without my needing to charge the pack. The tools come with 2.0 amp/hour batteries, but Bosch also sells 4.0 amp/hour batteries, which provide twice as much run-time.

If I had to choose between the two, I’d go with the drill/driver because it’s the more complete package and it’s only $10 more. The pocket driver is so small it excels in tight spots, but I prefer the versatility of the drill/driver.

PS22-02 EC Hex Drill/Drivereaxyawrztaccvtaxfraexavutudzyvawd Specs
Chuck: 1/4-inch hex
Clutch settings: 20 +1
No load RPM: 0-1,300; 0-400
Max torque: 180 inch-pounds
Size (H x L): 7" x 5.6"
Weight: 1.6 pounds
Motor: brushless
Battery: 12V max (10.8 volts)
Kit includes: two 2.0 Ah Li-Ion batteries, charger, magnetic bit holder, four tips, belt clip, soft carry case
Web price: $149 (also available bare)
Country of origin: Malaysia
Comments: According to the manufacturer this is the shortest 12V max 1/4" hex drill/driver on the market. Two speed/gear ranges. Built-in LED light.

PS32-02 EC Drill/Driver Specs
Chuck: 3/8-inch single sleeve
Clutch settings: 20 + 1
No load RPM: 0-1,300; 0-400
Max torque: 265 inch-pounds
Size (H x L): 7" x 6.5"
Weight: 2.0 pounds
Motor: brushless
Battery: 12V max (10.8 volts)
Kit includes: two 2.0 Ah Li-Ion batteries, charger, belt clip, canvas bag case
Web price: $159 (also available bare)
Country of origin: Malaysia
Comments: According to the manufacturer this tool has the shortest head length of any 12V max 3/8" drill/driver on the market. Two speed/gear ranges. Built-in LED light