Makita 18V Sub-Compact Impact Driver XTD15

Does size really matter? Lately it doesn’t with impact drivers because the push is smaller is better, no matter the color no matter the brand, but leave it to Makita to deliver us another outstanding impact driver, but this one isn’t there to “out do” the other colors, but to appeal to the needs of those that don’t need the fastest baddest impact driver on the market.

Leading the pack for Makita Sub-Compact line of tools in their 18V LXT line up, this little driver not only packs a punch but can fit where many drivers can’t necessarily go. Its small and mighty. The XTD15 is only around two and a half pounds bare tool weight and around five and a quarter inches long, smaller than many 12v impacts.


On paper the numbers aren’t going to necessarily blow you away with 1240 in pounds of torque with 1300 RPM/1600 IPM in “soft” and 1600 RPM/3900 IPM in “hard,” making this a great medium to light duty impact driver.  It isn’t overly loud and bulky which is great for use in tight areas where impact sounds can deafen you and arm fatigue will burn you out with over head work.  What really shouts out for this tool, cabinetry! This tool pairs great with its cousin, the XFD11Z for use with pocket holes and other assembly work.

The brilliance of this tool as well as other tools entering the subcompact arena for Makita are the size, being the footprint of a 12v tool with the power and battery support of an 18v line up. The great thing that is makes this line so successful is that the Makita guys do not need to go buy into another platform, your existing batteries will work, keeping your clutter down.


This impact really is a joy to use, it is a great balance of power and compactness. Typically most of my use was in “hard” mode which is their higher setting taking full advantage of the brushless tech in this tool. But one thing unique to Makita which is shared on its high end TD170 is the “assist mode.” Now this isn’t always practical and take a small learning curve to adjust your style of driving, but depressing the trigger will start the driver at low rpm and ipm. Once the fastener starts to set and torque increased, the motor will rev up and increase both rpms and ipms to sink your fastener. It’s really a brilliant setting that makes this impact come alive.

A few other notable mentions on this tool is the very comfortable grip which Makita has seemed to master. The grip is a perfect blend of contouring to your hand but not being too slim or too fat to grab. The dual LED light is also very bright leaving no issue to illuminate your work, but if the need arrises you can turn it off by holding the “assist mode” button for a few seconds.

Honestly my only gripe is one minor detail this I really do wish Makita would address on their future impact drivers and that is the chuck. The collar must be pulled out in order to insert your bit. This boils down to my personal preference in impacts but isn’t a large enough issues to keep my from picking this tool up.


So heres the part where I’ve told you how much I love this tool, well now its your turn to follow some links and get into how your going to explain to your wife or husband that you just splurged on some new tools. Your best route is to pick up the kit with the impact, drill, two 2.0 batteries (with the fuel gauge,) a bag and the rapid charge for $229 from our favorite online retailer, ACME Tools. You can get a baretool though for only $119 or splurge and get the kit with a bluetooth radio for $299. Any route you take this is a great one to have in the shop!

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