Introducing the Makita GRH02Z 40V XGT Rotary Hammer Drill. There are a lot of great, extremely powerful rotary hammer drills on the market. How does the relative newcomer from Makita compare to the strong competition from Milwaukee, DeWalt, and Bosch? This review intends to reveal whether the Makita XGT Rotary Hammer Drill is worth its rather stiff price tag.

Makita has really hit the mark with the 40V XGT cordless tool range. This long-awaited upgrade from the trusted 18V LXT platform has had Makita enthusiasts excited over the past year. Yes, Makita XGT has certainly caused a stir in the world of cordless tools.

The Makita XRH11Z 36V cordless hammer drill has been at the top of the Makita drill repertoire for a few years and has been well-received. Is the 40V XGT rotary hammer drill really any better than the trusted 36V? A more poignant question might be: how does the Makita GRH02Z compare to competitors from Milwaukee, Bosch, and DeWalt? These are all top power tool brands with an incredible selection of powerful cordless rotary hammer drills on offer.

This review of the Makita XGT 40V hammer drill should provide some answers.

Makita GRH02Z Review


  • XGT® technology delivers up to 135 ⅜” holes per charge using a fully charged 40V XGT® 4.0Ah battery
  • Quick change chuck allows for interchangeability from SDS-PLUS to ½” keyless chuck for utilization of straight shank bits
  • Active Feedback-Sensing Technology (AFT®) electronically turns off the motor if the rotation of the bit is suddenly forced to stop
  • Anti-Vibration Technology (AVT®) is an internal counterbalance system along with vibration-absorbing handles that work together to reduce vibration
  • Dust extraction capability with OSHA Table 1 compliant on-board HEPA Dust Extractor or stand-alone AWS® Extractor options
  • Electric brake allows the tool to be repositioned faster for maximum productivity
  • Overload protection is designed to protect the motor from burnout in abnormally high torque situations
  • Variable speed dial and trigger enables the user to match the speed to the application
  • Built-in LED light
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handle and large 2-finger trigger provide increased comfort on the job
  • 3-mode operation for “Rotation Only”, “Hammering with Rotation” or “Hammering Only” for multiple applications
  • Retractable tool hook secures the tool when not in use
  • Extreme Protection Technology (XPT™) is engineered for improved dust and water resistance for operation in harsh conditions
  • The digital communication within XGT® optimizes performance to provide up to 2X longer sustained power under heavy-load applications
  • The digital communication within XGT® actively monitors and protects against overload, over-discharge and overheating
  • XGT® Tools and Batteries are designed with a multi-layer contact interface for more constant power delivery to take on high-current demands

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Anyone who’s owned a Makita power tool knows how tough these machines are. Their Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) has proven itself over many years. In this tradition of indestructible power equipment, the Makita XGT 40V rotary hammer drill is an industrial-grade, incredibly durable tool. When looking at the price tag, one would hope so. This is not a cheap hammer drill.

A cursory observation may have many believing there is basically no difference between the 40V XGT Makita GRH02Z and the previous generation 36V hammer drill. The battery housing looks a little different. This is not just because the GEH02Z uses the new 40V XGT battery but it has undergone a few improvements to enhance battery performance and overall durability. The battery has a vibration-reducing coupler to the handle and the conductors have been improved.

A lot of work has been done to make the 40V XGT rotary hammer drill a far superior tool to its predecessor and, in my opinion, all the others from top brands. It all starts with the Makita 40V XGT battery.

Makita, like DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Bosh, have opted to use modernized lithium-ion cells when designing the 40V XGT battery. This allows the battery to supply a higher amperage without overheating. Resulting in the ability to supply more watts from the brushless motor. Even though the battery voltage has only been increased by 4V from the 36V Makita tools, the machine has a lot more power. This is thanks to a redesigned motor that takes advantage of the higher amp capacity of the 40V XGT battery.

The Makita engineers have also been hard at work improving the electronic management systems. Makita has always been one of the best for battery management systems, tool-to-battery communication, and super-efficient, safe rapid battery chargers. They’ve simply taken all this technology up a notch. This means that the Makita 40V XGT rotary hammer drill is more efficient than the 36V model. It has a more balanced power delivery as the battery power begins to fade and can run at high power for longer before overheating and shutting down. It’s hard to tell if Makita electronics are better than those developed by Bosch, DeWalt, and Milwaukee. It certainly isn’t any worse.

Right, so how does all this magnificent and clever engineering translate into everyday use? The Makita GRH02Z has a maximum concrete drilling capacity of 1¹⁄₈”. Okay, no big revelation there. The optimum capacity, when drilling into concrete, is also pretty much what I’d expect from a rotary hammer drill of this size – ³⁄₁₆ to ¾ inches. You can use a hollow core bit up to 2⁹⁄₁₆”

I think the power specifications are mighty impressive, especially when you consider it does this fairly consistently for a pretty long time on a single battery charge. Impact energy is 2.3 Ft. LBS (3.2 joules). It has an excellent variable speed trigger allowing for a smooth range of 0 – 5,000 BPM and 0 – 980 RPM. To ensure that all that power is going to rip your arm off if the bit comes to a sudden stop, the updated Makita Anti-Feedback-Sensing Technology (AFT) will stop the motor in a split second. It also has their trusted torque limiting clutch to protect the gearbox.

Obviously, the Makita 40V XGT hammer drill has all the stuff that I’ve always admired about all their rotary hammer drills. The handle is large and comfortable with excellent vibration control (7.5M/S²). As far as one can call a drill comfortable to use, the Makita GRH02Z is one of the best. They’ve done an amazing job of keeping the weight very reasonable for a drill of this caliber – 10.1 LBS including the weight of the battery.

The LED light and wonderful dust extraction options are also great advantages.

It really isn’t easy to say which is the most powerful cordless hammer drill. The Makita XGT 40V model can certainly hold its own against the top dogs in the industry. I think it may have the best power to weight ratio of any. It is certainly fantastic when it comes to utilizing every watt of power as the battery loses capacity through the discharge cycle. I think the Makita drill may the best in this regard.

One thing I’ve always given Makita tools credit for is their near indestructibility. Man, these tools are tough. All the technology inside the Makita 40V XGT rotary hammer drill can match (possibly beat) the other top brands. In addition to this, I think Makita takes the gold medal for durability.

So, while I’ve always considered the Bosch Bulldog the top dog of hammer drills and have massive admiration for both DeWalt and Milwaukee machines, I think the Makita 40V XGT model may be the best at the moment. Of course, their competitors won’t let things lie. In time, the other top brands will come up with new technology that will make future models even better.

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