Drill/drivers are an essential part of a tool kit for any carpenter, even one who specializes in fine woodworking and trim carpentry, as I do. So when I had the opportunity, I was eager to test drive Makita’s new 40-volt XGT drill/driver combo.
XGT Impact Driver
Cordless tools are rapidly becoming more advanced and powerful, and Makita’s new four-speed impact driver (GDT01) is no exception. It has some impressive intuitive features and buttons (in fact, I was slightly overwhelmed by the number of operational modes, which I will get to in a bit). The GDT01 has a brushless motor that transfers 1,950 inch-pounds of max torque at the squeeze of the trigger, the most torque I’ve seen from a 1/4-inch impact driver. With its multiple speed settings, you can match the torque and speed to specific applications. Another feature is something that Makita calls Extreme Protection Technology (XPT), which it claims provides increased protection against dust and water. In the hand, the GDT01 feels great, a lightweight and compact tool (despite the horsepower) that can fit into some tight spaces. One of my favorite features on this driver is the one-touch four-speed power selector button just above the trigger, which made adjusting modes fast and easy with one hand. In speed 4, for example, it was almost comical how quickly (and powerfully) the driver could set a 2-inch-long screw.
As mentioned above, this impact driver’s technology was slightly overwhelming at first. While the driver has four speeds, it also offers eight modes, which Makita refers to as half-modes. I had to refer to the user manual to figure out how to use this feature, and for what applications; even then, it will take some time before the modes and half-modes become intuitive. And the GDT01 is missing one feature I’ve found to be convenient on other impact drivers I’ve used: a magnetic bit holder.
XGT Hammer Driver-Drill
The matching XGT 1/2-inch hammer driver-drill (GPH01) has three modes, two speeds, and 1,250 inch-pounds of torque. To switch modes, twist the dial just behind the all-metal keyless chuck: Mode 1 is a regular drill mode; mode 2 is hammer mode, suitable for drilling into masonry; and mode 3 is the electronic digital clutch mode. When you switch to mode 3, a small screen lights up at the base of the drill, displaying a number, which allows you to quickly and accurately dial in your exact torque setting—41 settings are available in low speed, and 21 in high speed—as you use the scroll wheel. Again, I had to refer to the user’s manual to figure out exactly what each number represented in torque settings, though this was easier to understand than the GDT01 impact driver settings. My favorite feature is the drill’s Active-Feedback sensing technology, which turns the motor off if rotation of the accessory is suddenly forced to stop.
The GPH01 feels a little heavy in the hand, even with the 2.5-Ah battery, and it’s also top heavy, so balancing this drill on an uneven surface is difficult. However, I did appreciate this weight when drilling horizontally, especially when using large-diameter self-feeding bits. With a 2 9/16-inch bit chucked in and the drill in speed setting 1, the GPH01 plunged through 2x4 pine with ease, showing me that it was made with torque in mind.
Supplied with this kit was an XGT Rapid Charger, which has dual fans that circulate air through the charger and battery, resulting in faster charging times; it can fully charge a 2.5-Ah battery in 28 minutes or less. Like most tool brands these days, Makita includes a zippered bag with this kit; I’d prefer a hard case, because it makes it easier to stay clean and organized—and won’t rip. The GT200D kit includes the two tools, two 2.5-Ah batteries, charger, and bag; it comes with a three-year limited warranty and costs $450. makitatools.com
Photos by the author.