Here’s something weird for you contractors and campers; a Makita portable microwave that runs on power tool batteries. Launching in Japan for ¥71,500 (about $550 USD), the MW001GZ promises to heat food on the go with up to 500 watts of power (and a maximum cook time of nearly 2 hours—but only under specific conditions).
I’m seeing a lot of misinformation about this microwave, so let’s get the facts straight. In terms of shape and size, we’re looking at a pretty typical compact microwave—an 8-liter capacity (big enough for a bento box, in Makita’s words) and a weight of 8.8 kilograms (about 19.5 pounds). Once you add the batteries, the weight comes out to about 25 pounds.
The Makita MW001GZ works with a variety of Makita 40V batteries, including the BL4025, BL4040, BL4050F, and BL4080F. It’s also compatible with Makita’s PDC1200, a large backpack power supply. Obviously, microwaves use a lot of power, so Makita’s backpack battery is the ideal option.
But compared to the microwave in your kitchen, the MW001GZ is pretty weak. It offers two power modes—350 watts and 500 watts. If a packaged food item needs to be cooked for 1 minute in a typical microwave, it will require about 3 minutes in a 500-watt microwave. (For this reason, Makita’s press release only mentions refrigerated foods and liquids. Heating frozen food in this microwave would be slow and wasteful, even with a large-capacity battery.)
Here’s where we need to set the record straight. With two BL4025 batteries, this microwave will provide 14 minutes of cooking at 300 watts (or 8 minutes at 500 watts)—that’s useless, in my opinion. Well, the maximum cook time leaps to 30 minutes with a set of BL4050F batteries. That’s better, but it still kinda sucks, especially if you’re at work and need to keep your batteries charged.
Well, if you own the PDC1200 backpack battery, you get nearly two hours of functionality out of this microwave (in 300-watt mode, obviously). Makita’s backpack battery is intended for high-power applications, specifically electric lawnmowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers, so this makes sense.
I can see the benefit of this microwave in industries like lawn care, where wired power isn’t guaranteed and backpack batteries are somewhat common. This is the kind of thing you might leave in a truck to heat up food from a lunchbox. That said, most job sites have power (or a generator, at least), and if you’re camping, you’re probably better off heating food on a fire or propane camp stove.
Again, the Makita MW001GZ microwave is available in Japan for ¥71,500 (about $550 USD). Makita hasn’t announced a U.S. release, but if the portable microwave arrives stateside, Review Geek hopes to test it.