We’ve used a lot of tools in our time, most of them of the big, bulky, and tough-as-nails variety that garner lots of esteem from the generation that sought to buy something once – and then keep it oiled and working for the rest of their lives. The Makita LCT307W 12V Cordless Combo Kit contains some very compact products that represents well the “new” generation of portable, lightweight tools. Compared with typical competing portable drills, the included FD01W measures just over 6 inches from hex chuck to back (6-3/16″ to be exact) – and the DT01W Impact Driver is even smaller. This really makes these Makita tools much more accessible to tight spaces. On both tools, the built-in LED light illuminates with just a touch of the trigger and proved to be very bright and helpful. Under our test conditions where we intentionally worked in tight (and thus dark) quarters, both the Makita Driver-Drill and Impact Driver were great tools to get things done quickly.
Before we talk much about the tools themselves, let’s give some well-deserved kudos to Makita for the case. Yes, the case. The Makita LCT307W 12V Kit comes with a very nice tool case that simply looks beautiful. The only trouble is – we’re not convinced it would hold up under rigorous use or inclement weather since it’s not stainless steel or really designed for jobsite abuse. Of course, if it was the kit would cost all that much more. It’s certainly fancy, and a cut above what you will typically find in the marketplace, but for rugged professionals, a simple blow-mold style case or even a tool bag might be a better choice. When we opened it up, we found that the lid had room for the instruction manuals while the bottom portion held the charger, flashlight and twin drill/drivers (though those last two a bit precariously).
Makita LCT307W Features
These units are very light in the hand, weighing only 2 lbs – and that’s including the battery. Their soft pistol grips made for a comfortable no-slip grasp, and after using them for a while it was clear that this level of quality and attention to detail really helped reduce fatigue. In fact, we loved how the black rubber overmold protected our workpiece when the tool was laid on its side. This is significant if you’ve ever seen how harder tool surfaces can scuff wood. There is no such hazard with these Makita tools. Each unit also stands upright with great stability – something we’ve found not to be common with the in-handle battery tools from many other manufacturers. In cramped quarters during our testing, we routinely had to reach back and forth from stabilizing the shelving to pick up the FD01W Drill-Driver, and never did it tumble or fall from where we had set it down on its base. Rubber overmold is good, but a tool that is well-balanced and doesn’t have to be babied during use is even better.
The quick battery charge was impressive. A fully depleted battery was fully charged in 24 minutes, 30 seconds according to our stopwatch. As for run-time, with a fully-charged battery under no load and the trigger secured in the On position, it took 31 minutes, 41 seconds to fully deplete the battery charge. That basically means that you could have near-continuous use of the tool under normal working conditions, and it’s likely you could use both batteries simultaneously and still not run into a difficult time of things. The batteries themselves were of a very familiar form-factor and fit nicely into the handles of the tools as well as the flashlight:
Makita LCT307W Specifications
FD01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/4″ Hex Driver-Drill
- Chuck Size: 1/4″ hex
- Torque: 200 in/lbs (max)
- No-Load Speed: 0-350/1,300 RPM
- Length: 6-3/16″
- Weight: 2.0 lbs (w/battery)
DT01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver
- Chuck Size: 1/4″ hex
- Torque: 800 in/lbs (max)
- No-Load Speed: 0-2,400 RPM
- Impact Rate: 0-3,000 BPM
- Length: 6-1/8″
- Weight: 2.0 lbs (w/battery)
LM01W 12V max Lithium-Ion Cordless LED Flashlight
- Bulb: Cree-style LED
- Runtime: 9 hours per charge
- Brightness: 800 Lux
- Length: 4-3/4″
- Weight: 0.55 lbs (w/battery)
Testing and Use
We worked on installing shelves in a laundry room where lighting was low, and spaces were tight. For instance the top shelf neared where the roofline of the ceiling angled down at one end to meet the wall. Here, clearance for inserting screws was only about 7.5 inches. Both the 12V DT01W Impact Driver and FD01W Drill-Driver were a whiz for these cramped and darker locations. With every instance of preparing to mate the bit with the Phillips head screws, with just a touch of the trigger, the LED light would brightly illuminate the scene (which was great for my aging eyes). This eliminated any need for work lamps, power cords and just more “stuff” crowded into an already tight space. And who hasn’t had the problem even with work lamps of having to position them so that your own body doesn’t cast a shadow across your work area? No such problems here!
The Driver unit was also marvelous at driving long screws. We ran a series of 3 inch deck screws into standard 2×4 wall studs. With driving them to full penetration there was no lagging or hesitation of any kind. It was really remarkable performance! We are convinced that these tools would, interchangeably, do a fabulous job laying a deck or penetrating many kinds of hardwood since the available torque drove even longer screws with such ease. Torque on the FD01W was as significant as any tool we have ever used, despite its compact, even tiny size. For this unit to be so small, it delivers a remarkable performance. As for the DT01W Impact Driver, torque was even more impressive – especially since none of it was fed back to our arms during use. Makita claims around 800 in. lbs. of max torque and, given what we experienced using this tool, we have no reason to doubt those numbers. We rank the Makita to be about as powerful as many of the other 12V Impact Drivers we’ve tested from Bosch and Milwaukee, for example.
Since there are two 3-Piece 12V Lithium-ion Kits available from Makita, the Makita LCT307W reviewed model with the 1/4″ hex chuck, and the LCT309W with standard chuck, you’ve got to evaluate which one is best for your needs. If you are going for the absolute smallest size, the 1/4″ hex chuck model will win out every time. In the 1/4″ hex quick release version we tested, no conventional bits could be used. As a father over 80 and a son almost 50 who have collected a lot of tools in our lifetimes, quick release is relatively new technology for us old birds. So if purchasing new bits or sockets would be cost prohibitive, you may want to opt for the LCT309W Kit which contains the FD02W. There is, however, a third option. If you current feel that you want to get into the world of 1/4″ hex bits, but also want to support regular drill bits, then you can pick up an aftermarket adapter that will sacrifice some of the depth of the tool in order to add a standard adjustable chuck to a 1/4″ hex shank. Makita actually sells one of these – part #784635-2.
The included flashlight was a real bonus with this kit. Typically, manufacturers will just toss in a standard incandescent flashlight that probably cost them around $1 to make in bulk. With the LCT307W and LCT309W Kits, however, you are getting a real Cree-style 800 lux (that’s around 75 lumens) LCD lamp that puts out a significant amount of light. More than that, it will put out that blindingly bright light for up to 9 hours on a single charge. Now what was interesting was that we never once felt the need to reach for the LED light given our various tasks – the included LED lamps on the tools were sufficient enough to give us the light we needed. But this is like having an extra cool tool for free. If I’m going to crawl up into my attic, for example, I’m not going to take my DT01W Impact Driver for illumination, I’ll swap the battery out to the trusty LM01W LED light and bath the entire area with brilliant LED goodness… It’s just a different product, and we’re glad it’s included and hope other tool manufacturers are embarrassed from here on out to include any non-LED lights with their kits (yes, we’re talking to you!)
This is truly a great product that comes well packaged, contains everything you could want or need for many fastening tasks, and operates with high efficiency. Fast charging, ample torque, a bright integrated worklight… Makita didn’t cut too many corners with their Makita LCT307W 12V Cordless Combo Kit. Aside from not including a convenient holster for the tools (which would be a first for any manufacturer, to be honest) or belt clips, the biggest complaint we had was the lack of a battery level gauge on the tool. Even so, with its 24 minute power-up we can only groan a little. For Performance, this tool garnered a solid 7/10 and our Value rating came in at an 8/10 simply because of the level of packaging and the inclusion of an actual Cree LED-style light – a place where most other manufacturer skimp. We highly recommend this product and think it would be an excellent addition to your toolbox.