I reviewed the Dewalt 8V DCF680 gyroscopic cordless screwdriver a few months ago, and it turned out to be an okay driver. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It took a little getting used to, mostly because I didn’t really find the pistol-grip configuration to be comfortable, especially compared to the more compact Black & Decker Gyro screwdriver.
Well, it seems like I’m not the only one who wasn’t in love with the 8V gyroscopic driver’s ergonomics, because Dewalt has just introduced two new 8V gyro screwdrivers that have non-pivoting straight handles.
All three models will be sold alongside each other:
- DCF680 – the pivoting handle screwdriver released in 2013
- DCF681 – an inline screwdriver with deburring cones
- DCF682 – an inline screwdriver with quick-release chuck
Dewalt DCF681 Deburring Screwdriver
The DCF681 is designed for deburring and fastening applications, and features a stepped conduit reamer and 1/4″ magnetic hex bit holder. The cone-shaped cutter can deburr 1/2″, 3/4″, and 1″ conduit.
When the deburring screwdriver launches in April 2014, it will be available as part of a 2-battery kit (DCF681N2) that will be priced at $139.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Dewalt DCF682 Screwdriver
The DCF682, like the DCF680, is designed for fastening applications and features a quick-release 1/4″ hex bit holder.
Unlike the DCF680, the new screwdriver does not have an adjustable clutch.
Both drivers have gyroscopic motion controllers. Twist the driver to the right, and it spins to the right. Twist it to the left, and it spins to the left. The faster you rotate the tool, the faster the bit turns, until it reaches maximum speed.
- Lock-off switch
- Activation trigger switch
- LED worklight
- Battery fuel gauge
- 40 in-lbs max torque
If you can’t wait for the DCF681 and DCF682 to hit the streets, the DCF680 is currently available and at great pricing. If, like me, you don’t care for the pivoting handle, you could always set the driver in its straight inline position and keep it there.
Buy Now: 1-Battery Kit ($79) | 2-Battery Kit ($89) | LED Flashlight (via Amazon)
Maybe I’m being short-sighted, but I really don’t like the idea of the DCF681 at all. Dewalt describes it as being designed specially for electricians who perform screwdriving and conduit reaming applications, but to me it looks like a powered conduit reamer with a secondary screwdriver function.
I don’t like the idea of high-speed cutting blades that will always be there*, even when the screwdriver is just being used for casual fastening applications and not to deburr conduit.
The cutter blades are spring loaded and are only exposed when pressed against the conduit when reaming.
There are already several conduit reaming accessories that can be added onto any screwdriver with a 1/4″ hex chuck, such as the Klein 85091 ($25 via Amazon) and D-Reamer ECR1 ($25 via D-Reamer). The idea of near-universal conduit reaming screwdriver add-on seems more appealing to me that a combination cordless reamer and screwdriver.
It doesn’t look like the cutter blades of the DCF681 are removable**, which would otherwise be a major downside compared to using the DCF680 or DCF682 with an add-on deburring accessory. On the other hand, this means the DCF681 will probably be more compact and able to fit into tighter spaces, at least in regard to reaming tasks.
The cutter blades are removable/replaceable and look similar to the Klein 85091 conduit reamer.
(The cutter blade is replaceable, but the reamer accessory still appears to be a permanent attachment.)
That being said, I definitely like the idea of the DCF682. It lacks the adjustable clutch of the DCF680, and of course the pivoting handle, but I don’t think I would miss either of these features (especially the pivoting handle in particular). Hopefully the price will reflect its scaled-back features.
Dewalt hasn’t actually announced the DCF682 yet, but we spotted it in the DCF680’s new operating instructions manual (PDF).
I thought we all agreed last time that he dewalt gyro gimmick was sposed to be short lived.
I would like to see the reamer blades up close. They do not have to be aggressive at all for debrring. In fact, they could be designed with small, fine teeth, like a metal cutting file. If that were the case, the biggest hazard to a human would be if you got a hood string wound around it.
If it does have a sharp aggressive cutter, I’m with you, but if DW is smart, it shouldn’t be a hazard.
I dunno. I rather like my DCF680. When it’s really just a screwdriver, it does make more sense than a Drill. Instead of 3 steps, there’s really only 2. Set speed, Set Direction, Pull Trigger is replaced with Set Speed, Pull Trigger, or Pull Trigger, Twist in Direction You’re Going. It becomes intuitive when you think the direction you want to turn, and your hand naturally does the motion. Pistol Grip and all.
I’m not an electrician, so I honestly can’t say I do or don’t like the two new ones. But the original is fantastic for me.
Kind of surprised when I saw this tool Dewalt seems to stick to the General Contractor type and Carpentry tools for the most part. I wonder if Dewalt is going to going to go after more trade specific tools now in the similar style as Milwaukee?
I have wondered the same, but one niche product isn’t enough to draw conclusions from. It will definitely be a trend to look out for.
It’s probably a feeler now to see the market for those types of tools from Dewalt we might see a few more trickle out before they decide to go forward with more trade specific tools. Dewalt has to be a little surprised by the quick turnaround Milwaukee has on rejuvenating a stagnant brand so quickly. Milwaukee wasn’t in the best shape pre TTI buyout.
I think that the biggest issue with the DCS680 aside from the ergonomics, was the general torque rating. If that had been improved to a more professional spec, I imagine that the tool would’ve been more popular. It kind of made me wonder why it was introduced under the DeWalt label. It seemed a little hard to determine the target user.
I probably wouldn’t have used the pivoting handle much. I would’ve just appreciated the knowledge that I could if needed. Aside from other minor issues, the torque rating was probably the biggest factor that shot the tool in the foot with more serious users.
Yes, the DCF680 is indeed incredibly underpowered. However, it was designed that way. It’s meant for repetitive light duty tasks. Let’s say you’re an electrician that has to attach many light switch plates in a new construction – that’s the type of application the DCF680 was designed for.
I still find a normal cabinet tip screwdriver better for plates. Any good electrician is going to tighten the screws vertically so they match. This tool isn’t even much faster for that purpose.
What I do like it for is for swapping out devices.
I can see that Stuart, but I would think that the clutch control would alleviate issues with over-torqueing. I guess I could see the application, but my personal guess is that users considered other uses too. An electrician may want to drill a quick small bore hole here and there. That could obviously be handled by a unit with even mediocre power.
I personally believe that the underpowered nature of that unit was it’s ultimate demise.
As far as I am aware, the DCF680 is NOT being discontinued.
Perhaps Dewalt will release a fourth gyroscopic screwdriver down the line that is engineered for greater torque output. Even then, the DCF680 might still remain on the market. It’s a decent tool that was engineered with very specific types of fastening applications in mind.
Dewalt engineers deliberately designed the DCF680 to be low powered. Don’t think that this was a hasty decision – I’m sure they weighed the pros and cons of every design choice along the way. They probably had one or more higher-powered prototypes that are still sitting on a test bench somewhere.
I agree, this tool wasn’t designed to replace a 12v impact driver. The reason that I do like this tool is due to the low power. Its good for tasks that I would have only used a screwdriver for beforehand.
No, but a lot of people are used to cordless screwdrivers that could deliver 40 in-lbs and even 80 in-lbs of torque.
24 in-lbs is quite little.
Y’see, I agree and I disagree. Since I own the thing, it may sound biased. But, I find it indispensable. Low torque and all. In fact, the low torque is pretty ideal. I’m not an electrician or carpenter, but I am quite capable of doing those things. What I use it for most is computer cases and components, some assembly of various kits that I buy, and minor eyeglass repair. (I’ve bought the Wiha Tools 75902 Micro Bit-1/4″ Adapter.) It is entirely capable of delicate jobs, and it is entirely capable of basic assembly tasks. It might not be able to drill concrete or steel, but if you’re looking to do that you’re going to carry a Drill, not a Screwdriver.
I completely agree that, if you only wanted to carry a single tool in an industrial setting, the DCF680 is not the tool for you. But in a home setting, or a delicate assembly setting with delicate fasteners (like Computer Cases.) the DCF680 is ideal. And there is a very large market for that range. I entirely understand the frustration that people who work in industrial settings have, as they might not quite see what they’d do with it. It’s not powerful. It is, however, the right size, shape, and design, for delicate-to-moderate assembly and dis-assembly tasks. It might not help you run a fresh electrical conduit, but you can definitely switch out a circuit breaker with it. Or you could install a wall socket, or put up a shelf in a cabinet, or quickly assemble IKEA Furniture. Anything bigger, you’re looking for a Drill, Compact or Premium type.
I once had a debate with an electrician regarding using a cushion when working under the kitchen sink.
The reason was that a journal magazine gave a tip to use a cushion when working under the sink as not to hurt your back. This I took as inexperienced people who do not belong to be under the kitchen sink if they are going to use a cushion to work under there. Which till this day I find it a valid point.
I later found out that he was referring to repetitive work. He told me that he used a cushion to make the repetitive not hurt his body…I forgot what exactly that was.
We had two different right points…mine was that the journal magazine writer did not know what he was talking about (just a guy behind his cubicle with no real life experience) and his was it would help for repetitive work.
So, what I may find useful for the gyro technology, is to help the excessive repetitiveness. For one, I can imagine using a hand screw driver VS an electric drill = how many turns the human wrist will have to do each day VS how many hand turns using an electric drill.
Then I can think about how many times the worker finger has to press on the electric drill trigger each day. So I find the gyro technology helping in that area (a good balance would be to own all three though).
From a personal viewpoint (I’m not an electrician, carpenter or other pro), the idea of a driver with limited torque is appealing. I have a DeWalt 20v drill/driver, and am loathe to use it for small turning jobs, especially into plastic. I just think I’d over-torque it while attaching plastic wall cover plates and crack it. A powered driver for slotted screws makes even less sense, as it is difficult to keep the driver in the slot. For these jobs, I use a ratcheting screwdriver with magnetic bits.
Even a 12v cordless drill is heavy to carry around, and seems like overkill on small repair jobs. I just have more control using a manual screwdriver during the times I would use it for a home project. These drivers make sense in that respect, as they limit how much force would be applied.
That being said, when we have a cable guy or electrician in to do a small job, I’ve not seen one pull out a low-torque driver. Maybe they’re not widely accepted yet by the professions. Perhaps the guy is comfortable with using screwdrivers to maintain control. Maybe it’s added weight he doesn’t want to carry, or the notion that he has to keep it charged up.
Perhaps it’s more appealing in a new-construction setting, where an electrician goes from room-to-room or box-to-box installing cover plates or wiring all day long. In that setting, these drivers would make sense. I’m not so sure someone outside the trades would use it enough to make them put down their manual screwdrivers.
You are correct in that there are times when limited torque is not only appealing, it’s essential. When you have a tool like the DCF680 however, that’s the purpose for the clutch settings. You can always dial that down to avoid over-torqueing and stripping out delicate work. A driver that is capable of higher torque can be safe when clutch settings are used to disengage the drive at specified torque levels.
The issue with the DCF680 is that it doesn’t provide enough muscle to step up the torque for more demanding tasks. That’s not to suggest that the tool would take the place of a competent drill driver. It just doesn’t provide enough power for much except simple low power applications. That’s not intrinsically bad, it just limits it’s appeal to a more serious user.
I would argue “Serious about what, exactly?” I’m pretty darn serious about assembling things I need, and I’m pretty darn serious about computers. What I do with it isn’t exactly fun and games. (It is usually fun for me to do, but I do take it seriously.)
The DCF680 isn’t meant to step up. And, as has been mentioned, if people aren’t using that much in the way of a screwdriver, they’ll go with a manual one. If they’re in need of more, there’s a Drill or Impact Driver. This is a Screwdriver, after all. For doing a lot of delicate fastening, or just quickly switching something out, or just doing quick assembly. It’s branded DeWalt, it’s got the DeWalt Technology and Durability, but this isn’t something intended to be used for major work. There’s no muscle step-up for this device. Chances are good, if you’re intent on doing more, you’re already holding a Drill. This isn’t a Drill. Though it is really awesome as a Screwdriver.
It’s really only difficult to wrap your brain around what it’s BEST for. I, like someone mentioned before, would use all 3 options. Manual screwdriver for small uses, the DCF680 for medium uses, and a Drill for the big stuff. In this case, I genuinely believe it’s DELIBERATELY not appealing for people who want something bigger.
Could of used one yesterday installing some new thermostat’s at the house, they have long screws to screw into the box and this thing would of been perfect instead of running a normal #2 phillips
Update: Dewalt offered three clarifications:
1. The cutter blade is only exposed via spring-action mechanism when it’s needed. So it’s not always exposed.
2. The cutter blade is user-replaceable.
3. The max torque is 40 in-lbs.
As an electrician I find it interesting but not likely to buy. The tool is made for reaming conduit and driving conduit clamp screws(coverplates are put on with a screwdriver). I don’t see it being strong enough to tighten the screws as tight as I like them to be but.
As for the reaming cutter. Other tools that have made covers to shield cutters tend to have issues. In the field these guards tend to accumulate gunk and get jammed. For a tool I’d use allot I don’t want the hassle of it.
I use a D-reamer in a milwaukee 12v screwdriver. It fits well in my pouch and doesn’t fall out. I worry that the long DW tool would be too large to stay put in a pouch. The other issue is it’s yet another different charger and battery to haul around.
Overall it’s a $140 answer to a question that’s better answered by a $25 tool that works with what you already have.
Im a locksmith, I own the DCF680 and I use it all day, everyday. I find it’s power to be perfectly fine. I’ve owned other screwdrivers (Hitachi) that I also thought were good, and were actually rated at a higher Torque, but the dewault tool stil outperformed them, so either Hitachi is over-rated, or the Dewault is under-rated, but the dewault is definitely more powerful, despite the ratings.
I like the No-shadow light, the torque settings, good battery life, and the Gyro works well, most of the time. Sometimes it can be hard to engage in a tight, awkward space.
I did drop it once and damaged one of the batteries, I took the battery apart and found that a solder joint had broken on some hair thin wires, I re-soldered it and put it back together and it works fine. Was a little disappointed with the battery QC.
Overall, a great unit that i’d replace in a second if I lost mine. I still carry a 20v MAX Dewault around for boring out door’s and heavy duty work, but I don’t get it out often.
I started reading this review seriously but then i got to the part when you say that you preferred a black & decker one so i passed.
I am an electronic tech and a locksmith with 30 years of experience. I have used the Dewalt DCF680 as my main go to screwdriver everyday for about a year now. Takes a little getting used to, but once you do, it a great tool. I use it with a small $20. kit of about 100 or so of various interchangeable bits, so I always have whatever screwdriver tip I need. Also carry & recommend a light duty 1/4″ – 1/2″ sockets. I bought a small set of 4 or 5 drill bits w/ a 1/4″ hex end that fits the driver. Surpriseingly the drill works great in a pinch for miner drilling without having to go back to the truck for a drill. Personally I love it & would buy another tomorrow if I lost or broke it. I bought mine on line & have looked but never found it in a handyman store.? Highly recommended.
Really appreciate all of the above reviews, as I’m interested in the DCF680N2 w/the built-in gyro rotating variable speed feature, adjustable clutch settings, and pivoting handle; all of which seem useful to me.
My wife gave me a DCF682N1 [$69. @ Home Depot] recently for a b-day present—I showed it to her while shopping for plumbing parts, hinting that I thought it was kinda cool, and she picked-up perfectly on the hint just as I planned and hoped =) —but I wasn’t aware of the various DCF680 & DCF681 model options. Hence after reading the above reviews as well as several other online retailer descriptions & specs, I think I would prefer the adjustable clutch of the DCF680, and the pivoting handle. At least I think I would. I recently returned the Ryobi inline screwdriver—with the pivoting handle, of which I liked, but honestly hadn’t used enough to know for sure—specifically because I had not noticed or realized when buying it that it had no variable speeds; it was only 2-speed (something like 200rpm or 600?).
Not sure if I’ll need or use the adjustable clutch settings much. However they’d probably be nice to have just in case. And the 2-battery kit looks like it saves approx $24, as opposed to purchasing the DCF680N1 + a spare 8-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion 1.0Ah Battery.
Also wondering if the DCF680 (w/pivoting handle) is any fatter around—width or grip wise—than the DCF682, but not seeing that it is in the spec’s. Thanks again for the informative and helpful reviews.
I’m glad it helped!
I don’t have the two tools in front of me right now, but if I recall correctly, the DCF680 and DCF682 had similar if not identical grips.
Thanks very much for your prompt reply and info Stuart !;) They do look similar. And just wondering, but it doesn’t look like the DCF682 is offered in a ‘2 battery kit’?
Unfortunately, I don’t think so. DCF682N2 doesn’t turn up any product links.
Thanks again 😉
You’re very welcome. =)