Makita 18V LXT XPH12Z Hammer Drill Vs Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill

Makita XPH12Z Angle 5

Makita XPH12Z

Quick take

While both of these Makita drill/drivers come equipped with hammer drill functionality, they vary significantly in performance. The XPH14Z’s drilling and driving speeds are near the top of its class, and the XPH12Z only has middling driving speed and lags significantly in drilling speed. The XPH14Z is also heavier and bulky.

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
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

Editorial opinion

Rating

4.15 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Hammer drilling performance
  • Solid driving speed
  • Great battery life
  • Brushless motor

Cons

  • Slow drilling speed in heavy-duty tasks

Rating

4.38 / 5 stars

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Fast drilling and driving speed in demanding jobs
  • Includes an auxiliary arm
  • Brushless motor
  • Excellent battery run time
  • Build quality
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Heavy and somewhat bulky

Global rankings

18 models tested

TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)25.414
Driving speed (sec.)11.28
Torque (in-lbs)530.06
RPM1,934.07
Bare weight (lbs)2.729
Drilling Noise (dBA)89.911
TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)11.85
Driving speed (sec.)7.63
Torque (in-lbs)1250.03
RPM1,935.06
Bare weight (lbs)3.6518
Drilling Noise (dBA)86.18

Recommended configuration

XPH12T

Includes (2) 18V 5Ah battery

Lab results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 25.4
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 5.1
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): 17.1
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): 3.4
Hammer mode speed improvement: 32.7%

The XPH12Z won’t win any drilling speed contests in the high setting and drill mode for heavy-duty jobs, though it is more than powerful enough for rough-ins and hogging out big holes in lumber. This performance was evident in our drilling speed tests, with the XPH12Z delivering moderately slow drilling speed.

The drilling speed results highlight Makita’s product managers’ design decisions when considering performance tradeoffs with the XPH12Z. The XPH12Z is designed to excel at tasks that favor torque over speed. This inverse relationship explains why the XPH12Z is best suited for heavy-duty drilling tasks where speed isn’t as critical as having enough torque to complete the job.

This performance explains why the XPH12Z has such a high hammer rate, helping to improve the drilling speed in hammer mode, which is exceptional. The XPH12Z’s hammer mode vastly improved the drilling speed by a whopping 32.7%, unmatched by most models in our test fleet.

Compare drilling speed test results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 11.8
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 2.4
Drilling speed total time (hammer mode, sec.): 7.9
Drilling speed average time (hammer mode, sec.): 1.6
Hammer mode speed improvement: 33.1%

The XPH14Z is one of the more powerful, contractor-ready hammer drills we’ve tested, as evidenced by our drilling speed test. The XPH14Z turned in one of the fastest times in our test fleet, drilling five holes into stacked 2x6s with a 1/2-inch drill bit.

Notably, the drill sustains a high RPM throughout the entire depth of the hole and blasts out chips to avoid binding up. There was no need in our test to remove chips from the hole by removing and re-inserting the bit.

The XHP14Z’s hammer drill function also performed exceptionally well. Rotating the set ring to the hammer drill mode and repeating the test improved the drilling speed by a whopping 33.1%.

Compare drilling speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 11.2
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 2.2
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 8.6
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 1.7

While the XPH12Z didn’t outpace most of the competition in our drilling speed tests, it performed much better in our driving speed test driving GRK RSS screws. In our tests, 11.2 seconds of total driving time is moderately fast for an 18V drill.

Compare driving speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 7.6
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 1.5
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 6.2
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 1.2

The XPH14Z also shined in our driving speed tests, designed to test how quickly each drill can drive large fasteners. Unsurprisingly, this drill breezed through driving and removing five GRK RSS screws, delivering one of the fastest results in the flagship 18V hammer drill category.

Outside of our standardized driving test, we also tested driving several typical lengths and sizes of screws into dimensional lumber to understand how the XPH14Z performs with tasks around the home and on the job site. The drills high RPM set screws quickly in each test and had no problem finishing decking screws, small screws, and various lag bolts.

Compare driving speed test results

RPM

Makita XPH12Z RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,934.0
Max RPM speed 1: 509.0

We tested the XPH12Z’s RPM output in low and high settings and found that it finished in the middle of our 18V test fleet in the high setting. Still, the XPH12Z is fast enough to breeze through any tasks around the home and on the job site.

The XPH12Z’s RPM outpaces the competition in the low setting, which resulted in snappy and powerful driving performance when we needed to gear down to power through the heavy-duty scenarios we tested.

Compare drill RPM test results

RPM

Makita XPH14Z RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,935.0
Max RPM speed 1: 500.0

The XPH14Z pushed out moderately high RPMs across its speed settings when tested on a contact tachometer. The high RPMs are sustained under load, explaining why the XPH14Z breezed through our driving and drilling speed tests.

Compare drill RPM test results

Torque

Advertised max torque (in-lbs): 530.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 44.2

One sacrifice made when moving down the Makita drill lineup is much lower torque, which aligns with similar mid-range models. The XPH12Z advertises 530.0 in-lbs of torque.

Combining the torque with the RPM profile under load, explains some of the mediocre performance throughout our driving and drilling tests.

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): 1250.0
Advertised max torque (ft-lbs): 104.2

Few drills can match the advertised torque of the XPH14Z, which impresses with 1,250.0 in-lbs of maximum torque. Not only is the torque output high overall, but it is also high compared to other flagships, which offer similar or lesser performance.

The combined speed and torque under load mostly explain the impressive performance in our drilling and driving tests. When the XPH14Z binds up, it is sufficiently strong to ramp back up to speed and finish the job efficiently. Just be sure to support the drill properly, including using the included auxiliary arm, since the rapid speed ramp and torque can cause injury when not operated correctly.

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

Chuck

Makita LXT XPH12Z Chuck Closeup

Chuck size: 1/2″
Chuck sleeve material: Plastic

One design decision that could improve the XPH1Z’s durability would be including an all-metal chuck instead of using plastic in the chuck sleeve.

Outside of the material choice, the sleeve has a good amount of texture with ridges and recesses for added gripping power, helpful when ratcheting the chuck open and closed.

Chuck

Makita XPH14Z Chuck Closeup

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

The XPH14Z has a fantastic ratcheting chuck that is highly effective and has exceptional build quality. Some of this elevated build quality results from the knurled, all-metal sleeve, making it a breeze to tighten and loosen the chuck.

Throughout our testing, we appreciated how well the XPH14Z’s ratchet mechanism and three jaws held onto bits without loosening unexpectedly. This chuck is one of the best, frustration-free designs we’ve tested.

Motor & BPM

Makita LXT XPH12Z Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill, hammer
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): 30,000.0
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): 7,500.0
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.250

There are three action modes on the XPH12Z. The mechanical clutch is only engaged when the set ring is in the driving mode. Drill mode locks out the clutch for drilling and driving, and the hammer mode improves drilling speed.

When set to the high setting in hammer drill mode, the XPH12Z impacts at a comparatively high rate of 30,000.0 blows per minute (BPM). The high BPM translates to vastly improved drilling speed when selecting the hammer mode instead of the drill mode, as evidenced in our drilling speed tests below.

One critical design feature is that the XPH12Z includes a brushless motor, improving its battery efficiency and performance over less durable brushed motors commonly found in budget drills.

Compare drill motors

Motor & BPM

Makita XPH14Z Drill Modes

Motor type: Brushless
Action modes: Drill, hammer
Advertised blows per min. (speed 2): 31,500.0
Advertised blows per min. (speed 1): 8,250.0
Variable speed trigger: Yes
Kickback control technology: No
Trigger draw length (in.): 0.375

Makita made the correct and obvious call to include a brushless motor, vastly improving the efficiency and longevity compared to brushed motors commonly found in cheaper drills.

Beyond the motor type, the XPH14Z has two action modes: a drill mode that disengages the clutch and a hammer mode that does the same but improves drilling speed in demanding tasks, such as drilling concrete.

Throughout our testing, we were impressed with the drilling speed performance operating the XPH14Z in hammer mode. The snappy performance directly results from the high hammer rate of 31,500.0 blows per minute, among the highest in our test fleet.

Unlike some flagship models, such as the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill, the XPH14Z doesn’t include kickback control technology to reduce the risk of wrist injuries when binding up.

Compare drill motors

Clutch & speed settings

Makita LXT XPH12Z Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 21

The XPH12Z includes a two-speed gearbox and 21 clutch settings with differing torque levels. The highest torque output is generated in the low setting with the drill mode engaged, ideal for hogging out big holes in lumber when brute force is preferred over speed.

Some Makita drills include a dual-ring design to switch between drill and driving modes and clutch settings. While the clutch ring can be set to any number, the clutch is only engaged when the separate action mode ring is set to driving mode.

Some drills from other brands include the clutch settings and action modes on a single ring so you can continuously switch between modes and clutch settings. The XPH12Z’s design does make it easier to quickly switch from a drill mode to a low clutch setting, which otherwise requires you to rotate the ring a complete turn with other drills.

Compare drill clutch and speed settings

Clutch & speed settings

Makita XPH14Z Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 21

The XPH14Z has a familiar two-speed gearbox and 21 clutch settings offering different levels of torque to precisely finish screws and avoid cam-out or stripped threads. 21 clutch settings are higher than most competing models and provide the ability to tune the torque output to the driving task than a drill with fewer options.

Compare drill clutch and speed settings

Charging time

Makita XPH12Z Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Makita LXT Rapid Optimum (DC18RC)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 24.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 51.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 11.1
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Rapid Optimum charger (DC18RC) included in most Makita kits charges batteries exceptionally fast. Our tests found that this charger tops off 5Ah batteries in less time than it takes to charge smaller-capacity 2Ah batteries from other brands using their standard kit chargers.

Makita’s DC18RC charger only charges a single battery voltage. You’ll need a dedicated charger for your 12V and 18V Makita tools. Many Milwaukee drills and Dewalt drills come in kits with chargers that charge multiple voltage batteries in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several tools on those platforms.

Compare drill charging test results

Charging time

Makita XPH14Z Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Makita LXT Rapid Optimum (DC18RC)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 24.0
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 51.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 11.1
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Rapid Optimum charger (DC18RC) included in most Makita kits charges batteries exceptionally fast. Our tests found that this charger tops off 5Ah batteries in less time than it takes to charge smaller-capacity 2Ah batteries from other brands using their standard kit chargers.

Makita’s DC18RC charger only charges a single battery voltage. You’ll need a dedicated charger for your 12V and 18V Makita tools. Many Milwaukee drills and Dewalt drills come in kits with chargers that charge multiple voltage batteries in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several tools on those platforms.

Compare drill charging test 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

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

Weight

Makita XPH12Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.72
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 3.56
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.11

The XPH12 is one of the lighter, more powerful 18V hammer drills available, weighing in at 2.72 lbs in its bare form. It retains its moderately lightweight hammer drill status with a battery attached. But consider that no 18V hammer drill is light enough to avoid arm and hand fatigue with repeated use.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare weight. We recommend combining the XPH12Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 2Ah battery for a good balance of drilling performance and weight for a lightweight setup.

Pair the XPH12Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved drilling performance if weight is less of a concern.

Compare drill weight test results

Weight

Makita XPH14Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 3.65
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 4.49
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 5.04

While most power tools are becoming more powerful and compact, that doesn’t mean they’re becoming lightweight, including the XPH14Z. This hammer drill is one of the heaviest models in our test fleet, weighing in at over five lbs with a 5Ah battery. Throughout our testing, we frequently experienced arm and hand fatigue operating the XPH14Z in prolonged and repetitive drilling situations.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare tool weight. We recommend combining the XPH14Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 2Ah battery for a setup that’s as lightweight as possible and balances performance and battery run time.

Pair the XPH14Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved drilling performance if weight is less of a concern.

Compare drill weight test results

Footprint

Makita XPH12Z Footprint1
Makita XPH12Z Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.500
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.250
Base length (in.): 4.500
Base width (in.): 3.125

Makita has consistently reduced the size of most of its drills with each generational release, all while improving drilling and driving performance. However, the XPH12Z is still a modestly bulky 18V hammer drill, albeit much more svelte than other Makita drills. The size limits the tight spaces it can fit through and the corners it can fit into.

Compare drill footprint test results

Footprint

Makita XPH14Z Footprint1
Makita XPH14Z Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.500
Max width (in.): 3.250
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.125
Base length (in.): 4.625
Base width (in.): 3.250

The XPH14Z has a large footprint, regardless of the dimensions measured, resulting in a bulky feel in hand. Notably, it is tall in its bare form and with a battery, has a wide head, and is long from tip to tail.

But context is important when discussing the relationship between size and power for hammer drills. We’ve not come across any job-site-ready hammer drill that is compact and lightweight.

The Dewalt 20V Max XR DCD805 Hammer Drill is a solid, equally powerful alternative if you want a slightly more svelte footprint.

Compare drill footprint test results

Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.625
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.375
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.875

While the XPH12Z feels bulky in hand, it performed modestly well in our clearance tests designed to understand how well each drill drills in scenarios with limited access.

Notably, the XPH12Z performed well for an 18V drill in our interior top-edge clearance test. In practice, this means the XPH12Z squeezes well into spaces when the top of the drill is obstructed, such as when drilling holes or driving screws under a shelf.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.750
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.500
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 7.000

Since it is such a powerful hammer drill, the XPH14Z isn’t highly compact. The head is bulky, and the tip-to-tail length is relatively extended, partly due to fitting in the hammer drill mechanism. These dimensions explain why the XPH14Z doesn’t fit well into areas with limited access, including drilling under shelves and working between two vertical boards.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Auxiliary arm

Auxiliary arm: No

The XPH12Z 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 XPH12Z 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.

Check out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill or Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill if you want a powerful drill with an auxiliary arm.

Auxiliary arm

Makita XPH14Z Auxiliary Arm

Auxiliary arm: Yes

The XPH14Z includes an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks, improving user safety. The XPH14Z is a powerful drill, so it makes sense that an auxiliary arm is included.

The handle is easy to attach and remove just behind the chuck and is mountable on either the right or left side. There is also a depth stop included in the box that attaches to the auxiliary arm.

Noise

Makita XPH12Z Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 80.0
Max drilling noise (dBA): 89.9

The XPH12Z is relatively loud when drilling when compared to our test fleet. The elevated noise output is expected since this is a hammer drill, and we tested the max drilling noise in the hammer mode under load.

Compare drill noise test results

Noise

Makita XPH14Z Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 79.8
Max drilling noise (dBA): 86.1

Interestingly, the XPH14Z isn’t an incredibly loud hammer drill compared to the competition. We tested the max noise output in hammer mode under load, and this drill turned in the lowest result across all hammer drills tested in our Summer 2023 test fleet. Makita has done a bang-up job limiting the noise output under load when impacting.

Compare drill noise test results

Light

Makita XPH12Z Light Wall
Makita LXT XPH12Z Light Closeup

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

There are no bells and whistles with the light and its features, only a dual LED array positioned above the trigger. Some flagship Dewalt drills include more versatile work lights with features such as spotlight modes and the ability to turn off the light when pulling the trigger.

Light

Makita XPH14Z Light Wall
Makita XPH14Z Light Closeup

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

The XPH14Z has few bells and whistles with its worklight design. There is a dual LED array positioned above the trigger. Some flagship Dewalt drills include more versatile work lights with features such as spotlight modes and the ability to disable the light when pulling the trigger.

Warranty

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

Makita stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The XPH12Z has a three-year warranty. Makita 18V LXT batteries include a three-year warranty.

Warranty

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

Makita stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The XPH14Z has a three-year warranty. Makita 18V LXT batteries include a three-year warranty.

Picture of 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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