Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800 Vs Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill (Gen 4)

Dewalt DCD800 Angle 5

Dewalt DCD800

Quick take

The Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 offer fast drilling and driving speeds, although both are heavier and cast a broader shadow than other drills. Thanks to its hammer drill functionality, the 2904-20 is more versatile than the DCD800. It also boasts top-notch build quality and kickback control tech, making it safer than other hammer drills. The DCD800, meanwhile, outshines the 2904-20 with its bright configurable work light.

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
Brand Milwaukee
Platform M18 Fuel
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 1400.0
BPM 33,000.0
Clutch settings 16
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as M18 gen 4 hammer drill

Editorial opinion

Rating

3.91 / 5 stars

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

Rating

4.67 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Powerful and fast drilling and driving
  • Kickback control technology
  • Long warranty
  • Hammer drill functionality
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy

Global rankings

18 models tested

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
TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)10.83
Driving speed (sec.)7.63
Torque (in-lbs)1400.01
RPM2,055.02
Bare weight (lbs)3.2616
Drilling Noise (dBA)95.016

Recommended configuration

DCD800E2

Includes (2) Max Powerstack 20V 1.7Ah battery

Lab 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.

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Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 10.8
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 2.2
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): 8.0
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): 1.6
Hammer mode speed improvement: 25.9%

The 2904-20 rapidly bores small and wide holes alike. Importantly for a performance-focused high-end hammer drill, it sustained high RPMs throughout the depth of the holes bored in our drilling speed tests. The 2904-20 was never close to binding up, and it easily cleared chips from the hole.

We also tested the 2904-20 in various drilling applications, including drilling a range of width holes using spade and forstner drill bits. We didn’t encounter a task where the 2904-20 didn’t either match or outperform other flagship hammer drills.

Consider that the 2904-20 may be overkill for most homeowners. Few tasks around the home are likely to push it to the limits, and there are some cheaper and still powerful drills if you aren’t a prosumer and prefer to save some money.

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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.

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Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 7.6
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 1.5
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 6.0
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 1.2

The 2904-20 also performed exceptionally well in our driving speed tests, breezing through driving and removing five GRK RSS screws from 2×6 stacked lumber.

We also tested driving various common length and size shorter screws and different gauge lag bolts and decking screws to understand how the 2904-20 performs across a range of tasks. In each test, it finished fasteners rapidly with power.

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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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RPM

Milwaukee 2904-20 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 2,055.0
Max RPM speed 1: 467.0

The 2904-20 shined in our drilling and driving speed tests due to the high RPM output sustained under load. We tested the RPM output with a contact tachometer, and the 2904-20 is among the fastest in our test fleet.

The 2904-20 also has a moderately high RPM in the low setting, meaning it’ll drill faster than other lesser drills when gearing down for extra torque.

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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.

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Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): 1400.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 116.7

The 2903-20 advertises the highest torque of any drill in our Summer ‘23 test fleet with 1,400.0 in-lbs. This level closely matches the performance of some of the best impact drivers, which are safer and more user-friendly options when driving lags and big fasteners.

Throughout testing, there were several instances where the combined RPM and torque profile led to binding in heavy-duty applications. In those scenarios, Milwaukee’s Autostop kickback control technology shined, helping to avoid wrist injury by instantly stopping the motor.

Note: We don’t currently test drill torque in-house, as we do for impact drivers using a torque meter. The torque commentary discussed here relies upon both advertised torque specifications provided by manufacturers and practical insights learned from performance in our various drilling and driving tests.

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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.

Chuck

Milwaukee 2904-20 Chuck Closeup

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

The 2904-20 has an exceptional all-metal chuck that is more premium than most drills, especially the knurled metal sleeve that tightens the chuck with the right amount of friction on your hand for grip.

The three-jaw chuck also holds bits well since the ratcheting mechanism locks tightly onto a bit when tightening. We didn’t run into any scenarios where the chuck inadvertently loosened during use.

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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Motor & BPM

Milwaukee 2904-20 Drill Modes
Milwaukee 2904-20 Over Rotations Closeup

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill, hammer
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): 33,000.0
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): Not advertised
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: Yes
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.375

The 2904-20 includes Milwaukee’s Powerstate-branded brushless motor, which offers better efficiency and longevity than brushed motors.

Two drill options are located on the same set ring as the clutch settings. The standard drill mode disengages the clutch, and the hammer drill mode does the same but layers in 33,000.0 blows per minute (BPM) to improve drilling speeds.

The hammering rate is high, explaining why the hammer drill mode effectively increased drilling speeds in our tests.

One standout feature is that the 2904-20 features kickback control technology to reduce the risk of wrist injuries. Near the light in the base, there is a small Autostop light that flashes when the kickback mechanism is triggered when binding up.

We tested the kickback control using several large spade and forstner bits and found that it worked as advertised. But we don’t run standardized tests to understand if Milwaukee’s technology works better than any competing kickback control technology.

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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.

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Clutch & speed settings

Milwaukee 2904-20 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 16

The two-speed gearbox determines the RPM output and can be used in drill and hammer drill mode when the clutch is disengaged or when a clutch setting is selected.

While 16 clutch settings isn’t the highest number available, it’s more than most people will need in practice. Including more clutch settings would only allow you to finely tune the torque to a given driving task. Still, the 2904-20 is precise when the proper clutch setting is engaged.

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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.

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Charging time

Milwaukee 2904-20 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Milwaukee M12 & M18 Multi-Volt (48-59-1812)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 41.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 98.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 20.1
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Milwaukee M12 and M18 multi-volt charger (model 48-59-1812) included in most kits is reasonably fast at charging batteries, including to beat out team red’s most frequent adversary, Dewalt. It takes 41 minutes to charge an M18 2Ah battery and 98 minutes for a 5Ah battery, or approximately 20 minutes per amp-hour.

Milwaukee’s 48-59-1812 charger charges multiple battery voltages in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several M12 and M18 ecosystem tools.

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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

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

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.

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Weight

Milwaukee 2904-20 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 3.26
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 4.20
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.87

We look forward to when power tool technology advances to the point where the most powerful drills are compact and light. Unfortunately, that day has yet to come, including with the 2904-20, which is heavy and bulky feeling in hand. This drill is one of the heavier hammer drills in our test fleet and one of the heavier options on the market.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the 2904-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery for the lightest setup we’d suggest that is still powerful with an acceptable battery life.

Or pair the 2904-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved drilling performance if weight is less of a concern.

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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.

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Footprint

Milwaukee 2904-20 Footprint1
Milwaukee 2904-20 Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.500
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.000
Base length (in.): 4.625
Base width (in.): 3.125

The 2904-20 is bulky when measured in different orientations. While it is tall with a battery attached, the tip-to-tail length is reasonably short compared to the competition. As a result, it fits better through narrow openings and tight spaces than other high-end hammer drills.

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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.

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Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.625
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.375
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.875

The 2904-20 isn’t the ideal drill for fitting through narrow spaces and into tight corners. While it is admirably compact compared to other hammer drills in its class, it is still bulk overall.

In the three clearance tests we conducted, it performed best with its interior width clearance. It fits moderately well between two vertical boards, primarily thanks to its tip-to-tail footprint.

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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.

Auxiliary arm

Milwaukee 2904-20 Auxiliary Arm

Auxiliary arm: Yes

The 2904-20 includes an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks, improving user safety. The 2904-20 is a powerful drill, so it makes sense that an auxiliary arm is included.

The handle is easy to attach and remove just behind the chuck and is mountable on either the right or left side.

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.

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Noise

Milwaukee 2904-20 Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 84.7
Max drilling noise (dBA): 95.0

No power tool is a wallflower, but the 2904-20 is one of the loudest drills in our test fleet. We measured 95.0 dBA of noise output in the hammer drilling mode. This result is loud for a hammer drill and rivals the sound profile of an impact driver, which can cause damage with prolonged noise exposure.

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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.

Light

Milwaukee 2904-20 Light Wall
Milwaukee 2904-20 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light location: In base
Light positions: 1
Customizable light settings: None
Light count: Single LED
Light active time (sec.): 15.0

The work light located in the base is effective and bright and no-frills at the same time. Several competing high-end Dewalt drills include a three-position light that has a spotlight mode or can be disabled. These premium features enhance the versatility, an area for improvement with the 2904-20.

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.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 2-3 (depends on model)
Battery warranty (years): 5

Milwaukee stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The 2904-20 has a five-year warranty, which is among the longest offered by any manufacturer. Milwaukee’s M18 Li-Ion batteries have two or three-year warranties, depending on the specific model.

Picture of 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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