Need Help Deciding Drill/Impact Kit

Hey everyone! New to the thread and enjoying the community. I am finally moving on from borrowing my dad’s tools and beginning my journey into my collection. I need some help and guidance on deciding on a tool combo kit.

To start things off, I will be doing light wood work mostly at the moment such as building desks, and moving to home renovation projects down the road. Overall, would like a kit that can handle that and plus a bit more if needed. Listed below are the kits I have in mind with a ranking of what I am leaning more towards.

Makita 18v Sub Compact Driver/Impact Drill (CX200RB) - Really liking this one the most due to is compact size and punch it has. Just worry that it might not be strong enough in the long run for home renovation projects.

Makita 18v LXT Driver/Impact Drill (XT281S) - Big brother of the sub compact which I understand can do the what I need plus more.

Milwaukee M18 Driver/Impact Drill (2892-22CT) - Third choice and I think will be as good as Makita’s 18V LXT model.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Driver/Impact Drill (DCK278C2) - Last choice, can’t go wrong with DeWalt as an option as they do the job.

So, those are my choices and would like some insights and guidance with the right choice. Preferably, would most likely stay with Makita but am open to your guy’s expertise/opinions. Thanks!

Any of these will cover your needs. Figured I’d weigh in because I have owned both Makita kits.

I find the chuck on the subcompact a little lacking. No matter how hard I crank it down, when I need to do some moderate duty work, such as drilling mild steel, the chuck has some slip on the drill shank. I used the subcompact impact extensively for 3 months on a huge job, driving mostly 3" deck screws – it can manage that all day, but if you step up to any of their other brushless impacts, they’ll do the same more smoothly. It really is noticeable.

I ended up feeling that the size and weight savings of the subcompact were negligible, and the only time I prefer it is when the tool is on my belt, rather than in use.

Dewalt Atomic seems to be well-liked, but again, it sits in that subcompact territory where it’s not that much smaller or that much cheaper than the next step up in the Dewalt line, which will give you smoother performance when doing medium duty work such as running hole saws or mixing the occasional 1/2 bucket of mud.

I like Milwaukee cordless stuff fine; I just don’t prefer them these days, and most of the crews I work with run Bosch and Makita.

I’m also invested in Makita 12v, Bosch 12v and 18v, and have a few tools in Hitachi 18v, Milwaukee 12v and 18v. I have some experience with others as I work in different shops. Basically, they all spin. Find a deal and then don’t worry about what else is out there. Just feel good about buying the tools you needed and getting good use out of them.

Good luck!

I’m nowhere near as experienced or skilled as some other people here, but I do that kind of work you are talking about: building furniture and handyman-type work.

I’ve been pretty happy with the Milwaukee M12 line. So far they are powerful enough for me, and they are lighter than 18-volt tools, and cheaper than the pro-level 18 volt tools. I did look at Ridgid 18-volt tools, but the Milwaukee line is much more complete.

I have to say, it took me a while to get used to the idea of “powerful enough.” My instinct was to go for the most powerful available. But reading other furniture-building sites changed my mind.

It IS nice not to have to lift an 18-volt tool all day if I don’t need to!


I have the Makita LXT sub compact kit at work and I really like it. I also bought the same kit for my brother to use at his new house.

I think Makita LXT makes a lot of sense for a home owner, especially if you also add the LXTx2 string trimmer and/or chainsaw.

The really nice thing about the LXT ecosystem is that you can have both lightweight but powerful and capable tools and “heavy duty” tools, all on the same battery platform. The downside is that the black sub-compact tools are expensive (but high quality).

Personally, I have mostly M12 tools and I often wonder if I should have gone Makita. Milwaukee has released a few specialty M12 tools that make me happy with my choice though.

I’d take the DeWalt Atomic off the list, this is coming from a DeWalt user. I whole heartedly recommend putting DeWalt’s DCD791/887 kit on the list. Can’t go wrong with Milwaukee or Makita LXT either but I would not recommend starting with the sub compact.

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The DCD791 AND 887 set is great. But like blocky said, they all spin. I’d recommend getting the set that has the best deal and availability around you (to include warranty support site).

Bit of an odd response, but I’d recommend buying either the Milwaukee kit you mentioned or going with a M18 Surge hydraulic driver kit to start and supplementing with M12 tools. The M18 kits come with a dual-voltage charger so you can jump into M12 whenever they do a free battery promotion with bare tool (very often) at a low cost without needing a separate charger.

I think that you’ll like the lower power and ability to really fine tune the chuck of the M12 drill for woodworking.

There are also a lot of really useful and unique tools in the M12 line that are useful around the house.

If you have any thought of needing to drill in masonry or concrete, I’d get a drill with a hammer function that can be turned on or off.