I’ve been deep in the trenches of a LOT of different work here lately. Since finishing the shop it’s been a revolving door of small projects, shop organization, working in new equipment, followed by more shop organization : ) Obviously, keeping good tools around is an integral part of that revolving door operating smoothly and this DeWalt 20 Volt Cordless Combo Kit is no exception. I’ve put a lot of miles on it since I received it a few months back and I’d like to share my thoughts on it. Check it out:
The drill package comes with the drill, impact driver, 2.0 Ah battery, 4.0 Ah battery, battery charger, and a soft contractor bag. At first I was a bit confused about having 2 different size batteries. After owning and using this set for a little while I think I like the idea of having 2 different sizes to choose from. I like having the smaller battery for times when I just need a lighter impact driver with plenty of power and the larger battery when I know Im going to be away from the charger for a bit.
Both of these little machines feature brushless motors. Brushless motors have really taken over lately as the technology is becoming less expensive to manufacture. The main advantage of a brushless motor over a brushed motor is longevity and efficiency. Brushless motors do not rely on physical contact of a current carrying “brush”. Instead, they use alternating magnetic fields to produce rotational torque against a permanent stationary magnet. Less friction = less heat = less wear = longer motor life. WooHoo!
Let’s focus on the impact driver for a moment. Don’t let the light weight of this driver fool you – it has plenty of get up and go for its size. Although it only weighs 3.4 lbs, it can output a max spindle torque of 1,825 in-lbs (or about 152 ft-lbs) and will turn up to 3,600 RPM. To me, this thing is a little beast when it comes to driving deck screws or using it to torque down nuts and bolts.
All that power in the impact driver can be a little more than you need however. Fortunately, DeWalt addressed this by putting in a basic three-position “power level” switch. Think of it as having a governor on your kids new 2 stroke dirt bike…the power is still there, just dialed down a bit.
I like this feature; I found that if you’re driving in something like a 3” deck screw and you close the throttle all the way open, this thing will drive the screw in so fast you can easily over drive it into the material. The three speed motor control limits the torque to 240,1500 and 1825 in-lbs for gears 1, 2, and 3 respectively. They also choke back the RPM to 1,000 / 2,800 and 3,250 across gears 1, 2, and 3 as well.
The three speed settings allow you to really customize your operation depending on the conditions of your job. Many users find it best to reserve the high speed/torque setting for hard materials, nut and bolt hardware, and other tasks which do not require sensitive drilling skills. Alternatively, if you’re working with light woods or a material that is prone to splitting, the lower gears will offer more utility with fewer over-torque errors.
The last thing worth mentioning on the impact driver are the 3 spindle lights. I love em! I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to see more than one light on a drill head. The problem I’ve ran into with only one light is that it seems to just cast a back side shadow on the head of the workpiece. In some cases, it’s not an issue. Having three lights really helps to produce nice even lighting around the work piece.
Since we’re talking lighting – this drill has a single lamp but it is placed in a totally new spot just above the battery and points upward at a bout a 45 degree angle. To be honest, I’m not a major fan of having the light point up from the battery when compared to even lighting around the spindle. As you can see, when the light shines up from the bottom, it creates a shadow on the top side of your workpiece which is less than ideal IMO. However, it does work well as a stand alone work light.
The light has 3 different settings: dim, bright, and “20 minute” on position. This is a pretty sweet idea which tends to make up for the less than ideal location of the light itself. If you’re in an attic and need your drill to double as a stationary flashlight without having to constantly bump the trigger to turn it back on then this may be a very good feature for you.
The drill is rated at 2,000 RPM and has three different speed settings raging from 450, 1,300, and 2,000 RPM. It also features a clutch wheel with 11 different positions to fine tune the break away torque when you’re driving something like sheet metal screws.
I recently used the drill on “hammer” setting in for some concrete work. After building a nifty little single seater swing, I installed a concrete anchor to secure the swing from blowing around when it’s not in use. The drill and mortar bits from Bosch performed flawlessly and did not vibrate my hands to bits in the process. The all metal chuck had zero issues gripping onto the hex shank of the Bosch drill bits which easily penetrated the 4,000 psi concrete.
DeWalt describes the chuck as “nitro-carburized with carbide inserts for superior bit gripping strength.” What does that even mean? Basically, the chuck material has undergone a surface hardening process that ultimately improves its scratch resistance, fatigue strength, and corrosion resistance. The jaws of the chuck are carbide steel and are also very durable.
When we consider the form and finish of these two tools you really can’t find much wrong with them. It’s 2018 and to have a set of tools come from DeWalt that are not well thought out and not feel good in your hand would be something outta left field. DeWalt’s been a pretty trusted name in the business for quite sometime now and I suspect this drill and impact driver pair will be around for a good while.
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.