Makita 18V Cordless Drill Review: Tons of Torque and Battery Life

makita cordless drill review

In a category that contains some pretty stiff competition, the Makita 18V LXT Brushless Cordless 1/2-inch hammer drill kit is extremely impressive. It is very competent in a wide range of tasks from drilling in wood, steel, and masonry.

With the capability to deliver an arm-breaking 1092in/lbs of torque and a max speed of 2100RPM (under no load) this tool is suitable for heavy duty professional use, but also offers the flexibility to tick all the boxes for a home DIYer.

For professionals requiring minimal downtime the battery can be fully charge in just 40 minutes.  Pretty impressive given how much power it delivers and it's run time.​

All of this contributed to it winning the top spot in our best cordless drill of 2017 competition.​

What You Get

  • Driver-Drill (Model XFD07Z)
  • Two 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion Battery (BL1840)
  • Two 18V Lithium-Ion Rapid Optimum Charger (DC18RC)
  • Auxiliary Handle
  • Tool Case

Key Product Details

The drill itself is only 8-1/8" in length.  This certainly isn't the most compact drill out there, but it's still effective in smaller spaces. The rubberized soft grip provides reasonable comfort during extended usage.

With it's capability to deliver 1092 in/lb of torque, use of the auxiliary handle is HIGHLY recommended during high torque applications. Failure to do so can easily result in a sprained wrist or worse.

The fighting weight of this drill (with battery) is only 5.9 lbs.  This is comparable to other drills offering similar power output and battery life.  You're not going to want to hold over your head for long periods of time, but for most uses it's just fine.

The variable 2-speed transmission (0-550 & 0-2,100 RPM) is all metal.  This is a must for a tool with this much power.  When paired with the variable speed trigger you've got the flexibility to handle anything from drilling and driving, to mixing paint or even heavier materials. 

It offers 19 clutch settings so all this power doesn't just strip every screw it comes in contact with. The all metal 1/2" self-ratcheting chuck offers great grip and is easy to tighten down.

The dual L.E.D. lights mounted under the chuck are great in low light situations.  They turn on when the trigger is depressed and allow for plenty of time to set up in low light situations.

These LEDs will also flash to indicate a lower battery level.  This is a nice feature as you won't have to check to battery charge level to know you're power's getting low.

The 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 4.0 Ah battery can be fully charged in just 40 minutes. It has a 3-stage L.E.D. gauge indicating battery charge level.

Our Makita 18V Cordless Drill Review

cordless 18V drill reviews article

The XPH07M utilizes Makita’s BL brushless motor to deliver a ton of power and speed.  It produces an astonishing 1,090 in.lbs. of torque. This is as much power as many traditional corded drills on the market. 

If you've already got a hole hog or right-angle drill with tons of torque you might not need this much power in your cordless drill.  But as far as we're concerned it's worth it for the convenience of cordless. 

The battery performance is SO far beyond previous generations that you'll be hard pressed to outpace the charger even when working at a fast pace. 

It can reach up a maximum 2100 rpm (application: 2-9/16" self-feed bit into 2x material) which is also impressive.  The blows per minute for the hammer function are between 8,250 (low speed) and 31,500 (high speed).  This is enough to quickly chew through just about any type of masonry.

All of this power and speed demands a durable chassis.  The Makita feels solid and well balanced.  The transmission is all metal so it should hold up well.  The chuck too is all metal and easy to tighten.

Key Specs

  • Capacity: Steel: 1/2-inch; Wood: 3 inches; Masonry: 5/8 inches
  • ​No Load Speed: Low 0-550 RPM; High 0-2,100 RPM
  • ​Blows Per Minute: Low 0-8,250 BPM; High 0-31,500 BPM
  • Max Torque: 1,090 inch pounds

Makita's Brushless Motor Technology

While there are plenty of great drills out there without brushless motors (like the Hilti), the efficiency of brushless makes it a wise investment.​

Makita’s BL motor is engineered with electronic controls to optimize the battery usage up 50% compared to its non-brushless counter parts. It allows for electronic control of the torque & rpm balance providing for an EXTREMELY efficient consumption of battery energy.

Simply put, it can produce more power & speed when needed. On the flip side, it can conserve energy for lighter usage. As an added benefit, the lack of carbon brushes in a brushless motor actually helps extend the life of the motor.

High Run-Time & Long Batter Life

The Makita also delivers the fastest charging time among cordless drills in this category.  The new 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 4.0Ah battery fully charges within just 40 minutes. 

This is up to 2 times faster than other currently available similar products.

makita 4.0 ah cordless drill battery

With the capability to fully charge in just 40 minutes (2x faster than most of it’s competitors) the Makita 18V 4.0Ah battery allows you to spend more time working and less time waiting. And with the large battery capacity you’ll get more out of each charge

Built in Circuitry and Battery Protection

The XPH07M comes with Star Protection Computer Controls. This system enables the device to exchange real time data with the battery, to protect the device against overloading, over-discharging and overheating.

Makita’s rapid charger along with the battery's built-in chip is engineered for actively controlling current, voltage and temperature all through the charging process to optimize battery life & to avoid overloading, over-discharging and over-heating hassles.

Reliable in Harsh Conditions

This particular drill is equipped with Makita’s Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) for high durability.

XPT is basically a protective layer inside the device to protect it from moisture & dust. It is designed to drain moisture & dust sediment from the device, protecting its key inner components.

The idea is to extend the life of the drill even when working in less than ideal conditions.  We suspect this will take a good bit of real world testing to see if it actually makes any real difference.

Since Makita uses high quality internal components we're not terribly concerned about the longevity of this particular drill XPT or no.

Final Thoughts

​The Makita 18V LXT could is a well built tool with a TON of torque.  Professionals looking to replace an old cordless with something that offers more power and more battery life won't be disappointed.  With 1090 inch/lbs of torque you might even find yourself leaving your corded tools behind.

For do-it-yourselfers the Makita offers the flexibility to be the only drill/driver you need.  It's on the heavier side of products in this range, but offers serious durability and TONS of power. 

Jason