In a hurry? If you’re looking for the best Makita impact driver, I highly recommend checking the XDT12Z 18V LXT first. It’s a quality impact driver that can deliver up to 3,600 RPM and 3,800 IPM. With a maximum torque of 1,550 inch-pounds, its suitable for most fastening applications. It’s also very versatile, offering four speed settings and advanced speed controls.
Makita is a brand that I can only recommend. Having been using its impact drivers as well as other corded and cordless power tools for years, I don’t have many bad things to say about them. As such, I think it’s a good idea to get one of their impact drivers if you are looking to buy one.
You should also consider buying a Makita impact driver if you are already using other tools made by the brand. That way, you should be – in most cases – able to share the batteries and chargers.
Below, I’ll take a look at what some of the best Makita impact drivers are. I’ll also tell you how I arrived at those choices and what the alternatives that I considered were.
Before that, though, here’s a quick overview of the top three picks.
HANDYMAN’S WORLD TOP PICK
Makita XDT12Z 18V LXT
Its brushless motor delivers up to 3,600 RPM. Features advanced speed control technologies.
Makita XDT15ZB 18V LXT
Black rather than “Makita green.” It’s equipped with “Assist Mode” and can deliver up to 3,000 RPM.
Makita XDT11Z 18V LXT
A basic model equipped with a brushed motor. Can deliver up to 2,900 RPM.
Handyman’s World Top Pick: Makita XDT12Z 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Impact Driver
Makita XDT12Z is the maker’s top-of-the-line cordless impact driver. While it’s also among the priciest, if it’s within your budget, it’s well worth getting.
It’s powered by Makita’s 18V LXT batteries, and it can deliver up to 3,600 RPM and 3,800 IPM. Its maximum torque is 1,550 inch-pounds.
This impact driver is equipped with a brushless motor and Quick-Shift Mode which helps with applying the right torque to avoid damaging your screw. It’s also equipped with “Assist Mode” which makes the driver drive at an increasingly higher speed – all while having the trigger fully pressed.
Depending on your needs, you can choose between four different speed settings or “T-mode” (Tightening Mode) which just like some of this driver’s other features is designed to minimize the chance of stripping screws.
At 3.3 pounds including a battery, it’s not the lightest model, but it’s still fairly light considering the features it comes with.
Things I Like About This Product: It’s equipped with advanced technologies that will help you drive screws with ease.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It’s quite expensive compared to some of the other models.
Runner-Up: Makita XDT15ZB 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Impact Driver
If you don’t like “Makita green” or want something more affordable than the impact driver above, consider the XDT15ZB.
While, at 3,000 RPM, it is not as fast as the one above, it is still more than sufficient for most common applications. Its brushless motor delivers up to 3,900 IPM and a maximum torque of 1,240 inch-pounds.
This tool offers two speed settings and comes equipped with “Assist Mode.”
At 2.6 pounds, it’s one of the lightest Makita impact drivers on the market.
Things I Like About This Product: It’s fairly affordable, yet equipped with “Assist Mode.” It’s very light.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It delivers lower RPM and torque compared to some of the other models. It only has two speed settings.
Budget-Friendly Option: Makita XDT11Z 18V LXT Cordless Impact Driver
If you don’t use an impact driver too often and are on a budget, then I recommend getting the Makita XDT11Z. It’s oftentimes sold for (less than) half the price of the two models above yet performs very well.
It’s equipped with a standard brushed motor that can deliver up to 2,900 RPM and 3,500 IPM. Its maximum torque is 1,460 inch-pounds.
While, at 2.8 pounds including battery, it’s lighter than the top pick, it doesn’t come with any of the advanced features like Quick-Shift, Assist Mode, and Tightening Mode.
In fact, the XDT11Z is very basic and lacks speed settings too. It features an L.E.D. light, though.
Things I Like About This Product: It’s quite light and very affordable. It’s more than sufficient for most situations.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It doesn’t feature a brushless motor. It lacks speed-control features.
Best Corded: Makita 6952 2.3 Amp Impact Driver
If you don’t want to worry about charging batteries, then you should be looking at getting the Makita 6952 corded impact driver. It’s one of the few corded impacts with a standard 1/4″ hex shank.
The tool has a no-load speed of up to 3,200 RPM and can deliver up to 3,100 impacts per minute. Its maximum torque is 1,062 inch-pounds.
At 9 inches long, it’s larger than many of the other products on this list. However, it only weighs 2.9 pounds. Besides the tool itself, a belt clip and a plastic storage case are included in the package.
Things I Like About This Product: Because it’s corded, it can deliver consistent power across a long period of time. As such, it’s suitable for heavy use. The tool is built very sturdily.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: It’s a bit more of a hassle to use it, especially on “remote” worksites, than cordless impact drivers.
Best 12-Volt: Makita DT04Z 12V Max CXT Brushless Cordless Impact Driver
If you only need to assemble some furniture every now and then or similar, you should be able to get by with a 12-volt impact driver. In that case, consider the Makita DT04Z 12V Max CXT.
While its price is comparable with some of the cheaper 18-volt drivers, it’s equipped with some of the advanced functionality of the top pick and runner-up. Besides having a brushless motor, it has “Assist Mode” to help with tightening screws without cam-out and stripping.
This driver has two speed settings. The slower one tops at 1,300 RPM and 1,600 IPM. The faster one tops at 3,000 RPM and 3,900 IPM. The maximum torque that this tool can deliver is 1,200 inch-pounds.
At only 2.1 pounds including a battery and 5-5/16″ long, the DT04Z is the lightest and smallest impact driver on this list.
Things I Like About This Product: It’s very light and compact, but it can deliver enough power for most general purpose applications. It’s equipped with some of the advanced features that the top-of-the-line 18-volt model comes with.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: If you don’t need the advanced features, you can get a considerably more powerful (but basic) 18-volt model for a similar or cheaper price.
Best Kit with a Cordless Drill: Makita CT225R 18V LXT Combo
Finally, if you are looking to get both an impact driver and a cordless drill, you should consider the Makita CT225R 18V LXT combo kit. It includes two tools – the XDT11Z impact driver that I reviewed above and XFD10Z, a 1/2″ cordless drill.
Since I already wrote about the impact driver above, just refer to that. As for the drill, it weighs 3.3 pounds and can deliver up to 1,900 RPM on its higher speed setting. Its maximum torque is 480 inch-pounds.
It has a drilling capacity of 1/2 inches for steel and 1-1/2 inches for wood.
Unlike all of the tools above, this kit also comes with a pair of 2.0 Ah batteries and a charger. It also comes with a tool bag.
Things I Like About This Product: It offers a chance to get both an impact driver and a cordless drill at a good price. It comes with a charger and batteries.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: In many cases, an impact driver and a cordless drill are interchangeable. As such, chances are you do not need both.
I reviewed this product in more detail here.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Products Featured Above
When choosing the products to feature in each of the categories, I looked at the criteria below among other things. I also considered how important each of those criteria is to the specific category.
If by this point you are still undecided about which Makita impact driver to get, these criteria should also provide you with a good framework on which to base your decision.
Price: Of course, I considered price as one of the ranking factors. However, I took it into account relative to how the products performed on the other criteria. As such, the only category where the price of the tool was the deciding factor was the “budget-friendly option” where the XDT11Z was the winner.
Quality: While normally, the quality of a product would be one of the most important things to consider, in this case, it was not. The reason for that is that based on my experience, all Makita tools are built very well and last very long.
Power source: Generally speaking, there are corded and cordless impact drivers. While the former can deliver more consistent performance and, in some cases, last longer, the latter is much more convenient. It’s also a matter of fact that cordless impact drivers are more than sufficient for most situations. As such, for all of the categories other than the “best corded” one, I chose cordless tools. I also chose the more powerful, 18-volt, tools in most cases since their price is comparable with 12-volt ones in most cases.
Motor type: There are two types of motors: brushed and brushless. The latter is usually more expensive, but it is also much better at converting electrical power into rotational force. In other words, it wastes much less energy as heat. All of the products except for the budget-friendly option and the corded option are equipped with a brushless motor.
Max. RPM, IPM, and torque: When it comes to impact drivers, the maximum no-load speed denoted in RPM, impacts per minute, and torque are the three basic metrics of performance. In all three of these metrics, the top pick, Makita XDT12Z, delivers the best performance.
Speed settings: More or less all impact drivers are equipped with a variable-speed trigger. In other words, they go faster when their trigger is depressed deeper. However, some models are also equipped with the ability to switch the maximum speed for better control of power and torque. The top pick stood out in this regards the most with four different speed settings in addition to special modes.
Special features: Some of the more advanced models are equipped with technologies like “Assist Mode” and “Tightening Mode” to make driving screws easier. While those usually come at a price premium, they can be worth it if you have the budget.
Accessories: Generally, cordless power tools are sold either by themselves or in a kit with a battery. All of the products above are the “tool-only” versions except for the combo kit which includes both batteries and a charger. The corded driver, as well as the combo kit, also come with a tool case.
The Alternatives: Other Products I Considered Declaring the Winners
As far as corded impact drivers are concerned, Makita only has one model in its line-up right no. So featuring the 6952 that was a no-brainer.
There are not that many options for 12-volt Makita impacts either. You could get the lower-end models like the DT01ZW, but in that case, you might just as well get one of the similarly priced entry-level 18-volt tools. That’s the reason I featured the slightly more expensive DT04Z which is equipped with advanced speed control technologies.
Alternatively, if even the 12-volt one is more powerful than you need your impact driver to be, then consider the TD022DE 7.2-volt impact driver kit.
When it comes to 18-volt drivers, you have a few more choices. I would still recommend going with the XDT12Z if you have the budget. If you are trying to save money, I’d go with the XDT15Z or the budget pick, XDT11Z.
However, you should also take a look at XDT13Z and XDT14Z which are somewhere between the top-of-the-line model and the budget-friendly pick. Both of them are equiped with brushless motors and the latter comes with “Quick-Shift Mode” and three speed settings.
Since all of the Makita tools are of excellent quality, your choice should really be mainly affected by your budget and by whether or not you need some of the advanced functions like “Assist Mode” or “Quick-Shift Mode.”
Also, you should consider getting a kit with a battery and a charger if you don’t already own them. That should save you some money compared to buying those things separately.
The FAQs: Information About Makita Impact Drivers You Might Find Useful
Will my existing Makita batteries fit one of the impact drivers above?
Makita batteries are interchangeable as long as they’re the same type. So, for example, you could use an 18-volt LXT battery that you got with a jobsite radio or a jobsite fan with an 18V LXT Makita impact driver.
You, of course, cannot use a 12-volt battery in an 18-volt tool and vice-versa even if they are both made by Makita.
Will non-Makita drill and screwdriver bits fit the products above?
All of the impact drivers featured above are equipped with a standard 1/4″ hex shank. As such, all bits designed to fit this type of shank will work with the tools reviewed above, regardless of their brand.
If you are looking for a good set of screwdriver bits, make sure to check this article.
There’s no doubt that Makita is one of the best power tool makers in the world. As such, if you are looking for your first cordless power tool or already own other Makita tools, I can only recommend getting one of those mentioned above.
If you have the budget, then – by all means – go for the top pick, Makita XDT12Z. It’s can deliver the most power and is equipped not only with four different speed settings, but also advanced technologies like “Assist Mode” and “Quick-Shift Mode.”