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Makita 18V LXT Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-Drill XFD14Z Review

This drill scored quite well across the board, though it is a bit on the heavy side
Makita 18V LXT Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-Drill XFD14Z
Credit: Makita
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Price:   $150 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Great at driving fasteners, short length, good battery life
Cons:  Struggled with the larger hole saw
Manufacturer:   Makita
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Nov 10, 2021
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 16
  • Drilling - 35% 7
  • Driving - 35% 10
  • Battery Life - 20% 10
  • Convenience - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Makita 18V LXT Brushless Cordless 1/2" Driver-Drill scored very well compared to the rest of the drills that we tested, coming close to claiming the top spot. It delivered an impeccable performance when it came to driving in fasteners and did very well in most of the drilling tests (though faltering in our heaviest-duty tests). It has a great battery life with a handful of convenience features, though it is a bit on the heavier side. This drill doesn't seem to be commonly available as a combo kit with batteries and a charger, so you might need to purchase them separately.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Great at driving fasteners, short length, good battery lifeGreat for driving fasteners, heavy-duty, efficient use of battery lifePowerful, great battery life, fantastic integrated worklightImpressive drilling power, strong steel drilling performance, good control, great priceInexpensive, lightweight
Cons Struggled with the larger hole sawHeavy, takes some force to swap batteriesExpensive, only includes a single batteryOnly includes a single batter, so-so battery life in our testsWeak, minimal features
Bottom Line This drill scored quite well across the board, though it is a bit on the heavy sideIf you are looking for a top-tier drill to go with your existing Milwaukee batteries, this is your best betThe highest scorer in our group, this is a heavy-duty drill that can keep up with all your toughest projectsA decent drill for DIY projects that won't deplete your savingsAn okay drill for basic household tasks and assembly projects at a great price
Rating Categories Makita 18V LXT Brus... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt 24-volt Max... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Drilling (35%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
4.0
Driving (35%)
10.0
10.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
Battery Life (20%)
10.0
10.0
9.0
4.0
3.0
Convenience (10%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Specs Makita 18V LXT Brus... Milwaukee M18 Fuel... Kobalt 24-volt Max... Craftsman V20 1/2-I... Black+Decker 20V Ma...
Battery Capacity (Included) Tested w/ 2 Ah Tested w/ 2 Ah 2 Ah 1.3 Ah 1.5 Ah
Battery Voltage 20V 18V 24V 20V 20V
Max Chuck 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 1/2" 3/8"
Battery Chemistry Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion
Drill Model Tested XFD14Z 2803-20 KDD 524B-03 CMCD700 LDX120C
Box Model (Kit) Tested Tested tool-only, no kit Tested tool-only, no kit 672823 CMCD700C1 LDX120C
RPM Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2100
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 550
High: 0 - 2000
Low: 0 - 450
High: 0 - 1500
0 - 650
Peak Torque (manu) 1,250 in.lbs 1,200 in-lbs 650 in-lbs 280 UWO N/A
Measured Length 7" 7" 7-3/8" 8-1/4" 7"
Measured Weight 4 pounds 7.7 ounces 4 pounds 1 ounce 3 pounds
15.2 oz
3 pounds 7 ounces 2 pounds
10.8 ounces
Measured Charge Time 23 minutes 25 minutes 75 minutes 58 minutes 210 minutes
Battery Indicator Location Battery Battery Battery Battery N/A
LED Location Above the trigger Above the battery Above the battery Above the trigger Above the trigger
Included Belt Clip Yes Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Some nice features about the Makita 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Drill are the included clamp-on handle and the shorter length. The clamp-on handle makes it easier to hold the drill when using larger drill bits and the shorter length can be very handy when using the drill in more confined areas.

Performance Comparison


This drill is one of our favorites when it comes to driving in...
This drill is one of our favorites when it comes to driving in fasteners.
Credit: Laura Casner

Drilling


Our testing process started by rating and ranking the drilling performance of each of these cordless tools. We determined scores by seeing how each drill handled making holes with a 5-inch hole saw through a solid-core door, with a 1-inch spade or paddle bit through stacked 2x lumber, and with twist drills through a steel sheet. The Makita XFD14Z did well, earning a score well above average.

We found the Makita to do impressively well in this test drilling a...
We found the Makita to do impressively well in this test drilling a series of 1" holes with a spade bit.
Credit: Laura Casner

This drill got off to a fantastic start with the 1-inch paddle bit. It punched through the stacked boards — even in high gear — and never really caught or struggled to break through as it completed each hole.

The Makita XFD14Z also did quite well with the twist drills on the steel sheets. It only took around 1.5 seconds to drill a ¼-inch hole and didn't stall or catch at all. It struggled a bit more with the ½-inch drill, requiring us to drop down to the lower gear and take around 10 seconds to drill the hole.

This drill did catch slightly with the larger twist drill, forcing...
This drill did catch slightly with the larger twist drill, forcing us to shift gears.
Credit: Laura Casner

Unfortunately, we found the performance of the Makita XFD14Z plummeted with the large hole saw. This drill did manage to achieve the full depth of the hole saw but struggled in its higher gear. It did better when dropped to the lower gear, taking around 20 seconds to complete the task, but we found the battery depleted after just the one hole, significantly hurting our opinion of this tool.

The Makita made short work of the larger lag screw, as soon as we...
The Makita made short work of the larger lag screw, as soon as we shifted to the lower gear.
Credit: Laura Casner

Driving


Our next round of tests rated and ranked how each cordless drill did at driving in fasteners. For this metric, we used 5-inch long, ½-inch lag screws and standard wood screws, scoring each tool on the ease and speed at which it drove the different screws in. The Makita XFD14Z did exceptionally well, earning one of the best scores of the entire group.

This drill easily drove the large lag screw to the full depth, making it about half of the way in high gear, then easily finished it off in the lower gear. This was through a 2x4 into a 4x4 on end, with an appropriate pilot hole drilled.

We love how easy this drill makes it to perfectly set countersunk...
We love how easy this drill makes it to perfectly set countersunk screws.
Credit: Laura Casner

As expected, it also did very well with the standard wood screws. It easily can drive them to their full depth with just a bit of pressure. It also offers a decent amount of control when it comes to getting the screw heads flush, though we did find a few other drills that were just a bit better in this regard. The adjustable clutch has 21 different torque settings as well, making it easy to set to not overdrive or strip any fasteners.

This drill did very well in our battery efficiency test.
This drill did very well in our battery efficiency test.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life


Our next set of tests looked at efficiently each of these power tools utilized their cordless battery capacity. We purchased the Makita XFD14Z as a tool-only product, so we conducted these tests with a 2 amp-hour Makita battery — comparable to the type of battery most other products include when purchased as a kit. We based scores on a side-by-side usage comparison and the time it took for a battery to recharge with the stock charger. This Makita did very very well, earning it a top-tier score.

For our side-by-side usage comparison, we alternated between driving in 16, 3-inch wood screws through to full depth in stacked 2x12 boards and drilling 3, 1-inch holes using a spade bit. We started each drill in high gear, shifting down to the lower gear if the drill was struggling with either task.

The XFD14Z completed nine full cycles of this, dying on the 10th. However, it did manage to drive in all the screws and drill half of a hole on the 10th cycle. This cordless drill also easily managed these tasks in the higher gear for all but the 1-inch holes on the last full set. This is one of the best battery performances we have evaluated to date.

On top of all that, we love how fast this battery recharges. The factory charger fully topped off a completely depleted 2 amp-hour battery in approximately 25 minutes in our tests — significantly better than the hours it took some of the other chargers for a similarly-sized battery.

We found this Makita drill to be quite user-friendly and convenient...
We found this Makita drill to be quite user-friendly and convenient to operate.
Credit: Laura Casner

Convenience


Our last metric for these drills rated and ranked their overall user-friendliness and ease of use. We award points based on the various convenience features each product has, such as an integrated work light, belt clip, or battery indicator, as well as the ergonomics of each drill, ease of swapping batteries, usable drill bit range, and the number of different gears/speeds available. The Makita XFD14Z delivered solid results, earning it an above-average score.

This drill has two different speed modes, and the chuck can adjust to hold a bit with a maximum of a ½-inch shank. We love that you can turn on the integrated light without starting the drill and found it to be quite effective in tight, dark spaces. It provides decent illumination, with only a bit of shadow above the drill bit.

The integrated LED work light on the Makita usually provides enough...
The integrated LED work light on the Makita usually provides enough light to get the job done.
Credit: Laura Casner

The drill feels plenty comfortable to hold, though it is a bit on the heavier side, tipping the scales at about 4 pounds, 7.7 ounces. The XFD14Z includes a belt clip and the batteries have a built-in indicator, though we weren't fans of the increased force it took when inserting or removing a battery.

Value


While the Makita XFD14Z is one of the top-tier performers, it also comes with a top-tier price tag. It isn't the best value option, particularly if you aren't tackling projects with heavy-duty drilling or driving applications.

Conclusion


Overall, we think the Makita XFD14Z is a great cordless drill. It gets the job done, scoring very well in the majority of our tests. Our main complaint was the battery dying during our 5-inch hole saw test but we found very little to take issue with besides that. It efficiently uses battery power and does a great job driving in fasteners, all while being convenient and easy to use.

David Wise and Austin Palmer

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