Dewalt 20V Atomic DCF850 Vs Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z

Dewalt DCF850 Angle 5

Dewalt DCF850

Quick take

The Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z and Dewalt 20V Atomic DCD850 are comparable, highly compact impact drivers, though the Makita model is noticeably lighter. The Dewalt DCF850 pushes out more torque but lags the Makita XDT19Z’s speed under load. The Dewalt DCF850 has one of the shortest tip-to-tail heads we’ve come across, helping it squeeze into the tightest areas. Beyond footprints and performance, the Dewalt DCF850 has a better collet design for one-handed bit changes.

Brand Dewalt
Platform 20V Atomic
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 659.4
IPM 3,800.0
Drive modes 3
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as DCF850B
Brand Makita
Platform 18V LXT
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 595.2
IPM 3,800.0
Drive modes 8
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as XDT19

Editorial opinion

Rating

4.17 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Exceptionally compact collet-to-back length
  • Brushless motor
  • Drive modes
  • Long tool and battery warranty
  • One-handed bit changes

Cons

  • Battery run time
  • Lighter-duty impact drivers finish screws more consistently and accurately

Rating

4.62 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Compact footprint
  • Long battery run time
  • Brushless motor
  • Drive modes
  • Driving speed
  • Long tool and battery warranty
  • Versatile light

Cons

  • Poor noise performance
  • Requires two hands to remove bits

Global rankings

21 models tested

TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)15.29
Torque (in-lbs)659.49
Battery run time (min.)30.015
RPM3,386.03
Bare weight (lbs)2.0812
Impacting noise (dBA)98.916
TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)13.73
Torque (in-lbs)595.213
Battery run time (min.)48.06
RPM3,296.05
Bare weight (lbs)1.885
Impacting noise (dBA)96.615

Recommended configuration

DCF850P2

Includes (2) Max XR 20V 5Ah battery

Lab results

Torque

Dewalt DCF850 Torquemeter
Dewalt DCF850 Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 659.4
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 613.8
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

The DCF850 impresses with the torque output for its compact size, two features not commonly mentioned in the same sentence. It has sufficient torque to easily tackle most tasks around the job site and any demanding tasks for DIY projects at home.

Interestingly, the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF845 has less torque in a larger footprint, highlighting the DCF850’s outstanding performance in its class.

Within the Dewalt lineup, the Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF887 has the most torque output of the models we’ve tested.

Compare torque test results

Torque

Makita XDT19Z Torquemeter
Makita XDT19Z Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 595.2
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 577.8
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): 275.4
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): 275.4

The XDT19Z offers flagship-level driving speed with its high max RPM. But its torque profile is more subtle and doesn’t compete with the highest torque impact drivers we’ve tested, such as the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20.

The XDT14Z won’t perform as well in demanding torque applications, including busting loose stubborn bolts, as it will driving screws quickly, which it excels at

Compare torque test results

RPM

Dewalt DCF850 RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 3,386.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 2,705.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): 1,028.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 3,416.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 2,870.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 1,018.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): N/A

The DCF850 impresses with its high RPM measurements in our tests. But RPM only tells one side of the story regarding driving performance, hence why the DCF850 didn’t shine as we expected in our driving speed tests.

The high RPM drives screws rapidly when not impacting. This impact driver ramps RPM quickly and achieves lofty readings, great for rapidly driving medium-length screws into soft materials without impacting.

But the high RPM can also lead to cam-out without the proper amount of downforce on the screw head.There are no consistent differences in RPM in forward or reverse.

Compare RPM test results

RPM

Makita XDT19Z RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 3,296.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 2,867.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): 1,794.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): 964.0
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 3,296.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 2,914.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 1,848.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): 1,022.0

The XDT19Z has a comparatively high max RPM, great for driving screws rapidly. Other impact drivers with high RPM readings can suffer from frequent cam-out and stripped screws, but the XDT19Z’s array of drive modes fixes this potential issue.

While we didn’t test the RPM for the bolt loosening assist setting, the trigger is noticeably more sensitive in reverse when using this drive mode, resulting in the RPM ramping quicker with a shorter trigger pull than other drive modes.

Compare RPM test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 15.2
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 3.0
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 9.9
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 2.0

One sacrifice the DCF850 makes to achieve such a compact size is the driving speed for big screws and lag bolts. Let’s be clear: the DCF850 turned in solid results in our speed tests, powerfully driving long GRK screws without bogging down. This impact driver is competent for any heavy-duty task thrown its way around the home or on the job site.

But the bar is raised when competing with flagship models explicitly designed for brute force impacting. Check out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20, Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF845, and Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z for faster driving speeds.

Compare driving speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 13.7
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 2.7
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 10.1
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 2.0

The combination of the XDT19Z’s torque, impacts per minute, and high RPM results in fantastic driving performance. We tested the driving speed using the highest-frequency impact setting and achieved speeds that were among the fastest we’ve come across.

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20 and Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF845 are alternatives if you want to squeeze out slightly improved driving speed.

Compare driving speed test results

Drive modes

Dewalt DCF850 Drive Modes

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

The DCF850 includes the essential drive modes that most users will find helpful. There’s a high and low speed impacting mode and a precision driving mode.

The high-speed mode is best for driving big structural screws, lag bolts, and longer common screws into dimensional lumber.The low-speed mode works well for driving screws flush into less dense materials, such as MDF, plastics, and drywall studs. This mode also works well finishing screws into dimensional lumber and other woods.

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.

Users desiring more driving versatility should look to a Makita impact driver. The Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z and Makita 40V XGT GDT01Z include similar drive modes as the DCF850 but layer in additional assist modes, including self-tapping and bolt-specific settings.

Drive modes

Makita XDT19Z Drive Modes

Drive modes: 8
Drive mode 1:  Max impact 
Drive mode 2:  Hard impact 
Drive mode 3:  Medium impact 
Drive mode 4:  Soft impact 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

Makita’s high-end impact drivers are packed with drive mode configurations that give you unmatched driving versatility, essentially giving you a single tool that handily tackles light and heavy-duty tasks. You can select from four impact-frequency settings, and there are also four assist modes for driving screws into different materials and for loosening bolts. The eight driving modes can also be programmed to the quick mode-switching button near the trigger for toggling to a saved favorite drive mode.

Drive modes we label as 1, 2, 3, and 4 advertise max impacts per minute of 3800.0, 3600.0, 2600.0, and 1100.0, respectively.

When pressing the assist button, you can select from the following drive modes:

  • Wood: Prevents a screw from stripping and helps set the screw into your work material by starting with a slow RPM and then increasing the RPM once the hammer begins impacting.
  • Bolt loosening: The tool automatically stops once a bolt is loosened in reverse mode. This action ensures that bolts don’t fall off. The trigger is also more sensitive, so the RPMs ramp faster with a shorter pull.
  • Self-tapping 1: Prevents screws from over-tightening by stopping the tool soon after impacts start.
  • Self-tapping 2: Prevents cam-out and stripping of screws by slowing the RPM when impacts begin.

The assist modes are more than a marketing gimmick and work well in practice. The wood assist mode finishes screws nicely into your work material, and the jolt of turbo is welcome for longer screws. Consider that you lose some precision driving the screw to a desired depth as the RPM ramps.

The self-tapping modes precisely drive screws into thin or thicker metal and lower-density materials without over-tightening.

Collet

Dewalt DCF850 Collet

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

The DCF850 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’s collet design is better executed than other brands offering similar features. 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 XDT19Z Collet Closeup

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

The XDT19Z requires two hands to remove a bit since it doesn’t include a bit eject collet. Makita’s collets don’t smoothly accept an inserted bit like Dewalt and Ryobi models, but you can insert a bit with one hand on the XDT19Z without extending the collet.

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: 3,800.0

Brushless motors offer significant performance improvements over brushed motors. The brushless motor in the DCF850 improves longevity, driving performance, and increases battery run time.

The advertised 3800.0 impacts per minute are surprisingly low for an impact driver with this much torque, partly explaining why it lags slightly behind flagship models from other brands in our driving speed tests.

Motor

Motor: Brushless
Impacts per minute: 3,800.0

The XDT19Z includes a brushless motor, which offers vast performance improvements over brushed motors. The brushless motor improves longevity and driving performance and increases battery run time.

The advertised impacts per minute are one feature that doesn’t jump off the specs sheet. However, this spec doesn’t tell the whole story. The XDT19Z shined in our driving tests, including its snappy speed when driving big bolts and other screws.

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 30.0
Battery tested: 20V Max 2Ah (DCB203)
Voltage: 20

One major letdown of the DCF850 is the performance in our battery run-time tests, barely reaching 30 minutes of no-load run time. The Dewalt 18V Max XR DCF845, Makita 18V LXT XDT14Z, or Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z are better options if you covet impressive battery and driving performance.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. We expect the battery run time to similarly underperform when running the DCF850 with a 20V Max XR 5Ah battery and comparing it with other 5Ah setups, albeit battery run time will increase significantly.

Compare battery test results

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 48.0
Battery tested: 18V LXT 2Ah (BL1820B)
Voltage: 18

Makita’s 18V XDT lineup has outstanding battery run time performance, which holds with the XDT19Z. While the run time falls slightly behind the Makita 18V LXT XDT14Z and Makita 18V LXT XDT13Z, the no-load battery run time is still among the best we’ve tested.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. We expect the battery run time to perform similarly well when running the XDT19Z with an 18V LXT 5Ah battery and comparing it with 5Ah setups from other brands.

Compare battery test results

Charging time

Dewalt 20V Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Dewalt 20V Max (DCB115)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 59.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
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

Makita 18V Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Makita LXT Rapid Optimum (DC18RC)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 24.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 51.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 11.1
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Rapid Optimum charger (DC18RC) included in most Makita kits charges batteries exceptionally fast. Our tests found that this charger tops off 5Ah batteries in less time than it takes to charge smaller-capacity 2Ah batteries from other brands using their standard kit chargers.

Makita’s DC18RC charger only charges a single battery voltage. You’ll need a dedicated charger for your 12V and 18V Makita tools. Many Milwaukee drills and Dewalt drills come in kits with chargers that charge multiple voltage batteries in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several tools on those platforms.

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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.): 83.0
Head angle (deg.): 92.0

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.): 82.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

Weight

Dewalt DCF850 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.08
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.88
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 3.48

The Dewalt DCF850 is compact, but its size doesn’t translate to low weight. The DCF850’s bare weight is moderately heavy. The Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z has similar driving performance and size at a lower weight.

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 DCF850 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, which is a solid alternative for a svelte setup.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the DCF850 with Dewalt’s 20V Max XR 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance. Interestingly, this impact driver is lightweight with the 20V Max XR 5Ah battery compared to other 5Ah battery and tool setups.

Compare weight test results

Weight

Makita XDT19Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 1.88
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.72
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.22

The XDT19Z is one of the lighter bare tools in the 18V XDT lineup, which is already light compared to many similar impact drivers that more commonly approach 2.25 lbs.

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 XDT19Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the XDT19Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance.

Compare weight test results

Footprint

Dewalt DCF850 Footprint1
Dewalt DCF850 Footprint2

Max height (bare tool, in.): 8.125
Max width (bare tool, in.): 3.000
Collet to back length (in.): 3.875
Base length (bare tool, in.): 3.625
Base width (bare tool, in.): 3.000
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.750
Handle circumference (in.): 5.125

The DCF850’s footprint is best described as compact for a heavy-duty impact driver. Notably, the collet-to-back length is incredibly short. However, the max height and max width add bulk, limiting its ability to squeeze into some tight corners with little clearance height or width.

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Footprint

Makita XDT19Z Footprint1
Makita XDT19Z Footprint2

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.375
Max width (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Collet to back length (in.): 4.500
Base length (bare tool, in.): 3.625
Base width (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.250
Handle circumference (in.): 5.125

The XDT19Z is exceptionally compact and squeezes nicely into tight spaces with its short collet-to-back length, which is among the most compact we’ve tested outside of sub-compact impact drivers.

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Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 7.250
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.250
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 5.500

The DCF850 performed exceptionally well in our interior width and 45-degree clearance tests thanks to its stubby collet to back length. Few models break the 6-inch threshold in our 45-degree test, which the DCF850 handily beat. This combined performance makes it an excellent fit for squeezing into tight spaces and corners.

Compare driving clearance test results

Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 7.375
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.000
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 5.750

The XDT19Z has a short length from the collet to the back, squeezing well into small openings and tight corners. The XDT19Z is one of the few models we’ve tested that broke the 6-inch threshold in our interior 45-degree driving clearance test.

Compare driving clearance test results

Noise

DCF850 Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 85.2
Max impacting noise (dBA): 98.9

The DCF850 is designed for heavy-duty tasks, and its impact noise reflects this approach. It’s one of the louder impact drivers we’ve tested. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20 shaves off a few decibels when impacting, should you be looking for a similarly powered and compact option.

Jumping down in torque, the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20 are other options to consider. Both are hydraulic impact drivers with far more subtle impacts.

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Noise

XDT19Z Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 80.4
Max impacting noise (dBA): 96.6

One letdown is the noise performance. While no impact driver is a joy to listen to, the XDT19Z is among the louder models we’ve tested when impacting.

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20 are quieter options since both are hydraulic impact drivers with subtler impacts, albeit lower torque.

Compare noise test results

Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 54.0
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 3.5

Compare vibration test results

Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 14.8
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 2.9

Compare vibration test results

Light

Dewalt DCF850 Light
Dewalt DCF850 Light Closeup

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

The DCF850’s work light illuminates a small surface area but is focused in the right location and is bright. 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, one featured 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 XDT19Z Light
Makita XDT19Z Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: Yes
Number of lights: 2
Light time delay (sec.): 10.0

The XDT19Z’s light illuminates work surfaces well with a large coverage area. Nicely, you can enable or disable the light by holding the drive mode settings button for a few seconds. Turning off the light is good for versatility and saves battery life. Otherwise, there is a 10-second delay for the light to turn off after releasing the trigger.

Another unique feature is that the XDT19Z acts as a dedicated flashlight. Set the forward/reverse switch to the neutral position, then squeeze the trigger to turn on the light and squeeze it again to turn off the light.

Warranty

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

Dewalt stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The DCF850 has a three-year warranty. Dewalt 20V Max XR batteries include a two-year warranty.

Dewalt also offers free maintenance and replacement of worn parts for one year for the DCF850 and three years for its 20V Max XR batteries.

Warranty

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

Makita stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The XDT19Z has a three-year warranty. Makita 18V LXT batteries include a three-year warranty as well.

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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