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It looks like Makita has a new 18V cordless power tool battery charger, model DC18WC.
Makita is bundling this new DC18WC charger as part of their new 18V cordless hammer drill and impact driver combo kit, model XT296ST.
I’m not familiar with this charger, and so I tried to dig up some info.
Makita does not seem to mention the new charger in their product pages or advertisements, but the model number is clearly visible in images of the new combo kit
Before we talk about the new charger, let’s take a quick look at Makita’s usual 18V chargers. Shown here is Makita’s 18V rapid charger, model DC18RC.
The DC18RC is advertised as being able to recharge Makita’s 18V 5Ah battery in 45 minutes.
Next is the DC18SD, which is considered to be Makita’s “standard” charger. This charger is often included in Makita’s more value-oriented tool kits and combo kits.
For example, Makita’s value-priced 18V drill kit, which retails for $99 at the time of this posting (available at Amazon), comes with a 3Ah battery and the DC18SD charger.
The DC18SD can recharge a 5Ah battery in 110 minutes.
Makita USA doesn’t have a product page for this charger on their website (at least not that I could find), but its charging times can be found in their user manual.
Here is what Makita says on their product page and in marketing copy for their new XT296ST cordless power tool kit:
Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Batteries have the fastest charge times in their categories, so they spend more time working and less time sitting on the charger.
They also say:
The Kit includes two fast-charging 18V LXT 5.0Ah batteries
With that in mind, I thought that this was a new and more compact rapid charger. It’s not, or at least it doesn’t appear to be.
It wasn’t easy to find specs or charging times for this new Makita DC18WC charger.
I found one listing on Amazon UK, where it is described as an economy and compact charger. In the product details, it says that it takes 135 minutes to charge a 5Ah battery.
Amazon listings don’t always have accurate specs, so I looked around a bit more.
I found a user manual for the DC18WC charger online – but not on Makita’s website – and found this chart. I cropped out the 14.4V charging times.
According to this, the charger does appear to take 135 minutes to fully charge a 5Ah battery.
If this is accurate, here are the 5Ah battery charging times for the three models:
- DC18RC: 45 minutes (0.75 hour)
- DC18SD: 110 minutes (1.83 hours)
- DC18WC: 135 minutes (2.25 hours)
What’s the point of Makita advertising that their new tool kit comes with fast-charging batteries, if they aren’t disclosing that each battery takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to recharge with the included charger?
We don’t always see eye to eye, but Makita USA’s communication manager made a good point. This is what they once told me in an email conversation, with the emphasis my own:
Based on what we see and hear on jobsites across America, a power tool battery that won’t charge in the time of a typical lunch break is not acceptable, even if it does deliver longer run time. The most expensive asset on a jobsite is labor, and that’s why Makita batteries are engineered to spend more time working and less time sitting on the charger.
If the retail listing and online manual I found for the DC18WC are accurate – and they do look to be – is 135 minutes an acceptable amount of time for a battery to be sitting on a charger?
According to the specs I found, it takes the DC18WC charger 2 hours and 15 minutes to charge just one of the 18V 5Ah batteries in this kit. The rapid charger can charge three of the same batteries in this time.
International versions of the 2pc combo kit are bundled with a rapid charger. So why is Makita USA bundling their kit with this new slower charger?
Even if Makita didn’t bundle the new XT296ST kit with their typical rapid charger, why not at least the “standard” DC18SD charger that is often included with the brand’s seasonal promotionally-priced 18V power tool kits and combo kits?
135 minutes to recharge a 5Ah battery? “A power tool battery that won’t charge in the time of a typical lunch break is not acceptable.”
Makita’s fast battery charging speeds have always been a big selling point. I can understand a slower charger being included with $99 drill and impact driver kits, or 5 and 6 piece combo kits that are promotionally priced at $299.
New isn’t always better.
I hope this doesn’t become a trend.
Makita USA raised their prices (except for certain SKUs) in April 2022, October 2022, and again in May 2023. If the new charger is a cost-cutting measure, I’d rather see another price increase.
I suppose this helps explain why the drill-only kit is priced at $359 – with a rapid charger – and this 2pc kit is priced lower at $339.