Makita BTD146Z 18V Impact Driver Review

August 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm
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Makita BTD146Z 18V Impact Driver

The Makita BTD146Z 18V Impact Driver is a lightweight, high performance driver, and is part of Makita’s excellent Li-Ion range of tools. With all the tools using the same battery system, this tool perfectly complements the 18v combi drills and when used in tandem, makes short work of hard, repetitive jobs such as fencing.

Purpose

The compact and ergonomic design of this impact driver belies its heavy duty power. Delivering 160Nm of torque, it’s ideally suited to a range of screwdriving applications, with the variable speed motor adding to the versatility of the tool.

Features

  • All metal gearbox
  • LED Worklight
  • Bolt capacity – M5-M14
  • 1.5kg
  • 1/4″ Hex Tool Holder
  • Variable single speed, and reverse
  • Soft Grip
  • Max torque 160Nm

Pros

What is immediately apparent on handling this impact driver is its light weight. It’s a comfortably designed tool and with the soft grip and improved balance, fits nicely in the palm. Comfort, light weight and improved balance combined make it perfect for extended use and when fitted with the 3Ah battery it does continue working for a long time, then only takes 22 minutes to charge the battery fully. If you have other Makita kit, you’ll have another battery on charge whilst you’re working to completely avoid worrying about charge times.

It’s a deceptively powerful driver, delivering 160Nm of torque (The DeWalt equivalent is 150Nm), so it feels like a beast when it’s working at full tilt. We regularly use it with 100mm Reisser screws driven into fencing timber and it barely skips a beat. At its most extreme, we would use this driver to fix hardwood oak sleepers using 200mm TimberLok Screws. Again, it doesn’t disappoint – just twists them in a bit slower, but always gets the screw fully home. All this power doesn’t deplete the battery too quickly though.

The LED worklight seems a little bit natty, but it’s actually surprisingly handy to shed a little bit of light on your work.

It’s also possible to use the 14.4v Makita batteries with this tool. Obviously it’s a bit less powerful as a result, but as the batteries are expensive, it just gives another option. Don’t try putting an 18v battery in 14.4v tool though!

Cons

The sheer power of this impact driver means that cheap screwdriver bits are a false economy. They’ll just shatter! It’s like putting cross-ply tyres on a racing car – they won’t last long, so it really is worth getting some decent bits.

The batteries are expensive too. If you’ve already got some Makita kit and spare batteries, that may be less of an issue though.

Summary

This impact driver won’t let you down, both in terms of its ability to take on whatever you throw at it and its reliability. It’s comfortable, powerful and much better suited to screwdriving than your combi drill. We haven’t talked about the reliability of the tool in this review yet, so it’s worth pointing out that it’s a rugged little machine, works hard but as yet hasn’t ever let us down (and we don’t anticipate that happening any time soon either!).

Batteries are expensive, but that does seem to be the case for all the Li-Ion tools on the market at the moment, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for special offers and taking advantage of them as they come up.

Is it worth having as well as a combi drill? Yes, definitely. A combi drill is a good all rounder, but if you’re working on repetitive, tough screwdriving jobs such as fencing or fixing plywood sheets, the value of this powerful and lightweight tool will rapidly become apparent.