The Makita LXT Review That Will Help You Choose The Best Drill

If you want power behind your drill, you should pick up a nice 18V. If you don’t have much space or arm power, you have to drop down to a subcompact and lose about 6V, right?

Not quite.

Most drills in the subcompact class are 12V, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice power for size or vice versa. Makita’s new LXT subcompact drill breaks all those rules. In fact, it may just transform what you think about subcompact drills.

In this Makita LXT review, we’ll break down a few of our favorite features and help you decide if this is your next subcompact drill. Let’s take a look.

Makita LXT review Makita LXT review

Things To Consider Before Buying A Subcompact Drill

Subcompact tools are actually one of the fast growing segments in the tool market. Many household handymen (or women) just don’t want a full drill. The size and weight make them easier to hold and easier to store when you don’t have a dedicated shop space.

Should you invest in a subcompact? Ask yourself a few things. 

What’s the scope of your job? Fixing things around the house rarely requires top of the line power and torque, so do you really need that full-sized drill? Probably not.

What’s your arm strength? You aren’t just holding the drill. You’re also putting power behind drilling through materials. Again, if you’re just screwing in switch plates with predrilled holes, no big deal. If you’re building complex cabinetry, you may need more power to get through the wood.

Balance your needs with the amount of weight you can comfortably manipulate (and handle the drill in person before you buy if possible).

How often do I use the drill? We hate to see top of the line tools gathering dust in a closet. If you don’t plan to use your drill for much, you might be better off with a basic subcompact. It’s there when you need it, and stores nicely when you don’t.

Related: Best Dewalt 20v Brusless Drill

Presenting The Makita CX200RB 18V LXT Lithium Subcompact

Makita LXT Review

Makita wanted to create a new type of subcompact drill. Now, instead of compromising power, you have a fully capable cordless drill at a full voltage. Makita got rid of old battery technology and created a new type, the world’s first 18V lithium-ion slide battery.


They added this to a brand new brushless subcompact drill.

You distinguish this more powerful version from its 12V cousin with the black trade dress. It’s part of Makita’s LXT family. The brushless motor is contact-free, so you get about 50% more run time and a longer life overall.

It’s suitable for household handymen who want a bit more power but don’t want to sacrifice the convenience of a good subcompact. It’s also for professionals who want to round out their toolbox for a better range of tools to complete their work.

Related: Makita vs Dewalt: What Brand Had Is Best?


Makita LXT subcompact review quick view:

-full power in a compact body
-350 in. lbs of torque is good for the majority of nonprofessional tasks
-less than three pounds with battery intact
-assist mode eliminates cross threading and cam out

-Makita is expensive
-you may need to upgrade your batteries if you don’t already have the 18V
-if you perform mostly professional jobs, 350 in.lbs of torque may not be high enough for the price point.


Makita CX200RB 18V LXT Features And Benefits

Let’s break things down and look more closely at what the Makita 18V subcompact has to offer in our Makita LXT review.

Power And Torque

For a compact drill, this Makita is surprisingly capable. It isn’t just the 18V battery either. The drill boasts 350 in. lbs. of torque. It’s certainly not the most torque available in a drill, but considering most 12V compact drills average about 220 to 240 in. lbs of torque with some of the smallest having less than 200.

This amount of torque should be enough for the vast majority of household tasks. It features two-speed options from 0 to 500 and 0 to 1700.

Brushless Motor

Without contact, the motor boasts not just a longer battery life but a longer tool life overall. With no carbon brushes, the drill is a lot quieter to run and a whole lot smoother to manipulate. A brushless motor matches the torque and RPMs electrically in real time. As the job changes, your tool application changes. You experience less fatigue over longer jobs, and the tool doesn’t get as hot. here is the parts breakdown

makita subcompact brushless review


It’s ergonomically designed to fit better in your hand. It’s well balanced and weighs less than three pounds even with the battery attached.

Makita chose an all-black color scheme over the traditional teal so you shouldn’t have any trouble distinguishing between your 18V and your 12V if you invest in both. It also has a dual LED for illumination for poorly lit jobs.

It uses a 1/2 inch keyless chuck to make changing bits easy even in the middle of a complicated job.

The housing is primarily a 12V tool reconfigured to take the 18V battery, and that definitely isn’t a bad thing. It comes with Makita’s XPT or “extreme protection technology.” This addition protects your drill from environmental damage such as water or dust.

As far as the Makita subcompact vs regular drill, you’re getting much lighter weight and a quicker charge time. The tradeoff is less torque. Both do have excellent battery life between charges.

Related: Best 20v Cordless Drills

Assist Mode

Drills with no variable speed controls put you in danger of throwing a screw before you can get it to grip the wood. Makita’s Assist Mode is a quick switch at the base of the tool, and it can help prevent cross threading and cam-out by beginning at a slower speed until impact starts.


The 18V battery is a nice upgrade from 12V. You get more battery life between this battery and the brushless motor, a welcome change for a subcompact cordless.

Battery charge time takes about 40 minutes, and there’s an inbuilt fan to reduce heat during the charging process.

The battery discharge system is meant to keep your drill running longer between charges. Both the tool and the battery monitor energy to prevent overloading and over-discharging, and optimizing the amount of energy the battery supplies.

Related: Best Cordless Chainsaw Reviews 



The Makita subcompact fills a niche between professional needs and compact drills. Based on the information in our Makita LXT review, we think that once you switch to an 18V subcompact, you may not want to pick your 12V back up. A 12V certainly has its place with low impact, low power jobs, the 18V will satisfy your need for more power without sacrificing the convenience of your cordless.

Makita’s cordless may become the norm, but for now, it’s a unique offering in the cordless drill field. We think it’s best suited for a household jack of all trades who needs a more powerful, but still versatile tool.

Tell us, are you ready to give up your 12V because of our Makita subcompact brushless review? Let us know in the comments.