I’ve been sitting on this Makita Impact XPS screwdriver bit set for some time now – the pandemic has really disrupted my concept of time – and finally had a chance to put them through some use this week.
To be clear, I’m not yet ready to do the full spectrum of testing that I have in mind for these bits. But, I put a couple of bit styles through heavy use today, and felt compelled to write about them while the experience was still fresh.
Here’s what happened: I couldn’t find a pack of the screwdriver bits I needed, and this Makita XPS screwdriver bit set caught my gaze from its place on my “I really need to test these power tool accessories ASAP” corner. So, I opened the packaging and grabbed some bits.
What better time to test anything new than when you really need them for a project, right?
Today I went through Robertson/square #2, Torx T20, Torx T25, and Phillips #2 bits.
Unfortunately, I can’t really show off my experience with these bits – not right now at least, as I only paused for a couple of quick snapshots. But, I can still tell you what happened.
First, I was floored at how good the fitment was. It’s almost too good. I had to put in some grunt work with pliers to remove a sheared-off screw head at some point.
The fit is seriously amazing.
I sat they’re almost too good because these bits do behave a little differently than I’m used to, but it could also be the style of fastener I was using, as I very rarely use longer Robertson screws. I spun the bit inside a couple of fasteners, even when I caught myself being too easy with the pressure. I’m going to chalk this up to a personal learning curve.
I think the problem is that I got comfortable in starting screws without having to be very careful about fastener retention – these bits do a great job of that – and so I was lighter on the pressure than I normally am.
Uh-oh, did I ruin a good bit by shallowly free-spinning it in a couple of fasteners? Nope! I expected to see the type of rounding-off damage that I recently experienced with another brand’s Robertson bits after about the same number of fasteners as I put in today. But, the bit emerged in pristine condition.
These bits are crazy durable!
Now, here’s the part that I’m embarrassed about. I wasn’t well-versed in the bits’ marketing claims before now. Either that, or I read up on them and forgot what was supposed to be so good about them.
Makita Impact XPS – what’s that all about? Yes, they’re shiny, silvery, and new, but why should we care?
To start, I saw firsthand today that they are very durable, even more so than some of the other impact-rated screwdriver bits I was using today.
I was shocked as to their initial durability, and how much of a difference there were compared to some of the bits I had been using.
I should mention that there is never any guarantee that my lasting impression will be an extension of my initial thoughts and experiences. But, barring major flaws or surprise disappointments, I can see myself very strongly recommending the Makita Impact XPS product family.
According to Makita, their new Impact XPS screwdriver bits last up to 90X longer than standard bits.
I took a peek at user reviews online, and there seem to be some mixed impressions. There is a lot of positivity, but also some complaints about bit breakage.
Usually, if hardness goes up, toughness goes down, and brittle failure becomes more likely.
I stripped a screw (#10 x 3″) and sheared the head off another one – (#10 x 3-1/8″), but I didn’t break any tips yet.
Looking deeper at the product info, here are some official bullet points:
- Exact fitment – machined tips fit with minimal variance
- Unique steel blend – carbon alloy steel blend flexes for a longer-lasting bit
- Engineered to withstand the hardest-hitting impact drivers
- Pulse torsion rings distribute forces to prevent breakage
- Matte nickel finish for best in class corrosion resistance
Yes, right now I’m in the “honeymoon period” where these bits haven’t done anything wrong yet, but I can’t remember a time when I was as surprised about any other pro tool brand’s impact-rated screwdriver bits.
Not every style of impact-rated screwdriver bit works for all users, but that’s what small quantity bit packs are for, right, testing the waters?
Over the years, many cordless power tool brands have improved their impact-rated screwdriver bits, nutdrivers, and other accessories. There’s a limit as to how durable a bit can be without suffering from a drop in toughness. Higher hardness and lower toughness can increase brittleness.
Still, I encountered a couple of jammed screws, with one situation shearing the head off, and there were zero breakages. Maybe that will change with some of the smaller bit styles or sizes, I don’t know yet.
I feel that I was missing out, and that I should have cracked open this review sample bit set a lot earlier – it probably could have saved me some of the frustrations I experienced with other bits recently.
The fitment was so good that I didn’t need a magnet or careful attention to starting my screws, and the durability was so good that I don’t need to rummage around for fresh bits for this weekend’s projects.
It might seem strange, but I also really like the color. The gold bits performed very well, and were easy to spot, but I sometimes had trouble finding bits in less popular tip styles.
I was going to say that I still can’t find a bulk pack of T20 Torx bits in this style, but with a quick search, yep – they’re available online after all, just not on the XPS Impact splash pages I came across.
If you pick up a pack, please let me know how well you like them! In the meantime, I’ll be keeping these right near near my drills and impact drivers.
So far, these bits are raising the bar a bit, and I wasn’t prepared for that. *Thumbs up* to Makita.
- 60pc set for $25
- 15-count Phillips #2 2″ bits for $15
- 15-count Phillips #2 1″ insert bits for $12
Thank you to Makita for providing the review sample set!