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DEWALT DCF809B Atomic Review

Finishing a little below average overall, the ATOMIC struggled to stand out from the rest of the pack
DEWALT DCF809B Atomic
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Price:   $120 List | $89 at Amazon
Pros:  Good amount of torque, decently compact, fairly fast
Cons:  Fairly loud, lackluster battery test performance
Manufacturer:   DEWALT
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 22, 2020
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Speed - 35% 6
  • Torque - 25% 7
  • Convenience - 20% 6
  • Battery - 15% 4
  • Noise - 5% 5

Our Verdict

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
DEWALT DCF809B Atomic
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $120 List
$88.88 at Amazon
$135 List
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$129 List
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$110 List
$93.95 at Amazon
$70 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Good amount of torque, decently compact, fairly fastIncredibly fast, phenomenal torque, four speed settingsExceptional torque, very fast, great battery lifeFast, lots of torquePhenomenal torque, three speed settings, quick insert chuck, quick release chuck
Cons Fairly loud, lackluster battery test performanceNot the best battery life, noisyLoud, only one RPM settingLoud, average battery lifeSlower than a handful of other models, so-so battery life, noisy
Bottom Line We found the ATOMIC to be a fairly uninspiring impact with a lack of noteworthy results in our testsThis impact driver offers fantastic speed and torque in a compact packageIf you want a high performance impact driver that can hang with the best, this is a good choiceAn exceptionally fast and powerful tool that is slightly held back by an average batteryComing up a bit short of winning an award, we were a big fan of the torque of the R86038 but it was outperformed in other ways
Rating Categories DEWALT DCF809B... Milwaukee M18 FUEL... Makita XDT13 Ryobi P238 Ridgid R86038
Speed (35%)
6
9
8
8
7
Torque (25%)
7
10
10
10
10
Convenience (20%)
6
8
6
7
6
Battery (15%)
4
7
9
6
7
Noise (5%)
5
2
3
1
2
Specs DEWALT DCF809B... Milwaukee M18 FUEL... Makita XDT13 Ryobi P238 Ridgid R86038
Impact driver model # DCF809 2853-20 XDT13 P238 R86038
Average measured fastening torque 215 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 282 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb
Measured breaking torque 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb
Measured length 130 mm 116 mm 126 mm 161 mm 147 mm
Average measured sound pressure level 92 dBa 99 dBa 97 dBa 104 dBa 100 dBa
Quick bit insert Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Bit holder No Yes No Yes Yes
Multiple fastening modes No Yes No Yes Yes

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.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


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.

Credit: Laura Casner

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 is fast at driving larger diameter lab bolts.
The Atomic is fast at driving larger diameter lab bolts.
Credit: Laura Casner

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 model has a fantastic lighting system.
This model has a fantastic lighting system.
Credit: Laura Casner

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

mm.


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.

There's no way around it -- impact drivers are loud.
There's no way around it -- impact drivers are loud.
Credit: Laura Casner

Dislikes


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.


Value


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.

Conclusion


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