Drilling in Tight Spaces: A Makita Right-Angle Drill Review

A right-angle drill is a game changer for drilling in restricted spaces. Find out how the Makita XAD05T fared in hands-on testing.
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A person actively using the Makita right-angle drill

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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If you’re not yet acquainted with the remarkable versatility of a right-angle drill—the top tool for drilling in tight spaces—you’re in for a treat. Just don’t mistake a right-angle drill for a standard drill; it’s not designed to perform the same general tasks.

I tried out the Makita XAD05T 18V right-angle drill as part of a comprehensive test that included several right-angle drills from top manufacturers. I took the Makita XAD05T out to a jobsite for a practical trial. The Makita drill performed so well—and I liked its overall design so much—that it earned the top spot in our comprehensive lineup of the best right-angle drills.

When drilling holes in studs and joists for wiring, the XAD05T showed reliable precision and power. During cabinet installation, where tight spaces called for a specialized tool, the drill’s right-angle design came in handy. While this cordless right-angle drill isn’t right for all drilling and driving needs, it’s a total game changer when working in space-restricted spots.

The Makita XAD05T 18V Right-Angle Drill: At a Glance

A person actively using the Makita right-angle drill
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Rating: 8.75/10


  • Brand: Makita
  • Tool type: 18-volt right-angle drill
  • Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Maximum revolutions per minute (rpm): Up to 1,400
  • Weight: 7.6 pounds
  • LED light: Yes
  • Model number: XAD05T


  • Right-angle design proves invaluable for drilling in confined areas
  • Demonstrates impressive precision and power, handling demanding tasks with ease
  • The versatile Makita 18V right-angle drill is suitable for many construction, renovation, and DIY projects
  • 18V brushless motor provides longer run times and less maintenance than brushed motors


  • Relatively higher cost compared to standard drills; might not be cost-effective for occasional users
  • Not the best choice for tasks that require higher torque or drilling large-diameter holes

Get the Makita XAD05T right-angle drill at:

What is the Makita XAD05T right-angle drill?

Made by Makita Corporation, a national manufacturer of high-performance power tools, the XAD05T is a specialized power tool designed to tackle drilling tasks in tight or confined spaces where traditional drills struggle to reach. Its innovative right-angle configuration allows drilling holes or inserting screws in corners, between studs, and other challenging spots.

The drill’s narrow, elongated design makes it a versatile solution for several applications. Its most common use is probably to drill holes through a home’s structural framing to run electrical wires or water lines. It’s also a boon for inserting or removing screws in corners or tight cabinet spaces.

I found the XAD05T indispensable for reaching the back of cabinet spaces, where its bright LED light illuminated the normally dim area and its nonslip ergonomic grip made it easy to grasp and direct. I tried it out with various types of bits, from small drill bits to hole bits and auger bits, and the drill performed flawlessly, making it suitable for DIY enthusiasts for both woodworking projects and construction.

A person using the Makita right-angle drill in a tight space
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is the Makita right-angle drill easy to use?

I found the Makita Drill to be user-friendly overall, and particularly so in tight spaces where its right-angle design shines. The XAD05T’s ergonomic grip makes it comfortable to handle, and the tool also features a key chuck holder on the cord, making retrieving the key easy when it’s time to change bits.

However, at 7.6 pounds, the drill is on the cusp of being slightly cumbersome—I would have liked it to be a bit lighter, but someone with more arm strength might feel differently. Additionally, tasks like drilling or driving screws with just a single hand can feel awkward at first, so plan to use your other hand to stabilize the tool, and you should have no problems. That said, the benefits of being able to drill precisely and efficiently in tight spaces outweigh the slight learning curve.

I loved the tool’s LED light , which is eons brighter than the wimpy lights found on some power tools. I could really see what I was doing—even in the dim area at the back of a cabinet. The soft start-up feature is also beneficial; it allows for smoothly engaging the variable-speed trigger, avoiding sudden jerking during operation.

A well-sized tool hook is a thoughtful touch and handy for professionals who prefer to hang the drill securely on joists or rafters rather than risk the tool falling when working at height. It does not come with a side stabilizing bar, but it has a port where one can be attached.

A person using the light on the Makita right-angle drill to work in a dark space
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is the Makita right-angle drill a high-quality power tool?

The quality of the Makita XAD05T 18V right-angle drill is absolutely top notch. From its robust construction to its lean ergonomic design, this drill is made to get the job done—and it does that very well.

With an enviable maximum speed of up to 1,400 rpm, the brushless motor delivers ample power for various drilling/driving tasks. It performed admirably with different bits, from large auger bits to hole bits and driver bits. The fact that it includes a hard case, two 5.0-amp-hour batteries, and a charger is a noteworthy advantage for users who don’t want to buy additional items separately.

I charged both batteries fully before testing, but after more than an hour of near-constant use, I found no noticeable battery depletion, and I never had to switch to the other battery. The drill is also designed to withstand moisture and dust, an added precaution many will appreciate because power tools are sometimes subjected to weather or the elements.

However, while it excels in precision and maneuverability, its overall power and torque don’t match the best standard drills. That’s not a big deal, because the Makita XAD05T is designed for a different purpose. Those looking for a drill with maximum power might want to consider a high-quality corded drill.

The batteries of the Makita right-angle drill laid out next to their charger
Photo: Glenda Taylor fror Bob Vila

Should you buy the Makita right-angle drill?

Whether or not to invest in the Makita XAD05T right-angle drilldepends on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re a professional tradesperson, such as a plumber or electrician, who is frequently tasked with drilling through joists or studs to run wires or lines, this drill could revolutionize your work. Its right-angle design is a formidable asset in tight spaces, making tasks like cabinet installation or drilling between studs significantly more manageable.

However, the Makita right-angle drill might not be ideal for those who primarily want a versatile, all-purpose drill for standard applications. Its unique design caters to specialized needs, and if you’re looking for a tool with higher torque or broader functionality, a standard drill might suit you better.

Considering its price range of around $500 to $600 at most retailers, the Makita XAD05T falls on the higher end of the cordless drill cost spectrum. Yet, it’s important to note that as a relatively new addition to the market, prices may become more competitive in the coming years. The investment could be well worth it for busy professionals, who will likely reap the benefits of its specialized features right away. Those seeking a more general-purpose tool might find better value elsewhere.

The Makita right-angle drill sitting on a workbench
Photo: Glenda Taylor fror Bob Vila

Where to Buy the Makita Right-Angle Drill

Get the Makita XAD05T right-angle drill at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

Glenda Taylor Avatar

Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries.