Makita XWT17 1/2″ Brushless Impact Wrench Review
Makita XWT17 18V Brushless Mid‑Torque 1/2″ Impact Wrench Review
18V LXT® Lithium‑Ion Brushless Cordless 4‑Speed Mid‑Torque 1/2" Sq. Drive Impact Wrench w/ Friction Ring Anvil, Tool Only
Model number: XWT17
Power source: 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion
Motor size: Brushless
Weight: 6.0 LBS with Battery
Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench Features
- Max Fastening Torque: 520 Ft./Lbs.
- Max Breaking Torque 740 Ft./ Lbs.
- 4 Selectable Speeds
- 3 forward and 3 Reverse Auto-Stop Modes
- Full Speed Mode: Reduces Trigger Pull to Reach Full Speed
- Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) Provides Dust and Water Resistance
- Built-in L.E.D. Light W/ Independent On/Off Switch
- Weight: 6.0 lbs. W/ 5.0 Ah battery
- Flexible Joint Isolates the Battery From the Grip to Reduce Wear on Battery Contacts
- Star Protection Computer Controls: Protect Against Overloading, Over-Discharging, and Over-Heating
- 3-year limited warranty
Losing the Air Hose
Whenever working on vehicles, I lean towards pneumatic air tools for big jobs that require a lot of power. The thought of not being attached to the airline and having a cordless battery-powered tool that can deliver the same power is a dream come true. I had serious doubts that a battery-powered Impact Wrench could handle those high torque situations. My second worry was the battery life. I thought there was no way that a battery-powered Impact Wrench, if capable of such high torque values could last a reasonable amount of time.
Well, as outlined below, I can tell you that I was more than impressed. This Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench is going to leave my air hose to collect dust and seldom be used. This tool delivered plenty of power. The battery life of this tool lasted longer than I would have imagined and will last for multiple jobs. In case I wasn’t clear, I will definitely be losing the air hose.
Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench Controls
The light icon allows you to select whether you want the LED light to be on or off. My older tools don’t have a dedicated on/off feature so it is definitely nice to have the option, especially if you need to save battery.
4 different levels of force.
You can also choose from 4 different impact force levels by pressing the button that looks like a bolt. This is a great feature because it will allow you to choose the amount of torque suitable for the work you are performing. I find this especially useful in preventing the breakage of smaller bolts or threads.
3 different bolt modes.
Next, if you press the mode button you can choose from 3 different bolt modes. When tightening this mode stops the driving once impact blows have begun. This will prevent overtightening. When in reverse the driving will stop once the impact blows have ended. This is a really nice feature that will help prevent that situation when you zip off a lug nut so fast it go flying across the shop.
Last, is Full-Speed Mode. If you hold the mode button down it will put the wrench into full speed mode. This will allow the Impact Wrench to spin at full speed with the slightest pull of the trigger, and eliminate you from having to squeeze the trigger fully to reach full speed. Full speed mode can be turned off by holding the mode button down again. Full speed mode is indicated by the little light to the left of the mode button.
Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench Ergonomics
The Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench is very comfortable to hold in my hand due to the soft rubber grip. The rubber grip, although soft and comfortable, feel’s strong and durable. There don’t seem to be any hot spots in my hand when holding this tool and it is well balanced. The top of the tool is a good size but compact size for the amount of torque this Impact Wrench puts out. With the battery in the bottom, the weight distribution is very well balanced. The Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench is a comfortable and well-balanced tool that feels good to hold.
Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench LED Lighting
Here you can see the two led lights that in my opinion deliver plenty of light at night. Unfortunately, we have all run into that project that runs a little later into the night than you would like. The dual led lights provide ample light to be able to finish that late-running project, or even find that missing lug that rolled away and is hiding in the dark. As mentioned earlier there is an on/off switch that allows you to select whether you want the LED light to be on or off. I leave the light off when using the tool most of the time to help save battery, although I’m sure that these LED lights use very little power.
Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench Testing
The first thing I did was put the Impact Wrench to the lug nuts on my truck to see how it performed. As you can see my brake rotors were pretty bad, so I figured I would change my rotors, brake pads and rotate my tires. All four tires needed to come off, and then be put back on when finished. My lug nuts are hand torqued to 98 ft. lbs. so I thought this would be an easy test for this Impact Wrench that is said to pack a whopping 740 ft. lbs. of nut-busting torque. The Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench had absolutely no problem taking all of the lug nuts off and made me quickly realize that I won’t be dragging out my air hose as much as I used to.
I recently restored a beautiful set of Danna-44 axles for one of my classic jeeps. In a jam, I installed the wrong U-bolts, and they did the trick for a while. When I went to replace the U-bolts with my air Impact Wrench, it wouldn’t budge the rusty nuts. I also tried with a long breaker bar and they were not coming off easy. My friend once told me that he doesn’t take nuts off U-bolts, he just cuts them. With recently restored new axles I wasn’t about to risk scratching them. I really wasn’t expecting the Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench to have success, but wouldn’t you know it zipped all four nuts off no problem!
Next, I took the Impact Wrench to a shed dolly I was working on. Basically, I put wheels under one side of the shed so I can move it around. I had to mount some 2”x12” pieces of wood to the top with some 8” lag bolts for stabilization. Needless to say, it was a breeze for the Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench to drive the lag bolts deep into the wood.
Will the Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench take my lawnmower blades off?
This is a question I feel needs to be addressed. Being a bit of a “lawn nut” I often come across people (in person and over the internet) that are unable to remove the cutting blades on all different brands of lawnmowers due to the bolt that holds the cutting blades on being very tight from the factory. Some of these people even settled for sharpening the blades while leaving them attached to the lawnmower. Removing the blades for proper sharpening will give you a better result.
On my Bad Boy lawnmower, the blades are torqued at 110 ft. lbs, but it seems that from the factory they sometimes are torqued even higher. In the past, I would tell them to buy a small air compressor and an Impact Wrench, but now I can definitely recommend this battery-powered Impact Wrench. One quick blast of the Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench and the blades were off. I was able to sharpen my blades and get back to leaving those beautiful lawn stripes!
Further Testing of the Makita XWT17
Overall the Makita excelled at all the tasks I commonly perform with the Impact Wrench. The level of performance I experienced made me look for more demanding tests that a professional wrench-turner may be required to perform. I don’t usually work on big trucks or large machinery, but they seemed like the perfect test subjects for the Makita XWT17. I put the Impact Wrench to an International 4400 which has a lug nut torque value of 550 ft. lbs. The lug nuts did not come off quickly, like on a normal smaller vehicle, but after about 24 seconds the Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench was able to break one free.
This Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench worked excellent on all other low to mid torque tests that were performed and can probably get you out of a jam if you are working on high torque applications. If consistently working with heavy machinery the Makita XWT07Z, High‑Torque 3/4″ Sq. Drive Impact Wrench may be the better option. The high torque Impact Wrench would be much more suitable for continuous high toque jobs like this one. It will also have a 3/4 square drive as opposed to the 1/2″ drive like on the Makita Mid Torque Impact Wrench, eliminating the need for an adapter as you can see in the photograph.
Improvements and Battery
I really like this tool. Coming from an old air Impact Wrench, there isn’t much that can be improved on. The Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench met all of my expectations. The 18V Lithium-Ion battery I used throughout the testing, impressively, remained above 3/4 full. The brushless motor in this tool is said by Makita to be incredibly efficient and is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50 percent longer run time. As I mentioned earlier this Impact Wrench had a hard time breaking the lug nuts loose on an International 4400 which has a lug nut torque value of 550 ft. lbs. This Impact Wrench should provide enough power for anyone that is not using it on heavy machinery.
Price and Availability
This tool is available as a bare tool for $239.00 which I feel is completely worth it. I absolutely love this Impact Wrench and will be using it a lot on many projects to come. You can also buy the Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench as a kit with a carry bag, two batteries, and a charger for $459.00 from ACME Tools. $459.00 is a lot of money, but if you need the batteries or you don’t already have a tool brand that you are invested in then it is a great opportunity to start collecting quality tools made by Makita.
Use the “Buy Now” box below to purchase the Makita Impact Wrench directly from our friends at ACME Tools.
The Impact Wrench feels sturdy like an Impact Wrench should, but at the same time, it is comfortable to hold. I love the bright LED light that can be shut off when not needed. I also appreciate the different power modes and torque modes. Not being attached to the air hose deeply expands my options to use the tool. And last, but definitely not least, this mid torque Impact Wrench more than exceeded my basic everyday use. I feel like there isn’t much I can’t do with this Makita XWT17 Impact Wrench. Within the first week of owning this Impact Wrench, I found so many uses for this tool that I am confident that it will be one of my tools that stays out of the toolbox due to frequent use.
About the author
Product reviews on this site contain our opinion of a product or service. We will always strive for objectivity and transparency in our reviews. Our goal is to provide readers with honest, objective information based on our own experiences. We never have and never will accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Many of the products that we review are provided to us for free by a manufacturer or retailer. In some cases, we also have advertising or affiliate relationships with manufacturers and retailers of products and services we review. For additional information please visit our additional disclosure policies.