Buying Guides

  • What Dewalt Drill should I buy?

  • What_Dewalt_Drill_To_Buy_PFI

    How do you know which Dewalt Drill is best for you?

    A few months back I wrote an article that explained the full range of current Makita 18v lithium-ion LXT combi drills based on spec, which allowed readers to understand what you’d be getting for your money and where each model fits into the range. You can read that article here.

    We got a great response to that article and it seems to have been very helpful to many of you so with that in mind I am going to try and do the same with the Dewalt 18v XR Lithium-ion range.

    Compare Dewalt Cordless Drills

    Dewalt Drill

    Similarly to Makita, Dewalt’s model numbers are made up from 3 elements. Firstly, three letters which signify the type of tool. So if we have a look at Dewalt’s range of SDS drills you’ll see the model number ‘DCH’ which stands for ‘Dewalt Cordless Hammer’ and three numbers (Eg – 253). Which would make up the DCH253 (18v XR SDS Hammer Drill) Then you’ll have a final letter/number combo that signifies the ‘package’ that you’ll be getting. So taking the example above you could get the DCH253M2, where the ‘M2’ tells us that you’re getting the tool (The DCH253) with 2x 18v li-ion batteries, a charger and a carry case. Another popular one is the letter ‘N’ (So DCH253N) which signifies that it’s a ‘tool body’ only offering.

    For the purposes of this post I will only be discussing Dewalt drill drivers and Dewalt combi drills (hammer drill drivers). So you don’t need to worry about the first three Letters of the model numbers as they’ll always be ‘DCD’ (Dewalt Cordless Drill).

    Another point to note about the DCD model numbers is that the three digit number that appears after the letters will either end in a 0 or a 5. In this situation if it ends in a 0 (i.e DCD780) then that model is a Drill Driver only whereas if it ends in a 5 (i.e DCD995) then it’s a ‘combi drill’ and has a hammer function to work with masonry.

    I will also not be talking about the ‘packages’ available so we’ll focus on the body only (‘N’) model numbers

    General Purpose Dewalt Drill(s)


    Dewalt DCD780N

    The first Dewalt drill we come to on the list is the DCD780 which is at the lower end of the Dewalt XR range and is just a drill driver so it doesn’t boast the ‘hammer’ action that you get from a combi. This 780 has a brushed motor and offers users around about 55/60Nm of torque which is fairly standard for general purpose drills. It’s capable of drilling and driving fairly large bits/screws into a variety of materials and because its part of the impressive Dewalt XR range you know that you’ll be getting good runtime from it.

    Available as:

    DCD780M2 - With Tool Body, 2 x 18v Li-ion Batteries and Carry Case

    Dewalt DCD785N

    A small upgrade from the 780 is the DCD785. Now in terms of spec and capacity there is barely any difference at all. However the DCD785 is a combi drill otherwise known as a hammer drill driver which means that it has an extra drilling mode compared to its little brother above. This gives the user the ability to use it for applications in masonry as well as metal and timber. It is still able to achieve about 60Nm of torque so stands tall in the general purpose field.

    Available as:

    DCD785N - Tool Body Only
    DCD785M1 - With Tool Body, 1 x 18v Li-ion Batteries and Carry Case
    DCD785M2 - With Tool Body, 2 x 18v Li-ion Batteries and Carry Case

    Dewalt DCD795N

    The first appearance of a brushless motor in a Dewalt drill happens within a DCD795. This is the ‘best’ if you like general purpose drill that Dewalt offer. It has the same basic build as the drills above however the brushless motor means that more of the energy produced by the motor is put into whichever application you’re doing and not wasted by generating friction and heat! Meaning that you can push the DCD795 a bit further than its brushed equivalents and has an extended runtime per charge. For more information on brushless motors read our blog post here.

    Available as

    DCD795M2 - With Tool Body, 2 x 18v Li-ion Batteries and Carry Case

    Heavy Duty Dewalt Drill(s)


    Dewalt DCD980N

    So we’re in with the big boys now, this and the below drills are some of the best currently available. The DCD980 is a drill driver (no hammer function) with a brushed motor that is able to achieve 80Nm of torque and drive a 50mm bit into timber and 13mm into steel. That makes it pretty ideal and capable of dealing with the vast majority of your on-site applications. This model also offers you more customisation as it boasts 3 speed settings as opposed to the 2 offered by the above. However because its not hammer you can’t use it in masonry and it has a brushed motor so some of the energy generated by the motor will be lost in heat and friction but a very good option if you’re after a heavy duty drill but are happy with a certain amount of downtime.

    Available as

    DCD980M2 - With Tool Body, 2 x 18v Li-ion Batteries and Carry Case

    Dewalt DCD985N

    The 985 is the combi drill version of the above model. Its spec echoes that of the DCD980 but it has the addition of a hammer function allowing you to work in masonry. Another tell-tale sign that this is a top heavy duty model is that the gearbox and motor are enclosed in a metal casing and are fully metal themselves offering robustness and protection. This feature is added because plastic casing isn’t built to deal with the kind of jobs that the 985 is capable of doing.

    Available as

    DCD985N - Tool Body Only
    DCD985M2 - With Tool Body, 2 x 18v Li-ion Batteries and Carry Case

    Dewalt DCD995N

    And finally we come to the king pin, the DCD995N is Dewalt’s current top of the range combi drill. It has its own fully metal gearbox. Three various speed settings and 22 torque positions for complete functionality and customisation. It enables users to select exactly the right settings for the job they’re doing. The 995 is of course a combi so it has the hammer function allowing use with masonry, and can be used with a 16mm bit in such material. Packing over 80Nm of torque it is a high end machine that sits amongst the best combi drills on the market.

    What is so good about it compared to the 985 you ask? Well brushless is what I say! The DCD995 has a brushless motor which as stated before makes It much more efficient at using the energy generated. Also because it uses a brushless motor Dewalt have actually made the drill body smaller and lighter! Dewalts brushless motors are able to increase runtime per charge by around 30% so this DCD995 is the optimal choice for the tradesman that needs one hell of a decent drill and want to reduced downtime as much as possible.

    Available as

    DCD995M2 - With Tool Body, 2 x 18v Li-ion Batteries and Carry Case

    best dewalt drill

    So there you go, thats my run through of the Dewalt XR li-ion range of combi drills. Hopefully that gives you a better idea of where each model fits into the range and which one best suits your personal needs. Remember all of these models are available from us here at ITS at a great tradesman price.

    If you have any questions whatsoever about the Dewalt range please drop us an email to , call us on +44 (020) 8532 5000 or connect with us on our various social media platforms facebook, twitter or google+ and we’ll do our best to answer!

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    Posted in Buying Guides
    8 comments on “What Dewalt Drill should I buy?
    1. Neil says:

      Hi Richard,
      Thank you for another excellent article. I’ll now be able to make an informed decision on my next purchase.

    2. Nick flint says:

      Hi can you please explain what the dcf stands for on the impact drivers. I can’t figure it out at all.

      • Richard Hughes says:

        Hi Nick, its a very good question and we were at a bit of a loss in the office, however i’ve got spoken to someone at Dewalt who informs me that it is ‘Dewalt Cordless Fastening’


      • Jack Reid says:

        it means its a cool simple drill that is at a decent price

    3. Steve Jameson says:

      Hi, was just wondering if the DeWalt DCD776C2-GB was worth a purchase, is it a decent combi drill or shall I purchase a different option.

    4. Ros Bretain says:

      Very informative dewalt drill table comparison. I Love to see the detailed table comparison of the fasteners (drivers and wrenches from 10.8v to 18v) for reference of future purchase. Cant wait to see especially new lines are coming.. DCF887 is one of them..

    5. J a hooley says:

      Can you tel me what the -GB stands for at the end of the DCD785C2F-GB please

    6. Francis Young says:

      I am getting a Dewalt DCD 995 M2 20 V with two XR Li Ion DCB205 XR 5.0 AH Battery on ebay.
      Is this a make up kit?

      Dewalt’s kit normally has 2 XR 4AH battery.

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