The Newest Brushed Impact Driver from DeWALT
The DeWALT DCF885 is the slightly smaller, slightly cheaper, brother of the brushless DCF895. The traditional brushed motor keeps tried and true technology, keeping the cost down
There are also some additional features and more power than the previous models, not to mention the new 20v MAX batteries.
It’s actually fun to use this tool – it can drive just about anything you can think of. And while it is lightweight, it’s solidly constructed.
Beware though – the new 20v Max tool line from DeWALT is NOT compatible with the long line of old 18v cordless tools that so many people already own. You can’t just get the bare-tool if you don’t already have the new batteries, nor can you use the old charger. If you want this driver, you need to be ready jump in with both feet!
Powerful Yet Manuverable
The DCF885 impact driver keeps the same basic look as the 18v line, with some changes to the grip (more rubber) and a slightly stubbier appearance.
This comes from the fact that they shaved off another 0.2″ bringing the total head length to 5.55″. So while it isn’t a lot of change, the good news is that it was already so small they didn’t need to really make it any shorter.
One improvement they did do was to make it better and handling 1″ bits – the kind everyone uses in their magnetic bit holders. Many of the short drivers require longer bits, causing you to lose some of that small size. If you don’t have the longer, more expensive bits, you are forced to use an even longer holder.
In truth, I’ve found that using the small bits is bit finicky. Once I got it in far enough to stay, I had a small amount of trouble getting it out when I was finished. However, when those few times come that I need an extra inch of space to get into a corner, I know I can do it.
I love my DCF885
I received this driver for a Christmas present in 2012, and it’s by far one of my favorite tools, even though I haven’t used it for any major jobs yet.
Most of the time, it isn’t until later that I realize how much easier it was than using my drill, as I have so many times in the past.
Whether it was bracing the kids’ swingset with 4″ long screws into pressure treated beams, putting together a raised bed using old warped boards, or fixing the fence like the guy down below, my energy was focused on holding the parts in the right place – not fighting the drill and screw to keep the bit from slipping.
Or for longer-lasting power, get the same driver with bigger batteries.
No Pilot Hole Necessary
Here’s a short video showing how easily a rusty lag can be driven, even without a pilot hole.
Should you do things with no pilot hole? Well, probably not. He splits the board. But if you have to, then, well, at least you know you CAN!
(Note you need the proper socket attachments to handle bolts, lags, and nuts.)
New DeWALT power tools come with a 3-year limited warranty. Like most limited warranties, this means they will repair any defects caused by faulty materials or manufacturing.
They won’t repair problems caused by normal wear and tear, or if you abuse your tools. That is, don’t leave them in the rain or run them over with your truck, and you should be ok. And don’t take the tool apart and try to fix it yourself – unsurprisingly, you’ll void the warranty.
Additionally, tools are covered with:
– One-Year Free Service Contract. DEWALT will maintain the tool and replace worn parts caused by normal use, for free, any time during the first year after purchase.
– 90-Day Money Back Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with the performance of your DEWALT Power Tool, Laser, or Nailer for any reason, you can return it within 90 days from the date of purchase with a receipt for a full refund – no questions asked.
See their warranty page for more.
- LED lights: 3 lights surround the collar and turn on when you barely squeeze the trigger. They stay on for 20 secs, which seems like an eternity! The surround-the-collar setup is used by other brands as well, and it does a great job getting rid of shadows.
- Lithium-ion batteries: All NiCad is eventually going to be replaced by Li-ion. They don’t lose charge sitting on a shelf; they don’t have ‘memory’ causing a shorter and shorter charge; and the price has come down enough to make them competitive.
- Belt clip: Although fairly common across brands in recent times, as of 1 or 2 years ago this was still an annoyingly uncommon add-on.
Hard case: Some people like a soft case that lets you put anything you want in it. Not me. I like a hard, sturdy case that I can stack on a shelf, or under other tool cases. This is that kind of case.
Compare the DCF885 to Similar Impact Drivers
There are a lot of very good impact drivers out there, but I think this DeWalt is one of the best brushed motor drivers available right now.
But don’t just take my word for it – look at these comparable impact drivers and see why I like DeWALT’s so much.
This is a powerful driver that has 3 speed modes
An inexpensive alternative, but not as much power and not as compact
A great competitor with good features and just a bit less power.
Another quality driver, Bosch also has 1500in-lbs of torque. But I find DeWALT’s to be a bit more rugged.
Don’t Break Your Bits – Get impact-ready driver bits and accessories
Many people don’t realize that regular, run-of-the-mill driver bits are not meant to be used with cordless impact drivers.
The most important reasons are:
- The steel in normal bits isn’t rated for the high torques an impact driver can create.
- The rotational-hammering action can cause thousands of repeated high stress impacts every minute.
- Torque on the bit can quickly increase to the full strength of the driver when a screw or nut pulls tight,.
If the driver bits you’re using are not designed for these stresses, you will eventually shatter a bit. It’s as simple as that.
For safety’s sake (and to keep from breaking things you’d have to replace!) be sure to get impact-ready bits and sockets.
This is a great basic set. Shockwave series bits hold up great, and this set also includes 5 hex shank drill bits.
Made from super strong chrome-molybdenum steel. They also have a durable finish and easy-to-read laser etched labels. Very good quality.
A nice inexpensive set from Bosch. No drill bits, but there are both 1″ and 2″ driver bits as well as a ssquare adapter for use with sockets.
These are deep-sockets, which are handy for tightening nuts when the bolts extend too far for a nut-setter.
Pros vs Joes
After some years as mainly a pro-tool, it seems that impact drivers are fast becoming popular with homeowners. What about you? Do you have one yet?
Is it 18v or 20v?
And who’s MAX?
You might see comments here and there saying that 20v tools aren’t any different than 18v tools.
In a sense, this is true.
The 20v Max refers to the voltage you might see if you fully charged the battery and hooked it up to a volt-meter. Once you start using the tool, though, the volt-meter will drop down to 18 volts (its nominal voltage)
So the 20 volts designation you may be seeing on various brands and tools is a lot of marketing.
In most cases, as in DeWALT’s case, the manufacturer has made other changes in the batteries as well to prevent overcharging, overheating, over depletion, and more. This makes interchanging them impossible. (It also probably makes them more expensive. Awesome!)
The important thing to remember is that a brand boasting 20v tools is not necessarily better than a competitor who is still using the 18v marketing materials.