Review By Dean Bielanowski  Makita Website - http://www.makita.com


Makita 6270D 12 Volt Driver/Drill Kit
 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

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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!

Upgradeable Drill!
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.

In 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 kit.

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 lights!

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.

In Use
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.

Conclusion
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 market.
 

Available to Order through these Companies...
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As reviewed...

 
NiMH and NiCad replacement batteries available for this drill...
 

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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
motor housing.


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
!

 

 

 

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