Disclaimer…. I am not sponsored by or received any tools (with the exception of the eGo 650 blower which I recently won in a raffle) I own. I have purchased all of my tools and have not been offered compensation for my time or opinion.
It’s well documented that I am an avid user of Makita tools, in particular their cordless tool platform. I mean how can the first company to mass produce (nod to Black and Decker’s production in the 1960’s) the Cordless Drill get it wrong? Being first also means contending with the unknown and is also, typically, the most difficult. The result in the case of the XPT02 Hybrid Impact Driver is Makita gets somethings right and expectedly some things wrong.
Let’s start with what this tool is. It is a hammer drill, rotary drill, driver, and impact driver; designed to eliminate the need to carry two tools for lightweight to medium applications. In addition to the traditional two speeds of many drill/drivers and bit collar function selector that is found on traditional hammer drill drivers; the XPT02 also features an electronic clutch. Aside from being electronic the clutch operates differently. The traditional twisting of the clutch ring around the bit collar is replaced by a button on the base of the handle. It features 10 settings, all activated with the aforementioned button, and the setting is denoted with a number 1-10. Also found on the base of the handle is a battery indicator. If I had to guess, I’d say that Makita deigned the XPT02 for the repair industry, punch list, homeowner usage. I can say with a high degree of confidence (okay certainty) they did not intend to replace a contractors/professionals Hammer Drill/Driver or Impact Driver.
Let’s review performance. Firstly, having a single tool that serves the needs of two can be a risk reward that often results in a tool that doesn’t perform either function particularly well. That is not the case here. The XPT02 delivers solid performance as a drill, driver and impact. Are the speed, torque and impacts the same as Makita’s or other manufacturers premium offerings? Absolutely not. They are however very good and sufficient for more than 85% of the tasks I have used it for. Drilling 1” holes with a spade or auger bit in a wall, stud, plastic and driving 3” screws into PT wood are no problem. Reiterating- will the XPT02 accomplish theses as quickly as a dedicated drill or impact driver- no. That’s not the intention of the design.
Shifting modes is straight forward, as is using the clutch. The electronic clutch leaves a bit too be desired. Pushing the clutch 9 times to get to a setting can be inefficient. Also as a new to market solution, familiarity with which setting to use isn’t as intuitive as I’m accustomed to with a traditional twist collar. My biggest complaint though with the clutch is that the clutch setting largely dictates the speed at which you are able to drive a fastener. When using the XPT02, I often find the clutch setting I want does not correspond well to the speed setting I’d like. By way of example, I assembled my daughters new tiny tikes kitchen for her birthday a few weeks ago; and while I wanted a fast rotation (speed) to help with the self tapping screws biting into the ABS plastic, I also wanted a very low torque setting (clutch) so as not to strip the screws. That combination isn’t possible with the Makita XPT02. Sure they advertise a ‘self tapping’ mode, its intended purpose is sheet metal and will not work with my stated assembly of the kitchen. Instead I used a medium clutch setting and had to pay extra attention to not over driving or stripping the plastic. By way of comparison, I drove a few screws with my Makita XFD11 Subcompact Drill/Driver on speed 2 and clutch set for 5. That was a perfect combination and I used it to drive the last few fasteners versus finishing with the XPT02. If it is possible, I’d urge Makita to solve this problem by reverting to a traditional manual clutch, located on the bit collar.
I’d be remise to not mention the weight of the XPT02. Although well balanced and featuring the ergonomics Makita is known for, the XPT02 tips the scale at a robust (per specs) 3.9lbs with battery (assume 2ah although it is not stated on the product page). After using the any of the available drill/drivers/impact (including impact wrenches- sans the monster steel girder fastening impact wrenches) the weight is is remarkable. I suspect using the XPT02 all day as a primary drill/driver/impact would be an unpleasant experience. I’m not entirely sure where Makita might be able to reduce weight for a Gen 2 model; if possible that should be a key focus.
As mentioned the ergonomics are well designed. Another aspect that gets a lot of attention these days is the decibel level at which a tool operates. The XPT02 is no louder (not scientifically measured) than any other impact driver/wrench in the Makita lineup (excluding the Impulse Oil impact driver XST01 - which I have not used). I do find using an impact driver/wrench to be harsh on my hearing and uncomfortable for more than a few fasteners and will quickly put on hearing protection. The XPT02 in impact mode is no exception.
There is of course the consideration of price. Currently offered on Amazon at $279 as a bare tool, you can get a very good combination kit (from many OEM’s) and some extra batteries for roughly $200. I have convinced myself the R&D costs were astronomical (and possibly some uniquely designed tooling and parts) for the development of this Hybrid and that why it is priced
I want to temper my criticism of the tool design and features a bit by acknowledging that I am not an engineer and some of the suggestions I have made may not be possible. In fact, I am sure there is a high probability Makita engineers considered these design suggestions and were unable to make some of them work with a tool as unique as this Hybrid Hammer Drill/Driver/Impact. In fact, I want to commend Makita for the innovation and being first to market, again!
Recently I’ve seen a criticism leveled at Makita for what is perceived as a lack of new tools and volume of releases, when compared to what Milwaukee and Dewalt (volume) have been releasing. That criticism has also extended to include the specs of the tools, specifically that the specs are minimally or not better than their rivals. There’s validity to some of those criticisms. However, in my opinion, there is also some shortsidedness (yeah thats not a word ). Firstly Makita has (at least advertised as) the largest 18v class of tools. Something in the neighborhood of 275 tools. Sure they count all 9 of their impact drivers as individual tools- but all manufacturers do. Also the other manufacturers had a lot of tools to add (read: catch-up) to their stable which Makita has offered for years. Further still, Makita has been innovating in other spaces. OPE immediately comes to mind - where Milwaukee and Dewalt have some initial offerings. Then again Milwaukee and Dewalt have cordless heat guns and Makita doesn’t. All the head to head comparisons are fun to watch - but what I think is lost in many of the conclusions is that these tools performance are highly competitive in their respective classes.
I’ll digress just a bit more and pontificate that I live by the advice I give out to others when investing in cordless tools. Initially borrow from your friends and family a few of offerings from each OEM. Research price points and see of the primary tools you would invest your own money in (drill/driver, circular, reciprocating, jig saw, possibly OPE blowers or mowers) are offered by the OEM. Check for availability in your area (in-store ideally so as to be able to handle tools); one downside of Bosch, Makita (and others) are that they are overseas companies and often tools released overseas aren’t offered or take some additional time to come to the United States. If thats an important consideration for you, then I would be the first to suggest Dewalt or Milwaukee. Otherwise, choose the platform you find to be most readily available and of course at price points you’re comfortable and do your best to stick to one, perhaps two battery platforms. Managing more battery platforms, for me, is a nightmare and more work than it is work. In fact I only use other OEM tools (Ryobi and Dewalt) as I found an adapter (I know, I know) that enables the use of my Makita battery with their tools.
My last statement and then I’ll get back on topic, the Makita XPT02, is that these comparisons, must be tempered with a point in time mindset. I say this as for certain, tomorrow or next week or month (definitely in the next 12 months) all of the OEM’s are going to release the next Generation tool (especially in the drill/driver category) that will outperform what is offered on the market today.
Okay, fine, one more statement…. if you want to criticize Makita for making 18v and 36v blowers and vacuums all with different hose diameters and a lack of adapters to fit their tools without endless adapters… I’ll be the first to like that post. Now, back to the XPT02.
In summary, is the XPT02 the lightest Hammer Drill/Driver, Impact Driver. No, in fact (as best as I can surmise from research) it’s the heaviest of the major manufacturers professional line offerings. It is however lighter than the combined weight (with battery) of nearly all of the major manufacturers professional separate hammer drill/driver and impact driver. Is the XPT02 the most compact drill/driver or impact; no. It is however shorter than a fair share of Drill/Drivers and the combined length of a separate hammer drill/driver and impact driver. Is the XPT02 going to drive 4” lag screws or bolts… maybe… but it is not something you will want to do repeatedly. When I find myself using it is in my “go bag”. When a friend or relative calls and says hey I need help fixing/assembling/hanging something, firstly I know it’s never one thing, and thats when the XPT02 shines. I can grab my bag and go, knowing that I have a reliable Drill/Driver/Impact thats going to accomplish the task of two other tools (sarcastically I stated above that it is lighter than the combined weight and shorter than lining up a drill/driver and impact - but there is merit to those comparisons) and keeps me on the same battery platform.
The decision on the purchase of the XPT02 cannot however rest solely on convince and performance. The price must be considered and IMO unless you have an overwhelmingly need for the Hybrid Hammer Drill/Driver and Impact all-in-one function; I cannot make the argument that the XPT02 is value well spent. You can get similar performance from a number of combination kits (including 12v kits), from many manufacturers. I think if Makita finds a way to get the bare tool into the $150-$180 range, then the argument can be made for investing.