Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit Cordless Drill Reviews & Impact Drivers

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit Review


Pro Tool Reviews

Build Quality
Feature Set
Ergonomics
Power
Performance
Value
Final Thoughts

The Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit is the perfect – and right now, only – solution for the Pro who insists on carrying both heavy-duty and truly compact cordless tools every day without having to buy into a separate battery platform.

Overall Score 4.3 Pro Review
Readers Rating
89 votes
1.6

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The Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit is making us rethink the natural order of things when it comes to cordless power tools. Until now, there has always been a clear delineation between 18-volt and 12-volt tools. 18-volt tools have the most power and were built for heavy-duty applications while 12-volt tools are lightweight, compact, and can handle roughly 80 percent of your daily tasks.

12-volt tools became popular thanks to their lightweight and compact characteristics and many Pros are more than happy to buy into a new battery platform in order to relieve the fatigue that accompanies the heavier class. Makita is now challenging all of that by essentially making a line with 12-volt characteristics on their 18-volt platform. The line between genius and madness is often very thin, so when it comes to the Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit, which is it?

Features Worth Talking About

The Featherweight Division

Obviously, the story here is the size and weight of each of the tools in the Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit. And a big story it is. The drill weighs in at just 2.04 pounds bare and 2.88 pounds with the compact battery installed. The impact driver is even lighter at 1.82 pounds bare and 2.66 pounds.

Dimensions also come into play with the drill being 6-5/16 inches long and 8-7/8 inches tall with the compact battery. The driver is understandably more compact at 5-1/4 inches long and 8-1/2 inches tall with the compact battery installed.

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Performance Features

The Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit features brushless motors that help increase the runtime of the 18V LXT batteries along with the life of the tools.

The Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Drill is fairly basic, featuring a two speed motor that can deliver up to 350 pounds of torque at 1700 RPM. Like you’d expect to find on any Pro level drill, there are adjustable clutch settings on the collar and a dedicated drilling mode.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit

The Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Impact Driver also features a two speed motor. It comes in packing 1240 inch pounds of torque, a no-load speed up to 3000 RPM, and up to 3900 IPM impact rate. Also mostly basic in its feature set, Makita included a feature that I’m hoping to find on their future impact drivers. The Assist Mode starts driving a screw in low speed and as the tool senses the increase in friction, it kicks into high speed to drive the screw.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit

Ergonomics

At the risk of overstating it, the lightweight and compact nature of the Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit clearly enhances the ergonomics over other tools in the 18-volt class. Makita’s ergonomic handle design is also in play on both tools and makes for perhaps the best ergonomics of any 18-volt drill and impact driver.

Performance

I tested the Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit in many of the same materials we typically test cordless drills and impact drivers. I also had a fence building project to work on that I took these to for some additional work.

Starting with some work in stacked plywood, the Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Drill was able to handle drilling 1/4-inch holes with a standard twist bit with no issues whatsoever. 1/2-inch spade bits were also no issue, so I moved on to a 3/4-inch spade bit where a lot of our 12-volt cordless drills had trouble. Even though 350 inch pounds of torque sounds relatively low, it had no trouble whatsoever with that 3/4-inch spade bit. Where I finally reached its capacity was using a Bosch Daredevil 1-inch threaded tip spade bit.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit

 

Screwdriving was a breeze for the brushless drill and it was easy to dial in a clutch setting for a consistent depth of drive.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit

The Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Impact Driver quickly became my best friend on screwdriving tasks. Easily driving a wide variety of screws, when it came to applications where I needed control, the Assist Mode really showed off its value. Starting off slow gave each screw the ability to dig in without being flung around at a high speed. This was particularly helpful when driving Starborn Cap-Tor xd deck screws into composite decking.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit

Like we’ve come to expect from Makita, the ergonomics under load were maintained well and little vibration was delivered to my hands.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit

The Bottom Line

The Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit is the perfect – and right now, only – solution for the Pro who insists on carrying both heavy-duty and truly compact cordless tools every day without having to buy into a separate battery platform. The lightweight and compact design are certainly there along with performance that exceeds most 12-volt tools.

So does this spell the end for the 12-volt tool class?

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I don’t think so. There are several 12-volt tool lines available that deliver high enough performance to be legitimate on the jobsite for several trades. Even though designing tools like these to run on 18 volts or 12 volts might not make much of a price difference, 12-volt batteries will always be less expensive. Still, the 12-volt class will remain relevant for jobs and trades that don’t require moving up to a heavy-duty class.

I can easily recommend this Sub-Compact class from Makita to any Pro, whether you are supplementing heavy-duty cordless tools or just need a dedicated lightweight, compact drill and impact driver. I am personally excited about these tools because they allow me to stay on Makita’s 18V LXT battery and still get the benefits of the 12-volt class. I’m hoping that Makita has started a revolution and other manufacturers will follow suit with so many Pros currently carrying both 18-volt and 12-volt tools to get the benefits of what both have to offer.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Drill Specifications

  • Model: XFD11ZB
  • Power Source: Makita 18V battery pack
  • Capacity (steel): 1/2″
  • Capacity (wood): 1-7/16″
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 500 / 0 – 1,700 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 350 in.lbs./40N•m
  • Overall Length: 6-3/8″
  • Overall Height: 8-7/8″ with compact battery
  • Weight: 2.04 pounds (bare), 2.88 pounds (with compact battery)
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $119

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Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Impact Driver Specifications

  • Model: Makita XDT15ZB
  • Power Source: Makita 18V battery pack
  • Hex Shank: 1/4″
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 1,300 / 0 – 3,000 RPM
  • Impact Rate: 0 – 1,600 / 0 – 3,900 IPM
  • Maximum Torque: 1,240 in.lbs./140N•m
  • Overall Length: 5-5/16″
  • Overall Height: 8-1/2″ with compact battery
  • Weight: 21.82 pounds (bare), 2.66 pounds (with compact battery)
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $119

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Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Kit Specifications

  • Model: Makita CX200RB
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $229
  • Included in Kit: impact driver, drill-driver, (2) Compact 2.0 amp hour, charger, soft case, manuals

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2 Comments on "Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Combo Kit Review"

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James Scott
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I bought the LXT subcompact set about a month ago and am 100% delighted with the product. I was torn between the 12V (I already have DeWalt 12V driver) for lightweight convenience and the larger 18V Makitas for drilling power. After realistically evaluating my needs, it was obvious I’m not hogging out 1+ inch holes through 8″ timbers. The most i would ever do is a 2.5″ hole saw for a desk cabling passthrough and the 18V sub-c drill does that with ease. I have bored 1″ holes with the Irwin spade bits and 3/4″ with the Bosch self drivers.… Read more »
James Davis
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I just bought two kits of these. They are really compact. They are also very smooth running tools. The attention to little details is what sold me. The impact has a nice level of control. The drill is also pretty nice. The grips seem like they were made for me. I also like how the charger takes care of the batteries. Not my first Makita product, but definitely my favorite ! Well done!

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