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Cordless Impact Driver Review: Makita BTD 141 Drive Time

By: Mark Clement , Contributing Writer
In: Uncategorized

One question I’ve been asked on MyFixitUpLife is “I see carpenters on TV using impact drivers. They look cool but do I need one?”

My answer is: depends.

Cordless impact drivers are pro-grade and one unit I’ve used that I like quite a lot is Makita’s BTD 141. If you’re only doing a few projects a year, well, you may be nicely served by a nice-quality drill/driver. If you’re cranking out larger remodeling projects, well the money spent on a professional-grade impact driver will come back to you in time saved. Of that, I have no doubt.

Cordless impact drivers mostly do what drill-drivers do–except faster and better–especially 18 volt Lithium Ion-powered units like the BTD 141.

Small, Fast, Big. The BTD 141 is smaller than most cordless drills and delivers way more RPMs (0-2,300) with about 1330 inch/pounds of torque, making it a fast powerful driver for every fastener from wimpy drywall screws to fistfuls of 3-inch deck screws and even ledger or seismic bolts (like LedgerLok or Simpson screws.) You can even use them to fasten deck hardware: A 1/2 by 6 inch lag for a deck ledger boards is definitely pushing the tool, but for socking up carriage and through-bolts, it’s hard to find a more efficient tool. The BTD 141 did great work fastening pergola hardware on a Western Red Cedar pergola I built.

But there’s finesse too. Because the variable speed trigger is so well designed, snugging a single screw into a vinyl replacement window or cabinet back just right is easy. So is blasting decking screws into rock-hard Doug Fir framing (which I just did for a bathroom remodel, integrating new framing into existing structure). The RPM/impact power combine for another benefit: they generate a great connection between the driver bit and the fastener–less reaming out of screw heads–which I feel makes working with them easier on me than muscling a cordless drill all day.

Very small screws aren’t an impact driver’s bailiwick (like setting cabinet hinges) because you can shear the screw off but anything beyond a drywall screw is fair game. It’s worth pointing out that the BTD 141 has enough umph to shear off larger screws which happens more in hardwoods (like a hardwood deck package or cabinet face frames). It doesn’t take much to figure out when you’re pushing the screw too hard, though, so this isn’t a drawback in my book.

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  1. 1 Response  to “Cordless Impact Driver Review: Makita BTD 141 Drive Time”

  2. Lisa Scofield
    Aug 29, 2011
    While nail and screw drivers are handy and quick, some DIYers might be surprised at how quick the novelty wears off. Remove the hammer and the screwdriver from the project and you might remove some of the craftsman feel that you typically get from a DIY project.