I was challenged by a recent project that involved re-roofing a jewelry store. Now, I can’t say specifically what was done for obvious reasons, but let’s just say that installing a security roof in this application involved hundreds of 5″ x 1/4″ lag bolts. Each of these lag bolts had to be driven through a yellow pine 2×6, ¾” torch-down roofing membrane, 3/4″ plywood, and finally, into the edge of a 2×4… all with no pre-drilled holes. This is a pretty grueling test for any impact driver. Providentially, I was able to get my hands on the new Makita LXDT08 Brushless Impact Driver and, honestly, I couldn’t think of a better test. I was also thankful to get the extra tool on loan because this was going to be a lot of work.
Because I had so many lag bolts to install, and I was racing against the clock due to weather conditions, my crew and I employed 3 impact drivers to handle the workload. It was the perfect side-by-side comparison of the new brushless technology vs. the standard motors. The other two impact drivers were a Porter Cable PCL181ID and a Bosch IDS181-02. In case you haven’t memorized all the model numbers, these are both still-shipping 18V impact drivers with lithium-ion batteries. The major difference between the Makita and the other drills was the BL brushless motor.
My first impression of the LXDT08 impact driver was positive… and honestly, the turquoise and black Makita color scheme is pretty nice. But aside from aesthetics, the driver was similar in size and shape to most other 18 volt impact drivers that I have used, though perhaps a tad shorter in length. It was nice and compact and fit comfortably in my hand. The LXT battery was actually larger than I expected, but I quickly realized I had been using compact models for so long that I could now benefit from the extra power and run-time of a full 18V extended run pack.
I was extremely impressed with the battery life. The Makita seemed to run forever, even though we were taxing it pretty hard. And the power that it has was displayed in eyebrow-raising fashion. The specs put the Makita LXDT08 at 1420 in. lbs. of max torque operating at 2500 RPMs. We started all 3 impact drivers on lag bolts at the same time, and the Makita consistently drove the fastener all the way down significantly faster than the others. It won by several seconds. The impact action also felt quite a bit smoother than the other impact drivers we were testing, which was something I didn’t expect, but was a nice surprise. It’s like it did more work on the fastener, and less on my ears and hands.
Throughout this security roof job, the Brushless LXDT08 continued to exceed my expectations. I also had a chance to use it in other applications like carpentry work and a kitchen install. Although I normally use a smaller impact driver for cabinet installation, I took the LXDT08 with me to install some maple cabinets. It made quick work of fastening the cabinets to the walls with 3″ screws, and I really liked how the drill didn’t slow down at all sinking the fastener all the way in. I also loved how I was able to do the whole job on a single battery. And when it came time to recharge, that only seemed to take around 30 minutes or so. When I used the impact driver to screw the face frames together and remove and install the cabinet doors, I had a hard time restraining the driver’s speed and power. After snapping off several screws, I’d say that Makita’s 12V product or the LXDT01 3-speed model might be a better choice for smaller projects that require a softer touch.
The LXDT08’s built-in LED light pointed in the correct area while drilling, which was nice. It’s located just above the trigger and casts only a minimal shadow on the work area. The reversible belt clip can be moved to either side with just a single screw, something lefties will appreciate.
One of the only “issues” I had with the driver was with the quick release 1/4″ hex chuck. On two different occasions, an inexpensive bit got itself stuck in the chuck. It required some serious work to remove it and my only takeaway was that I didn’t have the same problems with other bits, so this might just be a tolerance issue with certain shaped 1/4″ hex bits.
Overall, I was very pleased with the performance of the Makita LXDT08 Brushless Impact Driver. It lacks an abundance of bells and whistles, but do you really want or need those in an impact driver? Probably not. All in all, it’s a tool that is both powerful and compact. If you are looking for more, Makita’s expanded product line does have other impact drivers, such as the Makita LXDT01 3-speed cordless impact driver. This driver and other models offer different features for a wider range of applications. But the LXDT08 is the newest model and, in my opinion, holds its own. I would recommend this drill to other professionals… In fact, I might try to hide this one in my tool trailer.