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Best Makita Drill for the Money 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

Last Updated on August 9, 2020

a Makita drill-toolFrom hanging stockings by the fire to sinking bolts in concrete and everything in between, drills are – well, maybe not your best friend – but certainly worth toasting with a cold frosty mug.

Makita has a great line of drills, so much so that it can become a challenge figuring out which one is best for you.  Spend too much and you’ll have an expensive door stopper for most of the year; spend too little and you’ll be frustrated with a tool that’s not up to the task at hand. You need the right tool for the right job, and we’re firm believers in that.

We’ve done the legwork for you by putting together a series of Makita drill reviews to help you choose the right tool for you and your job.


Our Favorite Models Compared:

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Makita CX200RB Makita CX200RB
  • Lightweight
  • Fast-charging batteries
  • Excellent engineering
  • Second place
    Makita Drill XFD11ZB Makita Drill XFD11ZB
  • Lightweight
  • Small size
  • Good torque
  • Best Value
    Third place
    Makita XFD061 Makita XFD061
  • Good power
  • Quiet operation
  • Makita XPH12Z Makita XPH12Z
  • Very compact
  • Impressive array of features
  • Makita HP2050 Makita HP2050
  • Good side handle
  • Variable 2-speed
  • The 5 Best Makita Drills – Reviews 2020:

    1. Makita CX200RB Cordless Drill Set – Best Overall

    Makita CX200RB Cordless Drill Set

    Makita drills are some of the best, and we feel like the company proves it with this cordless drill/driver combo. It’s small and lightweight, yet able to handle framing, drywall, cement board, and flooring with no problems. Two fast-charging batteries mean never waiting for batteries to charge, and we like having the energy gauge right there on the battery pack.

    The impact had no problems sinking 5/16″ x 3″ lags into PT 4×4 with no pilot hole. We also liked the screw assist on the impact. This is ideal with long screws. It starts out slowly driving the screw in, and once the driver starts to impact, it increases the rotation and sets the screw in nicely without stripping it.

    The drill/driver had no issues drilling a 1-1/2″ hole using a spade bit into a 2×4 PT, and it was able to sink a 1/4″-3″ lag into a PT 4×4. You can feel the extra torque with every push of the trigger.

    We just can’t find anything wrong with this magnificent set. We’re rating it one of the best cordless makita drill sets, because we believe it is.

    Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Fast-charging batteries
    • Lots of power
    • Excellent engineering
    • Plenty of torque
    Cons
    • Occasionally erratic speed control

    2. Makita Drill XFD11ZB

    Makita XFD11ZB

    We can say a lot of good things about this offering from Makita, but the torque selector switch was a major problem. It’s recessed into the body of the drill, making it difficult to rotate. The speed selector on top is equally difficult. It’s not a fatal problem, but it is bad design.

    On the plus side, it’s a nice, powerful compact drill. The speed goes up to 1500 RPM with enough torque to drive 6″ decking screws into pine without breaking a sweat. Its lightweight and small size make it great for overhead work and tight spaces. It also has a very strong LED for illuminating your work.

    However, there’s only one battery, and despite what Makita advertises, it only accepts the batteries that came with it. Batteries from other Makita drills won’t fit, even though they look like they should.

    This is a good drill, but the selector switch issues and lack of a second battery put it in second place.

    Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Small size
    • Good torque
    Cons
    • Difficult selector switches
    • Only one battery

    3. Makita XFD061 Drill – Best Value

    Makita XFD061

    This Brushless Cordless 1/2″ Driver-Drill Kit from Makita is an all-around great drill – the best bang for the buck. You get an extremely high-quality drill with 530 pounds of torque, and the motor is strong but quiet. We liked the variable speed feature; it’s very smooth with no noticeable increments. The drill is well balanced and comfortable to hold.

    To keep the price low, Makita had to make some compromises, such as a slower charger than our top two picks. It takes an hour to charge the single 3Ah battery. It’s still decent for light-duty work, but you’ll have to recharge it more often. Additionally – and this is more of a personal preference than anything – the chuck is hard plastic instead of metal.

    For the money you can’t go wrong with this drill, but the compromises keep it from being a top pick.

    Pros
    • Good power
    • Quiet operation
    Cons
    • Extended charging time
    • Lower battery charge
    • Plastic chuck

    4. Makita XPH12Z Hammer Drill

    Makita XPH12Z Hammer Drill

    This is a tool-only offering from Makita; the battery and charger have to be purchased separately. The high price of the battery/charger kit puts this drill near the bottom of our list in spite of its impressive array of features.

    Another serious problem with this drill is its tendency to get stuck in hammer mode. We never did figure out why this was happening. We’re not the only ones experiencing this problem, so it appears to be a design defect instead of a one-off. The drill also makes an extremely high-pitched whine during operation, and the reverse switch is too close to the handle. We wound up pressing it by accident quite a bit.

    If you buy this one, be sure to keep your receipt in case you have to return it.

    Pros
    • Very compact
    Cons
    • Battery/charger sold separately
    • Gets stuck in hammer mode
    • High-pitched whine
    • Bad placement of switches

    5. Makita HP2050 Drill Tool

    Makita HP2050

    Don’t waste your time on this one; we already did that for you.

    Where to start? The chuck is too small; it wears out quickly and eventually begins to slip – badly. At that point it’s impossible to keep the bit in place. Whoever designed it should be fired.

    Most Makita drills will last for a decade or more, but this model burns out in less than a year, or worse, strips teeth off the gear train in the motor. The flimsy plastic switches didn’t win any points with us either; the whole thing felt cheap right out of the box.

    Speaking of which, Makita advertises this as a ¾” drill, but when we opened the box we found that it’s only ½”. This is just false advertising, plain and simple.

    Pros
    • Good side handle
    Cons
    • Chuck too small
    • Drill burns out
    • Gear teeth easily stripped
    • Cheap and flimsy
    • False advertising

    Buyer’s Guide

    Drills can make your work easier, or turn it into a nightmare. Pick the right drill and you’ll be able to focus on the job instead of the tool you’re using. After all, who wants to worry about tools malfunctioning or slowing you down when you’re on a tight schedule? Let’s look at some of the things you’ll want to consider when purchasing a drill.

    There was a time when it was virtual heresy to use cordless power tools. The batteries couldn’t hold much of a charge, they drained too easily and too quickly, they had a terrible habit of binding up or slowing down to a crawl as the batteries got low, and they took all night to recharge. If you were in the middle of a job when the batteries died, you were out of luck.

    Batteries have come a long way since then. Electrical motors have improved, and engineers have devised ways to do more with less. But power is still important.

    Important Things to Consider

    When you’re using cordless drills, consider how long you’re going to be using them each time, as well as the load they’ll be put under. For the average user puttering around the house and doing some handyman chores on the weekends, our number three pick will be perfect.

    If you work in construction, HVAC repair, or a similar field, it’s completely unrealistic to pay for a drill like that. Your tools are your livelihood; you need the best available even if they are more expensive. They’ll pay for themselves soon enough. You’ll also need multiple batteries, because you’ll be sure to drain them during the course of a hard day’s work.

    What Makes a Good Product Here?

    A good product has what you need, but not more than that, otherwise, you’re paying for features you’ll never use. Some people tend to want all the bells and whistles. Fancy drill changing features and other add-ons may look good, but the more moving parts a product has, the more chances it has to break down. On the other hand, if you need a feature – don’t skimp!

    Tips When Buying

    When buying online, beware of shipping charges. For purchases of this size, you can usually get free shipping, but make sure before you pay. The nice thing about buying online is that sites can carry everything, or at least drop-ship it from the manufacturer straight to you.

    Always be sure to check the available options when you buy. Are extra batteries available? There might be different sizes or variants of the same model, perhaps a basic model and an “everything but the kitchen sink” version.

    Conclusion

    Our reviews of these Makita drills make clear distinctions among the winners, the losers, and the solid middle.

    The Makita CX200RB Cordless Drill Set is our number one pick for its ease of use, excellent design features, and top-notch performance. You’ll be able to use it for projects big and small for years to come. It’s a true workhorse. Besides all that, it just feels great in your hand.

    The Makita Brushless Cordless 1/2″ Driver-Drill Kit gives you the best bang for the buck. It’s a solid, middle-of-the-road offering that won’t leave you hanging. For your handyman projects around the house, it has all the power and features you’ll ever need without breaking the bank.

    Today’s market is covered with a virtual Noah’s flood of different drills from every manufacturer there is, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find the one for your needs. Hopefully, we’ve made it easier. make that decision, leaving you more time for the important things in life; family and friends.

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    This article was written by: Michael Wilson

    About the Author Adam Harris

    Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!