Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill Vs Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill (Gen 4)

Dewalt DCD805 Angle 5

Dewalt DCD805

Quick take

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill and Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill are exceptionally powerful flagships. Both drills sustain high RPMs in demanding tasks, helping them to avoid bogging down and bore wide holes quickly. So, performance isn’t the deciding factor. The Milwaukee 2904-20 offers more valuable user safety features since it includes an auxiliary arm in the box and built-in kickback control technology, which the Dewalt DCD805 should include.

Brand Dewalt
Platform 20V Max XR
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs Not advertised
BPM 34,000.0
Clutch settings 15
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as DCD805B
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

4.25 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Impressive drilling and driving speed
  • Solid build quality
  • Versatile and configurable worklight
  • Includes a hammer drill mode
  • Brushless motor
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Loud noise output
  • No auxiliary arm included
  • No kickback control technology

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.)10.12
Driving speed (sec.)7.12
Torque (in-lbs)Not advertisedNot ranked
RPM2,038.04
Bare weight (lbs)3.0013
Drilling Noise (dBA)96.117
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

DCD805D2

Includes (2) Max XR 20V 2Ah battery

Lab results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 10.1
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 2.0
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): 7.2
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): 1.4
Hammer mode speed improvement: 28.7%

The DCD805 is an impressively fast drill that sustains high RPMs under demanding drilling loads. The DCD805 completed our drilling speed test blazingly fast in 10.1 seconds in the standard drill mode.

The results are even rosier in the hammer drill mode, which brought the time down to 7.2 seconds to bore five 1/2-inch holes. That’s a speed improvement of 28.7%, which is high compared to other hammer drills in our test fleet.

We further tested drilling wider and narrower gauge holes using a mix of forstner and spade bits. The DCD805 finished most of these tests without needing to downshift a gear for additional torque, which is rare for models we’ve tested.

While the power output is impressive and fun to experience, the DCD805 is arguably overpowered for most homeowners, who don’t push tools to their limits and may be more prone to wrist injuries when not using it appropriately. Consider the Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD799 Hammer Drill if you want a more user-friendly drill for around the home.

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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.): 7.1
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 1.4
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 6.1
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 1.2

Unsurprisingly, the DCD805 is also incredibly fast driving big fasteners. It delivered one of the swiftest results in our Summer 2023 drill test fleet, finishing five GRK RSS 5 1/8-inch fasteners in only 7.1 seconds, not counting down time between each screw.

We further tested the DCD805 by driving several longer and wider gauge lag bolts into stacked 2x6s. We didn’t run into a scenario where we needed to drop to the low setting for added torque to finish the job, rare for most drills.

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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 DCD805 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 2,038.0
Max RPM speed 1: 649.0

The DCD805’s drilling and driving speed performance directly relates to the high RPM output. In all the action modes and transmission settings, we tested the RPM performance with a contact tachometer in a no-load scenario.

While no-load RPM output doesn’t tell the whole story of how a drill performs under load, our speed testing results confirm that the DCD805 has the muscle to sustain RPMs at a higher rate than many hammer drills 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.

Compare drill RPM 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.

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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 DCD805 Chuck Closeup

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

The DCD805 is a flagship hammer drill, so we expected it to have a premium chuck. It did not disappoint. The all-metal chuck locked onto bits and didn’t inadvertently loosen at any point throughout our lab tests. The metal knurling on the chuck sleeve also provides the right amount of friction when ratcheting the chuck by hand, which is helpful for quickly and confidently inserting drill bits.

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 DCD805 Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill, hammer
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): 34,000.0
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): Not advertised
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.250

There are two drilling action modes. The drill mode disengages the chuck for the highest torque output, which is ideal for boring big holes and driving lag bolts and structural fasteners.

The hammer drill mode operates in the same manner but adds in a hammer that impacts at a rate of 34,000.00 blows per minute, which is among the highest in our test fleet. We tested the hammer’s effectiveness in our drilling speed test below to understand the speed improvements offered.

One area for improvement is including some kickback control technology to enhance safety when since an auxiliary arm isn’t included. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill includes kickback control technology.

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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 DCD805 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 15

There is a standard two-speed gearbox and 15 clutch settings. The high and low settings can be run in any action mode and clutch setting. The DCD805 generates the maximum torque output in either of the drill modes in the low setting.

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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 DCD805 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

One letdown is that the standard charger included in most Dewalt kits (model DCB115) charges batteries slowly compared to other manufacturers. In our testing, the DCB115 charged at a rate of 28.7 minutes per Ah. Several other brands charge at a rate of 20 minutes per Ah or lower.

However, this charger charges 12V and 20V Max platform batteries in one, conveniently saving shelf 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 DCD805 Angle 7

Bare weight (lbs): 3.00
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.80
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.42

The DCD805 is a heavy hammer drill, weighing 3.00 lbs in its bare form. You can comfortably hang it from a sturdy work belt by the belt hook. But it’s not light enough to comfortably drop in your jeans pocket for portability.

Many professionals will use this drill with a high Ah-capacity battery. When kitting it out with a 20V Max XR 5Ah battery, the setup weighs 4.42 lbs. We ran into several instances throughout testing where hand fatigue set in, which is expected in this brute force class.

To get sufficient performance in as lightweight a setup as possible, we recommend combining the DCD805 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.

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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.

Compare drill weight test results

Footprint

Dewalt DCD805 Footprint1
Dewalt DCD805 Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.375
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.000
Base length (in.): 4.500
Base width (in.): 3.125

The DCD805 is moderately large when measured in many of its dimensions. To fit the hammering mechanism, the head is wider and longer than its non-hammer drill sister, the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD800. The increased head size also adds length from tip to tail, though it’s not an overly tall hammer drill.

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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.): 8.625
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.500
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.875

The DCD805’s moderately large footprint didn’t help it shine in our clearance tests, designed to understand the obstructed spaces and tight areas each drill fits into. Notably, the moderately long tip-to-tail length and bulky head limit the spaces it fits into, including scenarios such as drilling under shelves and fitting into restricted corners.

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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 DCD805 is a powerful drill that should include a detachable auxiliary arm in the box to improve user safety when the drill binds up. The Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill and Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill are powerful and include auxiliary arms.

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 DCD805

Max no-load noise (dBA): 84.7
Max drilling noise (dBA): 96.1

The DCD805 is one of our test fleet’s loudest drills under load. While the high hammering rate vastly improves drilling speed, it is also incredibly loud, generating 96.1 dBA of noise. This result rivals the noise output of powerful impact drivers, which are also harmful 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 DCD805 Light Wall
Dewalt DCD805 Light Closeup
Dewalt DCD805 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

We’re big fans of the DCD805’s worklight. The multi-position light does the essentials well and brightly illuminates the surface directly in front of the nose of the drill, whether using a short or long drill bit.

A switch behind the light can disable the light or enable Spotlight mode, which runs the light for 20 minutes and increases the brightness 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 DCD805 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 DCD805.

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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