With lower voltage and torque, the DeWalt DW920K-2 can't quite keep up with some other higher-end drivers, but it's the strongest cordless screwdriver in our report that articulates -- you can lock the tool straight or at a 90-degree angle. Reviews say the DeWalt is durable with good power and speed.
Lower torque still delivers great performance. Experts say the 7.2-volt DeWalt DW920K-2 doesn't boast the same power as some comparable drivers, but it drives and drills just as quickly as other cordless drivers in one expert test. In another professional evaluation between 11 cordless screwdrivers, a consumer testing organization notes that even though the DW920K-2 only delivers 80 inch-pounds of torque, it still ranks in the top for power.
Roy Berendsohn with Popular Mechanics recommends the DW920K-2; to compare power in nine cordless screwdrivers, he drives heavy-duty 2-2/3-inch lag screws. Only one driver could seat the screw, but the DeWalt DW920K-2 comes in second. Berendsohn rates it 4 out of 5 stars, saying, "Its locomotive-like power (304 drywall screws' worth) makes it a good choice for pros and near pros."
The DW920K-2 gets plenty of praise from consumers. More than 270 users at Amazon.com give the DW920K-2 an almost perfect 4.7-star rating (out of 5 stars). Several praise the variable speed trigger and 16 clutch settings, saying it gives them good control when working on delicate projects. "If you want a very high quality battery screwdriver with great battery life, good torque control and plenty of power then I highly recommend this product," says one Amazon.com consumer review.
Nickel-cadmium batteries don't run as long as Lithium-ion. The DeWalt DW920K-2 comes with two battery packs, one to use and one spare. But reviews say DeWalt's older-style nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries can't run as long on a single charge as cordless screwdrivers with lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. In tests at GetWoodworking.com -- the website for U.K.'s Good Woodworking and The Woodworker magazines -- the DW920K-2 is able to drive only half the number of screws as a 12-volt Li-ion model.
At Amazon.com, the Ni-Cd batteries are adequate for most users, and many say they like having the extra battery so they can keep working while the spare battery charges. Still, there are those who prefer Li-ion batteries for their longevity. More than one user notes their batteries wore out after a few years.
Smart charger keeps battery healthy. The battery charger on the DeWalt DW920K-2 takes one hour to recharge. Users say the charger works well and like how its small footprint takes up minimal space on the workbench.
DeWalt notes the charger is compatible with 7.2- to 18-volt batteries. Its diagnostics display the charge status, and it features a tune-up mode to periodically recondition the Ni-Cd batteries. Reconditioning removes the memory that can build up within the battery and reduce effectiveness.
Articulating handle locks into two positions. The DeWalt DW920K-2's hinged handle lets you hold the driver either straight (like a screwdriver) or pistol-style (like a drill). "The hinged body allows it to reach most spaces and it's powerful and comfortable," says GetWoodworking.com. Most users report the DW920K-2 has plenty of power in either position. "I use it in pistol mode 99 percent of the time. However, when you need it in straight mode, it is absolutely indispensable," says one user at Amazon.com. The driver locks into two positions, but a few users believe the driver would be more usable with a 45-degree position as well.
At 3.5 pounds, the DeWalt is one of the heaviest cordless screwdrivers on the market. Reviews find the body -- larger than many cordless screwdrivers -- durable. GetWoodworking.com calls it a "solid professional tool" that is "very robust." At Lowes.com -- where the DW920K-2 gets 4.7 stars from about 30 users -- it gets lots of praise for quality and durability. "This screwdriver is built like a tank," says one consumer at Lowes.com.
Popular Mechanics likes the DeWalt's "excellent grip surfaces," but says the "spring-loaded, bit-ejecting chuck" is "annoying." This DeWalt lacks one feature that is a favorite for many users: There is no built-in LED light. It comes with a hard case to hold the driver, batteries and charger.
Comprehensive warranty package and solid reputation. DeWalt covers both the battery and the cordless screwdriver under a three-year limited warranty. In addition, they offer a chance to return the tool in 90 days if you don't like it, and they include a one-year service contract that covers normal wear and tear.
In a 2012 survey on customer satisfaction of cordless drills, DeWalt is the top brand, beating out Craftsman, Bosch, and Black & Decker. J.D. Power and Associates, which includes both small and large drills and drivers in the survey, says as a brand "DeWalt performs particularly well in three of the six factors: battery performance, drill performance and ease of use."
Review Credibility: Excellent Editors of ConsumerReports.org test 11 cordless screwdrivers, including the DeWalt DW920K-2, as part of a larger cordless drill test. They use results from tests on speed, power, run time, charge time, noise and handling to rank the cordless screwdrivers from best to worst.
Review: Cordless Drill Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Review Credibility: Excellent At GetWoodworking.com, the editors of the U.K.'s Good Woodworking and The Woodworker magazines post articles, videos and tool reviews. In this comparison, they test eight cordless screwdrivers with a summary on the performance of each. The DeWalt DW920 (the same body as the DW920-K) gets good marks for its durable body, but only has mid-grade battery run time.
Review: Cordless Screwdrivers Reviewed, Editors of GetWoodworking.com, Not dated
3. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Excellent The DeWalt brand is at the top of J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 survey, beating out Craftsman by only a few points. The company polls consumers who purchased drills in the previous 12 months to find out which brands they are happiest with and why.
Review: 2012 Cordless Drill Satisfaction Report, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 8, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good With an average rating of 4.7 stars from more than 280 reviews, the DeWalt DW920K-2 is one of the top-rated cordless screwdrivers at Amazon.com. In fact, only eight owners give it fewer than 3 stars.
Review: DeWalt DW920K-2 1/4-Inch 7.2-Volt Cordless Two-Position Screwdriver Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2013
5. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Very Good The DeWalt brand earns a perfect 5-star overall satisfaction rating from nearly 5,000 people who bought a cordless drill during the previous year. However, its rating drops to 4 stars for battery life and warranty, and 3 stars for price, with an overall score putting it just behind award-winner Milwaukee.
Review: 2010 Cordless Drill/Driver Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, June 2, 2010
Review Credibility: Good Roy Berendsohn awards the DeWalt DW920 4 out of 5 stars. He praises its "locomotive-like power" that makes it a good choice for pros and near-pros, but says the spring-loaded bit ejector makes him drop bits.
Review: Best Cordless Screwdrivers: Comparison Test, Roy Berendsohn, June 8, 2007
Review Credibility: Fair About 30 owners reviewing the DeWalt DW920K-2 find very little to criticize at Lowes.com. Giving it an overall average of a near-perfect 4.9 stars out of 5, they say they especially appreciate its durability. A couple of users say replacement batteries are hard to find.
Review: DeWalt 7.2-Volt 1/4-in Cordless NiCad Screwdriver Kit with Hard Case, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of April 2013