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Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A Review

If you want a 12-volt drill that can handle all your weekend warrior DIY projects without blowing your budget, this is your best choice
Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $130 List | $89.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Small, great value for 12V, convenient to use
Cons:  So-so driving power, average battery life
Manufacturer:   Bosch
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Nov 10, 2021
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54
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 16
  • Drilling - 35% 6
  • Driving - 35% 5
  • Battery Life - 20% 4
  • Convenience - 10% 7

Our Verdict

If you are a homeowner or weekend warrior DIYer that is hoping to undertake small projects around the house and don't want to spend a ton of cash, then the Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver is a great drill for you. We think this is the best value 12-volt drill around, earning it our recommendation for those looking for a great deal on a 12-volt drill. It can't match the drilling and driving power of the high-end professional-grade tools, but it should provide more than enough power and durability for all but the most ambitious home or DIY project.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $130 List
$89.00 at Amazon
$140 List$139 List
$129.99 at Amazon
$79 List
$59.00 at Amazon
$60 List
$39.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Small, great value for 12V, convenient to useGreat for driving fasteners, heavy-duty, efficient use of battery lifePowerful, great battery life, fantastic integrated worklightImpressive drilling power, strong steel drilling performance, good control, great priceInexpensive, lightweight
Cons So-so driving power, average battery lifeHeavy, takes some force to swap batteriesExpensive, only includes a single batteryOnly includes a single batter, so-so battery life in our testsWeak, minimal features
Bottom Line If you want a 12-volt drill that can handle all your weekend warrior DIY projects without blowing your budget, this is your best choiceIf you are looking for a top-tier drill to go with your existing Milwaukee batteries, this is your best betThe highest scorer in our group, this is a heavy-duty drill that can keep up with all your toughest projectsA decent drill for DIY projects that won't deplete your savingsAn okay drill for basic household tasks and assembly projects at a great price
Rating Categories Bosch 12V Max Drill... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt 24-volt Max... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Drilling (35%)
6.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
4.0
Driving (35%)
5.0
10.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
Battery Life (20%)
4.0
10.0
9.0
4.0
3.0
Convenience (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Specs Bosch 12V Max Drill... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt 24-volt Max... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Battery Capacity (Included) 2 Ah Tested w/ 2 Ah 2 Ah 1.3 Ah 1.5 Ah
Battery Voltage 12V 18V 24V 20V 20V
Max Chuck 3/8" 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 3/8"
Battery Chemistry Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion
Drill Model Tested PS31 2803-20 KDD 524B-03 CMCD700 LDX120C
Box Model (Kit) Tested PS31-2A Tested tool-only, no kit 672823 CMCD700C1 LDX120C
RPM Low: 0 - 350
High: 0 -1300
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1500
0 - 650
Peak Torque (manu) 256 in-lbs 1,200 in-lbs 650 in-lbs 280 UWO N/A
Measured Length 6-5/8" 7" 7-3/8" 8-1/4" 7"
Measured Weight 2 pounds
2.7 ounces
4 pounds 1 ounce 3 pounds
15.2 oz
3 pounds 7 ounces 2 pounds
10.8 ounces
Measured Charge Time 85 minutes 25 minutes 75 minutes 58 minutes 210 minutes
Battery Indicator Location Drill Battery Battery Battery N/A
LED Location Above the trigger Above the battery Above the battery Above the trigger Above the trigger
Included Belt Clip No Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The lightweight Bosch PS31-2A.
The lightweight Bosch PS31-2A.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison


For a 12-volt drill the PS31 did well in our drilling tests.
For a 12-volt drill the PS31 did well in our drilling tests.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Drilling


As you would expect, the drilling performance of each cordless drill is responsible for a large portion of the total score, accounting for 35% of the final tally for each tool. We looked at how the Bosch 12V Max did at drilling holes with a normal drill bit, a spade paddle bit, and a massive hole saw. The Bosch did a little above average, while also besting a few 20-volt models.


The 12V Max did about average at drilling holes in a 2x12 with a 1" paddle bit. You could tell that it was weaker than the higher voltage tools, but it usually made it through without too much of a struggle or severely stalling. However, you could also tell the drill was starting to heat up significantly if you started drilling another hole right after, dropping its score slightly.

After drilling three 1" holes the PS31 started to heat up.
After drilling three 1" holes the PS31 started to heat up.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Bosch had a much easier time with some standard twist drills, even with the fact that we were drilling through a 16 gauge steel sheet. It took about 2.4 seconds for the Bosch to drill through the sheet with a ¼" drill, powering through the metal without too much fuss and only showing the slightest sign of a struggle. It took a bit longer to make it through with a ½" drill — around 8-10 seconds — and you could definitely tell that the drill was struggling a bit. It almost made it the entire way through in its high gear, but we did have to downshift right at the end to make it through.

A good bit and some thin steel isn't a problem for the PS31.
A good bit and some thin steel isn't a problem for the PS31.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

For our final drilling test in this metric, a 5" hole saw, we were pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Bosch 12V Max. It wasn't the fastest or the best by any means, but it didn't really struggle at all with this difficult drilling test.

Even the 12-volt models were able to complete the hole saw test...
Even the 12-volt models were able to complete the hole saw test albeit with some struggles along the way.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

It made it to the full depth of the hole saw in a solid core door in a little over a minute — significantly slower than the 20-30 seconds of the best drills — but it didn't seem like it was going to overheat.

The PS31 drove in most of the screws without issues, only having a...
The PS31 drove in most of the screws without issues, only having a slight struggle if we were driving the screw into a knot in the wood.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Driving


Equivalent to our drilling metric, our driving metric is also responsible for 35% of each cordless drill's overall score. We tested out the Bosch's screw driving capabilities with both some smaller wood screws and with a massive lag bolt, noting how easily it drove in the screw and if it could properly set the countersunk head without too much difficulty. The 12V Max did about average.


The Bosch did a good, not great, job at driving in the countersunk wood screws into a pair of stacked 2x12s. It does fine most of the time but tends to stop and stall anytime the resistance increase — like if you hit a knot. It does have the power to drive the screw heads flush, but we could feel the drill starting to overheat after we had driven in 16 screws in rapid succession.

This model couldn't quite cut it in the lag screw test, leaving...
This model couldn't quite cut it in the lag screw test, leaving about an inch to still be driven in.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Bosch 12V Max unfortunately, did not do very well in our lag screw test. We tasked each drill with driving a 0.5" diameter lag screw that is 5" long through a 2x4 into a 4x4. This little 12-volt drill lacked the power to complete the task, completely stalling out with a little more than an inch left to go and no amount of coaxing would get the drill to drive the screw any deeper.

The locking tabs hold the battery securely in place.
The locking tabs hold the battery securely in place.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Battery Life


Worth 20% of the total score, a trio of tests make up our battery metric. We looked at the battery life of the Bosch 12V Max, as well as the time it takes to recharge a battery. It overall was a little disappointing.


To assess the battery life of each drill side-by-side, we kept cycling between driving in 16 wood screws and drilling three 1" holes, awarding points on the number of times they could do this before dying. The 2 Ah battery of the Bosch only made it through 3.5 sets of this before dying — much less than the 8-10 sets the top drills managed before dying.

We were also a little disappointed that this drill didn't charge particularly fast, taking 85 minutes to completely recharge a totally dead battery.

The PS31 is lightweight, weighing in just over 2-pounds with the 2Ah...
The PS31 is lightweight, weighing in just over 2-pounds with the 2Ah battery installed.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Convenience


Finally, we compared and scored all the different features and capabilities that these tools have that are supposed to make them easier and more user-friendly to operate. This accounts for the remaining 10% of the final score, with the Bosch PS31-2A finishing out with a decent performance.


This drill has a built-in battery meter and an LED work light. We found the battery meter to be quite handy, letting you keep track of the charge so you can make sure the extra battery is fully charged or charging when you start to run low. The integrated light is decent, but it isn't as bright as some of the other models, so you may want to consider bringing some supplemental light if you are working in a really dark location.

The light on this model is dimmer and doesn't have as big of a...
The light on this model is dimmer and doesn't have as big of a spread as some of the other models we tested.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This tool has two different operating speed ranges and the chuck can hold bits with up to a ⅜" shank. It is also one of the smallest and lightest drills, weighing in at a little more than two pounds. We love how well this model fits into tight spaces that larger drills can't reach.

One downside to the PS31 is that it only supports a 3/8" shank.
One downside to the PS31 is that it only supports a 3/8" shank.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

However, the battery can be a little more difficult to swap than some of the other models, with the locking tabs occasionally binding up a bit. We also wished that it had a belt clip — invaluable when working on a ladder — but you can always buy a third-party holster to make up for this.

Value


It packs a solid amount of power into a tiny package, all while retailing at a very reasonable price. Among all 12-volt models we have tested, it's just behind in having the best performance, but we think it offers the best value among drills of its voltage.

Conclusion


If you want a lightweight and portable drill to tackle most home improvement projects, we would definitely recommend that you check out the Bosch PS31-2A. It is a fantastic addition to any DIYer's arsenal, able to tackle the vast majority of drilling and driving tasks required in most projects with ease. It might not have the power to match the professional-grade tools, but it also costs a whole lot less.

David Wise and Austin Palmer

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