The Makita 18V LXT XPH14Z Hammer Drill is a fantastic, construction-ready drill that has the muscle to breeze through some of the most demanding drilling and driving tasks. The driving and drilling speeds are fast, the battery life is long, and it has solid build quality. To be expected in this flagship, power-focused category, it’s heavy and relatively bulky, leading to hand and arm fatigue with prolonged use. Admittedly, it’s overpowered for most DIY tasks around the home, making it best for professionals or prosumers who value the performance offered.
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4.38 / 5 ⭐️’s
- Fast drilling and driving speed in demanding jobs
- Includes an auxiliary arm
- Brushless motor
- Excellent battery run time
- Build quality
- Long warranty
- Heavy and somewhat bulky
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2904-20 Hammer Drill: The 2904-20 matches the brute force drilling and driving performance of the XPH14Z but includes an anti-kickback feature to help avoid wrist injuries. Compare side by side
Design & ergonomics
Stands upright (no battery): Yes
Stands upright (w/ battery): Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Lanyard compatible: Yes
The combination of the XPH14Z’s forward-leaning handle and upward-sloping head sets it in a comfortable position when drilling. The added rubber overgrip provides good shock absorption and helps confidently hold the XPH14Z in heavy-duty tasks.
Like most hammer drills, there is no onboard bit holder or magnetic fastener plate to hold screws, though it does include a belt hook in the box that can be mounted on both sides of the base.
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.
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.
Motor & BPM
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.
Clutch & speed settings
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
Makita offers 2Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, and 6Ah batteries on the 18V LXT platform. Upgrading to the higher Ah-capacity options increases battery run time and improves drilling performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.
That said, buying at least two batteries is best so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery. We recommend buying a Makita 18V LXT 2Ah and a Makita 18V LXT 5Ah battery for most LXT drill setups for a good balance of performance, price, and size.
Makita LXT Rapid Optimum (DC18RC)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.