Makita XT328M 18V Brushless Combo Kit Review – A Teal Trifecta

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).

makita xt328m

What's This?This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. Looking for a way to beef up your tool collection in a hurry, and save some money while you’re at it? Buying a combo kit is a great way to pick up some high-quality tools, along with a charger and a battery or two. Once you settle on a brand, and get those basics, you can add more bare tools down the line, saving yourself even more money. There are lots of tool combinations in the Combo Kit universe, and Makita has chosen three of the most useful to include in the Makita XT328M 18V Brushless Combo Kit: A hammer drill/driver, an impact driver, and a reciprocating saw. Add a charger and two full-size 4.0 Ah batteries, toss ‘em all into a heavy-duty contractor bag, mix well, and you’re ready to get to work!

makita xt328m
The Makita XT328M Brushless combo kit, ready to get to work.

And these tools are made for the work environment; they’re definitely a step up from homeowner-grade products. That’s clear from the moment you pick them up; the tools all look and feel sturdy and solidly made. The fact that they‘re all powered by brushless motors lets you know they’re designed to put in a full-day’s work.

So what’s in the bag? Since everyone loves demolition, we’ll start with the reciprocating saw, the Makita XRJ05, which retails for $199. For your drilling and driving enjoyment, there’s the Makita XPH12, which goes for $99. The $96 Makita XDT13Z impact driver is there to help sink everything from small screws to lag bolts. Since battery powered tools are much more useful when they have batteries, they tossed in two BL1840B 4.0 Ah batteries worth $189, and a $99 DC18RC Rapid Charger to keep them juiced up. Everything lives harmoniously in the roomy and sturdy Teal contractor bag. Add it all up, and you’re north of $700 worth of product; not bad for the current price of $399. Let’s take a closer look at the tools.

The Demolition Portion Of The Makita XT328M Combo Kit

When we bought our first fixer-upper many years ago, the first new tool I went out and bought was a reciprocating saw. This was in the dark ages B.C. (before cordless), but the saw worked well, and was a huge time saver, on that project and many to follow.

Fast forward to the present, where the trend in the power tool industry is to eliminate the power cord. And they’re doing a great job of it – some of today’s cordless tools are more powerful than their corded predecessors. The recip saw that comes in the Makita XT328M kit, the Makita XRJ05, is a solid unit, with plenty of power to cut through whatever’s in your way. Here’s the nitty gritty from Makita, followed by a two-minute video featuring a very enthusiastic narrator:

• Makita-built variable 2-speed brushless motor delivers 0-2,300 (Low) & 0-3,000 (High) strokes per minute and a 1-1/4 in. stroke length for faster cutting
• Tool-less blade change system allows for faster blade installation and removal for increased productivity
• Variable speed trigger for added convenience
• Compact and ergonomic design at only 17-1/4 in. long
• Weighs only 8.2 lbs. with battery for reduced operator fatigue
• Rubberized soft grip handle provides increased comfort on the job
• Reinforced shoe for added durability
• Large two-finger variable speed trigger for operator convenience
• Electric brake for maximum productivity
• Refined crank mechanism design minimizes blade deflection and reduces vibration
• Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) is engineered for improved dust and water resistance for operation in harsh conditions
• Equipped with star protection computer controls to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating
• Makita technology delivers category-leading charge time, so the battery spends more time working and less time sitting on the charger
• Compatible with Makita 18-Volt lithium-ion batteries with a star symbol

Brushless motors are the technology of the future. They’re much more efficient than brushed motors, and require no maintenance. They’re also more expensive, so for the moment you’ll only find them on higher-end tools. Makita claims the brushless technology in the XRJ05 will wring double the run time from the battery – that’s pretty significant.

makita xt328m
Beefy brushless motors power all the tools in the Makita XT328M kit.

The Makita XRJ05 recip saw is pretty comfortable to hold and use. There’s plenty of space inside the handle for even a large hand, and there’s an oversized, two-finger trigger. The support area near the front has a comfortable rubber overmold, and a soft rubber lip to rest your thumb against.

makita xt328m
The handle is comfortable and roomy…
makita xt328m
And a rubber overmold gives a secure padded grip.

One feature I thought was pretty slick is the adjustable shoe. A lot of cutting gets done with the shoe pressed right up against the material. This causes a lot of wear in a fixed area of the blade. The XRJ05 has a lever you can flip down, allowing you to extend the shoe out a couple of inches and lock it in place. This gives you a nice, fresh chunk of blade to destroy.

makita xt328m
When the blade near the shoe is all chewed up…
makita xt328m
Just flip the lever, slide the shoe forward…
makita xt328m
And get to work destroying the next section of the blade.

When you do finally destroy the blade, swapping it out for a fresh one is fast, easy and tool-free. Just twist the collar around the base of the blade, and the blade pops out. The collar waits patiently until you insert a new blade, then automatically locks it in place.

makita xt328m
A quick-release collar makes blade changes easy.

Other handy features include the requisite LED light, which can actually be helpful if you’re not working in a well-lit space – in other words, most of the time. A swing-out rafter hook allows you to hang the tool off a rafter, joist, ladder, or other convenient dangling point. It folds fully out of the way when you get back to work.

makita xt328m
A rafter hook makes it easy to keep the saw handy…
makita xt328m
And folds out of the way during use.

The XRJ05 has two speed ranges, 0 – 2,300 SPM (strokes per minute) and 0 – 3,000 SPM. A push-through switch above the handle lets you decide whether your need for speed calls for the high or low range. There’s also a center position to lock out the trigger – a wise idea that can prevent an unscheduled underwear change. The variable speed trigger gives you very good control over the saw’s speed.

makita xt328m
A push-through switch controls speed, and locks the trigger.

I put the recip saw from the Makita XT328M set to use on a couple of recent remodeling jobs. On the first, we were installing a header in a load-bearing wall, and used the recip saw to cut out some studs. We sawed it flush with the bottom plate, going through the thick old nails with no problem. We then levered the studs out, and cut off the protruding nails from the top plate. After the header was in, we used the saw again to cut out the bottom plate between the jack studs.

makita xt328m
We used the recip saw from the Makita XT328M kit to cut out some studs…
makita xt328m
And remove the leftover nails.

The next project involved removing a pantry, to get some added floor space in a kitchen. We used the Makita XRJ05 to cut through several studs, severing them from the top and bottom plates. We also removed the door jambs by cutting through the nails around the perimeter. We also had to cut through some ¾” plywood paneling, to be able to remove it. After the fun was over, we used the saw to cut much of the debris into fire pit-sized chunks. The saw handled great the whole time we used it, and never felt like it was struggling or out of its league, and the battery usage was excellent.

makita xt328m
The recip saw easily cut through the door jamb nails…
makita xt328m
And the 3/4″ plywood, and the studs in the opening photo.

Meet The Drill From The Makita XT328M Combo Kit

Enough destruction – let’s do something constructive. A staple item in any tool collection is a capable ½” drill driver. Makita covered that, and went a step farther, by choosing a drill with hammer drill capability for the Makita XT328M combo kit.

makita xt328m
A hammer drill is a great addition to the Makita XT328M combo kit.

A hammer drill, for the uninitiated, is a drill that hammers, or pulses, the bit as it rotates. Hammer drills are used for drilling through tough surfaces like brick, concrete block, and other types of masonry, using special masonry bits. If your job calls for constant drilling into concrete, you’ll want a much-beefier rotary hammer drill. For the occasional job that calls for running some Tapcon screws into a concrete block wall, to install an electrical outlet box, for example, having a drill that allows you to select hammer mode will let you get the job done without needing a special tool.

Here are the specs on the Makita XPH12 from Makita:

• BL Brushless Motor delivers 530 in. lbs. of maximum torque
• Efficient BL Brushless Motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50% longer run time per charge
• BL Brushless Motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL Motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
• Electronically-controlled BL Brushless Motor efficiently uses energy to match torque and RPM to the changing demands of the application
• Variable 2-speed design (0-500 and 0-2,000 RPM) (0-7,500 and 0-30,000 IPM) covers a wide range of drilling, driving and hammer applications
• Compact and ergonomic design at only 7-1/8 in. long
• Weighs only 4.2 lbs. with battery, for reduced operator fatigue
• Features extreme protection technology (XPT) which is engineered to provide increased dust and water resistance in harsh job site conditions
• Rubberized soft grip provides increased comfort on the job
• Dual LED lights illuminate the work area
• All metal gear housing for increased job site durability
• Equipped with star protection computer controls to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating

The controls on the Makita XPH12 are laid out in pretty standard fashion. A 21-speed clutch ring around the chuck lets you dial in just the right amount of torque, to help prevent snapped or stripped fasteners, and the foul language that accompanies them. Another selector ring lets you choose the mode you need: Drilling, driving or hammer time. Both rings operate smoothly, and click solidly into place.

makita xt328m
The drill’s controls are straightforward, and work well.

The final control is a sliding two-position switch on top of the drill. Position 1 gives you the lower speed range (0 – 500 RPM and 0 – 7,500 IPM), and provides the max torque of 530 in. lbs. Position 2 ratchets up the speed and impacts per minute, providing 0 – 2,000 RPM and 0 – 30,000 IPM.

The ½” chuck operates smoothly, and is easy to operate one-handed. When a drill or driver bit is inserted, it’s easy to crank the chuck tightly around it, and the bit stays solid and secure in the chuck. I had no issues with bit retention, either with drill or driver bits.

The Makita XPH12 drill is relatively compact and lightweight. A rubber overmold on the grip makes the drill fairly comfortable to hold and operate. A minor issue I had with the drill from the Makita XT328M combo kit had to do with the directional button. I have very large hands, and when gripping the drill, my hand actually overlaps the push-through switch. On a few occasions, I knocked the drill into neutral, just by getting a grip on the drill.

makita xt328m
Extra large hands may bump the drill into neutral occasionally.

Since I’m right handed, this is only an issue when using the drill in reverse, as pushing the switch through from the right side sets it to the forward position. Just be aware that if you are a left-hander with very large hands, you might inadvertently knock the drill into neutral on occasion. For anyone with normal or small hands, this shouldn’t be an issue.

The drill got a light workout during our header project, when we used it to build a temporary support wall. During the pantry removal project, I used the drill to remove dozens of screws from the ¾” interior plywood paneling. There was limited light in some areas of the pantry, and the LED light on the front of the drill actually came in pretty handy. There were also a few studs that had been screwed in at the top, with longer construction screws. This was all baby stuff, and the drill from the Makita XT328M combo kit didn’t break a sweat.

makita xt328m
The drill got an easy first job, assembling a support wall.
makita xt328m
The LED light came in handy working in the dark, scary corners…
makita xt328m
And did a lot of screw removal on the walls and some studs.

It later got something a little more challenging, when I used a 1” auger bit to drill a couple of holes up through flooring and a bottom plate to be able to run some wiring. The drill felt like it had plenty of power, and didn’t bog down at all while spinning the large bit.

makita xt328m
The Makita drill had no problem with the 1″ auger bit.

While we were still in menial mode, I used the XPH12 to drill holes for kitchen cabinet hardware in 26 doors/drawers. It was solid and steady, and easy to control. When the drill is set down between uses, it is very stable resting on its battery, and I had no issues with it tipping over.

makita xt328m
Drilling for handles on one of the 26 doors and drawers…

Finally, it was time to make the Makita XPH12 pay the price for its lazy day. I took it outside, chucked up a 5/8” masonry bit, and set the mode selector to “Hammer time.” The drill had no trouble at all making some 5/8” holes in concrete block, but I still wanted to try out the smaller 3/16” bit I normally use for Tapcon screws. I chucked it up, and made a bunch of little holes, with absolutely no issues.

makita xt328m
The hammer drill mode easily drilled some 5/8″ holes…
makita xt328m
With a batch of smaller holes for good measure.

A note: When drilling in hammer mode, things get LOUD. This is the nature of the beast; when you’re hammering something into concrete at a high rate of speed, it makes noise. Go figure! If you want to be able to hear the five o’clock whistle, wear hearing protection.

A Basic Impact For The Makita XT328M Combo Kit

Last up, it’s the smallest member of the Teal Trifecta – the Makita XDT13Z impact driver. If you’ve ever used an impact driver, you know that small doesn’t mean weak. Don’t believe me? Go pick a fight with the 5’6” Jet Li. These things have incredible ability for their size, and can drive a 6” lag screw through a header without predrilling. The impact driver can, anyhow; I’m not sure about Jet Li.

The impact driver they chose for the Makita XT328M kit, while it has decent power, is a no-frills model. Unlike many drivers that have multiple mode settings for different types of applications, the Makita XDT13Z has only one. The variable speed trigger has no slop to it at all, though, and it’s very easy to control the driver, and get just the speed you want along its 0 – 3,400 RPM range.

makita xt328m
The Makita XDT13Z impact driver is basic but has good power.

Like the drill from the Makita XT328M kit, the grip on the impact driver has a black rubber overmold, and is fairly comfortable to hold and use. Also like the drill, my hand overlaps the forward/reverse switch a bit, meaning it occasionally gets bumped out of reverse. Not a huge deal, as I spend much more time going forward. If I used the driver on a regular basis, I’d eventually catch on and pick it up differently, but I’m a bit of a slow learner…

Like most impact drivers, the unit from the Makita XT328M kit is very lightweight and compact. With the battery installed, it weighs only 3.3 lbs., and is only 5” long. This makes it easy to get into tight spots (something I excel at, even without an impact driver). When it’s time to get to work, it cranks out a very respectable 3,600 IPM (impacts per minute) and 1,500 in. lbs. of torque. Here’s the full spec list from Makita:

• BL brushless motor delivers 1,500 in. lbs. of maximum torque
• Variable speed (0-3,400 RPM and 0-3,600 IPM) for a wide range of fastening applications
• BL brushless motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
• Efficient BL brushless motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50% longer run time per charge
• Electronically-controlled BL brushless motor efficiently uses energy to match torque and RPM to the changing demands of the application
• Compact and ergonomic design at only 5 in. long
• Weighs only 3.3 lbs. with battery for reduced operator fatigue
• Convenient ¼” hex chuck for quick bit changes
• Built-in twin LED lights illuminate the work area
• Rubberized soft grip provides increased comfort on the job
• All aluminum gear housing for increased job site durability
• Extreme protection technology (XPT) is engineered for improved dust and water resistance for operation in harsh conditions
• Makita’s proprietary hammer and anvil impact mechanism is manufactured using the best raw materials with the highest quality steel and unique heat hardening process for maximum fastening and driving power
• Equipped with star protection computer controls to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating
• Compatible with all Makita 18-Volt lithium-ion batteries with a star symbol

During our header installation project, we used the Makita impact driver to install several 3” construction screws. Some were used to secure the king stud to the header, and some were used to tie the king stud to the jack stud, after tacking them together with some framing nails. We also used it to install some blocking in between the studs. The driver was easy to control, and easily and quickly buried the screws.

makita xt328m
The impact driver, securing header to king stud…
makita xt328m
And jack stud to king stud.

Next up, I used the Makita XDT13Z impact driver to drive some Tapcon screws into all those holes the drill made in the concrete block wall. I also slapped on an extension, and used it to remove a large ventilation fan from the ceiling in a soon-to-be-demolished barn. It also easily removed the lag screws holding a large galvanized sliding-barn-door track from the barn.

makita xt328m
The impact driver with some happy Tapcons…
makita xt328m
And on a quick side trip to remove a large ventilation fan.

Finally, it was time for the lag event. Whenever I test an impact driver, I run several 6” Timberlok screws and 6” x 3/8” lag screws through six inches of solid wood, with no predrilling. These are very strong fasteners, and anyone making connections where strength is key – a ledger board on a deck to the rim joist on a house, for example – is very familiar with big lag screws.

makita xt328m
Impact drivers are ideal for driving large fasteners.
makita xt328m
The Makita XDT13Z easily handled the 6″ lag screws.

I used the Makita XDT13Z to drive several of each, and the driver had no trouble steadily burying and removing them, so I could bury them again (hey – I was down to my last two of each!). The driver was easy to control, even single-handed.

That’s part of the beauty of impact drivers: the hammer and anvil action funnels all the torque into driving your fasteners, rather than using it to try to snap your wrist. As with the hammer drill, though, along with all that power comes a fair bit of noise; get yer ears on! One other thing to be aware of is that impact drivers put a tremendous amount of strain on any driver bits you use. To avoid destroying your fasteners, or your bits, we strongly recommend using impact-rated bits and sockets.

Ready To Snag A Bag Of Teal?

For anyone putting together a set of tools for the job site or serious DIY use, the Makita XT328M combo kit is a good way to jump-start it. The three tools they chose to include are among the most helpful to have for general use. I think it’s especially convenient to have both a drill/driver and an impact driver. Often, when I have a project that requires a lot of pre-drilling and sinking of fasteners, I’ll set my drill up for making holes, and use an impact driver to drive fasteners. This saves a lot of swapping out of bits.

The tools all function well, and have the look and feel of quality tools. The set includes a decent mix of convenience features, such as the belt clips on both drivers and a hanging hook for the saw, and LED lights on everything. The included contractor bag feels sturdy, and is roomy enough for all the tools, batteries and charger, plus some accessories.

makita xt328m
The contractor bag is sturdy and roomy.

Speaking of accessories, although the Makita XT328M kit comes with one blade, no driver bits are provided, so make sure you pick up recip blades and driver bits if you don’t already have a stash. The Milwaukee AX Carbide blade I used during our testing is a beast; it had amazing life, even after cutting through nails, metal brackets and screws. We’ll be taking a more thorough look at its capabilities in the near future.

A final advantage to the Makita XT328M kit is that it comes with the rapid charger and two 4.0 Ah batteries. Makita claims that the batteries are the fastest-charging in their category, at around 40 minutes. Having the battery and charger lets you go shopping for more teal from the Makita 18-Volt LXT battery platform, and being able to buy them as bare tools saves you more $$$.

makita xt328m
Need more tools? Shouldn’t be a problem…

The Makita XT328M combo kit is backed by a three-year warranty on all the tools, batteries and charger. You can try out all the teal tools in the Makita XT328M trifecta with no worries, since the kit is returnable for 90 days. Check out the kit at the Home Depot, and give the teal trifecta a tryout!

makita xt328m

Buy from HF Sponsor Home Depot for around $399:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

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.

Photo of author

About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.