makita 18v versus other lithium ion tools

arley_gwOctober 30, 2006


I was at the orange store the other day and was seized with tool lust for a Makita 18v drill with the lithium ion battery.

I'm in the market for some cordless tools, and as you know, buying one sort of commits you to the whole line, whether Bosch or DeWalt or Makita or whatever. Sounds like the Lithium Ion technology is a bit better (power/weight ratio) than NiMh and NiCad technologies.

This seemed like a really nice drill with lotsa torque and good balance.

Anybody have any experience with the other Makita tools in this line?

If you were starting out buying a set of cordless tools today, what would you go with? I'll be using them over the next several months as we redo a kitchen.

I don't mind paying $$$ if it's a good value for the dollar spent, but I don't want to buy a rolls royce when a honda would do.

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You're probably not too far off with the Honda / Rolls Royce analogy. Don't get me wrong the Makita LiON's are very nice drills but probably more expensive than the average DIYer needs. I'm a contractor by trade and it's rare when I use up batteries faster than I can charge them. Maybe I need to be working faster. :-)

I'm of the "right tool for the job" mindset -- I don't see much sense lugging around an 18v drill when a 9.6v will do. But I also get to deduct tools on my taxes.

The best approach, rather than buying some "set" of tools is to determine exactly what you're needs are and then buy the tools that meet those needs. Maybe that's a set, maybe not.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 8:17AM
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I won't say to buy or not to buy, but I own the Makita 18V LI Impact Driver and it's awesome. I use it for everything, it's light weight and powerful.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 1:05PM
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Fine Woodworking has an annual tools issue out now that has reviews of LiOn tools. One useful thing in the review is that it lists all the tools from each manufacturer for that particular line (e.g. drill, circular saw, jigsaw, etc).

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 12:17AM
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I have the $200 Makita Li-Ion 18v drill. It is the black and white one that is the "compact" model. It has a 2 speed gearbox rather than three, and uses the 1.5 Ah batteries rather than the 3.0 Ah batteries.

The drill is smaller and lighter than my old 12v drill, yet has much more power. I think it was a great buy. Also, if I buy any tools that use the 3.0 Ah 18v batteries, they also work in this drill.

If you are using NiCad stuff, you may want a 9.6 and an 18 for different uses. But with this drill, I don't see the need for two.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 1:05PM
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I went with Fine Woodworking's advice about 5 years ago and bought a DeWalt cordless drill/driver and a orbital sander, both expensive. They received light use and were well taken care of. Neither one functioned after about two years of light use. That's my expeerience, and I would not consider a DeWalt tool again.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 3:23PM
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Yellow is way overrated. I will never own a yellow tool. Amazingly some of my cheap power tools have really lasted, my Skil 7.2v drill/driver is still going strong and my Skil 5150 sidewinder still cuts good, both were less than $40 new and both are nearly 12 years old.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 10:00PM
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I went to a clinic at the Home Depot the other night on Power Tool and was told that the Lithium batteries last a lot longer. I was also told that when you unplug the battery from the tool that you should wait a few minutes and let it cool off before plugging it into the charger, otherwise it won't receive a full charge.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 12:06AM
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If your main purpose is re-doing a kitchen, why wouldn't corded tools work just as well? Just curious why you think cordless is needed for this application.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 10:02PM
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B&D managed to trash their name pretty well by producing cheaper and cheaper tools. They have even made drills without ball bearing, just little wells between plastic to hold the drill & motor shafts and some lube.
It sold for about $25. It might be OK for an apartment dweller hanging a few curtain rods, but not much more.

Rockwell sold the tool divisions and they had to be renamed. B&D picked it up, renamed it Dewault (after purchasing the radial arm saw company and shutting it down) and have proceeded to do about the same thing as they did to their original name.
Rockwell also sold other tool lines to Pentair, and Delta & Porter-Cable came back to life.
Pentair has now sold off the lines again, and B&D picked up Porter-Cable and Delta.
Look for those lines to head for the dirt pretty quickly.
Porter-Cable had already stated to produce a separate line of 'homeowner' tools at a lower price that had started to spoil the name.
The homeowner market is viewed as larger than the professional market, and since any business not growing in market share is a failure out comes the cheaper junk.
Delta has a line of stationary tools (like the portable planers) made overseas now. The large industrials are still OK, but expect cost cutting even on those to catch up.

A motor for a Rockwell/Delta Unisaw runs a couple hundred $$. Baldor made them for many years.
You can purchase a homeowner tool for the price of one of these motors.
B&D will probably decide it is not worth the capital they have tied up to continue supplying the industrial tools and lower the quality and price in a run for more market share.
Luckily most of these tools last darn near forever (some new bearings once in a while, and maybe a motor) so at least the existing ones will still be floating around.
A Unisaw still runs $1000-$1500 depending on motor type and options, so they have never been a typical homeowner tool, but the quality is outstanding.
The import tools still cannot get there, but the $500 price tag for a 10 inch cabinet saw attracts a lot of buyers.

I have some Paslode nailers that run on butane, but those are the only cordless tools.
The battery ones just do not have the long term durability in heavy use even though batteries have gotten better than the old nickel cadmiums.
Chuck quality remains pretty poor, and the added weight of the batteries does nothing to improve handling.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 12:30PM
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I've never quite understood the logic of acquiring a brand with a good reputation, then running it into the ground. I guess that's what happens when the bean counters take over from the people who know the market and their products.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 9:28PM
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B&D needed to do something. The cheap line had tainted their name pretty badly.
Dewalt was THE manufacturer of radial arms saws for many years, but no longer makes them under B&D.

Makita stuff is OK.
Their drills tend to have poor chucks, but for homeowner use they are a decent choice.

I have Porter-Cable tools that predate their purchase by Rockwell. Still going strong after over 60 years.
There are only a few companies that are making anything that good anymore.
The worm drive circular saws might go that long, but not the ones with plastic motor cases.
They routinely run ~$200. A little high for an occasional weekend job.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 9:59AM
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I just bought a Ridgid trim router and, though the standard guarantee is for three years, enclosed I found a mail-in card for a lifetime service agreement. This appears to be a standard card used for other sorts of tools as well. Registering for this apparently gives the original purchaser lifetime coverage not only for "defects in materials and workmanship" but also wear items including batteries. It's an impressive offer. I don't currently own any Ridgid rechargeable tools, but this offer looks awfully good.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 12:43PM
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