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September 26, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Hammer Drill Review DCD998

PTR Review
  • Overall Rating 9.7

If you’re looking for the best performance DeWalt has to offer in a hammer drill, it’s between Power Detect and FlexVolt Advantage. Neither one will disappoint you. If you have no plans to move into the FlexVolt platform for 60V tools, then go with the DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect hammer drill. If you are, you may be better served with the FlexVolt Advantage model. Either way, you end up with one of the best hammer drills currently available.

Overall Score 9.7 (out of 10)

Get a Power Boost With the DeWalt Power Detect Hammer Drill

DeWalt came out with a couple of battery-sensing lines: Power Detect and FlexVolt Advantage. After testing the FlexVolt Advantage hammer drill, we really wanted to know how the DeWalt Power Detect hammer drill compared.


Pros

  • Excellent performance with any battery that shifts to superior performance with a 20V Max 8.0Ah pack
  • Ability to stay is high speed with a larger range of bits
  • 3-speed gearbox
  • LED light intensity adjustment

Cons

  • Not as compact as some of the other premium hammer drills are getting
  • Needs a big battery for the best performance

What’s the Difference Between DeWalt Power Detect and FlexVolt Advantage?

Essentially, the DeWalt’s two technologies are the same between Power Detect and FlexVolt Advantage. They just active with different batteries.

In tools such as the DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect hammer drill, the Power Detect tool runs great on a 2.0Ah or 5.0Ah battery and then kicks into a whole other gear when you use a 20V Max 8Ah battery.

For FlexVolt Advantage, it’s the same deal, but the power boost happens when you switch from a 20V Max battery to a FlexVolt pack.

DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Hammer Drill Performance

The DeWalt DCD998 matches up with the DCD996, DCD997, and DCD999 with its 2000 RPM top speed and 38,250 BPM hammer rate. Where it differs is in power.

The Power Detect hammer drill sits in between the other two with 1072 UWO. The 20V Max XR and Tool Connect versions max out at 820 UWO while the FlexVolt Advantage can reach 1219 UWO.

Putting those specs to the test, we ran it on the PTR Drill Test Track to see how Power Detect compares to the other DeWalt models. If you’re not familiar with the PTR Test Track, here’s what it entails on a 2×4 stud:

PTR Test Track

  • 20 drywall screws
  • 10 x 1/2 twist bit holes
  • 10 x 3/4-inch spade bit holes
  • 10 x 3/4-inch auger bit holes
  • 1-inch hole saw
  • 2 1/8-inch hole saw

Using a 5.0Ah battery as our baseline, the DCD998 was able to complete the course in a very impressive 2:19. Switching out for a fresh 8.0Ah pack, it dropped 14 seconds off its time to finish in 2:05.

That’s not as big of an improvement as we saw with the FlexVolt Advantage which dropped 38 seconds. However, the Power Detect’s final time was actually faster than the FlexVolt Advantage that had its fastest run at 2:19.

Taking out the major points where human error comes into play (bit changes and drywall screws), we can see that Power Detect was indeed faster in each section.

Power
Detect
FlexVolt
Advantage
Twist Bit Section8.36 seconds9.35 seconds
Spade Bit Section14.50 seconds14.71 seconds
Auger Bit Section17.97 seconds18.84 seconds
1-Inch Hole Saw2.53 seconds4.35 seconds
2 1/8-Inch Hole Saw5.45 seconds6.17 seconds

Takeaways

It’s important to consider that none of these tests forced either drill out of high speed—an impressive feat for both! So they didn’t have to call on the most torque they might have to with other bit types.

So we tested the biggest bit DeWalt recommends you use—a 2 9/16-inch self-feed bit.

And they both still completed the hole in high speed.

Of course, they’ll have to drop into a different gear in harder materials. But it’s safe to say that these are both very high performing hammer drills.

Speaking of Hammer Drilling

The DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect hammer drill does something rather unusual when you click into hammer drilling mode. For one thing, you can see the chuck extend out a little further as you engage the mechanism.

It also kicks up the speed a notch. In drill and driver modes, it runs 450 – 2000 RPM. In hammer drilling mode, it’s 500 – 2250 RPM. Regardless of the rationale, it makes for some very fast concrete drilling.

DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Hammer Drill Design Notes

Size and Weight

One of the major trends we’ve seen recently is making lighter and more compact flagship hammer drills. DeWalt isn’t jumping on board with that just yet, opting to give us the additional power first.

The overall package is pretty much the same as the DCD996/DCD997. It’s 8.4 inches long from front to back and weighs 3.5 pounds bare. With a 5.0Ah battery, it’s 4.9 pounds and a beefy 5.6 pounds with an 8.0Ah battery.

Compared to something like Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel hammer drill, you’ll notice the difference.

LED Control

If you’ve ever wished for the ability to adjust the LED light intensity on your drill, DeWalt is your genie in the bottle. You select between 3 levels on the foot, though there’s no option to turn it off completely.


However, the brightest mode stays on for 20 minutes after you release the trigger. If you can position the light where you need it, you might be able to forgo using a separate flashlight or headlamp. That’s pretty cool!

Additional Features

  • Compatible with all 20V Max and FlexVolt batteries
  • 1/2-inch nitro-carburized metal chuck
  • All-metal transmission

DeWalt Power Detect Hammer Drill Vs 20V XR and FlexVolt Advantage Quick Comparison

DCD996
20V Max XR
DCD998
Power Detect
DCD999
FlexVolt Advantage
Max Speed2000 RPM2000 RPM2000 RPM
Max Power820 UWO1072 UWO1219 UWO
Hammer Rate38,250 BPM38,250 BPM38,250 BPM
Length8.4 in8.4 in8.4 in
Bare Weight2.8 lbs3.5 lbs3.6 lbs
PTR Test Track2:342:052:19

DeWalt DCD998 Power Detect Hammer Drill Price

The best way to get started is by grabbing the DCD998W1 kit. It comes with an 8.0Ah battery so you get the best performance right out of the box and runs $279. If you’re good with just the bare tool, it’s $179.

There’s also a combo kit that comes with the hammer drill, DCF887 impact driver, 2.0Ah battery, 8.0Ah battery, and charger for $399.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the best performance DeWalt has to offer in a hammer drill, it’s between Power Detect and FlexVolt Advantage. Neither one will disappoint you.

If you have no plans to move into the FlexVolt platform for 60V tools, then go with the DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect hammer drill. If you are, you may be better served with the FlexVolt Advantage model. Either way, you end up with one of the best hammer drills currently available.

For more information about the DeWalt Power Detect Hammer Drill, click here.

DeWalt Power Detect Hammer Drill Specs

  • Model: DeWalt DCD998W1
  • Motor: Brushless
  • No-Load Speed: 0-450/0-1,300/0-2,000 RPM
  • Clutch Settings: 11
  • Height: 8.2 in.
  • Length: 8.85 in.
  • Width: 2.55 in.
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Kit Price: $279

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