DeWalt has done a fantastic job bringing down the size and ramping up the power in these tools. The DeWalt 12V brushless drill and impact driver combo kit takes a couple of tools that felt like afterthoughts and turns them into legitimate contenders.

Every 12V shootout we’ve done in the past couple of years left me feeling kinda “meh” about DeWalt. Their 12V cordless tools didn’t have anything wrong with them per se, but they were being outpaced by an increasing number of brushless models. Whispers reached us a few months ago and now I finally have the DeWalt 12V brushless drill and impact driver combo in my hand.

DeWalt has done a fantastic job bringing down the size and ramping up the power in these tools. The DeWalt 12V brushless drill and impact driver combo kit takes a couple of tools that felt like afterthoughts and turns them into legitimate contenders. If you’re a DeWalt fan, it’s time to be proud of their 12V line again!

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The length of the DeWalt 12V brushless drill is a massive improvement. Looking back our 12V drill shootout, it’s shorter than any other drill we tested, meaning it can get you into tighter spaces than any of its major competitors.

At 2.4 pounds with its battery, the DeWalt DCD701 is in the lighter half, just a few ounces heavier than the top contenders and nearly a pound lighter than Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel 2503.

Overall, this is a drill that’s about the best combination of weight and size we’re seeing in the 12V landscape. Add in handle curves that fit your hand well and you can’t ask for much better when you’re looking for a compact drill.

I put the DeWalt 12V brushless drill through a variety of drilling tests and it passes with flying colors. With as well as it performed, I decided to run a little head-to-head test against Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel 2503.

Starting with the smallest Bosch Daredevil spade bit in my 12-piece set, I drilled through untreated 2x pine until the drill couldn’t go any further. On high, both drills were able to run a 5/8″ bit through. While they were both successful, DeWalt was clearly faster.

Kicking both drills into low, Milwaukee moved right on past the 1″ bit and successfully drilled through with a 1-1/4″. That’s impressive work for a 12V drill. DeWalt one-upped it, though, driving through with a 1-3/8″ bit.

Like the drill, the DeWalt 12V brushless impact drive makes huge gains in the footprint department. Its 5.05″ head length is the shortest of any traditional pistol grip models in this class and goes toe-to-toe with Ridgid’s Palm Driver (5.0″).

The couple of ounces that the DeWalt DCF801 drops helps its overall ranking in the 12V class as well. At 2.24 pounds, it sits right next to Bosch’s PS42 and Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel as the lightest pistol grips with a battery.

Once again, DeWalt is taking steps that make it the best combination of size and weight in the 12V class. We’re definitely impressed. At the same time, DeWalt is calling these “Xtreme Compact” cordless tools and it looks like the marketing matches the claim.

Realizing the DeWalt 12V brushless impact driver is primarily a screwdriver and small nut driver, I put it to the kind of light work I expect from my 12V impacts. For a 12V impact, it’s a quick-driving model that’s very easy to use.

For a better idea of its performance, I brought out Milwaukee’s latest M12 Fuel impact driver—the very same one that dominated our 12V impact driver shootout. This time, I used 1/4″ ledger screws into layered OSB subfloor to see how their driving speed compared. Test after test, these two impact drivers simply refused to give in. They’d be at a dead tie. Milwaukee would be slightly ahead. DeWalt would be slightly ahead. By the time it was done, I couldn’t make a call as to which one was faster.

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We’re looking at the DeWalt 12V brushless drill and impact driver combo kit. The set comes with a charger and a pair of 2.0Ah batteries for $149. If you want just one or the other, the kits are $99 as are the bare tools. Another $15 on the individual tool kits gets you a TSTAK container to carry them in, but there isn’t an option for the 2-tool combo.

Let’s put that combo price in perspective a little. Milwaukee’s current M12 Fuel combo (2598-22) runs $229. Makita’s CT232 runs $139 to $149, depending on what case you want. Bosch doesn’t offer a combo kit for their 12V brushless drill and impact driver.

The big takeaway is that you’re paying a little more than Makita for serious performance gains. That performance closes in on Milwaukee for a much lower price.

Backing that up with incredibly compact designs, it hits what you need if size and weight are your highest priorities. And with the price set where it is, the DeWalt Xtreme Compact combo kit may very well be a perfect balance that fits everyone’s needs.

There’s zero doubt in my mind that this is a Pro-level 12V kit and its price is certainly attractive for serious DIYers, too. What’s interesting is that there’s high enough performance here to make homeowners think about passing on a DIY/Prosumer 18V line and going for more compact 12V tools instead.

DeWalt has done a fantastic job bringing down the size and ramping up the power in these tools. The DeWalt 12V brushless drill and impact driver combo kit takes a couple of tools that felt like afterthoughts and turns them into legitimate contenders. If you’re a DeWalt fan, it’s time to be proud of their 12V line again!

An avid endurance athlete, Kenny has competed in triathlons (he's an Ironman) and various other fitness activities. Still, his passions lie with his faith, family, friends, and his love for well-designed power tools. With a background in science, you'll often find Kenny chatting up engineers at media events to get caught up on the latest tool technology.

How does this one compare to the M12 Fuel Surge impact? I’ve been adding to my M12 collection and would really like a quiet impact driver. I’ve got mostly Dewalt 20V, but the M12 line is so compact and convenient with a huge variety of specialty tools. Tempted to expand that line. What was the measured decibel level on this one? My DCB 887 wakes my daughter up immediately when I try to use it in the garage past her bedtime!

I’ve been looking for new battery powered tools for a while. I was in Lowe’s and spotted these tools. I came home and started looking for reviews and found this site among others, I also spoke with friends that are knowledgable on tools. Let me say I am no carpenter, electrician, etc. I just like to do things on my own. I live in an apartment and my girlfriend lives in a condo. For my use this 12v line would be perfect right !?. Well, as of an hour prior to this posting these tools are boxed up and going… Read more »

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