The Makita XDT16 Puts Together a Complete Package to Take the Crown
We tested 30 impact drivers in a head-to-head contest to see which model has the best speed, power, ergonomics, and value. While the competition was intense, the Makita XDT16 Brushless Impact Driver took 1st place in its first head-to-head review and continues to be at the top of its game.
Makita XDT16 Cordless Impact Driver Performance
Makita claims that the XDT16 delivers 3,600 max RPM (no-load speed) and 1,600 in-lbs of torque. The good news is that torque value undersells what this impact driver is actually capable of.
Speed Under Load
The XDT16 fired off a really brisk 651 RPM under load. This speed is significantly faster than the 2nd place Metabo HPT Triple Hammer’s 573 RPM. The fact that only half of the impact wrenches we tested could maintain a 500+ RPM makes this tool’s substantial lead all that much more impressive.
On the one hand, this category presents us with the Makita XPT16’s worst performance – 2131 in-lbs of fastening torque for an 8th place finish. While an 8th place finish isn’t necessarily awe-inspiring, this figure does far exceed the 1500 in-lbs we want to see for a Pro-grade impact driver.
Interestingly enough, while the Makita XDT16 is merely adequate at tightening down bolts, it winds up being way more impressive at taking them off. With 3,300 in-lbs of nut-busting torque, this impact driver finishes in a strong 4th place (tied with Ridgid’s R86037N). Only Milwaukee’s Gen 3 M18 Fuel, Kobalt’s 24V, and Skil’s 20V pull more breakaway torque than Makita in our tests.
Makita XDT16 Impact Driver Weight and Footprint
As a bare tool, Makita’s impact driver comes in at just under 2 lbs. With a 2.0Ah battery attached, it still manages to punch in at 2.9 lbs. Only the Mac Tools MCF886 model was lighter when we tested.
However, no other 18V impact driver currently matches the XDT16’s size. With an overall length of 4.6″ and an overall height of 7.4″, it’s just a touch smaller than Milwaukee’s 2857.
Overall, the Makita XDT16 is the most compact when you factor in both size and weight. Fitting into tight spots and keeping your fatigue level down is a simple affair with this impact driver.
Makita XDT16 Noise Level
There’s no getting around it, impact drivers are really noisy tools. So, when we refer to a “quiet” impact wrench, we mean it in a relative sense. The Makita XDT16 is one of the quietest impact drivers we tested.
It sounds off at an almost church-mousey 97 dB(A), which puts it in a two-way tie with the Hilti SID 4-A22 for a first-place finish in the noise category. While it might be the quietest, you’ll still want hearing protection if you plan to use it for any extended amount of time.
The Makita XDT16 earns the top ranking for its feature set, based in large part on its 4 auto smart modes and 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 with self-drilling 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 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 wrench, the XDT12. It has a similar pricing structure – around $359 as a kit with two 4.0Ah batteries and a charger, or around $177.99 for the bare tool.
This price point puts the XDT16 in 8th place for value. The presence of Prosumer models skews that somewhat and Makita scores a more respectable 80 points when you only consider the Pro brands.
The Bottom Line
The Makita XDT16 Brushless Impact Driver presents a really potent mix of speed and torque, and it does it in an incredibly compact, and lightweight package. With its automatic smart modes, it has a feature set that should help keep both your bits and fasteners intact. If you need an impact driver that just about ticks off all conceivable boxes, this is the tool for you.
Makita XDT16 18V LXT Brushless Impact Driver Specifications
- Model: 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/4Ah battery), $299 (XDT16R kit w/2Ah battery), $177.99 (XDT16Z bare tool)