New Makita XPH14 Cordless Hammer Drill, But You Should Wait

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Makita USA has announced a new 18V cordless brushless motor hammer drill, model XPH14, and with claims that it delivers the most torque in the category.

The Makita XPH14 cordless hammer drill is said to deliver a whopping 1,250 in-lbs of max torque, and Makita says it’s 14% smaller than the predecessor model, XPH07.

Makita XPH14 Cordless Hammer Drill

The Makita XPH14 cordless hammer drill works on their 18V cordless power tool system.

Makita XPH14 Features & Specs

  • 1/2″ chuck
  • 1,250 in-lbs max torque
  • 0-550/0-2,100 RPM (no-load)
  • 0-8,250/0-31,500 BPM
  • LED worklight
  • 7″ length
  • Weighs 6 lbs

Street Price: $319 for the kit
Availability: March 2021

The kit comes with (2) 5Ah batteries, a charger, and tool bag.

Buy Now: Kit via Tool Nut
Buy Now: Bare Tool via Tool Nut

Compare: Milwaukee Hammer Drill Kit via Acme
Compare: Milwaukee Hammer Drill Combo via HD

Discussion

Makita’s press release does not have pricing or availability information, but we were able to get street pricing from preorder product listings. While the press release talks about “star protection computer controls” and “XPT durability,” what about any anti-kickback functionality?

Makita’s previous extreme torque cordless drills came with a very long auxiliary handle that was pretty much mandatory for use. (Here’s Why.) But with 1,250 in-lbs of max torque, what happens when (not if) the drill binds? 1,250 in-lbs of torque is a lot of force that can cause the drill to twist your wrists or spin around in your hands if you’re not careful.

I’d really like to see all 1,000+ in-lbs cordless drills engineered with some kind of anti-kickback safety feature.

Listen – if Kobalt can build anti-kickback safety features in their 24V Max XTR brushless drills, why can’t Makita offer something similar?

Anti-kickback safety features in a drill shut off power as soon as a stall or jam condition is detected. Without that, all of the energy that would go into turning the chuck goes into twisting the drill around the chuck.

Okay, so with that broad gripe put out there, how does it compare against other cordless drills?

We reached out to Makita USA (a couple of times), and our requests for a review sample were ignored or declined – they never responded.

Maybe they’re afraid of what we’d say about it?

Since Makita USA won’t respond to my emails, let’s take a look at how it compares on paper to one of the most popular cordless hammer drills on the market today, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel brushless hammer drill.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2804 Brushless Hammer DrillMilwaukee M18 Fuel 2804 Brushless Hammer Drill

Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel cordless hammer drill (2804) delivers up to 1,200 in-lbs of max torque, weighs 3.2 lbs (bare tool), and has a 6.9″ length.

The latest and greatest Makita 18V cordless drill (XPH14) delivers 1,250 in-lbs of max torque. If the on-paper specs are accurate, that’s a ~4% difference.

But, the Makita weighs 6 lbs compared to Milwaukee’s 3.2 lbs. This means that the Makita delivers ~4% more max torque is ~87.5% heavier. Or if you look it from the other direction, the Milwaukee hammer drill is 53% the weight of Makita’s.

Makita XPH14 Cordless Hammer Drill SpecsMakita XPH14 Cordless Hammer Drill Specs (Source: Press Materials)

I’m assuming that Makita is giving 6 lbs as the bare tool weight, since it’s listed as the weight for both the bare tool and the kit. Even if it’s the with-battery weight, there is still a sizable weight difference compared to the Milwaukee and other brand’s flagship cordless hammer drills on the market.

Okay, so Makita redesigned their 18V cordless hammer drill to “deliver the most torque in the category,” but is such a small difference compared to competing models meaningful, or was it only done for vanity and marketing purposes. That said, was their previous model ever not powerful enough?

Compared to their older XPH07, which launched 7 years ago, the new Makita XPH14 is more powerful and more compact, but also 0.1″ longer. The reduction in weight seem significant – 7″ compared to 8-1/8″ for the XPH07.

7 years later, and an increase in max torque and decrease in length sounds great, but how come other brands have been able to shave off a lot more weight? 6 pounds seems like a lot for a cordless drill these days.

Or maybe they’re saving their best tech for the XGT 40V Max cordless power tool system?

I asked Makita for updates on the XGT launch, which was supposed to take place in late 2020, but they never responded to those questions either.

Makita XGT 40V Max Cordless Drill Driver

Is this similar to the Makita XGT 40V Max brushless hammer drill, but in 18V packaging?

Now, here’s the tricky part. If you’re shopping for a new cordless hammer drill and don’t care about the brand or battery platform, what’s the competitive advantage here? A tiny bump-up in max torque compared to the leading competition but in a considerably heavier package?

If you’re a Makita 18V cordless power tool user, I would say wait to see what comes out in the XGT 40V platform – if or when it ever actually launches – but Makita’s 18V and 40V systems won’t be cross-compatible. So, if you have to buy into a new system anyway, that brings us back to the question – why go with Makita?

Price-wise, the Milwaukee is $299 and you get a free bonus battery (via Acme Tools at the time of this posting), and the Makita is launching at $319 for the kit.

After taking a closer look at Makita’s latest and greatest brushless hammer drill, it doesn’t seem very compelling. Am I missing something?

See Also About Makita XGT 40V:

Meet the New Makita XGT 40V Cordless Power Tool System

It’s Official – Makita XGT 40V Max Cordless Power Tools are Coming to the USA

More Details About Makita XGT 40V Max Cordless Power Tool System, and an 18V LXT Charging Adapter

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