Makita 12V CXT FD09Z Vs Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3403-20 (Gen 3)

Makita FD09Z Angle 5

Makita FD09Z

Quick take

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3403-20 is a better overall drill than the Makita 12V CXT FD09Z. Both are exceptionally compact and light, but the Milwaukee 3403-20 has a brushless motor, is far more powerful, and offers better build quality, making it a solid pick for homeowners, carpenters, and woodworkers wanting a nimble light-duty drill. If you want a sub-compact Milwaukee drill, we recommend skipping Makita’s 12V CXT lineup and going with one of Makita’s 18V sub-compacts instead.

Brand Makita
Platform 12V CXT
Motor Brushed
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 250.0
BPM N/A
Clutch settings 20
Chuck size 3/8"
Same as FD09
Brand Milwaukee
Platform M12 Fuel
Motor Brushless
Speeds 2
Torque in-lbs 400.0
BPM N/A
Clutch settings 13
Chuck size 1/2"
Same as M12 gen 3 drill

Editorial opinion

Rating

3.44 / 5 ⭐️’s

Methodology used: Light duty

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Small footprint

Cons

  • Brushed motor
  • Underpowered drilling and driving performance
  • No hammer drill mode
  • Poorly-designed light

Rating

3.79 / 5 ⭐️’s

Methodology used: Light duty

Pros

  • Exceptionally compact and lightweight
  • Fast drilling and driving performance in its class
  • Solid build quality
  • Long warranty
  • Brushless motor

Cons

  • No hammer drilling functionality

Global rankings

18 models tested

TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)51.818
Driving speed (sec.)33.518
Torque (in-lbs)250.013
RPM1,550.015
Bare weight (lbs)1.941
Drilling Noise (dBA)72.21
TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)25.113
Driving speed (sec.)16.213
Torque (in-lbs)400.010
RPM1,430.018
Bare weight (lbs)2.103
Drilling Noise (dBA)84.16

Kit and bare tool options

FD09R1

Includes (2) 12V 2Ah battery

Lab results

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright (no battery): Yes
Stands upright (w/ battery): Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Lanyard compatible: Yes

The FD09Z includes typical design features, including a rubber overgrip for shock absorption and grip-ability and a belt hook mountable on both sides. There is no bit holder or magnetic fastener plate onboard the tool.

Otherwise, the forward-leaning handle closely matches the angle of most drills, putting your hand and wrist in a comfortable position when drilling.

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright (no battery): No
Stands upright (w/ battery): Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Lanyard compatible: No

The 3403-20 employs the same design language that Milwaukee uses throughout its Fuel-branded 12V drill and driver lineup. The forward-leaning handle and upward-angled head orient the 3403-20 in the correct plane when preparing to drill and exerting forward pressure.

Helping the ergonomics, there is a rubber overmold surrounding the grip, which improves shock absorption and gripping power.

An all-metal belt hook is included in the box and is mountable on either side of the head just behind and above the trigger. There is no onboard bit holder or magnetic fastener plate to hold screws, though these third-party add-ons can be purchased separately and attached to the 3403-20.

Weight

Makita FD09Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 1.94
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.41
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

One standout feature of the FD09Z is its exceptionally lightweight, weighing under 2.0 lbs in its bare form. Thanks to the feather-light weight, we didn’t experience hand, wrist, and arm fatigue operating the FD09Z for extended periods.

One potential drawback is that the FD09Z cuts weight by choosing plastic components throughout instead of metal, including in the chuck sleeve and drill mode ring. This design choice makes it feel less premium than other models that feel sturdier in hand.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the FD09Z with Makita’s 12V CXT 2Ah battery for good drilling performance and weight balance in a lightweight setup.

Or pair the FD09Z with Makita’s 12V CXT 5Ah battery for a longer run time if weight is less of a concern. But consider that upgrading to a more powerful Makita drill may be more suitable as you increase the battery Ah capacity since the weight and footprint increase meaningfully moving up to a 12V 5Ah battery.

Compare drill weight test results

Weight

Milwaukee 3403-20 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.10
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.49
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

The 3403-20 is exceptionally lightweight for a drill, weighing in at 2.10 lbs in its bare form. Milwaukee’s batteries are also comparably lightweight, helping to retain its light status kitted with a battery. As a result, unlike other heavier drills in our test fleet, we didn’t frequently experience hand and arm fatigue throughout our testing.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the 3403-20 with Milwaukee’s M12 Red Lithium CP 2Ah Ah battery for a good balance of drilling performance and weight in a lightweight setup.

If weight is less of a concern, Milwaukee offers several higher Ah-capacity M12 batteries in its lineup. But you lose the seamless in-handle design for a slightly bulkier footprint and heavier weight.

Compare drill weight test results

Footprint

Makita FD09Z Footprint1

Max height (in.): 8.375
Max width (in.): 2.625
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.125
Base length (in.): 3.375
Base width (in.): 2.625

While the FD09Z is relatively compact for a drill, it’s not as compact as other 12V drills. Other competing non-18V models have narrower heads and shorter tip-to-tail lengths. Still, the FD09Z is highly agile and fits well into restricted spaces.

Compare drill footprint test results

Footprint

Milwaukee 3403-20 Footprint1

Max height (in.): 8.250
Max width (in.): 2.250
Chuck to back length (in.): 6.000
Base length (in.): 2.000
Base width (in.): 2.250

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more compact and equally powerful drill on the market. The 3403-20 is incredibly agile, with a smaller footprint in all dimensions than most drills. The size helps the 3403-20 fit well into tight spaces, vastly improving its versatility.

Compare drill footprint test results

Motor & BPM

Makita FD09Z Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushed
Action modes: Drill only
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): N/A
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): N/A
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.375

One downside of the FD09Z is that it includes a brushed motor, the type most commonly found in cheap power tools. Including a brushless motor could improve its performance, battery run time, and longevity.

There is only one drill mode, which locks out the clutch and delivers unfettered torque. The Dewalt 12V Xtreme DCD706 Hammer Drill is a better option if you want a compact drill driver with a brushless motor and a hammer drill mode.

Compare drill motors

Motor & BPM

Milwaukee 3403-20 Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill only
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): N/A
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): N/A
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.375

The Powerstate brushless motor powers only a single action mode. Like all drills, the drill mode disengages the clutch and delivers the highest torque output in the low setting.

You’ll need to jump to the Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3404-20 Hammer Drill if you need a hammering functionality for efficiently drilling masonry and thick lumber.

No kickback control technology is included with the 3043-20, to be expected in the 12V category.

Compare drill motors

Clutch & speed settings

Makita FD09Z Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 20

There are a total of 20 available clutch settings and a two-speed gearbox. The low setting in drill mode delivers the most torque, whereas the high setting speeds up RPMs. Regardless of the setting, the torque and RPMs don’t match what other competing 12V drills offer, limiting the drilling and driving tasks the FD09Z capably completes.

Compare drill clutch and speed settings

Clutch & speed settings

Milwaukee 3403-20 Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 13

The 3403-20 has a two-speed gearbox with 13 clutch settings. All the clutch options and drill single mode can be run in the high or low-speed setting, helping to fine-tune the performance profile to the task at hand.

While 13 clutch settings are fewer than many competing drills, we don’t see it as a downside. 13 options are more than enough to precisely fine-tune the 3403-20 with the appropriate torque output to help avoid cam-out and stripped threads for any driving scenario.

Compare drill clutch and speed settings

Chuck

Makita FD09Z Chuck Closeup

Chuck size: 3/8″
Chuck sleeve material: Plastic

The FD09Z includes a 3/8-inch ratcheting chuck surrounded by a plastic sleeve. The plastic sleeve is durable and grippy enough but doesn’t match an all-metal design’s premium feel and build quality.

While the build quality isn’t anything to write home about, the chuck locks bits well, and we didn’t experience any issues where the chuck inadvertently loosened throughout our testing.

Chuck

Milwaukee 3403-20 Chuck Closeup

Chuck size: 1/2″
Chuck sleeve material: Knurled metal

The 3403-20 includes a fantastic all-metal chuck that is more premium than most other drills in our test fleet. The knurled metal sleeve provides the right amount of friction on your hand for grip when tightening and loosening.

The three-jaw chuck also holds bits well since the ratcheting mechanism locks tightly onto a bit when tightening. We didn’t run into scenarios where the chuck inadvertently loosened during use.

Auxiliary arm

Auxiliary arm: No

The FD09Z doesn’t include an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks. But we don’t see this as a downside. The FD09Z isn’t fast enough to make an auxiliary handle helpful.

Auxiliary arm

Auxiliary arm: No

The 3403-20 doesn’t include an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks. But we don’t see this as a downside. The 3403-20 isn’t designed to tackle the heaviest-duty drilling tasks, such as drilling wide and deep holes in masonry or wood, where an auxiliary handle is helpful.

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 51.8
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 10.4
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Hammer mode speed improvement: N/A

The FD09Z is highly underpowered, even for a 12V drill. This drill recorded some of the slowest drilling speeds of any models in our test fleet. Critically, it is one of the few models where we had to drop down a gear to finish driving 1/2-inch holes in stacked lumber, vastly reducing its drilling speed and increasing torque.

To further understand its limitations, we tested drilling smaller size bits and a variety of spade, forstner, and auger bits. While the FD09Z handles boring holes with standard drill bits up to 3/8 inch in the high setting, we still had to frequently remove and re-insert the bit to clear chips so it didn’t bog down.

Compare drilling speed test results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 25.1
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 5.0
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): N/A
Hammer mode speed improvement: N/A

The 3403-20 is one of our test fleet’s fastest and most powerful 12V drills. No 12V drill has the RPMs and power to take the speed crown from flagship 18V models. But the 3403-20 is one of the few 12V drills powerful enough that we didn’t need to drop down a gear during our drilling speed test for additional torque to finish the job.

Since our drilling speed tests are designed to test the upper limits of a drill using a 1/2-inch drill bit, it’s no surprise that the 3403-20 is exceptionally fast in more typical scenarios with boring narrower holes.

We also tested a range of spade, forstner, and auger bits in various sizes to further understand the 3403-20’s limits. Only when boring holes wider than 1/2 inch did it bind up. In these cases, dropping a gear for more torque finished the task, albeit slowly, and sometimes needing to remove and reinsert the bit to clear holes.

The overall drilling performance, combined with its weight and compact footprint, explains why the 3403-20 is perfect for most tasks around the home and woodworking, which don’t push drills to their limits.

Compare drilling speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 33.5
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 6.7
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 31.5
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 6.3

Unsurprisingly, the FD09Z isn’t suitable for when you’re in a pinch and need to drive lag bolts, other structural screws, and decking screws, all of which it’s not designed for.

Compare driving speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 16.2
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 3.2
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 10.6
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 2.1

The 3403-20 also impresses with its driving speed. It turned in some of the fastest driving times of any 12V models in our test fleet, explaining why it’s an ideal tool around the home that’s compact, versatile, and powerful.

Providing additional context to our driving speed test results further highlights the 3403-20’s performance. The closest competitor needed approximately ten more seconds to complete our driving speed test. This performance is astounding when comparing performance against our flagship and mid-tier 18V tested models, where the difference is a few seconds.

Compare driving speed test results

Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): 250.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 20.8

Like all 12V drills, we don’t recommend buying the FD09Z if you need torque to drive fasteners and to drill efficiently in stubborn materials. The FD09Z’s limited advertised torque output relegates it to all but the most basic drilling and driving tasks around the home. This performance was evident throughout our driving and drilling tests with some of the most lackluster performance of models we’ve tested.

Note: We don’t currently test drill torque in-house, as we do for impact drivers using a torque meter. The torque commentary discussed here relies upon both advertised torque specifications provided by manufacturers and practical insights learned from performance in our various drilling and driving tests.

Compare drill torque

Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): 400.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 33.3

While 400.0 in-lbs of torque isn’t high compared to all drills in our test fleet, it is high for a 12V drill, which shouldn’t be surprising since the 3403-20 sits within Milwaukee’s flagship Fuel-branded lineup.

However, we don’t consider torque a critical factor when purchasing a 12V drill. Firstly, impact drivers are the preferred tool for driving tasks that rely on torque to power through a job with lots of twisting force. Next in line is an 18V drill, which is needed for heavy-duty drilling applications.

Focusing on size, weight, and RPM performance under load are more important since 12V drills are mostly used as dedicated light-duty tools for professionals or for homeowners who don’t need brute force power.

Note: We don’t currently test drill torque in-house, as we do for impact drivers using a torque meter. The torque commentary discussed here relies upon both advertised torque specifications provided by manufacturers and practical insights learned from performance in our various drilling and driving tests.

Compare drill torque

Battery lineup

Makita 12V CXT Battery Lineup

Makita offers 2Ah and 5Ah batteries in its 12V CXT lineup. Upgrading to the 12V CXT 5Ah battery increases battery run time and improves drilling performance, though we’ve not tested the higher output version to understand the cost tradeoffs.

We recommend buying two Makita 12V CXT 2Ah batteries for most CXT drill setups so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery.

Battery lineup

Milwaukee M12 Battery Lineup

Milwaukee offers 1.5Ah, 2Ah, 2.5Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, and 6Ah batteries on the M12 platform. Upgrading to the higher Ah options increases battery run time and improves drilling performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.

The 4Ah and higher capacity batteries increase the base footprint over the in-handle-only, smaller Ah versions.

Buying at least two batteries is best so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery. We recommend buying two Milwaukee M12 Red Lithium CP 2Ah batteries for most M12 drill setups for a good balance of performance, price, and size.

Charging time

Makita FD09Z Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Makita CXT (DC10WD)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 65.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time per Ah (min.): 32.5
Fuel gauge: On battery

Compare drill charging test results

Charging time

Milwaukee 3403-20 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Milwaukee M12 & M18 Multi-Volt (48-59-1812)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 38.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time per Ah (min.): 19.0
Fuel gauge: Onboard tool

The Milwaukee M12 and M18 multi-volt charger (model 48-59-1812) included in most kits is reasonably fast at charging batteries, including to beat out team red’s most frequent adversary, Dewalt. It takes 38 minutes to charge an M12 2Ah battery, equivalent to 19 minutes per amp-hour.

Many Milwaukee drills come in kits with chargers that charge multiple voltage batteries in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several M12 and M18 ecosystem tools.

Compare drill charging test results

RPM

Makita FD09Z RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,550.0
Max RPM speed 1: 431.0

The low RPM output explains some of the poor drilling and driving performance in our tests. The FD09Z has relatively low RPMs under load in both the high and low settings. The RPM output is most noticeable when setting screws into your work material.

Other snappier drills quickly set the screw with a light feather of the trigger, whereas we frequently fumbled screws when using the FD09Z.

Compare drill RPM test results

RPM

Milwaukee 3403-20 RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,430.0
Max RPM speed 1: 425.0

We tested the 3403-20’s RPM output using a contact tachometer. The test results highlight the performance decisions Milwaukee’s product managers made to tune the drill for performance in specific tasks. The 3403-20’s tested RPM output is low, which is a head-scratcher when considering our tests’ best-in-class drilling and driving speed.

But our drilling and driving speed tests are designed to test how each drill performs at the top of its range. The 3403-20 is geared to outshine competing models in the most demanding tasks. Milwaukee is happy to give up some time in lighter-duty jobs to other drills that can’t compete on speed at the top of their range. All power tools have these performance tradeoffs.

Arguably, speed in light-duty tasks doesn’t matter for most people. For example, there’s little value to being the fastest drill when drilling 1/8-inch holes since all drills complete this task efficiently.

These tradeoff relationships explain why the 3403-20’s low RPM output isn’t a downside. It is fast when it matters most for saving time.

Compare drill RPM test results

Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.875
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.250
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.500

The FD09Z performed well in our clearance tests, which are designed to understand how easily a drill fits through narrow spaces and into obstructed spaces. Notably, the FD09Z performed well in our interior top-edge and 45-degree clearance tests.

In practice, it is easy to reach into tight corners and drill close to a top edge when obstructed, such as drilling under a shelf and wanting to bore the hole as high as possible.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 7.750
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.250
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.000

Unsurprisingly, the 3403-20 shined in our clearance tests, designed to understand how well a drill fits into areas with limited access and drills in tight spaces. The short tip-to-tail length is impressive, helping it fit easily between vertical boards and in tight corners. The head is also compact, which allows it to fit under shelves well.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Noise

Makita FD09Z Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 76.4
Max drilling noise (dBA): 72.2

The FD09Z is one of the quietest drills we’ve tested. The noise output is a result of two features. It doesn’t have a hammer mode, vastly reducing the maximum drilling noise under load. It also isn’t a powerful drill.

Compare drill noise test results

Noise

Milwaukee 3403-20 Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 84.2
Max drilling noise (dBA): 84.1

The 3403-20 is moderately quiet when drilling under load, primarily because it doesn’t include a hammer drill functionality, which is loud.

Compare drill noise test results

Light

Makita FD09Z Light Wall
Makita FD09Z Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light location: Near trigger
Light positions: 1
Customizable light settings: None
Light count: Single LED
Light active time (sec.): 15.0

The light on the FD09Z is poorly designed. The light is tucked too far back into the drill near the trigger. As a result, the nose casts a shadow that blocks exactly where the drill bit touches the drilling surface.

Some flagship Dewalt drills include more versatile work lights with features such as spotlight modes and the ability to turn off the lights when pulling the trigger.

Light

Milwaukee 3403-20 Light Wall
Milwaukee 3403-20 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light location: Near trigger
Light positions: 1
Customizable light settings: None
Light count: Single LED
Light active time (sec.): 15.0

A single LED above the trigger brightly illuminates the drilling surface in front of the head. Unlike some Dewalt drills, there are no extra light features, such as a spotlight mode or the ability to turn off the light when pressing the trigger.

App integration

App integration: No

There is no Bluetooth app integration to track drill usage and location, display tool diagnostics, and allow you to set custom profiles on your phone.

Dewalt’s ToolConnect-branded drills include an app integration, but you’ll only find the ToolConnect feature built natively into its flagship models. Milwaukee utilizes the same approach with its One Key lineup, which offers similar app features and is only available in flagship tools.

App integration

App integration: No

There is no Bluetooth app integration to track drill usage and location, display tool diagnostics, and allow you to set custom profiles on your phone. Some Milwaukee drills include One Key Bluetooth integration, but Milwaukee’s technology is currently unavailable on the M12 drill platform.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 3
Battery warranty (years): 3

Makita stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The FD09Z has a three-year warranty. Makita 12V CXT batteries include a three-year warranty.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 2-3 (depends on model)
Battery warranty (years): 5

Milwaukee stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The 3403-20 has a five-year warranty, which is among the longest offered by any manufacturer. Milwaukee’s M12 Li-Ion batteries have two or three-year warranties, depending on the specific model.

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.

Related

Leave a Comment