The best Makita impact driver
When you need more power than the typical cordless drill delivers for driving lag bolts or extra-long deck screws, investing in a Makita impact driver may be a smart choice.
Makita is one of the most well-known manufacturers of power tools, and its impact drivers have impressive levels of power, whether you’re using a corded or cordless model.
The Makita XDT16Z 18V 4-Speed Impact Driver is our favorite model from this popular manufacturer, as it has four speed settings, so you can match the tool’s power to the job you’re doing. To learn more, keep reading our guide.
Considerations when choosing Makita impact drivers
Makita offers a few different shapes and designs of impact drivers, each of which has key strengths:
- Standard: The standard model of impact driver looks a lot like a cordless drill with a longer nose area. It’s the easiest design to control.
- Subcompact: A subcompact impact driver is a popular design, as it has a shorter nose area that allows you to use it in small spaces where other power tools don’t fit as well. It creates more torque than the standard design.
- Angled: An angle design impact driver can fit in odd-shaped and tighter spaces than the other two designs. However, it offers far less torque.
With Makita, you can select between 12V and 18V/20V battery-powered impact drivers. (The 20V driver actually runs at 18V, although it has 20V available at startup.)
A 12V impact driver has less power than the 18V impact driver, so most people prefer the 18V model. However, 18V drivers are heavier than 12V models.
Manufacturers use torque to measure the ability of the impact driver to deliver the twisting power needed to drive screws and bolts.
The best battery-powered models from Makita (usually 18V impact drivers) have around 1,500 inch-pounds of torque. 12V drivers typically top out at 1,200 inch-pounds.
For comparison, the majority of corded impact drivers have a slightly higher torque level than battery-powered drivers.
If you’ll be using the impact driver above your head or for long periods of time continuously, the tool’s weight is a key factor. A lightweight model means you won’t tire out as quickly as with a heavier model, but lightweight impact drivers don’t have the torque of heavier models.
When using the tool in dark areas, having LEDs in the end of the impact driver to illuminate the spot where you’re working is an important feature.
Having soft materials in the handle helps you use the impact driver more comfortably, which is handy for those times where you’re working with the tool for long periods of time continuously.
Makita impact driver prices
The least powerful Makita impact drivers are cordless models that cost between $50 and $100. For more power in either a corded or cordless impact driver, expect to pay $100 to $250.
Q. Do I need a separate cordless drill if I purchase a Makita impact driver?
A. It depends on the drill bits you use. Impact drivers often have so much power that they’ll break small-diameter drill bits. If you use large-diameter bits with hex shanks only, the impact driver alone should be fine.
Q. Do impact drivers have some disadvantages versus cordless drills?
A. Some people struggle to control impact drivers because of the power they deliver. They also run quite a bit louder than cordless drills.
Makita impact drivers we recommend
Best of the best: Makita XDT16Z 18V 4-Speed Impact Driver
Our take: Versatile power tool that can handle a wide range of jobs you may encounter.
What we like: Automatically backs off the power it’s delivering when it senses that it may be damaging a screw you're driving.
What we dislike: It’s pricey and may have more power than homeowners need for simple jobs.
Best bang for your buck: Makita XDT13Z 18V Impact Driver
Our take: Delivers 1,500 inch-pounds of max torque at a low price.
What we like: Includes built-in LEDs that illuminate the work area, which is an uncommon feature in low-priced impact drivers.
What we dislike: Doesn’t have enough power for the person who uses this tool for big jobs.
Choice 3: Makita XLT01Z 18V Angle Impact Driver
Our take: When you frequently need to drive screws in tight places, the angle design on this tool does the job.
What we like: Gives you a large hand grip so you can maintain control. Weighs less than other Makita impact drivers.
What we dislike: Manufacturer had to sacrifice quite a bit of driving power to allow for the angle design.
Kyle Schurman 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.
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