In our humble opinion Makita make some of the best tools on the market, but don’t just to take our word for it, read almost any review for a Makita product, or mention the name to anyone who uses power tools on a regular basis, and chances are you’ll only hear good things about this highly repected brand.
Well if their stuff is so good, why don’t people just use Makita everything?
The answer is simple and won’t come as any great surprise, it comes down to our old friend, cost. The price you pay for the reliability and quality of Makita tools has always meant having to fork out that little bit extra for the privilage. Whilst not a problem to a lot of tradespeople, it does unfortunately tend to shut a lot of people out of the market, particularly the more casual consumer.
One solution is to buy a special kit of tools, rather than buying them all individually. This has several advantages, not least that it works out cheaper than buying all the tools seperately, but also because of the sheer conveniance of having all the tools you need ready to go in one place all in one go. In the case of power tool kits, you’ll often find they come complete with several batteries, yet not enough for one per tool. Instead, cross compatibility means they can be shared between the tools. This is a great cost saving idea and one that Makita kits take full advantage off right from the get go.
Whether you want a full set of drill bits, hole saws, or a full set of power tools, Makita are able to cater to almost every need. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the most popular kits and what they are able to offer to help you with your DIY jobs.
Makita DLX6017PM Cordless Li-ion Kit Review
Everything you need to drill, cut, and see what you’re doing in the process, this cordless power tool kit is a great starting point for anyone looking to get a head start on their DIY activities. Along with three batteries, six tools are included, and each are respected tools in their own right, not just as part of this kit. If you’re wondering just what sort of cost saving you can expect to make by buying this kit rather than all the individual tools and batteries seperately, well by our reckoning it’s somewhere in the region of £150 – £200 depending on the retailer. Either way, not bad eh?
Anyway, let’s take a closer look at what’s included:
DHP458Z Combi Drill
A combi drill is the best place to start if you’re looking for an all rounder in the drilling department. This particular model, whilst not perfect by any means, does a fine job at both drilling and driving screws- indeed it’s certainly not shy on power, and the side handle/depth stop is a very useful addition, helping make sure you keep things under control even when the power ramps right up.
At 2.3kg when laden with a battery, this certainly isn’t the lightest combi drill on the market, so that’s definitely an area for improvement. Equally we’d have prefered it if the handle grip was a slightly more forgiving, softer material, as this tool certainly isn’t free of vibration and you do notice the discomfort after a while.
On the plus side, the battery charge time is second to none – how does 15 minutes sound? Not bad for something so powerful that it only starts to struggle when drilling through concrete. The LED worklight is also a very welcome addition, even if it isn’t quite placed correctly to avoid shadowing.
DHR202Z Rotary Hammer Drill
For drilling into blockwork and masonry there’s no substitute for the power of a hammer drill, and because this type of work is so common it makes sense that one is supplied with this kit. The inclusion of the DHR202Z is a fine choice, it’s capable of boring through 20mm of concrete and 13mm of steel, whilst at the same time being a comfortable 3.5kg.
Other great features include a torque limiting clutch to prevent damage should the drill bit get jammed – for instance if you were to strike rebar when drilling into concrete, and an SDS chuck for more efficient energy transfer in hammering mode. However on the latter point, we should point out that if you are going to suffer any issues at all, then it’s likely to come in the form of a misaligned chuck. This has been a point of contention among some customers, so it’s certainly worth checking and returning for a replacement if necessary.
When it comes to worktops, home made furniture, shelving, or just about anything else that you might want to cut curved edges into, all are best achieved using a jigsaw. Naturally then, a jigsaw has been included in the DLX6017PM kit bag.
Now it has to be said, cordless isn’t always seen as necessary when it comes to jigsaws, the very nature of the work involved with a jigsaw means you tend to be working ‘on the bench’ rather than anywhere on a building site as you might with a drill. None the less if you’ve got the need for cordless jigsawing, this has your needs covered, largely because the charge time is so rapid – roughly just 22 minutes, so downtime is kept to a minimum.
On the downside, the worklight, whilst very affectively at lighting your way along a pencil line, unfortunately only turns on when the trigger is pressed. This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s nice to be able to look at planning your next cut whilst you’re stopped for a rest. The only other minor gripe is the dust extraction port – it’s a tad on the small side, fine for dealing with the dust from thin wood, not so good for the likes of 12mm ply.
DSS611Z Circular Saw
For chopping wood fast a circular saw is a great solution. For the most accurate results a bench mounted saw is always best, but a handheld saw gives you greater freedom and flexibility, even more so when it’s cordless.
The DSS611Z is one such example of a a cordless circular saw that’s able to make accurate cuts both vertical, and at angles of up to 50 degrees. Theres no load speed, so you’ll be off at 3700rpm as soon as you press the trigger switch, so it’s certainly not a tool for the faint of heart! None the less, your safety has been well considered thanks to a comfortable handle design that can be operated wearing gloves, and without bias towards left or right handers.
As the more cost efficient equivilent to the slightly more flash DSS610, the DSS611Z sacrafices the nicities of an LED worklight, electric brake, and built in blower. Admittedly all are useful, but by no means essential. Unless you’ve got a good reason to buy a standalone circular saw then this model is likely to be good enough for 99% of work and deserves its place in this Makita kit.
DTD146Z LXT Impact Driver
For driving screws at the fastest rate, into the thickest materials, there’s only one tool up to the task- the impact driver. If you’re building a deck, fencing, garden shed, or anything else that requires the screwing together of large pieces of wood, then the combined high torque and hammering action of an impact driver is going to prove very useful.
This model is certainly very powerful, in fact in some cases it’s a little too powerful, certainly when driving through thinner woods you can expect it to make a bit of a mess of things, so it’s better to use the combi drill for thinner work. However, for repetitive drilling into thicker woods this will make the job feel effortless.
The only other thing to remember is to make sure you use specially designed impact driver drill bits. Use a standard screw driver bit and you might find it shears due to the sheer rotational force of the tool!
This one’s a little bit of a anomaly, but let’s be clear; the inclusion of a torch is certainly welcome, after all being able to see what you’re doing in the dark is very often a must. However what’s less clear is why Makita, for all their cutting edge prowess, are still selling a torch that uses the outdated technology of a xenon bulb rather than the infinitely superior LEDs that most modern torches are fitted with. To that end we suspect it won’t be long before this kit is updated to include an LED torch.
On the plus side, a ruggedised torch is always useful in unforgiving environments, and the design is such that it can be left stood upright, hands free as a work light, lighting your environment as you use one of the other tools, so you’ll always find a use for it even if the technology is a bit outdated.
Makita CLX202AJ 10.8 V CXT 2 Piece Li-Ion Cordless Kit
Drilling holes and driving screws are the most fundamental tasks going for any DIYer or tradesman, so having the right kit to cover all eventualities in this department is always worthwhile. If you’re looking for a drill to suit every occasion the Makita CLX202AJ kit has got everything you need. As a 10.8V kit, the tools provided here certainly aren’t as powerful as their 18V or 24V Makita counterparts, so they’re better suited to those whose trades don’t primarily involve drilling and fixing together heavy pieces of wood. Having said that the impact driver in particular still packs a serious punch, delivering the same amount of torque as a cheaper equilent 18V drill from another manufacturer, so the power of the slide on ‘Compact Extreme’ batteries isn’t to be sniffed at and you have no issues at all intalling everything from a picture hanger to a full wooden deck in the garden.
For light drilling and driving, a drill driver just the tool for the job, so the inclusion of the DF331D drill driver is a welcome addition. Like a lot of modern drills both feature and LED worklights, always a hit among users, a great help for working in darker areas. One niggle with this however is that the LEDs are located underneath the chuck, preventing you from lighting up the area above the drill, which in our experience would be more useful than being able to light up the area below it.
Those that have used the previous incarnations of these drills will note the improvement in overall feel, particularly the weight, balance, and slimmer handle (with a textured grip you can feel even through gloves), all of which make for a far more comfortable experience.
As mentioned, the batteries used here Makita’s ‘Compact Extreme’ type, and it’s also worth noting that they’re the 2Ah varient, rather than the 1.3Ah batteries of older Makita kits, so you’ll get more out of a single charge than you would have done previously. Despite the increased capacity, it only takes 70 minutes to fully charge the batteries, so you should see very little down time if you’re alternating between the two throughout the day. As far as the physical design of the batteries goes, they’re as user friendly as you could wish for, with very clear level indicator LEDs to easily let you know how much power you have left in the tank. The charger itself can easily be mounted on a wall, and removed for working on site.
You’ll notice that a lot of two piece Makita kits share the same basic carry case design, and there’s a good reason for this- they can be clipped together in a stack for ease of transportation. This kit comes in one of these cases, known as a ‘Makpac’, so it’s certainly worth bearing in mind if you were thinking about expanding your collection further on down the line.