As if there wasn’t a shortage of DeWalt 20V drill/drivers and impact drivers on the market, there’s a new model for 2023. This DeWalt DCF845B review examines what the new DeWalt 20V MAX XR impact driver has to offer that its predecessors don’t.
On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable difference between the previous model (DCF887) and the new DeWalt DCF845 impact driver. The aluminum gearbox housing on the DCF845 looks a little more modern but surely the upgrades can’t just be cosmetic? For DeWalt to introduce a new model it has to offer more than the tried and tested older version.
If we’re going to make a DeWalt DCF845 vs DCF887 comparison, the most noteworthy improvement would be increased speed whilst maintaining the same torque. This is quite remarkable since both models use the DeWalt 20V MAX XR brushless motor. Since there is no indication that the DeWalt DCF845 is part of the XR Power Detect series, I’m assuming the motor is pretty much the same as any other DeWalt XR tool.
There has to be some engineering wizardry involved. This would require some kind of improvements to the motor and/or gearbox, and possibly the electronic control functions. Generally, an increase in speed will result in reduced torque. The old Newtonian principle will always apply – energy cannot be created or destroyed. This means that the new DeWalt impact driver has a few more watts to work with or that energy is being used more efficiently. It’s a secret that the DeWalt engineers have not chosen to reveal.
How it has been achieved is irrelevant when it comes to the end user. What’s important is that we have a more accomplished tool. By increasing the speed of the DeWalt DCF845, it performs better as a drill driver. With the same amount of torque, there is no compromise to its capabilities as an impact driver. Is this tool the best of both worlds? A great impact driver that functions equally well as a regular drill/driver? The DeWalt marketing guys seem to think so as the DCF845B is advertised as being both – an impact driver and a drill/driver.
DeWalt DCF845B ¼” Impact Driver | Comprehensive Review
Specs & Features:
- DeWalt XR brushless motor.
- 1825 in-LBS torque.
- 3,400 maximum RPM.
- 4,200 IPM.
- 3 speed settings and variable speed trigger.
- Chip ready, which enables you to track your tools using the DeWalt Tool Connect app.
- Tri-LED illumination.
- Belt hook.
- Weight: 2 LBS
- 3-year warranty, 1-year free service plan, 90-day guarantee.
The DeWalt DCF845B is the latest in their 20V MAX impact driver lineup, fitted with the incredible XR brushless motor which delivers superior power, increases efficiency, thereby extending battery time, and is more durable than traditional brushed motors. This isn’t anything new, there are several XR variants in the DeWalt impact driver lineup. What’s the big deal? You may be asking.
Where the DeWalt DCF845B differs from the previous range-topper, the DCF887 is that the DeWalt engineers have managed to squeeze a bit more speed out of the tool. The maximum speed has increased from 3,250 RPM (DCF887) to 3,400 RPM for the DeWalt DCF845B impact driver, giving you the ability to drive larger-diameter screws faster. Impacts per minute have also been increased from a maximum of 3,800 IPM to 4,200 IPM.
The new model has retained the three-speed switch which has a precision function on the lowest speed setting, preventing over-tightening. Though the DeWalt DCF845 doesn’t have any of the sophisticated auto settings that you’ll find on some other high-end impact drivers. This doesn’t bother me, as the beautifully sensitive trigger switch gives you superb speed control.
If we’re going to compare torque specs to a driver like the Milwaukee 2854-20 M18 impact driver, the DeWalt DCF845B doesn’t look all that impressive. The Milwaukee impact driver has a rated torque spec of 250 Ft-LBS but actually performed better than this in real-world testing. Whereas the DeWalt 20V cordless impact driver has a paltry 1,825 in-LBS (152 Ft-LBS). While the DeWalt DCF845B has better RPM and IMP specs than the Milwaukee model, it pales in comparison when it comes to nut-busting torque. This is because the DeWalt XR impact driver is designed for an entirely different application.
High-torque impact drivers, of which the Milwaukee M18 is probably the best, are designed for heavy-duty mechanic’s shops and other applications where you need the torque to loosen large nuts and bolts that have been tightened to a high torque specification.
DeWalt 20V MAX impact drivers are primarily intended for carpenters, electricians, Installation technicians, general contractors, and DIY users. The speed-to-torque ratio gives you quite a lot of versatility when driving and loosening most types of screws and fasteners. While the torque is sufficient for loosening lug nuts on the average car or light truck, it’s not the best for a lot of auto repair jobs.
Using the DeWalt DCF845B is as pleasurable as any other DeWalt impact driver. It’s a fraction of an inch shorter than the DCF887 but not as short as the ultra-compact Atomic impact driver. The ¼” chuck is absolutely awesome. It’s as tough as nails and has the wonderful single-touch quick-release function that we all know and love.
The handle, as I’d expect from DeWalt, is well-padded and ergonomically designed to fit your hand like a glove. You have a natural grip on the large trigger switch, and it has the luxury of three LEDs, positioned in a triangular pattern to eliminate shadows.
If you’re looking for an impact driver for a mechanic’s shop, the DeWalt DCF845B is not your best option. Alternatively, it is one of the best for contractors and DIYers. Driving screws into just about any type of material is a breeze with this super-powerful driver, regardless of the diameter or length of the screw. You have exact control over the speed, so it’s also great for driving small screws into soft materials without ripping through the material.
As with any DeWalt cordless tool, the 20V MAX XR impact driver is a rugged machine that’s built to work hard. It’s easy to use and incredibly light. An all-round winner.