Right off the bat, we aren't particularly big fans of the DeWalt DCF815S2 and would be very reluctant to recommend this product compared to other models in our test. It scored very poorly in our speed and torque evaluations, which 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.Editor's Note: We updated this review on September 16, 2022, with an unbiased take on value and suggestions for other products that will likely better suit your needs.
DeWalt DCF815S2 12V Review
Pros: Great integrated worklight, decently convenient
Cons: Poor measured battery life, lackluster speed and torque showing in our tests
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DeWalt DCF815S2 12V
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|Pros||Great integrated worklight, decently convenient||Incredibly fast, phenomenal torque, four speed settings||Exceptional torque, very fast, great battery life||Fast, lots of torque||Convenient, compact, several settings|
|Cons||Poor measured battery life, lackluster speed and torque showing in our tests||Not the best battery life, noisy||Loud, only one RPM setting||Loud, average battery life||Pricey, battery doesn't last long, loud|
|Bottom Line||This little 12-volt impact struggled to compete with the rest||If you're looking for a fast 18V impact driver with excellent torque in a condensed size, we recommend this model||This driver had the most impressive battery life in our test and offers torque performance that is on par with the best||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 DCF815S2 12V||Milwaukee M18 Fuel...||Makita XDT13||Ryobi P238||Milwaukee M12 Fuel...|
|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|
|Multiple Fastening Modes?||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This impact has a good built-in work light and a quick insert chuck, but its lengthy list of flaws outweighs these factors.
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 was one of the slowest we have seen driving in screws, taking significantly longer to sink ledgers and lag bolts into sheet goods or dimensional lumber. On average, it took almost four times as long 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 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 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.
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.
This impact 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.
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 loud enough to exceed typical safe noise exposure levels with continued use. When using this tool, you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding personal protective equipment.
Should You Buy the DeWalt DCF815S2 12V?
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.
What Other Impact Drivers Should You Consider?
Overall, this tool is far from a good bargain buy, costing much more than other products with much higher scores. An easy comparison is to the Milwaukee M18 Fuel, our top-scoring impact driver that costs significantly less than this bottom-of-the-barrel model. Similarly, if you are specifically aiming for a 12-volt model, we suggest the Milwaukee M12 Fuel.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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