Lithium-ion tools have more power with less weight. They have more power than a regular 18-volt tool because each battery cell within the battery pack has more juice than a standard battery and can deliver more power to the tool. These tools are also as light as a 12-volt tool because lithium is lighter than the nickel and cadmium in standard battery packs. 18- volt lithium-ion tools have the best power-to-weight ratio of any cordless tool. These tools come with the slide-in battery system and have more contact area than other tools. This means that more battery power will be transferred at a faster rate. I’ve seen other cordless tools with 2 small contacts and even worse, with loose connections. A tool with loose connections will not perform as advertised and may even cause premature death of the battery.
This hammer drill has more torque than any other 18 volt on the market today, and at 4.9 pounds it’s also lighter than most. Makita redesigned their cordless tools when they released their LXT 18-volt lithium-ion technology. The Makita 4-pole, high-torque motor also delivers more efficient power than the competition, and does so in a more compact size. Most cordless drills only have a 2-pole motor. This cordless sensation comes with Makita’s standard externally accessible brushes, so you can change the brushes at home or on site, rather than delivering it or mailing it out for repairs and waiting a week or two. This LXT has an all-metal, 3-speed transmission, producing 25 percent faster working speed. It drills fast through stucco, new concrete, commercial-grade (high psi) concrete, and even in aged concrete. This drill has the best belt clip on the market today. The clip doesn’t rotate like it does on other brands, making it hard to remove. The drill stays in place in pants pockets, belts and tool belts with this heavy-duty steel belt clip. It can easily be relocated to the opposite side of the drill for lefties. This hammer drill has the best ergonomics of any 18 volt that I’ve tested, used or owned. 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, I’ve 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. Rubber grips adorn the exterior of this tool and protect it during impact if it falls.
Once you use an impact driver and discover how light and powerful they are, you’ll always reach for one first. They tear through the toughest jobs and still have plenty of power. They are compact too, and get into tight spaces. 18 volts offer the best performance, while remaining a useable weight. This impact driver has the best power-to-weight ratio of any tool.
This 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. 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 it’s 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 impact driver comes with the same great belt clip and headlights as the hammer drill. Another great feature on this tool is the 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. Rubber grips adorn the exterior of this tool and protect it during impact if it falls. Mine blew off the roof once and suffered no damage.
Charger and Batteries
This Makita tool has the most advanced charging system available. Generically, it’s called a "smart charging system." A computer chip inside the battery lets the charger know exactly 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 18-volt battery is now a 16- or 17-volt battery and it can drop even lower. A "smart charger" will charge every cell independently until each cell is fully charged, so your 18-volt battery will remain 18 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 lithium-ion batteries will last 280 percent longer than standard batteries and can be charged over 1400 times, as opposed to the standard of 600 to 800 times, which alone can justify the higher price tag. These slide-in batteries are 3.0 amp-hr batteries and they will provide power to the tool longer than standard 2.0 amp-hr batteries. The higher the amp-hr rating, the longer the battery will last before it needs to be recharged. For light-duty applications, these batteries will last all day or even several days before recharging. I leave my charger at home when doing small jobs, because I know I don’t need it. The charge stays in the battery without dissipating during non-use and there is so much power in these batteries, I know I’ll have enough juice to complete a job. For heavy-duty applications, bring the charger with you just in case. -- Gabriel Shantara Ford
What's in the Box
Hammer drill; impact driver; LXT Lithium-Ion 3.0Ah batteries (2); 45-minute optimum charger; carrying case