Makita's high-quality drills are popular among both homeowners and industry professionals for their reliable designs and variety of features. In addition, they are not very expensive despite their excellent performance. We've put together a concise buyer's guide to help you find the right Makita drill for your needs. Our favorite option, the Makita XT269M 18V LXT Combo Kit, is a kit that has all the power and durability to satisfy the busy professional at a price considerably lower than some other top models.
What type of Makita drill is right for you?
Although we've focused on their highly-rated general-purpose drills and drivers, Makita offers a broad range of tools. This includes small angled drills that will fit in spaces no ordinary drill can reach as well as massively powerful SDS rotary hammers and demolition drills. Makita also offers a number of versatile combos, which may include impact drivers, circular saws, or routers in addition to a drill. It is well worth your time to see if Makita has a combo kit that suits your needs. When compared to the price of individual tools, a combo kit can save you a considerable amount of money.
Considerations when choosing Makita drills
Unless you are buying one of the larger SDS drills, all Makita drills are now cordless. This leaves you with two major decisions: whether to go 12 volt or 18 volt and whether to choose a brush or brushless motor.
Makita 12V drills generally offer the same features as 18V models but don't deliver the same power. That said, they are small, light, and ideal for many DIY tasks. In our view, the 18V drills compare favorably with any competition and are available at reasonable prices. Take note that 18V batteries are not less powerful than 20V -- the two are in fact exactly the same. Both batteries produce a burst of 20V at startup but run at 18V normally. Some brands simply prefer to use the higher number, though Makita labels their batteries as 18V.
The amp hour rating (or Ah) of a battery indicates its capacity. The smallest battery you will find with a Makita drill is 1.5Ah. We prefer a minimum of 2Ah, but more is always better because the battery will run longer between charges. For homeowners, this may be a minor detail. Professionals, however, will probably want at least 4Ah or 5Ah.
Brush motors are an older technology, and while they get the job done, they were originally designed for corded tools. They wear out more quickly than brushless motors and are less energy efficient. As a result, we recommend brushless motors. Even though brushless motors are a little more expensive, you get a better performing drill that lasts longer.
All Makita drills and drivers have the versatility of two-speed modes. They also have clutches to adjust power for driving. LED work lights are standard with most Makita drills. Some models also offer depth gauges for drilling, and a few offer a side handle, which gives you an extra grip for heavy-duty drilling situations.
Makita drill prices
Makita's cheapest drill is an 18V LXT at just under $85 -- which is cheaper than their entry-level 12V. However, it does feature a brush motor. What you spend after that depends on combo kit contents, but they're all very competitive. Those with drill/driver, impact drill, and an extra tool like an angle grinder are around $400, including battery, charger and case.
Q. Do Makita batteries take long to charge?
A. Makita claims that their batteries charge 30% faster than competitors. With average charge times of 10 minutes per Amp hour, these batteries are among the fastest in the industry. For example, a 2Ah battery takes about 20 minutes to charge, while a 6Ah battery takes around an hour.
Q. Is it okay to leave Makita batteries plugged in for long periods?
A. Yes. Makita's smart chargers automatically cut power to the battery when a full charge is reached. This protects your battery and ensures that it is always ready to use.
Makita drills we recommend
Best of the best: Makita XT269M 18V LXT Combo Kit
Our take: Powerful drill and impact driver kit for the experienced DIYer or professional.
What we like: Everything you need in a smart case. High-performance, flexible tools with efficient brush motors. Impact driver delivers 1,500 ft.lb. max torque. Two long-lasting 4Ah batteries. Several interesting combo options.
What we dislike: A few owners experienced charger problems -- check on arrival and return as soon as possible if necessary.
Best bang for your buck: Makita XFD 11ZB 18V LXT 1/2" Drill Driver
Our take: It's the basic, efficient cordless drill/driver that every homeowner needs.
What we like: Small and lightweight. Goes where other drills won't fit. Features two-speed ranges and LED work lights. Excellent value (so is battery and charger option).
What we dislike: Nothing much -- but it is important to understand this is a light-duty tool.
Choice 3: Makita CX200RB 18V LXT Combo Kit
Our take: Makita's sub-compact drills are remarkably light and ideal for tight spaces.
What we like: You don't always need out-and-out power. These drills are designed to reduce fatigue even after all-day use and are perfect for DIY drilling and driving.
What we dislike: Pros and heavy-duty users will still want the full-size tools.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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