The Garage Tools

Initial Impressions: DeWalt’s 20V Max Drill Might Surprise Me and You

Here’s to hoping it dethrones my favorite obsolete drill.
DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill Initial Impressions Review
Hank O'Hop

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Listen, I know the future is here. Modern technology is an amazing thing to behold. But something just feels dirty about a drill that’s missing a cord and a keyed chuck. Heck, I’ve even gone as far as to swap the chuck on my trusty DeWalt DWD110K with a keyed variant because I hated the former. So, there’s a lot I’m going to need to get used to for this one. 

DeWalt sent me its 20V Max 1/2-inch drill—part number: DCD793D1—for review, and it’s pretty much everything my old drills aren’t. It’s small, it’s packed with features, and it’s done away with the key and the cord. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Call me old fashioned, but I like my drills brushed, clutchless, and terrifying to use on stubborn materials. 

All jokes aside, my initial reaction wasn’t “it’s a cute toy.” My experience with cordless impact wrenches and grinders is enough for me to expect this mighty tike to be rather impressive. But this isn’t a full review. Just the initial impressions. So, I’m going to walk you through my immediate thoughts upon unpackaging the futuristic drill I’m working with.

DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill Initial Impressions Review

The Rundown 

DeWalt’s notorious for an expansive, almost confusing line of drills. Based on the specs, this cordless drill lands somewhere in the middle. It’s aptly powered for DIY purposes but not so powerful that it’s married to a cumbersome set of internals that limit it to specialty uses. 

It’s a compact unit that measures 7.88 inches tall, with a head length of 6.38 inches. It’s absolutely dwarfed in comparison to my corded DeWalt drill, even though it has the larger half-inch chuck. And though this isn’t the most compact cordless drill in DeWalt’s lineup, making a smaller, more powerful drill to replace the DCD771 seems to have been the goal when designing it. 

DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill Initial Impressions Review

As for performance, this drill is rated to deliver 404 UWO and speeds of up to 1,650 RPM. Total control over performance is provided by a variable speed trigger, two speed settings, and 15 clutch settings. My corded DeWalt delivers speeds of up to 2,500 RPM with just a variable speed trigger to control it. 

DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill Initial Impressions Review

Though the older design seems to outpace it, it shouldn’t serve as a head-to-head comparison. It’s simply a point of reference for me to gauge the performance of this particular tool, based on what I’ve been using. DeWalt does offer more powerful cordless tools that are a far better match if you’re interested in purchasing something that rivals the corded drill. 

Lastly, it’s powered by the 20V Max battery and retails for a price of $159. To me, this is a killer value, considering it shares a battery with a ton of other tools that are perfectly priced and powered for DIY and professional work. 

Size Matters 

As I move into testing, the question isn’t if the 20V Max drill is a good tool. It’s if it’s the right fit for my garage. Because I’ll tell you right now that this is great for projects around the house. I already know it’s going to see a ton of use for maintenance and honey-do projects in that territory. It’s the perfect size and has more than enough power for anything of the likes. 

DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill Initial Impressions Review

The garage changes things. While a drill is going to come in handy when dealing with small bits of hardware and hose clamps, it’s going to run up against some pretty tough jobs. I suspect that tasks like priming oil pumps and putting holes in sheet metal are sure to give this little drill a workout. 

I’m hoping I’m wrong, though. I’m really rooting for this drill to dethrone my corded drill so I can do away with the woes of dealing with cables and extension cords. There’s only one way to find out, though. 

Stay tuned for my full-length review. And be sure to drop a comment letting me know what you expect of this drill and how you’d like to see me test it out.