Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCF801 Vs Makita 12V CXT DT04Z

Dewalt DCF801 Angle 5

Dewalt DCF801

Quick take

The Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCF801 and Makita 12V CXT DT04Z are comparable compact impact drivers, though the Dewalt model is the better value. The Makita DT04Z pushes out more torque, though this performance isn’t critical in the 12V class. Otherwise, the two impact drivers are incredibly similar in size, weight, and battery run time. Like several Makita impact drivers, the Makita DT04Z is priced at a premium, which makes it a hard pick to recommend when the Dewalt DCF801 is just as good and far cheaper.

Brand Dewalt
Platform 12V Xtreme
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 441.0
IPM 3,600.0
Drive modes 3
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as DCF801B
Brand Makita
Platform 12V CXT
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 532.8
IPM 3,900.0
Drive modes 3
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as DT04

Editorial opinion

Rating

4.23 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Light duty

Pros

  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Solid battery run time
  • Brushless motor
  • Precise drive modes
  • Long tool and battery warranty
  • One-handed bit changes

Cons

  • Bogs down driving big structural screws and lag bolts
  • Long collet to back length

Rating

4.14 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Light duty

Pros

  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Long battery run time
  • Brushless motor
  • Drive modes
  • Long tool and battery warranty

Cons

  • Requires two hands to remove bits
  • Bogs down driving big structural screws and bolts

Global rankings

21 models tested

TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)30.819
Torque (in-lbs)441.021
Battery run time (min.)44.09
RPM2,848.017
Bare weight (lbs)1.743
Impacting noise (dBA)95.66
TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)36.220
Torque (in-lbs)532.816
Battery run time (min.)48.06
RPM2,655.019
Bare weight (lbs)1.662
Impacting noise (dBA)95.98

Recommended configuration

DCF801F2

Includes (2) Max 12V 2Ah battery

Lab results

Torque

Dewalt DCF801 Torquemeter
Dewalt DCF801 Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 441.0
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 214.2
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

The DCF801 isn’t designed to have a robust torque profile like more powerful 18V impact drivers. This theme held in our torque tests with the DCF801 turning in results that were among the lowest in our test fleet, including underperforming most other competing 12V models. This performance further highlights its intended usage for light and medium-duty tasks.

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3453-20 has the highest torque in its class, nearly doubling the twisting force of the DCF801.

Compare torque test results

Torque

Makita DT04Z Torquemeter
Makita DT04Z Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 532.8
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 163.8
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

While no 12V impact driver is designed for brute-force torque, the DT04Z impresses in its class, generating nearly as much torque as several of Makita’s larger 18V impact drivers. But don’t expect the DT04Z to outperform most 18V models with busting loose nuts or stubborn screws. The comparatively low RPM output explains much of the poorer driving performance.

Compare torque test results

RPM

DCF801 RPM Charts Update

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 2,848.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 1,958.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): 983.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 2,831.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 1,921.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 970.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): N/A

Dewalt hit a good RPM balance all around with the DCF801. This impact driver is designed for versatility, so don’t expect it to top the charts with high RPMs across its driving modes.That result isn’t a downside in most scenarios. The low RPM does explain some of the bogging down when driving big bolts and screws.

However, the low RPM also explains why the DCF801 is exceptionally accurate, all the better since it’s powerful enough to drive big screws and bolts in a pinch, regardless.

Compare RPM test results

RPM

Makita DT04Z RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 2,655.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 1,158.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 2,485.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 1,193.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 2,425.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): N/A

The DT04Z turned in low RPM readings in our RPM tests, but that’s not a death sentence and can be advantageous in certain situations.

While a low RPM results in some slowness driving screws, rotating more slowly helps set screws into your work material easier than an impact driver with a far higher RPM.

All said, the DT04Z has a high enough RPM, and associated torque and impacts per minute, to handily drive screws for light-duty tasks that require precision and for heavier-duty common instances, such as dimensional lumber.

We didn’t test drive mode 3 in the forward setting since it’s an assist feature that varies the RPM throughout the length of driving screws.

Compare RPM test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 30.8
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 6.2
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 20.6
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 4.1

Most 12V impact drivers we’ve tested range from 25 seconds to 30 seconds in total drive time for the five GRK screws in our test, including the DCF801.

The DCF801 capably drove GRK screws in our driving speed tests, but no 12V impact driver is the weapon of choice for repeating these heavy-duty tasks. Sub-compacts don’t have sufficient torque to repeatedly and efficiently drive big screws and lag bolts, and their batteries drain quickly with the motors working overtime.

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Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 36.2
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 7.2
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 25.2
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 5.0

As we tested in our speed tests, 12V impact drivers aren’t ideal for driving GRK screws or lag bolts. The DT04Z can handle big screws in a pinch but don’t expect it to be fast compared to 18V and some other 12V impact drivers. The assist drive mode helps to improve speed, though.

Otherwise, the DT04Z confidently drives various standard screw lengths and #6, #8, and #10 sizes into studs and other dense materials, perfect for any tasks around the home.

Compare driving speed test results

Drive modes

Dewalt DCF801 Drive Modes

Drive modes: 3
Drive mode 1:  High speed 
Drive mode 2:  Low speed 
Drive mode 3:  Precision 
Drive mode 4:  N/A 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

There are three drive modes on the DCF801, high and low speed impacting and precision mode. These drive modes work well, providing excellent versatility spanning light and heavy-duty tasks.

The high-speed mode capably enough drove big GRK screws in our driving speed tests. This mode is also most effective in driving screws into dimensional lumber.

The low-speed mode works exceptionally well, driving screws flush into less dense materials, such as MDF, plastics, and drywall studs. This speed mode also works incredibly well to accurately recess screws to a desired depth by feathering the variable-speed trigger.

The precision mode works similarly well driving screws, but we found ourselves favoring drive mode 2 for precision driving tasks due to the extra power offered. Precision mode is most useful for extra lightweight materials or using the DCF801 like a cordless drill. The driving force is light enough and the trigger is accurate enough to drive soft screws without cam-out or stripping threads, such as on electrical outlets, though overpowered for this task.

Drive modes

Makita DT04Z Drive Modes

Drive modes: 3
Drive mode 1:  Hard impact 
Drive mode 2:  Low impact 
Drive mode 3:  Assist 
Drive mode 4:  N/A 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

The DT04Z has a solid number of drive modes but doesn’t offer as many as flagship 12V and 18V models. You get the essentials, including hard and soft impact and an assist mode. Drive modes we label as 1, 2, and 3 advertise max impacts per minute of 3900.0, 1600.0, and 3900.0, respectively.

Drive mode 1 is ideal for driving big screws, whereas drive mode 2 precisely finishes screws and helps avoid cam-out or stripping screws.

Drive mode 3 is an assist mode that slows the RPM initially, then speeds up once impacting. This setting helps set the screw into your work material and provides reasonable driving force after. Drive mode 3 in reverse achieves the same result as drive mode 1 in reverse and ramps RPM immediately.

Unlike some of the best Makita impact drivers, there are no other specialty assist modes for loosening bolts or self-tapping screws. There also is no quick mode-switching button at the trigger to toggle to a favorite saved drive mode.

Collet

Dewalt DCF801 Collet Closeup

Collet size: 1/4-inch hex
Quick-change collet: Yes
Bit-eject collet: Yes
Easy-insert collet: Yes

The DCF801 is excellent for one-handed bit changes. The quick-change collet has an easy-insert feature that doesn’t require sliding the collet forward to accept a bit. A bit-eject feature also lightly ejects the bit when sliding the collet forward.

Dewalt impact drivers have a collet design that is executed better than other brands. The easy-insert mechanism is smooth for simple operation, and the bit-eject feature doesn’t jettison the bit too hard to potentially miss catching the bit.

Collet

Makita DT04Z Collet Closeup

Collet size: 1/4-inch hex
Quick-change collet: Yes
Bit-eject collet: No
Easy-insert collet: No

It takes two hands to change bits on the DT04Z, one hand to slide the collet and the other to insert or remove the bit. The collet has no easy-insert or bit eject feature, which helps with one-handed bit changes.

Most Dewalt impact drivers are ideal for one-handed bit changes since these impact drivers include a well-designed easy-insert and bit-eject collet.

Motor

Motor: Brushless
Impacts per minute: 3,600.0

Brushless motors offer significant performance improvements over brushed motors. The brushless motor in the DCF801 improves longevity, driving performance, and increases battery run time.

The DCF801 won’t win most contests for driving speed, partly due to its low advertised 3600.0 impacts per minute. However, the DCF801 is highly capable for most fastening needs around the home, and the advertised impacts per minute are enough to drive big screws or lag bolts in a pinch.

Motor

Motor: Brushless
Impacts per minute: 3,900.0

Brushless motors offer significant performance improvements over brushed motors. The brushless motor in the DT04Z improves longevity, driving performance, and increases battery run time.The advertised 3900.0 impacts per minute helps with driving performance for long screws, but the tool has its limitations being a 12V impact driver.

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 44.0
Battery tested: 12V Max 2Ah (DCB122)
Voltage: 12

The DCF801 turned in a solid battery run-time performance in our testing, surpassing many competing 12V impact drivers.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. We expect the battery run time to perform similarly well when running the DCF801 with a 12V Max 2Ah battery and comparing it with other brands running the same Ah setup.

Compare battery test results

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 48.0
Battery tested: 12V CXT 2Ah (BL1021B)
Voltage: 12

Batteries across Makita’s lineup have outstanding run time performance, including in the 12V DT04Z. This impact driver delivered best-in-class results in our battery tests, including beating out several higher-voltage models.One consideration we didn’t test is that run time in practice may not outperform 18V models with more torque. These impact drivers more efficiently drive screws than 12V models, which can result in different performances under load and no load.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. We expect the battery run time to perform similarly well when running the DT04Z with a 12V CXT 5Ah battery and comparing it with other 5Ah setups.

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Charging time

Dewalt 12V Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Dewalt 20V Max (DCB115)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 39.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time per Ah (min.): 19.5
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Dewalt charger that comes with most kits (model DCB115) charges 12V batteries rapidly. In our tests, the charger topped off a 12V Max 2Ah battery in 39 minutes, or 19.5 minutes per Ah.

This charger also charges Dewalt’s 20V battery platform, helping to save space in your shop if you have several tools in the Dewalt ecosystem. But consider that the DCB115 doesn’t charge 20V Max batteries as rapidly.

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Charging time

Makita 18V Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Makita CXT (DC10WD)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 65.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time per Ah (min.): 32.5
Fuel gauge: On battery

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Design & ergonomics

Stands upright w/o battery: Yes
Stands upright w/ battery: Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Handle angle (deg.): 82.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright w/o battery: Yes
Stands upright w/ battery: Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Handle angle (deg.): 76.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

Weight

Dewalt DCF801 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 1.74
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.23
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested

The DCF801 is exceptionally light as a bare tool and with a battery, reducing fatigue over long, repetitive driving sessions.You can cut weight further by moving to the Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3453-20 or the Makita 12V CXT DT04Z.

But remember that the DCF801’s working weight can differ significantly depending on the battery run in your setup. To keep it as lightweight as possible, we recommend combining the DCF801 with Dewalt’s 12V Max 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the DCF801 with Dewalt’s 12V Max 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance. But consider that adding the 5Ah battery meaningfully increases the weight and footprint. Upgrading to Dewalt’s 20V impact driver lineup may be more suitable as the size increases, especially if you want a more powerful impact driver.

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Weight

Makita DT04Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 1.66
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.13
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

The DT04Z is exceptionally lightweight, even within its category, great for extended usage without fatigue. It’s one of the few impact drivers we’ve come across with a bare tool weight hovering around 1.5 lbs. The DT04Z also retains its lightweight status when kitted out with a battery.

But remember that the working weight can differ significantly depending on the battery run in your setup. To keep it as lightweight as possible, we recommend combining the DT04Z with Makita’s 12V CXT 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the DT04Z with Makita’s 12V CXT 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance. But consider that adding the 5Ah battery meaningfully increases the weight and footprint. Upgrading to Makita’s LXT lineup may be more suitable as the size increases, but a trade-off will be more power for less precision.

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Footprint

Dewalt DCF801 Footprint1

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.375
Max width (bare tool, in.): 2.500
Collet to back length (in.): 5.000
Base length (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Base width (bare tool, in.): 2.500
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.625
Handle circumference (in.): 5.000

The DCF801 has a svelte footprint in certain areas but is not as small as other 12V and 18V impact drivers. Nicely, the max width and base measurements are incredibly compact, excellent for squeezing through tight spaces.

Dewalt’s 12V Max batteries are also highly compact. But the max height and length from the collet back can be beaten by more compact models.

All said, the DCF801 is still nimbler than most impact drivers.

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Footprint

Makita DT04Z Footprint1

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.250
Max width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Collet to back length (in.): 5.250
Base length (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Base width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.375
Handle circumference (in.): 5.125

While the DT04Z is highly agile, its footprint is a tale of two stories. The max height and max width are svelte as a bare tool and with a battery, great for maneuverability and a light feel in hand.

However, the length from the collet to the back is surprisingly long within its 12V category, and when compared to 18V impact drivers, resulting in less clearance in certain interior driving situations.

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Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 7.500
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.250
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.250

The DCF801 has solid clearances in our various tests but lags behind other 12V and other highly-compact 18V impact drivers in our 45-degree interior clearance test. This performance results from the extended length from the collet to back.

Check out the Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3453-20 or Makita 12V CXT DT04Z if you want to stick with a 12V driver that squeezes into tight spaces better.

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Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.000
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 0.875
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.000

The footprint of the DT04Z results in OK performance in our interior clearance tests. Other compact 12V impact drivers, such as the Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3453-20 and Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20, fit into most tight spaces and corners more easily.

However, the DT04Z is unmatched with its interior top-edge clearance, being one of the few models we’ve tested to test below one inch.

Compare driving clearance test results

Noise

DCF801 Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 75.3
Max impacting noise (dBA): 95.6

The DCF801 is comparatively quiet when impacting, making it a good option if you don’t want to irk your neighbors. Of course, no impact driver is a wallflower, and any impact driver’s noise is harmful with prolonged exposure.

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20 are quieter options to consider since both are hydraulic impact drivers with more subtle impacts.

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Noise

DT04Z Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 76.1
Max impacting noise (dBA): 95.9

No impact driver’s noise is tame, but the DT04Z is admirably quiet when impacting. To achieve meaningfully lower noise when impacting, you’ll need to jump to hydraulic impact drivers, such as the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20, which have more subtle impact noise.

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Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 44.6
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 1.6

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Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 29.8
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 2.8

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Light

Dewalt DCF801 Light
Dewalt DCF801 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: No
Number of lights: 3
Light time delay (sec.): 20.0

The DCF801’s LED light array illuminates a large surface area. One minor gripe is the light’s time delay, which doubles the time for most impact drivers, unnecessarily draining battery life.

There is no dedicated flashlight mode, such as included with some Makita impact drivers, where the trigger acts as an on/off button to turn on the light without moving the motor. You also can’t disable the light.

Light

Makita DT04Z Light
Makita DT04Z Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: Yes
Number of lights: 1
Light time delay (sec.): 10.0

The DT04Z’s light illuminates work surfaces well but has a focused and small coverage area. The light can also be turned on or off by holding the drive mode settings button for a few seconds. It’s good for versatility and saves battery life. Otherwise, the light turns off 10 seconds after releasing the trigger.

The DT04Z can’t act as a dedicated flashlight, much like other Makita impact drivers, including the Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z and Makita 40V XGT GDT01Z. The dedicated flashlight feature allows you to turn on or off the light without turning on the motor when the forward/reverse switch is in the neutral position.

Warranty

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

Dewalt stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The DCF801 has a three-year warranty. Dewalt 12V batteries include a two-year warranty.

Dewalt also offers free maintenance and replacement of worn parts for one year for the DCF801 and two years for its 12V batteries.

Warranty

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

Makita stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The DT04Z has a three-year warranty. Makita 12V CXT batteries include a three-year warranty.

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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