Lower voltage batteries – a Makita secret

Posted by on January 24, 2006

One of the most unusual little known facts about Makita cordless tools is that any of their pod style batteries can power a tool made to run on a higher voltage, just with a shorter runtime. This has some very interesting applications, especially buying new tools.

Keep using your old batteries
If you buy a newer Makita tool, you don’t need to worry about your old batteries becoming obsolete. For example, if you had a 12V drill before and decide to buy a 14.4V impact, the 12V batteries will still work in the new tool. If you had a 14.4V drill that broke, you could buy an 18V no problem without losing the use of your old batteries.

Save money when buying additional batteries
If you want to save a few bucks on your next set of batteries, you can always buy a lower voltage. That’s a unique ability. If I decide that 18V batteries cost too much, I can buy 12V or 14.4V replacements. I don’t know of any other brand that is set up this way. Very useful for buying batteries for a flashlight, probably not so cool for buying batteries for my miter saw.

Borrow a battery
My neighbor has 12V Makita tools. If I’m in the middle of a job and run out of juice, I can borrow one of his for any of my 18V tools. That could be handy at times. Of course, having 4 batteries of my own means there are few instances where I’ll have to borrow a battery, but it’s still nice to have the option.

Reminds me of blood types
This reminds me of blood types. Having a 12V is a universal donor (Type O). Owning an 18V tool is a universal recipient (Type AB). Of course, with Lithium Ion coming out now this isn’t going to be a universal technology much longer. Also, the MakStar tools don’t fit in the same interchangeable line, either. It’s still something cool that you can amaze your friends with. Tell them to try that with their “other brand” tools.

2 Responses to Lower voltage batteries – a Makita secret

  1. Anonymous

    What about the other way around? My 12V NiMH power packs died fast and 14.4 replacements are much cheaper. Will it kill the tool? Its almost cheaper to scrap the driver for a new on based on battery cost.

  2. Brian Mark

    You can’t use a higher voltage on a lower voltage tool. It only works with lower voltage batteries on a higher voltage tool. Sorry.