You don’t build the brand loyalty that Dewalt commands without offering a lineup of quality drills for a competitive price, which is Dewalt’s calling card. Dewalt offers many drills suitable for many needs, from completing demanding tasks on the job site to helping weekend warriors check off projects on their “honey do” lists. But with so many options, finding the best Dewalt drill in the company’s lineup is challenging.
That’s where our guide comes in handy. Below, we reveal our picks of the best Dewalt cordless drills we’ve tested. We suggest also reading our full reviews for additional editorial commentary and checking out our global drill rankings to compare your options across brands.
Best Dewalt drill
- Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill
- Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800
- Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 Hammer Drill
- Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCD706 Hammer Drill
Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805
4.25 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max XR 20V 2Ah battery
The Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill is the best Dewalt hammer drill to come through our lab. There are several reasons why.
Firstly, the DCD805 is a heavy-duty Dewalt drill and aced our drilling speed and driving speed tests designed to understand how drills perform at the top of their range. Whether we were boring wide holes or driving structural screws and lags, the DCD805 sustained high RPM output when under load.
This exceptional performance was particularly impressive in the drilling speed tests. The DCD805 made quick work of drilling 1/2-inch holes in stacked lumber, launching chips out of the hole to avoid bogging down.
Since the hammer drill has such a high BPM, the DCD805’s speed significantly improves when drilling thick lumber and concrete, increasing speed by 28.7% in the drilling test.
Combine the flagship power and speed with the advanced worklight features, such as a dedicated Spotlight mode, and the DCD805 is an easy recommendation.
However, it’s not without faults. It is heavy and has a large footprint, mostly expected in this upper power tier. Less expected at the high end, the DCD805 doesn’t include a detachable auxiliary handle in the box. Dewalts sells auxiliary handles separately.
There’s also no kickback control technology.
These two features vastly improve user safety. The best Milwaukee drills include both, offering equivalent performance at a slightly higher price.
Combine the pros and cons, and the DCD805 is best for demanding tasks on the job site and for prosumers who appreciate the performance offered. It’s not a fit for everyday homeowners since it’s big, heavy, and overkill for typical jobs around the home.
Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800
3.91 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max XR 20V 2Ah battery
In most scenarios, we don’t recommend buying a high-end drill that doesn’t include an added hammer drill mode. You might as well spend $10 to $20 more to upgrade to a hammer drill for added drilling versatility than purchase the equivalent non-hammering model.
However, the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800 is a fantastic drill for exceptional performance in a more compact and lighter-weight footprint. Critically, the DCD800 offers the same flagship performance as the Dewalt DCD805 using the same overall design language.
The main differences are that the DCD800 is shorter from tip to tail and slightly lighter since a hammering mechanism isn’t stuffed into the body. These two improvements offer better portability and reach in tight areas.
Deciding between the two otherwise equivalent Dewalt drills will come down to how much you value the size and weight improvements.
Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799
4.02 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max 12V 3Ah battery
The Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 Hammer Drill offers a better balance of size and performance than our flagship picks, making it one of the best Dewalt drills for home use.
Dewalt’s Atomic lineup of power tools is designed to be compact, which characterizes the DCD799. It is one of our test fleet’s most compact 18V hammer drills from tip to tail, and it doesn’t meaningfully sacrifice performance for a compact size.
Since the DCD799 isn’t designed for brute force torque and speed, it didn’t top the podium in our drilling and driving speed tests. It easily bores wide holes and drives big lag bolts and structural screws without needing to drop to the low setting for added torque. It just doesn’t blaze through jobs at the top of its range.
The balanced size and footprint explain why the DCD799 is among the best Dewalt drills for weekend warriors. It is also worth considering for woodworkers who want more power than a smaller 12V drill.
Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCD706
4.16 / 5 ⭐️’s
Includes (2) Max 12V 2Ah battery
The Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCD706 Hammer Drill is a solid option for a drill that can easily stow away in a tool belt and fit into tight areas. It’s perfect for homeowners who need a basic drill to complete typical tasks around the house.
The standout features are its weight and footprint. The DCD706 weighs 2.04 lbs in its bare form and 2.53 with a 2Ah battery, the configuration we recommend for most people. The compact footprint also casts a thin shadow, and it’s moderately short from tip to tail.
The size and weight vastly improve portability over most other drills, which are plagued with bulky and heavy designs that lead to frequent hand fatigue.
Of course, the DCD706 isn’t fast. No 12V models can compete with the performance offered by higher-voltage drills. It’ll complete some of the more demanding tasks homeowners may encounter in a pinch, but you’ll need to frequently drop to the low setting to finish the job, as we needed to do in our speed tests.
The Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD709 Hammer Drill is a prior-generation version of our Atomic pick, the Dewalt DCD799. It is slightly less performant and negligibly longer from tip to tail. It’s a good option to save money, though the price difference is typically minor.
Dewalt drill comparison
Comparing Dewalt drills side by side can help determine the best cordless drill for your needs. Below, we include critical test results highlighting each Dewalt drill’s performance, size, weight, and warranty.
We use our drilling speed tests to understand each Dewalt drill’s torque and RPM profile by drilling five 1/2-inch holes in stacked 2x6s. Key results are detailed below, along with each drill’s rank among all drills we’ve tested.
|Drill||Drilling Speed Total Time (sec.)||Drilling Speed Avg. Time (sec.)||Global Rank*|
*18 models tested
If you want to dive into the drilling performance for all drills in our test fleet in more depth and across brands, check out our drill drilling speed test results. The individual reviews also include a video of how each drill performed in this test.
Our drilling speed tests further explore how each Dewalt drill finishes demanding tasks, such as driving structural screws and lags. The table below includes key driving speed results for each Dewalt drill.
|Drill||Driving Speed Total Time (sec.)||Driving Speed Avg. Time (sec.)||Global Rank*|
*18 models tested
We include more helpful driving performance that you can find in our drill driving speed test results page, which you can use to compare driving speed across all brands and voltages.
We generally recommend purchasing the most compact and lightweight drill that gets the job done. For professionals demanding speed, there are no feather light drills to consider, including with the DCD805 and DCD800. All heavy-duty Dewalt drills are bulky and heavy.
Moving down a performance tier brings a better balance of size and weight. The DCD799 is impressively lightweight for an 18V drill. The DCD706 is lighter than many 12V drills on the market.
The improved user friendliness and portability make these two Dewalt drills solid picks if you want a reasonably lightweight drill.
|Drill||Bare Weight (lbs)||Global Rank*|
*18 models tested
Be sure to review our drill weight test results, which include weights when each drill is kitted with popular Ah-capacity batteries for all drills in our test fleet.
Dewalt drills come with an exceptional warranty for their tools and batteries. There is a three-year warranty on their tools and batteries. Only Milwaukee drills include a more extended tool warranty of five years.
In addition to a standard warranty against defects, Dewalt offers free maintenance and replacement of worn parts for one year. We’re not aware of another manufacturer that includes this service.
|Drill||Tool Warranty (years)||Battery Warranty (years)|
*18 models tested
While we don’t currently test drill longevity to understand the practical shelf life and if Dewalt drills are any more durable than other brands, the warranty offered tells a lot about build quality. As mentioned, Dewalt’s drill warranties are exceptional for the industry.
Expect that Dewalt drills are built well enough to withstand rugged use over long periods. If the tools weren’t built well enough to last, Dewalt wouldn’t offer such an extended warranty.
Top Dewalt drill by usage
The DCD799 and DCD706 are the best Dewalt drills for home use. The DCD799 is an 18V drill that offers a good balance of weight, performance, and size.
The DCD706 is a 12V drill that is much lighter. As a result, it doesn’t offer anywhere near the same performance. However, it can complete most demanding tasks in a pinch and more easily finishes everyday tasks around the house.
Construction workers and other trades workers demanding performance should opt for the DCD805 and DCD800. Both offer exceptional build quality. These Dewalt drills are high-speed and sustain high RPMs under heavy loads.
The DCD706’s size and weight are ideal for woodworking, helping it fit inside corners and other tight areas.
Upgrade to the DCD799 for a more powerful 18V drill that is relatively compact compared to other similarly-powered drills.
The DCD706 is the best Dewalt drill for beginners. 12V drills offer enough power to complete tasks around the home. Notably, unlike more powerful drills, the DCD706 is lightweight, and you won’t risk wrist injury when it binds.
The DCD805 is a hammer drill, which is needed to drill cement efficiently with the right drill bit. The DCD805 is the best Dewalt hammer drill for masonry since it has such a high BPM, vastly improving its drilling speed in our tests.
We haven’t tested the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD998 Power Detect Hammer Drill and can’t speak to its performance. But it is a drill frequently found on job sites and advertises exceptional performance.
Dewalt drill models explained
20V Max and Max XR
Dewalt offers two categories of drills in its Max lineup: Max and Max XR models. The Max models are mostly budget and mid-tier drills with brushed motors.
The Max XR drill lineup comprises Dewalt’s mid and highest-tier models, which include more efficient and durable brushless motors, improved performance, and higher price tags.
We recommend always opting for drills with a brushless motor for improved durability and performance.
Dewalt’s Atomic drill lineup is designed to be more compact than its Max XR drills, designed to perform at the highest tier.
Dewalt Atomic drills are powerful enough to finish demanding tasks. They just don’t sustain as high of an RPM under load, reducing their drilling and driving speed.
Dewalt brands its 12V drills with the Xtreme name. These drills are compact and lightweight but don’t offer much speed under heavy loads.
20V is the same as 18V
When reviewing the official name of any Dewalt 20V drill, you’ll always see the Max name included along with an asterisk.
Dewalt is one of the few manufacturers that quotes its drill voltages with the maximum voltage, not the nominal voltage, which most other manufacturers use to market their tools.
In short, a 20V drill offers no voltage performance difference over an 18V drill. The two drills have the same power. Dewalt just chooses to advertise the maximum, even if that voltage output isn’t what you can expect under most drilling conditions, which is the nominal voltage.
Unit watts out and torque
Most drill manufacturers advertise the torque of their drills in in-lbs. Dewalt no longer includes this specification in its marketing materials, preferring to quote the power of its tools using the Unit Watts Out (UWO) metric.
This approach explains why Dewalt drills covered on-site include a Not Advertised or Not Ranked result in our various Dewalt drill reviews, ranked lists, and test results pages related to torque.
While this does complicate comparing drill power, use our drilling speed and driving speed test results to compare performance across brands in real-life scenarios.
Most powerful Dewalt drill
Our in-house drilling speed and driving speed tests help determine the most powerful Dewalt drills based on real-life scenarios. We could quote Dewalt’s advertised unit watts out specifications for each drill, but practical tests are better indicators.
The Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800 and Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill are the strongest Dewalt drills we’ve tested in the lab. Both are the same drill, but the DCD805 includes an added hammer drill, which is necessary to drill cement effectively.
The DCD800 finished our drilling speed test in a blazingly fast 11.6 seconds. The DCD805 finished in 10.1 seconds.
It’s important to note that while these two Dewalt drills turned in slightly different drilling speed and driving speed results, the difference is due to test repeatability error. They are the same drill, except the DCD805 includes an added hammer drill.
Check out our global drill rankings to compare the performance of other drills across a range of essential categories.
- What's the most powerful Dewalt drill?
The Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill is the strongest Dewalt drill we’ve tested. It is exceptionally fast at the top of its range and offers contractor-grade performance demanded on the job site.
- What's the difference between Dewalt Atomic and XR drills?
Dewalt’s Atomic drills are designed to be more compact and weigh less than Dewalt’s XR drills. The XR lineup offers better performance with more torque and speed.
10/9/23: Full guide launched
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