Dewalt DCD785N-GB XR Lithium-Ion 2-Speed Combi Drill Review

Thanks for taking your time to read our review of the tool only Dewalt DCD785N-GB XR Lithium-Ion 2-Speed Combi Drill. This model has been designed to be used in confined spaces and as such it is classed as a compact drill and also light in weight.

It is part of the Dewalt XR 18V range, but for this model, it is sold as a tool only option. despite the compact size it packs plenty of punch with up to 14 torque settings, 60 Nm of torque, a 13 mm chuck and all metal transmission.

It was released to the UK market around 2012, so has been around now for a number of years, and still a popular choice.

Short Summary Review

94% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer ratings

This is a tool only 2 speed combi drill with a compact, lightweight design that gives easier use in confined spaces. (Not brushless)

It has an all metal transmission for longer lifetime of the drill

It has a 13mm single sleeve keyless chuck with automatic spindle lock for quick and easy bit change with one hand

It also has 14 torque settings for consistent screwdriving into a variety of materials with different screw sizes (60 Nm)

It has a bright white LED with delay feature for improved visibility and flashlight functionality

How Online Buyers Rate the Dewalt DCD785N-GB?

Buyer Satisfaction
  • Overall buyers rate this drill/driver with a high average 92% buyer satisfaction
  • 83% of those buyers thought this merited a full 5 star review
  • 3% of all buyers online gave this a poor review

The above ratings are based on 300+ online buyer reviews at the time of writing this article. We calculated the average buyer satisfaction rating from the ratings left at websites who sell Dewalt drills.

What Buyers Say about the Dewalt DCD785N-GB Tool Only Model?

So we know that buyers rate this tool only highly enough, and below we have summarised, in the form of a pros and cons table, what those buyers had to say. This information is left after they have bought and used the drill, so is very useful information to know and consider.


  • This is a good value buy if you already own a compatible battery and charger  
  • Buyers said this drill is a great choice for any serious DIY person who just wants to own a good quality drill
  • The majority of buyers say this feels really nice in your hands and has a really nice balanced feel when you are using it
  • Buyers said that it can handle drilling and driving jobs with considerable ease and the neat compact size allows you into tight work areas.


  • A couple of buyers said the hammer drilling capability is just OK
  • A couple of buyers said the chuck obstructs the LED light, and in the newer models the light has been moved to the foot of the drill

DCD785N-GB Specification (Summary)

  • This is sold as a tool only so not sold with a battery and charger
  • This is a 2 speed drill/driver with a hammer action feature
  • It has a 13mm single sleeve chuck and spindle lock for quick and easy bit changes using one hand
  • It has a reverse switch, required for screw removal
  • It has variable speed
  • 14 adjustable torque positions
  • LED light with delay feature
  • Magnetic piece on the side of the drill that will hold a bit holder or some screws (also has a belt holder)

Key Features

Battery Power

92% buyer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

This DCD785N-GB is an 18 Volt cordless drill and sold as a tool only. So if you already own a compatible 18V battery and charger, then this would be a good value drill for your needs.

However, if you don't own those, then you will need to buy a battery and charger. We have shown a 5.0 Ah battery and a DCB115 Dewalt charger to the left which is compatible with this drill.

If you decide to go for that, then of course you can also buy other Dewalt tool only power tools that use the same voltage battery. At some stage you are going to need these if you want to use Dewalt cordless tools.

You can either a buy a package like that, or buy a drill that comes with a battery and charger.

LED Worklight

These small LED work lights pretty much come as standard on most types of drills. Only the very cheap models leave these out. The lights can be handy if you are working in a poorly lit area or any type of confined space.

There is one on this cordless drill, so another tick in the box for this useful feature. It is an older style drill so the light is located under the chuck, and in some cases that can obstruct the LED light. In the newer models, this LED light has been moved to the foot of the drill to overcome this problem.

Keyless Chuck

Just like the LED, a keyless chuck is now the norm for these types of drills. A keyless chuck is of course a drill where the chuck is tightened by hand and holds the bits securely. They are just much faster and you never have to worry about losing a chuck key again.

This cordless hammer drill has a 13mm single sleeve chuck and spindle lock for quick and easy bit changes using one hand.

Drilling Capacity

The maximum drilling capacity is:

Wood 38mm

Steel 13mm

Masonry 13mm

Clutch Positions & Torque

This Dewalt model has 15 pre-selectable torques. Many buyers get confused about exactly what these are used for. When you drill through different materials you should use different speeds for the best results. This is achieved by picking the right torque.

For example in soft woods you would use a lower torque as you don't want to over drive screws.

This drill also has a 2 speed gearbox which is very useful. Most drill/drivers have two speeds. On most drills including this one setting 1 is low speed/high torque and is best for driving screws. Setting 2 is a medium speed/torque and can be used for drilling or driving.

Variable Speed Control

Variable speed delivers the optimum power and speed to ensure you have control in a range of applications. Adjustable speed makes your work a lot easier as you can control this by how hard you squeeze the trigger.

This Dewalt model does have variable speed control.

Hammer Function

This drill has the important hammer function. The hammer function on a drill allows you to be able to drill through masonry such as brick, block, concrete and stone.

All drills have a rotary or spinning action which is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). This is what is used to drill through materials such as wood, metals and plastic. To drill through masonry this rotary action is used, but when the hammer function is selected, an additional bumping action is added.

This is measured in bumps per minute (BPM) or impacts per minute (IPM). This is a small hammer type action that helps you get through hard masonry materials. 

When this drill has the hammer function selected, it is then used with a masonry bit which allows you to drill through harder materials like brick, block and concrete. 

Most buyers are happy with the hammer feature on this model and it works well up to using a masonry drill bit of 10mm in diameter. That is good enough for most masonry drilling. Using bits of 12-13 mm it does struggle a little.


We would always recommend checking out the warranty that you get with any product that you buy.

With this model you get a 3 year limited warranty and 1 year free service.

Our Verdict on the Dewalt DCD785N-GB XR Lithium-Ion 2-Speed Combi Drill

94% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer ratings

This is a cordless drill/driver and has the hammer option making it a very goof all round drill for your home and garden.

Despites its small and lightweight design, this is a very powerful drill that will not let you down.

It has all the right features, and we like how simple it is to use.

Ideally you should own a compatible Dewalt battery and charger to get the best value for this body only drill.

It has been out for quite a few years and remains a consistent seller.

If this is not the cordless drill for you then check out our full list of Dewalt cordless drills by clicking here. If you don't fancy a Dewalt drill, then you can check our full list of all brands of cordless drills by clicking here.

Dewalt - The Company and Brand

The Dewalt brand are the leading high end brand for tools in the world and really do make high quality products. This is the go to tool brand for professional trades people and has been for a very long time.

The company was formed in 1922 by Raymond E. Dewalt. The actual Dewal company started out in Leola, Pennsylvania. Their first product was an electric universal woodworking machine known as the DEWALT "Wonder-Worker".

Like many tool companies they grew a lot during the second World War and just after that period. They continued to expand in the 60's and 70's making bench grinders and metal cutting machines.

It was as far back as 1992 when they first started making portable electric tools aimed at the contracting and building markets. In 2011 they introduced the ground breaking XR system.

Dewalt have around 43 different types of cordless drills available on the UK market. This includes 12V, 18V and 20V options. The models include drill/drivers, impact drills, hammer drills and SDS drills.

About the author cordy

I am a retired construction worker and I also happen to love power tools. I have used hundreds over the years and offer my opinions on them here.

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