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Dewalt has upgraded their DCF840 cordless impact driver kit with a 2Ah battery.
The Dewalt DCF840 is a 20V Max impact driver with brushless motor, compact size, and 1700 in-lbs max torque.
In my opinion, the DCF840 is underrated. It’s a fantastic impact, but I always felt its kit configuration could be better.
The DCF840 has been available in a promo-priced kit for several seasons now, DCF840C2, which is bundled with a charger, tool bag, and 2x 1.5Ah (or 1.3AH?) batteries.
Lowe’s has this kit at its typical seasonal sale price of $99 right now.
The only negative about this kit is its batteries. When I bought the kit, I kept the impact and gave away the batteries. I generally don’t keep 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah batteries – I donate them, whether purchased as part of a kit or received with review samples.
Except for Dewalt’s super-compact PowerStack battery, I generally don’t like to use batteries with less than 2Ah of charge capacity.
Now, Dewalt upgraded the DCF840 to be bundled with a 2Ah battery in this new kit, DCF840D1.
Dewalt has done similar with their new 20V Max Atomic drill and impact driver kits earlier this year. With the Atomic series, those new kits are shipping with “new “D1” battery configurations – a single 2Ah battery. As with the DCF840, the older Atomic tool kits shipped with “C2” battery configurations – two 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah batteries.
Dewalt also recently updated their Atomic series impact driver kit to match – DCF809D1. That makes sense; if the new Atomic drills are now kitted with a 2Ah battery, the impact from the same line was bound to receive the same treatment.
The Atomic impact kit received more of an upgrade, as a single kitted 2Ah battery replaced a single kitted 1.3Ah/1.5Ah battery. For the new Atomic drill kits, a single kitted 2Ah replaced 2x 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah batteries that the outgoing models were bundled with.
In case you’re wondering, I prefer the DCF840 impact discussed here over the Atomic series DC809 impact.
When the new Atomic cordless drills were announced, I asked Dewalt about the battery change. They said:
Through our research, we have concluded that users preferred the DCB203 battery over the 1.3Ah, which is why we decided to kit with the DCB203. We want to offer our users different options in this category that bring value at multiple price points.
Indeed, I would rather buy a kit with 1x 2Ah battery than 2x 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah batteries. Dewalt’s official rationale for why they bundled the new Atomic drill and impact driver kits with a single 2Ah battery perfectly aligns with this.
However, there are definitely strategic reasons why the brand could have continued to offer these kits with two batteries.
Thinking aloud, could this potentially be a cost-cutting measure, at least in part?
Two 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah batteries each with 5x Li-ion battery cells, a battery management circuit board, tool contacts, and a plastic housing, might cost more than a single battery with 2Ah cells.
Maybe we’re starting to see shortages or higher prices for 18650 cylindrical-style Li-ion battery cells? A few years ago, when 21700-sized cells were emerging, a cordless power tool battery engineer told me that we are bound to see changes in 18650 battery cell pricing or availability as 21700 cells increase in popularity. Could that have now come true?
Regardless as to the reason, I’m glad to see the change.
Conventionally, two batteries are better than one, especially when the total charge capacity is higher.
But unless you’re just buying a drill or impact kit, I typically prefer higher capacity batteries. A 2Ah battery is going to last longer than a 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah battery before requiring a break to recharge.
Yes, you can swap two batteries, but like a lot of users I like to equip every tool needed for a project with its own battery.
Once a user expands beyond what’s included in these promotional-priced tool kits, 1.3Ah and 1.5Ah batteries start to lose their utility. My lowest capacity batteries end up relegated to backup status, and I have found over the years that I never use them.
Dewalt PowerStack is the exception, as their 1.7Ah battery provides smaller size and lower weight benefits, and has the muscle to power more demanding tools than the older style 1.3Ah and 1.5Ah battery packs.
In my opinion, this update makes the DCF840D1 kit slightly less perfect for beginner users, and much more appealing to existing or future Dewalt 20V Max cordless power tool users.
I can always buy more batteries, but I don’t like paying for 1.3Ah or 1.5Ah batteries I won’t use.
Most competing cordless power tool brands, such as Milwaukee, Makita, Ridgid, and now Flex, also offer promo drill and impact driver kits bundled with a single battery. I believe that Bosch and Metabo HPT are the only brands that still offer promo kits with 2 starter capacity batteries.
All those thoughts about the context aside, are you getting more or less? You’re getting less – one fewer battery and lower total charge capacity – but I see this as an upgrade.
I’m surprised Dewalt gave the DCF840 kit the same treatment as their Atomic series, but probably should have anticipated it.
The DCF840 is a fantastic impact at $99 (and can sometimes be purchased for less when retailers run coupon promos). It might be the only single speed impact driver I enjoy using.