Best Makita Drills of 2020

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Categories Drills
Makita stands for quality and reliability.

Makita is a name that inspires confidence and innovation.

This Japanese firm has been at the forefront of tool making for decades and rightly has a place in the higher echelons of power tool manufacturers.

This Makita drill review brings you 7 of the best Makita drills currently available on the market.


Makita Drill Innovations

Makita has a long history, stretching way back to 1915 in Nagoya in Japan (1). The company started out selling and repairing lighting equipment and motors, and it wasn’t until 1958 that they produced their first power tool, an electric planer.

Since then, the company has led the way with advances in technology like the world’s first battery-operated power tool. Here are some more innovations from Makita.

Automatic Speed Change

An automatic speed change feature detects when the tool is placed under heavy load and automatically adjusts the speed and torque for optimal performance. It keeps the device working for longer, balances the demands placed on it, and gets the job finished.

Anti-Vibration Technology

Anti-vibration technology (AVT) is a counterbalance system that dramatically reduces vibration. AVT uses a mechanical damper to provide an equal and opposite force that puts a mass opposite the point where the hammer strikes. This reduces vibration and frees the motor to provide power where it is needed, increasing the efficiency of the tool.

Star Protection Computer Controls

Star Protection is an advanced system that allows the battery and the tool to communicate during use. It prevents overheating, overloading and over-discharging. If Star detects any of these conditions, the tool will automatically stop. It will restart once the battery and the device swap data to show it is ready.

Quick-Shift Mode

Driving screws requires a slower driver pace. If you choose the wrong speed, you run the risk of stripping, rounding or shearing the screw. Quick-Shift mode does the thinking for you by detecting when to downshift the rotation to avoid this problem.

If you are a professional drywall contractor or work in an industry that requires precision like cabinetry and solar installations, this is one innovation you’ll love.

Active 3 Controls

The battery and charger communicate to monitor the charge. It creates a more efficient system and controls the current, voltage and temperature. There is a built-in chip inside the battery that exchanges information with the charger to manage these three parameters to create a smoother charge.

It keeps the battery working in the tool for longer and less time in the charger.

Types of Makita Drills

With such a long history and a record of innovation, there are many drill varieties in the Makita range.

Driver-Drills

Makita XFD131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2 In. Driver-Drill Kit (3.0Ah)
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Often referred to as a drill/driver, it is a tool for making holes in a variety of materials as well as driving screws and fasteners. Typically, these drills are battery-powered and have clutches that disengage the motor when the tool reaches the specified amount of torque (rotational force).


Hammer Driver-Drills

Makita XPH07Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2' Hammer Driver-Drill, Tool Only
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Hammer driver-drills cut through masonry and concrete. Typically, there are two settings on a hammer driver-drill, namely, a hammer action and a driver action. You can switch between the two when choosing your task. If you set it to driver-drill, you can drive screws into metal and wood.


Impact Drivers

Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver, Tool Only,
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Impact drivers are multi-functional tools that drive larger screws and fixings into a variety of materials. Because they have a hex-shaped 0.25 shaft, they are adaptable to drive lag bolts and nuts.

You can also buy hex-shaped drill bits to convert the impact driver into a drill.


Combo Kit

Makita CT225R 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Compact Cordless 2-Pc. Combo Kit (2.0Ah)
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Combo kits are ideal because you get two tools instead of one. Typically, it consists of a drill/driver and an impact driver for those tougher tasks. They come with carrying cases and interchangeable batteries.


How to Choose the Best Makita Drill

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best Makita drill. One person’s “Best” differs from another.

Price

Almost always, the price is a primary factor. You have a budget and you want to stick to it. It’s worth noting that Makita drills are not budget options, with many falling into the premium category.

Corded or Cordless

If you want your drill to be portable and a go-anywhere tool, then get a cordless one. They have the latest technology to achieve the maximum amount of run time and power. Most cordless drills are either 20V or 12V drivers.

Cordless drills are typically heavier than corded drills thanks to the lithium-ion batteries that clip to the base of the handle.

Corded drills are limited to where you can use them for the obvious reason that you need a power socket. And if you want to stretch the reach of the drill beyond the cord, you’ll need a GFCI extension cable.

Corded drills are great when you are working indoors, as you never run out of juice unless there is a power outage.

Brushless or Brushed

Brushless motors are more efficient and increase the run time of the battery. If you are getting a cordless drill, go brushless. Also, brushless drills need less maintenance compared to brushed motors. They also run for longer without heating up, making them the best variety of drills for tradespeople.

Brushed motors use brushes, which wear out over time through prolonged use. These brushes are replaceable, but that increases maintenance and cost. Brushed motors are more commonly found in corded drills because there is less need to preserve power.

On the whole, brushed drills are lighter and cheaper, making them an ideal tool to learn drilling skills without breaking the bank. They are also better if you need to drill harder materials like concrete and masonry, thanks to their never-ending supply of power.

Charge Time

Makita has developed a charger and battery combo that reaches maximum capacity within 25 minutes. If you care about the time it takes to charge your batteries, then this feature will be crucial to you.

It achieves such a rapid charge thanks to the technology Makita employs within the batteries and chargers.

Features

Even the basic Makita drills are packed with features, but if you are spending more money, you should consider what features your drill has. Look for anti-vibration technology that reduces the amount of vibration you feel when drilling. It could increase the time you can use the drill without suffering from hand and wrist fatigue.

Also, look for intelligent sensors that allow the drill to communicate to the battery to increase the time between charges and to balance the tool against current, voltage and the temperature. Makita calls this Active 3 Step.

Star Protection Computer Controls makes the drilling process a lot more balanced. It allows the battery to communicate with the drill to increase the effectiveness of the two combined elements. It guards against overheating, overloading and over-discharging.


The Best Makita Drills of 2020

With so many models of Makita drills available, it was a real challenge boiling the list down to 7. Here is our take on the 7 best Makita drills.

1. CT225R 18V LXT 2-Piece Cordless Kit

Best Makita Combo Kit

Makita CT225R 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Compact Cordless 2-Pc. Combo Kit (2.0Ah)
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This combo kit consists of a drill driver and impact driver for those tougher tasks. The drill generates 1,900 RPM, and 480 inch-pounds of torque, and the impact driver creates 2,900 RPM, 3,500 IPM, and 1,460 inch-pounds of rotational force.

The great thing about a combo set is that if you need a backup to tackle tougher tasks, or need a general-purpose drill/driver with enough power to drill through most materials, this kit delivers it.

Why We Love It

2 Tools

In one purchase, you can add 2 new drivers to your collection of tools. It gives you more options when taking on new projects.

Fast Charge

The super-fast charge time keeps you working for longer, making this an efficient set of power tools.

2 Batteries

This combo set comes with a set of two 2Ah batteries. It means you always have a spare.

Keep In Mind

Not Brushless

These two tools don’t have a brushless motor. Brushed motors decrease the run time and work less efficiently at delivering power.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)6.74
Dimensions (inches)12 x 12 x 11.1
RPM1,900 and 2,900
Torque480 and 1,460 inches to pounds
LEDYes
Price$$$$

2. XFD131 18V Cordless Drill/Driver

Best Makita Drill Driver

Makita XFD131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2 In. Driver-Drill Kit (3.0Ah)
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This is an 18-volt drill driver that generates a maximum 900 RPM and creates 440 inch-pounds of torque. The brushless motor helps to increase the battery run time by 50 percent and runs cooler than a brushed motor, so it suits prolonged use.

It has all-metal gears and gear housing to make it durable for the job-site, and it weighs just 3.8 pounds with the battery connected. The battery is 3 amp-hours and charges from zero to full in only 30 minutes.

Why We Love It

Brushless Motor

Brushless motors are superior to brushed varieties and increase the run time of the battery by 50 percent.

Fast Charge

From empty to full, the battery takes just 30 minutes. It means you can recharge the battery while you are on a lunch break. That is super-quick!

3 Ah Battery

This drill will run solidly for 3 hours before it needs charging. And with a fast charge, you will be up and running in no time.

Keep In Mind

Lacks Power

Drilling through wood and plastic is fine, but many people have reported that the drill struggles to bore through sheet metal.

Packaging Issues

A lot of people have said that the packaging was substandard and looked like it had been opened. This seems to be a common issue running through some critical reviews.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)3.8
Dimensions (inches)10.16 x 15.8 x 6.06
RPM900
Torque440 inches to pounds
LEDYes
Price$$$

3. XDT13Z 18V LXT Cordless Impact Driver

Best Makita Impact Driver

Makita XDT13Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Impact Driver, Tool Only,
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This Makita impact driver packs a real punch. It delivers 3,400 RPM and 3,600 impacts per minute (IPM). Coupled with the 1,500 inch-pounds of torque, this power tool gets the job done.

Like the previous model, it benefits from an increase of 50 percent in the run time thanks to the brushless motor. It also has an all-aluminum gear housing to increase the durability of the tool.

So, it’s lightweight, powerful and even comes with an LED to illuminate the work area.

Why We Love It

High-Powered

Torque is king when it comes to impact drivers. 1,500 inch-pounds of rotational force should be enough to drive into the hardest materials.

Impacts per Minute

With 3,600 impacts per minute, this impact driver hammers harder than any Makita on this list.

Hex-Chuck

The hex-shaped chuck ensures that when the drill bit is in place, it stays there. Hex-chucks are the ideal style for such a powerful tool because there is zero slippage.

Keep In Mind

Hex-Chuck

You may be restricted with your choice of attachments for this impact driver, thanks to the chuck’s design. It will only take specially designed hex-shaped drill bits.

Tool Only

You only get the bare tool with this deal. You have to buy the battery and charger separately, which significantly increases the costs.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)3.3
Dimensions (inches)3.5 x 8.3 x 6.5
RPM3,400 plus 3,600 IPM
Torque1,500 inches to pounds
LEDYes
Price$$$$

4. HR2475 1-Inch Rotary SDS-Plus Hammer Drill

Best Makita Corded Drill

Makita HR2475 1' Rotary Hammer, Accepts Sds-Plus Bits (D-Handle)
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Most of the Makita range consists of cordless power tools, but if you want real power, you have to go corded, especially when you see what this SDS rotary hammer drill can do. It generates 1,100 RPM and 4,500 blows per minute. Slower speeds are common in drills that eat through concrete and masonry. For these tools, it’s all about the rotational force.

Unusually, for a corded drill, it has a torque-limiting clutch that disengages the motor when the bit starts slipping. It has 3 settings, namely, hammer, hammer with rotation, and rotation only.

Why We Love It

SDS Chuck

Slotted Drive Systems are different from standard chucks because they have slots at the end of the shank, which fits into an SDS chuck. It provides a higher degree of grip and stops the bit from slipping.

40 Bit Angle Settings

This allows for greater operating flexibility when choosing the angle to set the bit. It also increases the convenience for the user.

Torque Limiting Clutch

The clutch protects the drill from overheating when the bit sticks. It disengages the motor and stops damage occurring.

Keep In Mind

10 lbs Weight

This drill weighs over 10 pounds, so it isn’t going to be a light drill to handle. Fatigue of the hands and arms is common with a drill of this size.

Higher Price Tag

Makita’s aren’t cheap, but this drill is more expensive than most featured. Bear in mind that this is a specialty tool, so it is a lot to spend on a one-use item.

Specialty Tool

You would buy this if you had a lot of concrete or masonry to chew through. Other than that, it is pretty much redundant as a drill.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)10.7
Dimensions (inches)4.37 x 19.25 x 13.03
RPM1,100
TorqueNot stated
LEDNo
Price$$$$

5. XFD11R1B 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Drill

Best Makita Compact Drill

Makita XFD11R1B 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless 1/2' Driver-Drill Kit (2.0Ah)
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If you want a compact drill/driver that is powerful and lightweight, look no further than this model. It weighs just 2.8 pounds, including the battery, so you shouldn’t suffer from any hand or wrist fatigue.

Its compact size makes it the ideal tool for working in cramped spaces, and it has dual LED lights for increased illumination in darker areas. This drill produces 1,700 RPM and 350 inch-pounds of rotational force. All in all, for a small drill/driver, this is a handy little tool.

Why We Love It

Compact

This Drill is both lightweight and portable thanks to Makita’s innovations in design and battery power. It may be small, but it packs a punch.

Brushless Motor

Brushless motors increase the tool’s efficiency and improve the battery’s run time by up to 50 percent. This is ideal for tackling larger projects.

Powerhouse

You might be forgiven for thinking this drill lacks power. Nothing is further from the truth. It generates 350 inch-pounds of torque and 1,700 RPM.

Keep In Mind

Pricey Purchase

This tool is on the dearer side of the price spectrum, making it an ideal contractor drill for use on a job-site.

Confusing Instructions

It is advertised as having a hammer action, so you might have thought it would drill through concrete, but the instructions state it is only suitable for wood.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)2.8
Dimensions (inches)6.8 x 16.5 x 11
RPM1,700
Torque350 inches to pounds
LEDDual
Price$$$

6. XPH07Z 18V LXT Cordless Hammer Drill/Driver

Best Makita Hammer Driver-Drill

Makita XPH07Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2' Hammer Driver-Drill, Tool Only
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This is the ultimate do-anything drill. It hammers, drills and drives. It generates 1,090 inch-pounds of torque for the toughest tasks like drilling through concrete, masonry, hardwood and metal.

It is engineered for job-site conditions, so you know this drill will last the distance, and thanks to its brushless motor, the battery life during operation is extended by 50 percent. It has a fuel gauge to indicate the battery condition, and 2 speeds for adjusting to various activities.

Why We Love It

Brushless Motor

As we’ve said before, brushless motors are better at transferring the battery’s power to increase the running time and reduce overheating. They also need less maintenance, making them more reliable.

High Torque

This drill generates 1,090 inch-pounds of rotational force. That’s enough to take on the most extreme of jobs.

3-in-1 Tool

If you want a versatile tool that drills, drives and has enough power to have a hammer action, this could be the best choice. It also has a detachable auxiliary handle for a better grip.

Keep In Mind

Tool Only

This offer is for the tool only and does not include the cost of the charger or the battery. Makita does this for two reasons, namely, to increase their profit and to cater to people who already have a Makita power tool with an interchangeable battery.

More Expensive

Once you factor in the added costs of the charger and battery, you suddenly realize that this tool is not such great value for money after all.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)6.74
Dimensions (inches)12 x 12 x 11.1
RPM1,900 and 2,900
Torque480 and 1,460 inches to pounds
LEDYes
Price$$$$

7. XFD12Z 18V Brushless Cordless Driver-Drill

Best Makita Brushless Drill

Makita XFD12Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2' Driver-Drill, Tool Only,
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This brushless driver-drill generates 2,000 RPM and 530 inch-pounds of rotational force. It makes this driver-drill a useful tool to have around. Thanks to the Star Protection Computer Controls and the Extreme Protection Technology, this tool is ideal for the job site.

Star Protection is a system that allows the drill to communicate with the battery while in use to ensure that overheating, overloading, or over-discharging never occurs. Extreme Protection Technology improves the dust and water resistance of the drill for better results in the harshest conditions.

Why We Love It

Innovative Design

Star Computer Protection is just one of several safety measures that Makita has developed to improve the longevity and performance of your drill.

Lightweight

This drill weighs 3.9 pounds, including the battery. It reduces operator fatigue and allows for longer periods of continual use.

High Torque

This drill has power. It creates 530 inch-pounds of torque to tackle the hardest materials. It also generates 2,000 RPM, making it one of the fastest drills in the review.

Keep In Mind

Tool Only

Bear in mind that the price tag only includes the drill and not the charger or battery. Once you add on the extra cost, it elevates this to a premium-priced drill.

Battery Costs

To put the battery’s price into perspective, a twin-pack of 5 Ah batteries costs more than the drill itself. So, expect the charger to cost even more.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)3.4 without the battery
Dimensions (inches)3.6 x 7.5 x 9.5
RPM2,000
Torque530 inches to pounds
LEDYes
Price$$$$

Makita Drill Comparison Chart

ProductBestWeightDimensionsRPMTorque (in-lbf)LED
CT225R 18V LXT Cordless KitCombo Kit7 lbs12 x 12 x 11.1″1,900 & 2,900480 & 1,460Yes
XFD131 18V Cordless DrillDrill Driver3.8 lbs10.16 x 15.8 x 6.06″900440Yes
XDT13Z Cordless Impact DriverImpact Driver3 lbs3.5 x 8.3 x 6.5″3,400 plus 3,600 IPM1,500Yes
HR2475 Rotary SDS-Plus Hammer DrillCorded11 lbs4.37 x 19.25 x 13.03″1,100N/ANo
XFD11R1B Sub-Compact Brushless DrillCompact3 lbs6.8 x 16.5 x 11″1,700350Dual
XPH07Z 18V LXT Cordless Hammer DrillHammer Drill7 lbs12 x 12 x 11.1″1,900 & 2,900480 & 1,460Yes
XFD12Z 18V Brushless Cordless DriverBrushless3.4 lbs3.6 x 7.5 x 9.5″2,000530Yes
Jump to the Full Makita Drill Reviews

Make It a Makita

Regardless of which drill is the right model for you, Makita is synonymous with quality. So, no matter which one you choose, you can guarantee that you are getting a quality tool.

All you need to decide is whether you want a brushed or brushless motor, or corded or cordless. Happy choosing.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
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