Bosch PS41BN 12V Review
Pros: Compact, lightweight, quiet
Cons: Lacks speed, torque of higher voltage models
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The PS41 could be a great option for a homeowner or DIYer who only tackles the occasional renovation project. You could easily stash this impact and its charger in a kitchen or garage drawer and it generates far less noise than other products, making both your neighbors and anyone else you live with much happier.
The Bosch PS41 delivered by far its most notable performance in our noise assessment. This tool only generated an average of 86 decibels at ear height of the operator while in use, measured by our SPL meter. This is considerably less than the 100+ decibels of the loudest models, though you should always check the manufacturer's recommendation regarding the recommended hearing protection to wear while using an impact driver — even with the relatively lower noise levels of the Bosch.
This 12-volt tool also has one of the better built-in LED work lights that we have seen, thoroughly illuminating the area you are working on. There aren't any inconveniently placed shadows and you can lightly hold the trigger to turn on the light without starting the chuck.
The PS41 is a fairly compact impact, allowing you to reach into tighter areas than the higher voltage tools with its shorter front-to-back distance of 138 mm. It also includes both a phillips and common bit but doesn't have any integrated storage options.
Unfortunately, the list of flaws we found with the PS41 is quite a bit longer than the list of attributes we found favorable. It got off to a rough start in our speed tests, taking significantly more time to drive in fasteners than the premium tools. It took this tool an average of 10 seconds to drive in a 3-⅝" ledger screw into stacked sheets of plywood and 8 seconds to set the same screw in stacked 2x12s, which is about twice as long as the fastest tools.
The speed difference became even more pronounced in our lag bolt test. The Bosch taking over a minute to drive in a ½" x 3" screw to its full depth and 24 seconds to remove it. The fastest impacts only took a little more than 10 seconds to drive in the screw and half that to remove it.
The PS41 also scored relatively poorly in our torque tests. It just managed to tighten a ¾-10 nut to an average of 147 foot-pounds and took 6 seconds to loosen one of these fasteners tightened to 150 foot-pounds. The top tools easily achieved double this in both tests.
To rank and score the battery life of each tool, we alternated between setting 14 ledger screw and driving one large lag bolt in and out until a fully charged battery ran out. The PS41 only made it through 1.75 cycles of this before dying, with the best tools finishing over 5 sets. The PS41 also lacks different torque settings and a belt clip, as well as a quick-insert chuck. This means that you have to manually release the locking collar to both install and remove a hex bit, when you only have to do this to remove the bit from the quick-insert models.
We don't think the Bosch PS41 is a particularly good bargain option, since it didn't score all that well and there are a handful of other impacts that we thought perform better and cost a bit less. It is an alright bargain option if you are only looking for 12-volt impacts but that is a fairly limited set of tools to be shopping for.
This impact is more compact and quieter than many of its competitors but it is far from our favorite when it comes to driving in fasteners. We also weren't super impressed with its battery life. It's a good option if you care the most about making the least noise possible but it still makes more than enough sound to be disruptive. Overall, we generally would recommend most people check out some other products over this one.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer