on May 31, 2011
Don't buy the other little compact combo kit (LCT200W) unless you rarely plan to use these tools for more than a few hours at a time and really need to save on weight. Spend a few dollars more, double your battery life, and have the option to add more tools later. Right now, the compact 1.5ah batteries that come with the other kit (LCT200W) only operate three Makita tools (drill, driver, and a light). THIS LXT line with the 3.0 batteries operate 35 tools!
In regards to this kit (LXT211), ergo's are important, but most of us are more concerned with torque and battery life. The driver in this combo kit runs at 450 in.lbs, and the impacter hits at 1330 or so. Plenty of torque for whatever you can throw at these tools, and right there with the competition. The impact driver laughs at 3 and 3.5 inch screws! If you need more torque, you should be using a corded rotary hammer drill or ½" pnuematic impact wrench anyway. For my first use of these tools, we built a large 50'X50' deck around a 35' above-ground pool. We tied the 4X4 piers to the 2X8 deck framing with 5/16th lag bolts. I used the drill to bore seventy-five, 5" and 6.5" deep holes through wet, treated pine with an auger bit, and then bolted the nuts with the impact driver. All done on a single charge. I used a Senco Duraspin collated screw fastening system to drive the 2.5" deck screws (3000 of them), but kept my impact driver on my belt for misfeeds and tight spots. It ran all day. I charged it around lunch the first day just to keep it running efficiently, but the charger took less than ten minutes to top it off. The next two days of decking were done on a single charge. I then used the impact driver to set 3" screws for the handrails and stairs. A single lunch-time charge (or battery swap if I wasn't using the drill) kept me going. These Lith-Ion batteries are brutes! The ergos on both tools are terrific, and the weight to power ratio is phenomenal. I will agree that the forward / reverse switch can be inadvertently bumped while in the reverse position. However, it only happened to me when I was in a very awkward angle. For instance, when I was driving the fulcrum screw on a lever board used to suck in a warped deck board. Drilling below plane forces your hand to grip higher on the tool, and can lead to bumping the switch out of the reverse gear. Not really a big deal though, I only mentioned it because others have made a fuss about it. O yea, and fan noise on the charger, really??? It's no louder than a regular PC fan! Lightweight, powerful, and with lithium legs to keep it running all day! Highly recommended!
on May 13, 2011
I bought this set to replace two old 3/8' 9.6V Makita drills and I have to say I am impressed. My old 9.6V drill (model 6095D) has been going strong for almost 20 years, but it's time for new battery packs and I won't spend money on NiCd Batteries any more because the self-discharge rate is far too high, plus I needed a higher torque drill. Soo, the time came to buy a replacement. I was comparing Makita to Milwaukee, but my old Makita served me well and has seen plenty of heavy use with no failures, so I decided to go Makita.
My observation "chattering" when the unit slows down:
This is because the motors feature an electric brake which brings the unit to a slower speed or a stop much more quickly than simply freewheeling. It is intended to be a safety device, such that if you are drilling and bump yourself or someone else, you can limit injury by bringing to a stop more quickly rather than letting it freewheel until normal friction takes its course, or if you are drilling a precision hole or driving a screw into soft material, the drill will slow down more quickly than older models. The review I read on here where the user complained about the chattering didn't bother to read the specs nor the manual, otherwise he would have known it is normal operation and does not indicate a faulty motor, but an operational brake.
The BHP452 1/2" drill is solidly built and the transmission has a very clear detent when switching between clutched screwdriver, hammer drill, and drill modes. Contrary to what many have told me about Makita tools, construction quality seems to have improved since the early '90s; It does take two hands to shift modes but I consider this a pro, and is no different than having to use both hands to adjust the clutch on my older Makita drills.
Not counting the battery pack, the BHP452 is actually as compact as my smaller 9.6V makita drill and is about the same weight as either of my old drills. What makes this surprising is that the new drill is so much more powerful than my old 6095D drill. I found it was possible to stall the old drills by grabbing on to the chuck even in low speed/high torque mode. I cannot make the BHP452 stall even in high speed/low torque mode at half speed. This drill is rated at 450 in-lbs, or 37.5 ft-lbs of torque, which is enough for all but the largest hole-cutting jobs. I have only had a few opportunities to use it so far but it held up on a single charge for an hour of steady intermittent use, and when I put the battery on the charger, it was topped up within 5 minutes.
Sound level between the BHP452 and the 5095D is very comparable - within 2 dB on a sound meter at equivalent distance. The apparent loudness is slightly higher for the BHP452, but it's due to the higher pitch.
Electric Brake and Brush Servicing The BHP452 features an electric brake which automatically engages every time you let go of the trigger, unlike the old models. I do notice there is some internal arcing when the brake is engaged so I'm going to be checking the brushes after heavy use. It is worth noting that on the BHP452 Makita has made brush removal and replacement very easy via a service cover, whereas on the old tools you had to competely dismantle the unit to service it, and it is designed for user-servicing as evidenced by the brush replacement instructions in the manual.
LED The LED can come in handy, it's not a gimmick, but neither is it a replacement for a proper work light. Where it is most useful is for tight spaces where a work light would be unwieldy. It adds just enough light for working in tight spaces where you might otherwise have to work by feel, so it's a nice feature but by no means would I choose to or not to buy the drill for an integrated light.
Reversal switch The forward/reverse clutch is different from the 6095D - I really liked the thumb-actuated reverse switch on my older drill, but I am finding the reverse switch location on the BHP452 to be at least as convenient as the location I am used to - and indeed more similar to wired power drills, so that's a plus.
Shape: the BHP452 drill is easy to fit in surprisingly tight spaces I would never be able to use my 9.6V drills in. Somehow, it is more compact than my old 6010D thanks to the overall layout of the drill.
Cooling: the BHP452 is obviously intended for high duty cycles and high-torque needs because the internal cooling fan moves a surprisingly huge amount of air. It seems like it would require dedicated effort to overheat the motor.
Clutch The torque adjustment in driver mode is typical Makita: it is highly adjustable and helps prevent you from stripping screws, and also enables you to sink screws to a consistent depth with less effort.
The BTD141 is my first cordless impact wrench, and I was skeptical at first but so far the BTD141 seems to live up to the claims.
Construction: Like the BHP452 construction on the unit is strong where it counts, and like the BHP452, the BTD141 is designed to be user-serviceable, with very easy access to the brushes. I have one nit pick though: the front of the impact driver features a "glow ring" (presumably so you can find it easily if working in total darkness?) and this glow ring appears to be made of a soft molded silicone rubber, and does not fit tightly to the body. It comes off far too easily. While it's not a critical component construction-wise, it does tarnish the quality of the BTD141.
Torquey! The included BTD141 impact driver seems strong; rated at 1,330 in.lbs of torque, it translates to about 40 ft-lbs of torque, easily sufficient for a wide variety of needs. The BTD141 is powerful enough to handle brake jobs, lugnuts, and other jobs where you would normally want to use a breaker bar to loosen the bolts. In other words, most work you would need to do at home on your automobile.
Torque can't be set to a specific number, so the BTD141 is no replacement for a torque wrench. However, torque is variable, based on how hard you pull the trigger. I would definitely not use the BTD141 for final tightening of any bolts or nuts on vehicles or engines (keep your torque wrench handy for that), but use it on computer server racks without hesitation. It drives bolts in very quickly and battery life seems to hold up well.
Convenience The BTD141 impact wrench is surprisingly light, very compact (fits nicely into very tight spaces), and packs a punch. Like the BHP452, the driver includes an integrated LED which does not replace your regular work light, but does allow you to work in tight spaces in a pinch where work lights would be cumbersome or impossible.
The Optimum Charger charges the batteries very quickly; its stated time is 30 minutes, but for a deep cycle seems to be closer to 20. One thing about this charger is it includes a fan to cool the 3.0Ah batteries via the cooling vent during the charging process, and communicates with the battery pack's monitoring circuit to track temperature and voltage, and varies the charging rate accordingly. After a full charge the batteries are barely warm, whereas Makita's older NiCD system results in hot battery packs after a full charge.
By implementing this cooling, the lifetime of Li-Ion based batteries will be greatly extended, so this is a great engineering choice on Makita's part.
However, the charger is quite large, given the need to accomodate cooling fans and resultant internal ductwork. The charging process is quiet though; the fans are noticeable but only slightly more so than your typical PC. The charger by default does notify you by sound when the charging process is complete, and the tone is user-configurable, or you can disable the sound altogether.
I can't find much negative to say about the tools. Here is what I find issue with:
* A magnesium or titanium case would have been nice. However having had no issues with the plastic construction of my almost-20-year-old 6095D, this is a really minor nitpick.
* An on-board bracket for at least one driver or drill bit would have been nice.
I have more to complain about with this tool.
* I think nearly every person buying this unit would be using it with 3/8" or 1/2" sockets whether using it on vehicles, server racks, or just lag screws. The unit features a hexogonal chuck, and no hex-to-3/8" nor hex-to-1/2" adapter is included. You must buy the socket adapters separately. For the $.50 it would cost Makita, these adapters should be included with all of their impact drivers.
* the glow ring needs to either be eliminated, or become more integral to the body; it comes off far too easily. It does not affect functionality in any way, but it can affect perception of construction quality. It's almost as if the design team got lazy on the final detail and spent literally ten seconds to design this feature; in other words, it is a poorly-executed afterthought.
* A magnesium or titanium case would have been nice. However having had no issues with the plastic construction of my almost-20-year-old 6095D, this is a really minor nitpick. However the plastic case can also be considered a definite pro in some environments: as it is non-conductive it can be used around heavy-gage low voltage cabling without risk of causing shorts; useful for servicing tractors, automobiles, etc. where bare low-voltage terminals may be present in tight spaces.
An update two and a half months later. . .
First off, the tools are holding up great. I have put the drill through very heavy use and in the amount of time I would have gone through /three/ batteries on my old 9.6V 6095D drill, the BHP452 is still going strong on the first battery. It's very well worth the money.
The BTD141 on the other hand? I've found that it's not up to the task of un-torquing lug nuts on my Saab - I had to resort to a breaker bar to break them loose then I used the impact driver to finish removing them. Next time I need to remove the wheels I will experiment with the BTD141 and test the torque because it really doesn't seem to provide the specified 110.4 ft. lbs. (1,330 in.lbs) of torque. It seems to deliver approximately 41 ft-lbs. :-(
Eventually I will be checking out the BTW450Z which is good for 352 ft. lbs of torque; easily enough to loosen lug nuts after the tire shop has torqued them on way over-spec (happens every time!).
Update about one year later:
The set is holding up strong, including the battery packs. I have assembled playsets for friends' kids, have drilled through countless studs to run network and AV cabling, helped a friend with remodeling his home, assembled quite a few server racks, buffed out headlights and wheels, and used the impact wrench for maintenance tasks on my car and friends' cars without running into any problems with either driver. Battery life is impressive, and even at near 100% duty cycle while running a buffer wheel, the battery pack lasts longer than the charge cycle takes on the second battery. I would definitely recommend this kit to anyone who is looking for an impact and drill kit you can depend on. Again, the only qualm I have is that the impact driver torque seems to be overstated in the specifications but other than that I have no real complaints.
on October 29, 2010
First off, I did not buy this on Amazon. I bought the set at HD in NH and paid $299.00 for the LXT211. I saw the white BFD set for $279.00 at the same place and figured, $20.00 extra and get three amp batteries?!? Anyways, I looked on-line at Amazon.com (have used this ste before and am very happy with my purchases) and saw it advertised for $264.00 Wow, I havent seen it that cheap since. I printed the sheet went to HD and they price matched Amazon and gave me the difference back! Now onto the set: I have built a couple of heavy duty work shop tables using both the Hammer and the Impact drivers. I have also built some small decorative shelving units and wow... I bought the set and charged the batteries once. ONCE. I have not charged them since. I dont need to, how cool is that? I bought this set to replace a Ridgid 18v lithium drill set and there is seriously no competition. I am not a contractor but felt that buying contractor grade tools would be a good bet for the money I set aside and I am not sorry. Trigger control on botht he drill and driver excellent you really dont need to practice too much. The LED light is incredibly bright and stays over for 12 seconds after you stop pressing the trigger. One other thing, I spoke with Makita directly as the HD did not know, and I was told that I should only use the 3.0a batteries, not the smaller ones with this set. So I will be ordering those batteries here as you cant beat the price. The only gripe that I have with both tools is the lack of on-board storage for drill bits but thats not a gripe about the quality, power or durability that I have experienced. One other note, I purchased the Milwaukee 18v M18 compact drill and impact driver set. Those tools feel heavy duty and the impact driver is a great solid powerful tool. I had two problems with the drill which caused me to immediately spend the extra money for the LXT211. 1- the speed selector on the top of the drill became stuck between speeds. I was able to play with the torque settings and it immediately switched back. 2- the chuck made a buzzing sound (something was rubbing in there) when I held it in place to tighten a bit, that happened after about ten minutes of playing with it. I did not feel that those are good signs for a ten minute old drill. I am not a fan of dewalt and I had never used a Bosch drill but I have read reviews on all of these and the Makita was the way to go for me. I hope this helps in your decision making!
on August 27, 2011
The impact drill and hammerdrill in this kit are amazing. I have already used both. The impact took a bolt out of a rusty old mower as soon as I hit it with the impact and it worked well to put concrete anchors in after I used the hammerdrill to plow into 1.5" of a concrete slab to set the anchors. It ate into a brick on a foundation no problem. The hammerdrill has settings for hammer, a clutched driver, AND a non-clutched drill. It has a low and high gear and the clutch has more than a dozen settings for a real light setting for smaller operations all the way up to grippin' and rippin'. This keeps me from having to have a separate drill/driver and hammerdrill. The impact manual actually goes into detail about what SIZE bit you need with what type of groove that fits into the quick connect in case you happen to find somewhere that actually has the wrong type of slotted bit. I have found the bits to be pretty standard everywhere I have been though. A little extra...these drills LOOK amazing. Some drills are pretty bland (Admit it Porter-Cable), but these drills (unlike a Ridgid or Hitachi who have only the look) have the power to back up that attitude. The technology behind the charger still has me baffled it is so creative and effective in fully charging the batteries. The metal clip on the drills verses some of the plastic belt clips that come with the drill are extremely useful and that they are detachable is also perfect. The weight of both drills is comfortable even being 18volt drills. The Li-ion batteries make all the difference. I opted for the 3.0ah batteries that charge in 30 minutes verses a kit that included the 1.5ah 15 minute charging batteries because I have read way too many reviews saying the 15 minute batteries just don't get a proper charge in that short amount of time. The 1.5ah kit also cost about $100 more. The result for me is longer battery life. The charger not only cools the batteries if they are hot in the case outdoors or if you just got done using the battery in a drill, but also has a memory catch that keeps the last bit of the battery at charge instead of you losing the full charge after a few uses. On my old Ni-Cad batteries I would have to tape the trigger up and run that very last bit of the battery out before it would continue to hold a full charge after my first uses. The case for this kit has a molded holding area for everything. It always goes back to the same spot. The batteries stay on the drills so you just put the drill's forward/reverese button in the middle and it holds it from being able to activate the trigger so you don't waste the battery. It even has a slot for the next upgrade for the hammerdrill which doesn't come in this kit which is the extra handle and depth guage. There is even a slot next to the battery charger in the case for an extra battery. That makes sense if you can get another battery because if you are not wanting to have to swap the batteries on a jobsite all day but want a fully charged battery waiting then BAM, you got another battery waiting and you don't have to go find where you put the impact or the hammerdrill on the job. So...those are the PROS!
Not that I'd like to downgrade this kit in any way. It is the PERFECT solution for the everyday man on the job. I'm a full service handyman, I do everything, so I know! And I researched the crap out of all the drills available before coming up with this decision. I'll start off light, even though to some it might all seem light...both drills have a light that automatically comes on if you even touch the trigger. You don't have to start drilling for it to come on so you can see where you are working right away. The con of it then?...the light is half blocked by the body of the chuck area on both drills so you get this half-moon shape right UNDER the area you are actually working on. If the light was down only a smidge it would make all the difference and the light could be angled up better to put it right on the tip of the gun where you would need it. Now check this out...in BOTH manuals for the drills (it comes with both manuals very handy for each drill) they show how to put on the TWO accessories. One is the belt clip which actually comes on the drill from the factory. The second is a bit holder that goes on the opposite side (and the clip or the bit holder can go on either side of either drill depending on if you are a lefty or righty). But the bit holders for each gun are NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. Strange that they would take the time to show how to put each accessory on and show both of them in the manuals for both drills but not give you a bit holder for either drill. I've personally made a complaint to Amazon and even called Makita for a review. Another area of complaint I have asked for review is this one thing...Most times on a jobsite you end up with an extra handful of screws or bolts or whatever it is you're working on at the time and instead of fiddling with finding the right box for the right screw (or nails too) you happen to be putting up the Makita LXT 18V impact/hammerdrill combo kit and there's a small area next to the battery charger (on the other side where it is notched to hold that handy third battery) and so you drop the handful there. Seems secure enough, but the truth is in the field you find as you pick up and put down this kit that the nails and screws and misc other things don't stay put and could EASILY end up running right into the battery. This doesn't seem like a problem but if something metal where to touch the terminals between the posts where the battery charges the drill you'd have a fried battery. And new batteries are NOT CHEAP! The easiest solution to this problem Makita actually solved on their single drill kits...tiny, flat, plastic covers that slip onto the battery when not in use, keeping the high dollar battery from being zotched. And the covers must cost .03 cents to make. I'd ask for the bit holders and the battery covers in order to make this kit complete. And in the future Makita could just spend a little time on the light to bring it to where it actually illuminates the actual spot where you are working and not just below it. I don't normally work in the dark or the light would be most helpful there. But on the occasion I do happen to be in a tight spot that doesn't get a lot of light, but even then...can I really get my head in there enough to see the exact spot where I need to put the tip of the drill? Altogether great work Makita and thanks to Amazon for putting it at a great price!! I'm recommending this kit to all my working buddies. I might mention the CONS in passing.