Bosch PS32 12V Max Brushless Drill/Driver Review – A Pint-Sized Powerhouse

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Is brushless better? You’re darn right it is! And, thanks to the new Bosch 12V Max 3/8-inch drill/driver, you can have all of the benefits of a brushless motor in a super small package that’s easy to tote around, yet powerful enough to really crank down some screws or drill some holes. While it’s the most compact and lightest weight drill/driver in its class, is it right for you? Find out in our Bosch PS32 Brushless Drill/Driver Review!

Brushless motor technology certainly isn’t new, but more and more tools nowadays have brushless motors, and I love it. Less maintenance, longer life, more power – what’s not to love about brushless motors?

Brushless vs. Brushed

Lots of power in a little package
Lots of power in a little package

Just in case you don’t know already, the difference between a brushless motor and a brushed motor is more than just the brushes. A brushed motor has five basic parts: the rotor, commutator, axle, permanent magnets and of course the brushes. The brushes remain in physical and electrical contact with the commutator and a current is applied. Current is also applied to the rotor aka armature and a magnetic field is created. The permanent magnets surrounding the rotor interact with the rotor’s magnetic field and cause the rotor to flip 180 degrees so the magnetic poles become aligned.

To keep the rotor rotating, you simply need to reverse the poles of the magnetic field around the rotor and it will flip 180 degrees again. Do this fast enough and you get an electric motor, but it’s the brushes that are really keeping the poles constantly shifting directions. As each 180 degree rotation of the rotor takes place, the brushes come into contact with the reverse current flow of the commutator and cause the magnetic poles to flip, continuing the rotation of the rotor. Nifty, huh?

LED light for dark places and a big green battery indicator are nice and bright
LED light for dark places and a big green battery indicator are nice and bright

As the brushes rub against the commutator, they wear out, slow the rotor down and cause massive heat buildup due to the increased friction. This is why brushless motors beat the pants off of a brushed motor. Brushless motors use electronic phase control switches to accurately reverse polarity and never have to come into physical contact with the commutator. This eliminates friction, heat and wear and tear; saving time, money and energy – all good things in my book.

What’s up with the Bosch PS32 12V Max 3/8-inch Drill/Driver with Brushless Motor?

Besides being brushless, what makes the Bosch PS32 a nice tool to have? I personally like the way it handles. I was told that the ergonomics might be a bit off on the grip, but for a guy like me with big hands, it fits my grip perfectly. Once I received the Bosch 12V Max 3/8-inch Drill/Driver, I started to charge up the batteries with the provided quick charger and proceeded to take a look at the drill/driver itself.

I really like the delay on the LED.
I really like the delay on the LED.

The first thing I noticed is that it’s fairly stout for being the lightest drill/driver in its class. With the battery pack jammed into the handle, it helps to offset the heavy all-metal gear construction that’s tightly packed into the top of the tool. It feels a little top heavy to me when I angle it, but I can imagine if you’ve got a smaller grip than myself, it might be a little awkward to provide a tight grip all day when you’re drilling in a weird position. However, it works excellent for me and the provided tool belt clip lets me rest my grip without putting the tool out of reach.

I was fairly impressed with the power this little 3/8-inch drill has to offer. I don’t usually use a 3/8-inch drill very often because they don’t have the ability to hold my larger 1/2-inch bits that I sometimes use. But the problem with that is when I do a job that requires smaller bits, I’m still lugging around a 18V 1/2-inch drill. I used the Bosch 12V Max 3/8-inch Drill/Driver with Brushless Motor to drill into some metal and it had no problem at all punching a dozen or so 1/4-inch holes. Next time I’ve got to do a whole mess of Tapcons for windows and doors, this little bad boy will be hanging over my tool belt rather than my bulky 18V 1/2-inch hammer drill.

The two 2.0 Ah batteries can really hold a charge and the convenient battery life meter on the side of the tool lets you know how much juice is left. Of the ten or so projects I’ve completed with it in the last few weeks, I only drained half of the battery power and I still had another fully charged battery ready to go in the convenient soft carrying case. All in all, I think it’s a very well built tool and has the potential to be useful for a wide variety of trades and applications. And, with a 3-year tool protection plan, a 2-year battery protection plan, a one year service protection plan and a 30-day money back guarantee, it’s bound to be around for a long time to put it through its paces on all kinds of jobs.

Two 2.0 Ah batteries and included charger allow you to work all day long
Two 2.0 Ah batteries and included charger allow you to work all day long

The only thing I wasn’t particularly pleased with was the placement of the bit holder and the LED light in the front of the drill/driver. While I don’t use the bit holder anyways (I only attached it for the photos) I do use the LED light. I like the fact that it stays lit for a few seconds after you pull the trigger, but I don’t really like how far down it hangs on the front of the tool. I ended up putting my finger over the LED light instead of on the trigger where it belongs.

The Bosch PS32 12V Max 3/8-inch Drill/Driver with Brushless Motor retails for around $160 in the described kit from our sponsor Ohio Power Tool.

Buy Now - via Ohio Power Tool

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About Eric

Since Eric built his first skateboard ramp in his parents driveway; he’s breathed, slept and eaten DIY construction. As a second generation master carpenter who runs two Florida-based construction firms, Eric’s had the chance to work on everything from Mcmansions to your local mall to the cat lady’s bathroom. So when it comes to dealing with construction s@#t; he’s the man—literally. There isn’t a tool or construction material that Eric hasn’t used and abused, and if there is; it’s rocking in a dark corner nervously waiting for him to show up for work.

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2 thoughts on “Bosch PS32 12V Max Brushless Drill/Driver Review – A Pint-Sized Powerhouse”

  1. I just got a PS32. Everything Eric said is true; right down to the less-than-optimal LED lamp placement (although I really don’t mind the bit holder – I got used to it). I am still in awe of the little giant.


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