Makita 18V LXT XFD14Z Drill Review

Makita XFD14Z Angle 5

Quick take

The Makita 18V LXT XFD14Z is worthy of its flagship status. The brushless motor and balanced gearing drill rapidly under heavy loads. The build quality is bulletproof, and the battery life is also fantastic. The biggest downside is no hammer drill mode, which shaves ? inch off the tip-to-tail length than its sister model (XPH14Z), which includes a hammer drill. It’s also a heavy drill in its bare form and with a battery. Regardless of the performance and our favorable rating, Makita’s sister hammer drill is a better pick with more drilling muscle for the same price.

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

Global rankings

18 models tested

TestResultRank
Drilling speed (sec.)14.36
Driving speed (sec.)8.46
Torque (in-lbs)1250.03
RPM1,958.05
Bare weight (lbs)3.5717
Drilling Noise (dBA)77.22

Editorial opinion

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Editorial rating

4.01 / 5 stars

Pros

  • Brushless motor
  • Fast drilling and driving speed
  • Long battery life
  • Includes an auxiliary arm
  • Build quality
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • No hammer drill mode
  • Heavy

Recommended configuration

XFD14T

Includes (2) 18V 5Ah battery

Series lineup

Model #PlatformAction ModesMax Torque (in-lbs)Review
Makita XPH12Z18V LXTDrill, hammer530.0Full review
Makita XPH14Z18V LXTDrill, hammer1250.0Full review
Makita XFD14Z18V LXTDrill only1250.0Full review

Lab results

Drilling speed

Drilling speed total time (drill mode, sec.): 14.3
Drilling speed average time (drill mode, sec.): 2.9
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 XFD14Z shined in our drilling speed tests, snappily drilling through stacked lumber. Drilling in the high setting is particularly impressive. The XFD14Z has enough muscle to sustain high RPMs under load, quickly clearing chips from the hole to avoid binding up.

While not officially a data point we display on site, we tested the XFD14Z with several large spade and forstner bits to understand when dropping a gear to the low setting is needed for added torque. We found that the XFD14Z has a similarly powerful drilling profile as other flagships from Dewalt and Milwaukee.

Including a hammer drill mode would improve drilling speed in specific scenarios, such as rough-ins and drilling masonry.

Compare drilling speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 8.4
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 1.7
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 6.8
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 1.4

The XFD14Z performed similarly well in our driving speed tests, designed to understand how well a drill performs at the top of its range. The XFD14Z’s torque and RPM profile combination generated impressive driving speed. It rapidly finished five large GRK RSS screws in under the 10-seconds, matching the impressive performance of other high-end models.

Compare driving speed test results

RPM

Makita XFD14Z RPM Chart

Max RPM speed 2: 1,958.0
Max RPM speed 1: 503.0

One product design feature explaining the XFD14Z’s exceptional performance is its high RPM output, as measured in our testing. The RPMs ramp quickly to rapidly set screws and explain the snappy performance we experienced in demanding driving scenarios.

Dropping down a gear obviously limits the RPM output, which is comparatively higher than many 18V drills in our test fleet. Expect the high RPM in the low setting to finish more screw sizes and lengths faster and with more torque than lesser-equipped drills in the same low setting.

Compare drill RPM test results

Torque

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

The XFD14Z generates an impressive amount of torque and powerfully finishes demanding drilling and driving tasks. Combined with its speed, the XFD14Z is strong enough to cause wrist injuries when binding and not properly bracing the drill. This performance explains why the XFD14Z includes an auxiliary arm in the box to reduce the likelihood of injury.

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 XFD14Z Chuck Closeup

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

The XFD14Z has a fantastic all-metal ratcheting chuck that feels more premium than other drills. Some of the impressive 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 XFD14Z ratchet mechanism and three jaws held onto bits without loosening inadvertently. This chuck is one of the best-designed, frustration-free chucks we’ve tested.

Motor & BPM

Makita XFD14Z 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.): 0.250

The XFD14Z is a flagship, though basic drill, evidenced partly by its motor features. There is only a single drill mode setting. You’ll need to jump to the Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill or Makita 18V LXT XPH12Z Hammer Drill for improved drilling speed, especially important when drilling into cement or boring wide and deep holes.

Outside of the limited action modes, Makita made the obvious and correct call to include a brushless motor at this price point, improving its efficiency and longevity over brushed motors.

Compare drill motors

Clutch & speed settings

Makita XFD14Z Clutch & Speed

Speed settings: 2
Clutch settings: 21

The XFD14Z has a two-position gearbox and 21 clutch settings, which outnumbers the total clutch options available with most drills. Admittedly, 21 options is more than most people will need. Also, more clutch options don’t necessarily mean better. The XFD14Z’s torque can be more finely tuned for a given driving scenario than a drill with fewer clutch settings.

Compare drill clutch and speed settings

Charging time

Makita XFD14Z 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 incredibly 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

The XFD14Z has a slightly forward-leaning handle and upward-angled head that ensures the drill is in the proper flat orientation when held in a driving position. The added rubber grip overmold provides good shock absorption and gripping power.

An all-metal belt hook included in the box is also mountable on either side of the base. There is no dedicated onboard bit holder or magnetic plate to hold fasteners, though both can be bought from third parties and attached to the XFD14Z.

Weight

Makita XFD14Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 3.57
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 4.41
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs): Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.96

One downside of the XFD14Z is it’s a heavy drill at 3.57 lbs in its bare form. The robust weight led to more arm and hand fatigue during our testing than other models in our test fleet, especially noticeable during our driving and drilling speed tests.

We tested different battery configurations since the working weight can differ meaningfully from the bare weight. We recommend combining the XFD14Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 2Ah battery for as lightweight a setup as possible without restricting performance.

Or pair the XFD14Z 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 XFD14Z Footprint1
Makita XFD14Z Footprint2

Max height (in.): 9.500
Max width (in.): 3.125
Chuck to back length (in.): 7.000
Base length (in.): 4.500
Base width (in.): 3.125

The XFD14Z has a large footprint, like most flagship drills from competing brands. There’s no way with current technologies to achieve such powerful performance in a highly compact footprint.

Interestingly, the XFD14Z feels bulkier in hand than many models we’ve tested. But the bulky feel in hand has more to do with the weight and design than its dimensions. This drill has one of the shorter tip-to-tail lengths of the 18V models in our test fleet, helping it squeeze into tight areas and corners moderately well.

Compare drill footprint test results

Drilling clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.625
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.500
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.875

While the XFD14Z feels bulky in hand, this feeling isn’t a result of its dimensions and is more a result of the weight and relatively wide head, which don’t significantly determine how well it can fit into narrow spaces and tight corners.

The XFD14Z performed solidly for a powerful 18V drill in our clearance tests, partly due to its tip-to-tail footprint. The XFD14Z is 1/8 inch shorter than its hammer drill cousin, the XPH14Z.

The one test where the XFD14Z didn’t shine was our interior top-edge clearance test, primarily due to its bulky head. In practice, the XFD14Z can’t easily drill or drive under shelves, and in other scenarios where the top of the head is obstructed and you need to drill as close to the top edge as possible.

Compare drilling clearance test results

Auxiliary arm

Makita XFD14Z Auxiliary Arm

Auxiliary arm: Yes

The XFD14Z includes an auxiliary handle to control recoil and enhance stability during heavy-duty drilling tasks, improving user safety. The XFD14Z 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 XFD14Z Noise Chart

Max no-load noise (dBA): 78.0
Max drilling noise (dBA): 77.2

The XFD14Z is one of the quietest 18V models we tested with a decibel meter under load, primarily a result of it not including a hammer drill mode. We test the max drilling noise under load. In this case, we measured the noise output in the drill mode, whereas in other models, we measured drilling noise in the hammer mode setting.

Compare drill noise test results

Light

Makita XFD14Z Light Wall
Makita XFD14Z 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.

Warranty

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

Makita stands behind the durability of its drills with exceptionally long warranties. The XFD14Z has a three-year warranty. Makita 18V LXT batteries include a three-year warranty.

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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