This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. To be honest, the world isn’t exactly starved for more impact drivers. But that doesn’t mean the genre can’t be improved upon. And Makita did just that! When we received a Makita XDT14T impact driver kit to review, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only does this lean, mean, teal torquer have features that just might make some “differently-colored” tools green with envy but, they’ve addressed a couple things that bug me about most of the battery powered drivers I get my grubby mitts on. Needless to say, the XDT14 makes quite an impact!
Makita XDT14T Brushless Impact Driver Kit
The XDT14 impact driver can be purchased as a kit (XDT14T) or as a bare tool (XDT14Z). If you already own plenty of batteries and chargers, it may make more sense to opt for the bare tool. The kit, however, saves you a few bucks by bundling in two 5Ah batteries, a DC18RC fast charger and a nice hardshell case. The tool, batteries and charger are all backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
Here are some specs grabbed from Makita’s website:
* Hex Shank : 1/4″
* No Load Speed (var. 3 spd.) : 0 – 1,100 / 0 – 2,100 / 0 – 3,600 RPM
* Impacts Per Minute (var. 3 spd.) : 0 – 1,100 / 0 – 2,600 / 0 – 3,800 IPM
* Maximum Torque (in.lbs./N•m) : 1,550 in.lbs./175N•m
* Battery : 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion
* Overall Length : 4-5/8″
Before diving into the main course experience, enjoy a complimentary appetizer from our friends at Makita.
3-Speed Impact Driver – Makita XDT14
Most impact drivers (including this one) have a variable speed trigger. Makita takes it a step farther by giving you three different speed/power ranges to choose from: “hard”, “medium” and “soft”. Slower speeds dial back the number of impacts per minute (IPM), along with the maximum RPM.
You no longer have to rely solely on hit-or-miss attempts at squeezing the trigger only “so much” when driving cabinet screws and other fasteners that can’t handle the tool’s maximum torque output. Or when you just don’t want to drive screw heads halfway through your project.
A Compact Impact With Mucho Muscle – Makita XDT14T Impact Driver Kit
The XDT14 impact driver is a compact tool that permits access to some pretty tight areas. Overall front to back length is only 4-5/8” (plus the tip of your bit). Just don’t confuse compact size with compromised performance. It has no problem driving fasteners from cabinet screws up to and including some lug nuts (though it’s not meant to be a tire changing tool).
When you drive 1/2” x 3-1/2″ lag screws with no pilot holes you realize just how powerful this tool really is. I’ve got to be honest here; I’m impressed. No one will ever accuse this driver of goofing off on the job, that’s for sure!
Quick-Shift Mode – An Automatic Transmission For Your Impact Driver
If you’re old enough (or cool enough) to have learned to drive a manual transmission car, you may have noticed a horrified grimace on your dad’s face as he frantically exclaimed the subtleties of a clutch pedal over the grinding sound of gears being reduced to powder. Shearing the head off of a screw can be a similarly pucker-worthy experience.
Quick-Shift Mode is controlled by an electronic circuit (it’s not something you can select manually) that performs kind of like a stick driver who’s crested the learning curve. It automatically downshifts into a lower gear (reduced speed and IPM) to minimize thread stripping and risk of fastener breakage.
Tightening Mode – But Aren’t They All “Tightening” Modes? (Except When In Reverse?)
After the three speeds, the forth setting is “tightening mode” (referred to as “T mode”). T mode starts out fast, then slows way down when impact kicks in. This mode quickly drives the screw into the wood, then becomes a lot more delicate and controllable as required torque increases. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it feels like the initial speed of “hard” mode followed by the slower, more controlled power of “soft” mode.
Makita 18V LXT – An All-Star Power Player
18V LXT batteries feature Makita “Star Protection” circuitry to prevent overheating, overcharging and over-discharging. Basically, it makes sure the battery is always on its best behavior.
Makita’s DC18RC fast charger comes with a lot of their kits. It’s quick, communicates with the battery’s built-in chip to optimize the charge cycle for maximum battery life, and joyfully plays you a song when charging is complete. Dinner and a show!
The only negative I see is for those of you who like to hang your chargers on a wall. You will have to come up with a shelf or bracket of some sort because the DC18RC has no keyholes slots on the bottom.
Approx. 18V LXT Li-Ion battery pack charging time, according to MakitaTools.com:
2.0Ah = 25 min.
3.0Ah = 30 min.
4.0Ah = 40 min.
5.0Ah (included in this kit) = 45 min.
6.0Ah = 55 min.
You Light Up My Life (But Only When I Want You To)
LED lights on the front of battery powered tools seem to have become an obligatory bandwagon these days. No one wants to be left behind. “If Johnny jumps off a bridge…” You know the saying. Granted, they’re great when working in a poorly lit area. You can call me ungrateful, but I often find them rather annoying and distracting. And I never understood why manufacturers insist on the light always coming on (and staying on) whether you want it to or not. Until now, that is.
As if the XDT14 wasn’t already impressive enough, Makita scored some extra big brownie points by actually giving me the option to NOT use the light when I don’t want to! And once you turn the light off, it stays off until you decide you want it on again. Seriously, other guys, why is this so difficult? It’s such a small thing. But it’s huge.
A Case Of A Case Done Right – Makita XDT14T
My gripe against lights that can’t be deactivated on most other tools may be petty. I get that. But one other area that many manufacturers tend to overlook on a regular basis is the storage case; and that’s not so petty.
When a tool comes with a storage case – hard or soft – no one wants a single cavernous compartment, where the tool, batteries, charger and accessories all clank and clatter against each other. We love our tools – our investment – and want them sufficiently protected.
Final Musings On The Makita XDT14T Impact Driver Kit
Honestly, the entire compact tools category – across pretty much all major brands – has reached the point where it’s almost moot to mention that they’re “as powerful as” many of their “full sized” counterparts. Or to bother counting how many fasteners they can drive on a single charge.
The fact is, with the brushless motor, the two 5Ah batteries and the fast charger included in this kit, you’re not likely to find yourself standing around the job site waiting for fresh battery power. By the time one battery is spent, the other has long since recharged.
The Makita XDT14 impact driver is a workhorse with respectable power. It will easily handle just about anything you might ask it to do. But where it really stands out for me is with the three speed ranges and – believe it or not – the seemingly trivial ability to turn off that darned light when I want to. Why doesn’t every tool have that option? Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Makita’s XDT14 impact driver is a present wrapped in goodness and topped with a bow. And the kit only sweetens the deal.
Get your own Makita XDT14T 18V LXT impact driver kit for just over 300 clams (or dollars, if your local Home Depot doesn’t accept mollusks):
Or grab the XDT14 as a bare tool for just over $150:
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
1 thought on “Makita XDT14T 18V LXT 3-Speed Impact Driver Kit Review”
Came across your review and absolutely loved every word. It very much makes me want to gather up my clams and shekels and go out and buy one…and that’s coming from a Milwaukee guy. Cleverly written, well laid out, and thoroughly reviewed. (And yes…admittedly, even the case is cool… with it’s secret compartment and all.)