DeWalt Atomic 20V Max impact wrench review

DeWalt Atomic Impact Wrench squeezes solid muscles in a tight space

It’s the ubiquitous dilemma for impact wrenches – how to get more torque in a confined space. The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Wrench aims to solve this problem once and for all.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max impact wrench: Compact performance

At first glance, it is clear that DeWalt designed this impact wrench as a compact model. It is less than 5 inches long from tip to tail (4.97 inches). At the top of the handle, the head is tilted slightly upwards, so you have more space without the battery getting in the way.

The tool is also relatively light. It only weighs 2.5 pounds, a 2.0 Ah battery comes in at 3.3 pounds, and a 5.0 Ah pack weighs 3.9 pounds.

Although it is compact, the brushless motor brings some muscle power. It achieves a torque of 450 ft-lbs nut locking torque and 300 ft-lbs fastening torque. This combined with 2500 rpm and 3550 IPM for your screw removal pleasure.

This is strong and we compared it to cordless and pneumatic options to see where it really fits. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel 2855 sets an impressive standard for compact 18v impact wrenches, but at 250 ft-lbs, it’s not as strong at both tightening and cracking nuts.

Looking for an Ingersoll-Rand pneumatic benchmark, the ultra-compact 36QMax is capable of 640 ft-lbs for breakaway torque and 360 ft-lbs for attachment.

At the moment, the DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Wrench leads the cordless category in terms of strength, but there are even more powerful pneumatic options.

Instead of just taking DeWalt’s word for it, we decided to give the Atomic Impact Wrench a try. We adjusted the torque on our rig to different levels and found that this model could consistently remove 450 ft-lbs with a 5.0 Ah battery. We even broke bolts up to 461 ft-lbs.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max impact wrench

Features of the DeWalt Atomic 20V Max impact wrench

Advanced controls

The impact wrench has four power / speed settings. Two of these are standard low / high modes. The other two use the Precision Wrench control to prevent overturning and uncontrolled movement, while a Timber Screw mode optimizes the speed of the tool when fastening wood


Model options

There are three Atomic models to choose from at this performance level. The DCF921 has a 1/2-inch hog ring (friction ring) and the DCF922 has a 1/2-inch pin detent. The DCF923 can be reduced in size without changing specifications and has a 3/8-inch hog ring.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Wrench Drive Options

LED lights

We LOVE the LED lights on these wrenches. Three lights surround the drive and there are controls to turn them off or to choose between two intensity modes. If you’re sniffing around on an engine they are great!

LED lights

Other properties

  • Glass-filled nylon housing resists damage from some oils and solvents
  • Belt hook included

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Wrench Price

Whichever model you want, the bare tool costs $ 199. The two friction ring models also have kit options. With two 5.0 Ah batteries, the kits cost $ 399. Alternatively, you can get them with two oil-resistant 5.0Ah batteries for $ 499.

As always, DeWalt supports these effects with a 3-year warranty, a 1-year service contract and a 90-day money-back guarantee.

The bottom line

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Wrench is an incredibly impressive tool that instantly jumps to the top of the class for performance. Its compact size and light weight are sure to make it a favorite with mechanics, contractors and other professionals who need high performance in tight spaces.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Impact Wrench Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCF921 (1/2 ″ Hog Ring), DCF922 (1/2 ″ Locking Pin), DCF923 (3/8 ″ Hog Ring)
  • Motor: brushless
  • Beats Per Minute: 3550 IPM
  • Max. Tightening torque: 300 ft-lbs
  • Max Breakaway Torque: 450 ft-lbs
  • Idle speed: 2500 rpm
  • Height: 8.2 in.
  • Length: 4.97 inches.
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Guarantee: 3 years
  • Price:
    • DCF921B Bare Tool – $ 199
    • DCF921P2 kit with (2) 5.0Ah XR batteries – $ 399
    • DCF921GP2 Kit with (2) 5.0Ah XR Oil Resistant Batteries – $ 499
    • DCF922B Bare Tool – $ 199
    • DCF923B Bare Tool – $ 199
    • DCF923P2 kit with (2) 5.0Ah XR batteries – $ 399
    • DCF923GP2 Kit with (2) 5.0Ah XR Oil Resistant Batteries – $ 499

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