I’m no carpenter. Nor am I a tradesman, needing to quickly sink large metal fasteners by the hundreds every hour. I also don’t work outdoors, wrestling with the elements while trying to do my job. If you happen to be any of these types of people you should seriously consider this Makita impact driver, as it covers just about every one of your needs. If you’re not one of these people, but you’d just like to get your hands on a beast of an impact driver, I sure wouldn’t blame you. This is a nice driver.
First, let’s get this out of the way. Power. It’s got loads of power. I completely buried a series of 2-1/2″ long x #10 flat head screws into solid red oak quickly and effortlessly. I then grabbed a nutsetter and sunk a 3 1/2″ long x 3/8″ diameter lag bolt in that same red oak hardwood. Without skipping a beat, this impact driver buried it up to its head. Did you catch that? It was 16/4 solid red oak. Up to its head. Didn’t skip a beat. Yeah. Pretty good.
The Makita DTD171Z has a whole lot more than power and torque going for it, though. It has a host of settings for different applications. There are four stages for impact driving force, depending on the amount of speed and torque you need. There are also four additional application assist modes; wood mode (slower rotation at first, then when the screw is started, increased speed), bolt mode (rotation automatically stops when loosening bolts once the bolt tension is very low) and two self-tapping screw modes (ensuring metal screws aren’t over-driven in thin or thick metal). The impact driving modes can be toggled through with a number of glove-friendly buttons at the base of the handle, or a main button just above the trigger can be used to select one of the four main application modes. These eight modes can be used by a wide range of tradespeople and DIYers to fine-tune the driver for the application they’re working with, giving them a quicker, better and more predictable result.
Although I almost exclusively use my tools indoors, if you do any exterior home improvements, or work on construction sites, this impact driver offers an incredible level of protection from the elements. Keeping sand, dirt, oil, water, etc. away from the inner workings of the driver has been taken care of. Gaskets and solid construction have been used to their fullest. Even the air ventilation ports have been designed in a way that the driver would have to be turned almost upside down to allow any water in. This approach to engineering and construction will go a long way to ensuring this drill won’t let you down when you need it the most.
This impact driver is a bit louder than the smaller 12V impacts, but I doubt these drivers are going to see much action in a quiet home-shop setting too often. From construction sites to basement remodels, these are the locations where the Makita DTD171Z will shine. Whenever a large metal fastener is needed, I’m pretty sure this driver will lead the way.
This is a very nice, extremely capable impact driver, which I’m sure you’d enjoy using for years to come. I’m a bit jealous of all you carpenters and tradespeople who would be able to use this driver on a regular basis. Having said that, maybe I will have to do more projects around the house to justify this beauty. Better make the purchase first, then see what projects I should tackle.
Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.