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.Editor's Note: We updated this DeWalt review on September 12, 2022, with other new impact drivers that we recommend in our test lineup.
DeWalt DCF809B Atomic Review
Pros: Good amount of torque, decently compact, fairly fast
Cons: Fairly loud, lackluster battery test performance
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DeWalt DCF809B Atomic
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|Pros||Good amount of torque, decently compact, fairly fast||Several fastening modes, nifty lighting approach, great battery efficiency||Incredibly fast, phenomenal torque, four speed settings||Fast, lots of torque||Convenient, compact, several settings|
|Cons||Fairly loud, lackluster battery test performance||Noisy, pricey||Not the best battery life, noisy||Loud, average battery life||Pricey, battery doesn't last long, loud|
|Bottom Line||Finishing a little below average overall, the ATOMIC struggled to stand out from the rest of the pack||A powerful driver with a great battery life that's a fairly large investment||If you're looking for a fast 18V impact driver with excellent torque in a condensed size, we recommend this model||This driver is fast and provides excellent torque at an affordable price||Get this if you're looking for a light, small, 12-volt impact driver with great performance|
|Rating Categories||DeWalt DCF809B Atomic||Makita XDT16Z Lithi...||Milwaukee M18 Fuel...||Ryobi P238||Milwaukee M12 Fuel...|
|Specs||DeWalt DCF809B Atomic||Makita XDT16Z Lithi...||Milwaukee M18 Fuel...||Ryobi P238||Milwaukee M12 Fuel...|
|Impact Driver Model #||DCF809||XDT16Z||2853-20||P238||2553-20|
|Average Measured Fastening Torque||215 ft-lb||300 ft-lb||300 ft-lb||300 ft-lb||143 ft-lb|
|Measured Breaking Torque||300 ft-lb||300 ft-lb||300 ft-lb||300 ft-lb||275 ft-lb|
|Measured Length||130 mm||114 mm||116 mm||161 mm||132 mm|
|Average Measured Sound Pressure Level||92 dBa||94 dBa||99 dBa||104 dBa||97 dBa|
|Quick Bit Insert?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Multiple Fastening Modes?||No||Yes||Yes||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; otherwise, the Atomic failed to impact us much.
This tool was also a little faster than average in our speed tests, only taking five to six 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 seconds to remove it.
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 we had tightened to 300-foot pounds in four seconds.
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 from covering where you are working. However, you 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
mm. It also has a quick-insert chuck, so you can just stick ¼" hex bits in without releasing the locking collar.
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.
We 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.
Should You Buy the DeWalt DCF809B Atomic?
It's hard for us to identify an audience for which the Atomic is particularly well-suited. We didn't think it was a bad tool by any means, but it struggled to earn recognition compared with the rest of the competition in most of our tests.
What Other Impact Drivers Should You Consider?
The DeWalt Atomic isn't the most expensive impact we have tested. But it still costs quite a bit more than a few models that outperformed it, making it a mediocre bargain buy. Alternatively, you could spend a few more dollars to get a top-tier model like the award-winning Milwaukee M18 Fuel. Or, if saving those few dollars is a higher priority, our choice for overall value is the Ryobi P238.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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