Bosch IXO 6 review in a sentence: every home should have one.
Bosch may be better known for making some of the best cordless drills – and every other tool imaginable – for both pro and home DIY use. When it comes to the compact and affordable end of the market, the IXO 6 is probably the best electric screwdriver you can buy. It's certainly the most popular.
Yes, you can procure more powerful screwdrivers – or use a drill, if you need even more torque – and you can also buy cheaper ones, although not by much. However, for day-to-day tasks, the IXO 6 is hard to beat.
I've been using IXO screwdrivers for years and while each new version improves and slims down the design a touch, they've all been lifesavers when it comes to minor repairs, screwing and unscrewing things in confined spaces, and forcing recalcitrant, older screws to start moving. But of course their main use is putting together flatpack furniture from IKEA and elsewhere – and yes, of course, there is an 'IKEA-sized' Allen key attachment with the IXO 6, along with most of the other heads that most people will need, most of the time.
When you open the plastic bag containing the fittings on a new bit of furniture and what looks like 1,000 screws and bolts spill out, your heart may well sink. But with an IXO 6 to hand, you can beat the flatpack blues. Or at least shorten them a tad.
Bosch IXO 6 review: price and availability
Bosch IXO 6 costs from £44 in the UK, although you can pay more and get it with some genuinely useful accessories, such as the angled head. You can also pay less, and get an older version of the IXO electric screwdriver. I think it's just about worth paying more ofr IXO 6, as it has some very useful new innovations, but there is really not much wrong with IXO 3, 4 or 5.
It's AUS$79 in Australia. It's often referred to as Bosch IXO VI over there, because so many Australians speak Latin. It's NOT available in the USA, although there are plenty of alternative options from American brands. (opens in new tab)
Bosch IXO 6 review: design and build quality
There's not a great deal of outwardly noticeable 'design' going on here. Bosch IXO 6 looks like a child's drawing of a gun and comes in any colour you like, so long as it's green.
However, everything works very pleasingly. There is a switch to choose between screw in and screw out, and unlike on previous models you move it backwards and forwards – which is logical – instead of side to side – which was mad.
The big improvement on IXO 6 over previous models is the trigger now adjusts the screwdriver's speed. This should prevent the more cack-handed among you from over-tightening screws, with potentially disastrous results. I must admit personally I had no issue with using a single speed, but then I am a very experienced screwer-in of things.
What else can I tell you about the IXO 6? The bits go in the end – the driver comes with 5 cross-head, 2 Allen, 2 Torx – the star-shaped ones – and only one flat head, as nobody uses them anymore. If you live in an older home, or have more demanding uses in mind, you will certainly need to buy additional bits, but for most modern purposes, the 10 bits provided may well prove to be all you need.
There is a light that comes on when the trigger is pulled. This is slightly annoying, as if you are working in a darkened space, when having a light is actually useful, you would ideally want the light to be on before you pull the trigger, so you can find the screw or hole. The quality of the light is quite good though, considering how small it is.
You can also pull the end off, in order to add a number of optional attachments. Two of these, the offset and angle adaptors, are very handy as they let you get at screws that are otherwise impossible to reach. The rest of the accessories are maybe not so useful.
Bosch IXO 6 review: features
Well, it screws things in, and it unscrews things. And when I say 'things', I mean 'screws'. There's a maximum of 4.5nM of torque, which is not a huge amount, but sufficient for most purposes.
There are a number of add-ons for the IXO 6. These include a drill, which should be okay for making pilot holes in softer woods and a saw, which I'd imagine would go through ply board okay. More usefully, there are two angled heads to help you reach screws in hard-to-reach places. And considerably less usefully, there's a corkscrew and a blower thing for firing up your barbecue.
Bosch IXO 6 review: performance
If you're currently reading this while wearing a tool belt, knee pads, safety glasses and a mask, you are probably thinking, 'This seems totally underpowered for my requirements,' and you are probably correct.
However, even the most hardcore DIY-er will sometimes need to screw something non-complicated together quickly, and the IXO 6 does that very well indeed. For most people, the IXO 6 will be all they'll ever need.
Remaining battery life is indicated by 3 LEDs. This has never been very useful as I have never come anywhere near running out of battery. My old IXO 4's battery still works fine after 5+ years. Just plug it in after use. Thanks to the miracles of modern science, IXO 6 can even be charged via a USB cable, as well as a more traditional charging station – this is relegated to being an optional extra, however. And you can even have the screwdriver plugged in via USB while you are using it, which isn't something I've seen in a cordless tool before.
Bosch IXO 6 review: verdict
The Bosch IXO 6 is a device that no home should be without. It screws in, it screws out; it has just enough torque for most jobs, and it's compact, convenient and comfortable to use. It's also not terribly expensive.
I don't really have anything negative to say about the IXO 6. If you want to put huge masonry screws into concrete, obviously it's not a suitable tool. For 99% of basic DIY jobs it's nigh on perfect.
Bosch IXO 6 review: also consider…
The equivalent, similarly priced electric screwdrivers from Black & Decker, Ryobi, Worx and Hitoki are all similarly good at doing the same core job. If you are after something more 'pro' then you're probably better off with a drill or specialist drywall or autofeed screwdriver. That's a bit overkill for assembling a coffee table though.