If you have invested in Makita’s 18V battery system then you have certainly observed that the batteries are quite expensive. With batteries selling for about $50 to $150, I got to thinking that there had to be cheaper ways get them.
The Battery Problem
Tool batteries are expensive. No matter if you buy Milwaukee, Dewalt, Ryobi, or anything else, the batteries rival the prices of the tools themselves. Many of us think we’re saving some money and buy the “tool-only” version of the tool we want, but then find ourselves in need of an additional battery to power it. Then you are stuck considering an expensive stand-alone battery.
It’s hard to say this definitively, but it seems like the tools are cheap (relatively) and the batteries are expensive in order to tie you into a proprietary system. This is the same tactic famously used by razor sellers who sell the razor handles for almost nothing but then make their money on the blades.
You can save by buying off-brand batteries but if you are going to leave batteries charging in your home or workshop unattended or you are using the batteries for serious jobs, the prospect of an off-brand battery might make you uncomfortable.
This guide will only consider authentic Makita batteries.
Stand-alone Makita 18V LXT Batteries
If you just want to buy a battery on its own, here’s what you can expect to spend…
Note that none of these three include a charge!
You can, of course, still buy tools with batteries. This setup used to be the default but now it’s often called a “kit” as if getting a battery was some sort of upgrade.
One example if the Makita XDT131 18V LXT kit. This will get you Makita’s excellent XDT13 impact driver, a bag, a premium 3.0Ah battery, and a single-battery charger for about $160.
Let’s break this down:
- XDT13Z (the tool-only model of the XDT13): $90
- DC18RC single-bay charger: $65
- 3.0Ah Battery: $99
- Unpadded bag: $5
- Total: $259
So if you tried to rebuilt this kit from stand-alone parts it would cost you almost 50% more money.
It’s up to you to decide if that means the kit is saving you money or stand-alone parts are over-priced, but it’s clear the kits are the way to go.
Every tool manufacturer guides buyers into multi-tool kits. These offer serious savings off the retail prices and get you a nice range of tools with shared batteries.
There are two serious downsides to kits though…
First of all, kits tend to use lower range tools. For example you might want the high-end XDT14 impact driver, but most kits will have the entry-level XDT11. This means the unsuspecting buyer will think they are getting a killer deal, but you’ll simply be getting a cheaper impact driver than you thought!
Second, two-tool kits might include two batteries, but six or eight tool kits still only include two batteries. So you can buy the big kit and still be in this same battery problem!
The 8-piece kit above will net you only two batteries! 18V LXT 3.0Ah BL1830B ones to be exact. Some people would say that two batteries is all you need and with that you have hit the minimum threshold of usefulness, where one battery is simply not enough. Others would say that this number is three — for instance, one in your drill, one in your impact driver, and one charging. It’s your call on what works for you.
It turns out these the math on these two-tool kits looks ideal for the serious tool buyer, though maybe not the pros since you can’t get the maxed-out tools like the XDT16 impact drive.
For instance the Makita XT269T kit, for $290, will get you:
- Drill XPH12Z: $130
- Impact Driver XDT13Z: $90
- Two 18V LXT 5.0Ah Batteries (BL1850B): $150 x 2
- Charger (DC18RC): $65
- Bag: $5
- Total: $590
So that’s a retail value of nearly twice your spend! Clearly the price of those batteries — which make up half the value of this kit when using retail prices — are something Makita can play with in order to build these kits and tweak pricing!
And, these are nice mid-range tools with the full-size 5.0Ah batteries, making this a premium kit for pro-sumers and serious home shops.
And the two-tool kits often include higher-end tools, like the XDT14 impact driver.
From The Battery Perspective
If look at this kit from the perspective of buying batteries then you have the following math:
$290 – $130 drill – $90 impact drive – $5 bag = $65 for two batteries and a charger
That’s quite a deal! Of course it’s only a deal if these are the tools you want, but they will be great picks for most buyers.
How To Get Cheap Makita 18V Batteries
So, how do you save money on authentic 18V LXT batteries? It seems clear that: