Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Makita LCT200W Compact Lithium 2 Pc Set

This was the first purchase in my new tool collection.

Makita's latest lithium ion battery is a wonderful generation step forward from the old NiCad batteries most are familiar with. They weigh less, recharge in minutes, and don't start to die after 10 minutes of use once they are six months old. They actually have a chip inside them that communicates with the charger to prevent memory problems. This is the heart of these tools. I would recommend that if you are interested in really investing in this tool family that you save up a little more and get one of the bigger packages that include the reciprocating saw or the circular trim saw. You may also want to look at the bigger batteries and/or the hammer drill kit. More on the batteries later.

At any rate, I can not say enough good things about this kit. It comes with a driver/drill and a wonderful impact driver. The kit also includes two batteries, Makita's outstanding charger, and a great soft case that contains it all.

Let's start with the driver/drill. Anyone that has used a decent cordless drill will be right at home once they start using this one. It has all the standard features. This drill is very well balanced, and is just a joy to use. It has good hand feel. The hand operated chuck is a good one. This chuck has some sort of positive locking mechanism. You can feel some slight clicks when you tighten a bit down in it. If you do it correctly, it offers a very good grip. The torque clutch works well. It is easy to quickly adjust the unit for the proper amount of torque if you are using it to drive screws for example. The drill also has two speeds and a good amount of torque. Overall this is without a doubt the best cordless drill I have ever used. It is not a top of the line drill however. If you are looking for that Makita has a better one. If you are looking for a good package deal though, it is a very good choice. I only use it to drill holes since I have the impact driver.

The other tool included in the kit is the impact driver. I bought the kit for the drill, as it was just $50 more for the impact driver and the extra battery. Extra batteries were $60, so it was obviously to good a deal to pass up.

The impact driver is completely awesome. I used it to drive probably 300 screws last weekend, and it works flawlessly. The impact action keeps the bit from caming out of the screw, and make driving 3 1/2" screws without pilot holes a trivial task. Anyone can drive screws with this driver. It is very light, compact, and well balanced. It is plenty powerful as well. It will drive a screw completely through a pressure treated 2x6 if you let it.

The charger is great. It charges the batteries in 15 minutes and is computer controlled. It works very well.

The soft case is excellent as well. It holds both tools, the charger, and a couple of boxes of bits easily. It also has a padded shoulder carry strap that makes it easy to carry the kit around.

Now for the only negative. The battery life is not the greatest in this kit. The batteries it comes with are 1.5 Ah batteries. Makita also sells 3 Ah batteries. They will of course last a lot longer on a single charge. If you use both batteries at the same time you will have some down time. The impact driver goes through the charge on one of these smaller batteries pretty quick. So if you like this kit I would recommend buying an extra battery.

Amazon is the place to buy this. I bought it at Home Depot for $279. Amazon sells it for $200 or so. You can also get extra batteries for a better price at Amazon.

I will buy more products in this line for Makita.

I rank this kit 8.5 out of 10, and 9.5 out of 10 at the Amazon price point.