Makita 18V LXT XPH12Z Hammer Drill Review

Makita XPH12Z Angle 5

Quick take

The Makita 18V LXT XPH12Z Hammer Drill is a well-balanced drill with solid driving speed, torque, and battery life. It’s an excellent choice for DIYers around the home with its build quality and outstanding tool and battery warranty, albeit slightly overpriced compared to the competition. While it is powerful and highly capable, professionals may prefer a higher RPM and higher torque output drill to avoid binding up in the most demanding jobs.

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

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

Editorial opinion

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Editorial rating

4.15 / 5 stars

Pros

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

Cons

  • Slow drilling speed in heavy-duty tasks

Recommended configuration

XPH12T

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.): 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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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 XPH12Z has a slight forward-leaning head and handle rake that puts the drill in the proper flat orientation when held in a driving position. The added rubber grip overmold provides good shock absorption and gripping power.

Beyond those design features, a belt hook is 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 XPH12Z.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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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