Another year, another new Makita 18V budget-priced cordless impact driver kit for the holiday season. But this one’s a bit different.
Update (9/20/17): The price has dropped to $99 as expected.
First, the new 18V cordless impact driver, XDT131, is brushless. A budget-priced brushless pro-grade tool? Dewalt did it with their DCD777 brushless drill/driver, so why now Makita with an impact driver?
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Second, it’s bundled with a 3.0Ah battery. While not unusual, nor is it unusual that it’s bundled with a single battery as has been the trend for seasonal offerings, this was has a built-in battery fuel gauge.
Last, gone is the hard case. Instead, you get a no-frills soft carrying case. Some might see this as a downside, others as a plus.
So what about its mechanical specs and features?
- 1/4″ hex chuck
- 1500 in-lbs max torque
- 0-3400 RPM/0-3600 IPM
- Up to 50% longer runtime per charge
- 5″ long
- Weighs 3.3 lbs
- Dual LED worklight
Looks like a capable compact brushless impact driver to me.
I’m going to take a guess here and say that we might expect to see the price drop to $99 as the holiday season approaches. $99, sometimes $99.99, seems to be the magic number that pro brands strive for with these entry-level drill and impact driver kits.
Makita has amped up their game this time, and if they’re somehow able to price this kit at $99, competing brands are going to face a lot more pressure than in previous years.
It has become a fierce competition. Sales numbers are important for two reasons. First, more sales means more revenue. That part is obvious. Second to that, or perhaps maybe more importantly, these kits could serve as gateway kits. With a battery pack and charger in-hand, users are going to be much more inclined to buy bare tools. Once you’ve bought into a cordless power tool system, a big part of the cost barrier has already been removed.
And with this kit, you get a 3.0Ah 10-cell battery pack that can power any of Makita’s 18V tools. When you buy a kit that comes with a compact battery pack, even two of them, you’ll face some practical limits if you want to bring a heavier duty tool into the mix.
The impact driver is brushless, it has competitive specifications, and although you only get one battery pack, it’s a high capacity pack – relative only to cell count these days – that has a built-in fuel gauge (distinguishing it from the non-gauge Makita battery packs from not too long ago).
I don’t mean to knock the $129 price. That actually seems like a very good price for what you get. I just believe that we’re bound to see lower pricing in just a few weeks. $119? $109? Nope. $99 has been the magic price in previous years, so that’s what I’m guessing we’ll see this kit sell for.
Update (9/20/17): Told you! It’s now $99.