We recently had the opportunity to test the PS40 Impactor Impact Driver from Bosch. If you haven’t yet explored the world of impact drivers, it’s time to experience 21st century advances in power tools! Impact drivers like the PS40 are designed to drive fasteners using multiple impacts to “hammer” the fastener home. The Bosch PS40 starts initially like a normal drill and then transitions to impact mode once resistance hits a certain level. The tell-tale signature of an impact driver is the loud hammering sound you’ll hear as the tool really starts to do its work.
Why use an impact driver like the Bosch PS40 over a conventional drill? The PS40 actually provides several advantages. One, is that far less force is needed when driving tough jobs. You need less down-pressure on the drill to keep the bit engaged, and less counter-rotational pressure to resist the tool spinning on its axis as it meets resistance. As a result, the PS40 is great for overhead work, and for driving fasteners at odd angles where you can’t apply much pressure. You’re also far less likely to strip the screw head vs. a conventional drill. The painful sound of your phillips screw bit spinning wildly and shaving what’s left of the screw head (and your carpentry dignity) might be a thing of the past with the PS40.
The PS40 Impactor also packs a lot of power and torque (800 max inch lbs to be precise), in a small package. For kicks, I took a six inch long lag bolt and drove it through a 2×4 and into a 4×4 with no pilot hole. Not pre-drilling is a bad idea for lag bolt installation, but the PS40 hammered right through it effortlessly (or at least it appeared effortless). Like most impact drivers, the PS40 makes a lot of noise when it’s working in impact mode. It’s loud enough for me to wear hearing protection, but I’ve also been known to do that around our toddler’s grumpier moments too.
The PS40 tends to kick into impact mode pretty quickly, and there’s no way to adjust that. So if you’re looking for mostly drilling and not much impacting, or a switch to toggle between the two, the PS40 probably isn’t your best bet. When put into service for the right application, I love the impact system, and find it very useful and powerful.
But with great power, comes great responsibility. One thing to be aware of with an impact driver is you don’t feel much torque in terms of the rotation of the tool handle. Generally, that’s a good thing. But that same rotation on a conventional drill is also one of our clues that what we’re screwing is getting tight. With an impact driver, that feedback is muted since the fastener is tightened so incrementally. If you’re putting in short screws or fastening soft materials, use an impact driver like this with caution, it may over-tighten and tear through the material before you know it.
In my review of the Bosch PS20, I quietly griped about the orientation of the built-in LED light. Although still an overall plus, I found the single LED mounting on the PS20 left a shadow in the exact spot you need the most light. The Bosch PS40 remedies this very minor issue in the PS20 with 3 LEDs cleverly placed around the bit receiver on the driver. The result is near perfect illumination of the area you’re working on. Another clever detailed touch include two rubber bumpers to protect your work surface and prevent slipping. I love Bosch engineers, in a manly way of course!
We found the PS40 to be a remarkably powerful impact driver in an even more remarkably compact and ergonomic form factor. It’s light weight (2.2 pounds), and comfortable grip make it a tool that’s easy to reach for, and easy to use for extended periods. Bosch’s 12v Litheon battery technology also means fast charges and plenty of juice to keep the PS40 running for extended projects. It goes for a street price of around $200 or less, and Northern Tool offers FREE SHIPPING on the Bosch PS40 Impactor 12 Volt, Model# PS40-2A. You can also get the 10.8v Bosch PS40-2 Factory Reconditioned 10.8-Volt Pocket Series Impact Driver Kit with 2 Batteries for a bargain $110 from Tool King.