Review: DeWALT DCF895 20V MAX* Brushless


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The new brushless motor in the DeWALT DCF895 offers improved power and longer battery life, while increasing tool life.

DeWALT has done a good job listening to consumer demands as well, offering more standard features than it’s previous offerings, including a fuel gauge and 3 speed modes.

While the new motor demands a higher price than it’s brushed-motor brother, those who are looking for a top-shelf driver are well advised to take a look.

At a Glance
Price $475
Sale price $182.88 (as of 6pm, 10/25/2014)
Voltage 18v / 20v MAX*
Torque 1500in-lbs
Drive size 1/4″ hex
Weight (w/o battery) 2.2 lbs
Length 5.25″
Battery Li-ion
Impacts/Min 0-2700 ipm
Speed (no load) Speed 1 0–950 rpm
Speed 2 0–1900 rpm
Speed 3 0–2850 rpm
Resources Mfr Data Sheet
Warranty 3 year
Part numbers DCF895B (Bare)
DCF895C2 (1.5 Ah kit)
DCF895L2 (3.0 Ah kit)
Compare with Milwaukee 2653

Description

DeWALT has made a number of improvements with their 20V MAX* line, and the impact driver is no exception.

The DCF895 is a brushless motor tool. This is a new technology the tool makers are starting to embrace, which essentially turns a traditional motor armature inside out. By using a micro-controller to control the motor, friction can be reduced and the overall efficiency of the motor can be increased.

Increased efficiency translates directly to longer battery life – DeWALT claims it will run 57% longer than it’s own non-brushless impact driver.

Additionally, 3 speeds can be chosen by way of a switch on the base. These modes vary in top speed between 950 and 2850 rpms<. The lower speeds are nice on bigger impact drivers, as it offers much more in the way of fine control. Working with smaller or softer screws carries less risk of over-tightening or ripping the heads off if you accidentally twitch.

DeWALT DCF895L2 Base

The chuck has been redesigned and doesn’t look like the standard 1/4″ chuck you’ll see on almost every other impact driver out there – it’s been pushed back into the collar of the tool. Since there’s now no way to pull on it, you release the bits via a push-button placed just above the trigger switch.

Bits can be inserted one-handed, just by pushing them into the chuck.

Because of the new chuck, this is the shortest 18v driver we’ve seen, not counting Makita’s right-angle driver. At only 5.25″, it’s a half inch shorter than many of its competitors in its class.

It may not seem like much, but decreases in length mean increases in maneuverability. And in the highly competitive cordless impact driver market, this gives DeWALT the edge for now. Also, when you start to add in chuck adapter accessories or other specialty bits, any fraction of an inch becomes that much more useful.

The DCF895 weighs only 2.2 lbs without the battery – super light. Easy to bring with you, and fatigue from long hours is minimized.

Batteries

Depending on the kit, you can get either the 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 3.0 Ah battery, or the Lithium Ion Compact 1.5 Ah battery.

While both perform really well, the full size battery seems to last more than twice as long as the compact. With only a 0.6 lb difference between the 2 battery types, the bigger battery is a better choice – especially for anyone who intends to work a lot with the tool.

Either way, the new batteries with the brushless motor make for long-lasting work sessions between charges.

To clear up any confusion: 20V MAX* batteries are actually an 18v battery. The tool industry has begun a shift in marketing that will eventually bring in all the manufacturers.

Note that while the voltages are the same, these batteries are, in fact, different – different form factor and different electronics. This means you can not use your old 18v DeWALT batteries and chargers.

On the other hand, these new battery packs have a push button fuel gauge: 3 LEDs on the back of the battery light when you push a button, roughly indicating how much work time remains.

Not all DeWALT MAX* batteries have the fuel gauge. However, any battery in the 20V MAX* line is interchangeable, fuel gauge or not.

Additional Features

DeWALT DCF895L2 LED

  • Time-delay LED ring. 3 LEDs surround the chuck to minimize shadows and stay on for 20 seconds after you release the trigger
  • Battery fuel gauge on the back of the battery pack. While you need to push the button to see how much is left, it’s a minor inconvenience.
  • Belt clip comes standard.
  • Bit holder – finally! Too many impact drivers are missing this simple but crucial touch.
  • Dual charger can accept both 20V MAX* and 12V MAX* batteries

Problems

  • More technology means more money. Both the tool and battery packs command a higher premium than the previous 18v line.
  • Some consider the new electronics unproven, as there are not nearly as many in use as the tried-and-true DC825.
  • New tool line means long-time DeWALT users will need a new investment in batteries and chargers.

Bottom Line

DeWALT insists it isn’t going to do away with it’s incredibly popular 18v line in the immediate future. (See DeWALT’s “Commitment to 18 Volt Cordless Tools”).

That being said, in the long run it appears the 20V MAX* line has had a lot of thought put into it and DeWALT is going to be behind this new line full force. If you have the extra money and want a high-performance impact driver, this brushless is an excellent choice.

You can be sure that many other tools in this line will be coming soon.


* With respect to 20V MAX*:Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

DeWALT DCF895 info and prices at Amazon
DEWALT DCF895C2 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/4-Inch Impact Driver DEWALT DCF895C2 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/4-Inch Impact Driver
brushless 3-speed impact driver, two 20v Max* 1.5 Ah li-on batteries, multi-charger, carrying case
DEWALT DCF895B 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/4-Inch Impact Driver DEWALT DCF895B 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/4-Inch Impact Driver
brushless 3-speed impact driver, bare tool only, no battery
DEWALT DCF895L2 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/4-Inch Impact Driver DEWALT DCF895L2 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/4-Inch Impact Driver
brushless 3-speed impact driver, two 20v Max* 3.0 Ah li-on batteries, multi-charger, carrying case
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