Not every home improvement project calls for the strength and ruggedness of an impact driver, but you can’t go wrong with a sturdy multi-function power impact drill from Makita. For over a hundred years Makita has been producing innovative power tools with new and always-improving technology.
Here we’ll look at the different types of drivers the company offers, how to find the best one for your needs, and list our top seven picks for the best Makita impact drivers available.
Bottom Line Up Front
No two drilling tasks are the same, so the type of impact driver you choose will depend on what you hope to accomplish with it. With that in mind, our top recommendation from Makita is the Makita CT225R Combo Kit.
Versatility is the key here: the CT225R kit includes both a power driver drill and an impact drill, so you have every potential scenario covered when it comes to torque. For more straightforward and ‘easy’ tasks, you have the driver drill, and for heavier-duty needs, the impact drill offers up to 1,460 in. lbs. of torque.
Not sure the CT225R is right for you? Read on for more on the types of Makita impact drivers and our top seven picks.
Different Types of Makita Impact Drivers
Makita has been around since 1915 and has produced motors and countless power tools in the decades since. Its reach expanded across 40 countries, and though it started with a motor, now product collections include countless tools and machinery.
Impact drivers are only one of the many categories of tools Makita offers, and they also have an ImpactX impact driver accessory line which promises precision, performance, and durability. From storage sets to extended tool lengths to adapters and magnetic accessories, if your tool doesn’t come with it, you can find it with Makita.
When it comes to impact drivers, Makita has an expansive collection. Here’s more about the different types of impact drivers from Makita.
Most Makita impact drivers are 18V power, which, in most cases, is enough power for nearly any power drill application. Some variations exist, too, most notably a 12V option plus a miniature 7.2V kit for hard-to-access areas.
We’re fans of the consistently 18V tools, mainly because it allows tool owners to stock up on a single type of battery for all their Makita (or other) power tools. An 18V battery in conjunction with Makita’s brushless motor tools makes for an efficient and powerful drilling experience—more on brushless motors later.
Cordless versus Corded
Of all Makita’s impact drivers, only a handful are corded. Depending on the task (or whether you’re a professional or hobbyist project manager), you likely won’t need the high RPMs of the corded models.
Cordless impact drivers are powerful enough for most everyday tasks, and Lithium-ion battery power keeps things humming all day. Many tool kits also come with multiple batteries, so you don’t have to interrupt your work to wait for a battery to finish charging.
Brushless motors have been around a long time, but Makita was the first to use a brushless motor in a power tool. The first brushless impact driver was a three-speed which came out in 2009. Since then, Makita has only improved upon its technology and worked toward providing even better power output.
Overall, brushless motors are more efficient than traditional brushed motors. A brushless motor “senses” differences in tasks, including resistance and speed needs, and draws power from the battery accordingly. A brushed motor, on the other hand, draws the same amount of battery power regardless of what the driver is doing.
A brushless motor can also provide more power than a brushed version since they lose the friction and “drag” of conventional motors. One drawback is the higher overall cost of brushless motors, but it’s something Makita (and other brands) has been working on to make high-performance power tools more accessible to DIYers and hobbyists rather than just professionals.
How to Find the Best Makita Impact Drivers
Any drill with the name Makita will likely be a powerful and handy tool to have around, but there are some drills from the company which is perfect for a variety of user needs. Starting with the features to look for, here’s how to find the best Makita impact drivers.
We have established that Makita knows their way around 18V tools, particularly those with brushless motors, but it’s not the only type of power they work with. Makita also offers a few lower-voltage drills for different applications, plus corded options for continuous power without waiting for batteries to charge.
Most of our top picks are 18V battery models, but we’ve also included a handy, more portable drill with a smaller battery option, plus a corded drill for those high-performance settings and scenarios. After all, it’s better to have “too much” power rather than not enough in most situations.
Weight is key for an impact drill because although we want hard-hitting power, we don’t want the driver to hit us back. Lower weight means easier wielding, especially for prolonged or especially demanding projects.
Most of Makita’s drills are well under five points, but it’s worth considering a lighter-weight model around two or so pounds if a balanced drill is a key to your comfort and ability to complete strenuous drilling jobs.
Makita didn’t stop advancing its technology with the advent of brushless motors. It also began innovating tech like an Assist-Mode for keeping the speed low until you get to the tightening part of installing fasteners.
Another tech in select models of Makita impact drivers are features like overheating prevention mechanisms, automatic motor throttling, and Tightening Mode to prevent stripping screws. In short, user-friendly functions helped boost a few of these impact drivers to our “best” list.
Handheld drills of any type are versatile and powerful tools. But impact drivers can handle even more stress and abuse than a standard drill. Most are high-torque for jobs like driving screws and tightening nuts without breaking a sweat.
Impact drivers can handle most tasks just as well as a standard drill, just faster. Their efficiency is thanks to the sideways hammering action which accompanies the rotational drilling motion. “Hammering” sounds loud and a lot like a repetitive clicking, but the noise highlights the difference between drill drivers and impact drivers.
Before committing to an impact driver, though, consider the limitations. Impact drivers aren’t ideal for precise drilling, in most cases, because of the amount of power they concentrate into drilling. You’ll also find you’re limited to ¼-inch hex shanks for most impact drivers (unless otherwise specified).
Before you start shopping, decide whether you truly need an impact drill and if so, whether you need a standard power drill as well.
Bare Tool Versus Full Kit
Makita offers bare tools and full kit options with many of its power drills (and other products). If it’s your first foray into Makita, a full kit (or a combo kit) might be the best option since each case comes with one or more batteries and a charger, at the very least. Combo kits feature two or more tools plus spare batteries and, often, carrying cases for convenience.
If you already own a few Makita tools—or at least some 18V models with extra batteries—you might opt to skip the fully-loaded kits and choose bare tools instead. But we don’t have to remind you how convenient it is to stick with all one brand (or at least all one voltage) for your casual or professional tool kit!
1. Makita XDT15ZB Impact Driver
A lightweight and comfortable compact design make Makita’s XDT15ZB a light-duty and ‘smarter’ impact driver option.
- Weighs 2.6 pounds
- Two variable speeds
- Dual L.E.D. lights
- 1,240 in. lbs. max torque
- Tool only
With its assist mode (A-mode) feature, the XDT15ZB helps cut cross threading and screw cam-out issues. Ideal for driving long fasteners, the feature uses a low speed until tightening starts, then employs full power to drive the screw fully.
Even with the battery, the driver weighs in at 2.6 pounds, making it particularly handy for users who dislike hefty power tools. An ergonomic grip makes it comfortable in-hand, and its slight profile can go almost anywhere.
Two variable speeds offer up to 3,000 RPM to tackle even your most challenging jobs—without overexertion or lugging around a supremely heavy tool or kit.
- Assist mode ideal for longer screws
- Variable speed
- Tool only
- Only accepts Makita bits
Do more with less. The Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless Impact Driver (model XDT15ZB, tool only, battery sold separately) is an ultra-compact fastening solution with significantly less weight.
2. Makita XDT131 Impact Driver Kit
A kit with everything the average DIYer needs for even the most demanding projects, Makita’s XDT131 set can handle endless tasks on a single charge.
- Weighs 3.3 pounds
- Variable speed
- Built-in L.E.D. lights
- ¼” hex chuck for quick bit changes
- Comes with an 18V LXT 3.0 Ah battery
- Charger included
- Bag included
- 1,500 in. lbs. max torque
Variable speed delivers up to 3,400 RPM, and you’ll likely never run out of power thanks to the included quick-charging 18V battery. Makita notes a 30-minute full charge time for the 3.0 Ah battery, meaning you can get back to completing tough tasks in no time.
Extensive battery life is one of the perks of the kit, especially considering the amount of power the drill packs. Despite its lightweight styling, the drill can handle many demanding tasks on a single charge.
- Kit includes battery and charger
- Long battery life
- The bag is a tight fit for all accessories
3. Makita XLT01Z Angle Impact Driver
For those nearly-impossible-to-reach areas, Makita’s XLT01Z is the single tool you can rely on to get in and get the job done.
- Weighs 3.9 pounds
- Built-in L.E.D.
- 2-1/8” angle head height
- 530 in. lbs. max torque
- Tool only
If a fastener is just out of your reach, but you need to access it to complete a project, Makita’s XLT01Z is the answer. Adding an entire foot of reach, the angled impact driver grants you access to hard-to-reach areas to make projects possible (and easier).
The lengthened design helps with access, but you’ll notice a bit of heft with the XLT01Z; it weighs in at 3.9 pounds, so it’s no slacker. Of course, the max torque is relatively low, but you can expect this impact driver to tackle nearly any task without sacrificing your knuckles (or other body parts) to do so.
- Extends user reach by one foot
- Accesses difficult/angled spaces
- Ergonomic paddle switch and grip
- Tool only
- Bulky design
- Relatively low torque
4. Makita CT225R Combo Kit
If you often need both a standard driver drill and an impact drill while on the job, Makita’s CT225R Combo Kit is an all-in-one solution.
- ½” driver drill weighs 3.3 pounds
- 580 in. lbs. max torque (1/2” driver drill)
- Impact driver weighs 2.8 pounds
- 1,460 in. lbs. max torque (impact driver)
- Built-in L.E.D.
- Extreme Protection Technology (XPT)
- Star Protection Computer Controls
- Includes two batteries, charger, and bag
Two compact tools make up Makita’s CT225R combo kit, which can handle nearly any task for DIYers and professionals alike. The driver drill offers up 580 in. lbs. of maximum torque for handling routine work and the impact driver cranks out 1,460 in. lbs. of torque for tougher jobs.
Both drills are compact and lightweight and feature XPT technology to provide dust and water resistance in undesirable conditions (like your shop or garage). Both units also feature Star Protection Computer Controls, which prevent overloading, over-discharging, and overheating.
- XPT for heavy-duty performance
- Dual drills for a variety of needs
- Low torque via the driver drill
5. Makita XDT12Z Impact Driver
A set of precision features help Makita’s XDT12Z Impact Driver tend to delicate tasks without over-exerting itself or the user.
- Weighs 3.3 pounds
- 1,550 in. lbs. max torque
- Assist Mode
- Four-speed power
- Quick-Shift Mode
- Tightening Mode
- Tool only
Four speeds deliver up to 1,550 in. lbs. of torque with Makita’s XDT12Z, but there’s little risk of overexerting the tool thanks to its onboard features. Quick-Shift Mode relies on the brushless motor tech to balance speed and torque depending on the task, and Tightening Mode ensures proper driving without stripping threads or damaging the drilling surface.
Assist Mode is another handy feature that keeps the tool driving at low speeds until tightening begins, another proprietary Makita solution to frustrating on-the-job challenges. A relatively compact size tops off the favorable features of the XDT12Z.
- Precision “smart” features avoid slipups
- Compact size
- Less user “control”; drill’s automatic settings take over
6. Makita 6952 2.3 Amp Impact Driver
With a 2.3 Amp motor and consistent corded power, Makita’s 6952 delivers the performance you need for even the toughest in-shop jobs.
- Weighs 3.1 pounds
- Comes with case and belt clip
- 1,062 in. lbs. max torque
Makita highlights the 6952 for professional use in deck building, HVAC installation, plumbing, and electrical applications, but we think it’s ideal for heavy-duty DIY use, too. It consistently delivers over 1,000 in. lbs. of torque and allows for easy one-handed operation.
An aluminum housing helps ensure durability while a belt clip makes the 6952 handy no matter what job you’re working on. A ¼-inch hex bit shank allows you to swap bits quickly, and the reverse switch is centrally located for even more convenience.
- Adequate drilling power for heavy-duty tasks
- Consistent power
- Difficult to control for precision tasks
- No torque adjustment
7. Makita TD022DSE Impact Driver Kit
A do-it-all driver for DIYers and beyond, Makita’s TD022DSE Drill and its accompanying kit prepare you for a range of jobs in any location.
- Weighs 1.2 pounds
- Built-in L.E.D. light/battery indicator
- Includes two 7.2V batteries, charger, and case
- Straight or pistol grip operation
- Electric brake
- 220 in. lbs. max torque
With two 7.2V batteries and a convenient carrying case, you’ll always have an impact driver on hand for whatever task crops up. And while the top torque is a bit lacking in comparison with other drivers, the TD022DSE only weighs 1.2 pounds and offers the flexibility of either pistol or straight grip operation.
Battery life is exceptional, and two batteries come with the kit, although you can’t share them among other power tools in your Makita collection.
- Supremely portable and lightweight
- Exceptional battery life
- Versatile thanks to straight- and pistol-grip operation
- A low overall torque side-to-side trigger is challenging to control
- Odd battery size (incompatible with other Makita tools)
Comparing the Options
|XDT15ZB||18V||Driving longer screws, working in tight spaces|
|XDT131 Kit||18V||Demanding jobs, long-term use|
|XLT01Z||18V||Hard-to-reach spaces, low torque needs|
|CT225R Combo Kit||18V||Variety/low-torque household and impact scenarios|
|6952 2.3 Amp Driver||Corded||Heavy-duty shop tasks|
|TD022DSE||7.2V||Small tasks in tight spaces|
Makita is a reputable brand with plenty of industry experience which comes through clearly in its innovative approach to power tools. Who knew impact drivers could be exciting, especially given their somewhat limited applications?
With Makita, we have a hard time finding major fault with any of the impact drivers available, making it easy to find the best Makita impact drivers with just a few clicks of a mouse.