DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver Combo Kit DCK278C2 Review

DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver
PTR Review
  • Size 9.4
  • Feature Set 7.5
  • Speed 6.7
  • Torque 6.3
  • Noise Level 7.5
  • Value 9.7

If you're looking for something compact enough to replace your 12V tools without leaving your 18V/20V Max battery system, DeWalt's Atomic kit is a pretty compelling option. It has the performance Pros need on the compact side, but its 1.3 Ah batteries are more of a nod to DIY applications.

Overall Score 7.9 (out of 10)

DeWalt Atomic Combo Kit Targets Cordless Sub-Compact Class

When I first saw the announcement for DeWalt Atomic cordless tools, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on the performance side. They’re certainly compact and they’re bare-bones on the feature side. But if they perform well, they might just be an excellent entryway onto DeWalt’s 20V Max platform. To find out, I’ve been using the DeWalt Atomic drill and impact driver combo kit.


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Surprisingly good power for the size
  • Lower price than other DeWalt 20V Max tools


  • Short on features

Setting the Expectation for Using the DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver Combo Kit

While these tools are technically compact 18V models, they really fit in the sub-compact class. It’s an area we saw Makita pioneer that essentially makes 12V size and power tools on the larger 18V platform so you get more compact without running two different battery systems.

DeWalt is following suit with the Atomic series. The DeWalt Atomic drill and impact driver combo kit starts with two of the most basic cordless tools we use and gives them brushless motors.

From there, they’re pretty short on features, but they’re also not crazy-expensive, either. We’ll get into more of that in a minute.

Be sure to also check out our article on the Best DeWalt Drill

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Drill Driver

Check out our Best Cordless Drill page to see more details on our testing methods.


Using a 3/4″ auger bit, the DeWalt DCD708 keeps its average speed up to 1342 RPM. That’s 81% of its 1653 RPM no-load speed we tested (specs list 1650 RPM).

DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver

That’s nowhere near the top compact model (DeWalt’s DCD797), but let’s look at its sub-compact competition. Makita’s XFD11 puts out just 1089 RPM with 68% of its no-load speed in the same test.

Looking at the 12V tools this has the potential to replace, only the Skil 12V brushless model comes close and it’s nearly 100 RPM behind.

Moving up to a 1-1/2″ self-feed bit, we drop the gear down to low speed. The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Drill Driver keeps a steady 338 RPM with 78% efficiency. That’s more than 200 RPM away from the top and about 30 RPM lower than Makita’s sub-compact.

We didn’t run the 12V drills through this test.

So for speed, DeWalt gets the nod in a back and forth race with Makita and carries more than we see in the 12V class.


Some manufacturers prioritize speed over power and vice versa, so it’s not a surprise to find that a drill performs well in one area and not as well in the other.

DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver

On our soft torque testing rig, the DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Drill Driver pushed an average of 189.2 in-lbs. Though it’s more than 100 in-lbs off the Metabo HPT DSDBFL2 at the top, it leaves Makita’s XFD11 (98.0 in-lbs) in the dust.

The top 12V model only manages 116 in-lbs of torque, putting the Atomic well beyond its reach.

DeWalt balances its speed and torque very well to put their performance beyond what you can expect from a 12V drill and puts some distance on its competition from Makita at the same time.


At 3.18 pounds with its 1.3 Ah battery, The DeWalt DCD708 is lighter than most of the compact 18V models, but Makita gets its weight down below the 3-lb mark.

DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver

Only the Milwaukee M12 Fuel model is heavier on the 12V side, and that’s just barely (3.21 pounds).


DeWalt falls behind Makita in footprint as well, but not by much. It’s just 0.1″ taller and 0.1″ longer, giving it a major advantage over other compact 18V models.

None of the 12V models are as tall, but the length is actually shorter than most of them. Metabo’s new 12V drill matches its length and the Makita FD07 is a little smaller.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an 18V/20V Max drill that can replace the need to have a separate 12V system, this can do it. It keeps the footprint and weight down while giving you performance that’s better than what you find in the 12V class. Just keep in mind that it’s a basic 2-speed drill.

If light concrete drilling is on your menu, buy the DCD709 hammer drill instead.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Drill Driver

  • DCD708B (bare tool): $119
  • DCD708C1 (1-battery kit)
  • DCD708C2 (2-battery kit): $159

Overall 18V Compact Drill Driver Rating

  • Weight: 4.6
  • Footprint: 5.0
  • Feature Set: 3.6
  • Speed: 3.6
  • Torque: 3.0
  • Overall: 4.0 out of 5.0


  • Model: DeWalt DCD708B
  • Max power: 340 UWO
  • Max RPM: 0-450/0-1650 RPM
  • Chuck size: 1/2″
  • Number of speeds: 2
  • Height: 7.9″
  • Length: 6.3″
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs, 3.1 lbs with battery
  • Warranty: 3 years limited

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Driver

Check out our testing methods for impact drivers on our Best Cordless Impact Driver main page.


The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Driver settles in with a respectable 464 RPM in our ledger screw test. The top speed belongs to Makita’s XDT16 at 651 RPM. Even though the DeWalt DCF809 is nearly 200 RPM behind, this compact model puts 11 others in its wake.

DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver

Nothing in the 12V class can reach it.


DeWalt hits 2206 in-lbs of fastening torque in our test, reaching up to 83% of what Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Gen 3 model can do. Perhaps more importantly, it’s very close to what DeWalt’s premium DCF887 is capable of (2237 in-lbs).

12V is hardly even a comparison. None of them managed to even approach 1000 in-lbs.

When we look at breakaway torque, the DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Driver consistently loosens 3000 in-lbs (250 ft-lbs). That’s exactly the same as the DCF887 and in a large crowd with 5 others that break the same amount.

It’s a far cry from the 4800 in-lbs that Ridgid’s Octane model breaks, but that’s not a major issue for most of us. Check out this article for a discussion on impact driver torque levels.

Again, there’s not much use in comparing the 12V numbers. The top models are still well under 2000 in-lbs.

*Our torque values do not reflect manufacturer tested specs. Find out why in our testing methods section.


Keeping the weight under 3 pounds with a battery is no easy feat and only a few, including  Mac Tool’s MCF886 (another Stanley Black & Decker brand), pull it off.

DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver

DeWalt joins that group with a 2.2-pound bare tool weight and a 2.9-pound weight with its 1.3 Ah battery.

The 12V group is all lower in weight.


Head length is a big deal on impact driver and DeWalt’s 5.1″ is pretty impressive. Right now, Makita and Milwaukee really own that category a full 1/2″ smaller.

What’s interesting is that nearly every standard 12V impact driver has a longer head.

The DCF809’s height is mid-pack at 7.9″. You don’t want to go so short that your hand doesn’t fit on the handle, of course, and even though others are shorter, DeWalt’s height is pretty reasonable.

12V is a different story and all of those models are shorter.

The Bottom Line

The DeWalt DCF809 is more of a value-centric Pro-level impact driver than it is a straight-up 12V replacement. It has the performance to sit in the middle of the pack with standard 18V models and size that’s on par with the feature-rich DCF887.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Driver

  • DCF809B (bare tool): $119
  • DCF809C1 (1-battery kit): $149
  • DCF809C2 (2-battery kit): $129 (sale price)

18V Impact Driver Rating

  • Size: 94
  • Feature Set: 75
  • Speed: 70
  • Torque: 73
  • Noise Level: 74
  • Value: 97
  • Overall: 79.3


  • Model: DeWalt DCF809B
  • IPM: 3,200
  • Max torque: 1,700 in-lbs
  • Max speed: 2,800 RPM
  • Length: 5.1″
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs bare, 2.9 lbs with battery
  • Warranty: 3 years limited


There are plenty of options surrounding the DeWalt Atomic drill and impact driver combo kit. The starring role and best value go to the kit itself. You can pick it up with two 1.3 Ah batteries for $229. Here are some other options:

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Drill Driver

  • DCD708B (bare tool): $119
  • DCD708C1 (1-battery kit)
  • DCD708C2 (2-battery kit): $159

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Driver

  • DCF809B (bare tool): $119
  • DCF809C1 (1-battery kit): $149
  • DCF809C2 (2-battery kit): $129 (sale price)

Final Thoughts on the DeWalt Atomic Drill and Impact Driver Combo Kit

The DeWalt Atomic drill and impact driver kit is a really interesting pairing that’s compact and lightweight for the 18V/20V max battery platform.

The drill sits in between the top 12V models and DeWalt’s excellent 20V Max compact hammer drill for performance and size. On the other hand, the impact driver performs more along the line of a standard Pro model while keeping a tight footprint.

Aside from brushless motors, 2 speeds on the drill, and a 3-LED light ring on the impact driver, there aren’t a ton of features that stand out.

As for the idea of replacing 12V tools to stick on a single battery platform, this kit fits the bill.

The other part of the conversation is the price. For $179, you’re getting into a battery system with a wide range of compatible tools.

The only hesitation I have is that the kit comes with 1.3 Ah batteries and Pros need more. For homeowners and DIYers, it’s enough to get those light-duty projects done.

Get more info on DeWalt Atomic here.

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