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This week Milwaukee announced the first product in their new 12V sub-compact line: a tiny, high-torque driver aimed directly at electricians and other pros looking to put their mid-size drivers on a diet.  Of course, with this launch Milwaukee clearly draws a bead on Bosch’s successful PS20 — offering the first competition in the still-brand-new sub-compact category.

And at first glance, the red-and-black sub-compact offers some interesting features not found on the Bosch: a battery “fuel gauge” and a chuck capable of one-handed bit changes.  Size-wise it’s similar, measuring in at 7″ long and weight two pounds complete with a 12V 1.4 Ah li-ion battery based on the same lithium-manganese cells used throughout Milwaukee’s V-lines.

Milwaukee claims a charge time of 30 minutes and a torque of 100 in-lbs, though we noticed that’s measured at a 500 rpm max as opposed to the PS20’s 600 rpm — which might account for the difference.  We’ll see when we get our hands on a test model later this month.

In the meantime, we’re told these should be on shelves in mid-October at an MSRP of $140, which means you’ll likely pay around $129 for them — exactly the same price as the PS20.  Which is better?  We’ll all know soon.  But as for now, we know one thing for sure: it’s no longer a one-horse race.

Update: Looks like our friend Harry Sawyers over at The Hardware Isle has a bit to say about this, too.


24 Responses to Preview: Milwaukee’s Spankin’ New 12V Li-Ion PS20 Competitor

  1. TandA4 says:

    I bought the Bosch about 2 months ago. I wish the Milwaukee was available at the time. I would like to know how it compare to the Bosch.

  2. Crispy says:

    Well it looks like the Milwaukee will have a little over a volt on the Bosch, they are going for the same price. How quality are Milwaukee’s products? When I buy Bosch I never have a doubt, I can’t say the same about Milwaukee but I could just be ignorant.

    Unless the Milwaukee is significantly more powerful, I don’t regret my purchase of the Bosch. Especially if it would have meant I would have to go these last 9 months without it.

  3. caseytech says:

    can the bosch drive lag bolts?

  4. bc says:

    one is red and one is blue. that is the difference. and red is faster…

  5. jeh says:

    Who will be the first to expand their sub-compact line beyond drivers?

  6. Jents71 says:

    This thing is sweet, Ill be buying one as soon as it comes out!!! If this is anything like my v28 Tools, which are no less than spectacular, I can see this being my go-to tool!

  7. theplowman says:

    Wow! I like both Milwaukee and Bosch, both are high quality, but Milwaukee is definitely the highest. Never had a problem with Milwaukee and used them for well over 15 years. Their Lithium cordless has been remarkable and I

  8. theplowman says:

    Wow! I like both Milwaukee and Bosch, both are high quality, but Milwaukee is definitely the highest. Never had a problem with Milwaukee and used them for well over 15 years. Their Lithium cordless has been remarkable and I hope this one follows the trend.

  9. Ben says:

    Great find on this one! The battery gauge is very nice. I’m glad to see that Milwaukee is finally starting to embrace more modern aesthetics in their designs. I still like the LED work light implementation on the PS40 better-can’t beat that “light ring”.

  10. Perry says:

    I like this tool but Unfortunately, this new range is being marketed as 12Volt when in fact it is only 10.8Volt. I am disappointed that Milwaukee feel the need to do this. They did it also with the V28 range which is actually only 25.2Volt. DeWalt did the same with their Li-ion 36Volt actually only 32volt. Guys in the trade are getting annoyed with these marketing ploys from Milwaukee and DeWalt – just sell it as it is and believe it is good enough to hold its own!

  11. Pete Moss says:

    Milwaulkee is a higher tool line than Bosch which was taken over. Bosch is now a Chinese company.

  12. Ern says:

    Pete Moss Said:
    “Milwaulkee is a higher tool line than Bosch which was taken over. Bosch is now a Chinese company.”

    Actually, you’ve got that backwards. Milwaukee was bought by TTI in Hong Kong. Bosch is still a German company. The Bosch PS20 is made in Switzerland and the PS40 is made in Malaysia. The quality seems to be the same for both. The Milwaukee looks really nice though. Can’t wait to check one out.

  13. Bryan says:

    I’ve never had a problem with my Bosch tools. They are top quality. I have the PS10 and the PS40 and LOVE them both. And yes, the PS40 will drive lag bolts, it has incredible torque. The light ring is a very nice touch. The PS10 will get into dang near any space you can think of, is lightweight, and fits comfortably in my tool belt hardly noticed. I primarily do electrical work and wouldn’t trade the PS10 for anything.

    Milwaukee tools are also of high quality. The only thing about this tool that stands over the Bosh is that it appears to have a mechanical clutch. The Bosch electronic clutch leave a bit to be desired for.

    Like stated above, the Milwaukee IS NOT A 12V, but a 10.8V in disguise. It also does not have the light, which may seem like nothing but once you have it you’ll realize how convenient and handy it really is.

  14. theplowman says:

    What is your basis for claiming the Milwaukee is a 10.8 volt tool? Where is the factual data? Also, I thought this tool does have a light and battery gauge?

  15. Tom says:

    Milwaukee is owned by the same company that owns Ryobi and Ridgid, TTI the Rep told me.

    These sub-compact impacts are almost the same size as my Makita Compact. I don’t know why I would want any smaller than my Makita.

  16. Theplowman, rechargeable lithium batteries only come in certain voltage increments. It’s chemically impossible to get 12 volts out of any whole number of lithium rechargeable cells.

    The nominal voltage of a lithium-ion secondary (rechargeable) cell is 3.6 volts, which ranges from 3.8 volts open circuit at full charge, to 2.8 under load at full discharge. Some chemistries have a slightly higher per-cell voltage, around 3.93. Packs are always named using the cells’ nominal voltage. So a two-cell lithium pack is 7.2 volts, a three-cell pack is 10.8, and a four-cell pack is 14.4 volts. Even with the higher-voltage chemistries, you’re only taking 11.8 volts.

    Is it dishonest to call a 10.8 or 11.8-volt tool a “12 volt” tool? Maybe. I’ve got a Ryobi “4 volt” drill/driver, which I cracked open and the cell says 3.6 right on it. Personally, I think consumers have tunnel vision. Comparing batteries by their voltage is like comparing cameras by their pixel count. There’s so much else that matters. A little fudge in that number is unlikely to change anything. I wish they’d publish watt-hour specs, though!

  17. theplowman says:

    Thank you for the input Nate; however, I was just in a repair station actually getting one of my Bosch tools fixed and they told me about a Milwaukee battery reader for their Lithiums. The Milwaukee battery reader can tell you how well each cell is performing in their V18 and v28 Lithium tools. I had them read both of my V18 lithium batteries and the first battery read 5 cells at 4.0 volts each and my second battery read 5 cells at 4.1 volts each! Apparently, the Milwaukee V18 has 5 four volt cells and it actually performs at a v20 level!

    And in regards to the misrepresentation of each cell, mine were right on and actually a little better than normal! I agree there is inconsistentencies in all battery cells; however, as you can see they actually gave more power than they advertised in this instance. I don’t know how to get one of these battery readers, but they sure impressed me with it, please go to your nearest tool repair place and check this out. Take care.

  18. modeyaka says:

    Guys, I just check them both out. If you ask me, Mil. is rebadging the Bosch. This seems to be even more true given that the Mil. is in fact a 10.8v unit! The charger looks the same too and the battery housing looks the same. I think Mil. just gave the outer casing a different color and some cosmetic changes such as on the mechanical clutch ring and power reserve meter.

  19. dan says:

    wow. a lot of misinformation here. the bosch does have a mechanical clutch, it does have a white led in front, the bosch ps20 is made in malaysia and the ps40 is made in switzerland not the other way around. the mil is not a rebadged bosch…

  20. Toby says:

    I’ve owned and used many cordless tools since they were first marketed when i started in the HVAC business.I’ve used Black and Decker,Makita,Dewalt,Milwaukee,skil and Bosch.Bosch by far has the WORST battery life of all listed. Milwaukee has the best inovation in battery performance and workability out of all listed by far. I have the V28 lithium-lon cordless tools and am looking forward to using the 12v lithium-lon subcompact drill in my everyday performances.

    Thank you for your time

  21. Jason says:

    Our shop swapped out all their old DeWalts and replaced them all with Milwaukee. We had a lot of problems since DeWalt teamed up with B&D. Quality dropped and the service was lousy.

    This 12v really kicks the donkey’s rear end. We’ve been extremely satisfied with it, heck, I ended up going out and buying one for myself. Oh by the way, they have an exclusive special through Grainger where you get a free right angle adapter. Not that I’d use it much but you never know.

  22. EJohnE says:

    The Bosch PS20 and PS40 were originally made in Switzerland, and are now made in Malaysia.

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