DEWALT 12V Xtreme Sub-Compact Tools

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DEWALT 12V Xtreme Sub-Compact Tools Review

DEWALT XTREME 12V MAX Brushless Cordless Drill and Impact Driver Kit

Manufacturer: DEWALT
Model number: DCK221F2
Price: 149 [kit]
Power source: 12 volt
The DEWALT 12V XTREME sub-compact tools is a new line that we had to try out on our job sites. The new 12V Max Xtreme sub-compact series offers an impact driver, screwdriver, impact wrench, drill driver, and hammer drill. The Max Xtreme series is lighter, more compact, shorter in size, and provides extended battery life with a brushless motor.

I’ll often resort to using 12 volt drills and impact drivers for light duty drilling and driving tasks. Part of my work in the remodeling world is taking apart an area of a homeowner’s house without damaging it so that we can later put it back together. For these types of tasks, a lighter duty and easy handling 12 volt tool is ideal. The DEWALT 12V XTREME impact driver and screw driver were my go-to’s when taking apart cabinetry and built-ins. They were light to carry and use overhead and were compact enough to fit into tight spaces.

While the lightweight and easy handling of a smaller 12 volt tool is nice, they can be a little short on power. Dewalt looked at this end-user conundrum and engineered a super compact 18 volt drill driver.

DEWALT XTREME 12V Impact Driver DCF801

The DEWALT XTREME 12V Xtreme impact driver is a cordless and brushless ¼ in. impact driver, model DCF801.

Features / Specifications

  • DCF801 12V Impact Driver
  • 19% shorter
  • Brushless motor
  • ¼ quick release drop and load hex
  • Accepts 1 in. bit tips
  • 3 mode settings including Precision Wrench(TM) for control in a variety of applications
  • 3 LED lights
  • No load speed of 0-2850 RPM
  • Max Torque [IN-LBS] 0-1450
  • Height 25 inches
  • Length 05 inches
  • Weight 1.75 (tool only)

Advantages of Using a 12 Volt Impact Driver

Some of its advantages is that it is extremely lightweight, ergonomically comfortable, and comparably powerful to the 20v Max system. In addition, it offers 3 modes that help deliver the correct amount of torque based on your application.

  • Precision Drive™ mode: This mode is ideal for light duty screwdriving where you want to avoid overdriving. Examples of ideal applications of this mode are installing cabinet hinges or driving machine screws. This mode will provide a slow, controlled impact to ensure that the screw head ends perfectly flush with the material.
  • Lo mode: If additional power is needed to drive a fastener, Lo mode will provide slightly more torque and power while still maintaining a slow, controlled impact to the fastener.
  • Hi mode: This mode will deliver the most power for applications such as light duty framing or assembly where precision driving is not needed.

These features, along with the 3 LED lights, make this impact driver an extremely versatile, everyday carry tool in my bags.

DEWALT 12 V Impact Driver – Power

I found that the power of this impact driver was comparable but less than its 20v counterpart. To test the power of this driver, I used it on Hi mode to sink approximately ten 4 inch. Timberlok lag bolts through three 2×8 spruce boards. I noticed a very small difference in terms of power and efficiency between this impact driver and my 20v impact driver. Where I noticed a difference was when it came to driving consecutive lag bolts or screws; the smaller battery was not able to keep up with the pace at which I was pushing it. However, for most applications like light duty framing (building temporary walls, installing blocking in tight spaces) and installing cabinet hardware, I have found this impact driver to deliver sufficient power.

Overall, this impact driver is immensely useful on the job site or in the shop.

DEWALT XTREME 12V Drill Driver DCD701

Features / Specifications

  • DCD701 12V Drill Driver
  • 32% more power
  • 20% shorter
  • Brushless motor for longer runtime
  • Chuck size ⅜ in
  • 2-speed transmission
  • 15 clutch settings for a variety of applications
  • Max RPM 0-425 (speed 1) and 0-1500 (speed 2)
  • Max power 250 UWO
  • Height 25 in
  • Length 5.97 in.
  • Weight 1.9 lbs. (tool only)

DEWALT XTREME 12V cordless drill is a brushless ⅜ in. drill driver DCD701

It is significantly shorter and more compact than its 20V counterpart with an overall length of 5.97 inches. Like the XTREME 12V MAX impact driver, one of the biggest benefits of this drill is that it is easy to carry in a tool pouch and doesn’t weigh down your belt, making it easier and more efficient to move from one task to another and packing it in and out of a job site.

With a 2 speed transmission, you have a lot of control over the precision and power when pre-drilling holes. I had no problem pre drilling holes in hardwood boards like oak and maple. I used this drill with ⅜ in forstner bit to hog out the majority of a mortise in a dining room bench made out of hard maple. I cleared out the rest of the mortise with a chisel. This is my preferred method for making a mortise and tenon joint and I found that the 12V Max drill driver in the second gear provided me enough power and precision to create a clean and accurate mortise. Additionally, I used this drill in the first gear to pre-drill holes in maple plywood when installing some cabinet hardware in my shop cabinets.

DEWALT XTREME 12V Screwdriver DCF601

The XTREME 12V MAX brushless ¼” cordless screwdriver is an extremely compact and lightweight driver. Its greatest advantage is that it’s designed to fit in tight spaces and deliver clutch control when fastening. I primarily use this screwdriver for fastening hardware. Because of its extreme compact size, it can perform like a right angle drill in tight spots.

Overall Thoughts

The DEWALT 12V XTREME sub-compact tools provide a powerful, lightweight, and ergonomically comfortable line of drills and drivers for light duty drilling and driving tasks. For the most part, these drills and drivers live in my finish carpentry bag.

Areas for improvement

  • Power: The power of the 12V impact driver diminishes during consecutive driving tasks. While it provides excellent power for light duty or shorter driving tasks, it performs at a lower rate than its 20V max counterpart.


XTREME 12V Impact Driver DCF801 (Tool Only) $93.06


  • Kit: $149.00 at (includes 1 battery and 1 charger)
  • XTREME 12V Drill Driver DCD701 (Tool only) $93.06
    • Kit: $118.99 (includes 1 battery and 1 charger)
  • XTREme 12V Screwdriver DCF601 (Tool only) $83.66
    • Kit $99.97 (includes 1 battery and 1 charger)






About the author

Dave Brefini

Dave Brefini has always been drawn to carpentry since he was a young kid but did not work in the trade until January 2019. Prior to this, he spent 8 years working as a Spanish teacher both at the university and high school level. As a teacher in both private and public schools, he noticed that the trades were rarely presented to students as a viable career path. His decision to begin a career in carpentry was based on both a deep interest in the craft and a passion to promote the trade to young people.

All posts by Dave »


  1. Brian

    Which Bosch drill are you referring to in paragraph three?

    1. That was a typo, should have read Dewalt

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