We didn't think that the DEWALT ATOMIC DCF809 is a bad impact driver by any means, but we were overall unimpressed by its performance. We found it to be a fairly uninspiring product that is decently fast with solid amounts of torque but delivered lackluster results in our battery test and is on the louder side compared to the other products. We did like that this tool has a surprising amount of power relative to its size but this was far from enough to merit it one of our awards.
DEWALT DCF809B Atomic Review
Pros: Good amount of torque, decently compact, fairly fast
Cons: Fairly loud, lackluster battery test performance
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The ATOMIC DCF809 is one of the most compact impact drivers in terms of front to back length that still packs a decent amount of power. It might be worth considering if you already have compatible batteries and are always working in cramped areas but, otherwise, the ATOMIC failed to make much of an impact on us.
The ATOMIC DCF809 did do fairly well in our torque tests, fastening a ¾" nut to an average of 215 foot-pounds over three independent trials, which is a respectable showing for these tools but far from the best. However, this impact did quite a bit better at breaking fasteners free, able to successfully loosen a ¾" nut that had been tightened to 300 foot-pounds in four seconds.
This tool was also a little faster than average in our speed tests, only taking 5-6 seconds to drive a 3.625" ledger screw into stacked sheets of plywood or 2x12s. It also was quite quick at driving in a ½" x3" lag bolt in our tests, only taking 22 seconds to sink it to its full depth and 10 to remove it.
The ATOMIC DCF809 does provide plenty of light when working in dimly lit areas, with a trio of LEDs around the chuck to prevent any obnoxious shadows covering where you are working. However, you do have to turn on the impact for a brief second to get them to light up, though they will stay lit for about 20 seconds after you release the trigger.
This impact driver has one of the shortest front to back lengths out of all the drills we tested, particularly when you discount the smaller 12-volt models, measuring in at 130
It has a quick-insert chuck so you can just stick ¼" hex bits in without releasing the locking collar. We also measured an average of 92 decibels for the user when the ATOMIC was in use, which isn't the loudest impact we have tested to date, but we wouldn't exactly describe this tool as quiet.
Our biggest complaint with this tool was its overall unimpressive result in our battery life test. To compare the battery life of each product, we alternated between setting 14 ledger screws and driving a large lag bolt in and out with each product and awarded points based on the number of cycles completed. The ATOMIC made it through 2.5 sets before it called it quits, compared to the 5+ cycles the top tools persevered through. This impact also lacks different torque settings and an integrated holder for an extra bit.
The ATOMIC isn't the most expensive impact we have tested but still costs quite a bit more than a few models that outperformed it, making it a mediocre bargain buy.
It's hard for us to identify an audience that the ATOMIC is particularly well-suited for. We didn't think it was a bad tool by any means but it struggled to earn recognition compared from the rest of the competition in most of our tests.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer