Makita has released 18V LXT 4.0Ah Li-ion batteries in other parts of the world, but these batteries aren’t expected to be available in the USA until at least “summer 2014.”
As previously discussed, there seems to be a compatibility issue between the 4.0Ah battery pack and certain tools, but Makita USA declined to comment on the matter and said that more information won’t be available until the summertime.
Although Makita isn’t being clear about which of their 18V LXT tools aren’t compatible with the upcoming battery pack, international readers have reported that Makita’s 4.0Ah battery pack does not work with their LXT jig saw, high torque impact wrench, die grinder, cut-off tool/angle grinder, and possibly some of their earlier hammer drills. It’s all a vague and hazy confusing mess.
Makita USA has not been very helpful in clarifying the matter, so I have been doing some research to see what kind of information I could dig up.
Here’s what I found:
Makita is releasing new 18V LXT grease guns in the USA and elsewhere. In Canada, the model number for the grease gun is DCG180. Taking a look at the owner’s manual (PDF), the specifications table explicitly mentions a BL1850 battery pack.
Makita’s battery pack model numbers describe their voltage and capacity.
BL1850 means that the battery pack has a nominal voltage of 18V and charge capacity of 5.0Ah. Similarly, their BL1830 battery pack has a capacity of 3.0Ah, and their BL1840 battery pack has a capacity of 4.0Ah.
Update: We have confirmed that the BL1850 5.0Ah Li-ion battery is currently in production. A few international distributors have already put up preorder pages, with mention of an April 2014 release. What this means is that international users will be able to get their hands on 5.0Ah batteries before the 4.0Ah battery pack even makes it to the USA and North American markets!
So, in looking for information about their 4.0Ah compatibility, it seems I turned up the first indication that Makita plans to [eventually?] release a 5.0Ah battery pack.
Perhaps this explains why Makita has been pushing back the USA release of their 4.0Ah battery. Maybe they were hoping to be the first to release a 5.0Ah Li-ion battery pack.
A quick Google search turns up what looks to be an authorized Ukrainian Makita tool dealer which has an early product page up for the 5.0Ah battery pack. The image is wrong, as it depicts the 4.0Ah battery pack, but it mentions “5.0 Ampere hours,” the correct model number (BL1850), and notes a charging time of 45 minutes.
Makita’s 4.0Ah battery pack is said to have a 36-minute charging time. A 5.0Ah battery pack can store 25% more charge than a 4.0Ah battery pack, which should roughly correspond with a 45-minute charging time.
I wouldn’t trust the Ukraine Makita dealer’s site as a primary source, but it serves to corroborate the information gleaned from the mentioned product instruction manual found on Makita Canada’s official website.
The same Ukrainian Makita dealer also lists product details for a BL1820 2.0Ah LXT battery. But if it is true Makita is planning to release a 5.0Ah Li-ion battery, then there’s no reason why they would release a 2.0Ah battery for their compact line instead of a 2.5Ah battery (which would be designated BL1825).
Assuming Makita follows common practices, the 5.0Ah battery pack will be built with 10x 18650 Li-ion batteries each with 2.5Ah charge capacities.
A reader tipped us off recently that Bosch is planning to release an 18V 5.0Ah Li-ion battery sometime this year. The information discussed here suggests that Makita has similar plans.
Let’s just hope that, if Makita’s 5.0Ah Li-ion battery plans are already in motion, it’ll launch in the USA at the same time as the rest of the world, or maybe even sooner. A lot of American Makita users aren’t too happy that they still cannot get their hands on 4.0Ah battery packs.
Note: The battery capacity might not be 5.0Ah exactly, but that’s what we are currently expecting.
This all raises the same big question as before – who will be the first major power tool brand (after Hitachi) to bring 18V-class 5.0Ah Li-ion batteries to market?
As an aside, can you imagine popping two 5.0Ah batteries into Makita’s upcoming 18V XT LXT circular saw? It would essentially be a 36V circular saw with 5.0Ah charge capacity. 180 Watts-hours of power!