Mike wrote in with a doozy of a question, asking for help in choosing between Bosch and Milwaukee 12V drills.
I’m a DIY’er and I’m looking for a 12V drill driver. This isn’t something I will use everyday (could be weeks at a time) but at the same time this will be a long term purchase for me. I’m finally retiring my 16 year old Makita 6095D because I’m tired of batteries never charging and the weight.
I’ve narrowed it down to the Milwaukee M12 Fuel (2403-22), Milwaukee M12 (2407-22), and the Bosch PS32-02.
The Milwaukee M12 Fuel at $180 is kind of hard for me to justify for my infrequent usage but then again I won’t be buying another drill for a few years. What do you think?
Between the Milwaukee M12 and the Bosch PS32-02 which would you recommend? (torque rating is basically the same although the Bosch is Brushless with slightly bigger batteries).
It has been suggested to me to go with Milwaukee M12 line and that’s for two reasons: they have so many other M12 tools and they might have longer battery support. For me personally I don’t plan on buying any other tools but if they did have better long-term support for their batteries over Bosch then that might affect my decision.
These models, the Bosch PS32 and Milwaukee 2403 and 2407 models, are all recommended in our best cordless drills roundup for 2014.
The Bosch 12V PS32 and Milwaukee M12 Fuel 2403 are both brushless models that offer fantastic runtime and can deliver impressive power for the size. The Milwaukee M12 2407 is one of their upgraded M12 drills and drivers that came out last year.
The new Bosch brushless cordless drill and Milwaukee’s maturing but still cutting-edge Fuel drill are pretty evenly matched. The Milwaukee can deliver more power and has a 1/2″ chuck, but the Bosch is smaller and more affordable.
For a DIYer who is set on the idea of a 12V-class drill/driver, my pick would probably be the Milwaukee M12 2407 drill/driver for 3 reasons. First, it’s a decent model with updated features, specs, and ergonomics. Second, it’s priced at just $99 right now for the 2-battery kit.
Third, as mentioneded, Milwaukee’s M12 lineup is vast. There are still a few compact tools I wish Milwaukee would come out with, but the M12 platform is unmatched when it comes to breadth and selection. That their lineup is large is not any guarantee that they won’t come out with a new form factor down the road. It’s unlikely that Milwaukee, Bosch, or any other professional brand, will shift to a new incompatible battery form factor any time in the foreseeable future.
Even if you don’t plan on buying any more tools right now, you might want something else down the road.
Bosch’s PS32 and Milwaukee’s Fuel drill are both really nice cordless brushless drills, but if this isn’t something you plan on using very frequently, pocket the extra money and save it for other tools you might want down the line. Or, that extra $60-80 savings could mean a replacement battery or two in 5 years.
Is it worth it to go brushless? If you don’t plan on using the cordless drill/driver very often or very heavily, then the benefits of the greater power efficiency and runtime might be lost on you, but you will still benefit from the greater power. Brushless motors also require less maintenance since there are no motor brushes that ever need to be replaced.
If you are strongly considering the PS32, then the Milwaukee M12 Fuel drill isn’t too much more expensive, and you get a slightly more powerful drill with one of the two bundled batteries being a high capacity M12 XC 4.0Ah pack.
The Bosch PS31 kit is also a good value option, with the special L-Boxx toolbox bundle being a great option if you’re looking to get into the L-Boxx modular storage platform.
It’s a tough choice. The M12 Fuel drill is a fantastic performer, Bosch’s PS32 is nimble and a solid all-around performer, and the M12 non-Fuel drill is capable and much more affordably priced.
Ultimately, my clear first recommendation would be for the Milwaukee 2407. Beyond that, the Bosch PS32 and Milwaukee Fuel 2403 are in close competition. Ignoring pricing, the Milwaukee is the better drill in terms of power and runtime since the kit comes with both compact and high capacity batteries. But with retail pricing thrown into the mix, the PS32 has increasing appeal.