The Makita BDF452HW wins a couple of prominent comparison tests of 18-volt cordless drills -- but it lags behind in another major test, where it delivers only fair run time per battery charge and doesn't drill as speedily as better choices like the DeWalt DCD760KL (*Est. $220). However, the Makita's lithium-ion batteries hold their charge well between uses, and their limited run time is offset by the 15-minute fast charger. Reviewers say the batteries are easy to change, and that the drill itself is very comfortable to use, with excellent balance. We did find scattered complaints from about 10 percent of users about battery life and tool durability, but most owners praise this drill's comfort and performance.
The Makita LCT200W kit adds an impact driver, useful for driving big fasteners like lag screws. For ordinary household use, however, consider the smaller, lighter and less expensive 12-volt Milwaukee 2410-22 (*Est. $150).
ConsumerReports.org provides the most recent and targeted objective tests of the Makita BDF452HW, comparing it with 66 other cordless drills based on objective tests. Comparison tests at Fine Woodworking, Tools of the Trade and Popular Woodworking compare the Makita only with similar models, and provide more detail about each one. Reviews at Wood Magazine are also based on testing, but provide fewer details. The Makita brand is also included in annual customer surveys by J.D. Power and Associates, as well as by a 2007 survey at Builder Online. We found owner-written ratings and reviews at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and at Northern Tool and Equipment. An informal review at ToolBarn.com focuses on women users with smaller hands, and a video review at YouTube (by Tool King), though an advertisement, still provides useful details.
The Makita BDF452HW is one of 67 cordless drills tested here. Experts rate each drill's speed, power and more before choosing the best buys.
Review: Cordless Drill Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Nov. 2009
2. Fine Woodworking
The Makita BDF452HW earns both the Best Overall and Best Value awards in this comparison review of 10 compact 18-volt drills, based on separate objective tests of torque and run time. The Makita excels in the tests and is also judged very comfortable to use.
Review: Compact 18-volt Cordless Drills, Tom Begnal, November 2009
3. Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade compares eight compact Li-ion cordless drill/drivers based on objective tests plus job site use, ranking the Makita BDF452HW second only to the Milwaukee 2601-22. The Makita earns kudos as "a well-balanced tool and at the height of comfort" plus smooth performance and a 15-minute charger -- but loses points for a stiff clutch adjustment.
Review: Tool Test: Compact & Subcompact Drill/Drivers, David Getts, February 2009
4. Popular Woodworking
Based on objective tests comparing it with seven other 18-volt lithium-ion drills, the Makita BDF452HW earns the Editor's Choice award -- not only for its power and run time, but also for its excellent balance and fit in both small and large hands. The LED light, easy battery changes and 15-minute charger also earn praise here. (This review was originally published in the April 2008 issue.)
Review: 18v Lithium-ion Drills Test, Glen Huey, Nov. 2, 2009
5. Wood Magazine
The Makita BDF452HW is judged the better of the two cordless drills recommended in this brief Wood Magazine review. Tester Doug Hicks praises the Makita for its power, fast charges, LED light and versatile half-inch chuck.
Review: Top Buys in 6 Basic Power Tools, Doug Hicks, May 2009
6. Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade 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 BDF452HW earns praise for great ergonomics, easy battery changes and smooth, quiet performance.
Review: Lithium-Ion Hands On, Rick Schwolsky and Michael Springer, Jan. 17, 2007
7. J.D. Power & Associates
Makita places fifth in this third annual J.D. Power and Associates' customer-satisfaction survey of 13 cordless drill brands, though it still ranks above the industry average and earns the same 5-star "among the best" rating as the four brands ranked higher: Milwaukee, Bosch, DeWalt and Craftsman Professional. 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 ranks Makita sixth as a power tool brand.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Hanley Wood and Readex, March 31, 2008
The Makita BDF452HW compact lithium-ion drill is one of the top-rated cordless drills at this retail site, reviewed by 300 owners. However, a few report getting one with a bad chuck (that makes bits wobble) or with batteries that fail prematurely, apparently if they're left in the charger too long.
Review: Makita BDF452HW 18-Volt Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/2-Inch Driver-Drill Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com
Over 50 owners review the Makita BDF452HW at HomeDepot.com. Most owners say they love this drill, but a few report premature battery failure.
Review: Makita Lithium-Ion 1/2" 18-Volt Cordless Compact Drill/Driver BDF452HW, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
11. Northern Tool and Equipment
The Makita BDF452HW earns near-perfect ratings from the handful of owners reviewing it here. One electrical contractor who uses it daily said the batteries lasted 2.5 years; another says he's dropped the tool from trees and roofs and it's kept working.
Review: Makita Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill-Driver Kit - 18 Volt, 1/2in., 450 in.-lbs. Torque, Model# BDF452HW, Contributors to Northern Tool and Equipment
This blog post reports on informal tests of cordless drills by three women. They agreed on the 4.6-pound Makita BDF451 as the favorite for its overall ergonomics and handling. Later, the compact Makita BDF452HW gained the edge with its lighter weight. The reviewer notes that this has become the most popular drill (among both men and women) at the related retailer site.
Review: Buying Advice -- Cordless Drills for Women, Editors of ToolBarn.com, Feb. 20, 2006
This video, posted at YouTube, is basically an advertisement, but it does give a good indication of the relative size and power of the Makita BDF452HW LXT drill. About two dozen owners add comments, with a few reports of durability issues.
Review: Makita BDF452HW LXT 18v Drill Demo, Editors of ToolKing.com, Sept. 24, 2007