Makita 12V CXT DT04Z Impact Driver Review

Makita DT04Z Angle 5

Quick take

The Makita 12V CXT DT04Z is a capable 12V impact driver with outstanding battery run time performance and good versatility with its several drive modes. The bare tool weight and weight with a battery are also incredibly light. These features combined make it a solid choice for many common uses around the home, including light-duty tasks that demand precision and everyday heavier-duty tasks such as driving screws into studs and other dimensional lumber. It’ll drive big structural screws and some lag bolts in a pinch, but any 12V impact driver will bog down in these scenarios. So, it’s not recommended on most job sites.

Brand Makita
Platform 12V CXT
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 532.8
IPM 3,900.0
Drive modes 3
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as DT04

Global rankings

21 models tested

TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)36.220
Torque (in-lbs)532.816
Battery run time (min.)48.06
RPM2,655.019
Bare weight (lbs)1.662
Impacting noise (dBA)95.98

Editorial opinion

Methodology used: Light duty

Editorial rating

4.14 / 5 stars

Pros

  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Long battery run time
  • Brushless motor
  • Drive modes
  • Long tool and battery warranty

Cons

  • Requires two hands to remove bits
  • Bogs down driving big structural screws and bolts

Recommended configuration

DT04R1

Includes (2) 12V 2Ah battery

Series lineup

Model #PlatformDrive ModesTorqueIPMReview
DT04Z12V CXT3532.8 in-lbs3,900.0Full review

Lab results

Torque

Makita DT04Z Torquemeter
Makita DT04Z Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 532.8
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 163.8
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

While no 12V impact driver is designed for brute-force torque, the DT04Z impresses in its class, generating nearly as much torque as several of Makita’s larger 18V impact drivers. But don’t expect the DT04Z to outperform most 18V models with busting loose nuts or stubborn screws. The comparatively low RPM output explains much of the poorer driving performance.

Compare torque test results

RPM

Makita DT04Z RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 2,655.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 1,158.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 2,485.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 1,193.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 2,425.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): N/A

The DT04Z turned in low RPM readings in our RPM tests, but that’s not a death sentence and can be advantageous in certain situations.

While a low RPM results in some slowness driving screws, rotating more slowly helps set screws into your work material easier than an impact driver with a far higher RPM.

All said, the DT04Z has a high enough RPM, and associated torque and impacts per minute, to handily drive screws for light-duty tasks that require precision and for heavier-duty common instances, such as dimensional lumber.

We didn’t test drive mode 3 in the forward setting since it’s an assist feature that varies the RPM throughout the length of driving screws.

Compare RPM test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 36.2
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 7.2
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 25.2
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 5.0

As we tested in our speed tests, 12V impact drivers aren’t ideal for driving GRK screws or lag bolts. The DT04Z can handle big screws in a pinch but don’t expect it to be fast compared to 18V and some other 12V impact drivers. The assist drive mode helps to improve speed, though.

Otherwise, the DT04Z confidently drives various standard screw lengths and #6, #8, and #10 sizes into studs and other dense materials, perfect for any tasks around the home.

Compare driving speed test results

Drive modes

Makita DT04Z Drive Modes

Drive modes: 3
Drive mode 1:  Hard impact 
Drive mode 2:  Low impact 
Drive mode 3:  Assist 
Drive mode 4:  N/A 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

The DT04Z has a solid number of drive modes but doesn’t offer as many as flagship 12V and 18V models. You get the essentials, including hard and soft impact and an assist mode. Drive modes we label as 1, 2, and 3 advertise max impacts per minute of 3900.0, 1600.0, and 3900.0, respectively.

Drive mode 1 is ideal for driving big screws, whereas drive mode 2 precisely finishes screws and helps avoid cam-out or stripping screws.

Drive mode 3 is an assist mode that slows the RPM initially, then speeds up once impacting. This setting helps set the screw into your work material and provides reasonable driving force after. Drive mode 3 in reverse achieves the same result as drive mode 1 in reverse and ramps RPM immediately.

Unlike some of the best Makita impact drivers, there are no other specialty assist modes for loosening bolts or self-tapping screws. There also is no quick mode-switching button at the trigger to toggle to a favorite saved drive mode.

Collet

Makita DT04Z Collet Closeup

Collet size: 1/4-inch hex
Quick-change collet: Yes
Bit-eject collet: No
Easy-insert collet: No

It takes two hands to change bits on the DT04Z, one hand to slide the collet and the other to insert or remove the bit. The collet has no easy-insert or bit eject feature, which helps with one-handed bit changes.

Most Dewalt impact drivers are ideal for one-handed bit changes since these impact drivers include a well-designed easy-insert and bit-eject collet.

Motor

Motor: Brushless
Impacts per minute: 3,900.0

Brushless motors offer significant performance improvements over brushed motors. The brushless motor in the DT04Z improves longevity, driving performance, and increases battery run time.The advertised 3900.0 impacts per minute helps with driving performance for long screws, but the tool has its limitations being a 12V impact driver.

Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 48.0
Battery tested: 12V CXT 2Ah (BL1021B)
Voltage: 12

Batteries across Makita’s lineup have outstanding run time performance, including in the 12V DT04Z. This impact driver delivered best-in-class results in our battery tests, including beating out several higher-voltage models.One consideration we didn’t test is that run time in practice may not outperform 18V models with more torque. These impact drivers more efficiently drive screws than 12V models, which can result in different performances under load and no load.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. We expect the battery run time to perform similarly well when running the DT04Z with a 12V CXT 5Ah battery and comparing it with other 5Ah setups.

Compare battery test results

Charging time

Makita 18V Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Makita CXT (DC10WD)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 65.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
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 charging test results

Design & ergonomics

Stands upright w/o battery: Yes
Stands upright w/ battery: Yes
Grip material: Rubber overgrip
Magnetic holder: No
Bit holder: No
Belt hook: Yes
Handle angle (deg.): 76.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

Weight

Makita DT04Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 1.66
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.13
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): Not tested

The DT04Z is exceptionally lightweight, even within its category, great for extended usage without fatigue. It’s one of the few impact drivers we’ve come across with a bare tool weight hovering around 1.5 lbs. The DT04Z also retains its lightweight status when kitted out with a battery.

But remember that the working weight can differ significantly depending on the battery run in your setup. To keep it as lightweight as possible, we recommend combining the DT04Z with Makita’s 12V CXT 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the DT04Z with Makita’s 12V CXT 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance. But consider that adding the 5Ah battery meaningfully increases the weight and footprint. Upgrading to Makita’s LXT lineup may be more suitable as the size increases, but a trade-off will be more power for less precision.

Compare weight test results

Footprint

Makita DT04Z Footprint1

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.250
Max width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Collet to back length (in.): 5.250
Base length (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Base width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.375
Handle circumference (in.): 5.125

While the DT04Z is highly agile, its footprint is a tale of two stories. The max height and max width are svelte as a bare tool and with a battery, great for maneuverability and a light feel in hand.

However, the length from the collet to the back is surprisingly long within its 12V category, and when compared to 18V impact drivers, resulting in less clearance in certain interior driving situations.

Compare footprint test results

Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 8.000
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 0.875
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.000

The footprint of the DT04Z results in OK performance in our interior clearance tests. Other compact 12V impact drivers, such as the Milwaukee M12 Fuel 3453-20 and Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20, fit into most tight spaces and corners more easily.

However, the DT04Z is unmatched with its interior top-edge clearance, being one of the few models we’ve tested to test below one inch.

Compare driving clearance test results

Noise

DT04Z Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 76.1
Max impacting noise (dBA): 95.9

No impact driver’s noise is tame, but the DT04Z is admirably quiet when impacting. To achieve meaningfully lower noise when impacting, you’ll need to jump to hydraulic impact drivers, such as the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20, which have more subtle impact noise.

Compare noise test results

Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 29.8
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 2.8

Compare vibration test results

Light

Makita DT04Z Light
Makita DT04Z Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: Yes
Number of lights: 1
Light time delay (sec.): 10.0

The DT04Z’s light illuminates work surfaces well but has a focused and small coverage area. The light can also be turned on or off by holding the drive mode settings button for a few seconds. It’s good for versatility and saves battery life. Otherwise, the light turns off 10 seconds after releasing the trigger.

The DT04Z can’t act as a dedicated flashlight, much like other Makita impact drivers, including the Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z and Makita 40V XGT GDT01Z. The dedicated flashlight feature allows you to turn on or off the light without turning on the motor when the forward/reverse switch is in the neutral position.

Warranty

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

Makita stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The DT04Z has a three-year warranty. Makita 12V CXT 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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