I posted about the new Bosch FlexiClick modular multi-head drill/driver the other day, which I guess you could consider as their second generation tool. Bosch released a brushed motor 12V Max FlexiClick drill/driver prior to this new brushless model.
In 2019, Milwaukee launched their M12 Fuel brushless multi-head drill/driver, aimed at installation work and any drilling and driving you might need to do in tight or difficult spaces.
In a comment to the other post, a reader commented:
Remarkably similar in design to the Milwaukee Installation Driver 2505-20.
Although some new and novel cordless power tool designs are patented, brands draw inspiration from competitors’ innovations fairly regularly, and that works to users’ benefit – it’s how tools get better and better.
Another reader correctly pointed out that Bosch’s brushed motor FlexiClick drill/driver designs predate Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel installation drill/driver. That is correct.
Here’s a timeline, with the dates corresponding to our posts here on ToolGuyd:
Feb 2017: Bosch 12V FlexiClick 5-in-1 Drill/Driver
There are a couple of other developments, such as Bosch’s European announcement of the 12V and 18V brushless FlexiClick models. To my knowledge, Bosch USA never officially announced the brushless 12V Max and 18V tools here in the USA, they just quietly appeared on Bosch’s and retailers’ websites.
Here are two more posts that readers might have forgotten about:
Oh, that’s right – Milwaukee came out with a cordless multi-head drill/driver a couple of years before Bosch’s FlexiClick drill/driver, even before Bosch’s first FlexiClick product was exclusively launched in Europe.
So, although Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel cordless installation drill came after Bosch’s FlexiClick product, Milwaukee entered the multi-head drill/driver market first.
Let’s also not forget that the Festool CXS came first! I posted about it as an upcoming tool back in 2011.
Going back further, I’m not quite sure what other cordless power tools or systems might have predated Festool or Milwaukee’s launches. I remember using a Black & Decker 12V Firestorm drill with a chuck that removed to reveal a 1/4″ hex screwdriver bit chuck, and there are still some modern cordless drills that have a version this feature.
But right angle and offset screwdriving attachments? It looks to me that Festool did it first, and to argue differently would require going back at least 10 years, but that also pushes us closer to pre-Li-ion larger, heavier, and bulkier cordless power tool territory.
There’s an offset attachment for the Bosch and Skil iXO 3.6V/4V Max cordless screwdriver, but that’s in a different class of tools than what we’re talking about here.
It’s possible that Ridgid’s JobMax cordless power tools kick-started the idea of interchangeable tool heads, but it’s hard to say since the interface design is drastically different and the tool didn’t have a drill-like pistol grip geometry. Ridgid’s JobMax tools were first announced back in 2010.
So to answer the headline question, Milwaukee’s 5-in-1 cordless drill came first, then Bosch FlexiClick, and then Milwaukee’s Installation drill/driver, with Festool’s CXS launching years earlier than either brand’s designs.