While the DEWALT DCD771C2 did score quite well and surprised us with its essentially unmatched performance in our screw driving tests, this cordless drill didn't merit an award. It's drilling performance was great, but it still couldn't quite compare to the top drills and we found its performance in our battery life test to be overall on the disappointing side. It is decently convenient to use, with plenty of helpful features and functions, but it also has a list price on the higher side. This brushed drill won't disappoint for most people, though we would usually pick another model unless this drill was on sale at a discounted price or there were some other extenuating circumstances.
DEWALT DCD771C2 Review
Pros: Phenomenal driving performance, solid drilling power
Cons: Subpar battery life
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This drill finished just behind the Milwaukee M18 and ahead of the PORTER-CABLE PCCK607LB. The DEWALT DCD771C2 is in the middle of these two drills in terms of list prices, but it did the worst in our battery life performance tests of this group. However, it is the best at driving of this trio and better than the PORTER-CABLE when it came to drilling, though the M18 did a bit better than both in our harder drilling tests.
To begin our review and testing process for these tools, we researched all the most popular brands and products, then picked out the most promising ones to purchase and test out for ourselves side-by-side. We scored each tool on its performance in four weighted metrics — driving, drilling, convenience, and included battery — with the DCD771C2's results discussed below.
The DCD771C2 got off to a fairly good start in our drilling performance test, which is worth 35% of its total score. It earned an 8 out of 10, based on its performance at drilling into a solid core door with a 5" hole saw, drilling through steel sheets with twist drills, and drilling through some dimensional lumber with a 1" paddle bit.
The DCD771C2 did decently well with the 5" hole saw, drilling to the full depth of the saw without any real issue at all. It drilled the hole nice and smooth, not even stalling at it got close to the full depth. However, this drill did take a bit longer — about three times as long — than the top drills to reach this depth. Still, it was less than a minute.
Moving on to the 1" paddle bit, the DCD771C2 did particularly well. It can drill through the 2x12 in its higher gear the vast majority of the time, only requiring us to downshift if we were drilling through a knot or other particularly difficult bit. It offers you a ton of control, but we could tell that it did have slightly less power than the best drills, though this was barely discernible.
The DCD771C2 finished out with a solid performance when it came to drilling through the steel sheets. This drill again never really struggled or stalled but it did take a bit longer, though not much. It took about 2.4 seconds to drill through the 16 gauge sheet with the ¼" drill and 7-9 seconds to make it through with the ½" drill. However, it did bind up a bit with the ½" drill right as it punched through, requiring us to drop it down to the lower gear.
Next, we evaluated and scored the DCD771C2 driving power when it came to setting screws; this also is responsible for 35% of its final score. The DCD771C2 earned a perfect 10 out of 10, based on its performance at driving in both a countersunk #9 wood screw and a 5" long, ½" diameter lag screw.
This cordless drill is actually phenomenal when it came to driving in the normal wood screws. It set the screws very quickly with tons of power and had absolutely no problem setting the screw heads flush. The DEWALT DCD771C2 offers tons of control, letting you set the screw head to the perfect depth.
Our third metric focused on the battery life of each drill, as well as the time it takes to recharge and the number of included batteries. The DCD771C2 unfortunately, didn't do quite as well in this set of test, earning a 4 out of 10. Altogether, these three tests are responsible for 20% of the final score for this drill.
To evaluate and compare the battery life of each tool head-to-head, we used each drill to drive in 16 normal wood screws and then drill three holes with the 1" paddle bit, repeating this until the drill's battery died. Points were awarded based on the total number of cycles accomplished. The DCD771C2 has a 1.3 Ah battery, which only made it through four full cycles of this, dying after driving in the first two screws of the fifth. For comparison, the best drills did over 10 cycles but most of those had a 1.5 Ah or 2 Ah battery.
The DCD771C2 did redeem itself a bit by including two batteries, so you can at least always have one on the charger while you are working, and by charging faster than average. It takes less than an hour — 58 minutes — for the included charger to completely recharge a totally dead battery.
For the final 10% of the overall score for each cordless drill, we awarded points based on all the little features and functions that these tools have that make them easier and more productive to use. After all, a good tool should make it easier to accomplish the task at hand, rather than make it more difficult. The DCD771C2 finished out our tests with a solid showing, receiving a 6 out of 10.
It's super easy to swap batteries on this drill, with an easy-to-release locking button and the battery slides in and out effortlessly. However, this drill does lack a battery meter so you don't have a concrete way of knowing how much battery life you have remaining. The DCD771C2 is about average in weight for these products — just shy of 3.5 lbs. with the battery installed.
It has two different gear ratios, with rpm ranges of 0-450 or 0-1800. The chuck can expand to up to ½", but we were a little bummed out that this drill did not include a belt clip, though one can be equipped if purchased separately.
The DCD771C2 also has a built-in work light above the trigger. It provides decent illumination of whatever you are working on and stays on for about 20 seconds after you let go of the trigger — a feature we found to be incredibly useful.
This drill isn't an amazing value, as it does have a somewhat higher list price, but we have found it offered at significant discounts when on sale, which would make it a much more attractive bargain buy.
The DCD771C2 is another exceptional drill that gets the job done, even if it can't quite match the overall performance of the top tools. We found that it offers an unparalleled amount of control and power when it came to driving in screws, though we did wish that it had a bit longer battery life. This drill can handle pretty much every task you throw at it — it just might take a little longer than the top-tier tools.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer