Tom Hintz with NewWoodworker.com says the Bosch PS20-2A is a "handy, well-made and cleverly designed tool." Plenty of professional reviewers agree, saying it is strong enough to power through tough jobs and small enough to fit in tight spaces. However, side-by-side tests indicate that the PS20-2A does not perform as well as some comparable drivers, with a shorter battery run time, fewer features and a one-year warranty.
Mixed results in expert tests. The Bosch PS20-2A has 100 inch-pounds of torque, and testers from the Journal of Light Construction say it feels "noticeably less powerful than the other drill/drivers we test." They rank the PS20-2A near the bottom in their comparison of six subcompact drivers. One on-the-job test includes unscrewing "several hundred square feet of decking. This meant starting the drills at full power -- a stiff challenge that all but the PS20-2A were able to meet." Bosch is also the only brand in their test that is unable to operate after being stored overnight at 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Other pros say the PS20-2A competes well. Bob Hunter with Wood magazine calls it one of the three best cordless screwdrivers, saying, "The Bosch was second-best in power and third-best in run time." In a brutal strength test, he pushes 10 cordless screwdrivers to drive 2-inch-long lag screws into predrilled holes. The Bosch PS20-2A is the second strongest, driving 1/4- and 5/16-inch diameter lag screws.
GetWoodworking.com, the website for The Woodworker and Good Woodworking magazines, says the Bosch PS20-2A is one of the top standouts in their test of eight cordless screwdrivers. They call the Bosch "hugely impressive," saying it's "powerful enough to drive in large screws without complaint." After their evaluation, Tools of the Trade says the PS20-2A has "enough power to be useful on the job." Most consumers agree: The PS20-2A has a 4.6-star rating with more than 150 reviews at Amazon.com.
Lithium-ion batteries with mid-grade run time. The Bosch PS20-2A places third in tests at both Wood magazine and GetWoodworking.com. In a test of five subcompact brands, the Journal of Light Construction says both Bosch subcompacts they use (including the PS20-2A) have the shortest battery run time.
Editors at Fine Woodworking and Tools of the Trade also note a shorter battery life with the PS20-2A, but this didn't bother Tools of the Trade editors much: "This tool drove the fewest screws on a battery charge, but it had enough power to drive them quickly."
When storing the driver between uses, NewWoodworker.com and owners at Amazon.com say the batteries hold their charge well; many consumers also say that batteries last for years without problem. One longtime PS20-2A owner at Amazon.com calls the driver and batteries durable; his model has lasted over seven years.
The driver comes with two 1.5-amp Li-ion batteries that feature "sophisticated protection circuits that cut out in the event of motor or battery overload," according to GetWoodworking.com. During battery life trials, Toolmonger.com reports the driver heats up significantly, saying, "You have to be careful to make sure your second hand doesn't cover up the vents cut into the rear of the drill's body."
Rapid charger keeps tool working on the job. The Bosch PS20-2A is one of the fastest chargers in Wood magazine's comparison of 10 screwdrivers, recharging batteries in 30 minutes. Users at Amazon.com and HomeDepot.com say that between the rapid charger and the two batteries, this tool is always available for their projects.
User-friendly features make the PS20-2A stand out. At 1.8 pounds and 6.5 inches, the Bosch PS20-2A gets high marks from Wood magazine for being user-friendly and comfortable to hold. Tom Hintz with NewWoodworker.com says "the controls are easy to reach and use" and notes that the rubber coating provides "a very secure, slip-free grip." Tools of the Trade also praises the Bosch for its compact, balanced body, but editors say the thicker handle "feels a little odd."
The PS20-2A has 10 clutch settings, less than some comparable drivers, and the lowest number in Wood magazine's comparison, where the average is 18 (though fewer clutch settings doesn't bother some experts). Several professionals say the magnet inside the chuck -- which helps hold bits and screws -- is convenient. "The improved bit holder has a magnet to hold the bit before you can lock it in, and makes this the only driver that can be used with 1-inch bits," says Tools of the Trade. Users at HomeDepot.com also note that changing bits is a snap.
One of users' favorite features is the built-in LED light, which, according to Toolmonger.com, is "extremely well positioned to shine on the hole you're drilling or the fastener you're driving without allowing your hand to get in the way." At HomeDepot.com, an electrician especially loves how bright the light is when so much of his work is completed with the power off. However, HomeFixated.com (a DIY website focusing on home improvement and tool reviews) doesn't like the positioning of the light, saying the front of the driver casts "a large shadow right where you need the most light."
The Bosch doesn't include a place to store extra bits on the driver; HomeFixated.com calls this a minor complaint. It comes with a zippered fabric case to store the driver, batteries and charger.
One-year warranty. Bosch's warranty is one of the shortest warranties from major cordless tool manufacturers. It covers the PS20-2A for one year with no separate coverage for the rechargeable battery; this is far less than some comparable driver warranties.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, satisfaction for Bosch overall is slipping in comparison to the industry average. In 2010, Bosch and DeWalt tied for second place in a survey of customer satisfaction. Bosch scored 756 points (out of 1,000) -- over the industry average of 735. In 2012, Bosch slipped to third place with a score of 819 -- under the new industry average of 827 points. The most recent survey of professional builders by Builder Online -- from 2008 -- shows Bosch in third place for quality.
1. Wood Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent In a head-to-head trial with nine other subcompact drivers, the Bosch PS20-2A proves itself one of the best. Bob Hunter and Doug Ley say that the PS20-2A, along with their other top two picks, is "well-balanced, comfortable to grip, and feature easy-to-use clutches and hex chucks." They suggest you choose the one that best fits your hand.
Review: Shop Tested: Cordless Micro-drivers, Bob Hunter and Doug Ley, July 2010
2. Tools of the Trade
Review Credibility: Excellent Both the hex-drive Bosch PS20-2A and the chuck-style Bosch PS30 do well in a review of compact and subcompact drivers from Tools of the Trade. The PS20-2A places below average for battery run time, but still earns third place because it was fast and, "more important, it had enough power to be useful on the job."
Review: Tool Test: Compact and Subcompact Drill/Drivers, David Getts, Feb. 23, 2009
3. Journal of Light Construction
Review Credibility: Excellent The Bosch PS20-2A, the latest version of the Pocket Driver, trails the pack in this comparison review of six subcompact drill/drivers from the Journal of Light Construction. The Bosch is the least powerful and fails to perform after being stored overnight at 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Review: Tool Test: Subcompact Drill/Drivers, Dave Northup, February 2009
Review Credibility: Excellent This article from the editors of U.K.'s Good Woodworking and The Woodworker magazines compares eight cordless screwdrivers, testing them by driving 2-inch No. 10 screws into soft wood without pilot holes. The Bosch PS20-2 Pocket Driver, called the Bosch GSR in the U.K., shares top ranking as the best screwdriver with the Metabo Powermaxx.
Review: Cordless Screwdrivers Reviewed, Editors of GetWoodworking.com, Not dated
5. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Excellent J.D. Power and Associates surveys more than 1,000 people who purchased a cordless drill in the past 12 months. Their findings show that customers are still very loyal to their favorite brands, with battery performance as the top reason for tool satisfaction. Bosch ranks third, under the industry average.
Review: 2012 Cordless Drill Satisfaction Report, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 8, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 150 owners give the Bosch PS20-2A Pocket Driver an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 in their reviews at Amazon.com. Owners say the driver works well for DIY users, auto mechanics and computer techs, among others. Reviewers like the small size, and some say they only switch to an 18-volt drill/driver for heavy-duty jobs.
Review: Bosch PS20-2A 12-Volt Max Pocket Driver with 2 Lithium-Ion Batteries, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good The Bosch PS20-2A earns an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 in more than 65 reviews at Lowes.com. Owners say it's a great tool for a variety of jobs, and is lightweight and easy to use. Several users say it's powerful, yet comfortable to use even for long periods of time without tiring out your hands or arms. They say it has great power and is very durable. There are a couple of scattered complaints of battery life, but otherwise very few cons noted.
Review: Bosch 12-Volt 1/4-in Hex Cordless Pocket Driver with Case, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of April 2013
8. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Very Good Bosch ties for second among 13 cordless drill brands in this annual J.D. Power and Associates' customer-satisfaction survey. The rankings are based on six factors, with drill performance most important, followed by ease of use, battery performance, price, versatility of battery system and warranty.
Review: 2010 Cordless Drill/Driver Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, June 2, 2010
9. New Woodworker
Review Credibility: Very Good Woodworker Tom Hintz provides a video review of the Bosch PS20-2A at NewWoodworker.com as well as a detailed, well-illustrated text review. He compares the driver to its predecessor, PS20-2, which he reviewed previously. Changes in the newer Bosch PS20-2A include an increase in torque and a magnetic insert in the chuck.
Review: Bosch PS20-2A Pocket Driver: Very Cool, Well Made and Just as Handy, Tom Hintz, Aug. 5, 2008
Review Credibility: Very Good This 2008 survey of 3,428 builders and contractors ranks Bosch third in quality out of 15 brands that make cordless drills -- right below Milwaukee and DeWalt.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Editors of Hanley Wood, March 31, 2008
11. Fine Woodworking
Review Credibility: Fair This older review in Fine Woodworking compares two cordless screwdrivers, the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver 10.8-volt Li-ion and the Ridgid R81030 9.6-volt Ni-Cd, based on objective tests. The Ridgid is the favorite for big construction jobs because of its superior power and ability to work in tight spaces, but the Bosch Pocket Driver is so much lighter that editors give it top ranking for workshop use.
Review: Cordless Screwdrivers Do One Thing Very Well, Asa Christiana and John White, July 1, 2006
Review Credibility: Fair Reviewer Chuck Cage notes that the Bosch PS20 Pocket Driver weighs just 1.8 pounds, yet it's designed to handle 80 percent of the tasks for which people usually use a much heavier drill. It's also small enough to be carried in the pocket of a tool belt. The PS20 is the forerunner to the current PS20-2A, sharing the same body and many of the same features.
Review: Hands-On: The Bosch Litheon Pocket Driver, Chuck Cage, July 13, 2006
Review Credibility: Fair This blogger praises the Bosch Pocket Driver -- the predecessor to the PS20-2A -- for its ergonomics and size. He notes that most cordless drills are overkill and cumbersome for many tasks in the workshop or office, but the Pocket Driver is just right.
Review: Hands on with the Bosch Pocket Driver, Editors of ToolBarn.com, Aug. 3, 2006
Review Credibility: Fair The Bosch PS20-2A is treated to a review with a twist from the editor of HomeFixated.com, a home improvement and tool-review site for DIY homeowners. Marc Lyman runs through the good and the bad with this tool, injecting a little humor at the same time. Overall, he says this is a good tool for driving, but isn't a replacement for a full-sized cordless drill.
Review: Bosch PS20-2A Pocket Driver Review -- Time to Throw Away Your Drill?, Marc Lyman, Aug. 4, 2009
Review Credibility: Fair In a review of the Bosch PS21-2A Pocket Driver, ProToolReviews.com compares it to the smaller PS20-2A. The less expensive PS20-2A brings less torque to the jobs, even though both tools weigh the same. In a battery run-time test, editors find that both of their batteries last the same amount of time (26 minutes at full speed).
Review: Bosch PS21-2A Pocket Driver Review, Clint DeBoer, June 7, 2010