Sunday, December 26, 2021

Is Dewalt Max XR the Best 20-volt Cordless Brushless 1/2 in. Drill?

As soon as you grab and use this Dewalt Max XR cordless drill, you can feel the quality in your hands; it may sound like a cliché but it is difficult to explain something you can feel but it's a combination of weight, quality craftsmanship as well as appearance. I have been using this drill to make holes in the garage floor as well as garage walls and it has performed flawlessly.

The battery charges fairly quickly and lasts a long time. I used it several times with the factory charge and it worked great. I was looking for a solid 1/2 drive cordless drill for home use, and it looks like this may be overkill at 20 volts, but I'm not complaining. The LED light that comes on when you are using the drill is bright and useful.

I've owned this drill for 3 years and have used it for a lot of jobs, including my house renovation last year. It has always been able to handle any job that I throw at it. Plenty of power for DIYers. I did a lot of comparing with other brands before buying it and I am very satisfied with my choice. This is my first 1/2 drill/driver I have always had 3/8 inch drills and trying to drill an 1/2 inch hole has never worked well. The strength of this 20-volt drill really surprised me.

Continue reading for more details and where to buy the Dewalt 20v Max XR Brushless Drill online

Dewalt Max XR 20-Volt Brushless Drill/Driver 3-Speed, Premium 5.0Ah Kit, Cordless (DCD991P2)

This cordless drill with battery and charger is equipped with a 3-speed transmition to help optimize speed of application and a 1/2-inch ratcheting nitro-carburized metal chuck for superior bit gripping strength. LED spotlight mode features 20 minute shut-off function allowing for extended work time in dark or confined spaces.

Dewalt Max Drill

For about $249, Dewalt's Max XR Drill is my top choice.

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Kit Includes: Drill/Driver tool, (2) 20V High Capacity Li-Ion Batteries (5.0Ah), Charger, Belt hook, 360° side handle, Carrying Case

Part Number: DCD991P2
Dimensions L-W-H: 11 x 4 x 17 inches
Speed: 2000 RPM
Warranty: 3 year limited warranty

What's the Difference Between Brush and Brushless Motors?

Brushless Motors

Power tool owners from every trade are wondering how these motors are different, if they really perform better, and if they're really worth all the hype. At this stage in the game, the answers to the these questions are surprisingly positive. Excluding the higher price tag for power tools with brushless motors, the pros and cons list is decidedly imbalanced in favor, of course, of this brushless innovation.

In other words, our expectations of these tools are high and our forecast for their future performance and popularity is definitely optimistic.

Construction: How is the Brushless Motor Different?

Brush Motors

As you know, a standard DC brush motor operates with a fairly simple construction. Consisting basically of an armature, the commutator, carbon brushes and a field, the brushed motor in your power tool relies entirely on carbon brushes to transfer electricity from the power source to the motor.

In a nutshell, the armature is a series of electromagnets on a free-spinning shaft, the commutator is connected to the armature by that shaft and acts as a switch to the electromagnet; the brushes are conductive carbon blocks and the field is a ring composed of a series of magnets (a magnetic field). The brushes press against the commutator from opposite poles of the power source transferring electricity into the commutator (in both positive and negative charges). These charges change the polarity of the electromagnet.

The constant switch between poles in the electromagnet alternately pushes and pulls against the conventional magnets in the field to create rotation, and thus, a spinning armature and a functioning motor. The spinning of the motor, though, naturally creates friction against the carbon brushes. This both depletes the brushes promising you'll eventually need to replace them, and also wastes energy within the motor.

Brushless Motors

Brushless motors, on another hand, use a circuit board instead of the carbon brushes and commutator. Conventional magnets surround the shaft and a ring of electromagnets surrounds that magnetic field. The electromagnets are stationary allowing the shaft and magnetic field to spin freely within the electromagnet ring, and because these electromagnets don't spin, electricity can be delivered to them directly. In lieu of the brushes and commutator, the control circuitry now alternates the polarity of the electromagnets.

In other words, a brushless motor doesn't need brushes because it's magnets are positioned differently and because electricity is delivered to the electromagnets directly. Barring unforeseen issues with the circuit board, the brushless motor is super clean and super efficient.

Performance: How Do Brushed and Brushless Motors Measure Up?


As aforementioned, the nature of a brush motor creates friction and drag within the motor. This wastes precious, precious energy. A brushless motor, though, does not necessitate friction and therefore delivers power more efficiently and without waste. In fact, some manufacturers claim that power tools with a brushless motor enjoy 50% longer run-time in between battery charges.

Similarly, higher speeds mean higher friction in your motor - this means less overall output and, particularly, less torque. Accordingly, a friction-free brushless motor will deliver greater torque than a standard brushed motor, and because they can also be more compact, brushless technology offers greater power (and higher speeds) from a smaller power tool.


Although a properly used power tool with a brushed motor will give you many, many hours of work before the brushes need replacing, the fact is, every time you run a brushed motor, the brushes wear down. They wear down consistently and will eventually require replacement. Additionally, worn brushes can force the motor's other components to work harder during use; this creates more heat and more wear.

Still, brushed motors are tough and reliable and the pair of brushes in a standard, brush-motored cordless tool may last years before replacement is necessary.

Conversely, and by virtue of being brushless and featuring slightly different components, a brushless tool motor will likely require less overall maintenance. Brushless motor's also tend to run cooler and produce less noise during operation. On another hand, though, while replacing brushes is a simple and inexpensive repair, if your brushless motor requires maintenance, it will likely be a more complex fix and will be more expensive.


Brush motors are reasonably inexpensive. Brushless motors are more expensive. Period. Even basic power tools with brushless motors are priced like specialty tools.

At this stage in the game, brushless motors are expensive to produce and because the demand for these tools isn't yet comparable to that of brush motor power tools, their production price remains high. As these tools become more mainstream, though (especially with professional tool users and aficionados), the street price of these high-end power tools is likely to decrease.

If manufacturers need to produce more of these tools, the price to fabricate them will lower and the final price to consumers should follow suit.

Bottom Line: Are Power Tools With Brushless Motors Really Worth All the Hype?

Are these more complex, more expensive motors really all they're cracked up to be? The short answer is: probably; but it mostly depends on how you use your power tools. If you use a tool only a few times each year or if you are a strictly light-duty user, you probably don't need to upgrade to brushless technology. If you use your tools often or vigorously, though, I think you'll genuinely appreciate the difference.

Final Thoughts

Dewalt 20v Max XR Brushless Drill

I should've bought this Dewalt 20-volt Max XR Drill sooner. My old non-brushless drill I bought five years or so ago works fine but the power has been noticeably weaker likely due to the batteries. Ever since I started purchasing Dewalt's brushless drill I've been in love with them especially the amount of torque and overall power it has not to mention the battery that seem to last a long time.
For woodworking I use this for drilling and was shocked how much power it has using the Kreg pocket hole system. Often times, for simple projects, I just use pocket hole to build simple but strong joints (with wood glue too of course) for rough framing of things around the house. My old Dewalt drill was struggling at times especially if there was a knot or especially drilling into hardwood.

There's is so much power with this thing it drilled through 2x4 like butter. While I'll keep the other drill, I haven't touched it since getting this drill. I may end up using this Max drill for pocket hole system and the old drill for regular drilling. The ergonomics of these newer brushless drill is also worth the price.

The LED is always nice when the area gets dark and helps that it stays on for a little while after I'm done drilling. I don't know how many times these newer drills with LED's that stay on came in handy instead of trying to grab a flashlight or use my phone as one.

I think this is one of the best battery-powered drills out there. This combined with the brushless impact driver makes it a perfect combo for woodworking.

Overall I am pleased with Dewalt's Cordless Drill!