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DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B Review

A great drill made even better by a superb lighting system
DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B
Credit: DeWalt
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Price:   $150 List | $129.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Adjustable light, commendable drilling performance, belt clip
Cons:  Struggles driving larger fasteners, a bit slower
Manufacturer:   DeWalt
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 20, 2022
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 20
  • Drilling - 35% 8.9
  • Driving - 35% 7.0
  • Battery Life - 20% 6.4
  • Convenience - 10% 7.2

Our Verdict

The DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B total final performance is just behind the top-tier models, but we think it would make a fine addition to any DIYer's tool collection. During our highly in-depth drill evaluation, this model put up solid numbers in nearly every aspect of our review process. It shredded our drilling tests, and its battery lasts long and charges quickly. On top of its accolades, it has an innovative light that is highly adjustable and can be left on to be used as a standalone work light if need be. The one task where the DCD791B couldn't quite keep up was sinking ½" x 5" lag bolts.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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35
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Pros Adjustable light, commendable drilling performance, belt clipGreat for driving fasteners, heavy-duty, efficient use of battery lifePowerful, great battery life, fantastic integrated worklightImpressive drilling power, strong steel drilling performance, good control, great priceInexpensive, lightweight
Cons Struggles driving larger fasteners, a bit slowerHeavy, takes some force to swap batteriesExpensive, only includes a single batteryOnly includes a single batter, so-so battery life in our testsWeak, minimal features
Bottom Line A great drill made even better by a superb lighting systemIf you are looking for a top-tier drill to go with your existing Milwaukee batteries, this is your best betThe highest scorer in our group, this is a heavy-duty drill that can keep up with all your toughest projectsA decent drill for DIY projects that won't deplete your savingsAn okay drill for basic household tasks and assembly projects at a great price
Rating Categories DeWalt 20V XR Brush... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt 24-volt Max... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Drilling (35%)
8.9
9.4
9.8
6.6
4.1
Driving (35%)
7.0
10.0
9.2
6.2
3.2
Battery Life (20%)
6.4
9.8
9.0
4.4
2.6
Convenience (10%)
7.2
6.1
6.3
5.8
4.3
Specs DeWalt 20V XR Brush... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt 24-volt Max... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Included Battery Pack(s) Tested w/ 2 Ah Tested w/ 2 Ah 2 Ah 1.3 Ah 1.5 Ah
Battery Voltage 20V 18V 24V 20V 20V
Max Chuck 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 3/8"
Battery Chemistry Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion
Drill Model Tested DCD791D2 2803-20 KDD 524B-03 CMCD700 LDX120C
Box Model (Kit) Tested Tested tool-only, no kit Tested tool-only, no kit 672823 CMCD700C1 LDX120C
RPM Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2,000
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1500
0 - 650
Peak Torque (manu) 460 UWO 1,200 in-lbs 650 in-lbs 280 UWO N/A
Measured Length 7-1/2" 7" 7-3/8" 8-1/4" 7"
Measured Weight 3 pounds 6.1 ounces 4 pounds 1 ounce 3 pounds
15.2 oz
3 pounds 7 ounces 2 pounds
10.8 ounces

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - the bright led light on the dewalt 20v max xr is one of our favorite...
The bright LED light on the DeWalt 20V Max XR is one of our favorite features.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Drilling


To gather some objective data for overall drilling performance, we conducted a series of procedures and examinations with each drill. We used three different types of bit — a 5" hole saw, twist bits made for drilling metal, and a 1" paddle bit. We recorded times to complete tasks for all three types. The DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B performed very well for this metric. Drilling through a 1 ¾" solid wood door, the DCD791B completely bored a 5" hole in 25 seconds — one of the fastest times that we've seen. When we used the 1" paddle bit to drill through a stack of 2" x 12" boards, this model struggled about halfway through but quickly finished the job when we shifted it into low gear.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - the dewalt 20v max xr is great for cutting holes in wood.
The Dewalt 20V Max XR is great for cutting holes in wood.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

For the metal drilling test, we used ¼" and ½" bits with 16-gauge sheet metal as the testing material. For the smaller bit, the DCD791B easily shot holes in the sheet in about a second. When we moved up to the ½" bit, it took about 2-3 seconds per hole, putting it near the top of the list for completing this task.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - this model tackles difficult tasks without any problems.
This model tackles difficult tasks without any problems.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Driving


To gather some numbers for driving capabilities, we began by subjectively judging the feel and performance of each model while sinking 3" deck screws into common lumber. Next, we drilled appropriately-sized pilot holes in a stack of 2" x 12" boards in order to drive ½" x 5" lag screws. If the tool could not sink the screw all the way, we measured the gap left between the lumber and the screw head. This was the one task where the DCD791B fell a bit behind the pack leaders, although we must mention that it certainly did not perform poorly compared to most drills we've used.

Our team thought that the DCD791B did a fantastic job driving deck screws. It was no problem to get the screws flush with the lumber. You can dial the clutch down to the perfect gear to make sure you get a perfect sink every time for the material you're working with. Most of all, we loved the trigger control.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - shifting into a lower gear can help you to drive those tough...
Shifting into a lower gear can help you to drive those tough fasteners.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

When we performed the lag screw test with this model is where we ran into problems. With the 5" lag screw, the DCD791B left more than an inch of the screw unsunk. Even after backing the screw out and trying to ram it home or pulling the trigger repeatedly, this model failed to complete this task.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - the dcd791d2 20v max xr had a bit of a rough time sinking a 1/2"...
The DCD791D2 20V Max XR had a bit of a rough time sinking a 1/2" diameter lag screw.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Battery Life


We conducted two tests to evaluate each model's battery — one to test the working lifespan and one to test the charge time. To test the latter, we broke out a stopwatch and timed how long each battery took to juice up to 100% after its power was completely depleted. Testing the lifespan was a bit more complicated. Rather than just run each drill under no-load until they were dead, we wanted to test their working capabilities. To do this, we drove 14 3" deck screws into a stack of 2" x 12" boards, drilled three holes using a 1" paddle bit in the same material, then repeated this process until the batteries were entirely drained. The DCD791B didn't exactly knock it out of the park for this portion of our total score, but it performed fairly well.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - the dewalt 20v xr has decent battery life.
The DeWalt 20V XR has decent battery life.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

During our deck screw & paddle bit assessment, the DCD791B completed six sets of 14 screws and three holes but then died after 14 screws and two holes on the 7th set. While this isn't the most impressive performance for this test, this model's battery was completely charged in 34 minutes which we would consider to be great.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - the dewalt 20v max xr battery runs out of juice fairly quickly, but...
The Dewalt 20V Max XR battery runs out of juice fairly quickly, but luckily it recharges rapidly to make up for it.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Convenience


For the last bit of our review, we wanted to look at the elements and features that set each drill apart. Some are light, some have 24 chuck settings, some have belt clips, some have bright lights, while some lack all of these features altogether. The DCD791B received some serious convenience points from our team.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - we enjoyed how light this model is.
We enjoyed how light this model is.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weighing 3 lbs 6 oz, the XR Brushless DCD791B is on the lighter end of 18-volt drills. We love that there is an included belt clip and that you can attach to either side of the drill. Where this model really stands out from the competition is its LED light. The light produces a massive lighted area. The brightness of the LED light can be adjusted between low, medium, and high settings, and the various brightnesses stay illuminated for different lengths of time. If need be, you can leave the light switch turned on so that the drill can be used as its own standalone work light. After 20 minutes, the light will turn off automatically.

DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B drill - the large release lever on the battery is super easy to operate.
The large release lever on the battery is super easy to operate.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the 20V XR?


The DeWalt 20V XR Brushless DCD791B is an impressive drill. It held its own in nearly every aspect of our testing process. It drills quite well, has a decent charge time, and has one of the best LED lights of any drill we've ever seen. If you want a high-performance drill and value seeing your work area, we say go for it.

What Other Drill Should You Consider?


The main thing to consider when shopping for a drill is what purpose the drill will serve. If you only need a bare-bones drill but also want a tried and true brand, definitely check out the Craftsman V20 1/2-In. Drill/Driver Kit CMCD700C1. If you think you'd like to have some cutting-edge technology that's wrapped up into a smaller body and is substantially lighter than this model, look at a 12-volt version. We highly recommend the Bosch 12V Max Drill/Driver Kit PS31-2A. If you know that you want powerful and quick drilling capabilities coupled with a long-lasting battery that charges quickly, look no further than the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" Drill Driver. The M18 has wrecked the competition in nearly every side-by-side comparison we've ever run.

Ross Patton
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