Which Makita drills are best?
Many of us enjoy some home DIY projects during the weekend, whether it be hanging shelves in the bedroom, assembling flat-pack furniture or installing a new flat-screen TV on the wall. Having the right tool for the job at hand not only saves time and effort, it can also reduce the risk of damage to yourself or your property.
A good-quality drill, such as those made by Makita, will get the job done with minimal fuss and should provide you with years of faithful service if looked after correctly. The Makita XPH12R 18V LXT is a drill-driver kit with extra features, and it is the best choice for contractors and serious DIY enthusiasts alike. However, there are several less expensive models that are ideal for occasional home use.
What to know before you buy a Makita drill
Depending on the work being carried out, there are several drill types available. The most common is a drill driver, which is a combination model used for drilling holes and for driving home screws and fasteners. A hammer drill has the same basic design with a built-in hammering mechanism to assist with boring holes in harder materials like stone and masonry. An impact driver is designed purely for inserting screws and has a much greater turning force than a standard drill.
In the past, a mains-powered drill was considered superior to its battery-powered counterpart. However, recent improvements in battery life, charging times and voltage make them equally as powerful and a lot more versatile.
There are three main types of chucks commonly used: keyed, keyless and SDS. A keyed chuck needs a special tool for tightening and releasing the drill bit. The more modern keyless chuck has a plastic sleeve that allows it to be tightened by hand. An SDS chuck needs a specific type of drill bit that simply pushes in to the end of the drill. It is important to know how big a drill bit you will use and ensure the chuck jaws open wide enough to hold it.
What to look for in a quality Makita drill
Batteries and chargers
When it comes to batteries, two are better than one, because they allow you to continue working while charging. The amp-hour(Ah) rating refers to how long the battery will last, with most modern tools ranging from 2Ah to 4Ah. A 2Ah battery should last around 6 hours. Charging times have reduced significantly with the invention of lithium-ion batteries and most can be recharged in around 40 minutes.
Speed is an important factor, especially with drill drivers. A high speed is needed to drill holes, whereas lower speeds are better for screwing in fasteners. Look for a model with either a dual-speed selector or a variable-speed trigger.
The weight of the tool will affect your comfort levels while working. Heavier drills tend to be unwieldy and can cause arm and wrist fatigue. The battery is usually the heaviest component, so aim to strike a balance between power and weight.
How much you can expect to spend on a Makita drill
Prices can range substantially and are reflected in the overall build quality and battery size. A 12-volt option with one battery will cost around $100, whereas an 18-volt hammer drill can be upwards of $300.
Makita drill FAQ
What difference does voltage make?
A. The voltage relates to how much power is delivered to the motor, which directly affects the amount of torque. Batteries range from as low as 5 volts, which is sufficient for driving small screws, up to 20 volts or more for drilling large diameter holes and other heavy-duty work.
Do I need a reverse gear?
A. Most likely. Drivers are used not only to insert screws, but also to remove them. Additionally, a reverse gear is useful if the drill gets stuck when drilling a hole.
Why do some drills have a clutch?
A. A clutch mechanism prevents the over tightening of fasteners. It can be a useful addition when working with fragile materials; however, it’s not essential for most household uses.
What’s the best Makita drill to buy?
Top Makita drill
What you need to know: A great all-round choice with lots of torque and the added benefit of a percussive hammer setting.
What you’ll love: It comes with two batteries and a rapid charger. Its keyless chuck allows for quick and easy drill bit changes.
What you should consider: The extra features make this drill a little heavier than other models.
Where to buy: Amazon
Top Makita drill for the money
What you need to know: This powerful yet compact drill driver weighs just 2.8 pounds and is ideal for working in confined areas.
What you’ll love: Its 2Ah battery can be recharged in 25 minutes. Built-in, dual LED lights illuminate the work area.
What you should consider: This kit is only supplied with one battery.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A versatile four-piece set that includes a battery-powered circular saw and flashlight.
What you’ll love: Having both a drill and an impact driver allows you to work more efficiently. The included tote bag provides compact storage for the whole kit.
What you should consider: The batteries are only 1.5Ah, so run time may be a little short.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.