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DeWalt DCD780C2

*Est. $210
January 2013
by ConsumerSearch
DeWalt DCD780C2

Best cordless drill

  • Powerful torque
  • Lighter, quieter than similar 20-volt drills
  • Comfortable to hold
  • No charge indicator
  • Not suited for heavy-duty drilling

Bottom line

DeWalt's DCD780C2 gets high marks from pros and do-it-yourselfers. Reviews say this compact cordless drill packs a lot of punch in its small frame, performing at the top of its category. The small size, comfortable grip and long-lasting battery make it a breeze to use, and a quick 30-minute charge gets the Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries ready for round two in no time.


Brawny drill for homeowners and professionals. Both real-world and lab tests show the DeWalt DCD780C2 has plenty of power. In one comparison of 22 general use cordless drills, a major consumer organization says the DCD780C2 delivers top-notch power. 

The DeWalt DCD780C2 is part of DeWalt's 20V Max line of power tools that feature slim, slide-on batteries. It's classified as a 20-volt drill, but under a workload "nominal voltage is 18 volts," says on their website, which includes tool reviews and home renovation guides. Though its torque is less than DeWalt's full-sized contractor-grade 20-volt cordless drill (DCD980L2), editors at Wood Magazine "prefer the compact DCD780C2" for general workshop use, adding that it "has plenty of power to handle all the jobs we threw at it." agrees, saying, "This driver packs a punch that belies its small form factor and slim grip." They rank it second in a comparison test of five competing drills.

Several reviewers note a little bit of trouble drilling through thicker materials, but none says it knocks the performance down significantly., a blog that reviews tools, recommends the DeWalt DCD780C2 for homeowners and pros who want more than a 12-volt can deliver, saying the DeWalt "is powerful enough for most medium-duty tasks and comfortable enough to use all day."

The DCD780C2 has two speed settings, running 0 to 600 rpm on low and 0 to 2,000 rpm on high. Combined with its 15 different clutch settings, users say the DeWalt has "outstanding" versatility and "great speed selection."

Some reviewers doing delicate work say there is a small amount of wobble in the chuck, though this seems fairly common across several brands of compact cordless drills.

Battery life

Lightweight batteries with long run time. In a test conducted by, the DeWalt DCD780C2 beats out the Rigid R86008, Porter Cable PCL180CD and Kobalt KT200A in battery run time. During the comparison test, the DCD780C2 not only drives in more screws in one charge, but it does it with a housing that is lighter and smaller at only 3.5 pounds.

The slim battery gives it the sleek look of DeWalt's 12-volt drills. The editor of Wood Magazine praises how the slide-on batteries give "each tool a slimmer, more comfortable grip, which equates to less user fatigue." The kit comes with two Li-ion 1.5-Ah batteries, but longer running 3.0-Ah versions can be purchased separately. 

J.D. Power and Associates names DeWalt the top brand in 2012 for customer satisfaction with cordless drills, edging out previous leaders Milwaukee and Bosch.  According to their customers, battery performance is one of the top features of DeWalt cordless drills.

None of the reviews or comparisons gives a run time on each battery, but most consumers say the batteries last longer than drills with nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries.

Recharge time

Ready to go in half an hour. Reviews indicate that the DeWalt DCD780C2 can charge its battery in half an hour, something owners comment on frequently. As one owner at says, "the battery seems like it lasts forever, yet charges very quickly."


Comfortable to hold for all-day use. Tool review website names comfort as one of the top features of the DCD780C2, saying it's "powerful enough to tackle most common drilling and driving tasks without being weighty and tiring to use."  With a notched knob, he says the clutch is "easy to grip with a gloved hand," adding that DeWalt's handle redesign "improved the grip's comfort and balance even further."

The DCD780C2 has bit storage in the base of the handle and an LED task light in the front. especially likes how the "work light stays on for about 20 seconds after you release the trigger." The DeWalt DCD780C2 is one of the few drills to include a belt attachment for keeping it close at hand or hanging it on a wall. However, there is no built-in level. It's covered by a three-year warranty.

Where To Buy
DEWALT DCD780C2 20-Volt Max Li-Ion Compact 1.5 Ah Drill/Driver Kit

 (80 reviews)
Buy new: $219.00 $169.00   69 Used from $104.38

In Stock.

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Our Sources


Review Credibility: Excellent The DeWalt DCD780C2 is one of 61 cordless drills that editors at test.  They analyze each tool based on speed, power, handling and battery performance, ranking drills from best to worst.

Review: Cordless Drills and Tool Kits, Editors of, Not dated

2. Wood Magazine

Review Credibility: Excellent The editors of Wood Magazine test and compare a variety of shop tools, rating each on performance, features, ease of use and value. The DeWalt DCD780C2 gets 4 stars (out of 5) with high marks for power and usability. The only problem they report is that when the battery heats up during heavy-duty drilling, the internal electronics shut off in the drill until it cools down.

Review: DeWalt 20V Cordless Compact Drill, Editors of Wood Magazine, Oct. 16, 2012


Review Credibility: Excellent The crew at rate five 18-volt compact drills by measuring their size, weighing them with their batteries and running as many screws into a pressure treated post as possible. More than 1,000 screws later, they name the DeWalt DCD780 as the runner up, saying, "We were very pleased with the all-around solid performance of the DCD780C2."

Review: The Best Compact Drill Drivers: We Test Five Popular 18V Models, Ethan Hagan, March 6, 2012


Review Credibility: Very Good is a blog that reviews and rates hand tools and power tools. They detail the ergonomics, features and performance of the DeWalt DCD780C2, saying, "We can't find anything to complain about – the DCD780C2 is just a phenomenal compact drill kit."

Review: DeWalt 20V Compact Cordless Drill Review DCD780C2, Feb. 3, 2012

5. J.D. Power & Associates

Review Credibility: Very Good J.D. Power and Associates surveys more than 1,000 consumers who purchased cordless drills in a 12-month period, asking them to rate brand satisfaction and reasons for preferring cordless drills. DeWalt tops the chart, followed by Craftsman and Bosch. Most customers say they are more satisfied with an 18-volt drill than with a 12-volt drill.

Review: 2012 Cordless Drill Satisfaction Report, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 8, 2012


Review Credibility: Good As part of a newer line from DeWalt, the DCD780C2 doesn't have the long-term record that its 12-volt and 18-volt siblings have. About 30 people review the drill at, and several are part of the website's Vine program, which sends the drill to reviewers in exchange for input at They give the drill an overall rating of 4.7 stars, praising it for being easy to use, even for the beginner power tool owner.

Review: DEWALT DCD780C2 20-Volt Max Li-Ion Compact 1.5 Ah Drill/Driver Kit, Contributors to, As of January 2013


Review Credibility: Good The DCD780C2 earns an overall 4.5-star rating on the DeWalt website, with about 30 reviews. It receives lots of praise for its power, good balance, speed and battery life. Several of the reviewers say they have many years of experience working with power tools.

Review: DCD780C2, Contributors to, As of January 2013


Review Credibility: Good The DeWalt DCD780C2 gets an overall 4.4-star (out of 5) rating from users at Users describe themselves as having an intermediate or advanced level of expertise, and most recommend the drill. "Excellent product. It has the power for the big jobs yet it can be set to be gentle to preventing splitting a piece of wood you may be working on," comments one user.

Review: DEWALT 20-Volt Max Cordless Compact Drill/Driver, Contributors to, As of January 2013

9. Tools in Action

Review Credibility: Good In his review, Dan Maxey talks about two of DeWalt's newest cordless drills: the contractor-grade DCD980L2 and the smaller DCD780C2. For Maxey, one of the major perks is that the Li-ion battery doesn't shut down too early. "They allow you to romp on them quite hard before the electronics shut you down," Maxey says.

Review: DeWalt 20V MAX Drills DCD980L2 and DCD780C2 – Review, Dan Maxey, Oct. 4, 2011


Review Credibility: Fair Thomas Gaige is a residential contractor and long-time DeWalt user. In this review, he discusses the new 20V Max line, talking about how changes with the batteries and upgrades to the internal electronics will improve performance. Though he is able to inspect the tools at a trade show, Gaige isn't able to test them for comparison.

Review: New DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Tools Preview, Thomas Gaige, June 20, 2011

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