Dewalt 20V Brushless Compact Drill & Impact Driver – DCK281D2


You may be wondering why I am writing a Dewalt article and not Dan.  After all isn’t Dan the Dewalt guy?  I know a lot of people think I am the Milwaukee guy and Dan is the Dewalt guy.  To an extent that is correct.  Not because we think one brand is better than the other, but just because for us, well for me it’s much easier.  Dan is the guy who likes to keep his tools new.  For me I still use my tools, not as often, but I still get some side jobs where I can break out my tools and have some fun, I mean work.  To me it would be a pain having a Milwaukee drill, Hilti impact, Bosch rotary and a Dewalt saw.  So that’s why we pretty much settle on Dan as Dewalt and myself as Milwaukee.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have that problem of different battery platforms because I use other manufacturers tools, but I think you get my point.

Dewalt 20V 05Okay, I am not going to bore you with all the stats.  If you are looking for a boring article on the Dewalt Drill or the Dewalt Impact, read Dan’s article, plus I am sure you will love the mispellings (yes I know that’s misspelled, it’s a joke.  I really don’t want to hurt Dan’s feelings, he’s very sensitive).  So back to the question, why am I writing this article?  Well the reason is because I have been using the DCD790 and the DCF886 lately.  So did I get rid of my Milwaukee M18?  No, in fact I still use it and think it’s an awesome drill/driver.  In fact I was just using it the other day to mix up some concrete in a 5 gallon bucket.  While the Milwaukee is a powerful drill, it does have one downside as with all the larger cordless drills on the market and the downfall is the weight ratio.   If I am doing an application that requires that much power, then the weight of the tool is justified.  In fact the tool is extremely light for that much power.  However if I am just drilling holes and putting fasteners in, then the weight and power is too much for that application.  Why try and work with the heavier weight all day when you don’t need that power.  I would much rather work with a lighter tool all day. Well, that’s where the Dewalt comes in to play for me.

I recently borrowed Dan’s Drill and Impact.  I was surprised he let me use it.  Usually he wants to keep it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get dirty.  I first started using the impact when I was remodeling my bathroom.  He brought it over and actually said, “Go ahead and destroy the tool, I don’t care.”  While I never did destroy the impact, I did get a lot of use out of the tool.  I even ended up dropping it a couple times.  The smaller profile and lighter weight was a huge help for me especially with my girl arms and trying to attach drywall to the ceiling.  After using the impact, I had to give the drill a shot.  I have to say this drill has one of the best ergonomic grips and feel to it.  Have you ever gone back and put your hand in your old baseball mitt?  Well, it feels like that where it just feels like that tool was broken in and designed for your hand.  Again, just because this looks and feels like a compact, don’t let that fool you.  This tool has some serious power.  I like the shorter design which allows me to get into tighter spaces and also the lighter weight saves my arm after a day’s work.

amazon   Dewalt DCK281D2

I am not sure how long the batteries last, but I do know with a constant use, I was never able to deplete the battery before the 40 minute charge time of the other battery on the charger.  All I can say is these have been my go to drill and impact the last few months and have been awesome.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a compact drill and impact, Dewalt offers a huge advantage over other lines.  A brushless motor for longer run time and longevity of the tools.  Compact 2.0 A/h batteries for lighter weight, but still long run times.  Plus features of the bigger tools like metal ratcheting chuck, delayed LED light and great power.




  1. Great article Eric! This is a great compact drill, I expect to see some changes from Milwaukee when they update the fuel drill, and impact, first i would like to see a compact 18v with the same power as the heavy duty, then have a high performance three speed like they used to have, I dont think trying to make a compact heavy duty high performance all in one is like you said, not working with the weight ratio…Dont get me wrong, the fuel hammer drill is one hell of a drill. I would also like to see them have the 3 led ring on the impact and try and some crazy way get the 3 led on the drill. It will be interesting to see if and when DeWalt will release a brushless 3 speed… Maybe they are keeping the brushed for a while.. Keep us updated as we saw Bostich and pc new tools, keep up the great work!!

  2. Nice review Eric ! And very funny 🙂 they just arrived at home depot here in Canada and they look great to bad i have the dcd985 the 3 speed brushless impact 2 12v drill/driver , 2 12 v impact and the bosch 12v screwdriver so i realy dont need a new drill/driver but i will recommend this to any one going to buy a new driver

  3. Thanks Eric!
    Very good and informative interesting article.
    I only have the Red machines, but have nothing against yellow. Just wait for Milwaukee to come up with some clever organizing boxes. Feels a bit wrong to have Bosch, Stanley and Dewalt’s system to all my machines. I miss the prices of things you talk about. More pricing information!
    I might add that I do not believe we have this Dewalt’s 20V here in Sweden. And only 3 years warranty on Milwaukee Tools?! But, we do have a 25% sales tax here! (Besides “luxury tax” which is much higher on certain goods such as fuel, alcohol and tobacco). + All other taxes and fees we have over here.
    Employee tax is from about 33 up over 50% for some poor guy’s.

  4. The new dewalt xr drills are great drills no doubt but since you did mention your Milwaukee fuel for mixing a 5 gallon bucket of cement I’m curious, I usually use a corded drill for mixing cement or thinset since my first cordless drill I had failed miserably at mixing thinset. Anyways I was wondering how useful is the Milwaukee fuel drill for mixing cement. Was it barely able to mix that 5 gallon bucket or did it last all day mixing several buckets? I ask because I have that drill and would rather just bring that instead of a corded drill and extension cord.

  5. Here’s hoping DeWalt comes out with a brushless 12 volt. I have five 12 volt batteries. But I do need to pick up and 18 volt one day and these would be perfect.

  6. Replying to Javier, I had the Milwaukee Hammer Drill/Impact set for a few weeks and returned it to Home Depot. I always used my Porter Cable ni-cad to mix thinset(usually 25# bags) but the Milwaukee wouldn’t think about it, the overload protection kept kicking in! Even in normal use it wasn’t as good as my P/C and the impact was pretty much the same. I do like the feel of the Milwaukee tools but I haven’t been overly impressed, I even returned the M-12 drill and impact for the Dewalt 12volt Maxs. For normal use I think the Milwaukees are great but if you ever push your tools then go with something else. Just my opinion and we all know about those! Eric n Dan, love ur videos/reviews.

  7. Eric & Dan…you guys are awesome! Love your reviews! It was this video that help me finally make the decision to purchase my new favorite power tool, the DCD790D2! I actually purchased the Makita 18v (Blk & Wht kit) but exchanged it a day later after watching this video. For just a few bucks more, had to go brushless. The XR just melts in my hand and the power is off the chart! The only reason I didn’t get the kit with the impact is b/c I want the 3-spd impact; and I like the hard case. Thanks guys!


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