The new DeWalt DCF895C2 20V MAX Brushless Lithium-Ion 1.5Ah Impact Driver should conjure up thoughts of long run time, cooler operation and more power, all packed into a brand-new platform. The heart of this impact driver is a brushless motor which works more efficiently than traditional brushed motors. In fact, when compared to their current 20V MAX impact driver, the new model boasts 57% more run time. The DCF895C2 kit we reviewed comes with two slim 1.5Ah batteries, quick charger and a heavy-duty carry case. And it’s incredibly compact in a way we’ve never seen before.
Riding on the coat tails of the successful DCF885C2 that was released about this time last year, this new 20V Impact Driver retains much of the same form factor and features, but with some key upgrades. The advantages of brushless technology are clear. The new DeWalt brushless motor uses electronics and software designed to run the motor at its highest efficiency and performance. As a result, the new motor system consumes less energy when compared to traditional brushed motors. These improvements in technology allow the tool to run longer between charges and stay cooler.
The biggest form factor change with DCF895C2 is evident by the “stub nosed” look of the chuck. Actually there appears to be no chuck at all, but rather a 1/4″ hex hole to accept bits. This recessed design allowed the engineers at DeWalt to chop off about a half inch or so from the overall length of the body, making it among the shortest impact drivers on the market. To release the bit, there is a new push button located just above the trigger which allows users to accomplish one-handed bit changes. Push it and the bit pops right out. The new chuck even accepts and holds onto 1-inch bits, making the DCF885C2 even easier to fit into tight spaces. For better visibility, the impact driver has three LED lights surrounding the chuck to illuminate the work area without shadows and there is a 20-second delay after you release the trigger.
We’ve seen right angle drills longer than this – as well as 12V impact drivers!
We’ve become accustomed to cordless drill/drivers with multi-speed transmissions, so why shouldn’t we expect it in impact drivers, too? Apparently, DeWalt agrees and the DCF895 20V MAX Brushless Impact Driver comes with a electro-mechanical switch that allows the user to choose between three speeds. But it also does more than that – it adjusts the max torque as well. The first setting of 0-950 RPM tops out at 500 inch-pounds of torque and is suited for finish work or when driving easily damaged fasteners. The middle setting steps it up to 1,900 max RPMs and 900 inch-pounds of torque and is going to be a favorite for those who want faster drive speeds, but don’t like ripping the heads off of screws all the time. Think door hinges and similar projects. The last setting of 0-2850 RPM and 1,500 inch-pounds of maximum torque is your sweet spot and will see the most use (we’re guessing) by pros wanting to do such tasks as driving lag bolts, deck screws or self-tapping screws into metal.
Last but not least, and sporting perhaps one of the most anticipated features, the battery packs will come with a built-in 3-bar fuel gauge that indicates the state of charge on the battery. This is a major feature update in DeWalt’s battery design and it should get longtime fans excited (it did for us). DeWalt is finally getting on par with a feature that has been available on their competitors’ products for some time. The only caveat is that, according to the rep we spoke with, DeWalt is going to continue to manufacture and ship the rest of the 20V tool line with the current batteries. You can also purchase the new batteries individually to upgrade older tools.
Testing and Use
Spending some quality time with the new DeWalt DCF895C2 20V MAX Brushless Lithium-Ion 1.5Ah Impact Driver, we found it was an easy tool to use. It’s also a really nice complete package. Having long been fans of the DeWalt hard cases, this one continues to meet our expectations. It’s compact, like the tool, but it still manages to house the tool, batteries and charger in an organized way. And speaking of compact, when we held the impact driver in our hands, we immediately appreciated its short length. To put it into perspective, the new DeWalt Brushless Impact Driver is nearly 1/4″ shorter than Bosch’s 3rd generation 12V Impact Driver. It’s very nearly a right-angle drill in terms of its ability to fit into tight spaces!
Thanks to the new battery design, the tool felt very balanced and has excellent ergonomics. The rubber overmold, which seemed to be just about everywhere, give a comfortable and positive grip. The new LED lighting system impressed us as well. We remember being excited when there was just a single LED light. Now, with three LEDs surrounding the chuck, shadows are virtually eliminated on the fastener and surrounding workpiece. We also liked that the lights stayed on for about 20 additional seconds after the trigger was released. There’s nothing better than an impromptu flashlight built right into your drill.
Inserting and removing bits was a piece of cake, even though this is a unique chuck. We actually really liked the new one finger chuck release button – particularly since it’s what enables the tool to be so short. We also liked that it can grip onto 1″ bit tips – also good for enhanced clearance into tight spaces. As far as testing, we noted that for delicate projects like furniture repair, the low-slow setting of “1″ was a great place to operate. By tuning down both the speed and the torque, we kept from damaging even delicate fasteners such as #1 square drive 2″ trim screws that we used to repair a chair.
The other two speeds also worked equally as well with the top speed/torque being more than adequate to drive lag bolts and other large size fasteners with ease and speed. And it felt like you could do it all day long.
The DeWalt DCF895C2 20V MAX 1/4″ Drive Impact Driver is a fantastic tool that not only delivers on features, but on performance as well. The new brushless motor will live longer, with less wear and tear due to the nature of how the motor functions. With the new three-speed transmission and compact size, a wider variety of contractors and professionals can utilize this tool in their daily tasks. The small, lightweight design of this impact driver will make it ideal for cabinetmakers, HVAC professionals, steel stud framers, electrical, mechanical and general contractors who frequently perform drilling and fastening applications. The growing popularity of impact drivers is largely due to the fact that these tools are smaller and more compact than drills and they eliminate reactionary torque due to the impact mechanism within the tool. Now they’re getting smaller. If they were attractive before, DeWalt is stepping up its game and making these tools even more appealing.
The new DeWalt impact drivers come standard with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee. The 1.5 Ah Lithium-Ion battery packs come with a two-year free service contract. The only difference between the DCF895C2 and the DCF885L2 Impact Driver is that the latter kit comes with two high capacity 3.0Ah batteries for a slight price premium ($349).