DeWalt 20 Volt Brushless Hammer Drill DCD996

By Jim Nadeau on Tool and Product Reviews

DeWalt 20 Volt Brushless Hammer Drill DCD996DeWalt 20 Volt Brushless Hammer Drill DCD996


I remember about 20 years ago my father came home with a 9.6 volt Makaita cordless drill.  Back then it was the largest cordless drill on the market.  The drill had a 3/8” keyed chuck and a large NiCd battery.  This drill was great for drilling small holes, small screws and for performing other small projects.  It was a great all around cordless drill and contractors loved it when they didn’t have to drag extension cords out.  We have come along way since then and the DeWalt DCD996 really shows it.

The DeWalt DCD996 is truly a contractors drill. This drill is designed to take a beating and keep going. After admiring its attractive sleek design you will start to realize that there are few drills on the market that can compete. The power, the durability, and the fact that this drill is cordless or three reasons to own this drill.

Before, I was using the earlier version, the DeWalt DCD985 which is a great drill but I wasn’t sure it quite competed with some of it’s competitors like Milwaukee.  The newer DeWalt DCD996 puts out 820 units of watts output with it’s more advanced brushless motor compared to the 535 UWO of the DCD985.

With this additional power from it’s brushless motor and quite a few other nice features the newer DeWalt DCD986 is making a run for the top spot on the list of heavy duty cordless drills.


DeWalt DCD996

What is a Brush Motor

Your traditional brush motor drill worked using carbon brushes, a ring of magnets an amateur and a commutator.  When you pull the trigger, power passes through the brushes to the commutator.  The commutator sends the power to the armature.  The armature are the copper windings you will see if you look at the motor.  The windings become magnetized by the voltage which forces the armature to spin away from the fixed magnets.

What is a Brushless Motor

The newer brushless motor works on a similar principle except the brushes and commutator have been replaced by a small circuit board.  By taking out the brushes and commutator it allows for a larger motor to go in and because it’s now talking with a circuit board instead of a commutator, it becomes more efficient.   The drill is able to sense if it’s going through a less resistant material such as vinyal siding or a more dense object like an oak beam.  It then gives the required voltage necessary.


Nitro-Carburized Clutch

The clutch is a nitro-carburized metal chuck with metal carbide inserts.  I did a double take when I saw that and was wondering what they were talking about.  Nitro-Carburized is when they infuse nitrogen and carbon into the metal.  This not only helps strengthen the metal but also helps prevent corrosion.  When you have to work out in the rain you don’t have to worry about the clutch rusting out.

Hammer Drill

The DeWalt DCD996 hammer drill setting works well for small holes.  I find myself using it quite often for 1/4” masonry screws.  When I need to do anything larger or have a lot to do I typically switch over to the DeWalt DCH273B.


I can never have too many flashlights and the 3 settings of low, high and 20 minutes works well for me.  I usually just leave it in high but everyone once in awhile when you find yourself working under a cabinet or a dark area and need just a little more light, the 20 minute setting saves you a trip to the truck for a large light like the DeWalt DCL050L1.


When you buy the DeWalt DCD996 you are buying an everyday drill and you will pay for it.  With the heavy duty 5AH batteries this drill is listed for around $300.  If you are looking for a lighter drill, take a look at the DeWalt DCD771C2 listed for $99 on Amazon.  Take it from someone who has burnt out the smaller DeWalt DCD771C2.  The DCD771C2 drill can not do everything it’s big brother the DeWalt DCD996 can do.  Don’t get me wrong, the DCD771C2 is a nice drill but it’s made for the weekend warrior.  The DeWalt DCD996 is not made for the weekend warrior, it is designed to be an everyday drill.  With more tools like this on the market, you may never walk onto a job site and see an extension cord again.

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About the author

Jim Nadeau

Jim Nadeau is a Master Electrician and owns and runs Nadeau Electric LLC established 2007. Nadeau Electric specializes in older homes and light commercial projects. Jim Nadeau uses his 15 years of electrical experience to review the latest electrical tools and advise on any electrical concerns that may arise for the Concord Carpenter Crew.

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