Bosch PS22-02 12V EC Brushless Lithium Ion Drill/Driver

An outstanding blend of power, size, and features, along with a highly efficient brushless motor, make this an excellent choice for light to medium-duty work.

Bosch PS22-02 12V Brushless Lithium Ion Drill/Driver

Bosch PS22-02 12V EC Brushless Lithium Ion Drill/Driver

For quite a few applications – furniture construction, cabinet assembly, light duty renovation work, and general home improvement tasks – a 12-Volt drill/driver will do just fine. These super light weight, compact tools deliver a surprising amount of power. You'll have little problem drilling all but the largest holes and driving all but the longest screws. Certainly, if most of your work involves drilling holes under about 1" and setting screws up to around 3", then a 12-Volt drill/driver has you covered on all counts.

Bosch 12-Volt drill/drivers, L to R: 1/4" hex brushless; 1/4" hex brushed; 3/8" chucked

The most compact of the 12-Volt drill/drivers are those that feature a 1/4" hex quick change chuck rather than the standard 3/8" three-jaw chuck. Along with a shorter head length, the benefit of a 1/4" hex chuck is that it reduces overall tool weight. For example, a standard 3/8" drill like the Bosch PS31-2A has a head length of 6-5/8" and weights 2.7 pounds (with battery). The 1/4" hex PS21-2A, by way of comparison, has a 5.6" head length and weighs just 1.7 pounds.

1/4" hex drill/drivers, like the PS21-2A (read our review), which Bosch refers to as a 'pocket driver', have been on the market for several years. Recently however, companies have begun introducing newer models with brushless motors. This is the case with Bosch, which recently introduced the brushless Bosch PS22-02.

Over the coming years you're likely to see more power tools with brushless motors. While the technology isn't new, it's only slowly being adopted by tool manufacturers, in part because brushless technology is more complex, and also as the end cost to consumers is higher. As a point of comparison, the new PS22-02 with its brushless motor is priced $50 higher than the PS21-2A – about a 40% price differential. Read our introduction to brushless motors for a short overview of what they're all about. 

Use 1" drive bits, or for extra reach, a magnetic bit holder

The PS22-02 is, for now, the most compact 1/4" hex drill/driver (brushless or otherwise) on the market. It has a head length of only 5-1/4", and weighs just 1 pound 10 ounces (with battery and bit clip attached). Using a 1" drive bit only increases the head length by 5/8", so you can still work in all but the most confined spaces. Bosch also includes a magnetic bit holder which you can use when you need a bit of extra reach.

Ample accessories for 1/4" hex drill/drivers

With a 1/4" hex quick change chuck you're limited to using drill and driver bits that have 1/4" hex shanks. Fortunately there are quite a few 1/4" hex shank accessories - drill bits, driver bits, spade bits, nut drivers, and socket adapters. For those who have a large collection of standard bits with round shanks don't despair. You can buy a 3/8" keyed chuck (bottom in the photo above) with a 1/4" hex shank that will enable you to use any of your 3/8" diameter bits.

The hex locking sleeve has a ribbed surface that makes it easy to grasp when inserting and removing bits. And once installed, there's no way a bit will inadvertently work loose. 

What I like about these short barrel drill/drivers is that they provide superb balance, regardless of the length and weight of the bit in the chuck. And, unlike many compact drill/drivers, this one won't tip over when you place it upright, on its handle. This makes it easier and quicker to grab the drill/driver than if it was resting on its side.

21 position chuck and dual speed range

The PS22-02 delivers 179 in/lbs of torque (compared to the 265 in/lbs of torque for the PS21-2A). Still, I found there was adequate power for the range of screws I normally use (3/4" to 1-1/2") and for drilling holes up to about 1". 

With the 21 position clutch and dual speed drive (0-350 and 0-1,300 RPM) you'll never strip a screw again, or inadvertently drill through a lovingly finished table top. An electric brake stops rotation almost as soon as your finger removes pressure from the trigger. The variable speed trigger works very smoothly enabling you to pulse the trigger and rotate the bit in minute increments.

Another great feature is the automatic shaft lock. Especially when setting smaller screws, I can power them home until almost set, and then manually twist the drill to apply the final bit of torque necessary to set them perfectly.

As with all cordless Bosch drill/drivers, the PS22-02 incorporates an Electronic Cell and Motor Protection System that protects both the battery and the motor from overloading, overheating, and deep discharging. According to Bosch these are the three most common causes of tool failure.
Standard LED work light and battery fuel gauge

Just about all power tools now feature an LED work light, which is handy when working in less than ideal lighting conditions. The lights consume a negligible amount of battery power. More importantly the PS22-02 has an on-board battery fuel gauge, which makes a lot of sense for a battery driven tool. While not as important when using the drill/driver in the shop, it's very practical when you're on a job site. 

Clever bit holder/belt clip arrangement

After seeing the bit holder, which attaches to the back of the PS22-02 with or without the belt clip, I couldn't help but wonder why no one though of it years ago. It's such a convenient accessory. No more searching around for the bit I need – it's right at hand.

Because the PS22-02 is so light I don't mind hanging it on my belt when I need to use it frequently, such as when assembling cabinets. It's also more convenient when working on site, as you're not constantly looking around for the drill.

The 2.0 Ah battery provides a long run-time

Quite a few 12-Volt tools still come with 1.3 or 1.5 Ah batteries. The PS22-02 ships with two of the newer 2.0 Ah batteries (#BAT414). Of course you can still use any of the previous 1.3 and 1.5 Ah batteries with the tool. Battery recharge time is about 30 minutes. Replacement batteries can be had for about $50. For an extra $20 you can purchase an optional 4.0 Ah battery (#BAT420), which won't give you more power, but will deliver about twice the run time. In my view this is by far the better upgrade.

I tested the battery by seeing how many 2-1/2" #8 screws I could sink into doubled up 2x4's on a single charge. I happened to have a box of these on hand, and rarely use them. I tried the text twice, and average 178 screws. Not too shabby. I typically use 1-1/2" screws on cabinets, and would expect to be able to sink at least 300 of them on a single battery charge. I was also able to drill 47 holes though a 2x4 using a 1" Bosch Daredevil spade bit. Pretty darn good for 179 in/lbs of torque.

An impressive blend of power, size, and features for light to medium-duty work

The Bosch PS22-02 has a lot going for it – super compact, light weight, well balanced, ample torque and speed ranges for a myriad of drilling and driving applications, LED work light, battery fuel gauge, clever on-board bit holder, and a reliable brushless motor. This impressive blend of power, size, and features makes the PS22-02 an outstanding choice for light to medium-duty work. Furniture makes, hobbyist woodworkers, renovators, finish carpenters, cabinet makers, service technicians, and the like won't be disappointed.


  • Power platform: 12-Volt Lithium-ion battery
  • Torque: 179 in/lbs
  • Speed: 0-400 and 0-1,300 RPM
  • Chuck Size: 1/4" hex
  • Clutch Settings: 20+1
  • Head length: 5-1/4"
  • Height: 7" (battery installed)
  • Weight: 1 lb 10 oz (battery and 4X bit holder installed)
  • Warranty: 3 yrs (tool), 2 yrs (battery) - registration required
  • Includes: (2) 2 Ah Li-Ion batteries (#BAT414), charger (#BC330), magnetic bit holder, 4X bit holder, 4-piece bit tip set, belt clip, carry case

MADE IN:Malaysia
SOURCE:Store Locator
June 2014

Carl Duguay
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