We’re pretty excited about the cordless tool industry’s push towards brushless motors, at least in pistol-grip drill and driver-type tools. So when we were given the chance to grill Dewalt about their new brushless impact driver and other brushless-related matters, how could we say no?
(Here’s our primer on brushed motors vs. brushless if you’d like a refresher.)
A note about the format – there are 7 questions (bolded) with each followed by an answer from the Dewalt product development team. The answers are a bit markety in tone, but they do offer some nice insight.
1. Why is this the right time for DEWALT to introduce a brushless impact driver?
A: Great question! In recent years, impact drivers have become one of the fastest growing tool categories in the industry. Many of our users find themselves reaching a bit less for their drill/driver – and more and more for their impact driver. Impact drivers offer several advantages over a traditional drill/driver, most notably being a smaller size/weight, faster speed of application (RPM) & non-reactionary torque output (tool will not try and “spin your wrist”).
Our cordless fastening team has spent the better part of the last five years researching and developing this new Brushless (BL) impact driver. The DEWALT designed and built BL motor works more efficiently compared to brushed motors, and provides our users with 57% longer run-time* (vs. the leading competitor).
That being said, this impact driver is more than just a motor upgrade. The tool is packed with innovative features that make it our best impact driver to date.
*Compared to standard DEWALT and competitive impact drivers with brushed motors.
2. Are there any other tools in the pipeline slated for redesign around brushless motors?
Yes, we are always interested in researching, developing and ultimately providing our users with a tool that delivers one of their most important requirements; run-time.
[Ed. Note: we didn’t really expect an answer here, but had to try. It also doesn’t help that we asked this as a yes-no question.]
3. Will we see brushless motors in tools other than drills and drivers?
Although I can’t be specific, I can say that we are looking at all options. Brushless motor technology provides the largest run-time improvements in drilling and fastening tools – and I think that is where most users will really want it.
4. Can you tell us more about the design work that went into the new push-button hex chuck lock?
Sure, one of the most common requests we began receiving from users in the field, was for a quicker and easier way to change their accessory bits. Our goal was to create a chuck that would allow contractors to complete one handed accessory changes – with the push of a button. It’s definitely one of the standout features of this tool and will be something that surely saves our users time and frustration.
5. The new brushless impact driver is 5-1/4″ long. Were there any significant hurdles in making the driver such a compact size?
There are always challenges to making tools shorter. Luckily, this project was a complete ground-up design – so we determined very early on that the tool’s overall length had to be a priority.
[Ed. Note: during a new product intro a year ago, it was quite enthusiastically shared that the product development team was thrilled that they were able to shave a fraction of an inch off of the length when redesigning the 18V impact driver for the 20V Max platform.]
6. The 3 speed and torque settings appears to provide clutch-like maximum-torque control. Does this feature provide any other less obvious benefits?
As impact drivers have gotten more and more powerful – and faster and faster in recent years – it became clear that users needed a way to “dial-back” the speed and torque for smaller and more delicate (ex. Brass hinges) fasteners. Although significantly different from a mechanical clutch, it does provide users with more control when performing a variety of fastening applications.
7. Are there any aspects of the brushless impact driver that you hope to improve or upgrade in the next revision?
We are constantly searching for new ways to innovate all of our tools. At this point, we have not yet identified any opportunities for improvement.
[Ed. Note: we didn’t really expect them to highlight any perceived flaws in their brand new driver, but thought it was worth a shot.]
Made it this far? Great, we hope you enjoyed this Q&A session! We love chatting it up with product managers and development teams. If this is something you’d like to see more of, comment below or email us with your requests.