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DeWalt DCF815S2 12V Review

This little 12-volt impact struggled to compete with the rest
DeWalt DCF815S2 12V
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Price:   $165 List | $134.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great integrated worklight, decently convenient
Cons:  Poor measured battery life, lackluster speed and torque showing in our tests
Manufacturer:   DEWALT
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 22, 2020
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21
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Speed - 35% 1
  • Torque - 25% 1
  • Convenience - 20% 6
  • Battery - 15% 1
  • Noise - 5% 2

Our Verdict

Right off the bat, we aren't particularly big fans of the DeWalt DCF815S2 and would be very reluctant to recommend this product. It scored very poorly in both our speed and torque evaluations, which it paired with some of the worst results overall in our battery life and noise evaluations. It costs quite a bit more than many tools that performed significantly better and we are hard-pressed to identify who this tool would be a good fit for.

Compare to Similar Products

 
DeWalt DCF815S2 12V
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $165 List
$134.00 at Amazon
$135 List
$115.99 at Amazon
$129 List
$91.83 at Amazon
$110 List
$77.41 at Amazon
$120 List
$89.90 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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84
80
77
58
Star Rating
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Pros Great integrated worklight, decently convenientIncredibly fast, phenomenal torque, four speed settingsExceptional torque, very fast, great battery lifeFast, lots of torqueConvenient, compact, several settings
Cons Poor measured battery life, lackluster speed and torque showing in our testsNot the best battery life, noisyLoud, only one RPM settingLoud, average battery lifePricey, battery doesn't last long, loud
Bottom Line This little 12-volt impact struggled to compete with the restIf you're looking for a fast 18V impact driver with excellent torque in a condensed size, we recommend this modelThis driver had the most impressive battery life in our test and offers torque performance that is on par with the bestThis driver is fast and provides excellent torque at an affordable priceGet this if you're looking for a light, small, 12-volt impact driver with great performance
Rating Categories DeWalt DCF815S2 12V Milwaukee M18 FUEL... Makita XDT13 Ryobi P238 Milwaukee M12 Fuel...
Speed (35%)
1
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Torque (25%)
1
10.0
10.0
10.0
6.0
Convenience (20%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Battery (15%)
1
7.0
9.0
6.0
4.0
Noise (5%)
2.0
2.0
3.0
1
3.0
Specs DeWalt DCF815S2 12V Milwaukee M18 FUEL... Makita XDT13 Ryobi P238 Milwaukee M12 Fuel...
Impact driver model # DCF815 2853-20 XDT13 P238 2553-20
Average measured fastening torque 110 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 282 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 143 ft-lb
Measured breaking torque 100 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 300 ft-lb 275 ft-lb
Measured length 159 mm 116 mm 126 mm 161 mm 132 mm
Average measured sound pressure level 100 dBa 99 dBa 97 dBa 104 dBa 97 dBa
Quick bit insert Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bit holder No Yes No Yes No
Multiple fastening modes No Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This impact does have a good built-in worklight and a quick insert chuck but these factors are far outweighed by its lengthy list of flaws in our opinion.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


Regrettably, the list of things we liked about this impact driver is fairly short. As mentioned above, we were impressed with the amount of light this tool provides. It does a great job of fully illuminating your work area but it unfortunately doesn't stay on unless you are holding the trigger. However, you can press the trigger just enough to turn on the light without the chuck starting to spin.

The DeWalt 12V has fantastic lights.
The DeWalt 12V has fantastic lights.
Credit: Laura Casner

This impact also lets you insert a ¼" hex bit into the chuck just by pressing — you don't need to lift the locking collar like other models. The DCF815 is also on the lighter side for these products. In terms of things we liked, that's pretty much it — we warned you the list is short.

Credit: Laura Casner

Dislikes


The DCF815S2 got off to a rough start by delivering one of the worst performances we have seen to date in our most important rating metric: speed. It is was one of the slowest we have seen at driving in screws, taking significantly longer to sink ledger and lag bolts into sheet goods or dimensional lumber. It took almost four times as long on average to drive a ledger screw into a stack of plywood or 2x12s as the fastest model and almost couldn't even seat the head of a lag bolt against the wood.

This model is not very fast at driving fasteners.
This model is not very fast at driving fasteners.
Credit: Laura Casner

This pint-sized impact didn't pack much of a punch in our torque tests, falling flat compared to the rest of the group. It only managed to tighten a ¾" nut to an average of 110 foot-pounds during our tightening test — far less than the 300 foot-pounds or so the top tools could achieve.

The DeWalt 12V torque is less than impressive.
The DeWalt 12V torque is less than impressive.
Credit: Laura Casner

The DCF815S2 can comfortably break a ¾" nut loose when it was tightened to 75 foot-pounds and only took 5 seconds to crack one tightened to 100 foot-pounds loose but failed to free anything tighter than that.

For our battery assessment, we alternated between setting 14 3" ledger screws and driving in 3 ½" lag bolt in and out, scoring each tool on the number of cycles completed. Most tools completed at least two or three cycles of this but the DCF815S2 couldn't even make it through a single cycle on a full charge, dying before it could remove the lag bolt. This impact is also one of the louder models, averaging close to 100 dBa while driving a screw at the ear level of the operator in our tests — much louder than other models. This is definitely loud enough that it can exceed typical safe noise exposure levels with continued use and you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding personal protective equipment when using this tool.


Value


Overall, this tool is far from a good bargain buy, costing much more than other products that received much higher scores.

Conclusion


It was a struggle to find positives with this product and the few we found were far overshadowed by its long list of negatives in our opinion. We would be very reticent to suggest the DCF815S2 for your next impact driver purchase and would strongly suggest you consider other options.

David Wise and Austin Palmer

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