Amazing battery life and power in lightweight Lithium Ion brushless kit

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Review by CyberDyneSystems posted 05-21-2018 08:11 PM 1684 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Amazing battery life and power in lightweight Lithium Ion brushless kit No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I picked up the DEWALT DCK277C2 20V MAX Compact Brushless Drill and Impact Combo Kit on sale at Lowe’s last week. For a little over $150.00 I got two of the latest brushless tools, a charger and two battery packs. Considering this was right next to a $99.00 driver only that was not the new Brushless, it felt like Christmas.

We have been using Milwaukee’s M12 in the shop for several years now under very hard use, and have been very impressed with those kits. They are apparently indestructible, being used and abused by a mix of trained pros and just learning college students. The little 12 volt batteries in various capacity seem to offer all the power we need.

Most of the time.
Which brings me to the DeWalt 20v.

The Kit includes:
1) DCD777 20V MAX Compact Brushless Drill/Driver
1) DCF787 20V MAX Compact Brushless 1/4” Impact Driver
2) DCB207 1.3Ah 20V Li-Ion Compact Battery (2 Pack)
1) Charger
1) Kit Bag.

Every so often we do need more than the 12volts do comfortably. Usually when that occurs I am happy to break out the 110volt extension cord and a big power drill. But this time I also needed a powerful impact driver, and going cordless would make life easier.

I spent the last few days drilling 3/4” dia x 2”-3.5” deep holes in mahogany, maple and some other hard tropical woods.
I was using a mix of cherry dowels and 3”-5” “Timberlock” lags.

I had on hand a pair of the next size up battery packs, the DCB203 2.0Ah batteries and used them for the first test with the lighter 1.3Ah batteries charging in reserve.

Much to my surprise with the brush-less 20v DeWalt drill and driver, after a few dozen such holes and lags in thick 3.5” hardwood, both batteries still read “full”! I had not put a dent in the charge. If I’d tried that with the Milwaukee 12v I would have had a battery swap in the mix. I’ve also been using the older DeWalt that is “pre-brush-less” 20v, and I truly believe the claim of 30% more life from a battery is under rating the advantage. The weekend went on like this, with the tools continuing to impress me re: battery performance. Come Sunday night, I had not needed to reach for the spare batteries, we still had good charge on the first pair.

The kit came with the requisite soft carry bag, charger and two of the lightest power battery packs available.
I considered docking the kit 1 star due to these packs, however given the price paid and the value of the tools I decided not to. Larger packs would have clearly = higher cost. I did not even know these particular packs existed, they are so small (1.3 amp hours)

However, it is great to know that DeWalt who has been a leader in cordless tech and flexibility since the early B&D Professional days, has a HUGE variety of battery packs available for all of these 20V tools.
The 1.3Ah pack is the smallest, next is 2Ah, then 3Ah, 4… and so on.
These drills are even compatible with the multi hundred dollar 20-60v “flexpack” batteries. (I suspect on one of those you could charge the battery in May and keep drilling until September!)

All around great kit. The feel and balance is very good, the 3 l.e.d. lights are vastly superior to single work light kits where you can put the shadow right where you need light the most.

If you need power, highly recommended!

-- Without the wood, it's just working

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283 posts in 2213 days

14 comments so far

View ruger's profile


14 posts in 120 days

#1 posted 05-23-2018 12:45 AM

i received two different combo kits as christmas gifts. both dewalt 20 volt both my kits came with the steel chucks on the drills. I wouldn’t trade mine for any other.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8088 posts in 2353 days

#2 posted 05-23-2018 03:51 PM

I have the pre-brushless set and absolutely love it.

We use Makitas at work and they are also great, but the DeWalt fits my hand quite a bit better and the LED light arrangement is much better on the DeWalt.

The only thing the Makita may have on the DeWalt is that the Makita charger circulates air through the battery to keep it cool while charging and thus can charge faster. But the batteries last so long that I don’t really need the fast charging for my one man shop.

I love the DeWalt 20vMax line so much I’ve added the brushless hammer-drill, the 6.5” circular saw, the jig saw, and the multi-tool (which I mostly use as a detail sander). And want to add more… angle grinder, large impact wrench, portable band saw, etc…

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


283 posts in 2213 days

#3 posted 05-23-2018 04:06 PM

We also picked up the 6 1/4” circular saw and the “Sawzall” (both the older model with brushes) and they are amazing tools. Just a few years back, the cordless circular saws in particular were so anemic that we almost always needed to run a cord and use a “real” saw. Not so with this new generation of cordless saws. And the Jig saw is about as good as it gets.

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View woodenwarrior's profile


231 posts in 2219 days

#4 posted 05-23-2018 09:51 PM

I have the same set, picked up a little over a year ago and I agree completely with your review. Absolutely great tools!

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View ChrisK's profile


1972 posts in 3106 days

#5 posted 05-24-2018 05:40 PM

I to have the same set, going on 3 years now, I agree completely with your review. Worth every penny.

-- Chris K

View nickbatz's profile


91 posts in 105 days

#6 posted 05-26-2018 02:46 AM

How are the other Dewalt tools that use the same 20V battery, especially the reciprocating saw?

Also, how does it compare to the Ridgid tools? They’re a good deal less expensive.


View RPhillips's profile


1182 posts in 1861 days

#7 posted 05-27-2018 01:16 PM

Great drill set and great review!

I bought this set when it came out and I could not be happier. Hands down the best set I have used. I have used Rigid in the past and would recommend this Dewalt set over Rigid.

FYI… all the 3/4 dog holes in 4” thick split top Roubo bench were drilled with this drill with no bogging or any issues with battery.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


283 posts in 2213 days

#8 posted 05-30-2018 03:53 PM

How are the other Dewalt tools that use the same 20V battery, especially the reciprocating saw?

Also, how does it compare to the Ridgid tools? They re a good deal less expensive.


- nickbatz

I don’t have any experience with the ridgid cordless,. what we can assume is that they too will be befitting from the latest lithium ion battery tech. Will they last as long? I don’t know. What I will point out is that going all the way back to the early 1990’s DeWalt/B&D Professional has usually had the best battery systems with the most forward/backward compatibility. It took them longer to join the li-ion fray, but the wait seems to = the best most flushed out system. At least 6 different capacity 20v/60v packs, all working in the same tools and chargers!

As for the “other” tools in the system;

- The DeWalt 20v Jig saw (DCS 331) is one of the best Jigsaw’s I have used. Period. This includes those with power cords.

- There are at least three different SawZall/reciprocating saw models. We got the one with brushes (DCS 380) for $119.00 and it’s a beast. The Brushless one would = 30% or so longer batter life.

- And as I mentioned above, the 6.1/4” circular saw (DCS 391) is a very good tool (also available for $119.00 )

All of the saws have the feel of a “real” corded tool, nit the lightweight poorly performing cordless tools of the 14v/18v NiCad tools of just a few years back. These are the “Kodiak” tools of the current era. (anyone that remembers the Kodiak drills get’s a “No-Prize”)

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


283 posts in 2213 days

#9 posted 05-30-2018 03:59 PM

P.s> it’s been over a week, and I have two big projects going on at home. we are gutting the old 1940’s “garage” in preperation for new floor, new siding, and jacking/leveling the walls and roof.

At the same time I am finalizing the workshop in my basement (including the massive hardwood workbench mentions in my review above) Putting up shelving, hanging lighting, all using the same two tools mentioned above.

I am STILL on the fist set of batteries!!! The same batteries used to drill all those 3/4” holes with an old Chinese forstner bit, and drive all those timberlocks into mahogany and maple!

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View nickbatz's profile


91 posts in 105 days

#10 posted 05-30-2018 05:45 PM

Great, thanks CDS.

View ParraGarage's profile


1 post in 19 days

#11 posted 06-02-2018 02:07 AM

Thanks for the comments and feedback everyone. Was looking at what may be the best drill kit for a new home deck project and this has helped sway me…so thanks again. Looks and sound like a great set!

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


283 posts in 2213 days

#12 posted 06-04-2018 02:16 PM

More O.T. Update:

This past weekend I have been busy jacking up the now rotten sills of my old garage to install two layers of concrete block between the wood and the slab/foundation. Many of the old studs were so far gone they have to be replaced. The sill was mia, totally digested by rot and various wood eating insects including termites and two kinds of ants.

- The DC380 Sawzall handled the demo work with aplomb. I never felt like I was using a “cordless” tool until I felt the battery start to give out. In fact it felt like it performed just as well as our corded Milwaukee. The bad news, this tool above all others in the line up I have used chews through those batteries like a goat. I am glad that the engineering choice was to sacrifice battery life for power, but wow does it show up with this saw.

- The DCS 391 6-1/4” circular saw was used to cut out old plywood flooring, and for cutting our pressure treated 2×4. Again, it handled both jobs as if it had a power cord attached. Its battery lasted the day on Sunday, with no need to swap, so more efficient than the sawzall, and yet this is a very capable and powerful saw. It reminds of the old 6” Porter Cable “SawBoss” in use.
We were cutting some of the heaviest/wettest pressure treated wood I have ever had the displeasure of using, you know when one 8’ weighs in at what 4 fir 2×4 weighs? Yeah, like that. I can tell you the older NiCad 18 volt/14volt Dewalt circular saw simply would not cut these planks. They bogged down less than half way through. Repeatedly, stopping dead. With the 20Volt saw it never bogged down once. The saw is easy to control and see your line of cut, the brake is fast, and I got a smooth fast cut every time.

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View nickbatz's profile


91 posts in 105 days

#13 posted 06-05-2018 10:27 PM


Then that’s the set for me. Thanks.

View nickbatz's profile


91 posts in 105 days

#14 posted 06-20-2018 08:17 PM

Hey, am I right that hammer drills are similar to impact drivers, i.e. they’re more for heavy-duty big hole work than refined, pinky-out woodworking applications?

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