Makita’s BCL180W 18-Volt Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless Vacuum Kit presents an interesting picture to the vacuum buyer. It’s made by a company normally known for making industrial power tools, and it’s a little hard to determine whether it’s a handheld, stick, or combination vacuum. Perhaps in its uniqueness it might be a hidden gem – let’s take a look and find out.
The BCL180W has 18 volts of power – that would seem at first glance to identify it as a stick-sized vacuum, because that amount of power is usually quite enough for bigger messes that happen on the floor.
That premise still holds when you see how well this vacuum utilizes that power. It has great suction, especially on hard floors, and picks up pet hair, large debris like cereal, and dust with ease. It doesn’t have a beater bar and so isn’t fantastic on carpet, but otherwise it’s very strong.
Ease of Use
Here’s where the BCL180W begins to look a bit more like a handheld that happens to have an unusual accessory. In a good way, that is! The longer part that attaches to the front of the handheld aspect of the vacuum is what makes it look like a stick vacuum at a glance – it’s got a swivel vacuum head that’s obviously made for the floor. Also, whether the extension is attached or not, an angled, soft handle feels great on the hand.
Battery Life and Charging Time
A ten minute runtime is decent for a stick vacuum, and pretty good for a handheld. A Lithium-Ion battery is great for either – that’s top of the line. That’s all well and good, but Makita really put effort into standing out with the charger that comes with the vacuum.
The Rapid Optimum Charger will have an empty battery at full charge in only fifteen minutes, which is hours less than most chargers. Futhermore, it does that while using a chip integrated into the battery that communicates with the charger to control current, voltage and temperature with a built-in fan, extending the life of the battery.
The included charger and battery can be used in a wide range of Makita power tools. If this is your first Makita device or you need an extra charger and battery, go with the BCL180W. If you already have a Makita 18V battery and charger, you can go with the BCL180ZW which is the vacuum only for under half the price.
The BCL180W weighs in at only 2.7 pounds – that’s great for both a handheld and a stick vacuum! You’d be hard pressed to ever get fatigued using this vacuum.
The two-stage cloth filtration system that Makita has built in is not ideal, but it’s certainly usable – it might clog in certain situations, but it’s easy to clean and very affordable to have extras or replace it.
With a 21 ounce dust bin, the BCL180W comes back to looking more like a stick vacuum – that’s great capacity for a handheld. It’s a powerful enough vacuum, though, that you might just suck up enough dust to fill it anyway!
This vacuum comes with a crevice tool, like many handhelds…and if you look at the extension wand for doing floors as another accessory, it’s again seemingly a handheld vacuum, and one with quite fine accessories to boot. It also comes with a wall hanging loop for easy storage, and Makita sells an upgraded Lithium-Ion battery for a twenty minute runtime if you have a lot of cleaning to do.
The unique charger is a huge help in regards to the BCL180W’s reliability – everything about it is designed to extend the battery’s lifespan. In regards to the vacuum itself, it’s coming from a company that normally makes power tools, so it’s pretty solidly made.
The BCL180W has a great warranty set – a three year warranty on the vacuum itself beats out the general average of two year warranties, and moreover Makita also gives a one year warranty on the battery and charger.
This vacuum is priced along with some of the better known top of the line vacuums, but you are paying for a unique, higher technology charger and a vacuum that’s pretty solid regardless of whether it’s a handheld or stick vacuum.
- great power and suction
- unique high-tech charger with Lithium-Ion battery
- convenience of both a stick and handheld vacuum
- ergonomic design and swivel head on extension
- very light and easy to carry
- can be a little short if you’re a tall person
- have to keep pressing the switch to keep it on
- fan on charger does make a small amount of noise
To put it one way, the BCL180W is more like a handheld with a special extension for doing floors than a cordless stick vacuum. To put it another way, it’s great whichever way you want to label it. It’s versatile, powerful, and light, and it’s always ready to use almost right away with its special charger.