DeWalt is bringing more functionality to the Tool Connect line, introducing several connected tools to go with its Bluetooth batteries, tracking tags and Bluetooth adapters. The DeWalt Tool Connect Hammer Drill is currently having a great time with us. We're ready to break down what this tool does and what you can expect from Tool Connect.
For starters, the DeWalt DCD997 builds on the foundation of the DeWalt DCD996 premium hammer drill. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better model in the DeWalt collection at this time. If you have used DCD996, you will feel that it is very familiar and the specifications are the same.
Be sure to check out our article on the best DeWalt drill bits
Tool connectivity was without a doubt the biggest topic of the exercise. We'll take a closer look at that later. Now you are looking at a 3 speed brushless motor with the typical features of a flagship hammer drill.
There are 11 clutch settings on the torsion ring as well as drill and hammer drill modes. You have a 1/2" chuck, and a belt hook that you can mount on either side as needed.
Below the trigger is a button for cycling through the 4 tool connection modes. Besides the gear selection on top of the tool, it's unusual (but not unheard of) to have a mode selection here. Some quick math will tell you this means that there are a total of 12 modes available.
DeWalt Tool Connect Hammer Drill Key Features
- Programmable speed, bind switch and LED work light via DeWalt Tool Connect app
- Diagnostics via the Tool Connect app
- Inventory management available through the Tool Connect portal
- One last view and disable of features available through the Tool Connect app
- Brushless Motor
- 3 gears and 4 electronic modes are optional, 3 modes can be customized
- 11 Clutch Settings, Drill Mode and Hammer Drill Mode
- belt hook
- DeWalt DCD997P2BT kit includes two 5.0 Ah Bluetooth batteries, auxiliary handle and charger
Discover more details about DeWalt Tool Connect in our definitive guide!
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Let's put performance aside
Before we dive into Tool Connect itself, let's start with performance. The DeWalt Tool Connect Hammer Drill gives you 820 unit watts of power — equivalent to approximately 841 inch-pounds. torque. There are definitely stronger maneuvers out there. However, for nearly any standard task you could ask a cordless drill to perform, the DeWalt DCD997 can handle it. With the helper handle to stabilize it, even tough cuts like a 3" hole saw or a 1-1/2" spade drill with a 2x PT run smoothly.
Where I draw the line is in the mix, hole sawing over 4" and concrete or metal drilling over 1/2". In fact, there are better tools for these tasks than the standard TC classes anyway.
I promised tool connection, so let's do tool connection
The performance of the drill wasn't the first thing I thought of when this model arrived. Knowing its DCD996 DNA, I don't have much doubt about its status. What I'm most curious about is the custom mode.
In each setting, you can customize the intensity (including off) and duration of the LED work lights. This is useful if you want to use the LED for a few seconds or even minutes after the trigger is released. Scroll all the way to the right, and you can also toggle the tethered controls on or off.
When it comes to other settings, you can adjust speed but not torque. When you set the mode to a specific speed, you are essentially using the electronic governor to tell the drill what the maximum speed is. It's not perfect, though. I set up a simple RPM test to see how close my custom setup was to reality.
DeWalt tool connects hammer drill setup with . Reality
Home Mode is preset and you cannot change anything. Modes 1, 2 and 3 are customizable. Here's what I found in my tests:
Gear 1/2/3 Tool Connection Settings
- Home: 450/1332/2000 rpm
- Mode 1: 135/400/600 rpm
- Mode 2: 270/799/1200 rpm
- Mode 3: 405/1199/1800 rpm
1/2/3 actual speed, battery power is 67%
- Home: 447/1322/1983 RPM Mean Variance: – 0.8%
- Mode 1: 138/403/603 RPM Average variance: +0.9%
- Mode 2: 266/781/1166 RPM Average variance: – 2.2%
- Mode 3: 381/1137/1704 RPM Average variance: – 5.5%
Once the battery has stabilized to its nominal 18V voltage, the accuracy of the speed is within a fairly reasonable margin of error. Note that variance increases as you move up at a custom speed.
1/2/3 gear actual speed when fully charged
- Home: 446/1323/1984 RPM Mean Variance: – 0.8%
- Mode 1: 151/445/663 RPM Average variance: +12.0%
- Mode 2: 290/850/1260 RPM Average variance: +6.3%
- Mode 3: 416/1229/1830 RPM Average variance: +2.3%
Once the battery is fully charged, you have a tool running on 20V. As you might expect, the numbers are higher. Interestingly, the non-customizable Home Mode is pretty much the same in both battery states. Observing how the variance decreases with speed, you can be sure that the tool is stabilizing to its nominal voltage as the test progresses.
How is the result
I admit, I love numbers and quantifiable data. When we looked at the speed results, it became apparent that the DeWalt Tool Connect was not actively tracking how fast the chuck was actually spinning. It's more likely to control the percentage of trigger pull it allows, which is why you'll get different results at different states of charge.
But it seems to allow the tool to run at maximum speed when you're not electronically managing it in the app, so the stats for home mode are pretty much the same in both states of charge.
If the battery is fully charged in a short period of time, you will get a higher RPM than what you have defined in the app. However, once you settle on the nominal voltage, you're within 6%. This is certainly good enough considering we don't need to pull out exact RPMs when drilling. What's great is that we can dial in speeds between what each of the 3 gears offers. For larger wood drilling and metal drilling, this helps a lot in optimizing the drilling speed. The downside is that no matter what limit we put on speed, we put the same percentage limit on torque – just like pulling a trigger.
With the DNA from the DEWALT DCD996 Hammer Drill, the performance and ergonomics you expect come true in the DEWALT Tool Connection Hammer Drill. What a professional needs to decide is whether the extra control is worth the $50 premium you're paying.
Aside from the brief power boost you get with a fully charged battery, you'll be within 10% of your speed when you set the speed in the Tool Connect app. For most pros, it allows you to get full trigger pull speeds that you usually don't like. But is it better than just flicking the trigger and drilling by feel? I think this will work for some professionals.
Of course, balance all of this with the diagnostic and tracking tools that come with DeWalt Tool Connect. Also, keep in mind that it's made in the USA as part of DeWalt Global Materials, and the tool comes with a 3-year warranty.
- Model: DEWALT DCD997
- Power: DeWalt 20V Max or FlexVolt battery
- Maximum speed: 2000 RPM
- Gears: 3
- Modes: 4 (3 programmable)
- Torque: 820 UWO (841 in-lbs)
- Chuck Size: 1/2″
- Length: 7.9″
- Weight: 3 lbs, 7 oz (bare); 4 lbs, 13 oz (with 5.0 Ah battery)
- Price: $369 (kit with two 5.0 Ah Bluetooth batteries), $199 (bare)