I own two specialized businesses: one building custom homes and the other restoring vintage cars and campers. While I have a variety of impact drivers in my building tool arsenal, they have traditionally been limited to standard air impact wrenches. So the new releases of cordless impact wrenches has been a welcome development as far as I’m concerned.
A while back I added a cordless impact wrench to my tool cache when I tested Metabo’s ½” SSW 18 LTX 400 B, which I was impressed with. While it was compact and could handle the mechanical work, it also had sufficient torque to handle the timberwork we do regularly. This timberwork involves involves running long lags and Timberlock screws through 6x and 8x Douglas fir stock – a true test of its cordless capacity. As with all cordless drill types, there are various sizes and capacities. That model has a max torque rating of 295 ft. lbs. and weighs about 4 lbs.
Recently I had an opportunity to test another impact wrench – Makita’s newly released XWT08Z – an 18V LXT brushless high torque ½” impact wrench with a significantly higher torque rating than the Metabo I tested. Intrigued by the jump in capacity from the one I’d previously tested, I was excited to give it a try. I noticed right off the bat that the Makita weighs about twice as much as the Metabo – telling me that these aren’t comparable impact wrenches so I knew I wasn’t doing a head-to-head test. The added weight correlates to the power difference between these two tools. The Makita wasn’t going to displace my Metabo, but I would soon figure out that it could fill a void for my impact wrench needs.
While most of the impact wrenches I own have some great features, the one thing most lacking is brute force. This is where the Makita XWT08Z shines. With it’s lithium-ion powered brushless motor it delivers a whopping 740 ft. lbs. of fastening torque and 1180 ft. lbs. of breakaway torque, enough to remove the most stubborn rusted-on nuts and bolts I could find. The day the wrench arrived in my shop, I happened to be working on a 1968 Land Rover. I had to remove some suspension components that had been originally installed some 48 years prior. I had already tried to remove the securing nuts and bolts with my air powered impact wrench with no success. After charging up the 18v lithium-ion battery on the air cooled Rapid Optimum Charger, I loaded up one of Makita’s HD impact sockets and hit the trigger. With the twin LED headlamps lighting up the work space, I was completely amazed at what quick work this beast made of the task. It removed nuts that had been rusted in place for nearly five decades, and it didn’t attempt to rip my wrist off in the process.
The latest brushless technology motor is equipped with Makita’s Star Protection Computer Controls make this tool as smart as it is strong. While the claim that it “only” weighs 7.9 lbs makes it sounds light make no mistake it’s not lightweight. Even with its built-in tool hook, I’m not sure I would want this thing hanging off my belt. The other thing I noticed is while it is somewhat balanced while using, it’s not meant to stand up on its battery. I tried this a couple of times only to have it topple over. I’ll take the strength over athletic ability any time. I give this tool two gloves up!
- Voltage: 18V LXT
- No-Load Speed (var. 3 speed) 0-900 / 0-1000 / 0-1800 RPM
- Impacts per minute (var. 3 speed) 0-1800 / 0-2000 / 0-2200 IPM
- Maximum torque 1003 Nm / 740 ft. lbs
- Bit retainer Male square 1/2" (12.70 mm)
- Weight (including 4Ah battery pack) 7.9 lbs.
- 3 year limited warranty
- Cost: XWT08M kit (2) 18V LXT 4.0Ah batteries, (1) rapid charger, (1) tool bag $449 ($239 for bare tool)
Robert Courtney is a custom home builder, trim carpenter, and mechanic specializing in building and restoring expedition vehicles.