Bosch Cordless Screwdriver : Head 2 Head Hands-On: Bosch SPS10 vs LI3000 SmartDriver
Executive Summary about : Bosch Cordless Screwdriver by Sean O’Hara
One product at the Bosch event which received close to no attention was the little SPS10 screwdriver. Palm drivers have emerged as a well-defined class of their own, and Bosch has entered this market with the SPS10.
The box says it’s aiming at the professional cordless screwdriver market. Having experience with three other units in the palm driver category - the Dremel Driver, the Skil ixo2, and the B&D SmartDriver - we decided to see how the SPS10 stacked up against one of its slightly older brethren.
For the head-to-head we pitted it against the only other competitor we had on hand that’s not owned in some way by Bosch — the Black & Decker LI3000 SmartDriver. The LI3000 also runs in the middle of the pack of palm drivers, so it’s a good horse to pace from.
Right out of the box the SPS10 showed itself the happy recipient of Bosch packaging. A soft zipper bag housed two removable 4V Li-Ion batteries and a charger, which already puts the unit ahead of the other palm drivers with their non-removable battery packs. The charger that comes with the SPS10 will charge both 10.8V and 12V Max batteries from the Bosch line, so if you own other units you’re not out of luck.
The SPS10 only managed to crank down 1-1/2 of the 3″ screws into the same 2×4. Obviously the SPS10 is designed for lower-torque applications. I found that somewhat interesting, so the simple head-to-head test got a little longer.
An hour or two later - with a side of hand cramp - the Bosch SPS10 had driven 100 screws in and out on one full battery charge, and the LI3000 SmartDriver came in at 76. So the Bosch lasted about 24 percent longer per charge than the old B&D.
The Bosch had the speed advantage with a 250 RPM max to the LI3000’s 180 RPM best. Next up, the medium-load test involved driving 3/4″ self-tapping screws into 3/4″ ply, so there’d be some load but not nearly as much as with the 3″ wood screws. The SPS10 completed driving about 40 of the 3/4″ self-tapping screws before the battery finally gave out. The LI3000 managed to spin 29.5 of the self-tapping screws home.
The head-to-head comparison between the SPS10 and the LI3000 really comes down to features. Both drivers did well. Which package better suits your particular needs, the projects you intend to do on a regular basis?
The SPS10 favors endurance. The removable battery pack, plus the ability to integrate the driver almost seamlessly with any other member of the Bosch PS line that you might already own, make the driver a strong player in its class.
The LI3000 proved to be a shade more versatile in its ability to handle a slightly larger set of applications, but at the cost of stamina. Add to that the $40 price point, which is about half what the Bosch will hit you for, and it puts the picture in slightly better focus.
In the end, neither driver is really head-and-shoulders better than the other. The LI3000 SmartDriver is a cheap, versatile driver that’ll get the job done; and the newcomer Bosch SPS10 is designed to run all day and to stand alone or blend with tools you might already own. The decision depends on which strengths are more important to you.