DEWALT 20 Volt Max Cordless Tools

By Robert Robillard on Tool News, Tool Review Videos

2011 DEWALT Media Event:

Concord Carpenter recently returned from a visit to Black & Decker University [BDU] where we attended the 2011 DEWALT media event.  BDU is a training, research and development facility for DEWALT, Stanley and Black & Decker tools.   While at BDU I was among the first to learn about DEWALT’s newest tool launches.

The event was two full days and just short of heaven for a guy like me.  The first half of each day was devoted to learning about DEWALT’s research and development on the new tools and the other half were a hands-on demonstrations.  My favorite part!

DEWALT introduced many different tools from a new miter saw with a very cool miter stand to innovative work horses, innovation in cutting blades to hand tools.  Yes I said hand tools and in DEWALTS typical fashion these new tools are guaranteed to be tough!

Although I have my favorites and will share them with you in tool reviews in the upcoming months here is a quick review of DEWALT’s 20 Volt MAX* platform.

What I immediately noticed was that these cordless tools are smaller yet provide more power that the tools of years past.

The 20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion system offers updates in battery power and tool design that provide performance, ergonomics and innovation.  20V MAX*: means that the maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Once the tool is used its nominal voltage is 18.

The one thing that impresses me the most about DEWALT is that they have never taken their foot off the gas with regard to their development process.  Constantly evolving and involving and receiving feedback from the end user.

This time around DEWALT has focused on three main issues:

1. Performance: focusing on speed of application and run time

2. Ergonomics: designing with fit and feel, while remaining a productive tool

3. Productivity Enhancing Features: Improving an already good design It’s the little features that make the difference, such as:

  • Lithium-Ion batteries.
  • Designing drivers with a one handed chuck that accepts a 1” bit.
  • Adding three bright LEDs with a 20 second delay
  • Belt hook / nail hook
  • Designing dual voltage chargers for the 12 volt and 20 volt Max platforms.
  • Adding three speeds to some of the tools.
  • Adding electronic controls:  helps the tools from being damaged in extreme temperatures, and high draw applications.  As well as preventing the batteries from being drained too low.
  • Elimination of reactionary torque. [kickback]

The 20 Volt Max* Platform includes:


20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion impact drivers:

These impact drivers are available with both 1.5 Amp Hour and 3.0 Ah Lithium Ion batteries.  They are small, lightweight and durable, allowing you to get these tools into tight spots.  DEWALT claims that their impact drivers are up to 43 percent faster than current impact drivers on the market.

The charger for each of the tools in the 20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion system has dual voltage capabilities, and it is compatible with 12 Volt MAX* and 20 Volt MAX* DEWALT Lithium Ion batteries. The DCF885C2 [smaller battery] is expected to retail for approximately $219.00, and the DCF885L2 [larger battery] is expected to retail for $269.00. The tools will be offered in a variety of combo kit options.

20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion Circular Saw (DCS391L1).


The DCS391L1 circular saw was a favorite of mine and features a lightweight magnesium shoe and ergonomic handle design.  This new saw has a powerful 460 Max Watts Out (MWO) motor and is ideal for anyone who uses a circular saw and wants to avoid the long cord mess but not sacrifice the power.

With 3,700 RPMs, the DCS391L1 is 10 percent more powerful than previous DEWALT 6-½ inch cordless circular saws and with the 3.0 AH lithium-ion battery provides up to 57 percent more runtime its predecessors. .

The 20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion Circular Saw will be available in September 2011 and will retail for $249.00, it comes standard with a 3.0 Ah lithium ion battery and charger.

20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion compact drill/driver (DCD780C2) and compact hammer drill (DCD785C2).

Another must have tool for most trade professionals these drill/drivers threaten the competition with increased performance, ergonomics and innovative features.

The new compact drill/driver is 7-½ inches long, which is ½-inch shorter than current drill/drivers on the market. The new compact drill/driver and hammer drill are also lightweight, weighing 3.4 pounds and 3.5 pounds.  Two speeds deliver 0-600/0-2,000 RPM.

The compact drill/driver includes a ½-inch ratcheting chuck that helps to reduce bit slippage during drilling applications.  A bright LED light positioned above the trigger provides decent light with a 20-second delay.  A 1.5 Ah Lithium Ion battery accompanies the compact drills but they also work with the 3.0 Ah Lithium Ion batteries.

The compact drill/driver, sold with two 1.5 Ah Lithium Ion batteries and a charger, is expected to retail for approximately $219.00, and the compact hammer drill, is expected to retail for $239.00. They also will be offered in a variety of combo kit options.

20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion LED Work Light (DCL040):

This work light is super bright with added lumens for brighter visibility than current work lights I’ve seen. The lights head pivots which allow hands-free capability.  The pivoting head rotates 120 degrees with 11 detent positions and puts out 110 Lumens of bright white LED light.

This work light is expected to retail for $49.00. It will be sold without a battery and is compatible with both the 20 Volt MAX* 1.5 Ah and 3.0 Ah Lithium Ion batteries. The light will be offered in a variety of combo kit options.

20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion reciprocating saw (DCS380L1):


Another of my favorites, this reciprocating saw has a unique four position keyless blade clamp, and a 1-⅛ inch stroke length with 0-3,000 SPM.   This multi-position blade is a nice feature and allows for flush cutting.  When used with the 3.0 Amp Hour (Ah) Lithium Ion battery this reciprocating saw provides up to 35 percent more run time than other DEWALT Lithium Ion batteries on the market.

The saw is expected to retail for $249.00, and it will come equipped with a 3.0 Ah Lithium Ion battery and charger. The product will also be offered in a combo kit with the new DEWALT 20V MAX* Premium Hammer drill.

20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion SDS rotary hammer (DCH213L2):


The new cordless SDS rotary hammer drill is impressive.  This drill is super light and drills more holes per charge than existing DEWALT drills.  It also provides a chipping function and an LED light for increased visibility.

The new SDS rotary hammer was designed to deliver up to 20 percent more holes per battery charge.  Designed with three modes: drilling, hammer drilling and chiseling the tool offers 0-1,000 RPM and 0-4,100 BPM.Probably one of the best safety and comfort features is the drills SHOCKS™ Active Vibration Control.  This feature reduces user fatigue through the use of an internal suspension system.

This SDS drill weighs a mere 6.4 pounds for easy overhead drilling and measures 10½ inches front to back. The SDS drill is expected to retail for $489.00, and it will come with two 3.0 Amp Hour (Ah) Lithium Ion batteries.

20 Volt MAX* Lithium Ion Right Angle Drill (DCD740C1):

This drill includes two-speeds that deliver 0-650/0-2,000 RPM.  A 3/8-inch deep hex pocket allows a 2-inch hex bit to be installed almost all the way into the chuck which is great for fitting in tight spaces.  This feature reduces overall length (including the bit) to 4 ½-inches.

The right angle drill weighs 3.7 pounds and measures 4 ¼-inches in length from front to back.

This drill is expected to retail for $199.00, and will come equipped with a 1.5 Amp Hours (Ah) Lithium Ion battery and charger.

Reviewing These Tools:

I’m hoping to put some of these tools through some real life punishment and report back to you soon.  In the meantime trust me when I say that DEWALT is committed to making tools that make your job easier, faster and safer!

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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