DeWalt DCF895C2 20V MAX Brushless 3-Speed Impact Driver Review

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Usually when I buy a tool, it’s to replace an older one that’s gone to the great Tool Crib in the Sky (or, sometimes, in the other direction). Other times, it’s to fill a need for a specific job, e.g. a hammer drill for making connections to concrete. Once in a great while, I get lucky and stumble across a tool I never even considered getting—mostly because I was unaware of how said tool could simplify some task and make my life even more of a carefree paradise.

My latest Woo-hoo! moment came recently, when DeWalt provided HomeFixated with a DeWalt DCF895C2 impact driver. Prior to this, impact drivers were a product-line I hadn’t really experimented with. My first response was to think of it as an impact WRENCH, an air tool I used many years ago while working on cars—breaking lug nuts and timing chain sprockets loose, etc. And they’re still around and widely used; an impact wrench is the tool you want when you’re dealing with large, heavy-duty nuts and bolts.

Don’t let the size fool you!

An impact DRIVER, however, is a different beast; and a beast it is! Using a very fast series of rotary hammer impulses to strike the driver bit (in the case of the DeWalt, up to 3,300 per minute), the impact driver can easily sink or remove lag bolts and long screws in metal or wood. Very little pressure is required, and there is almost no torque feedback felt by the operator – great for avoiding sprained wrists by the way.

This tool makes use of brushless technology, which is fast becoming the standard for many cordless power tools. From DeWalt’s web site:

The DeWalt built Brushless Motor works more efficiently compared to brushed motors and provides significantly more runtime in a smaller, cooler running cordless power tool. Brushed motor tools create more friction, which slows down the motor and generates heat. Brushless motors use electronic transfer of energy within the tool allowing it to run longer between charges.

• Brushless motor for maximum runtime
• 3-speed design for application specific control
• Unique Push button chuck allows one-handed operation for accessory changes
• Compact and lightweight design that fits into tight areas
• Three LED lights around the chuck with 20 second delay after trigger release for visibility with limited shadows
• Battery fuel gauge indicator with three LED lights provides end users with guidance about the level of battery runtime available in the pack
• Belt hook and onboard accessory storage included for portability

What you get:
• 20V MAX Cordless Lithium-Ion 1/4-in Brushless 3-Speed Impact Driver – DCF895C2
• (2) 20V MAX Lithium-Ion 1.5 Ah Battery Packs
• 30 Minute Fast Charger
• Belt Hook
• Kitbox

Series: 20V Max
Voltage: 20V
RPM: 0 – 950 / 0 – 1,900 / 0 – 2,850
Torque: 500 / 900 / 1,500 in-lbs.
Battery Type: MAX Li-Ion
IPM: 0 – 1,300 / 2,400 / 3,300
Length: 5-1/4-in
Weight: 2.7 lbs.
Drive Size: 1/4-in Hex

We also found the video below showing the drill tumbling around in a portable cement mixer with some paving stones, then being pulled out and used. Not sure whether that would affect the warranty…(“Hey—I saw it on the instructional video on your website!”) – If you pursue that angle, don’t say you saw it on HomeFixated, OK?

The drill has a switch with three speed settings:

Speed 1   0-950 rpm, max torque 500 in/lbs.   For finish applications.

Speed 2   0-1900 , max torque  900 in/lbs. Metal to metal fastening where you want to avoid stripping and fastener-head breaking.

Speed 3  0-2850 rpm,  1500 in/lbs. Driving lag screws, thin gauge metal to metal fastening.

The chuck accepts 1” driver bits for very close-quarters fastening (although it won’t lock them in).

The impact driver in action

The Dewalt effortlessly buries a 6″ Timberlok screw

My current testing battleground is an old farmhouse I’m renovating in Western PA. I charged the 1.5 Ah batteries ahead of time, which took roughly 30 minutes each, and brought along some 6” Timberlok screws. The driver is VERY light and compact—3 pounds with the battery, roughly 5” long. I was very skeptical of how well something that small and light could do against a 6” screw, but I lined it up, without pre-drilling, against four 2X4 studs, and let ‘er rip.

After going easily through the first stud, the resistance was enough to trigger the impact feature (you’ll know right away when this happens—a fairly loud, rapid hammering noise will shatter the tranquility of your serene work environment). At that point, I just watched that 6” screw quickly, steadily disappear through those four studs, and actually buried the head about ¼” in before I let go of the trigger. DAMN!! I was so impressed, I had to try it again, and ended up burying 5 more in the same effortless fashion. I then removed them all—aside from that being part of the test, they’re a buck apiece! I then used the DeWalt for the rest of the afternoon, as I firred out a very uneven ceiling with 2X4’s and 3” construction-grade screws.

Inserting the bit locks it in place


My impressions from a day of use? WOW! How did I not know what a fantastic tool an impact driver was? What an improvement from using a drill-driver for this sort of work. Often, when driving screws with a drill-driver, they’ll cam out and you end up stripping the head (and who wants a stripped head). The rotary impact motion on THIS tool tends to keep the bit firmly in place, with almost no pressure required.

The eagle has landed…bright lights help focus on your work

The ¼” hex shank chuck works great—just push the bit in and it locks in place; push the button underneath it to remove the bit. You can quickly swap out driver bits or hex-shank drill bits. There are three LED lights surrounding the chuck, giving the drill a little Star Wars vibe as it focuses the light right on your target. They also stay on for 20 seconds so you can admire your handiwork, if you’re so inclined. After holding the driver overhead all afternoon, I was a far happier camper than I would have been had I been holding up my 4.8 pound Hitachi drill-driver. As for battery power, I expected the smaller 1.5 Ah battery to fall short, but it went all day, and still had two of its three bars lit on the battery gauge (a handy feature, by the way, to check remaining charge before climbing a ladder or burrowing into a crawl space). The brushless technology helps greatly in extending battery life.

A small package with a LOT of power!

Bottom line—this tool just took me from “What’s an impact driver?” to “I ALWAYS have my impact driver along!”. With each fastener I drive, I’m STILL impressed at the ease and speed this tool provides, and that something so small and light can produce the results this Dewalt does. This tool would be a welcome addition to the toolbox of any rough or finish carpenter and is a must-have for HVAC installers, electricians, deck builders, plumbers, and anyone who has a lot of fasteners to install. I highly recommend you find someone who has one and try it out (if you can pry it out of their hands!), or just go out and buy the DEWALT DCF895C2 20-Volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed 1/4-Inch Impact Driver for around $235 from Amazon — I promise it will have a HUGE impact on the way you work.

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About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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10 thoughts on “DeWalt DCF895C2 20V MAX Brushless 3-Speed Impact Driver Review”

  1. My dad got one of the earlier 14.4v Makita impact drivers years ago. I was pretty jealous. They’re pretty indispensable tools. The only downside seems to be the noise and an occasionally broken screw (less of an issue with then newer adjustable speed/torque tools). This one looks like a real winner. the light placement is awesome (I have the 12v driver which has a similar light setup and it’s the best). PS I think those pavers are just pieces of framing lumber that have been in there bouncing around long enough to have gotten rounded over.

    • This is now one of my favorite tools; I take it along on every job, even if I’m not likely to need it, just in case I get an opportunity to fire it up! The noise isn’t too bad, but if I have a job where I’ll be using it a lot, the ear muffs will go on. As for the REAL contents of the tumble test, you might be right! Either way, I’m trying to keep my driver out of the cement mixer, no matter WHAT’S in it…

  2. This looks like a nice upgrade from the old standby drivers. I wonder if the brushless tech is small and cheap enough to be used in the 12v class of tools – that would be very interesting. I have the Bosch PS41 and it is nice to be able to drive 3″ screws into framing lumber with no pilot holes. However I do agree that using the impact does turn driving screws into a hearing-protection-required type of job. “Sorry hon I can’t hear you, doing some impact screwing down here!”

    • I’m not sure about the economics involved; it may be one of those areas where the technology gets cheaper the more popular it becomes, like with DVD players, computers, etc. And I would think with all its advantages, it would become popular pretty quickly. I’m guessing we’ll be seeing a lot more of it, first in the higher-end tools, then hopefully trickling down to the smaller stuff…

  3. Just used mine for the 1st time the other day. De-lagging an old deck. While I had to loosen the lags to get it going once I had a few twists done the impact driver easily removed what would’ve have been several minutes of torture just to remove lag bolt in mere seconds. You could hear them screaming as they were backed out of the wood.

    • Hi, Todd-
      There’s some deck demo in my future as well; I hope to be able to re-use at least some of the joists, but all the decking has to go. It’s screwed down, and the screws are pretty rusty; I’m betting the impact driver will be able to remove a LOT more fasteners without stripping out the heads than my drill driver would. Once the decking is off, I’ll evaluate the structure, and I may get to test out the de-lagging ability as well! Since you have recent experience, you’re welcome to join in the fun! Thanks for your input.

      • I had the same problem. The decking which was under a pool was shot. I used those 5/4 boards, what crap, I’ll never do that again. 2x’s only! Everything else seems structurally sound so I’m considering re-using it as a deck on the back of the house.

        Thanks for the de-lagging invite. I can’t think of anything more fun than multiple screaming lags at one time.

  4. I had my aha moment when I watched an overhead door installer use one on the lags for the hinges. I bought one that day and haven’t looked back since. My drill/driver is soooo jealous.

    • Hi, Jeff-
      One project on my to-do list is to install a 16′ garage door in a new garage, so I’ll be installing all the tracks, opener, etc., along with the door. I am now actually (sort of) looking forward to a project I’ve been putting off for a while. Thanks for the feedback!


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