Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 Hammer Drill Vs Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800

Dewalt DCD799 Angle 5

Dewalt DCD799

Quick take

The Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 is exceptionally compact and lightweight for a hammer drill. At the same time, the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800 offers tremendous performance for a drill/driver with its blazing-fast drilling and driving speeds. The DCD800 also comes equipped with one of the brightest work lights of any drill. It’s also more durable since it has a knurled metal chuck, whereas the DCD799 sports a plastic chuck.

Brand Dewalt
Platform 20V Atomic
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs Not advertised
BPM 28,050.0
Clutch settings 15
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as DCD799B
Brand Dewalt
Platform 20V Max XR
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs Not advertised
BPM N/A
Clutch settings 15
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as DCD800B

Editorial opinion

Rating

4.02 / 5 ⭐️’s

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Exceptionally lightweight and compact
  • Includes a hammer drill functionality
  • Brushless motor
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Plastic chuck sleeve isn’t as durable as metal

Rating

3.91 / 5 ⭐️’s

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Exceptional drilling and driving speed
  • Advanced worklight features
  • Short length
  • Long warranty
  • All-metal chuck design

Cons

  • No hammer drill
  • Moderately heavy
  • No auxiliary arm included

Global rankings

18 models tested

TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)17.211
Driving speed (sec.)12.710
Torque (in-lbs)Not advertisedNot ranked
RPM1,635.011
Bare weight (lbs)2.548
Drilling Noise (dBA)88.29
TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)11.64
Driving speed (sec.)6.51
Torque (in-lbs)Not advertisedNot ranked
RPM2,046.03
Bare weight (lbs)2.8411
Drilling Noise (dBA)81.94

Kit and bare tool options

DCD799L1

Includes (2) Max 12V 3Ah battery

Lab results

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright (no battery): Yes
Stands upright (w/ battery): Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Lanyard compatible: Yes

The DCD799’s handle leans slightly forward to orient the drill on the correct plane when drilling. However, the combination of the angle for the handle and the head isn’t as aggressive as some heavier-duty drills. A more aggressive stance ensures the drill remains flat when rolling your wrist forward and applying extra pressure with your arm lined up behind the drill.

A rubber overmold around the grip provides the necessary friction for added grip and shock absorption under load.

There is no bit holder or magnetic plate to hold fasteners onboard, but both features can be purchased separately from third parties.

Lastly, an all-metal belt hook is included in the box and can be mounted on either side of the base in one of the available mounting slots.

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright (no battery): Yes
Stands upright (w/ battery): Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Lanyard compatible: Yes

The DCD800’s handle leans slightly forward to orient the drill in a flat plane when drilling. The handle’s lean and head’s flat angle aren’t as aggressive as other drills, which remain flat when rolling your wrist forward and exerting additional pressure with your arm in line with the head.

A metal belt hook is included and can be mounted on either side of the base in one of the available slots, which can also be used for a third-party bit holder.

Otherwise, a rubber overmold strategically surrounds the grip for shock absorption and grip.

Weight

Dewalt DCD799 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.54
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.34
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 3.96

One standout feature is the weight for a hammer drill. It weighs 2.54 lbs in its bare form and retains a lightweight status compared to other hammer drills in our test fleet with a battery attached.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the DCD799 with Dewalt’s 20V Powerstack 1.7Ah battery, which weighs less, has a smaller footprint, and runs longer than Dewalt’s 20V Max 2Ah battery, a solid alternative for a svelte setup.

Or pair the DCD799 with Dewalt’s 20V Max XR 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved drilling performance if weight is less of a concern.

Compare drill weight test results

Weight

Dewalt DCD800 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.84
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.64
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.26

The DCD800 is moderately heavy for an 18V drill, weighing in at 2.84 lbs in its bare form. The bulky weight does lead to muscle fatigue, as we experienced at several points running repetitive tests.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the DCD800 with Dewalt’s 20V Powerstack 1.7Ah battery, which weighs less, has a smaller footprint, and runs longer than Dewalt’s 20V Max 2Ah battery, a solid alternative for a svelte setup.

Pair the DCD800 with Dewalt’s 20V Max XR 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved drilling performance if weight is less of a concern.

Compare drill weight test results

Footprint

Dewalt DCD799 Footprint1
Dewalt DCD799 Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.125
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 6.500
Base length (in.): 4.500
Base width (in.): 3.125

The DCD799 is incredibly compact compared to other hammer drills, a class of drills that is almost always bulky since a hammering mechanism must be designed into the head. Notably, the tip-to-tail length is far shorter than competing 18V models and improves upon the footprint of prior-generation Atomic hammer drills.

Compare drill footprint test results

Footprint

Dewalt DCD800 Footprint1
Dewalt DCD800 Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.375
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 6.375
Base length (in.): 4.500
Base width (in.): 3.125

The DCD800’s footprint is a tale of two stories, but it is compact in the areas that matter most. It is one of the shortest 18V drills in our test fleet from tip to tail and shorter than some less powerful and supposedly “compact” 12V drills. The tip-to-tail length is essential since it determines how easily it squeezes into tight areas, as we test below in our clearance tests.

However, the DCD800 is tall, and the head size casts a wide shadow.

Compare drill footprint test results

Motor & BPM

Dewalt DCD799 Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill, hammer
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): 28,050.0
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): Not advertised
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.375

Dewalt designed the DCD799 with a brushless motor, improving its longevity and efficiency over brushed motors, commonly found in cheap power tools.

There are two action modes. The drill mode disengages the clutch for unrestrained torque output. The hammer drill mode also disengages the clutch but layers in a hammering mechanism that impacts at a rate of 28,050.0 blows per minute (BPM).

You can review our drilling speed tests below, where we measure the speed improvement offered using the hammer drill mode.

There is no kickback control technology, which is a minor letdown. The DCD799 is right on the cusp of being a highly powerful drill. Wrist injuries can occur at this power tier, highlighting why kickback control could be valuable. Some of the best Milwaukee drills included kickback control technology.

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Motor & BPM

Dewalt DCD800 Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill only
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): N/A
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): N/A
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.250

There is only a single action mode on the DCD800. The drill mode disengages the clutch to offer unfettered torque output for boring wide holes and driving big fasteners. Unlike the sister Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill, there is no hammer functionality.

One feature Dewalt should consider adding is kickback control technology, which some of the best Milwaukee drills include. The DCD800 is exceptionally powerful, increasing the risk of wrist injuries when the drill bit binds up.

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Clutch & speed settings

Dewalt DCD799 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 15

The DCD799 includes a standard two-speed transmission that runs the drill in the low or high setting in all drill modes and clutch settings. Setting the drill to the drill mode in the low setting generates the maximum torque output.

There are 15 total clutch options to tune the torque output for a wide range of tasks. 15 options are fewer than some hammer drills offer. Still, 15 is more than most people will need in practice.

Driving without stripping threads or avoiding cam-out rarely requires precisely finding the single correct clutch setting. Hitting close to the correct torque output works most of the time, and there are no improvements in achieving that outcome with more clutch settings than are needed.

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Clutch & speed settings

Dewalt DCD800 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 15

The two-speed transmission can run the DCD800 in the high or low setting in the single action mode and any of the 15 clutch settings. As with all drills, setting the drill to the low setting in the drill mode generates the maximum torque output.

While 15 clutch settings are fewer than some drills, it is enough to precisely tune the torque output to avoid stripping screws and finishing with the proper recess.

Compare drill clutch and speed settings

Chuck

Dewalt DCD799 Chuck Closeup

Chuck size: 1/2″
Chuck sleeve material: Plastic

While an all-metal chuck is more durable, the DCD799’s ratcheting chuck works well with its plastic chuck sleeve and metal three-jaw design. Critically, we didn’t experience any instances of the chuck loosening throughout testing.

Chuck

Dewalt DCD800 Chuck Closeup

Chuck size: 1/2″
Chuck sleeve material: Knurled metal

The all-metal ratcheting chuck offers better durability and build quality than drills with hybrid metal and plastic chucks. The metal knurled chuck sleeve is perfectly machined to provide the right amount of friction when locking in drill bits with your hand. We didn’t encounter issues with the three jaws loosening throughout our testing, making it completely frustration-free.

Auxiliary arm

Auxiliary arm: No

The DCD799 doesn’t include an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks. The DCD799’s power profile is on the verge of being powerful enough that including an auxiliary arm would be helpful to avoid wrist injuries.

Understandably, Dewalt wouldn’t include one in the box, but we’ll side with consumers and say that not including an auxiliary arm is a slight letdown.

Check out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill or Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill if you want a more powerful drill with an auxiliary arm.

Auxiliary arm

Auxiliary arm: No

The DCD800 does not include an auxiliary handle, which is a letdown for such a powerful drill. The Milwaukee M18 2904-20 Hammer Drill and Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill include auxiliary arms and are powerful.

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 17.2
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 3.4
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): 13.9
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): 2.8
Hammer mode speed improvement: 19.2%

The DCD799 impresses when considering the drilling speed for the size. No compact hammer drill can compete on speed with bulkier and more powerful flagship models. However, the DCD799 is one of our test fleet’s fastest compact hammer drills.

Importantly, it sustained high RPMs throughout the hole depth to clear chips and avoid bogging down.

The hammering functionality performed reasonably well at improving drilling speeds in stacked lumber. On average, we expect 20.0% or better speed improvement when using the hammer drill over the standard drill mode.

We also tested the DCD799 using a range of forstner, spade, and auger bits. We started to feel the DCD799 was underpowered once boring holes 3/4 inch and wider with the forstner and spade bits. It wasn’t underpowered in that it couldn’t complete each task. Instead, we had to drop to the low setting for additional torque to finish the job.

Compare drilling speed test results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 11.6
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 2.3
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Hammer mode speed improvement: N/A

The DCD800 drills incredibly fast when under heavy load. It averaged 2.3 seconds per 1/2-inch hole bored in our drilling speed tests designed to explore each drill’s upper range. Critically for a contractor-grade drill, it sustains high RPMs throughout the hole depth and blasts out chips to avoid bogging down.

The DCD800 also chewed through other drilling tasks we threw at it, including boring narrower and wider holes with various spade and forstner bits. We needed to drop a gear for additional torque in a few instances.

But consider that the DCD800 isn’t ideal for the average homeowner who rarely pushes any power tool to its limits and could risk injury if not used correctly. There are more compact, powerful options that are more user-friendly, such as the Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 Hammer Drill.

Compare drilling speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 12.7
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 2.5
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 9.9
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 2.0

The DCD799 is powerful enough to drive structural screws and lag bolts quickly. Again, it isn’t as performant as drills designed for use on the job site. But context is essential when reviewing the driving speed results and determining how much speed matters.

The DCD799 finished 5 1/8 inch GRK RSS fasteners with an average time of 2.4 seconds per screw. The top-performing hammer drills in our test fleet finished with an average of 1.3 to 1.5 seconds per screw. We’ll let our readers determine if the speed difference is worth the higher cost of moving to a faster drill.

Compare driving speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 6.5
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 1.3
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 6.0
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 1.2

The DCD800 is blazingly fast when driving structural screws. It took the podium position for driving speed in our Summer 2023 test fleet, averaging 1.3 seconds per fastener, not accounting for downtime between finishing each GRK RSS fastener.

We also tested driving several wider gauge and longer lag bolts into stacked dimensional 2x6s. The DCD800 similarly breezed through each scenario without dropping to the low setting for additional torque.

Compare driving speed test results

Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): Not advertised
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): Not advertised

Dewalt no longer advertises the torque of its drills and we currently don’t test torque on a torque meter in-house, like we do for impact drivers.

Compare drill torque

Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): Not advertised
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): Not advertised

Dewalt no longer advertises the torque of its drills and we currently don’t test torque on a torque meter in-house, like we do for impact drivers.

Compare drill torque

Battery lineup

Dewalt 20V Max Battery Lineup

Dewalt offers 1.5Ah, 2Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, 8Ah, 10Ah, and 12Ah batteries in its 20V Max lineup. Upgrading to the higher Ah options increases battery run time and improves drilling performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Buying at least two batteries is best so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery. We recommend purchasing a Dewalt 20V Max 2Ah and a Dewalt 20V Max XR 5Ah battery for most Dewalt 20V drill setups for a good balance of performance, price, and size.

Dewalt’s 20V Powerstack batteries may be a smart buying choice for some users. Dewalt advertises improved drilling performance, longer battery run time, and more battery cycles out of its 20V Powerstack 1.7Ah and 5Ah batteries than its standard 20V Max batteries. We plan on testing the performance differences to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Battery lineup

Dewalt 20V Max Battery Lineup

Dewalt offers 1.5Ah, 2Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, 8Ah, 10Ah, and 12Ah batteries in its 20V Max lineup. Upgrading to the higher Ah options increases battery run time and improves drilling performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Buying at least two batteries is best so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery. We recommend purchasing a Dewalt 20V Max 2Ah and a Dewalt 20V Max XR 5Ah battery for most Dewalt 20V drill setups for a good balance of performance, price, and size.

Dewalt’s 20V Powerstack batteries may be a smart buying choice for some users. Dewalt advertises improved drilling performance, longer battery run time, and more battery cycles out of its 20V Powerstack 1.7Ah and 5Ah batteries than its standard 20V Max batteries. We plan on testing the performance differences to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Charging time

Dewalt DCD799 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Dewalt 20V Max (DCB115)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 59.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 139.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 28.7
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Dewalt charger included with most kits (model DCB115) isn’t fast. Our tests took 59.0 minutes to top off a Max 2Ah battery and 139.0 minutes to charge a Max XR 5Ah battery. Expect that this charger will charge batteries at approximately 28.7 minutes per Ah. Faster chargers charge batteries at 20.0 or fewer minutes per Ah.

Nicely, the DCD115 works with Dewalt’s 12V and 20V platform batteries, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several tools in the Dewalt ecosystem.

Compare drill charging test results

Charging time

Dewalt DCD800 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Dewalt 20V Max (DCB115)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 59.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 139.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 28.7
Fuel gauge: On battery

The DCB115 charger included in many Dewalt kits charges batteries slowly compared to standard chargers from other brands. The charger charges at a rate of 28.7 minutes per Ah, which doesn’t compete with other brands that charge at a rate of less than 20.0 minutes per Ah.

However, one savior is that the DCB115 charges batteries on the 12V and 20V Dewalt platforms, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several tools in the Dewalt ecosystem.

Compare drill charging test results

RPM

Dewalt DCD799 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,635.0
Max RPM speed 1: 439.0

The measured RPM output for the DCD799 is comparably low, explaining some of the speed performance against faster drills in our test fleet. A higher RPM output profile throughout its transmission settings would improve the DCD799’s speed under load.

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RPM

Dewalt DCD800 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 2,046.0
Max RPM speed 1: 648.0

When testing the RPM output on a contact tachometer, we found that the DCD800 matches Dewalt’s lofty advertised claims. The DCD800 generated 2,046.0 RPMs in our lab on the high setting and 648.0 RPMs on the low setting. As our drilling and driving tests demonstrated, the DCD800 is powerful enough to sustain high RPMs under load.

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Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.125
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.500
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.625

Since the DCD799 sits within the Atomic lineup, we expected it to perform well in our clearance tests. Notably, the DCD799 is incredibly short for a hammer drill from tip to tail. This sizing helps it fit easily between two vertical boards and in tight corners.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 7.825
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.500
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.500

We noted in the Footprint section that the DCD800’s size is a tale of two stories. Let’s focus first on where the size positively impacts its performance in obstructed areas. Since the tip-to-tail length is short, the DCD800 sandwiches well between two vertical obstructions and squeezes into tight corners at an angle.

However, since the head is moderately bulky, the DCD800 doesn’t perform well in our top edge clearance test, designed to understand how easily a drill fits under shelves and in other situations when obstructed from above.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Noise

Dewalt DCD799 Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 79.5
Max drilling noise (dBA): 88.2

Under load with the hammer drill engaged, the DCD799 is moderately loud. We measured 88.2 dBA of noise when boring holes in lumber with the DCD799. This level rivals the noise output of the best impact drivers, which are also harmful with prolonged exposure.

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Noise

Dewalt DCD800 Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 83.5
Max drilling noise (dBA): 81.9

The DCD800 is quieter under load than other drills in our test fleet, especially when compared to the maximum noise output of a hammer drill. Still, 81.9 dBA under load is loud enough to cause damage with prolonged exposure.

Compare drill noise test results

Light

Dewalt DCD799 Light Wall
Dewalt DCD799 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light location: In base
Light positions: 1
Customizable light settings: None
Light count: Single LED
Light active time (sec.): 20.0

The single in-base light shines upward and illuminates a sizeable area where it is focused. Still, lights near the trigger that shine directly forward are more versatile and always precisely illuminate the intended location.

There are no advanced light features, such as a spotlight mode or multi-position light, which some of the best Dewalt drills include.

Light

Dewalt DCD800 Light Wall
Dewalt DCD800 Light Closeup
Dewalt DCD800 Light Customization

Light: Yes
Light location: In base
Light positions: 3
Customizable light settings: Off, On, Spotlight
Light count: Single LED
Light active time (sec.): 20.0

The DCD800 is one of the few drills we’ve tested that goes all out on its worklight features. The in-base light is bright and is configurable in three different positions.

There are also other advanced features. The light can be turned off entirely or act as a spotlight. In Spotlight mode, the light remains on for 20 minutes after pulling the trigger, and the brightness increases to an advertised 70 lumens.

App integration

App integration: No

There is no Bluetooth app integration to track drill usage and location, display tool diagnostics, and allow you to set custom profiles on your phone.

Dewalt’s ToolConnect-branded drills include an app integration, but you’ll only find the ToolConnect feature built natively into its flagship models. An after-market ToolConnect chip can’t be added to the DCD799, unlike some Dewalt drills with a slot in the base to accept the chip housing.

App integration

App integration: After-market add-on

There is no built-in Bluetooth app integration to track drill usage and location, display tool diagnostics, and allow you to set custom profiles on your phone. Some of Dewalt’s flagship power tools include ToolConnect natively, along with some additional features. But there is a slot in the base to add Dewalt’s after-market ToolConnect chip housing for Bluetooth connectivity.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 3
Battery warranty (years): 3

Dewalt stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The DCD799 has a three-year warranty. Dewalt’s 20V Max batteries include a three-year warranty.

Dewalt also offers free maintenance and replacement of worn parts for one year for the DCD799.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 3
Battery warranty (years): 3

Dewalt stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The DCD800 has a three-year warranty. Dewalt’s 20V Max batteries include a three-year warranty.

Dewalt also offers free maintenance and replacement of worn parts for one year for the DCD800.

Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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