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  • Credit: Mary Shaw

My company builds decks framed with light-gauge steel, and we drive about 5,000 self-tapping screws per month using Makita 18-volt brushless impact drivers to assemble the framing and secure the decking.

My veteran carpenters can consistently sink these screws at full throttle and release the trigger at just the right time so they don’t overdrive and break the screws. But my less-experienced carpenters don’t always react in time, causing some screws to snap.

I recently learned that Makita’s 18-volt model LXDT06 brushless impact driver includes a unique Quick-Shift Mode that combats overdriving by reducing the rotation and impact speeds after the screw tips punch through the steel. When JLC asked if we would like to take the tool for a spin, I readily accepted. The verdict? The feature works great.

Unfortunately, the driver costs $190 for the bare tool and $360 for the complete two-battery kit, or about $30 to $40 more than my equivalent impact drivers without the Quick-Shift Mode. At that price, I’ll stick with my other drivers, live with some broken screws, and let practice make perfect. —Robert Shaw owns Colorado Deck and Framing, in Colorado Springs, Colo.