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In order to understand what “compact” means, you always have to take into account the type of item to which the name’s applied.  For example, a “compact” dump truck would be small compared to a normal dump truck, but probably not so small in comparison to your friend’s Honda Civic. 

So keep that in mind when we tell you about Makita’s “compact” 18V impact driver.  It’s not as small as, say, Bosch’s new 10.8V Impactor, but it’s actually slightly smaller (and, more importantly, lighter) than the 14.4V we used in the Bosch comparison test.  And when you consider that it delivers a li-ion-driven 1,280 in-lbs of torque, you’re starting to get the picture.

Besides the high-current batteries, the key to the Makita’s sweet torque rating is its 4-pole motor, which packs extra umph into a small space.  The motor’s brushes are accessible for replacement, and Makita’s 45-minute charger is “smart” so you don’t have to worry about accidentally killing batteries by leaving ’em on the charger too long.  We’d guess that the 3.0 Ah battery should deliver good runtime as well.  All this adds up to a pro-level tool.

And weighing in at under 3 pounds, it should be easy on the arms (and shoulders) if not on the wallet.  We found the Makita starting at around $270 online.

18V Compact Li-Ion Impact Driver [Makita]
Street Pricing [Froogle]
Via Amazon [What’s this?]


4 Responses to Makita’s 18V Compact Li-Ion Impact Driver: Small Tool, Big Power

  1. Mike R says:

    I have this and love it. Got it with a combo kit, and I use it more than any other too that came with the kit. I’ve got some drill bit that fit in it, and now I hardly ever touch the drill driver.

    I did a bunch of projects with this and a friend’s Bosch Litheon PS20 and came away really really liking the PS20, but unable to find a compelling reason to buy one already owning the Makita.

    Makita vs the Bosch PS20 (granted this isn’t a fair comparison)

    – The Makita obviously has tons more power. It can drive drywall screws right through a stack of 2x4s. As in the screw head bores a tunnel through the boards.
    – The Bosch is lighter, but not so much lighter that I was wishing I had it instead of the Makita. The Makita is very light for its size and power.
    – The belt loop and bit holders on the Makita are a big plus over the Bosch
    – The Bosch has an adjustable chuck, but the Makita has a great trigger that is easy to control, so I never felt the need for a chuck
    – The Makita is significantly shorter than the Bosch from front to back. I was able to get it into some tight quarters that the Bosch couldn’t get to
    – The LED light on the Makita is -alot- brighter. It also comes on and stays on for ~30 seconds with a light tap of the trigger – very handy. The bosch light is only on when the tool is running.

    I can’t say enough good things about this tool. I had 14v and 18v NiMH Makita drills until recently, and the 18v was kind of heavy and the 14v was sometimes not powerfull enough. This thing seems as light or lighter than the 14v drill and has way more power than the 18v drill.

  2. Bob says:

    Actually this tool (BTD140) weighs 3.3 pounds, according to the Makita website.

  3. Ryan C says:

    I’m in the market for one of these impact wrenches. I will be using it mainly for automotive use, removing rusted suspension bolts etc. Would I be better off with a impact “wrench,” or an impact “driver” like the above with an adapter for 3/8 sockets?

    Would it make a difference – I’m guessing the wrench similar to Makita’s 6933FDWE will be better for torquing my old bolts out…but the driver may prove more useful around the house.

  4. Paul says:

    Ryan C:

    The impacts will work fine as automotive impacts, the main difference is you need to keep in mind the torque ratings.

    1280 in/lbs of torque sounds like a lot, especially when its twice what large drills have, but its only about 107 ft/lbs of torque, which is very low for an automotive impact wrench.

    This impact will do a lot of automotive tasks fine, but it won’t be able to touch larger tighter bolts like lug nuts. Makita makes a larger impact wrench with 325 ft/lbs of torque for just slightly more which will take off lug nuts, but is a bit bulkier, and would be difficult to use around the house.

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