The Makita XDT16 is a Complete Package with Solid Performance and a Compact Design
The Makita XDT16 cordless impact driver aims to pack surprising performance into a deceptively compact design. We tested it against the top cordless impact drivers available to see how well it keeps up with the top names in the business.
- Incredibly compact and lightweight
- Excellent driving speeds
- Advanced controls
- Some users may want more torque
Makita XDT16 Cordless Impact Driver Performance
According to the specs, this Makita impact driver delivers up to 3,600 max RPM, 3800 IPM, and 1,600 in-lbs of torque.
In practical applications, this is a fast impact driver and it’s able to maintain its speed better than most of its competitors. Testing with ledger screws, it consistently drove them faster than impacts with higher listed speeds.
It did slip down the ratings a bit when we tested with GRK Fasteners 8-inch RSS screws, though. The brushless motor didn’t feel like it was struggling at all, it just didn’t keep up with some of the stronger models and needed about 8.5 seconds to fully drive the screws in stacked OSB.
Flipping over to our Impact Driver Test Track, the XDT16 finished our series of drywall screws, self-tapping screws, hole drilling, and ledger screws in 1:59. That was good enough to hold the lead for several months until Flex and Makita’s own XGT models finally took over that lead by a couple of seconds.
When it comes to power, 1600 in-lbs of torque doesn’t look all that impressive compared to some of the numbers we see today. That said, you need to decide what you expect from your impact driver. Once we get to higher torque ratings, we start seeing these tools break socket adapters frequently. Considering Makita’s ability to drive some of the toughest screws we use, its power level is absolutely adequate for the job it’s designed for.
Makita XDT16 Cordless Impact Driver Design Notes
Size and Weight
As a bare tool, Makita’s flagship impact driver is just under 2 pounds. With a 2.0Ah battery attached, it still manages to punch in at 2.9 pounds. It’s one of only a couple of impact drivers we’ve tested that weigh less than 3 pounds with a battery and none of those can match Makita’s performance.
With an overall length of 4.6 inches, this is one of the most compact 18V/20V max impact drivers you can get your hands on. DeWalt’s 20V Max Atomic DCF850 is about 1/2 an inch shorter and it’s about a millimeter shorter than Milwaukee’s 2857.
Fitting into tight spots and keeping your fatigue level down is a simple affair with this impact driver.
The Makita XDT16 has an advanced control system with 4 standard modes, 4 automatic smart modes, and a programmable mode switch.
The Assist mode helps eliminate screw cam out and cross threading by driving at low speed until the actual tightening begins. Once it senses the screw dig in, it ramps up to full speed.
Two tightening modes help with faster starting when you’re using self-tapping screws in thick or thin gauge metals before backing off at the end so you don’t shear off the head.
Finally, a reverse rotation auto-stop mode puts a halt to rotation and impacts when the fastener has loosened up. This is very convenient when you’re working on an engine or on bolts overhead and want to hand thread them off.
Cycle between the four assist modes with the “A” button.
There’s also a Quick Mode Shift button above the trigger. You can use it to either cycle through the four standard speed modes or program in your favorite.
To program the button, put the impact driver in the mode you want to save. Press and hold the Quick Mode Shift button and mode change button (hammer and drill icon) and hold it until you see the “C” LED blink green. Now the button will cycle back to that mode from any other.
To clear it and go back to standard mode cycling, press and hold the light button and programmable button until the panel flashes.
You can turn the Quick Mode Shift button on or off by pressing and holding it and the Assist (“A”) button.
Quick Mode Shift is helpful if you want to work between just one speed mode and an assist mode or a couple of speeds and switch with one hand. You can set it however you like, so you can work with a combination of any two modes you want.
- Brushless motor
- Dual LED lights on the chuck
- Belt hook
Makita XDT16 Brushless Impact Driver Price
This tool replaces Makita’s previous top-of-the-line impact driver, the XDT12. It’s a premium tool and the price reflects that. The kit runs $349 with two 5.0Ah batteries, $299 with two 2.0Ah batteries, or $195 for the bare tool.
The Bottom Line
The Makita XDT16 brushless impact driver is one of the nicest tools to use in its class thanks to its lightweight, compact design. The advanced controls can take some time to get used to, but they are really helpful once you do. If you’re driving larger timber, lag, or ledger screws the majority of the time, go ahead and look for something with more torque. But for the vast majority of professional contractors, this is one of the best options out there.
Makita XDT16 18V LXT Brushless Impact Driver Specifications
- Model: Makita XDT16
- Power Source: 18V LXT Lithium-ion batteries
- Speed (no-load): 0-1100/2100/3200/3600 RPM
- Torque (max): 1600 in-lbs.
- Impact Rate: 0-1100/2600/3600/3800 IPM
- Weight (bare): 1.9 lbs.
- Weight (battery): 2.9 lbs.
- Dimensions (LxH): 4.6 x 7.4 in.
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $359 (XDT16T kit w/5Ah batteries), $299 (XDT16R kit w/2Ah batteries), $195 (XDT16Z bare tool)