This week I got to try out Makita's 18-Volt Lithium-Ion sub-compact impact driver. I'm no stranger to the world of impact drivers, and I'm on the record in my belief that it's one of the most basic, versatile tools anyone can own (yes, you probably need one). But this is definitely the smallest and lightest model I've ever gotten my hands on, so I was curious how it would perform, and whether it would earn a permanent spot on my workbench.
Impact drivers have pretty much taken over the “drill/driver” conversation in the last ten years or so. In days of old, impact drivers were just too heavy/powerful for a lot of jobs, so you really only saw them in heavy-duty applications (framing, decks, etc.). But the technology has advanced so much that these days, an impact driver is a tool you can use for almost everything. With a very sensitive variable speed trigger, the Makita sub-compact driver is accurate (or maybe I should say delicate) enough for even lightweight fastening jobs.
The big benefit of this tool is its incredibly compact form factor. Although the spec sheet says it weighs 2.6 pounds, I honestly would've guessed even less. It just feels incredibly small and lightweight when you pick it up. I have held smaller drivers before, but they've all been much lower-powered 12 volt models. This 18 volt brushless motor delivers up to 1240 lbs of torque and 3900 RPMs. Plus the included 2ah battery reaches full charge in less than 25 minutes. Not bad for a little guy.
For an everyday, around-the-house tool, the small form factor is pretty hard to beat. And if you're planning on doing any overhead work, your arms are definitely going to thank you.
Want to learn more about Impact Drivers?
Check out my impact driver roundup from last year. That time, I tested Makita's 12V driver against the big boys, and found it was really in a different category. I'll have to update that post now that I have an 18V subcompact to pit against the bigger, heavier 18V entries. My guess is it will be a much fairer fight.
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