DeWALT 20V MAX Hammer Drills DCD985L2 and DCD785C2 – Review


We recently did a review of the DeWALT DCD980L2 and DCD780C2.  Now we have the  20V  hammer drills DCD985L2 and DCD785C2.  They are basically identical to the DCD980L2 and DCD780C2 except for they have a hammer drill feature.  So rather than write another identical review and add about the hammer drill feature, I decided to approach this a bit different and give you a comparison of sorts.

Old Left – New Right

If you haven’t read our review of the non hammer drill versions you can here.  That review applies to these tools also.  Now let’s talk about the flagship DCD985L2 Premium 20v Hammer Drill Driver.  I have always been a fan of the DeWALT 3 speed drill and have a DC988 that I recently upgraded from the XRP NiCD to a XRP lithium-ion battery.  The DCD985L2 is close in size and weight to the DC988 and makes the DC988 look outdated.  The main feature that sticks out is the 20V’s grip,  I still cannot get over the grip, it is like it was made just for me!  Ergonomic and surrounded by over molded rubber, it is comfortable with or without gloves.  Now when I grab the old drill it feels wide and not as comfortable to hold even though I have used it for years.


The DCD985L2 is rated at 450 Unit Watts Out and its 3 speed transmission can produce (0-600 RPM; 0-1,250 RPM; and 0-2,000 RPM) and (0-9,775 BPM/0-22,950 BPM/0-34,000 BPM).  The ratcheting chuck grips well thanks to carbide teeth.  Unlike its predecessor, you can retain your driver clutch setting when selecting between drill and hammer modes.  We are still lacking any type of battery fuel status indicators for the 20V line.  However, there is an LED at the front of the tool that is turned on via the trigger and remains on for 20 seconds.  The chuck does cast a shadow so it  works best for general wide area illumination.  It comes with a nice hard case, a 1 hour charger, 2 3.0 AH batteries (works with 1.5 AH packs also) and a twist lock ring style handle which works great.  There is no belt clip or bit holder included with this kit


The DCD785C2 is a hammer drill version of the DCD780C2, the head is a bit longer to incorporate the added feature and it weighs a hair more than its non hammer drill counterpart.  This drill does include a belt clip and bit holder :}.   A 15 setting clutch and 2 speeds provide 0-600/0-2000 RPM and 34000 max BPM.  2 1.5 AH batteries and a one hour charger all fit in the included case.  350 Unit Watts Out is what DeWALT says this tool puts out.  The drill performed awesome and had plenty of power for every task we used it in.

In one situation where I was drilling into a plow assembly, the plastic chuck was gouged due to it rubbing in a tight area, which now makes me a fan of metal chucks.  The trigger activated LED stays on for 20 seconds.  It has awesome power and puts 20V power in small spaces where you need it!  Overall, I like both drills and they are my main drills of choice.  They are covered by DeWALT’s Standard warranty.  Check out the entire DeWALT 20V line up.



  1. Was wondering if you guys heard when dewalt is going to roll out more 20 volt max tools? I was hoping they would be releasing the tools faster not having a 20 volt max radio is really really annoying.

  2. What I want to know ,Does the 20 volt drill run on a 18 volt battery or do you need to start a whole new tool kit in the 20 volt range ,Maybe ok for someone just starting to assemble a tool box or trade kit,Other wise you would have 2 charges several batteries may be double up on tools.I personaly would wait until there was a full range before buying the 20 volt range

  3. hello, i was wondering what exactly is the difference between the dcd985 and the dcd980? does the dcd908 have the hammer drill too and if so -is there a difference between the two in the hammer option? -thanks,

  4. They are the same Drill minus the hammer mechanism. 450 uwo on both. Dewalt does not list torque figures on their tools.

  5. I had an idea to make an adapter to run my old 18v dewalt NiCad tools off of the dewalt 20v max, they both have a b+ and b- terminal. Does anyone know if this is possible or if it would burn up my drill to do so?

  6. ok, thanks for letting me know Jason, do u know if dewalts 20v max tools and or batterys have that. i havent ever seen them cut out because they got too hot before?

  7. Dewalt does have overload protection just watch the video they posted awhile ago when they smoked a makita brushless drill because the lack of overload protection.

  8. Are you trying to run a 18volt tool that dewalt does not have in the 20 volt like yet? Or did your old batteries die? They do have lions built to replace nicads for the xrp tools, or you can have your nicad batteries rebuilt with better cells. I don’t know what the most economical situation is for you. The 20v tools are really nice If you do want to switch over watch for the free battery deals.

  9. i just want to try to make an adapter for 18v impact to run on 20v max, i still have enough batterys that work. i would like to get the 20v max line but i am only a teenager and they arnt a neccesity at this point in time.

  10. I was wondering because of the cost of batteries and a 20volt charger is going of add up quick. The 20v max batteries are really 18volt its more of a marketing thing. I’m sure you could make an adapter you just have to watch out on how hard you push it, but you need the 20v charger you cant charge lion’s on a nicad charger unless an xrp lithium it might work. It’s going to cost 170 bucks just for one slim pack battery and charger.and that’s only a 1.5 ah your xrp batteries are 2.6 ah. If your batteries still work i’m just having a hard time seeing the benefits for the hassle and costs.

  11. yeah, i get your point. there is a swap meet around where i live where i can get a 3.0 20v max and charger brand new for a little over $100. i just want the drill to be a little lighter with a longer run time.

  12. Yea 100 bucks for a 3.0ah and charger is better than retail at retail prices you were like 30 bucks off from a drill impact kit at black friday prices it came with 1.5 ah batteries though. It would be nice if dewalt sold an adapter the tool’s last longer than batteries.

  13. yeah, i agree, i dont know why any of the tool manufacturers havent brought an adapter to market yet. i think it would be a good selling point for the company and there tools would be more interchangable.

  14. With dewalt it hurts more because they took longer to move from a plunge battery to slide on. It helps with balance and grip size. Plus, dewalt was huge in the 90’s early 2000’s for cordless tools they were the undisputed market king.It’s still a very popular brand they just don’t dominate the market anymore. They really struggled with the the move to lithium till the 20v max. I don’t know what kind of building you are doing, but the new 12 volt tools have a nice size, weight, performance, and cost balance now.

  15. i have watched reviews on 12v max but i am hopeing to get into concrete/ construction so i dont think that 12v max would be enough power to do so.

  16. Dan has it right SDS is amazingly better at drilling concrete compared to a hammer drill, That little m12 SDS looks amazing for tapcon and small anchor work.

  17. just pouring concrete, i have a good bit of experience in that and finishing concrete. also just general construction, small block work, remodeling, concrete tear out. i mainly want to get the 20v max sawzall. Dan, do u know where i could get some of those oempta mag lock phillips and square bits. i went to there website and i couldnt find them, i think they discontieued them. i cant even find them by searching it in bing and looking at bings shopping results. im not old enough to drive yet so i need to save for a car and an sds+ or sds max isnt really in my budget. i have most of the common masonry bits for tapcons and 1/2″ rebar and an 18v dewalt impact and 18v dewalt regular 1/2″ drill so it works for concrete even though it isnt good on the bits to do so but it goes though concrete pretty fast with a chuck adapter in the 18v dewalt impact. but i hope to start my own concrete/construction company about 5 years after i graduate.

  18. Hi, I really enjoy your reviews. I have two questions. First, did you see any chuck wobble on the Dewalt 20V hammer drill (785)? There are YouTube videos and many consumer reviews showing that the Dewalt 20V drills have chuck wobble esp the hammer drills.

    Also I’m trying to decide between buying the Dewalt 20V hammer drill (785) and the Milwaukee M12(2411-20) hammer drill that Eric likes so much. Overall I like Milwaukee but I’m wondering if the Dewalt is much faster/easier going through concrete. Can you guys please do a test between the two? That would help make my decision. Thanks a lot

  19. Hi, I’m looking to get either the DCD985L2 or the DCD785C2 for a gift for my husband. I’m not sure what the real difference is between these two except the DCD785C2 is 1.5 Ah instead of 3 Ah (I don’t know what this means or if this is significant) and it is cheaper. Is there any reason I should go with the more expensive, DCD985L2? Thanks!

    • Hi Lindsey. The 785C2 is more compact and lighter than the DCD985 and is better for most general uses. If he needs to do heavy duty work, needs 3 speeds and longer runtime the DCD985 is the way to go. I have a Handyman friend that uses the DCD785C2 and loves it. It is perfect for almost all his needs. Hope this helps.

      Thanks :}

  20. With the 3.0 AH batteries he could buy bare tools with out the charger and batteries which is a lot cheaper like a circular saw or reciprocating saw. You can use the 1.5 ah batteries but they are not going to last as long as the 3.0ah. If size is and weight is really important to him go with the DCD785c2.
    Lowes has the Premium hammer drill and impact on sale for 299 I dunno if that’s within your budget


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