Why Makita's Battery-Powered Microwave Is Both Strange And Sensible

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Makita offers a huge range of cordless tools powered by their 40V batteries, from drills and saws to sanding and masonry tools. If you're already an owner of multiple Makita products, it now offers a new item that you can power with your existing batteries — a portable microwave. By slotting either one or two compatible batteries onto the back of the microwave, you can heat up food and drinks for as long as the battery can handle. Compared to normal microwaves, this one is admittedly small and weak, but that's just how portable versions are designed to be.

According to Makita's U.S. website, the microwave is now available to buy in stores like Home Depot in the U.S. as well as in Japan, where it originally launched. With a price tag of $889 / 110,000 yen, this odd piece of tech provides a useful service in a range of different situations.

What are the specs?

bento box in microwave

The MW001GZ battery-powered microwave is about what you'd expect from a portable microwave — smaller and weaker than one plugged into the wall. However, it still does the job and can do the job for a long time if you have a large collection of batteries. The inside of the microwave measures 25 by 12 centimeters, with a depth of 24 centimeters and an overall capacity of eight liters. It's the perfect size for typical large bento boxes in Japan, which come in plastic containers measuring 22 by 16 centimeters.

It offers two power settings: 350 watts and 500 watts, which is fairly limited compared to what you might be used to. With 500 watts, you can heat a refrigerated microwave meal in around three minutes or a 200-milliliter drink in about one and a half minutes. Plus, with limited features comes easy operation — the screen clearly shows which power setting you have selected, and there's a dedicated button to switch.

You can also see how much battery life you have left, and the start button is also a dial that can set the time up to 20 minutes. The 500-watt setting is meant for short periods only, so if you set a time longer than eight minutes, the microwave will automatically switch to 350 watts once the eight minutes are up. There's also a stop button, and the microwave features the typical feature of stopping automatically if you open the door while it's running.

What batteries can it use and how much usage does it get?

Makita 40v battery

The microwave can use BL4025, BL4040, BL4050F, and BL4080F batteries or the PDC1200 backpack power supply. There are two battery slots on the back of the microwave, and it can technically run with just one battery. The shortest amount of run-time you can get is with one BL4025, which will give you just seven minutes of 350-watt microwaving or four minutes at 500 watts.

Of course, this amount of usage is barely worth talking about — but at the same time, if you were in a pinch, it would still warm up a single meal for you. On the other end of the scale, the PDC1200 offers the most power and can keep the microwave running at 500 watts for around one hour and 24 minutes, which is enough time to heat up 11 bento boxes or 20 drinks, according to Makita. At 350 watts, it can run for one hour and 53 minutes.

Since the microwave is portable, it comes with a handle for carrying, and there's also a separately sold shoulder strap to help you support its 8.8-kilogram weight. You can also easily access the sponge filter in the front of the machine and clean it with a product like Makita's high-speed dust blower.

Who is actually going to use it?

men eating emergency supplies

The microwave is designed for anyone who values a hot meal but doesn't have guaranteed access to one. This could include independent construction workers, truck drivers, or even campers who don't like cooking on open fires. In Japan, one of its main use cases is as part of an emergency setup during a natural disaster. With typhoons and earthquakes as frequent as they are in Japan, most households have emergency kits of tools and food to grab and use during an extreme weather event, and this battery-powered microwave is a perfect addition for larger setups where people gather together to stay safe.

Together with other Makita products like food coolers and heated blankets, communities can keep their comfort and morale levels up during stressful times. The microwave even gives people a way to use Makita batteries to power up their phones and other tech using the USB port hidden on the front of the product. It might not be the product of the year for everyone, but several solid use cases for this battery-powered microwave make it an interesting and sensible product.

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