More Compact Refinement – The DeWalt Atomic Compact Drill

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).


The battery powered cordless drill is ubiquitous. Anyone who uses tools even casually has a cordless drill in the arsenal and every manufacturer has at least one offering, if not a panoply of drills. So then, how does DeWalt set themselves apart from the rest of the pack? Their solution was to make the cordless drill more compact and at the same time more powerful. The new DeWalt Atomic Compact Drill is 25% more compact yet 13% more powerful. DeWalt has combined a more compact frame with a brushless motor to achieve this result, all while keeping the price point affordable.

dewalt atomic drill
The DeWalt Atomic Compact Drill is a small handful of power, light and easily managed no matter the task.

DeWalt Atomic Drill Specs

Here are the features and specifications from DeWalt:
• Compact at only 6.3 in. front to back – designed to fit in tight spaces
• Lightweight at only 2.4 lbs.
• LED foot light for superior visibility
• Variable speed trigger allows for control and precision on delicate work surfaces
• DeWalt-built brushless motor for efficient performance and runtime
• 1/2 in. ratcheting chuck provides superior bit gripping strength
• 340 UWO of power to help get the job done
• Chuck Size 1/2″
• Clutch Settings 15
• Max Power 340 UWO
• Max rpm 0-450 & 0-1650 rpm
• # of Speed Settings 2
• System 20V MAX*
• Tool Height 7.9 in
• Tool Length 6.3 in
• Tool Weight 2.4 lbs

Even awkward situations were made manageable by the lightweight and compact size.

So What’s the Big Deal With Smaller?

The benefits of a more powerful tool are obvious, less stalling, more efficient and typically faster to the finish. The gains from a more compact tool are a little more subtle. It starts with lighter weight, which can reduce fatigue, especially if the tool is used for prolonged periods or overhead. The smaller size also allows for more utility in tighter spaces. It’s helpful to have a drill with solid power that can fit in between wall studs or roof and floor joists when fitted with a spade or ship auger bit. With all that said, the proof is in the doing, so follow me around the farm for a look at the DeWalt Atomic drill at work.

I had to pre-drill almost 100 pilot holes through the wood and metal struts, each one as easy as the last.

So Many Projects, So Little Time

I received the DeWalt Atomic Drill as part of a kit which included the new DeWalt Atomic Impact Driver. These two tools complement each other nicely, the drill to make the holes and the impact to fill them with a fastener. The first project I used the DeWalt Atomic drill for was during the construction of a foot bridge for use on the property to cross a small drainage. I needed to drill pilot holes in the decking and steel support struts for the self tapping screws that were driven home using the impact driver. It was a lot of holes, the drill was more than up to the task. The variable speed trigger made positioning the bit and starting a snap, and the powerful brushless motor never bogged down or slowed when engaging the steel struts.

dewalt atomic drill and impact
The Dewalt Atomic Compact Drill and it’s mate the Atomic Compact Impact driver proved to be a handy tandem, complementing each other nicely.

The Next Project

There is a small barn on the property that we utilize to house our small (but growing) flock of sheep. The sheep are pretty self sustaining for the most part, but need intervention at times. Things like shearing, vaccines, worming and lambing all require specialized equipment, and it needs to be easy to access when you have a 130 pound ewe wrestled to a prone position.

We needed a sturdy shelf in the barn, and we luckily stumbled across a ready built frame of 1/8’ angle that was just the thing. I did need to attach a shelf however, so I cut a piece of ¾” coated plywood to fit and attached it to the top of the frame work. Once again I used the drill for the pilot holes and the impact to drive the self tapping screws. Again, no challenge to these DeWalt Atomic tools at all.

dewalt atomic drill metal shelf
The drill easily handled multiple holes through the plywood and 1/8″ angle iron frame.

Back to H**L Farm with the DeWalt Atomic Drill

Anyone who follows my articles for Home Fixated should be familiar with the help I offer to my brother. This would be the one who takes on one arduous project after another. I’m not sure who is the bigger twit, him for never relenting or me for continuing to show up, but I digress. This latest project was a small addition to his rural farmhouse in northwestern Pennsylvania. We needed to drill through a stack of framing to get wiring out into the new room from the main house. I outfitted the drill with a 1” spade bit and dug right in. I was impressed by the way the DeWalt Atomic drill bored right through the framing with no stalling or catching and pulling, the torque generated was transferred to the bit, not my hand. The compact size was also helpful in placing the drill exactly where I needed it.

dewalt atomic drill boring
Boring the holes with a spade bit was easily accomplished, small size and plenty of power combining to make the job easy.

A Lot to Like in a Small and Affordable Package

I have used the DeWalt DCD785, a larger and anvil like version of this drill for years. I find that this new compact version has risen to the top of my go to list when needing a drill for many jobs around the house or farm. DeWalt continues to offer refinement and improvement on an already robust and impressive lineup of cordless tools. The DeWalt Atomic drill can be purchased at the Home Depot as a kit with a pair of 1.3Ah batteries, charger and carrying case for only $99.00.

Buy Now - via Home Depot

The Atomic Compact Drill is quite svelte compared to the drill it’s replacing. Both great tools, but I’ll go for lighter and powerful any day.
Photo of author

About Stephen

Stephen hails from a family of DIY’ers, the delusion that no job is too big or complex to tackle on your own originally instilled by his father and further reinforced by his brothers, who are equally afflicted. His first real project was the complete restoration of an old farmhouse in Upstate NY, which was followed by another, setting the pattern. After 40 years in the wine and spirits business (sounds far more glamorous than the reality) he recently retired to an 80 acre sheep farm, where he will continue to farm until his retirement savings are exhausted. As a co-owner of 30 something bicycles (a devotee of the N+ 1 theory of bicycle requirements, where N= the current number owned), he is typically found tinkering on his latest build or out testing said results. Stephen spends his spare time (face it, all of his time) drinking good coffee, currying homegrown produce or fixing whatever is currently non-operational. He also spends whatever time he can with an ever growing extended family. When his wife retired they planned to do as much cycle touring as their legs will allow, but the sheep are pretty demanding.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.