Makita Impact Driver Review 18V Cordless


From the time we bought our Makita cordless impact driver, it was a couple of weeks before we got to test out the tool. A project we’d been meaning to get around to was to construct a new shed on a rural property devoid of mains power. Now with the new cordless impact driver we had the motivation to complete the job. The shed is 6m x 4.5m all steel frame with steel roof purlins, solid jarrah wall purlins, corrugated iron roof and wall sheets. Using tek-screws to fix the roof and cladding, this was the ultimate test of the Makita cordless impact driver. Once the main uprights and roof trusses were set into position, all of the purlins needed to be fixed before we could start sheeting. Fixing the purlins required driving tek screws through 2.5mm thick steel angle. The “top hat” roof purlins were no major work for the  impact driver as the steel was relatively thin. Applying light pressure and pulling the trigger easily drove the screws in within a second or two. When it came to the Jarrah wall purlins, we wondered how the compact  impact driver would go. For anyone that has never worked with Jarrah before, it is a tough Australian hardwood that can blunt the best saw blades in minutes. In the past we’d burned out electric drills fixing into Jarrah, how would the impact driver cope? To make things easier we wiped all of the screws on a dry bar of soap before fixing. This allowed the screws some lubrication to get through the hard jarrah before hitting the steel frame and tightening up. One by one the Makita Impact driver sent the screws through without fuss. The torque of the impact driver coupled with the tough timber was more than several of the tek-screws could handle. Every now and then we had to put in a new tek-screw as the head broke off the original. After a few hours we had all the purlins fixed and were very impressed with the tool. To be fair we were on the second battery, however considering what we had asked of the impact driver and the 48 tek-screws (plus a few broken ones) we had driven through 50mm (2 in) thick solid Jarrah and 2.5mm thick steel it was a great effort. As with many of the tools in the Makita 18V LXT range, the impact driver is fitted with a handy LED light. Mounted up ahead of the trigger to illuminate the work area, the LED also stays illuminated for a few seconds after the trigger is released.

With the shed frame complete, we fixed the corrugated iron sheeting, starting with the roof first. The Makita Impact Driver made quick work of the roof fixing, easily punching screw after screw through the roof sheets into the light gauge top hats. It took longer to lift each roof sheet into position then it did to screw it off and we were on the second battery by the time the roof was completed.

The wall sheeting required 90% timber tek-screws to fix to the Jarrah purlins and 10% steel tek-screws to fix at the front where we had used a steel wall frame to support a glass sliding door. The Makita impact driver performed as it had on the rest of the sheeting, without complaint driving the screws in without trouble. We worked over the space of several days fitting an hour or two of sheeting in around various other activities, however we only had to charge the batteries once so it took approximately 4 batteries to complete the whole shed and there were a LOT of screws used.

Once the sheeting was complete, we fixed the sliding door frame into position again using the Impact Driver. This task required more finesse than driving the tek-screws. Most of the time when sheeting the shed and constructing the frame, we could just fully squeeze the trigger and let the full torque of the tool drive the tek-screws in. For this task we’d still needed torque, however at a lot slower speed so as not to strip the Phillips head bit or self tapping screws. All of the holes were pre-drilled with a 2.5mm drill bit prior to fixing the frame in place. The trigger adjustable speed of the  Impact driver worked great, allowing us to hold steady pressure and gently drive each screw home without galling out a single screw head. With the shed complete it’s fair to say that our Makita Impact driver has had a thorough and successful test.

There are a couple of things we would change if we could. The belt clip on the cordless impact wrench can be screwed onto either side of the tool for left or right hand, however we found the actual clip design is a bit fiddly to hook onto our belt/clothes when we were trying to hold something in position. The other gripe is more to do with the plastic tool case than the tool itself. The tool case has a plastic compartment and separate lid to hold screws and various bits. It is a good idea, however the compartment lid does not seal perfectly on the inside and so we often find the screws and bits have mixed together during transit. Neither are major problems, just something that could have been sorted during design.