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Confused (DeWalt 18v Compact Drill Drivers)


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Don't worry, I'm usually confused.

Anyway, I think it might be time to replace my at least 10-year old, 14.4v Makita Drill Driver.  I've been moving toward DeWalt tools and appreciate my DeWalt miter saw and corded drill.  In addition, I was quite impressed by the literal trailer-load of DeWalt tools the builder who put up our new garage and breezeway had -- I kidded him that he should contact DeWalt to do a commercial!  So, I started checking things out...

Here are 3 drills I came across (links are to the CPO site because I could find them all there -- ignore the fact that one is only available there as a reconditioned model).

DC970K-2  http://www.cpopowertools.com/dewalt-dc970k-2-18v-cordless-1-2-in-adjustable-clutch-drill-driver-kit/dewndc970k-2,default,pd.html?start=3&cgid=dewalt-top-sellers

DC759KA  http://www.cpopowertools.com/factory-reconditioned-dewalt-dc759kar-18v-cordless-1-2-in-compact-drill-driver-kit/dewrdc759kar,default,pd.html?start=23&cgid=dewalt-cordless-drills

DC720KA  http://www.cpopowertools.com/dewalt-dc720ka-18v-cordless-1-2-in-compact-drill-driver-kit/dewndc720ka,default,pd.html?start=3&cgid=dewalt-top-sellers#prReview

Am I just looking at newer models?  The 970 and the 759 seem to share the housings and chucks.  The 720 seems to have the newer housing/grip and a (from the picture) different chuck.  The specs I can find for the 970 and the 759 seem identical.  The 720 seems a bit lighter and has a higher (420 vs. 380) MUWO.

Am I missing something else?

I'm looking at these because I don't think I need much more than a compact.  I also think NiCad batteries will be sufficient and I'm not sure I want to pay the increased tariff to go to LiIon.  Likewise, if I can get last year's (or even the year before's) model at a good price, I'm sure it will be sufficient for my needs.  [i work in an office all day, and while I wish I could use power tools on my colleagues sometimes, I only get to use my tools for weekend projects.]

Any help here would be appreciated.

Thanks, Charlie

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Welcome to DOG!

Concerning your dilemma, here are a few answers.

DC970K-2 is the same drill as the DC759KA. I've only recently seen the DC970K-2 model # surface this year. Not sure why it was thrown into the mix? There could be a different NiCd battery in there? I saw the DC970K-2 at Home Depot earlier this week for only $119.00!

DC759KA, I believe was the first model Dewalt launched in the compact line? Not 100% sure. It was the previous model to the DC720KA. Been around for a while, and has proved itself to be a reliable drill. Dewalt keeps it around for special buys, and promo's.

DC720KA, is Dewalt's most current compact 18v drill. You are correct about the updated grip, however it now has a frame-less motor, rather than a canned style on the DC759/DC970. This creates two benefits. A lighter weight and more compact drill, and a more efficient running motor. The motor can actually breathe better and run cooler without a aluminum can wrapped around it keeping in heat.

I personally love the DC720KA, it is a compact power house! I've done several reviews on it, you can start here if you'd like to read up on it.

You mentioned not wanting to pay for lithium. Any one of the drills mentioned above will accept Dewalt's lithium ion batteries. If you decided to go lithium down the road, all you would need are a new charger and batteries. Also worth mentioning is the DCD760KL. It is the exact same drill as the DC720KA, it just comes with the lithium batteries, and updated charger.

Hope that helps answer your questions.

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Excellent!  Thank you very much. 

I think I was on the right track, but I probably would never have guessed that the DC970K-2 and the DC759KA were the SAME!  And as much as I like their tools, DeWalt should probably rethink naming newer, improved tools with lower numbers (as a mathematician, I can assert that there is an order implicit in the notion of "greater than").  So why go from DC759KA TO DC720KA.  Yikes!

Now all I have to do is decide whether to go with the 970/759 at $120 (haven't checked HD, but that's what it's going for online at CPO) or cough up another $80 (for the 720) or $100 (for the 760)!  Maybe if they actually have both of them at HD, I'll see what they feel like.  It's fun having the latest/greatest, but next year there will be something else and I don't really use the tools on a daily basis (If I did, it would be an easy choice -- the 760.)

Thanks again, Charlie

p.s. I checked the old Makita -- it's actually a 12V and it's 14 years old!

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DC720 has a LED light on the drill. Bonus for dark area.

DC720 kit comes with DC9099.

DC970 kit comes with DC9098.

DC759 kit comes with DC9099 or DC9098 (It is strange but it happened)

The fact is DC9099 is better than DC9098.

DC720 appears to be more "solid", more soft black plastic compare to the hard yellow plastic on DC970 and DC759

If you can wait, I bet that either HomeDepot or Lowes will have the DC970 or DC759 on black Friday for $99.

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Thanks for the additional excellent info!

Just to follow up (in case anyone else cares), elsewhere on DOG and at the DeWalt site (support), I found that the DC9098 is 1.2 Ah whereas the DC9099 is 1.7Ah.  That seems to be a significant difference in favor of the 759 (assuming one can find it with the DC9099) over the 970, and another selling point for the 720 (in addition to the more advanced motor, nice housing, and light).

Waiting, unfortunately, has never been my strong point, but who knows...


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Update -- I did stop by HD this afternoon.  Good news: they did have some DC970s for sale at $119.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any on display so I couldn't compare the "feel" of them to the DC720 (which they did have on display but without a battery) or the DC760 (which they had on display with a battery).

More information is always better, now I if only could make a decision...


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  • 1 month later...

I have the DC720, and I just sold the DC970 (replaced it with a DCD970KL hammerdrill.)  The DC970 will be on Lowe's Black Friday list @ $99, the DC720 is lighter in the hand, as well as physically smaller, has a slightly improved grip and a bonus is the light.  It'll really come down to cost, and with the DC970 running at $99, you'll be hard pressed not to choose it.  However if you think you might get tired of holding a SLIGHTLY heavier drill, or need the light, or need the compact size, or the slightly better grip, the DC720/760 might be more fun.  I got my DC720KA (kit) off of eBay for I think $160 shipped last year.

Lowe's is doing a Black Friday preview on Facebook, that's how I know the drill will be on sale again.

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I bought the newly designed model DC759KA several years ago.  It came with 2 of the full sized black top non-XRP batteries, black charger, & kit box.  The batteries lasted around 2 years.  Then I bought a few of the 2-pack yellow top XRP ones for $110 a pack at the Home Depot Christmas sales.  It is the oldest DeWalt tool I have, & it has given me no problems yet.  When I bought the DC759KA it was advertised as having 450 in lbs of torque, but that was before they changed the measurement to UWO (Unit Watts Out), which it is now labeled as 380 UWO.  Back then it was $280, but the prices have come down since. 

Last year I bought 3 of the DCD970s for more heavy duty jobs, but I still prefer the DC759KA for 90% of my construction jobs. 

If I were in the market for a new compact drill, I would get the DCD760KL.  Not saying this because the DC759 is a bad drill.  Just because the DCD760 has the new smaller base, an LED worklight, and it might be a little smaller & less weight then the DC759. 

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  • 2 years later...

I just ordered the DC970K-2 online for $119 and picked it up at Home Depot.  When I got home and drilled the 4-1/4 inch dryer vent hole, I noticed the tool was marked DC720KA.  That one was listed as $175.  I guess if they are out of stock on the 970, they upgrade you to the new drill.  Lucky me. 

Also, FYI, Batteries Plus will sell the raw batteries with no warrantee to refurbish your dead battery packs - if you feel good enough to do the wiring/soldering yourself.

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