Not long after the PS40 arrived at the Toolmonger shop, we found ourselves putting a garage door back on track. (Before we noticed that the door was out of adjustment, it caught while opening, twisting and mangled one of the rails.) After we located the parts, we ended up replacing one rail which involved breaking a couple of screws loose and driving two big screws into the door frame. We grabbed the PS40.
Our first impressions: the grip is very comfortable. It fits right into your hand, just like the PS20. It’s easy to flip the side-to-side direction switch single-handed, and the trigger is laser-accurate which makes delicate work — like loosening a really stuck small screw — easy.
The PS40 feels much like the PS20 as you initally squeeze the trigger to break or drive a screw, but as the effort required increases beyond the PS20’s capabilities, the PS40’s hammer-and-anvil system goes to work. You begin to hear the “clicking” sound familiar to anyone who uses impact tools, and instead of grinding to a halt like even the most powerful small drivers, it just keeps going.
We had no problem handling the garage door job (as well as a few others that’d normally require our 18V drill/driver or a larger impact driver) with the PS40.
We’ve had a 14.4V Impactor around the shop for some time now, and it’s been a trusty companion for high-torque driving tasks. We use it mainly to drive wood screws — probably the most common task for impact drivers.
And after quite a bit of use, we can say that we have surprisingly little need for impact drivers larger than 14.4V. At over 1,000 in-lbs of torque, it’s handled damn near anything we’ve thrown at it. We think of it as our hired gun when it comes to tasks that choke our standard 18V drill driver.
Like the PS40, the 14.4V model’s fit and finish is first class. Our only real complaint, ergonomically speaking, lies in the placement of the tool hook. No matter what we were doing, the tool hook always seemed to be in the way. (Of course, we could be biased as we don’t spend a lot of time using the tool belts for which this feature was really intended.) Thankfully the hook can be unscrewed and re-installed on the other side for lefties. We just unistalled it and tossed it in the toolbox.
In short, both of these tools are quite easy to use and surprsingly powerful. But how powerful is “powerful?” To make that determination, we needed a test.
First, we wanted to drive something absurdly large — something bigger than anything an average user would ever need to deal with. A quick trip to our local big-box netted us the 5/8″ by 6″ screw you see below.
Maybe I’m showing my ignorance here, but I’m not sure for what application these screws are intended. Generally when I’m working with something that big, I’d drill and use a bolt instead. But hey — we’re glad they stock ’em because they’re perfect for this test.
We also wanted to get a feel for battery life and driving speed, so we grabbed a few hundred self-threading sheet metal screws. We cut out a nice piece of 16-gauge sheet metal and figured we’d put both drivers through the standard Toolmonger “drive ’till you drop” test as well.
Read on to page four for our test results.