Reviewers give high ratings to the Makita BDF451 LXT 18-volt drill/driver for professional use. It has three speeds for excellent control, and testers praise the efficient four-pole motor and overall comfort and balance. The entire Makita LXT series of 18-volt lithium-ion (Li-ion) tools gets good reviews, so it's also a good choice if you want to assemble a larger array of tools that includes a cordless circular saw. The full-size 3.0-amp-hour batteries provide a run time twice as long as that of the compact Makita BDF452HW (*Est. $180). However, the 18-volt DeWalt DCD760KL (*Est. $220) is now the top-rated drill in this class.
ConsumerReports.org tested the Makita BDF451 LXT in 2007, and the publication's latest report compares it with 66 other cordless drills. Makita as a brand is also included in two surveys: the 2010 customer survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, and a 2007 survey of builders at Builder Online. Comparison tests at Fine Homebuilding and at Popular Mechanics cover the similar hammer drill in the LXT series, the Makita BHP454. A Tools of the Trade review in 2007 compares the Makita BDF451 LXT with the full range of Li-ion cordless tools available at the time, including 13 other drills, but with less detail about the testing process. A 2006 blog review at ToolBarn.com evaluates cordless drills for ergonomics. We found the best owner-written reviews of the Makita BDF451 LXT at NorthernTool.com and Amazon.com. Earlier reviews at the Journal of Light Construction test the hammer drill version.
This review at ConsumerReports.org compares the Makita BDF451 LXT Li-ion cordless drill with 66 other models, including 13 that are judged similar in power. Ratings are based partly on earlier tests published in December 2007. All the drills are ranked based on objective tests of speed, power, battery life and other factors.
Review: Cordless Drill Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. J.D. Power and Associates
Makita maintains its ranking as fifth in this third annual J.D. Power and Associates' customer-satisfaction survey of 13 cordless drill brands, earning a 5-star "among the best" rating and ranking well above the industry average. The rankings are based on six factors, with drill performance most important, followed by ease of use, battery performance, price, versatility of battery system and warranty.
Review: 2010 Cordless Drill/Driver Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, June 2, 2010
This 2007 survey of over 3,400 builders and contractors places Makita in the middle of the pack, ranked eighth out of 15 brands that make cordless drills.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Hanley Wood and Readex, March 31, 2008
4. Fine Homebuilding
The corresponding hammer drill in the 18-volt LXT series, the Makita BHP454, gets mixed reviews for speed and power in this review comparing seven cordless hammer drills. The three experienced tool reviewers like some of the conveniences shared by the BDF451 -- the light, belt hook and overall comfort -- but note that the mode selector often sticks, and the chuck on one unit was off center.
Review: Tool Test: 18v Li-Ion Hammer Drills, Justin Fink, Andy Beasley and Kit Camp, November 2009
The corresponding Makita LXT hammer drill, the BHP454, earns top ranking at Popular Mechanics in comparison tests of 10 full-powered Li-ion cordless drills. Testers find the Makita motor and drivetrain superior, and praise the drill's balance and comfortable handle.
Review: Cordless Drill Reviews: We Work 10 Drills to the Limit, Roy Berendsohn, Dec. 1, 2008
6. Tools of the Trade
This Tools of the Trade review doesn't rank or rate the Li-ion cordless tools reviewed here, but the brief summaries of each model make it easy to tell which ones perform best with the most comfort, and any drawbacks are noted. The Makita BDF451 gets one of the best reviews here, praised for its compact size and good balance.
Review: Lithium-Ion Hands On, Rick Schwolsky and Michael Springer, Jan. 17, 2007
This informal comparison review covers cordless drills with good ergonomics for those with smaller hands and less upper-body strength. Based on informal field tests, three female employees agreed unanimously that the most comfortable cordless drills are the Hitachi DS14DVF3 14.4-volt and the lithium-powered Makita BDF451 18-volt.
Review: Buying Advice -- Cordless Drills for Women, Editors of ToolBarn.com, Feb. 20, 2006
8. Northern Tool and Equipment
Retailer site NorthernTool.com is a good place to see user ratings and reviews of pro-level cordless drills and impact drivers. At the time of our report, 20 owners give the Makita BDF451 a near-perfect average rating here, but a few durability problems have cropped up.
Review: Makita LXT Lithium-Ion Drill Driver Kit -- 18V, 1/2in., Model# BDF451, Contributors to Northern Tool and Equipment
At the time of this report, 18 owners review the Makita BDF451 LXT at Amazon.com. Most are pleased with it, reporting that it performs well and is very comfortable to use. In some cases, though, the speed switch doesn't move easily, sticking in the middle position.
Review: Makita BDF451 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/2-Inch Driver-Drill Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com
10. Tools of the Trade
This Tools of the Trade review tests and compares 15 half-inch cordless drill/drivers, mostly 18-volt models, including the Makita BHP451 LXT -- the Makita LXT hammer drill that's mechanically similar to the Makita BDF451 LXT driver-drill. In addition to objective tests of both drilling and driving, testers use the cordless drills at actual job sites, installing millwork.
Review: Cordless Drill/Drivers, Brent Hull, March 2007
11. Journal of Light Construction
This review at the Journal of Light Construction also covers the hammer drill in the same Makita LXT pro series as the Makita BDF451 drill/driver, as part of a comparison review of five Li-ion cordless tool kits. The Makita gets top ranking for ergonomics.
Review: Lithium-Ion Cordless Kits, Andy Beasley, April 2007This review at the Journal of Light Construction also covers the hammer drill in the same