What we bought: How DeWalt’s 20V Max cordless drill became my most versatile home-reno tool

I live in a creaky old house that needs constant repairs. The electric drill that came with the square, ah, looks like it was used to build the square. It has a power cord held together by a combination of tape and fear. Two electric shocks, a blown fuse, and several adorable new swear words in my first home improvement project, I was convinced to go with the 21st century and buy a cordless drill. Way too many YouTube tool review rabbit holes, three trips to my local Ace Hardware, and an exhaustive Excel spreadsheet afterwards theI had found the drill I would buy.

Now DIY enthusiasts have more choices than ever when it comes to cordless power tools. Makita, Ryobi, Bosch, Black and Decker, Milwaukee, Kobalt, and Rigid all make solid products, but I settled on the DeWalt 20V 1/2″ cordless drill. Let me tell you why.

First of all, the price was right. The DCD771C2 comes with a pair of 1.3Ah 20V batteries, a charging dock, and a storage case for $160 MSRP, although I haven’t bought anything since April when I first started looking have been looking for Not See it on sale for under $100. I bought mine during Home Depot’s Memorial Day Sale along with a 16-piece screwdriver bit set for $120. You can also find them at Lowes, Ace Stores and on Amazon.

Second, it offered the features I needed with a 20V power level that I could handle. Sure, I could have gone with the high-performance DCD991P2 – I probably eventually even convinced myself that I needed a commercial DCH614X2. But the reality is I mostly install railings, build trellises and do light handwork, don’t install siding or anchor things into concrete, so a 60v hammer drill would be overkill.

My DCC771C2 weighs just under four pounds, with most of the bulk on the bottom of the unit where the battery sits. It puts out 300W (530 in-lbs of torque), the two-speed transmission shifts between 0 – 450 and 1,500 rpm, while the 16-stop clutch allows me to fine-tune the torque the drill applies. It lets me screw a fire alarm mount into drywall just as easily as I can drill holes through a pressure-treated 4×4.

Third, I really like the DeWalt 20/60 FlexVolt battery system, and that’s a big part of the reason I chose this brand. DeWalt makes a variety of power tools, mostly operating on 20V for light equipment such as string trimmers, drills, circular saws and routers, and 60V for medium-duty equipment such as chain saws, lawnmowers, grinders and impact wrenches. Normally if I own a 20V drill and buy a 60V lawn mower I would have to buy separate 20V and 60V batteries and separate 20V and 60V chargers – basically doubling , because the two systems have incompatible power supplies. With FlexVolt, all batteries have a maximum voltage of 60V, but their output can be stepped down to accommodate a 20V system. This way I only need one set of batteries and one charger. And even if I only stick with 20V tools, the FlexVolt batteries can supposedly deliver longer run times at 20V than the regular 20V Max batteries.

Of course a pair of DeWalt non-FlexVolt 1.3Ah “20V Max” batteries came with my drill and I can buy larger capacity batteries (up to 12Ah) if I need them – but they won’t work with a 60- V tool, same as a 60v battery in my 20v drill won’t work. All of this means that I will eventually have to choose a FlexVolt charger as I expand my power tool menagerie.

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Russell Falcon

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