Every once in a while, a new tool comes along that just says, “Why hasn’t anyone done this before?” Well, in 2006 that tool is the Bosch I-Driver.
Being flexible in the past has meant bending behind the motor, such as some of the Milwaukee cordless screwdrivers. They would bend at about the middle of the tool, making for something more usable in tight spaces. But the I-Driver goes well beyond that. By using some fancy gearing, they made it only move the actual bit end of the tool. This makes for a great many uses where a traditional cordless screwdriver just wouldn’t do.
But Bosch didn’t stop there. Instead, they added in a few features that power tools aren’t used to seeing. For example, they added an electronic clutch. The traditional mechanical clutch clicks when the screw is tight. This one simply stops the motor. It was a bit weird feeling the first few times it engaged, but I got used to it after a few times.
Also new to me is the soft start mechanism. My first reaction when pulling the trigger was the feeling that the battery was dead. It’s not normal with most cordless tools to pull the trigger and have it go slow unless the battery needs charging, so that’s what I thought was happening. However, it was not only fully charged, but the soft start mechanism can actually allow it to drive more screws per charge than the pocket driver. The reason is that you’re able to pull the trigger full and let it drive the screw without having any struggle starting the screw without the bit slipping. Slipping when trying to start a screw really shortens useful battery life, so this minor improvement is actually a very big deal.
Finally, since it is a Li-Ion tool and has Bosch engineering behind it, you’ve got enough life to drive 100 screws and the quality to last a long time. This is one tool that’s very high up on my list of toys to purchase, especially since the pricetag is pretty attractive. Any time a professional tool is under $150, it’s got to end up on my wishlist somewhere.