Product Review: Makita-BHP451 18V, 1/2" LXT Lithium-Ion Hammer Driver Drill Kit
By Damien Andrews
The Makita-BHP451 is a great tool for the advanced DIYer or the professional
As the owner of four Makita driver drills, one of which is the Makita-BHP451, I can say unequivocally that the Makita-BHP451 is a fantastic tool. The Makita-BHP451 driver drill is not only a screw gun and drill, but a hammer drill as well. I’ve used my cordless Makita-BHP451 for everything from sinking anchor bolts in concrete to installing light-duty shelving. It handles worksite abuse well, and always performs flawlessly.
The Makita-BHP451 18V, 1/2" LXT lithium-ion hammer driver drill is shown in front of several Makita driver drills.
The Makita-BHP451 is the entire driver drill kit. The Makita-BHP451z is the driver drill only. According to the Makita website, the Makita-BHP451 driver drill kit comes with:
• 2 LXT Lithium-Ion 3.0Ah batteries (194205-3)
• 45-minute optimum charger (DC18SC)
• Screwdriver bits (784637-8)
• Tool case (824754-3)
I’ll list the full complement of features of the Makita-BHP451 later. There are some features that I’ve become very fond of over the last year of using this driver drill, and I’d like to share some of those first.
Unlike most driver drill guns, the Makita-BHP451 has three variable speeds. Each variable speed has its own beats per minute setting as well. ¹Slow speed renders 0-300 RPM • mid speed goes from 0-600 RPM • high speed allows up to 1,700 RPM. Beats per minute, when using the hammer drill setting, are: 4,500 • 9,000 • 25,500, respectively. This broader than usual set of working options facilitates both the toughest or the most delicate of operations.
There are two small LED lights placed under the chuck of the Makita-BHP451 driver drill. This is a really handy feature – especially when working in low light conditions such as the inside of closets and underneath low shelving. The lights are bright enough to use as a small work light, and come on whenever the trigger is slightly depressed. Thissaves trips to grab a flashlight for checking screw heads, depths, alignments and so forth.
There are three intuitive, easy access switches on the Makita-BHP451 driver drill: two on the top, one just above the grip. The two on the top are for setting the speed at 1, 2 or 3, and selecting the desired function: driver, drill, or hammer drill. These are easily accessible and very clearly marked. The switch above the grip is for forward and reverse. It’s very convenient and does not require a second hand to operate.
I do find that sometimes when changing function settings on the Makita-BHP451 driver drill, there is difficulty in moving the switch. When this happens, I just run the driver drill for an instant and it switches quite easily.
The 45-minute optimum charger that comes in the Makita-BHP451 driver drill kit is fantastic – especially when I’m using the hammer drill function frequently. Drilling concrete and masonry is tough on any hammer drill, and the battery life reflects the pressure put on the tool. I get between 20-30 minutes of drilling time in concrete, and 35-45 minutes of drilling time in masonry. The second battery in the Makita-BHP451 kit and the 45-minute optimum charger make sure I can keep working without interruption.
When I’m just drilling wood and/or installing hardware with the Makita-BHP451 driver drill, I can go almost all day without a battery change. I have not drilled into enough steel to find out how long the charge will last, but since steel is drilled in low speed and without hammer function, it should last several hours.
A close up of the Makita-BHP451 18V, 1/2" LXT lithium-ion hammer driver drill specifications plate.
One of the handiest uses for the hammer function on the Makita-BHP451 driver drill is for driving self-starting screws into sheet metal. If you have lots of this to do, I’d suggest looking at a hammer driver. But if you only need to occasionally drive this type of screw into steel, try the medium speed setting with the hammer turned on. Use the variable speed trigger to modify speed and hammer blows as necessary. Also, after the screw is started, reduce your pressure on the driver drill.
According to ¹Makita’s website, the features of the Makita-BHP451 driver drill kit are as follows:
• LXT Lithium-Ion battery and optimum charging system produces 280% total lifetime work with 2x more cycles
• Makita built, 4-pole maximum torque motor delivers 560 in. lbs. of efficient torque in a compact size
• Compact design at only 9-7/8" length and weighs only 4.9 lbs. for less operator fatigue
• Ergonomic shape fits like a glove with even pressure and easy control
• LXT Lithium-Ion provides longer run time, 5x lower self-discharge (for use any time) and 16 firm holding contact terminals (for constant high power)
• 45-minute Optimum Charger and battery communicates throughout the charging process using the built-in chip in the battery and built-in CPU chip in the charger. The Charger also uses "Active 3 Control" for current control, thermal control & voltage control
• 45-minute Optimum Charger has a built-in fan to cool the battery to produce more lifetime work
• Two built-in L.E.D. lights for more illuminated work 3-Speed design produces 25% faster working speed with more efficiency in a wider range of applications
• Shift-Lock? drive system quickly shifts from "hammer drill" to "driver" mode with one touch
• Two-piece armature and field along with externally accessible brushes for serviceability and longer motor life
• 3-year warranty on tool and 1-year warranty on battery
There are lighter driver drills than the ½” Makita-BHP451. If you only require a lightweight tool, and never drill concrete or masonry, the Makita-BHP451 might be more tool than you need. But if you want a driver drill that ‘does it all’ in your tool kit, the Makita-BHP451 driver drill is one you should seriously consider.
• You can buy a less expensive factory reconditioned Makita-BHP451 driver drill kit – with guarantee – at several places on line. • Do an on line search for Makita-BHP451 before buying new or used. Prices vary substantially, and you’ll want the best deal. • For some screw gun tips, tricks and accessories, read this informative article