DeWalt DCF815 Cordless Drill Reviews & Impact Drivers

12V Impact Drivers

Speed Under Load
Measurable Torque
Weight
Feature Set
Value
Final Thoughts

DeWalt doesn't go very deep in the 12V category outside a few core tools. With the FlexVolt line supplementing higher power for their 20V Max cordless tools, we haven't seen much movement on that 12V line. In the grand scheme of things, the "late model" DeWalt DCF815 hangs in there okay. There are plenty of models that offer more across the board, but we don't have any reservations about the impact driver's ability to drive drywall and deck screws. I'd look to their 20V Max DCF887 for fasteners much larger than that, though. After 8 years, it might not be in the cards, but I'd love to see what a brushless version of this tool can do.

Overall Score 3.4 Shootout Results

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DeWalt DCF815 12V Max Impact Driver Review


8 Years Later, the DeWalt DCF815 is Still Driving

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That might be DeWalt’s thoughts on their 12V impact driver. After all, it was a great little tool when we originally reviewed it back in December of 2010. In the 8 years that passed, most brands most brands have updated their 12V lines and a few new players are now on the scene.

DeWalt DCF815 Impact Driver Shootout Results

  • 12V Ranking: 6th place out of 9
  • Speed Under Load: 268 RPM (4th place)
  • Fastening Torque: 311 in-lbs (6th place)
  • Nut-Busting Torque: 600 in-lbs (tie, 5th place)
  • Decibels Under Load: 100 dB(A) (tie, 7th place)
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds bare, 2.4 pounds with battery (tie, 6th place)
  • Footprint: 6.2″ head length, 6.8″ height (5th place)
  • Feature Set: Highlighted by bit ejection and one-handed bit changes (4th place)
  • Value: $119.99 kit with two 2.0Ah batteries (5th place)

Takeaway

DeWalt doesn’t go very deep in the 12V category outside a few core tools. With the FlexVolt line supplementing higher power for their 20V Max cordless tools, we haven’t seen much movement on that 12V line.

In the grand scheme of things, the “late model” DeWalt DCF815 hangs in there okay. There are plenty of models that offer more across the board, but we don’t have any reservations about the impact driver’s ability to drive drywall and deck screws. I’d look to their 20V Max DCF887 for fasteners much larger than that, though. After 8 years, it might not be in the cards, but I’d love to see what a brushless version of this tool can do.

Results as of February 11, 2019. Check out our Best 12V Impact Driver page for the latest updates.

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Performance

On paper, the DeWalt 12V impact driver has a maximum no-load speed of 2450 RPM with 3400 IPM and 950 in-lbs of torque. Those numbers fit solidly in the second tier of 12V impacts behind Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel performance. That’s all well and good, but why look at just specs when we can put them to the test?

Note: To see our testing methods, please check out our shootout main page.

Speed Under Load

We used the DeWalt DCF815 to drill 1/4″ ledger screws into some glued up OSB subfloor to put it under more of a load than you get from a deck screw. DeWalt’s driver moves up the rankings to 4th place by cranking out 268 RPM.

DeWalt DCF815

Measurable Torque

We use every impact driver to both fasten and break loose nuts. The DeWalt DCF815 generates an average of 311 in-lbs of torque while fastening and breaks 600 in-lbs. That keeps it in 6th and a 5th place for those categories.

DeWalt DCF815

Please realize that our torque tests do not and cannot replace how manufacturers test for their specifications. Head over to the testing methods section on our main shootout page to see the details.

Feature Set

We don’t really expect that every 12V impact driver has a brushless motor, and so we weren’t too disappointed when DeWalt’s doesn’t. Still, it’s something the top players in this class are putting in and it’s an easy target for an upgrade.

However, none of the other models include both one-hand bit insertion and bit ejection like DeWalt. It also includes an excellent 3-LED light ring and a robust belt hook.

Ergonomics

DeWalt has always had a bit of a knack for ergonomics, and the DCF815 does have that going for it. The handle feels secure, and it forms really well to the shape of your hand.

DeWalt DCF815

Weight is not generally too much of a concern with 12V impact drivers since they tend to be rather compact. The DeWalt 12V impact driver, without the battery, weighs 1.9 lbs. With the slide-style battery, it jumps up to a mid-range 2.4 lbs and settles in as the 6th lightest.

We also like to consider the footprint of a tool, especially when so much of the draw to a 12V platform is its compact size. The DeWalt DCF815 is 6.2″ from tip to tail and 6.8″ tall. Again, this is a mid-range result and wraps up the 5th most compact we’ve tested.

Price

The DeWalt DCF815 retails for $119 with two slim-pack 1.3 Ah batteries and charger, though we’ve seen it as low as $89. It comes with DeWalt’s 3-year warranty on both the tool and the battery.

This is pretty comparable to other brands that target the Pro market, with Milwaukee and Bosch running a higher premium price. Overall, it earns very good value score in 5th place that soars to a killer deal if you can snag that lower sale price.

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The Bottom Line

DeWalt doesn’t go very deep in the 12V category outside a few core tools. With the FlexVolt line supplementing higher power for their 20V Max cordless tools, we haven’t seen much movement on that 12V line.

In the grand scheme of things, the “late model” DeWalt DCF815 hangs in there okay. There are plenty of models that offer more across the board, but we don’t have any reservations about the impact driver’s ability to drive drywall and deck screws. I’d look to their 20V Max DCF887 for fasteners much larger than that, though. After 8 years, it might not be in the cards, but I’d love to see what a brushless version of this tool can do.

DeWalt 12V Impact Driver Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCF815S2
  • Power source: 12V
  • No Load Speed: 0-2,450 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 950 in-lbs
  • Impact Rate: 0-3,400 IPM
  • Bare Weight: (we’ll weigh each one and fill this one in)
  • Weight with Battery: (we’ll fill this one in)
  • Length: 6.2″
  • Height: 6.8″
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $119.99

 

 

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The DeWalt 12V line needs to be updated and expanded to be competitive with M12, discarded completely, or rebranded as a budget Craftsman homeowner combo kit. If the goal is to just to get homeowners into DeWalt in a bigger way down the road, maybe take the Ryobi route and make just a single 12V model — a drill — that people will buy because they need a drill and their dad had DeWalt and it’s the cheapest or second cheapest thing on the shelf, and hope that when they come back for recip saws and circular saws years down… Read more »