DEWALT MAX XR DCF887B Review
Pros: Good speed and torque, decent battery life
Cons: Loud, relatively pricey
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The DEWALT MAX XR DCF887 continues the company's legacy of high-quality cordless tools, and is more than likely to please DEWALT fans. However, if you haven't already invested in the DEWALT battery system there are equally capable options available with slightly friendlier price tags.
The MAX XR DCF887 is one of the fastest drivers we've tested. It managed to drive a 3" long ½" lag bolt into a stack of plywood in just 18 seconds, and pulled it back out in under 5 seconds. On average the tools we tested took 30 seconds to drive in the same bolt, and very few were able to break the 20 second barrier.
This speed carried over into our leger screw test, in which the MAX XR DCF887 was able to consistently drive 3-⅝" into a stack of plywood in under 4 seonds. This is nearly half the average time of 7 seconds. This driver was even faster putting those ledger screws into 2x12's, with its average time dropping to just 3 seconds.
We found the MAX XR to display exceptional torque when breaking nuts loose, but only slightly above average torque when tightening those same bolts. This put it towards, but not at, the top of our torque leaderboard.
First the good. The MAX XR DCF887 easily broke a nut that had been tightened to 300 foot pounds in our testing, doing so in under 2 seconds. This puts it on par with the most powerful drivers we tested.
Now the mediocre. In tightening a nut onto bolts that we welded to an I-beam the MAX XR DCF887 reached a maximum of 245 foot pounds, with its average over three trials being slightly less. While this is still above average than likely all DIYers will ever needs, other models in the same price category were able to easily fasten bolts to 300+ foot pounds.
While no model we tested has all of the convenient touches we want, the MAX XR provides more than most, earning it one of the top overall score in this metric.
Perhaps our favorite user friendly feature of this driver is the light. Using a string of LEDs placed around the chuck it clearly illuminates where you're driving the screw or bolt, and it stays lit for 20 seconds after you let go of the trigger. This is nice, as you don't lose the light between trigger pulls when working in dimly lit areas. The light also turns on with a light press of the trigger before the chuck starts turning, so you can get a look at what you're doing before the driver actually engages.
There is a slide switch on the bottom of the driver that allows for easy adjustments between three different speed settings. This is nice for those times when you don't want to unleash the full power of the driver all at once.
Front to back the MAX XR measures 136mm. This is slightly below average, making it a bit more friendly for use in tight and awkward spaces than some of the other impact drivers we've tested. The chuck is quick insert, which makes changing bits a quick process. However, there isn't any sort of bit holder to keep track of your spare bits, which some of our testers found somewhat disappointing.
The MAX XR DCF887's battery turned in an above average but not field leading performance in our tests. It has plenty of endurance to last through most home projects, but if you're one that often pushes tools' batteries to the limit, you may find the DCF887 somewhat wanting.
To test battery life we loaded a fully charged battery into each driver, then drove 14 3-⅝" ledger screws into a stack of 2x12s, then we drove a 3" lag bolt into and back out of a stack of plywood. We then repeated this task over and over until the battery failed. The MAX XR DCF887 managed to complete three full sets of ledger screws and then lag bolts. On the fourth set it drove all of the ledger screw and then died after pushing the lag bolt in about ¾ of the way. For comparison, the average performance we saw in this test was dying midway through the third set, but the best performers were able to complete five full sets.
In our tests the MAX XR DCF887 routinely broke the 100 decibel mark, making it one of the loudest of the bunch. Noise is an inevitably with these kinds of tools, but the MAX XR is noticeably louder than average. As always, it's important to follow the manufacturer's personal protective equipment recommendations while using a power tool.
As a standalone impact driver the MAX XR DCF887 is not a particularly good value. While its overall performance is admirable, it also costs significantly more than most models, including many that match or exceed its performance attributes. If you're already a proud owner of a fleet of DEWALT tools the MAX XR is quite capable and likely less expensive than investing in a new brand that will require new batteries.
The MAX XR DCF887 offers classic DEWALT performance, but at a bit of a premium. It is not the best value nor the most powerful option for someone building a set of cordless tools from the ground up, but is definitely a great choice if you already own some DEWALT batteries.
— Max Mutter and Austin Palmer