When I first saw the new Bosch Litheon Pocket Driver and I-Driver, they reminded me of the wimpy little cordless screwdrivers and drills sold on discount tables for the weekend warriors at home center stores. Looks are deceiving. These handy little units can challenge some much bigger pro-grade units on performance, and they don't weigh anything like that massive 18-volt behemoth you are used to carting around.
Bosch promotes its new Pocket Driver as being 50 percent smaller than a standard 12-volt cordless drill driver, but with more screw-driving power. Bosch claims the 10.8-volt lithium-ion unit will drive 100 3-inch screws on a single charge. Well, I drove 100 2-inch drywall screws and then removed 50 of them before the battery showed any trouble.
At only 6-1/2 inches long, this driver is very portable. One way Bosch saved size was to eliminate a standard chuck in favor of a quick-change, hex-style unit, so you'll have to get hex-shafted drill bits if you want to drill holes as well as drive screws. The driver also has a 10+1 clutch that worked well to precisely drive screws.
Another feature is an LED light designed to illuminate the work area. It is handy as an impromptu flashlight, but unfortunately the chuck blocks the light path, so it's not as useful as it could be in close quarters.
The I-Driver has a rotating head, so it can operate as a right-angle driver or an inline powered screwdriver. There are five click-stop positions from 90 to 180 degrees. It has the same 10.8-volt battery system as the Pocket Driver but only seven clutch settings, and it performed very similarly in my tests.
The variable speed trigger took just a bit to get used to as it gives the unit a slow start even when fully depressed. Once I got used to that, I hardly noticed it. In the convenience area, the I-Driver has a built in metal loop hanger so you can hang it from a belt hook or other storage hook.
It takes just 30 minutes to charge the lithium-ion battery packs for these units, so they really do compete with larger drivers. As I used them around the shop, particularly the Pocket Driver, I kept asking why couldn't this stand in as a regular replacement for big, fatiguing cordless drill-drivers when you don't really need the massive power. For most of what a typical cabinet shop uses a drill driver for, these little units have plenty of power.
Each packed with a charger, two batteries, straight and Phillips bits, all in a ballistic nylon carrying case, the Pocket Driver goes for about $130 and the I-Driver for about $150. They represent a good value if you want a light-weight and compact alternative to conventional drill-drivers. For more information visit www.boschtools.com.
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