This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. Whether you’re a pro looking to add to your personal collection or the company’s tool crib, or a serious DIYer, buying a combo kit is a great way to pick up quality tools – and save some cash in the process. If you’re just getting started with a particular brand, it’s an opportunity to pick up a charger and a battery or two, so you have everything you need to get to work. For those already invested in the brand, it’s a chance to pick up extra batteries on the cheap – and you can never have too many batteries! Anyone in need of a high-quality drill driver and impact driver should take a look at the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 20V MAX Brushless Combo Kit.
DeWalt didn’t cheap out when they put the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit together. It starts off with the DeWalt DCD991 drill driver, which sells for $139 as a bare tool. Ready to step in for the tough stuff is the DeWalt DCF887 impact driver, which goes for $129. Add in the DCB115 charger ($69), the DWS130 ToughSystem kit box ($34), a 2.0 Ah battery DCB203 (2 pack is $89), and the 4.0 Ah battery DCB204 (2 pack is $129), and you’ve got a pretty sweet set – and a savings of over $180 vs. individual prices. As a bonus, if you’re interested in buying American, both tools and the case are made in the USA, from global materials.
The first thing I noticed when the kit arrived was how robust the storage case is. The case for the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit is designed to integrate with DeWalt’s new ToughSystem tool storage series. The ToughSystem collection includes everything from small parts organizers to large rolling tool boxes. There’s even a music system you can add to the stack! We’ll be delving deeper into the ToughSystem in a future post.
Both tools, as well as the batteries that come in the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit, are part of DeWalt’s XR (Extended Run) lineup. They’re designed to provide maximum power and run time. The batteries have a built-in fuel gauge, very handy for checking how much power is left BEFORE you climb onto the roof, or through the scary crawl space. But enough of the preliminaries – let’s check out some yellow tools.
Drill, Baby, Drill
We’ll start off with the drill driver that comes with the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit, the DeWalt DCD991. Like most higher-end tools these days, it makes use of a beefy brushless motor. These motors are more efficient, run cooler, and help to greatly extend the amount of run time you’ll get out of your batteries (DeWalt claims they provide more than 75% more run time than brushed). They also go a lot longer without needing any maintenance. Here’s a short video from DeWalt:
An 11-position adjustable clutch allows you to dial in the amount of torque needed for whatever fasteners you’re using. Dial it down for itty-bitty screws on a cabinet hinge, crank it up for 4” construction screws. When you reach your pre-set torque, the clutch will slip, preventing the screw from being overdriven or stripped out.
A three speed gearing selector gives you even more control over torque. Speed 1 provides the highest torque setting, while settings 2 and 3 satisfy your need for speed, with reduced torque. Just allow the drill to come to a stop, and slide the switch to your favorite setting. Top speeds for the three positions are 0-450, 0-1,300, and 0-2,000 RPM, and a variable-speed trigger gives you great control over how many of those RPMs you use. When you release the trigger, a brake stops the chuck immediately.
Changing direction on either of the tools in the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit is simple. There’s a slide switch located just above the trigger. Pushing it in from the right side selects forward rotation, from the left backs things up. Placing the slide switch in the center position locks the tool in the OFF position.
Light Up The Night
The next feature seems to be standard on pretty much every tool these days, and both tools in the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit have one: An LED light. I used to scoff at the lights, considering them marginally useful at best, and a waste of battery power. And a few years back, many of them were. And some still are. DeWalt’s tool designers are no dim bulbs, though, and actually came up with a useful light for the DCD991!
The LED light can be set to low, medium or SPOTLIGHT by using the switch at the base of the handle. When set to low or medium, the light comes on and stays on until about 20 seconds after the trigger is released, giving you a chance to admire your handiwork. The low setting is better than working in the dark. On medium, the DCD991 puts out a very good amount of light, and it’s actually focused on where you’re working.
When set to spotlight, the highest setting, the light will remain on for 20 minutes after the trigger is released. And that sucker is BRIGHT! Bright enough that you could use it in a totally darkened room, or to find your way through a crawlspace or dark attic. DeWalt claims that the new LED is up to 20X brighter than their previous model; I believe them. Two minutes before it shuts off, it flashes twice and then dims, so you know it’s time to bail out. Or just tap the trigger lightly, and you’re good for another 20 minutes.
Chuck It Up
A key feature on any modern, pro-grade drill is actually that it’s…keyless. No one wants to hassle with locating and using a chuck key. Using a keyless, ratcheting chuck makes it easy to insert a bit one-handed. The business end on the DCD991 is a ½” ratcheting nitro-carburized metal chuck. DeWalt added carbide inserts for improved bit gripping strength and durability.
Speaking of chucking it up, DeWalt wanted the drill they included in the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit to be capable of doing most jobs the average pro expects from a drill. When drilling in wood, the DCD991 is designed to handle bits up to the following diameters:
Twist bit: ½”
Paddle bit: 1-½”
Hole saw: 4”
The Taming Of The Screw
Enough yammering – let’s see what the DCD991 can do. I decided to begin with the Driving portion of the festivities. I headed for the great outdoors, set up a couple of sawhorses, and stacked four pieces of 2X lumber. For the screwing tryouts, I grabbed some 6” Timberlok screws, a box of 4” x #10 GRK construction screws, and a box of 1-5/8” construction screws.
Naturally, I tried the biggest screws first. I wasn’t sure the drill would be able to sink them in all three settings, but I figured it should at least be able to do it in setting 1, the slowest but torquiest setting. And it did – the 6” Timberlok slowly and steadily disappeared into the stack of 2X lumber, until the head was totally buried. So far so good.
I set the switch to position 2, and ran in the second screw. Same steady burying of the screw, but quite a bit faster. I only had a couple of the big screws, so I backed them out, and it was on to setting 3. This time, the big screw flew into the stack. I removed and buried the big screws several times, in position 3. Hey – no slackers here! The drill didn’t slow or stall, and showed no signs at all that it was straining to sink those big suckers.
Then it was on to the 4” screws. Same results – the drill had no trouble burying the beefy screws in any setting. The star drive head on the bits, combined with a DeWalt MAX impact bit, provided a secure, no-slip connection, and I very quickly buried a dozen or so of the big screws. The drill felt like it had loads of power, and could happily go on sinking those screws all day.
After finishing up with the big screws, the 1-5/8” screws were pretty anti-climactic. I sank a bunch anyway, just for giggles, for the sake of thoroughness. Not surprisingly, the DeWalt DCD991 had no trouble at all burying the little screws as fast and deep as I wanted.
The DeWalt DCD991 Gets Boring
Mixed in with the approximately 297 dire WARNINGS!, CAUTIONS! and other pertinent info contained in the users manual, there is a table of recommended maximum drill bit sizes. From looking at the table, it appears DeWalt is confident the drill they put in the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit has enough power to make some good-size holes. I decided to see.
I started out with a 1” auger bit. I chucked it up, and made a couple of holes through a piece of 2X. That was way too easy – the drill flew right through, so I added another 2X on top, and made several more holes. The drill powered through with no stalling or hesitation, and felt like it had power to spare, on settings 1, 2 and 3. The table says the drill can handle up to a 1-¼” auger bit, and I don’t doubt it.
Next it was time for some bigger holes. The largest hole saw I had on hand was 2-9/16”, so I chucked it up and started making holes. I drilled several holes, varying among settings 1, 2 and 3. Once again, the DeWalt DCD991 had no trouble, and never felt like it was bogging down. DeWalt says the drill can handle hole saws up to 4”, and again I believe it.
For the final hole-making experiment, I wanted to make up for not having bigger auger bits or hole saws. DeWalt says the drill can handle self-feed bits up to 2-9/16”. I decided to up the ante, and introduced it to my 3-5/8” self-feed bit, over an inch bigger than its job description recommends. I started out in position 2, and the drill started out okay, but bogged down partway through.
I switched to setting 1, and the big bit chugged right through, no stalling or hesitation. HF tip: Make sure you use the auxiliary handle for bits this big! I made a couple of holes, and the drill handled them fine. This isn’t something you’ll want to do all day every day, but it’s nice to know the drill is capable enough to handle a tough job when you need it to.
The DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 Kit, Part Two – Sudden Impact
So it’s on to the second component of the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit – the DeWalt DCF887 impact driver. I had my first experience with an impact driver five years ago, and it immediately became one of my favorite tools. That driver happened to also be yellow – the DeWalt DCF895. It has weathered the years well, and still works perfectly.
To provide a little perspective, the older driver cranked out a max torque of 1,500 in/lbs., has a max RPM of 2,850, and max IPM (impacts per minute) of 3,300. The DeWalt DCF887 impact driver provides 1,825 in/lbs. of max torque, max RPM of 3,250, and can bang out 3,800 IPM. The price five years ago for the impact driver kit, which included two 1.5 Ah batteries and a charger, was $235. The current price for the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit, which includes bigger batteries, the ToughSystem case, and the DCD991 drill, is only $299. I’d say that answers the $64 question.
For those unfamiliar with impact drivers, prepare to be amazed. These tools are much smaller and lighter than most drill drivers (the DCD991 weighs 3.4 lbs., the DCF887 weighs 2 lbs.). Don’t let their compact size fool you, though; these babies pack enough power to drive big lag screws – without snapping your wrist in the process.
The mode switch on the DeWalt DCF887 lets you dial in the combination of power and speed you need. Unlike the drill, where setting 3 gives the fastest speed but lowest torque, setting three on the impact driver gives you max speed AND max torque: 3,250 RPM and 1,825 in/lbs. This is the setting you’ll use for the biggest fasteners. Mode 2 is recommended for “normal” impacting, and cuts down a bit on both speed and IPMs.
On the other end of the spectrum, the DeWalt DCF887 can dial it way back. Mode 1, aka “precision drive mode,” provides great control when driving smaller fasteners, preventing them from stripping out, snapping, or being overdriven. It takes a little getting used to, though; when the driver senses the resistance of the screw head contacting the material, it stops momentarily. If this is the placement you want, you’re good to go. If you want it a tad deeper, just keep holding the trigger, and the driver will very slowly snug it down.
The DCF887 also has the requisite LED light. It’s actually a set of three LEDs spaced around the chuck, in a lunar landing module kind of setup. The lights actually do a pretty good job lighting the target area, and are brighter than the similar lights on the older driver.
The driver can use any standard ¼” hex impact-rated accessory. Inserting them is simple: push them in. To remove, pull out on the collar around the chuck, and slide the accessory out. So let’s slide one in, and go make some noise!
Bring On The Torque
Before we pull the trigger, it’s time for a HomeFixated public service announcement: Impact drivers are LOUD. Once they encounter resistance, and start impacting, it’s like listening to a miniature jackhammer, or a political debate. If you want to be able to savor all the subtle musical nuances at that next Metallica concert, hearing protection is mandatory.
One common use of impact drivers is to sink big lag screws, for attaching a ledger board for a deck, for example. I took the famous 6” Timberlok screws and ran them into the four stacked pieces of 2X lumber. It will sink them in any mode, but mode 3 is super fast, burying the screws in about five seconds. I sank and removed them several times, and the DeWalt DCF887 made it seem effortless.
I then sank a bunch of the 4” x #10 construction screws. Wow – in less than two seconds, they’re buried sub-flush. For the final test on the bigger stuff, I took some 3/8” x 6” lag screws, and buried them in my stack of lumber. Once again, the DeWalt had no trouble fully sinking them, although it took a bit longer than the Timberloks, at around 13 seconds each.
I also wanted to try out Mode 1, aka the kinder, gentler mode. I took a couple of little screws around ½” long, set the selector to position 1, and fired away into a 2×4 with no predrilling. I’m not sure what kind of Yellow and Black voodoo is in play here, but the DeWalt DCF887 slowly drove the screws in, using enough force to get the screws totally sunk. As soon as the head made contact with the surface of the board, the driving stopped, paused for a couple of seconds, and then very slowly started impacting, tightening the screw down very slowly. I can see where this would be a very handy setting for someone installing cabinet hinges, HVAC sheet metal, or any other delicate fastening jobs.
Battery life on both tools was excellent. The compact battery, even after driving the large lag screws and a bunch of four-inchers with the impact driver, still had 2 out of 3 bars left. The bigger battery on the drill still showed all three bars, even after driving several lags and screws, and making some big honking holes!
Got Room For Some Yellow And Black In Your Tool Crib?
I’ve always been a proponent of buying the best quality you can afford, whether it’s a new tool or a cold beer. We’ll save the topic of cold beer for another time, but if you’re looking to add a couple of capable and durable tools to your collection, the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit would be an excellent way to do it.
The drill is well-designed, with plenty of features and ample power. The same holds true for the impact driver, and like I said, if you’ve never used one, it will soon become one of your favorite tools. Throw in a couple of batteries, the charger, and the DeWalt ToughSystem kit box, and you’ve got a set that will get the job done for you, whether you’re a pro or a serious DIYer. Both tools in the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 kit are covered by a Three Year Limited Warranty, a One Year Free Service Contract, and a 90 Day Money Back Guarantee.
Buy the DeWalt DCKTS291D1M1 20V MAX Combo Kit from our sponsor Home Depot for under $300:
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.