This tool is a light-weight powerhouse. Only 3.1 pounds! It has a Lithium-Ion battery and advanced charging system, which means it provides more power with less weight. It has the power of a competitors 18-volt NiCad impact driver with the weight of a 10.8 volt. Its even better built than its Makita predecessor, with more torque, more compact size and a longer-life motor.
This cordless tool is an impact driver, not a screw gun/drill-driver. An impact driver provides, on average, four times the amount of torque because it "hammers" the chuck laterally as it turns. Makita uses their patented "hammer and anvil" technology to achieve this, which is one the best systems ever developed. A standard screw gun/drill-driver relies solely on the motor to turn the chuck, providing a 1:1 ratio of motor to output torque. If youre going to buy an impact driver, only buy Makita. Impact drivers do make more noise than regular drills, which becomes increasingly louder when driving larger fasteners like lag bolts and nuts for j-bolts, but its not so loud that you have to wear hearing protection.
A variable speed trigger gives the user more control when driving smaller screws. Most impact drivers are only single speed, which means that all that torque they have will easily break small screws in half . Use slow speed for small screws and fast speed for large fasteners. This tool has a slide-in battery with a secure docking system, which prevents it from occasionally falling out like those bottom-insert cordless tools.
Located just above the trigger, are two "headlights." "Headlights" refer to small LED lights that provide light where you need it most. I was skeptical about this feature, thinking it was just another gimmick, but after using it for some time, Ive come to depend on it. From lighting my way to the house in the dark, when bringing the batteries/tools on cold nights to providing light in a dark cabinet, closet, or under a desk; this a must-have feature. Theres also a glow-in-the-dark ring around the nose piece that makes the drill easier to locate in darkened spaces. Other great features include ergonomic design, a comfortable rubber grip, and an all-metal, quick-change, hex, Insty bit chuck. The chuck only accepts drill bits and driver bits that have a hex shank at the opposite end of, for example, a no. 2 Phillips driver bit. This really speeds up bit changes. Hex Insty bits have really become the standard and are offered in every drill bit kit available. There is an accessory Makita chuck that converts the quick change, hex bit chuck into the older style 3-jaw chuck which will accept round shank drill bits, so you can use your existing bits. Rubber grips adorn the exterior of this tool and protect it during impact if it falls.
The Battery Charging System
This Makita tool also has the most advanced charging system available. Generically, its called a "smart charging system." A computer chip inside the battery lets the charger know how to optimally charge the battery, to completely charge each cell within the battery, and for maximum battery life. Each battery is made up of smaller 1.2-volt cells. Often a battery will drain unevenly during normal use, at different rates within these internal cells. A normal charger will stop charging the battery when one cell reaches maximum capacity, not all of them. Once this happens once, it will continue to do so as long as you use the battery. What this means is your 14.4 volt battery is now a 12- or 13-volt battery and it can drop even lower. A "smart charger" will charge every cell independently until each cell is fully charged, so your 14.4-volt battery will remain 14.4 volts for its entire life. This charger has a fan in it and blows air through the battery to cool it down before charging so the battery can be charged right away, unlike other brands, where the charger waits until the battery cools, or even worse attempts to charge a hot battery pack and damages it or decreases the life of the battery. These Makita slide-in Lithium-Ion 3.0 amp hr (The higher the amp hr rating, the longer the battery will last before it needs to be recharged.) batteries will last 280% longer than standard batteries and can be charged over 1200 times, as opposed to the standard of 600-800 times, which alone can justify the higher price tag. -- Gabriel Shantara Ford
What's in the Box
Batteries (2), charger, carrying case with convenient bit, screw, and oddity storage on top