DeWalt DCH172: A Compact and Lightweight Rotary Hammer with Impressive Features
We recently put DeWalt’s compact 12V Xtreme cordless hammer to the test in our shop. It proved to be a fantastic option for drilling smaller holes when weight and size are a concern. But what if you don’t own a DeWalt 12V tool? That’s where the little DeWalt 20V Max Atomic rotary hammer comes in handy.
The Advantages of the DeWalt DCH172
- Lightweight and pocket-sized
- Drills faster than the DeWalt 12V Max Xtreme DCH072
- Low vibration
The Shortcomings of the DeWalt DCH172
- The depth rod adjustment is a bit of a hassle
- Mode switching can be stiff
The Atomic Rotary Hammer boasts a brushless motor that can deliver up to 1060 RPM, 4980 BPM, and 1.4 Joules of impact energy. It performs exceptionally well with bits between 5/32 and 1/2 inch, making it a perfect choice for light-duty jobs. If you require a larger capacity, it can handle drilling up to 5/8″.
If you find yourself in need of more power to tackle your tasks, you might want to consider the DeWalt 20V Max DCH273, which offers a boost in capacity and overall power.
We had our first experience with this compact rotary hammer while drilling a series of holes in our 4000 PSI concrete test block.
Using a smaller hammer for drilling smaller holes comes with the added benefit of lower overall vibration. The DeWalt DCH172 provides an official measurement of 8.8 M/S². It’s essential to choose a tool that gets the job done without overwhelming you.
Since the design closely resembles DeWalt’s 12V Max Xtreme hammer, we wanted to compare their drilling speeds. It’s evident that the Atomic drills faster. When drilling 3″ deep with a 3/8″ bit, the Atomic finished a remarkable 2.8 seconds ahead.
Pro tip: Instead of using a rotary hammer, have you considered trying a different tool? Rotary hammers offer higher impact and sturdier construction. Learn more about the differences in our comprehensive article.
DeWalt 20V Rotary Hammer Design Notes
Size and Weight
One of the most outstanding aspects of this cordless hammer is its remarkable compactness. It stands at just 6.75 inches tall and measures approximately 10.25 inches long. What’s even better is its weight, coming in at only 4.31 pounds with a 2.0Ah battery.
Compared to other cordless hammers in the same weight class, it is exceptionally compact and lightweight. These specifications make it an ideal choice for tight spaces and overhead work. Electricians, HVAC professionals, and tradespeople who primarily work with smaller concrete fasteners will find it particularly useful.
The DeWalt 20V Atomic Rotary Hammer offers a 2-position slide switch on the side, allowing you to effortlessly switch between hammer drilling mode and rotary drilling mode. Unlike some other high-powered rotary hammers, this tool doesn’t have a dedicated cutting mode for the SDS Plus Chisel Bit. However, keep in mind that this tool wasn’t designed for chipping at all.
DeWalt is known for its popular handle designs, and the DCH172 is no exception. A comfortable grip is crucial, especially when it comes to rotary hammers that require significant pressure during use. Like many heavy-duty rotary hammers, the DCH172 features a shock absorber built into the rear handle for added cushioning.
The side handle can rotate around the collet, offering 12 positions that securely lock against a series of molded stops, similar to the teeth on a gear. This design virtually eliminates the possibility of the grip shifting while you work.
The main handle follows DeWalt’s drill and driver design, featuring a comfortable contour and ample overmolding for enhanced comfort.
To adjust the depth rod, you’ll need to loosen the handle of the release rod. It’s a bit more inconvenient compared to a lever with a separate lock.
- Variable speed trigger
- Integrated LED lights
At a Glance: DeWalt 20V Max Atomic VS. 12V Xtreme Rotary Hammer
|DeWalt 20V Atom DCH172||DeWalt 12V Xtreme DCH072|
|Impact rate||4,980 beats per minute||4,280 beats per minute|
|Maximum speed||1,060 rpm||910 rpm|
|Impact energy||1.4J (1.03 ft-lbs)||1.1J (0.81 ft-lbs)|
|Vibration||8.8 m²/m²||9.7 m²/m²|
|Optimal bit size||5/32-1/2 inches||5/32-3/8 inches|
|Chuck type||SDS Plus||SDS Plus|
|Chuck capacity||5/8 in.||5/8 in.|
|Price||$199 (bare), $329 (kit)||N/A|
DeWalt 20V Atomic Rotary Hammer Price
The DeWalt 20V Max hammer set is available at a retail price of $329. It includes two 2.0Ah batteries, a charger, and a hard plastic carrying case. You can also purchase it as a bare tool for $199. DeWalt offers a standard 3-year limited warranty, a 2-year free service agreement, and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
The Bottom Line
The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Rotary Hammer is an excellent solution for overhead work or tight spaces where you need to set smaller concrete fasteners. If you’re torn between the Atomic DCH172 and the 12V Max DCH072, we recommend choosing the former. The slight weight increase with the 20V Max is worth it for the faster drilling performance.
Discover the complete line of DeWalt Rotary Hammers here.
- Model: DeWalt DCH172
- Power: DeWalt 20V Max battery
- Weight: 3.56 lbs (bare), 4.31 lbs (with 20V 2.0Ah battery)
- Impact Power: 1.4 Joules
- No-load speed: 0-1060 RPM
- Beats per minute: 0-4980 BPM
- Chuck Type: SDS Plus
- Chuck Capacity: 5/8 in.
- Length: 10.25 inches
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $199 (bare), $329 (kit)