Best Makita Drills

Best Makita Drill

Like the other popular power tool brands, Makita offers an extensive lineup of drills with different performance profiles, sizes, and build quality. We’ve done the upfront work of researching and testing the best Makita drills to help you navigate the Makita drill lineup without having to venture out on your own.

After putting each model through standardized lab tests, we include a shortlist of fully-vetted Makita drills below that stand above the rest. In addition to reading through this ranked list, we recommend checking out the individual reviews for each drill for additional editorial commentary and helpful test videos. It may also be worth checking out our global drill rankings to compare results for all drills in our test fleet if a Makita drill is not best for you.

Best Makita drill

Ratings methodology
18 models tested

Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z

Makita XPH14Z Angle 5
TestRank
Drilling speed5
Driving speed3
Torque3
RPM6
Bare weight18
Drilling Noise8
Brand Makita
Platform 18V LXT
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 1250.0
BPM 31,500.0
Clutch settings 21
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as XPH14

Rating

4.38 / 5 ⭐️’s

Recommended configuration

XPH14T

Includes (2) 18V 5Ah battery

The Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill is the best Makita drill tested in our lab. It checks the necessary boxes for a flagship, jobsite-ready drill.

Firstly, as our drilling speed tests demonstrated, it has the muscle to sustain high RPMs under demanding drilling loads. The XPH14Z blasts chips out of holes when boring and retains that speed at depth in thick lumber.

The XPH14Z’s hammer also impacts at an exceptionally high rate. In practice, the high blows per minute (BPM) vastly improves the speed when drilling cement and thick lumber.

Throughout testing, we didn’t encounter a task where we had to drop to the low setting for more torque to finish the job, including when boring wide holes in 2x6s with several spade and forstner bits.

Unsurprisingly with its drilling performance, the XPH14Z also drives fasteners exceptionally well. It’ll finish long structural screws, decking screws, and lag bolts quickly, though slightly slower than the best cordless drills.

At this high-end performance tier, user safety should be considered. Thankfully, Makita includes a high-quality auxiliary arm in the box, reducing the wrist injury risk when binding up. The auxiliary arm also has an adjustable depth stop that’s helpful when drilling cement.

Makita XPH14Z Auxiliary Arm
The included auxiliary arm is a critical safety feature for such a powerful drill. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

However, there is no kickback control technology, a letdown at this price point. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill is equally powerful and includes kickback controls to further reduce the risk of injury.

Another downside is that the XPH14Z is heavy and reasonably bulky for a hammer drill, which led to frequent hand fatigue throughout testing. The big footprint also limits the spaces it fits into.

Combine the pros and cons, and this is the best Makita hammer drill for trades workers. We don’t recommend the XPH14Z for homeowners since more user-friendly options are targeted to that audience.

Makita 18V LXT XFD14Z

Makita XFD14Z Angle 5
TestRank
Drilling speed6
Driving speed6
Torque3
RPM5
Bare weight17
Drilling Noise2
Brand Makita
Platform 18V LXT
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 1250.0
BPM N/A
Clutch settings 21
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as XFD14

Rating

4.01 / 5 ⭐️’s

Recommended configuration

XFD14T

Includes (2) 18V 5Ah battery

While we recommend opting for the XPH14Z above for most people since it has a hammer drill, the Makita 18V LXT XFD14Z is worth considering to save some weight and several bucks. The XFD14Z doesn’t include a hammer drill.

Importantly, the XFD14Z impresses with its drilling and driving speed since it has the same motor and gearing. It includes an auxiliary arm in the box with a depth stop.

The XFD14Z is slightly lighter, helping reduce the potential for hand fatigue in some scenarios. The weight reduction is possible thanks to not including a hammering mechanism in the head, though the footprint is the same in every dimension, including the all-important tip-to-tail length.

The XFD14Z has the same cons as the XPH14Z, including no kickback control technology, a heavy overall weight, and a bulky footprint.

But pay close attention to prices when considering the XFD14Z. It is oddly priced at a premium to the XPH14Z on some websites and may not be worth the higher price for the slightly lower weight. In most cases with other models and brands, the hammer drill version costs slightly more.

Makita 18V LXT XPH12Z

Makita XPH12Z Angle 5
TestRank
Drilling speed14
Driving speed8
Torque6
RPM7
Bare weight9
Drilling Noise11
Brand Makita
Platform 18V LXT
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 530.0
BPM 30,000.0
Clutch settings 21
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as XPH12

Rating

4.15 / 5 ⭐️’s

Recommended configuration

XPH12T

Includes (2) 18V 5Ah battery

The Makita 18V LXT XPH12Z Hammer Drill is ideal for use around the home with a balanced performance and weight profile that is more user-friendly than other high-end Makita drills.

When dropping down a performance tier, it’s essential to understand where the drill starts bogging down in the high setting. We tested drilling various holes with auger, spade, and forstner bits. The XPH12Z sustains sufficiently high RPMs and doesn’t bog down with most 3/4-inch and narrower gauge drill bits.

The high BPM also vastly improves speeds when drilling cement and thick lumber.

It finishes more demanding tasks but doesn’t do so quickly in the high setting and requires dropping a gear to the low setting for more torque in most of these scenarios at the top of its range.

However, these tests don’t perfectly represent the jobs most homeowners will use the XPH12Z for. It handily finishes common drilling and driving tasks around the home like most 18V drills.

One standout feature is the XPH12Z’s weight. It is one of the lighter 18V models in our test fleet, rivaling the weight of several compact hammer drills, which reduces hand fatigue with prolonged use.

Makita XPH12Z On Scale
The Makita XPH12Z is reasonably lightweight for a hammer drill. Credit: Nathan Hamilton

The primary downside is the price. The XPH12Z is one of the more expensive mid-tier hammer drills in our test fleet, rivaling the price of the best hammer drills.

Honorable mentions

We’ve tested and don’t recommend the Makita 12V LXT FD09Z. Cheaper options easily beat its dated brushed motor and vastly underpowered performance.

Makita drill comparison

We launched power tool reviews on DIY Gear Reviews to simplify tool comparisons with standardized tests that put all models on the same playing field.

Oftentimes, drill manufacturers don’t use the same processes to advertise drill performance, complicating what should otherwise be a simple research and buying process. Plus, can all manufacturer-provided marketing materials really be trusted, and what are the critical factors that matter most?

Thankfully, we provide answers to those questions. Below, we compare our lab results for Makita drills across several essential categories, including drilling speed, driving speed, weight, and warranty length.

Drilling speed

Performance in our drilling speed tests provides a sense of how each drill performs near the top of its range in real-life scenarios. The combination of each drill’s RPM, torque, and power explains the performance in this test of drilling five 1/2-inch holes in stacked 2x6s.

DrillDrilling Speed Total Time (sec.)Drilling Speed Avg. Time (sec.)Global Rank*
Makita XPH14Z11.82.45
Makita XFD14X14.32.96
Makita XPH12Z25.45.114

*18 models tested

The XPH14Z and XFD14Z are exceptionally fast under demanding drilling loads, with performance matching that of flagship drills from other brands. As expected with its more balanced performance profile, the XPH12Z doesn’t drill as quickly.

We include more drilling speed commentary and results and a video of each drill speed test inside each Makita drill review. Check out our drilling speed test results page to compare performance across brands.

Driving speed

We attempt to further understand each drill’s speed and torque performance with driving speed tests that consist of driving five GRK RSS fasteners into stacked lumber and recording the time in the forward and reverse settings.

DrillDriving Speed Total Time (sec.)Driving Speed Avg. Time (sec.)Global Rank*
Makita XPH14Z7.61.53
Makita XFD14X8.41.76
Makita XPH12Z11.22.28

*18 models tested

Be sure also to check out our drill driving speed test results to compare performance across all models in our test fleet, and read each drill review for full results and a video of the test.

Weight

Weight is especially important when considering a Makita drill since drills are already a heavy handheld power tool category, and Makita drills tend to be heavier than other brands. We recommend purchasing the lightest Makita drill that gets the job done to help reduce fatigue to the extent possible.

DrillBare Weight (lbs)Global Rank*
Makita XPH14Z3.6518
Makita XFD14X3.5717
Makita XPH12Z2.729

*18 models tested

Our drill weight test results page includes additional weight factors for all drills tested, including the working weight with several common Ah-capacity batteries.

Warranty

Makita offers a fantastic tool and battery warranty. Its drills and 18V LXT batteries include a three-year warranty. Only Milwaukee drills offer a longer tool warranty.

DrillTool Warranty (years)Battery Warranty (years)
Makita XPH14Z33
Makita XFD14X33
Makita XPH12Z33

The warranty length offered is a key deciding factor when buying a Makita drill. No manufacturer will build a cheap tool that won’t last and offer a long warranty. Since Makita offers a long warranty, we are confident in stating that Makita has exceptional drill build quality to withstand rugged use.

Makita drill models explained

Makita offers its drills and other power tools on three voltage platforms. We outline the drill lineups below to help determine which platform is right for you.

Drills and hammer drills

Nearly all Makita cordless drills come in a standard drill and hammer drill version. The primary difference is the hammer versions include an added hammering functionality to improve performance when drilling cement and bricks.

In many scenarios, the tip-to-tail lengths and overall footprint are the same with a Makita hammer drill. The size is an impressive engineering achievement, considering an additional hammering mechanism is stuffed into the head. However, the weights are different as a result.

For example, the XPH14Z Hammer Drill and XFD14Z non-hammering counterpart are the same length, but weigh 3.65 lbs and 3.57 lbs in their bare forms, respectively.

Since the footprints are the same and weights aren’t too different, we recommend buying a Makita hammer drill in most scenarios for one-drill versatility, especially since upgrading is negligibly more expensive.

18V LXT

The 18V LXT lineup is Makita’s most popular voltage platform designed for the mass market. The deep lineup includes its most powerful 18V consumer and job-site-focused drills and several sub-compact options that are ideal for use around the home.

Pro tip

Pro tip: Makita’s 18V LXT hammer drill models begin with “XPH.” Its non-hammering counterparts begin with the letters “XFD”. Several numbers are appended after these three characters, typically in descending order, with the highest representing the highest-end model. A “Z” is appended to the letters and numbers representing the bare tool model number. Any character other than Z on the end represents a drill kit with batteries and a charger. Putting this together with an example, we know the XPH14Z is a bare tool hammer drill, the XFD14Z is its drill counterpart, and the XPH14T is a kit. Makita makes it so easy to explain that the topic is perfect for small talk at your next dinner party. Trust us!

40V XGT

Makita’s 40V XGT line includes construction-grade drills designed for heavy-duty applications. There are only a few drill options to choose from. Notably, the drills are offered at a premium price. There are few where an XGT drill makes sense for homeowners since the drills are overpowered for most uses in the home, heavy, bulky, and expensive.

12V CXT

The 12V CXT drill lineup includes Makita’s most compact offerings. We don’t recommend purchasing any of Makita’s current CXT drills since they are incredibly underpowered and have older brushed motors. 12V drills from other brands, such as Milwaukee and Dewalt, are far better compact options.

Most powerful Makita drill

The Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z is the strongest 18V Makita drill in our test fleet. It competes with equivalent flagship Milwaukee and Dewalt drills regarding speed and torque.

The advertised 1250.0 in-lbs of torque, advertised 31,500.0 BPM, and measured maximum 1,935.0 RPM are exceptionally high, resulting in speedy performance in heavy-duty drilling applications.

The non-hammering Makita 18V LXT XFD14Z is equally as powerful since it has the same internals otherwise.

Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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