Makita BCL180W 18-Volt Review: Heavy Duty Shop Vacuum

I love DIY projects, because I learn something new and save a few bucks.

But as any person who does DIY projects it can get messy, especially if you’re grinding wood.

A standard vacuum would not stand up to this, you’ll need something that is heavy duty, and has good enough suction to clean up with these types of debris.

The Makita BCL180W makes this possible because it uses a strong enough motor that could pick up debris like saw dust and bolts that other vacuums will struggle with.

The 18 volt lithium ion battery will recharge in only 15 minutes which reduces downtime.

Based on a lot of online reviews this is great to use it on bare floors and rugs, it will get most if not all of the dirt out but don’t expect this to match a canister or an upright in terms of power – none of the cordless does anyways.

Among the cordless vacs in the market this is one of the lightest at just under 3 pounds.

One great feature that the BCL180W has is its ability to use the battery of other Makita power tools, you can actually use the bigger 3 ampere LXT batteries from other Makita power tools on this.

Here’s a full list of power tools that support the LXT series batteries.

Update Jan 8, 2014: A newer version, the XLC02R1W is available in the market, has a longer run time (15 vs  10 minutes) and a slightly longer charge time (25 vs 15 minutes). Check out the review here.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact enough to clean hard to reach areas around your home
  • Weighs only 2.7 pounds
  • Takes only 15 minutes to charge
  • Gives you the flexibility of using a more powerful XLT battery that extends the run time to 20 minutes
  • Very easy to take off and attach the battery
  • Above average suction for a cordless vac
  • Floor attachment can be swivelled 90 degrees
  • Interchangeable battery with other Makita tools
  • Easy to empty
  • Constant suction throughout the charge cycle

Cons

  • Short extension wand
  • Battery cannot be left on the charger when it’s full
  • No charge indicator
  • Noisy
  • Power button doesn’t lock in place
  • Small canister
  • Filter clogs up quickly
  • Expensive
  • Big and heavy charger
  • Cannot stand on its own

What to expect from the Makita BCL180W?

The Makit BCL180W is lightweight and charges really fast (only around 15 minutes) which is great if you have kids at home and need to spot clean messes they make but don’t have time to wait hours to fully charge. Other models even those with lithium batteries will need at least 5 hours to fully charge.

The good ergonomic and compact lightweight design means that you won’t strain your arms using this.

It can be used to replace a broom and dustpan since it won’t take up a lot of space in the cabinet – take note that the charger is quite bulky.

  • Gets up to 10 minutes of continuous use from a fully charged 18 volt lithium ion battery
  • Comes with a crevice tool, extension wand and floor nozzle
  • Strong suction for fast and efficient cleaning
  • Lightweight at only 2.7 pounds
  • Has a bag-less 2-stage filtration system
  • Comes with a rapid optimum charger that recharges the battery in 15 minutes
  • The charger has a built in fan that keeps the battery cool throughout the whole charging process thus optimizing it’s service life
  • Compatible with 18 volt XLT batteries that doubles the run time to 20 minutes
  • Has a 3 year warranty on the tool plus 1 year on battery and charger

Attachments and accessories

It comes with thee attachments – a crevice tool, extension wand and floor nozzle.

Also included in the package is one 18 volt lithium ion battery and the charger.

Charging time

To fully recharge the battery will take only 15 minutes.

One of the reasons for this is that the charger has a chip that directly communicates with the battery and controls the current voltage and temperature plus it has a built in fan that keeps the battery cool throughout the charge cycle – this helps extend battery life.

But don’t leave the battery plugged in the charger past 15 minutes (or when it’s full) because it can degrade the service life in the long run, and Makita recommends that you unplug it immediately when it is full.

Filter clean up

Taking off the filter is pretty straightforward – you twist the container and empty it on a garbage bin.

Tap or shake the filter to remove loose dirt and debris on it and give filter a visual check to see if it is clogged up.

If you use this regularly wash the two filters in running water at least once a week because performance will degrade if you use something that’s clogged.

Empty this on a big garbage can and away from your face, especially if the area you cleaned up is dusty because dust will tend to fly everywhere.

You’ll notice that there are two parts in the filter, an outer mesh filter that blocks out larger particles and the inner filter is made from cloth which filters finer dirt.

Both are washable but it is still advisable to have an extra filter if you live in a dusty environment because dusts are denser and will clog up faster.

Battery life

On a full charge, you’ll get around 10 minutes max if you just leave it on, it’ll last longer if you turn it on in intervals.

If you want it to last longer – you can purchase the 18 volt LXT battery as backup and it’ll give you 20 minutes of continuous use.

Take note that the 3.0ah LXT battery will also take twice as long to charge – about half an hour.

On a side note, Makita recommends that the battery shouldn’t be drained flat because doing this repeatedly can also affect the service life of the battery potentially shortening it over time.

When you feel that it’s about to be empty, unplug in and charge.

In one review, a consumer mentioned that it would best to let the battery cool down first before recharging as this will also extend its life – he was recommending users not don’t charge it immediately and let it sit for a few hours before plugging on a charger.

Warranty

Makita gives this a full 3 year warranty on the tool itself but only 1 year warranty on the charger and battery. I was hoping that they’d also give 3 years on the whole thing – this would certainly boost the ratings of this product.

Bare Floor Performance

A majority of online reviews confirmed this – it is works great on tiled, wooden, and all sorts of bare floors, capable of picking up large and small debris that will fit through the crevice and floor tool without any difficulty whatsoever.

If you watch the video below, you’ll see it has enough power to pick up fine to medium sized debris that’ll fit through the nozzle, you can even use this to clean up the messes made by other power tools.

Under the head of the floor attachment, it has four wheels and and squeegee that helps this move smoothly on floors while minimizing the chances of scratching it.

Carpet Performance

This will work reasonably well on low pile carpeting however it won’t pick everything up like it does on hard floors but if you have thicker carpets at home you may want to consider getting something more powerful with a longer battery life or something equipped rolling brush that will help in digging out dirt in more plush carpeting.

Since it’ll only run for about 10 – 15 minutes, don’t get this if you have wall to wall carpeting.

But for rugs, it does a good job because it isn’t too strong that rugs stick on it but still strong enough to pick up dirt scattered on it.

Pet Hair Removal

It doesn’t have a pet hair attachment that’ll pull pet hair from sofas and / or chairs but I still noticed a lot of happy pet owners who were among satisfied customers because they were able to clean up not only pet hair but also bird droppings, feathers, poop scattered around the tray and on bare floor!

See it in Action

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lpQllne3u4

Product Specifications

AttachmentsCrevice tool
Extension wand
Floor tool
Battery18V Compact Lithium-Ion Battery (BL1815)
Charger15-Minute Rapid Optimum Charger (DC18RA)
Charging time15 minutes
Battery life10 minutes (continuous use)
Net weight (with battery)2.7 pounds
Shipping weight7 pounds
Overall Length39-5/16"
Battery indicatorNo
Filter type2 stage filter:
1 - plastic mesh
1 - cloth

(both are washable)
Dust capacity20.8 oz
Watt hours27
Noise71 dB
Voltage110v
Manufactured inJapan
Warranty3 years on vacuum
1 year on battery and charger

Customer Reviews

A majority of consumers give this a full 5 star rating and the reasons were quite similar – very good suction power, quick recharging, great for spot clean ups and pet hair removal on hardwood, tiled, linoleum and rugs.

Among the consumers who liked this were parents because of the quick charging feature, they don’t have to wait for hours to use it again which is great if you have kids running around and leaving all sorts of mess around your home.

Take note that a majority (even pet owners) used this on bare floors and rugs, only a handful used it on carpets.

Reviews from other sites

Homedepot.com

There are only 4 people who left reviews and all of them gave 5-star rating. All of them were satisfied with the suction performance on hard floors, not so much though on carpets.

Where can I buy this

This variant is no longer in product but the good news is a newer version is out and will cost a little over $120. It is eligible to Amazon’s free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.

Conclusion

This product is great for…

Spot clean ups around your home – in those instances were you spill your bowl of chips or you want to quickly clean up your dusty office table.

Check out this test done by popular mechanics on a bowl of popcorn and chips.

Dad’s who love to do mini renovations inside their home would also appreciate to have this because it is strong enough to pick up cement or saw dust left behind and even small bolts and nuts – you don’t have to worry about it clogging up.

And chances are, if you DIY you own probably a Makita tool and you can swap batteries with other cordless Makita tools and this alone is an extra incentive to get this.

It is compact enough and has enough attachments to clean up tight spaces under the table and in tight corners and if you have kids like I do, you’ll appreciate this because it is a great tool to have to clean up the mess they’ve made in your car after a long trip.

Also because it has a fast charger, you’ll don’t have to wait several hours for it to be fully charged, you’ll have your vacuum ready anytime you or anyone in your home needs to clean up something.

This isn’t for tall people, so if you are over 6 feet you may want to look for a longer stick or upright vacuum if you’re going to use this to clean the floors.

Great on bare floors and rugs but not great on carpet but still does a decent job for spot clean ups.

3 thoughts on “Makita BCL180W 18-Volt Review: Heavy Duty Shop Vacuum”

  1. I love this product but unfortunately I put the section that collects the waste on wrong! It is too tight to open and clean out the dust. Is there anyone out there that can give me an answer as to how to loosen that section to open and clean it out besides throwing it from the third floor window? It would be greatly appreciated.

  2. WHERE CAN I PURCHASE JUST THE EXTENSION WAND FOR THE MAKITA XLC02? THXS

  3. Do you have any makita vacuum sticks that have a switch so you don’t have to hold down the trigger.

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