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Milwaukee 18v vs. DeWalt 20v Cordless Drills

Milwaukee 18v vs. DeWalt 20v Cordless Drills

Milwaukee DeWalt DeWalt DeWalt
Model 2606-22CT DCD980M2 DCD780C2 DCD771C2
Description M18 1/2" Compact Drill/Driver Kit 20V Max Lithium Ion Premium 3-Speed Drill/Driver Kit 20V Max Lithium Ion Compact Drill/Driver Kit 20V Max Lithium Ion Compact Drill/Driver Kit
Battery - Voltage 18 20 20 20
Battery - Amps 1.5 4.0 1.5 1.3
Torque (lbs) 500 N/A N/A N/A
RPM 1800 2000 2000 1500
Chuck Size (in) 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2
Length (in) 7.25 N/A 7.5 N/A
Weight (lbs) 3.8 5.2 3.6 3.4
Brushless No No No No
USA No Yes Yes No
Tool Only Model No. 2606-20 DCD980 DCD780B N/A
Buy Kit
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How do I choose a cordless drill driver?

If you have tried searching for cordless drills at any major retail outlet, you know that it is very difficult to distinguish the differences between the various models.  As you are looking at a page full of cordless drills you notice that all of the descriptions appear quite similar with only small differences.  However, the difference in prices among those cordless drills can be quite dramatic.  It can become very confusing and disorienting with all the different options that this power tool can come with.  What are these features that DeWalt and Milwaukee offer like One-Key, XR, Fuel, Tool Connect and Brushless?  Are these features legitimate upgrades that will make your project easier and are worth the extra money?  Are these upgrades more useful to a DIY'er or a construction professional?  Or, are they creative marketing tactics trying to squeeze a few extra bucks out of the consumer?

Broadly speaking, as a typical homeowner or DIY'er who will not be pushing their cordless drill driver to its limits on a daily basis like a pro would, most of the upgrades I mentioned above are just not worth spending the extra money on.  Milwaukee's ONE-KEY and DeWalt's Tool Connect allow you to connect and monitor your tool's location and performance through a mobile or online application.  Sounds cool....and if you have twenty cordless drills on various job sites then it is probably a nice feature to ensure a tool does not "walk off" the site and never return.  However, for us weekend warriors, it is totally unnecessary.  

I am sure that some more experienced craftsman could argue that having a brushless motor in your drill driver is better than the alternative.  However, I just find it hard to justify the additional cost over brushed motors.  I have read that brushless motors have fewer moving parts and therefore are less likely to need servicing and this could be true.  But, this upgrade will be an additional $40-$50 and for most of us, we are better off not spending the money.

If you would like to learn more about buying cordless drill drivers or want to know why I recommend certain specifications, you can read my cordless drill buying guide on this site.

Comparing cordless drill models: DeWalt vs. Milwaukee

In the table below, I provide a side by side comparison of both Milwaukee 18 volt cordless drill drivers and DeWalt 20 volt cordless drill drivers.  All the models in the table have 18 or 20 volt Lithium Ion batteries, brushed motors, LED lights, 1/2" chucks and can be purchased as a kit that includes the drill, charger, batteries and a carrying case.  I have also conveniently provided the model number of the stand alone tool that is included in the kit so that if you already own tools with compatible batteries, you could purchase the drill driver on its own and save yourself the expense associated with batteries, chargers and cases.  However, if you do not own compatible cordless tools I highly suggest you buy the full kit because buying the tool, charger and batteries separately is more expensive.  

The information gathered for this comparison came directly from the websites of the respective manufacturers.  Unfortunately, there is some inconsistency between the specifications that each manufacturer is willing to provide.  As an example, Milwaukee provides torque values for each of their products but DeWalt does not.  In addition, there can also be some inconsistencies in the available information for each tool within a manufacturers site.  For instance, DeWalt provides a length for some of their cordless 20v drill drivers but not all of them.

Which cordless drill should I buy?

From a performance perspective, any of the cordless drills in the table above would make a fantastic addition to your tool chest.  Your decision will really come down to budget, brand preference or if you are interested in a product made in the USA.  Speaking from experience, I have owned cordless drill drivers made by DeWalt and Milwaukee and I can attest to their durability and performance.  The DeWalt DCD771C2, Milwaukee 2606-22CT and DeWalt DCD780C2 are the most comparable from a specification perspective but vary by almost $80 in price.  I have to say that the DeWalt DCD771C2 at the price above seems like a pretty great deal.

Cordless Drill Driver Accessories

If you are picking up a new drill driver it is also a great time to get some useful accessories with it.  This may include a drill bit set or a set of tips that can handle multiple types of screw heads.  Take a look at some of the options below to get an idea what you may want to add to your purchase.

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