While the DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2 did score quite well and surprised us with its essentially unmatched performance in our screw driving tests, this cordless drill didn't merit an award. Its drilling performance was great, but it still couldn't quite compare to the top drills and we found its performance in our battery life test to be overall on the disappointing side. It is decently convenient to use, with plenty of helpful features and functions, but it also has a list price on the higher side. This brushed drill won't disappoint most people, though we would usually pick another model unless this drill was on sale at a discounted price or there were some other extenuating tool circumstances.Editor's Note: We added two new sections to this review on February 14th, 2022, to include details on our favorite drills.
DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2 Review
Pros: Phenomenal driving performance, solid drilling power
Cons: Subpar battery life
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DeWalt 20V Max Compact Drill/Driver Kit DCD771C2
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|Pros||Phenomenal driving performance, solid drilling power||Great for driving fasteners, heavy-duty, efficient use of battery life||Powerful, great battery life, fantastic integrated worklight||Impressive drilling power, strong steel drilling performance, good control, great price||Inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||Subpar battery life||Heavy, takes some force to swap batteries||Expensive, only includes a single battery||Only includes a single batter, so-so battery life in our tests||Weak, minimal features|
|Bottom Line||A good option if you value driving performance above drilling power||If you are looking for a top-tier drill to go with your existing Milwaukee batteries, this is your best bet||The highest scorer in our group, this is a heavy-duty drill that can keep up with all your toughest projects||A decent drill for DIY projects that won't deplete your savings||An okay drill for basic household tasks and assembly projects at a great price|
|Rating Categories||DeWalt 20V Max Comp...||Milwaukee M18 Fuel...||Kobalt 24-volt Max...||Craftsman V20 1/2-I...||Black+Decker 20V Ma...|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Specs||DeWalt 20V Max Comp...||Milwaukee M18 Fuel...||Kobalt 24-volt Max...||Craftsman V20 1/2-I...||Black+Decker 20V Ma...|
|Battery Capacity (Included)||1.3 Ah||Tested w/ 2 Ah||2 Ah||1.3 Ah||1.5 Ah|
|Drill Model Tested||DCD771||2803-20||KDD 524B-03||CMCD700||LDX120C|
|Box Model (Kit) Tested||DCD771C2||Tested tool-only, no kit||672823||CMCD700C1||LDX120C|
|RPM||Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1800
|Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
|Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
|Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1500
|0 - 650|
|Peak Torque (manu)||300 UWO||1,200 in-lbs||650 in-lbs||280 UWO||N/A|
|Measured Weight||3 pounds
|4 pounds 1 ounce||3 pounds
|3 pounds 7 ounces||2 pounds
|Measured Charge Time||58 minutes||25 minutes||75 minutes||58 minutes||210 minutes|
|Battery Indicator Location||N/A||Battery||Battery||Battery||N/A|
|LED Location||Above the trigger||Above the battery||Above the battery||Above the trigger||Above the trigger|
|Included Belt Clip||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This drill finished just behind the Milwaukee M18 and ahead of the Porter-Cable PCCK607LB. The DeWalt DCD771C2 is in the middle of these two drills in terms of list prices, but it did the worst in our battery life performance tests of this group. However, it is the best at driving in this trio and better than the Porter-Cable when drilling, though the M18 did a bit better than both in our harder drilling tests.
The DCD771C2 got off to a pretty good start in our drilling performance test, which is worth 35% of its total score. It earned solid approval based on its performance at drilling into a solid core door with a 5" hole saw, drilling through steel sheets with twist drills, and drilling through some dimensional lumber with a 1" paddle bit.
The DCD771C2 did decently well with the 5" hole saw, drilling to the full depth of the saw without any issue. It drilled the hole nice and smooth, not even stalling as it got close to the full depth. However, this drill did take a bit longer — about three times as long — than the top drills to reach this depth. Still, it was less than a minute.
Moving on to the 1" paddle bit, the DCD771C2 did particularly well. It can drill through the 2x12 in its higher gear the vast majority of the time, only requiring us to downshift if we were drilling through a knot or other particularly difficult bit. It offers you a ton of control, but we could tell that it did have slightly less power than the best drills, though this was barely discernible.
The DCD771C2 finished out with a solid performance when drilling through the steel sheets. Again, this drill never really struggled or stalled, but it did take a bit longer, though not much. It took about 2.4 seconds to drill through the 16 gauge sheet with the ¼" drill and 7-9 seconds to make it through with the ½" drill. However, it did bind up a bit with the ½" drill right as it punched through, requiring us to drop it down to the lower gear.
Next, we evaluated and scored the DCD771C2 driving power when setting screws; this is also responsible for 35% of its final score. The DCD771C2 earned a fantastic score, based on its performance at driving in both a countersunk #9 wood screw and a 5" long, ½" diameter lag screw.
This cordless drill is phenomenal when driving in the normal wood screws. It set the screws very quickly with tons of power and had absolutely no problem setting the screw heads flush. The DeWalt DCD771C2 offers tons of control, letting you set the screw head to the perfect depth.
Our third metric focused on the battery life of each drill, as well as the time it takes to recharge. Unfortunately, the DCD771C2 didn't do quite as well in this set of tests. Altogether, these three tests are responsible for 20% of the final score for this drill. We tested this model with a 1.3 Ah battery in the package we purchased.
To evaluate and compare the battery life of each tool head-to-head, we used each drill to drive in 16 normal wood screws and then drill three holes with the 1" paddle bit, repeating this until the drill's battery died. Points were awarded based on the total number of cycles accomplished. The DCD771C2 has a 1.3 Ah battery, which only made it through four full cycles of this, dying after driving in the first two screws of the fifth. For comparison, the best drills did over ten cycles, but most of those had a 1.5 Ah or 2 Ah battery.
The DCD771C2 did redeem itself a bit by including two batteries, so you can at least always have one on the charger while you are working and by charging faster than average. It takes less than an hour — 58 minutes — for the included charger to completely recharge a dead battery.
For the final 10% of the overall score for each cordless drill, we awarded points based on all the little features and functions these tools have that make them easier and more productive to use. After all, a good tool should make it easier to accomplish the task at hand rather than make it more difficult. The DCD771C2 finished out our tests with a solid showing.
It's super easy to swap batteries on this drill, with an easy-to-release locking button, and the battery slides in and out effortlessly. However, this drill does lack a battery meter, so you don't have a concrete way of knowing how much battery life you have remaining. The DCD771C2 is about the average weight for these products — just shy of 3.5 lbs with the battery installed.
It has two different gear ratios, with rpm ranges of 0-450 or 0-1800. The chuck can expand to up to ½", but we were a little bummed out that this drill did not include a belt clip, though one can be equipped if purchased separately.
The DCD771C2 also has a built-in work light above the trigger. It provides decent illumination of whatever you are working on and stays on for about 20 seconds after you let go of the trigger — a feature we found to be incredibly useful in a DIY tool.
Should You Buy the Dewalt DCD771C2?
The DCD771C2 is another exceptional drill that gets the job done, even if it can't quite match the overall performance of the top tools. We found that it offered an unparalleled amount of control and power when driving in screws, though we wish it had a bit longer battery life. This drill can handle almost every task you throw at it — though it might take a little longer than the top-tier tools. This drill isn't a fantastic value, as it has a somewhat higher list price, but we found it offered at significant discounts on sale, making it a much more attractive bargain buy.
What Other Drill Should You Consider?
If Dewalt is your tool of choice, or you find a good sale (which happens frequently), the DCD771C2 is a good choice. While the battery life is low, swapping batteries is easy enough, and if you own other Dewalt tools, you'll likely have some on hand. If you need something smaller for tight work and smaller locations, the DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Brushless Compact 1/2 In. Drill/Driver Kit DCD708C2 is a good choice with better battery life and similar performance during testing. Alternatively, if you want the best of the bunch and brand isn't a concern, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" Drill Driver has better driving ability and longer battery life.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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