Milwaukee M18 2850-20 Vs Makita 18V LXT XDT14Z

Milwaukee 2850-20 Angle 5

Milwaukee 2850-20

Quick take

The Makita 18V LXT XDT14Z is a more versatile impact driver and is a better pick for most people. It is exceptionally compact, lightweight, fast under load, and has four drive modes for versatility. The Milwaukee M18 2850-20 outclasses the Makita XDT14Z in terms of torque but has a single drive mode.

Brand Milwaukee
Platform M18
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 850.2
IPM 4,200.0
Drive modes 1
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as -
Brand Makita
Platform 18V LXT
Motor Brushless
Tested torque in-lbs 589.8
IPM 3,800.0
Drive modes 4
Collet 1/4-inch hex
Same as XDT14

Editorial opinion

Rating

3.79 / 5 ⭐️’s

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Brushless motor
  • Great driving speed
  • High impacts per minute
  • Long tool and battery warranty

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Single drive mode
  • Requires two hands to change bits

Rating

4.61 / 5 ⭐️’s

Methodology used: Heavy duty

Pros

  • Compact footprint
  • Long battery run time
  • Brushless motor
  • Drive modes
  • Driving speed
  • Long tool and battery warranty
  • Versatile light

Cons

  • Poor noise performance
  • Requires two hands to remove bits

Global rankings

21 models tested

TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)14.75
Torque (in-lbs)850.23
Battery run time (min.)38.014
RPM3,240.06
Bare weight (lbs)2.018
Impacting noise (dBA)96.810
TestResultRank
Driving speed (sec.)14.64
Torque (in-lbs)589.814
Battery run time (min.)56.03
RPM3,301.04
Bare weight (lbs)1.946
Impacting noise (dBA)97.216

Kit and bare tool options

2850-21P

Includes (1) M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery

2850-22CT

Includes (2) M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery

2850-20

Bare tool

Lab 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.): 75.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

The 2850-20 has no bit holder or magnetic fastener holder for convenience. Those are rare but nice-to-have convenience features that most impact drivers forego. Ryobi impact drivers more commonly include a bit holder and/or magnetic fastener built into their tools instead of requiring you to buy aftermarket holders.

Otherwise, the grip is wrapped in a rubber overmold that reduces shock and vibration. The forward-leaning handle angle is also one of the more aggressive stances, giving you more reach in specific scenarios.

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.): 82.0
Head angle (deg.): 90.0

The XDT14Z follows the familiar design language of Makita’s XDT lineup, including a compact body with a slightly forward-leaning handle angle.

The impact driver also includes a belt hook, but there are few other bells and whistles, such as a bit holder or magnetic fastener holder. Several Ryobi impact drivers have these convenient features without requiring you to buy a third-party attachment to hold bits and screws on your impact driver.

Weight

Milwaukee 2850-20 On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 2.01
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.96
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 3.62

The bare tool weight is moderately light for an 18V impact driver. It isn’t as lightweight as other drivers with a battery when adding Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery, which is a slightly heavier 2Ah battery than several different manufacturers.

The working weight can differ significantly depending on the battery run in your setup. To keep it lightweight, we recommend combining the 2850-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.

If weight is less of a concern, pair the 2850-20 with Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance.

Compare weight test results

Weight

Makita XDT14Z On Scale

Bare weight (lbs): 1.94
Weight w/ 2Ah battery (lbs): 2.78
Weight w/ 2.5Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 4Ah battery (lbs):  Not tested
Weight w/ 5Ah battery (lbs): 4.28

The XDT14Z is exceptionally lightweight for an 18V impact driver, nearly rivaling the bare tool weight of sub-compact 12V impact drivers. Moreover, the working weight is comparatively low among the competition when kitted with one of Makita’s 18V LXT batteries.

To keep it as lightweight as possible, we recommend combining the XDT14Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 2Ah battery for a good balance of performance and weight.If weight is less of a concern, pair the XDT14Z with Makita’s 18V LXT 5Ah battery for a longer run time and improved driving performance.

Compare weight test results

Footprint

Milwaukee 2850-20 Footprint1
Milwaukee 2850-20 Footprint2

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.625
Max width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Collet to back length (in.): 5.125
Base length (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Base width (bare tool, in.): 2.625
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.500
Handle circumference (in.): 5.125

The 2850-20 has a middle-of-the-road compact design that makes it versatile for tasks around the home. One of the more essential measurements, the collet-to-back length, isn’t too long, giving you solid clearance in tight spaces.

Compare footprint test results

Footprint

Makita XDT14Z Footprint1
Makita XDT14Z Footprint2

Max height (bare tool, in.): 7.250
Max width (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Collet to back length (in.): 4.625
Base length (bare tool, in.): 3.625
Base width (bare tool, in.): 3.125
Trigger circumference (in.): 6.250
Handle circumference (in.): 5.125

The XDT14Z is exceptionally compact and squeezes nicely into tight spaces with its short collet-to-back length, which is among the most compact we’ve tested outside of sub-compact impact drivers. The XDT14Z is a smidge shorter in height and a smidge longer from collet to back than its flagship cousin, the Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z.

Compare footprint test results

Motor

Motor: Brushless
Impacts per minute: 4,200.0

The 2850-20’s advertised 4,200 impacts per minute is high for an impact driver. Our in-house driving speed tests demonstrated that the elevated number of blows results in exceptional driving performance at this price point.

The 2850-20 also Includes a brushless motor, which helps with battery life, smoothes out driving performance, and should improve long-term durability. However, we haven’t tested the multi-year durability to confirm its shelf life.

Motor

Motor: Brushless
Impacts per minute: 3,800.0

Brushless motors offer vast performance improvements over brushed motors. The brushless motor in the XDT14Z improves longevity, driving performance, and increases battery run time.

The high advertised 3800.0 impacts per minute is one reason the XDT14Z shined in our driving speed tests.

Drive modes

Drive modes: 1
Drive mode 1:  High speed 
Drive mode 2:  N/A 
Drive mode 3:  N/A 
Drive mode 4:  N/A 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

One critical missing factor is that 2850-20 includes only one drive mode, though the variable speed trigger helps in scenarios where a lighter driving force is needed. Additional drive modes would improve the driving versatility, albeit increasing the price tag.

The Makita 18V LXT XDT14Z and Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF887 are good alternatives with more driving versatility.

Drive modes

Makita XDT14Z Drive Modes

Drive modes: 4
Drive mode 1:  Hard impact 
Drive mode 2:  Medium impact 
Drive mode 3:  Soft impact 
Drive mode 4:  Self-tapping 
Variable speed trigger: Yes

One sacrifice we’re happy Makita avoided with this model is its drive mode settings. The XDT14Z doesn’t offer as many drive mode settings as its more expensive cousins. But it still includes the essential drive modes to satisfy most users and beats out many competing impact drivers that only offer a single drive mode.

You can select from four impact-frequency settings. Drive modes we label as 1, 2, 3, and 4 advertise max impacts per minute of 3800.0, 2600.0, 1100.0, and 2600.0, respectively.

Drive mode 1 is ideal for driving big structural screws and lag bolts efficiently, whereas drive modes 2 and 3 give you more control over the finished screw depth and help to avoid cam-out and stripped screws.

Drive mode 4 is the equivalent of a self-tapping mode other brands offer. This mode is ideal for driving screws into thin metal.

Unlike some of the best Makita impact drivers, there are no other specialty assist modes for loosening bolts. There also is no quick mode-switching button at the trigger to toggle to a favorite saved drive mode. These are two of the sacrifices made to bring the price down for the XDT14Z compared to other models in the XDT lineup.

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 14.7
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 2.9
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 11.0
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 2.2

In our driving speed tests, few impact drivers we’ve tested broke the threshold of averaging less than three seconds per screw. The 2850-20’s high impacts per minute undoubtedly explain some of the performance, particularly when finishing the last leg of driving long lag bolts and structural screws.

Higher-end models, such as the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20, Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z, and Dewalt 20V Max XR DCF845, beat out the 2850-20 with impressive driving speed performance.

Compare driving speed test results

Driving speed

GRK total driving time forward (sec.): 14.6
GRK average driving time forward (sec.): 2.9
GRK total driving time reverse (sec.): 10.8
GRK average driving time reverse (sec.): 2.2

If you covet an impact driver with brute force to drive screws rapidly, consider the XDT14Z. This impact driver turned in driving speed performance results that were on par with or better than several high-quality models with higher price tags.

Jump to the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20, Dewalt 20V Max DCF845, or Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z to squeeze out slightly improved driving speed.

Compare driving speed test results

Torque

Milwaukee 2850-20 Torquemeter
Milwaukee 2850-20 Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 850.2
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): N/A
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

Torque output is one of the calling card features of the 2850-20, as evidenced in our testing. The 2850-20 generated some of the highest torque output we’ve seen in the 18V class, impressive for such a modestly-priced impact driver.

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2953-20 offers considerably more torque and better handles demanding applications, should you be looking for best-in-class performance.

Compare torque test results

Torque

Makita XDT14Z Torquemeter
Makita XDT14Z Torque Charts

Max torque drive mode 1 (in-lbs): 589.8
Max torque drive mode 2 (in-lbs): 248.4
Max torque drive mode 3 (in-lbs): 280.2
Max torque drive mode 4 (in-lbs): N/A

The XDT14Z isn’t the impact driver to buy for best-in-class torque. It is powerful enough to tackle any demanding job around the home and for DIY projects. But its tested torque output is middle of the pack, highlighting the fact that the XDT14Z is better for its RPM and associated driving speed, not breaking loose rusty lug nuts.

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Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 38.0
Battery tested: 18V Red Lithium CP 2Ah (48-11-1820)
Voltage: 18

One letdown of the 2850-20 is the run time performance in our battery tests. The brushless motor significantly improves run time over comparable brushed motors. But 38 minutes of no-load battery run time isn’t much to write home about, especially considering that some cheaper impact drivers have a longer battery run time, more driving mode versatility, and higher torque.

Expect running with any of Milwaukee’s higher Ah 18V batteries to increase run time, but still lag behind other impact drivers running a similar Ah setup.

The Ryobi 18V One+ P237 is an excellent alternative budget option with better run time and several drive modes. The Makita 18V LXT XDT13Z is a better pick than the 2850-20 due to the Makita’s exceptional battery performance at a comparative price point.

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Battery run time

Power type: Cordless
Battery run time (min.): 56.0
Battery tested: 18V LXT 2Ah (BL1820B)
Voltage: 18

One of the XDT14Z’s standout features is its battery run time. This impact driver delivered some of the longest battery run times we’ve come across and handily beats many similarly-priced models.

We tested battery run time with the 2Ah battery version. We expect the battery run time to perform similarly well when running the XDT14Z with an 18 LXT 5Ah battery and comparing it with 5Ah setups from other brands.

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Battery lineup

Milwaukee M18 Battery Lineup

Milwaukee offers 1.5Ah, 2Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, 6Ah, 8Ah, and 12Ah batteries in its M18 lineup. Upgrading to the higher Ah options increases battery run time and improves driving performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Having at least two batteries in your setup is best so you don’t miss a beat when draining one battery. We recommend buying a Milwaukee M18 Red Lithium CP 2Ah and a Milwaukee M18 Red Lithium XC 5Ah battery for most M18 impact driver setups for a good performance, price, and size balance.

Many Milwaukee impact drivers come in kits with a hybrid 12V and 18V charger in one, which conveniently saves space in your shop if you have multiple tools in the ecosystem.

Battery lineup

Makita 18V LXT Battery Lineup

Makita offers 2Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, and 6Ah batteries in its 18V LXT lineup. Upgrading to the higher Ah options increases battery run time and improves driving performance, though we’ve not tested all of these batteries to understand the cost tradeoffs.

Having at least two batteries in your setup 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 Makita LXT impact driver setups for a good balance of performance, price, and size.

Makita’s standard chargers only charge a single battery voltage. You’ll need a dedicated charger for our 12V, 18V, and 40V Makita tools. Many Milwaukee impact drivers come in kits with a hybrid 12V and 18V charger in one, which conveniently saves space in your shop if you have multiple tools in the ecosystem.

Charging time

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Milwaukee M12 & M18 Multi-Volt (48-59-1812)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 41.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 4Ah battery (min.): Not tested
Charging time 5Ah battery (min.): 98.0
Charging time per Ah (min.): 20.1
Fuel gauge: On battery

The Milwaukee M12 and M18 multi-volt charger (model 48-59-1812) included in most kits is reasonably fast at charging batteries, including to beat out team red’s most frequent adversary, Dewalt. It takes 41 minutes to charge an M18 2Ah battery and 98 minutes for a 5Ah battery, or approximately 20 minutes per amp-hour.

Milwaukee’s 48-59-1812 charger charges multiple battery voltages in one, conveniently saving space in your shop if you have several M12 and M18 ecosystem tools.

Compare charging test results

Charging time

Makita 18V Fuel Gauge

Charger tested: Makita LXT Rapid Optimum (DC18RC)
Charging time 2Ah battery (min.): 24.0
Charging time 2.5Ah battery (min.): Not tested
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.

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RPM

Milwaukee 2850-20 RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 3,240.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): N/A
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 3,139.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.):  N/A 
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.):  N/A 
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.):  N/A 

The 2850-20 achieved solid results in our RPM tests. The high RPM performance is a con, especially with only one drive mode, but it can be a helpful feature in certain situations. The high RPM sets fasteners quickly into your workpiece.

But such a high RPM too frequently results in cam-out. The cam-out potential is exacerbated by the fact that there’s a single drive mode, leaving the cam-out possibility to how delicately or not you feather the variable speed trigger.

There is no significant RPM difference between forward and reverse driving, unlike some impact drivers that increase the reverse RPM to remove stubborn screws more easily.

Compare RPM test results

RPM

Makita XDT14Z RPM Charts

Max RPM drive mode 1 (fwd.): 3,301.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (fwd.): 1,766.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (fwd.): 946.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (fwd.): 3,231.0
Max RPM drive mode 1 (rev.): 3,139.0
Max RPM drive mode 2 (rev.): 2,004.0
Max RPM drive mode 3 (rev.): 1,033.0
Max RPM drive mode 4 (rev.): 3,571.0

The XDT14Z shined in our driving speed tests partly because of the high RPM readings we measured. The high RPM drives screws quickly before impacting takes over, with the torque doing most of the work thereafter.

We measured the highest RPM readout with the XDT14Z in reverse in drive mode 4, which offers extra oomph for busting loose stubborn screws and bolts.

Compare RPM test results

Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 7.750
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.125
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 6.125

We don’t recommend the 2850-20 if you consistently drive fasteners in tight spaces. A sub-compact or smaller footprint compact impact driver can squeeze into tighter spaces, especially if they have shorter collet to back lengths.

Compare driving clearance test results

Driving clearance

Min. interior width clearance (in.): 7.375
Min. top edge clearance (in.): 1.000
Min. interior 45-deg. clearance (in.): 5.875

The XDT14Z squeezes well into small openings and tight spaces. Notably, it has a short length from the collet to the back. It is one of the few models we’ve tested that broke the 6-inch threshold in our interior 45-degree driving clearance test.

Compare driving clearance test results

Noise

2850-20 Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 83.7
Max impacting noise (dBA): 96.8

Our noise performance tests demonstrate that the 2850-20 is not a quiet impact driver.

If you want a comparatively quiet impact driver, consider hydraulic models, such as the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 or Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20.

The Ryobi 18V One+ P237 and Ryobi 18V One+ PBLID02 are worth considering if you want to squeeze out a few decibels of lower noise at a similar price point and with equivalent driving performance.

Compare noise test results

Noise

XDT14Z Impact Driver Noise Chart

Max noise no load (dBA): 77.9
Max impacting noise (dBA): 97.2

One downside is the noise performance. While no impact driver is tame, the XDT14Z is among the louder models we’ve tested when impacting.

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Surge 2551-20 and Milwaukee M18 Fuel Surge 2760-20 are quieter options since both are hydraulic impact drivers with subtler impacts, albeit lower torque.

Compare noise test results

Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 37.6
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 1.9

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Vibration

Max head vibration no load (m/s2): 36.8
Max grip vibration no load (m/s2): 2.3

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Light

Milwaukee 2850-20 Light
Milwaukee 2850-20 Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: No
Number of lights: 1
Light time delay (sec.): 10.0

The light on the 2850-20 does the job but is not as bright as most other models. The single LED light has a blue tint that we didn’t encounter with other models. You also don’t get the versatility of having the option to turn off the light when pressing the trigger, like many Makita impact drivers.

Light

Makita XDT14Z Light
Makita XDT14Z Light Closeup

Light: Yes
Light on/off: Yes
Number of lights: 2
Light time delay (sec.): 10.0

The XDT14Z’s light illuminates work surfaces well but has a smaller coverage area than other Makita 18V XDT impact drivers. Nicely, you can enable or disable the light by holding the drive mode settings button for a few seconds. Turning off the light is good for versatility and saves battery life. Otherwise, there is a 10-second delay for the light to turn off after releasing the trigger.

One feature Makita cut to reduce the price tag is that the XDT14Z can’t act as a dedicated flashlight. Other impact drivers, such as the Makita 18V LXT XDT19Z and Makita 40V XGT GDT01Z do include this feature where you can set the forward/reverse switch to the neutral position, then squeeze the trigger to turn on the light and squeeze it again to turn off the light.

Collet

Milwaukee 2850-20 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 2850-20, 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.

Collet

Makita XDT14Z Collet Closeup

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

The XDT14Z requires two hands to remove a bit since it doesn’t include a bit eject collet. Makita’s collets don’t smoothly accept an inserted bit like Dewalt and Ryobi models, but you can insert a bit with one hand on the XDT14Z without extending the collet.

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.

App integration

App integration: None

There is no bluetooth app integration to review impact driver diagnostics or to customize driving profiles on your phone. Some high-end Milwaukee impact drivers come in a One-Key version which includes an app integration to track impact driver usage, displays tool diagnostics, and allows you to set custom driving profiles, such as adjusting the RPM for each drive mode.

App integration

App integration: None

There is no bluetooth app integration to review impact driver diagnostics or to customize driving profiles on your phone. Dewalt’s ToolConnect and Milwaukee’s One Key models offer app integrations that track impact driver usage, display tool diagnostics, and allow you to set custom driving profiles, such as adjusting the RPM for each drive mode.

Warranty

Tool warranty (years): 5
Battery warranty (years): 2-3 (depends on model)

Milwaukee stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The 2850-20 has a five-year warranty, which is among the longest offered by any manufacturer. Milwaukee’s M18 batteries include a two-year warranty.

Warranty

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

Makita stands behind the durability of its impact drivers with exceptionally-long warranties. The XDT14Z 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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