Makita Battery Backpack Extends Runtime, Cuts Downtime
Makita’s high-capacity power supply solution is designed to complement the 18V LXT and 18V X2 line of power tools. By utilizing four 18V LXT batteries, the Makita PDC01 Backpack Battery Power Supply extends the runtime of your Makita cordless tools. Unlike backpack batteries that need to sit on a charger once depleted, the PDC01 lets you swap in fresh individual batteries for zero downtime.
Makita Portable Battery Backpack Power Supply Design
Makita didn’t invent the battery backpack. Their take on it, however, differs from many others. Where other battery backpacks provide extended run time, they need to recharge once depleted. With the Makita battery backpack, you can quickly remove and replace depleted batteries with fully charged packs.
In fact, several OPE brands make high-capacity battery backpacks for commercial lawn crews. A major pain point for them is that when the cells go, the entire unit is done. With replaceable batteries, it puts Makita in a more favorable position.
Assuming you do a lot of work, the backpack promises extended run-time for those who work more than a short walk away from the charger. Some of the areas we’ve seen the most promise are in lawn care and concrete, and there are many others.
Balanced Approach to Power
As we mentioned earlier, when the batteries have been depleted, you can simply swap out the four “dead” packs for charged ones. The depleted batteries go on the charger, the fresh batteries go into the Makita PDC01. Because Makita’s Rapid Optimum Charger works so fast, you can get a pair of 5.0Ah batteries from no charge to full in about 45 minutes.
Another interesting point about the Makita backpack battery power supply revolves around exactly how it powers your tools. With the included 18V LXT X2 adapter, the PDC01 pulls power from one of the two lower batteries and one of the two upper batteries. Each time you release the trigger, the PDC01 looks for the optimal battery pair. This helps further extend your runtime since it constantly balances the load.
When using the Makita Portable Battery Backpack Power Supply with an 18V LXT tool, the process remains the same, except that the system only draws power from one of the batteries. When you release the trigger, the PDC01 looks for the next best battery to draw from.
You can detach the power supply from the harness as a standalone unit. The cord length is the limiting factor. However, for tools that don’t require much movement such as Makita’s 12-inch cordless miter saw, it’s definitely worth thinking about.
A carry handle on the top makes moving it to and from the tool easier.
Depending on what tool you’re using, you may want to run the cord up around your shoulder. A clip on the right side helps keep it in place when that’s the most convenient way to go.
The backpack battery features protection against water intrusion (IPX4), and it has LED indicators on the housing that you the charge level for each inserted battery. You only get two LED lights per battery, but it helps when you want to know if the packs are full before starting your day.
There’s a separate adapter pouch that comes in the box. You can strap it to your belt to the harness. It’s designed to hold the adapter when you don’t have it connected to a tool.
Wearing the Makita Portable Battery Backpack Power Supply
Makita provides a fully adjustable shoulder and waist strap system. For those of us used to wearing hiking backpacks, the harness system feels very familiar, shifting the weight to your hips rather than your shoulders.
In terms of weight, expect the entire loaded pack to weigh just under 15-1/2 pounds with four 5.0Ah batteries installed and using the X2 adapter.
Overall, the setup is reasonably comfortable once you get it adjusted to your frame. There was just one quirk – the strap management seems to leave material hanging if you’re on the thinner, shorter side. However, the loops at the ends are actually Velcro, so just undo them, fold and tuck the straps the way you like, and wrap the Velcro back to secure it.
You can also adjust the height of the power supply itself to make it a more customized fit.
Makita Portable Battery Backpack Power Supply Price
The Makita PDC01 backpack battery supply retails for $599. It comes with an 18V X2 adapter (the 18V LXT adapter is sold separately), adjustable harness, and adapter pouch. It also comes with a 3-year warranty.
The number one thing we’d like to see in the next generation Makita battery backpack is more capacity, mainly for commercial lawn crews. Moving to an 8-slot system essentially gives you a 20Ah power supply for your 18V X2 tools when you’re using 5.0Ah batteries. There’s more weight, of course, but the increase in runtime would mean fewer trips to refill/recharge.
Another feature we’d like to see is a chest strap coming across the front. There’s a clip near the top of the shoulder straps, but it’s behind your neck while you’re wearing the backpack.
Finally, a 4-port Rapid Optimum Charger would be a beautiful supplement to the backpack. Realistically, if you’re on the Makita 18V LXT platform, you likely have a couple of the dual-port chargers. Still, one charger to get the entire battery set back up while you work would be pretty sweet.
All of those possibilities come at a higher cost, so you would need to balance the cost/benefit equation.
The Bottom Line
The Makita Battery Backpack Power Supply makes sense when going back to the charger for a battery swap introduces significant delays in your workflow. That might be working in awkward spaces, up on a lift, or far away. Regardless of the circumstance, doubling or quadrupling your runtime keeps you working uninterrupted longer.
Makita Battery Backpack Power Supply Specifications
- Model: PDC01
- Battery platform: 18V LXT
- Dimensions: 15-3/4 in. x 7-5/8 in. x 5-3/16 in.
- Net Weight: 15 lbs. (with 4 x 5.0 Ah batteries)
- Includes: battery backpack, 18V LXT X2 adapter (191J51-5), adjustable harness, pouch
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $599