In the age of lithium battery technology, one
might wonder why someone would want to buy a Ni-Cad powered
drill? Well, price is a major consideration. And even though
Ni-Cad is an older battery technology, it is a proven one, and
one that has been in use for many years. I own a stack of 18v
cordless drills of all types, but I wanted a smaller drill
suitable for lighter duty drilling and driving tasks where 18v
was not called for or needed. I looked around and found this
Makita 6270 model. I was quite pleased with its performance and
thought it would be worthy of a review, so here it is!
Before I start, it is worth noting that this particular
drill kit can be upgraded! Ok, I'm talking battery technology
here. Makita make Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries in the
pod style that fits this drill, and because the charger included
will also charge NiMH batteries, to upgrade this drill to NiMH
power, all you need to do is purchase the compatible NiMH
battery from Makita.
Makita 6270D Cordless Drill/Driver
Ok, on to the drill itself. The kit retails for under US$100
making it quite affordable for most for a high-quality basic
drill/driver. It arrives in a plastic molded case which holds
the 12v drill, 2 x 12v 1.3Ah NiCad pod-style batteries, and a
110v battery charger that will charge NiCad and NiMH pod-style
batteries from 7.2v up to 14.4v. There is also a double-ended
driver bit thrown in for good measure.
The drill itself is quite basic feature-wise, but
it gets the job done and is very well made. You can feel the
quality in the design and feel of the drill.
The drill itself is quite compact in size,
allowing you to get into tighter spaces much more easily than
larger, longer drills. From the tip of the chuck (with the chuck
jaws extended out) to the rear of the motor housing, the drill
measures 192mm, or 7 9/16" long. The height measures 239mm or 9
3/8" from bottom of battery to top of the drill. It weighs in at
1.5kg (3.3lb) so its light enough for all-day use without too
much concern of user fatigue. Overhead work is also not a real
problem with this lower weight drill.
The drill is powered by a 12v motor which
delivers no-load speeds of 0 - 350 RPM on the Lo (1) setting,
and 0 - 1200 RPM on the Hi (2) setting. The switch button on the
top surface of the motor casing controls the maximum speed of
the drill, and also its torque as a result. The variable speed
range is controlled by the drill's trigger. Depressing the
trigger further results in higher speed, the same as with most
cordless drills. An electric brake will stop the chuck rotating
as soon as the trigger is released to prevent overdriving of
screws or over drilling with drill bits. In terms of torque, the
Makita 6270 really shines. It has more torque than some cheaper
18v drills, and more than all quality 12v NiCad drills I looked
at. It really delivers some good torque force for its size. This
fact was a good part of the reason I chose this drill over
others. It can deliver up to 30Nm of torque (266 in-lbs at the
highest torque setting). The gear assembly comprises metal
planet and pinion gears for durable power transmission. In
addition, the gear case completely covers the gear reduction
portion for improved anti-dust incursion.
Metal gears on the Makita 6270D.
The 10mm (3/8") keyless chuck will accept drill
bits up to that diameter in size. It features a 3-jaw locking
design that will close tightly together so even the smallest
drill bits can be held securely in the chuck. The tightening
ring behind the chuck means two hands are needed to manually
tighten drill or driver bits in the jaws. Just behind this is
the clutch setting ring. 16 driver settings are available, and
one setting for drilling (which basically disables the clutch
for maximum torque). With 16 settings available, its almost
impossible to overdrive a screw or fastener into virtually any
material. As the the clutch setting is raised (numerically) the
more torque is required on the fastener before the clutch slips
to prevent overdriving. The settings click into place very
positively as well, adding to the quality feel.
terms of control, we have the standard forward-lock-reverse
style slide switch located just above the trigger, and the
variable speed trigger itself. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
The handle does have a rubber overmold around the back for
improved grip and comfort, but again, this is pretty standard
fare on most cordless drills. The design of the drill handle
does seem to fit into the hand comfortably, and the drill itself
is quite well balanced but with a slight forward weight bias.
This is not enough to cause wrist fatigue over time however, at
least not for me.
The batteries ready clip into the bottom of the
drill and are easily removed and attached. Drill bit capacity,
which is the recommended diameter of drill bit to be used in
different materials, is listed as 10mm (3/8") in steel, and 25mm
(1") in wood. These figures are not gospel, and you can actually
use larger bits in some instances without any problem, but
usually, if you need to drill holes larger then this, the job
will most likely dictate the use of a different tool or a mains
powered drill anyway. As mentioned above, this Makita unit
delivers a good amount of power and torque for a 12v drill.
Batteries & Charger
Two 12v 1.3Ah batteries are provided in the kit. As
mentioned above, you can purchase NiMH batteries that fit this
drill if you want to use that newer battery technology. While
the 1.3Ah batteries will be more than fine for the home or light
trade user, heavier trade or continuous use may require larger
capacity batteries. You can purchase 2.0Ah NiCad batteries for
this drill, or if you require more capacity, the NiMH pod-style
batteries that can be used on this unit are available in 2.6Ah
and 3.0Ah capacities.
Now, you may or may not know of one of the big
benefits of new Lithium Ion technology, and that is fast
recharge times. Traditionally, most NiCad batteries would take
3-4 hours for a full charge. However, charger technology has
advanced since those days, and even the battery technology too,
and NiCad cells can now be charged reasonably quickly. For
example, I was able to charge one of the included 1.3Ah cells on
the supplied Makita charger in 34 minutes, just 4 minutes more
than the advertised charge time of 30 minutes. According to
documentation, the 2.0Ah cells would take around 45 minutes. For
the NiMH batteries, the 2.6Ah battery would take 60 minutes and
the 3.0Ah battery 70 minutes. These are very respectable
recharge times using the Makita DC1414 charger that comes in the
The DC1414 charger is a multi-voltage battery
charger that can charge Makita pod-style batteries from 7.2v up
to 14.4v, so if you already have some Makita batteries from
other tools, you now have an extra charger to charge them in.
The batteries simply drop into the charging slot (they can only
go one way in) and you connect the power cord and switch on the
power, the charger does the rest. There is a single indicator
light on the charger, but it can report multiple items in regard
to charge status depending on the color of the light, and
whether it is flashing or not. For example, if the light is
flashing green, it means the charger is plugged in and ready to
accept a battery. If it is solid red, it indicates the battery
is undergoing charging. When the light is solid green, charging
is complete and the battery may be removed. If the light is
flashing red, it indicates the battery is too hot to charge.
Here the charger will delay the charge until the battery is cool
enough to charge. If there is alternating green and red flashing
lights, this indicates the battery may be defective and will not
accept a charge. Hopefully you never see that last set of
Now, the big question... when to charge? There is
great debate as to whether NiCad cells have memory effect issues
or not. Most seem to believe they do, however, there are also
some battery experts that claim they do not. Then you get those
that say to tape the trigger in the on position after the drill
loses power to completely drain the cell. So what do you do?? I
can't answer any of those with 100% certainty, but I can tell
you that as soon as I notice my NiCad battery powered tools
starting to lose power, i.e. the battery is starting to run
down, I put them on the charger. I don't fully deplete them with
the trigger taped in the on position, nor do I charge them when
they are still giving full power output. Doing this I have
achieved good service life with my other NiCad batteries in the
past, so that method is obviously working well for me. It is
worth preserving your battery life as much as possible because
replacement batteries can be expensive.
I purchased this drill mainly to perform lighter duty
renovation-type tasks around the home, but have also used it as
a screwdriver in my wood shop for furniture and cabinet
assembly. Around the home the drill has ample power for all
those basic drilling and driving tasks. It does not have a
hammer feature so it is unsuitable for masonry work, but you
wouldn't use a 12v cordless drill for this task anyway! It will
have no problem boring through hardwoods and softwoods at
maximum capacity though with freshly charged cells. Again, this
little drill has a ton of power and torque for its size. Very
impressive in that department. In the woodshop I use it
primarily for drilling pilot holes, countersinking and driving
screws. Again, heaps of torque for screws of any size and it
handles the drilling no problem at all. I generally use my 18v
Makita BDF452HW for any heavier-duty drilling in the workshop.
At around US$90 street price (as at August '08) I can't get
enough of this handy little drill. Again, its not the latest and
greatest Lithium Ion or capacitor cell technology, but it is
proven technology that works. In addition, take a tour around
most building sites or in the toolboxes of most tradespersons
and you will likely find Makita tools, simply because they are
reliable, and they last. I am quite happy with this drill. It is
a good, solid and reliable performer in the 12v cordless drill
Order through these Companies...
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In the USA
NiMH and NiCad replacement batteries available for this
Makita BDF452HW Photos
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The drill ships in a molded case with charger and two batteries.
10mm keyless drill chuck.
Speed control slide switch on top of
Torque setting ring. 16 settings plus drilling setting available.
variable speed trigger and direction control switch
Two 12v 1.3Ah Makita pod style
batteries are included.
The DC1414 charger.
The DC1414 offers multi-voltage,
multi-format battery charging!