DeWALT 18V Li-Ion Impact Driver Review

By Todd Fratzel on Power Tools, Product Reviews

DeWALT Compact Li-Ion Impact Driver (DCF826)

DEWALT DCF826KL Impact DriverI recently got my hands on the all new DeWALT Compact Li-Ion 1/4″ Impact Driver which I’ve been using for some time now. Impact drivers are one of the hottest cordless tools on the market today for a good reason: They Get The Job Done! I spent the last few weeks using this impact driver for several projects around the house and at work and the following are my thoughts about it.

Impact Driver Technical Specifications

The DeWALT Compact Lithium Ion Impact driver is a lighter, smaller, quicker charging impact driver. It was designed to fit in smaller spaces and be used in overhead applications where the lighter weight causes less fatigue for the user. The DCF826 Impact Driver Features:

  • Total Weight with Battery is Only 3.0 lbs.
  • Compact lithium-ion batteries charge in 30 minutes and are compatible with the existing system of DEWALT 18V power tools produced since 1996
  • Frameless motor for extended tool durability and life
  • 1,330 in-lbs of torque
  • Replaceable brushes for increased serviceability
  • Durable magnesium gear case and all metal transmission for extended durability

Testing The DCF826 Impact Driver

DeWALT Impact DriverThe compact impact driver is the perfect size for medium duty jobs so I tested it with deck screws, small size lag screws and self-tapping metal screws. I use long screws and deck screws to fasten lots of structural joints so the majority of the testing I performed was on long (4″) deck screws. Driving Long Screws – The DeWALT DCF826 works really great for driving long screws into structural members. In the past I would always have trouble driving long screws with a regular drill, sometimes the screws would strip, sometimes they break off. The DCF826 had no problem driving every screw that I tried!! I was really impressed that the screws never stripped and it didn’t matter between philips and square head. Driving Small Lag Bolts – The DCF826 also performed well driving small (3/8″) lag bolts. I used it to drive several 4″ long lag bolts into three 2×4’s and the impact driver had no trouble at all. I’m sure the impact driver could do 1/2″ or even 5/8″ lag bolts but I wouldn’t want to do them all the time for fear of overworking the tool. Self-Tapping Metal Screws – I tested the DCF826 with some self-tapping metal screws that we use to secure heavy guage metal siding to commercial buildings. Once again the DCF826 not only worked well but it made installing self tappers much quicker and easier!

Comfort Factor

The thing I liked most about the DeWALT DCF826 was the comfort. The smaller lighter size of the DCF826 is a really nice feature. Weighing in at just 3.0 lbs (compared to 4 or 5 lbs for most standard impact drivers) the driver is really light and the balance is perfect. Because of it’s size you could almost replace your normal drill for this impact driver.

LED Light

The DeWALT DCF826 also has a nice LED light on the front that turns on when you squeeze the trigger. I like having the light but I do think it needs some improvement. My issue is it only comes on when you squeeze the trigger. I’d prefer that you are able to turn it on before so you can line up fasteners. This is only a small issue but one I think would be a great improvement.

Overall Impression

I was very happy with the performance of the DeWALT Compact Li-Ion Impact Driver (DCF826). This is the perfect impact driver for anyone that works with HVAC, cabinetry, framing and light to medium duty commercial work. It’s the perfect size for any homeowner looking to own an impact driver. I also like the carrying case and extra battery that comes in the kit. I definitely recommend this impact driver.

Where To Buy DCF826

If you’d like to buy the DeWALT DCF826 then I recommend you check it out here.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Bob Barcaskey says:

    I just purchased one of these and found that if you squeeze the trigger slightly the light will come on without the bit turning.

  2. Jim Hill says:

    DeWalt DCF826. I have had the kit with charger, drill, impact driver and batteries for years now. I have used the impact driver to place up to 6″ screws while tying together 4x4s. I use it at least twice as much as I have ever used the drill. The quick fit bits up to 1/4″ are quicker and better for most jobs than taking the time to break out the drill and a drill pack. Two old tip quick fit holders work well for holding a set of quick fit drills in size order. Wallboard work is much faster when using a mag tip and having a holder of the new “cupped” quick fit tips and a belt clip for the 826. With a long quick fit stirring rod, I can whip a 5 gallon bucket of paint into shape almost as fast as I can by using a 1/2″ drill and a large blade. When my 826 was taken, I went to the net for and searched until I found a replacement. I would like to know if there are recommendations for the quick charger and the tool set battery in addition to the DC9181 that fit, have a good power to weight ratio, and have a long life…
    v/r – Jim

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Jim – Are you looking for suggestions on replacing the impact driver or the battery/chargers?

  3. JIM MURRAY says:

    Above – bad auto-correct

    The battery… I have two “dead” DC9181 batteries that came with the kit… I have searched online and it seems to me these batteries have been discontinued… Can you suggests some replacement batteries ????

    Thanks, Jim

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