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DEWALT ATOMIC DCD708C2 Review

If you want a compact drill that packs plenty of power, the Atomic is where it's at
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Price:   $160 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Compact, powerful, good battery life
Cons:  No battery level indicator
Manufacturer:   DEWALT
By Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Nov 5, 2019
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 16
  • Drilling - 35% 9
  • Driving - 35% 8
  • Included Battery - 20% 7
  • Convenience - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Scoring in the upper portion of the group overall, the DEWALT ATOMIC DCD708C2 is an overall excellent cordless drill. This compact tool packs a ton of power in a form factor that is much smaller than its competitors, resembling a 12-volt tool more than a 20-volt model. The ATOMIC did very well in most of our drilling and driving tests, though it did struggle to drive in the large lag screw. It has most of the typical convenience features and a battery that can handle most projects, though it is just a bit less powerful than some of the top tools.


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Pros Compact, powerful, good battery lifePowerful, great battery life, fantastic integrated worklightExcellent drilling performance, tons of driving power, decently convenientBurly construction, tons of powerPhenomenal driving performance, solid drilling power
Cons No battery level indicatorExpensive, only includes a single batterySo-so battery life, somewhat priceyHeavy, costlySubpar battery life
Bottom Line If you want a compact drill that packs plenty of power, the Atomic is where it’s atIf you want a heavy-duty drill that can keep up with all your toughest projects, the Kobalt is the best you can getThe DCD777C2 is one of the best drills we have seen and would have claimed the top spot if it only had a better battery lifeThis beefy drill features industrial build quality with an all-metal chuck but was just slightly outmatched when it came to drilling powerThe DCD771C2 is a good option if you value driving performance above drilling power
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Rating Categories DEWALT ATOMIC... Kobalt KDD 1424A-03 DEWALT DCD777C2 Milwaukee M18 DEWALT DCD771C2
Drilling (35%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Driving (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
Included Battery (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
4
Convenience (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
Specs DEWALT ATOMIC... Kobalt KDD 1424A-03 DEWALT DCD777C2 Milwaukee M18 DEWALT DCD771C2
Battery Capacity (Included) 1.5 Ah 2 Ah 1.5 Ah 1.5 Ah 1.3 Ah
Battery Voltage 20V 24V 20V 18V 20V
Max Chuck 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 1/2"
Battery Chemistry Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion
Drill Model Tested DCD708 KDD 524B-03 DCD777 2606-20 DCD771
Box Model (Kit) Tested DCD708C2 672823 DCD777C2 2606-22CT DCD771C2
RPM Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1650
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 500
High: 0 - 1750
Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1800
Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1800
Peak Torque 340 UWO 650 in-lbs 340 UWO 500 in-lbs 300 UWO
Measured Length 6-3/16" 7-3/8" 7-1/4" 7-1/4" 8-3/8"
Measured Weight 3 pounds 3.7 ounces 3 pounds
15.2 oz
3 pounds
4.1 oz
3 pounds
12.6 oz
3 pounds
7.3 oz
Measured Charge Time 68 minutes 75 minutes 65 minutes 31 minutes 58 minutes
Battery Indicator Location N/A Battery N/A Battery N/A
LED Location Above the battery Above the battery Above the trigger Above the trigger Above the trigger
Included Belt Clip Yes Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The DEWALT ATOMIC might not be the most powerful cordless drill we have tested to date but it is definitely the most compact of the top-tier tools. It's a great choice if you are working on projects in confined areas, especially when combined with its solid integrated work light.

Performance Comparison


The ATOMIC is a compact drill that packs a punch.
The ATOMIC is a compact drill that packs a punch.

Drilling


Responsible for 35% of the DEWALT ATOMIC's overall score, our trio of drilling performance tests are some of the most significant of our entire review process. We rated and scored the ATOMIC's performance at drilling through a solid door with a 5" hole saw, drilling through some dimensional lumber with a 1" paddle bit, and at making some holes in a steel sheet with some twist drills. It did very well with all three tasks, earning one of the better scores of the group.


This tool made quick work of the 2x12 with the paddle bit, punching through without much of a struggle. It did occasionally get hung up and stall but never failed to drill the hole. It also did very well at drilling through the 16 gauge metal sheet. We used a ¼" and ½" twist drill for this, with the ATOMIC only taking 1.5 seconds to make it through with the ¼" drill and 3-4 seconds with the ½" one.

The DCD708C2 easily drilled through dimensional lumber with larger twist drills and spade bits.
The DCD708C2 easily drilled through dimensional lumber with larger twist drills and spade bits.

Of our three drilling tests, the ATOMIC did the worst with the 5" hole saw. It drilled to the full depth but did require a little convincing. Its fastest time was a very respectable 35 seconds but required more than a minute when it was struggling. It can stall if you push too hard, forcing you to let go of the trigger completely before it will restart again.

It's a breeze to set countersunk screw heads with the ATOMIC DCD708C2.
It's a breeze to set countersunk screw heads with the ATOMIC DCD708C2.

Driving


Matching drilling performance in terms of significance, our Driving metric is also responsible for 35% of the final score for each tool. To compare performance, we used the ATOMIC to drive in both a ½" diameter, 5" long lag screw and some standard wood screws. We used an appropriate size pilot hole for the lag screw and scored based on the amount of effort it took for the ATOMIC to drive the screws to their complete depth. It again did very well, scoring close to the top of the group.


The ATOMIC did very well with the typical wood screws, driving them in extremely quickly and easily. It goes fast enough that it even took a bit of time to get used to it to not drive the screw head well below the surface of the wood. The clutch has 15 different torque settings you can also use to prevent this.

The clutch on the ATOMIC helps prevent you from over-driving screws.
The clutch on the ATOMIC helps prevent you from over-driving screws.

Unfortunately, the ATOMIC didn't do quite as well with the giant lag screw. It seemed like it wasn't struggling at all but stalled out with about 1" remaining to drive in.

We eventually could drive in these lag screws to the full depth but this drill complained about it quite a bit for the last inch.
We eventually could drive in these lag screws to the full depth but this drill complained about it quite a bit for the last inch.

We eventually were able to muscle it in all the way but it sure wasn't easy and you could tell by the smell that the ATOMIC was working hard.

The DCD708C2 scored very well in our battery life tests.
The DCD708C2 scored very well in our battery life tests.

Included Battery


Responsible for 20% of the final score, our next metric focused on the battery life of this cordless tool. We compared the battery life of each product by alternating between drilling three 1" holes with the spade bit and driving in 16 of the normal wood screws, then awarding points based on the number of completed cycles. We also timed how long it took a dead battery to recharge and the number of batteries included. The ATOMIC continued its impressive performance, again scoring in the top part of the group.


The ATOMIC made it through about 7.5 of our drilling/driving cycles, which was significantly more than most tools. It included a pair of 1.5 amp-hour batteries that took a little over an hour to recharge when completely dead in our tests.

This drill has a handful of features that make it more convenient and easy to use  like a belt clip.
This drill has a handful of features that make it more convenient and easy to use, like a belt clip.

Convenience


For the remaining tenth of the ATOMIC's total score, we looked at all the little features and functions that make this tool a little easier and less of a hassle to operate. It is missing a few features compared to the top products, putting it roughly in the middle of the group overall with its slightly above average score.


The ATOMIC has a built-in belt clip and work light, which is quite good. It provides adequate illumination for your work area and stays on for 20 seconds or so when you hit the button.

The integrated work light provides enough illumination to get by if you are working in a dark area.
The integrated work light provides enough illumination to get by if you are working in a dark area.

It's about average in weight, tipping the scales at just over three pounds. The chuck can hold bits up to ½" in diameter and you have two different speed/torque ratios to choose from. It's also quite easy to swap the batteries in and out but we were disappointed by the lack of a battery charge level indicator.

The chuck can hold bits up to a 1/2" diameter.
The chuck can hold bits up to a 1/2" diameter.

Value


The ATOMIC isn't the best value option, as there are much less expensive drills that performed comparably.

Conclusion


Overall, the DEWALT ATOMIC is an excellent cordless drill that we found very little to complain about. It's a good option if you have other DEWALT tools and want to stick with the black and yellow or if you need a pint-sized drill with plenty of power.


Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman