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DeWalt’s Gentle Giant – Check out the new 1/2” impact!

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I’ll start by saying it’s a heck of a good impact driver for the money and is an ideal candidate for a user who is already invested in the DeWalt 20 volt family namely because it’s sold as the tool only. This 20 volt XMR impact from DeWalt is the mid-torque model capable of delivering 330 ft-lbs of torque. While you might find other models out there for similar money which deliver more torque, you’ll be faced with a couple of trade off’s by passing this one up. Here’s what I’ve learned about it since owning it.

When you first grab hold of the pistol grip you notice the same level of quality and comfort that we’ve come to expect from DeWalt. The injected molded plastic housing feels durable and up to the challenge and is over molded by a very tacky rubber material which is thick in all the right places. For instance, the back side of the brushless motor is beefed up with additional rubber material for impact resistance. It’s also molded in a way which makes for stable resting geometry the you’re laying the impact down on it’s back side.

Note: The additional rubber on the back side for impact resistance is not intended for use as a dead blow…..that’s a different kind of tool known as a “hammer” lol. Trust me, I’ve seen numerous tech’s confuse this point for some reason and use their impact driver as a universal persuasion device ultimately killing the housing on their (and sometimes my) tools. No bueno : /

As you’d expect, the direction button is easy to access when needed with the thumb and index finger and features a “lock” position in the middle that will prevent the trigger from getting depressed in a lose tool bag. Nothing like reaching for a drill in a tool bag only to find the battery is dead on arrival because the button was depressed on the way to job lol…ask me how I know : )

The variable trigger has a light pull and activates a small upward facing LED built into the housing just above the battery. As a work light intended to light up your target, it works; but I personally think the tool loses points in this area when compared to some alternative arrangements found in the impact driver market. For instance the RIDGID impact I reviewed a while back has 3 small LED’s arranged in a circular pattern around the anvil. Because the DeWalt shines up from the bottom, you’re gonna get a top-side shadow on your work piece. Conversely, when the lights are arranged around the anvil, you don’t get any shadows at all. It may be a minor point to some but could also be a pivotal point for others who work in low light environments.

The 1/2” anvil features a detent pin (or ‘ball plunger’) for socket/extension coupling. After using the RIDGID unit I mentioned above, I still prefer the detent pin coupling found on this DeWalt compared to the spring cir-clip found on the RIDGID….mainly because the circlip can make it pretty damn tough to just pull the socket off the anvil. If you’re working out on a high rise and you really need an aggressive coupling, then maybe the cir-clip is for you but I find the ball plunger coupling on this DeWalt plenty stout for general shop use.

The brushless motor is paired up to a metal gear box which offers 3 individual settings: Low, High, and Auto. The ‘Low’ setting limits the torque and max RPM to 150 FT-LBS and 900 RPM respectively while the ‘High’ setting allows for all of the turning potential of 2000 RPM and 330 FT-LBS to be available under your trigger finger. The auto feature is pretty nifty in my opinion. In the case of rotating the tires on my old chevy I used the auto feature to get acquainted with exactly how it works. In short auto mode helps to prevent over-tightening in forward and helps prevent run off when loosening. When tightening, the motor spins very quickly until some measurable resistance is detected. At that point the motor controller pauses the motor for a brief moment, then engages the impact torquing sequence. I found the brief pause helpful when putting the lugs back on the studs because I knew I was not far from getting to my target torque. When it came to loosening the lugs, the motor basically performed the same operation in the reverse order: Major torque and impact to break the lug loose, followed by a short pause, then a mid range RPM to back the lug the rest of the way off of the studs. All and all it felt like a useful feature which some may find valuable.

I think the compact size is really what makes this an item to consider for the tool box. From the tip of the anvil to the back of the motor this unit only measures seven inches. This is ideal for the tech who finds themselves needing to use an impact in a tight spot over and over again. A brake technician is a perfect example. Not only can the tech use this impact for breaking the lugs loose, but it’s also compact enough to fit between a frame rail and a caliper mount in order to break caliper bolts loose. In short this is a great tool with some built in safety nets that can keep a newb wrench turner from breaking fasteners. Alternatively, with it’s compact size, it can easily help an experienced tech get into some tight spots and speed up his or her production. 

Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate it. This review was provided in support of the ProSpective Campaign sponsored by The Home Depot. They supply the tool and I supply an opinion. The links in this review are affiliate links and provide a small kick-back to the website which helps to keep the wheel turning. Regardless, I genuinely appreciate your support.

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