Dewalt XR Vs Max Explained: Which Should You Buy?

Dewalt XR Vs Max

DeWalt offers three different lines of cordless tools to meet the needs of both professionals and serious DIYers. Ahead, we’ll look at the Max and XR lines and compare how they stack up in terms of performance, battery life, and cost so you can figure out which best suits your demands.

What is Dewalt XR?

DeWalt launched its XR brand with the introduction of its cordless brushless tools back in 2013. The XR stands for “eXtreme runtime,” a reference to the longer battery life that comes with an efficient brushless motor that doesn’t lose energy to friction.

Along with long battery life, XR offers higher torque and faster speeds than a brushed motor. And since brushless motors produce less friction and heat, the motor suffers less wear and tear, so you can expect an XR tool to last a long time.

What is Dewalt Max?

DeWalt Max is the brand’s 12-volt and 20-volt line of standard-sized cordless power tools, which the company debuted back in 2010 and 2011 when it transitioned from 18-volt NiCd batteries to lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Most of the tools in the Max product line use brushed motors.

Dewalt XR vs Max: Which is better?

Thanks to their brushless motors, DeWalt XR power tools offer longer run time, more power, and a longer lifespan than Max tools with a brushed motor.

For example, the DeWalt Max XR DCF887B impact driver is rated to produce 1,825 in-lbs of torque and a max speed of 3,250 RPMs, a significant step up from the DeWalt Max DCF885 impact driver, which DeWalt rates at a max of 1,400 in-lbs of torque and a top speed of 2,800 RPMs.

And since that brushless motor creates less friction and heat, the motor’s internal components will last longer, so you can expect to get more life out of an XR tool than a Max tool.

Along with being more powerful, many DeWalt XR power tools are more compact than their Max counterparts (though not as compact as DeWalt’s Atomic line of power tools), making them capable of fitting into tighter spaces.

While XR tools may cost more than their Max counterparts, their added performance, better durability, and longer battery life make them the clear choice for both the professional and DIYer/homeowner. So, unless you’re on a tight budget, go with XR.

Dewalt Max XR and Max batteries

The differences between Max XR and Max batteries are straightforward. Max XR batteries, which range from 4Ah to 8Ah, are higher capacity and hence will run longer than Max batteries, which range from 1.5Ah to 3.0Ah. The greater the amp hours, the longer the tool will go on a single charge. You’ll also get a small boost in power with the larger-capacity Max XR batteries.

Keep in mind that Max XR batteries weigh more than Max batteries. We placed one of our Max XR 5.0Ah batteries on a scale and recorded a weight of 1.42 lbs. On the other hand, a Max 2.0Ah battery weighs just 0.91 lbs. You’ll also pay more for larger-capacity Max XR batteries.

Dewalt 20V Max Battery Lineup
A Max XR 5Ah battery (left) is considerably heavier than a Max 2Ah battery (right), though the same is true for any power tool brand’s batteries.

When deciding which type of battery to use, note that you can use both Max XR and Max batteries interchangeably with Max XR and Max 20-volt DeWalt cordless power tools.

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Tony Carrick
Tony is a recognized expert in the home and DIY space, as well as outdoor recreation. His articles have appeared on websites such as Bob Vila, U.S. News and World Report, Angi, Popular Science, and Popular Mechanics. He can be emailed at His online portfolio is available at


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