DeWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Compact Drill / Drivers – Raising The Bar


It is no secret that I like DeWALT, they usually build a good product that is on par or better than the competition. I have been using the DCD985 as my main cordless workhorse drill since it came out.  The 985 is a great powerful drill, but at over 5 lbs “with 3.0 Ah batteries” it really put some extra fatigue on my body. It is really designed to be used on heavy duty tasks.  The DeWALT DCD780 was a good alternative but I just didn’t like the plastic chuck.  A few weeks ago we attended a DeWALT media event where we first saw the DCD790D2.  I have to say I was more excited about the 20V vacuum and the DCF886 impact than I was about the DCD790D2 and DCD795D2 Hammerdrill.  A few days ago we got our 790D2 and I have to say it has blown me away.  This thing is perfect for 90% of all drilling  jobs out there.  It is light, powerful and has long run times thanks to the XR 2.0 Ah batteries.

Dewalt Brushless drill 2

Dewalt Brushless drill 1

Dewalt Brushless drill 3

Styling of the DCD790 is aggressive and ergonomic.  They did a good job of balancing the weight on the 3.5 lb drill.  It feels great in your hands just like all of DeWALT’s 20V MAX tools.  The LED light is at the base which is a departure from the 3 ring or above trigger lighting that we have seen on previous DeWALT 20V MAX products.  This does cast better than the above trigger design, but has a tendency to be easily obstructed in tight situations.  The XR means Extreme Run time and this 1/2″ drill packs power and run time.

Dewalt Brushless drill 5

Dewalt Brushless drill 6

Dewalt Brushless drill 7

We put our “Drill Killer” 1″ Milwaukee auger bit on and went to town on a log.  The drill augured through no problem on speed one (0-600rpm).  On speed 2 (0-2,000 RPM) the overload protection kicked in and shut off the drill.  This feature saves you from burning up the motor.  The metal chuck grips very well and ratchets down tight on your bit.  The adjustable clutch has 15 settings which gives it precision.  On the bottom is a removable belt clip and bit hold. You can put these on either side of the tool.  This kit comes in a plastic case with two 2.0 Ah batteries with fuel status gauges and a charger that will charge a battery in about 35 minutes.  This is a great compact drill that really shows off DeWALT’s XR and brush less technology.

Dewalt Brushless drill 8

Dewalt Brushless drill 9

Dewalt Brushless drill 11

Dewalt Brushless drill 12

For those of you that need a hammerdrill feature, they also have the DCD795D2 hammer drill.  It is just like the DCD790 but is a tad longer and heavier.  This tool will give you 0-34000 BPM for almost any masonry task.  According to DeWALT both tools put out 360 UWO which is DeWALT’s new standard of power output ratings.  Unfortunately DeWALT is the only one who uses it so we can only compare it against other DeWALT tools.  You will have to take our word for it, it is light and powerful.  Both tools are covered by DeWALT’s standard 3 year year warranty.  Eric used the tool and I could tell he was jealous and wanted it.  We even had an experienced handyman use the tools.  He was highly impressed with the ergonomics, power and run time. His exact words “It’s unbelievable”.




  1. Nice looking drills! Especially the hammer drill with how small and powerful it is. How muchare they going for right now?

  2. I’m really curious to see how the Dewalt XR line compares to the M18 Fuel line of tools. The only thing I wonder is if Dewalt is going to continue with a brushless version of the big 3 speed drill. What also surprised me is how much shorter the non hammer drill version is its it looks like a 1/2 inch, or it could just be the angle of the photo. Glad to see Dewalt has jumped into the brushless tools though.

  3. awesome to see friday fight. dewalt 20volt brushless versus
    milwaukee 2604 18 volt brushless using compact m18 red
    of both..own milwaukee drill 2604 ,fuel..1/2 impact fuel,1/4 hex fuel,
    hackzall,sawzall,circular saw 18 volt..3/8 ratchet,multitool,worklight,
    12 volt..18 volt grinder…dewalt 12 volt temp scanner,drill,impact,
    screwdriver,lithium..started with dewalt nicad 18 volt have most all
    of them…dewalt and milwaukee like equal..dewalt has nice drill out watching tool reviews ,nice job guys..if dewalt beats 18 v
    fuel i would buy next day…still love my milwaukee ratchet,multitool,
    1/2 fuel compact..dewalt was my yellow and red stuff
    coming out from both rocks.please please 18 fuel 2604 versus 20 bl dewalt…peace..glad found your site.

  4. There is some thing inclear about the uwo , they say that the right angle drill is 360 uwo and the brushless drill/driver is 360 uwo but dewalt uk says that the right angle drill is 33 nm and the brushless drill/driver is 60 nm ( newton-meter )

  5. Come on with the new dewalt socket review already …info is limited.. I want to check these baby’s out.. I hope you the big kit

  6. Thats awesome in your experience the battery charges in about 35 minutes. Thats great, I hope they are all like that since I read they take 45 minutes to charge the 2.0 packs. I cant wait to see what dewalt is up to for a brushless premium hammer drill.

  7. Dan, i would love it if you could answer this for me, i want to know if you think i should get the impact and compact hammerdrill brushless set by dewalt or get the m18 fuel impact and hammerdrill. i currently have brushed m18 impact 2650-20 and hammerdrill 2602-22 but i used to use dewalt 18v and have an 18v dewalt impact and drill/driver both newer with lights and their 18v drywall/deck screw driver with 2 batteries and charger, i want to sell my dewalt set to either get the brushless dewalt set or m18 fuel set, which would you suggest i get considering i am a teenager who wants to be a contractor for concrete/ construction, i grew up doing it and i think it is just a part of me know. your answer and input would be greatly appreciated and considered.

    • Hi Brody,

      Personally I would go for the Dewalt Brushless set. I just a had a handyman buddy switch over to DeWalt from the M18 line and he loves it. Milwaukee has a better warranty but I see more failed Milwaukee than I do DeWALT our in the field. :}

  8. Dan, its funny you said that, I see Milwaukee tool smoking videos all over youtube, but I cant find one Dewalt haha!

  9. Ouch I’m going to have to intervene for Milwaukee I hope Eric does the same 🙂 I personally think Milwaukee puts out a better tool they feel nice great power and really nice balance. Plus they have many more tools than Dewalt does right now with the 18 volt platform. I have not had any issues with my fuel impact and I have put in some lag bolts that really should have been put in with an impact wrench. Plus red looks cooler than yellow 🙂 If your willing to wait Bosch should be releasing some brushless drills and impact drivers soon and they have a cool bit holder that takes a impact bit or socket without an adapter that looks really cool.

  10. if your planning to do alot a concrete i would go for hilti or bosch they have the best sds drill , but dewalt or milwaukee are pretty good tools.

  11. dan, usually on the old dewalt 18v drills there would be a spot on the specs lable that would say type 1, type 2, type 3, or type 4. it was a quality rating, 4 is best like commercial and 1 was homeowner grade. i was wondering if the brushless ones said type 1 2 3 or 4 on the side of it because i wanted to buy one and wanted to know if that was something they put on the brushless one so i knew to look out for that.

  12. Dewalt consumer service said : The tools function and features are :the same. When we change internal parts in a model while it is in continuous production, we keep the same model number, and change the “type” identification so we can be sure to get the customers correct replacement parts if needed. The “type” number information is found on the label on the tools where the catalog number is found, on the tool itself.

    Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you. If your question remains unresolved or if you require additional information please update this incident.

  13. thanks dan, do u think u guys could do a video of the hammerdrill showing how well it does in concrete compaired to milwaukee’s brushless hammerdrill?

  14. does the hammerdrill come with a side hamdle and have you tried it with a 1/2″ masonry bit. by the way, when klein announces the winner of the plier contest read the story about the 14 year old kid named brody (ME). they said i was probly the youngest person to enter the contest.

  15. I have lately been researching cordless power tools, and the only constant in the reviews seems to be that everybody seems to love THEIR brands… As best as I can tell Dewalt, Milwaukee, Makita and Bosch ( by no means is this a complete list) seem to make the best stuff. Some companies have better tools for specialized tasks… Please lend me your 2 cents…(p.s. I am leaning in the Bosch direction, but they are expensive)

  16. Gaun, heres my 2 cents: If i were you I would check out Milwaukee, they have a market leading 12v platform with the most tools and power!! There 18v line has just been updated with more brushless tools as you know. i have the fuel hammer drill driver and its AWESOME!! Prices of Milwaukee’s are usually pretty competitive, Hope this helps!

  17. Question! I am going to be building a shed, helping finish a garage, and hopefully building a house in the next couple years and can’t decide between dewalt brushless or Milwaukee. I like the dewalt impact driver with the three lights but like the large line of Milwaukee M18 and M12. Both fell comfortable to use. I have craftsman now and the batteries don’t last and I simply want to upgrade. I only really want to buy one new set and keep the same batteries for all the tools i buy, instead of a couple tools from each brand with multiple batteries from each brand. I also work on family vehicles so impact wrenches will be another tool used a lot. What are your thoughts, dewalt or Milwaukee? Love the videos you guys post. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Brian :} That is a tough choice! Milwaukee has a better warranty and way more 12V tools. They come out with tools quick and usually have the hottest new technology before anyone else. On the other hand I love DeWALT, they last and are a quality tool.

  18. I would look at the M12 line they have the M12 drills and impact drivers now if you do a lot of auto related work they have the fuel impact wrenches and m12 battery powered ratchets. If you really need a circular saw or reciprocating saw and want them cordless then you will want to look at the 18v line Milwaukee is giving a free extra battery on most M18 kits till July 4th.

  19. Thanks Dan. I appreciate the response. Still on the fence, since you guys have showed me the m12 series and after watching several hours of your videos I am leaning more towards Milwaukee. Mostly since they have so many different tools in both line ups. Although I don’t see much benefit in haveing M12 and M18 vs M12 and DeWalt 20v, or am I wrong on that in some way? Besides warranty does either company just last better, or are they both on par? Thanks again and hope to see some more tool fights.

    • Hmm, in my personal experience DeWALT outlasts Milwaukee. It sucks having tons of different batteries and chargers. The 20V Xr would be my choice. :}

  20. hi Brian Montminy II, i personally love dewalt but i chose to go with milwaukee m18 because they are releasing new brushless saws in october so if you chose milwaukee then you could either get there new brushless tools but if you dont want to spend a lot of money then when they release the brushless saws then there old saw will be cheaper, comment when you decide who to go with. i am only 14, will be 15 when they announce the winner of the ultimant tool bag giveaway so it is probly a more important choice for you then it was for me

  21. Brody- Thanks for the heads up. I do like the brushless technology. I will be 24 September so the choice is not super importan,t but I like to buy once cry once as they say. I would definitely, over time, get lots of different tools so the news of the saws is good to know.

    Harold- thanks for the link. I will definitely check that out. Thanks everyone for your help.

  22. Brian, heres my 2 cents, Milwaukee and DeWalt make great tools, no doubt about that, Milwaukee definetly has the saw lineup down to a science Where as DeWalt is known for drills, but i think the fuel hammer will give the DeWalt a run for the money, you cant beat Milwaukee with 5yr warranty and there huge and powerful M12 line.

  23. After looking on the forum pages and holding the tools, I decided to go with Milwaukee. I got the 2797 kit and plan to get a compact battery later. I want to thank everyone for their feedback and help.

  24. I am addicted to your tool site, you guys are a riot. You two are probably the coolest Yanks there are. Wish you boys would put up more vids on Milwaukee and DeWalt, especially Friday night fights. I M H O, mostly all of the top tool manufacturers corded tools are pretty much equal, it’s just a matter of color prefferance. Where you could start to make comparrisons is in a tools cordless line, that’s where you separate the men from the boys. In the cordless field DeWalt and Milwaukee are leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else especially with their lithium ion batteries. As far as Festool, Hilti and Metabo are concerned, these are just boutique brands, you pay so much more for nothing, besides here in Montreal Canada DeWalt and Milwaukee have over ten service centers each, you can’t beat that. I have friends in the construction field most are yellow followed by red, as far as reliability goes, I think yellow is ever so slightly more reliable than milwaukee, but I still lean towards the red. To sum it all up, it’s like Eric once said its a FORD vs CHEVY vs DODGE thing. Keep up the good work boys you rock.

  25. I am interested in a new drill/driver set. I am not a prefessional, but would like to get a new drill that is a better quality than the Ryobi that I have. I have been leaning toward the new Dewalt DCD790D2 brushless. It also comes in a kit with an impact driver for $279. Are the tools in these kits more of a budget lower price tool than if they were purchased as separate tools? I was sold on the Dewalts, than read a bad review, started to look at Milwaukee. They also have a combo kit for the 18v M18 Fuel that sells for $349. Very nice too, and then read about the many Milwaukee tools burning up. Again, my use is not professional. Any advise is appreciated, especially about the tools forund in combo kits and if they are the same tool from single tool kits.

    • Hi Larry, The kit is generally a better deal than buying separate. My pick would be the DeWALT. Sometimes you find bad reviews because people were not happy with the product. Generally Dewalt drills get a majority of good reviews. Milwaukee makes a good drill also. In my experience I have seen more failed Milwaukee products in the field than DeWALT which is why I use DeWALT.

  26. Thanks so much Dan. Are the tools for in the combo kits the same as those sold individually? They aren’t a lower qualty then those so separately? Thanks again!

  27. Hey Larry Dan is right. Remember you only get 2 batteries when you buy the combo vs. getting 2 for each tool when buying them separately. DeWalt did do that with certain 4 piece combo kits, where in some kits the recip saw didnt have a adjustable shoe and the shoe on the circular saw was stamped, not magnesium. DeWalt and Milwaukee both make top quality tools, I like both manufacturers for certain things, I have the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hammer Drill 2604, I love it, it has all the power you will need and with 4.0 batteries, it seems like you never charge any batteries. Milwaukee is definitely better at getting tools out and have a killer 12v line. I suggest going to home depot where you can look feel and run these tools side by side and make your final decision. Hope this helps!

  28. Larry I also forgot to mention a important point: Warranty
    Tool: 5 years
    Battery(XC): 3 years
    Tool: 3 years
    Battery:3 years

  29. Hey guys…another question. Any recommendations on where to buy for best price. Is there a better time to buy for a sale price?

    • Usually the best prices can be found online but you can find items on sale at big box stores once in a while. Or if you get a Home Depot coupon you can save. I would start at Amazon then try Google shopping for the best deals.

  30. Right now the deals are so so there was a good deal at CPO outlets in early July on the Dewalt Brushless kits that also had a free battery. Milwaukee had something similar going on at Home Depot. If you can wait I would there are not too many deals out at the moment.

  31. Larry, If you can hold off for a couple of weeks, some of the big box stores and cpo start there free battery sale which means If you buy the kit, you will get a the third battery for free. Its a 79 dollar value, that sale should start in a couple of weeks.

  32. Thanks for heads up. Are the upcoming sales for Labor day? I’ll keep a lookout for them. It’s worth the wait for another battery. Thanks again! Great help!

    • Hi Larry, I havent lately. Keep you eyes peeled on ACME tools and Home Depot they may have something as we get closer to the holidays!

  33. Hi Dan,

    Bought the DCD795 and the DCF886… I just absolutely love them. Took your advice and stuck with 2.0Ah batteries, haven’t had to recharge them once in the last few weeks of occasional work… built a couple of shelves, a custom tv mount and drove some 10mm hex-head stainless steel screw-in bolts/screws using the impact driver with a socket attachment… such a joy to use and batteries still over half full. The quality of the tools makes them worth the price Amazing torque and balance for such small units, thanks for the reviews they really helped my purchase, so glad I went brushless. Work as an IT/AV installer and was ashamed at my kit, now very proud of it!


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