Reviews You Can Rely On

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 impact driver review
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Price:   $120 List | $86.96 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  ⋅  Sep 17, 2022
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Speed - 35% 6.0
  • Torque - 25% 7.0
  • Convenience - 20% 6.0
  • Battery - 15% 4.0
  • Noise - 5% 5.0

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.

Editor's Note: We updated this DeWalt review on September 12, 2022, with other new impact drivers that we recommend in our test lineup.

Compare to Similar Products

 
dewalt dcf809b atomic impact driver review
Awards   Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $120 List
$86.96 at Amazon
$151 List
$161.45 at Amazon
$135 List
$118.95 at Amazon
$110 List
$82.99 at Amazon
$120 List
$81.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Good amount of torque, decently compact, fairly fastSeveral fastening modes, nifty lighting approach, great battery efficiencyIncredibly fast, phenomenal torque, four speed settingsFast, lots of torqueConvenient, compact, several settings
Cons Fairly loud, lackluster battery test performanceNoisy, priceyNot the best battery life, noisyLoud, average battery lifePricey, 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 packA powerful driver with a great battery life that's a fairly large investmentIf you're looking for a fast 18V impact driver with excellent torque in a condensed size, we recommend this modelThis 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 DCF809B Atomic Makita XDT16Z Lithi... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Ryobi P238 Milwaukee M12 Fuel...
Speed (35%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Torque (25%)
7.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
6.0
Convenience (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Battery (15%)
4.0
9.3
7.0
4.8
3.5
Noise (5%)
5.0
4.0
2.0
1
3.0
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
Bit Holder? No No Yes Yes No
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.

Performance Comparison


dewalt dcf809b atomic impact driver review - although it doesn't have the same lasting battery life of other...
Although it doesn't have the same lasting battery life of other impact drivers, the DeWalt DCF809B Atomic still produces capable power for a relatively compact model.
Credit: Laura Casner

Speed


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.

dewalt dcf809b atomic impact driver review - the atomic is fast at driving larger diameter lab bolts.
The Atomic is fast at driving larger diameter lab bolts.
Credit: Laura Casner

Torque


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.

dewalt dcf809b atomic impact driver review - this compact drill stands up in our torque tests, but isn't the most...
This compact drill stands up in our torque tests, but isn't the most powerful of all that we tested.
Credit: Laura Casner

Convenience


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.

dewalt dcf809b atomic impact driver review - 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 also has a quick-insert chuck, so you can just stick ¼" hex bits in without releasing the locking collar.

Battery


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.

Noise


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.

dewalt dcf809b atomic impact driver review - there's no way around it, impact drivers are loud.
There's no way around it, impact drivers are loud.
Credit: Laura Casner

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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