I’ll be honest, I was so super-psyched when I finally got my hands on the new Makita Cooling Jacket. Despite the fact that I’m originally from Florida and ought to be used to sweltering and humid conditions, I feel like I run hot most of the time. I’m not entirely sure if it’s that I’m a bit overweight or if I’ve got my hot, latin blood working against me. Either way, I’d generally like it if I was just 6-10 degrees cooler. This applies to when I’m sitting around in the A/C, but even more so when I’m outside. I hate sweating (I know how that sounds, and I’ll accept your judgment). So, the Makita Cooling Jacket, at least in theory, sounded like a godsend.
A cooling jacket seems like a fantastic idea, but it sets pretty high expectations. Should I expect to walk around in my own personal A/C unit? Will the fans jab me in the back if I need to get under a house or car? How comfortable is it when I’m seated? How does the whole battery situation work? Will it make me look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man? All these are legitimate questions.
Makita Cooling Jacket Key Feature
Makita’s Cooling Jacket features two recessed fans located on both the right and left sides of the jacket. They hit you right around the kidneys, which seems like a pretty well-thought out location. Each fan measures 4-1/4″ in diameter. They aren’t massive but rather appropriately sized to provide a decent amount of air movement without getting in the way.
I will say that, when standing, I felt like the jacket provided yet another subtle reminder that dropping some weight might not be a bad idea. The fans both press gently into my “love handles”. I didn’t notice this as much while sitting down, however.
- Titanium-coated polyester helps protect against UV and IR rays
- High, medium, low, and turbo modes
- Two ice pack storage compartment on the back of the jacket for increased cooling
- USB power port for charging portable electronic devices
- Two outer chest pockets
- Two waist pockets
- Sleeve pockets for pens or small flashlights
Build Quality and Comfort
Makita uses what they call a titanium-coated polyester for the construction of this jacket. I’m no seamstress, and I never learned a whole lot about the textile industry, but this material sounds like something Tony Stark might dream up.
In actuality, the Makita Cooling Jacket feels like a windbreaker. The material behaves like it might not necessarily wick away any moisture and it’s light enough that it doesn’t add much heat. The jacket also protects against ultraviolet and infrared rays which helps keep external heat from raising the internal temperature.
The jacket has clean stitching and even double stitching where you’d expect more wear and tear. The main zipper has some heft to it, which ought to improve its lifespan. Makita used an elastic band for the bottom cuff, which holds the bottom of the jacket against your back. This keeps airflow moving across your body instead of out the bottom of the jacket.
I found that I had to recalibrate my expectations with the Makita Cooling Jacket. I looked forward to walking around in my own personal air-conditioned space, but perhaps that bordered on unrealistic. While the fans are effective at moving air up my back and down my sleeves, the air itself doesn’t necessarily get any colder.
This means that, when standing around in an already air-conditioned space, it can feel legitimately cooler inside the jacket. However, when standing around outside in the heat, the fans simply move around warm air inside the jacket. Any airflow is an improvement, but it may not be enough in some cases to offset wearing another layer with long sleeves.
The Makita Cooling Jacket does, however, include a couple inner, netted pockets. These are positioned around the middle of the back to accommodate ice packs. They do help in cooling your inner core, but you’ll undoubtedly need to replace the packs throughout the day as they melt. Additionally, you’ll inevitably wind up with a couple of wet spots on your back.
The Cuddliest Michelin Man
The jacket, when turned on and zipped up, will puff out some. It doesn’t quite reach the level of feeling obtrusive, but you will notice it. And, so will others. As my Editor-in-Chief, Clint DeBoer stated, “you look so cuddly, I kind of want to give you a hug!”
This was an unintended consequence of wearing the Makita Cooling Jacket, although admittedly, the possibility of feeling actual human warmth and intimacy in the bleak, hopeless wasteland of human existence* might make a pretty compelling argument for purchasing the Makita Cooling Jacket. Your mileage with this may vary. I think I just look sort of cuddly anyway.
*Editor’s Note: All views and opinions of the state of our human existence are the sole opinions of the author and not necessarily Pro Tool Reviews…
I ran the Makita Cooling Jacket with the company’s compact 18V 2.0Ah battery pack. Given the amount of space in the jacket’s dedicated battery pocket, this seemed like the ideal choice. With the fans running at the high-speed setting, we managed to get 6 hours and 2 minutes of runtime.
However, if you wanted to extend that runtime, you can hook up a larger pack. The control panel includes a belt hook, allowing you to clip the battery onto an outside pocket. I clipped it to the outside of my jeans, and for the most part it stayed out of my way.
The Bottom Line
The Makita Cooling Jacket has its uses, but those uses might be very particular. You probably won’t opt to wear this jacket in summer on the construction site. The movement of relatively warm air likely won’t offset the fact that you’re wearing extra layers, despite the lightweight material.
However, I feel like there could be an argument made for this being a clutch piece of workwear when it comes to working up in an attic or even underneath a house. You’ll almost definitely want to keep some ice packs at the ready, and you’ll have to deal with wet spots on your back. But, in those situations where you’re stuck in hot, stagnant air, the Makita Cooling Jacket will keep some cooler air circulating around your body.
Makita Cooling Jacket Specs
- Fan settings: High, Medium, Low, Turbo
- USB power port
- Number of Pockets: 5 (Including battery pocket)
- Battery: 18V LXT Li-ion
- Net weight (with 2.0Ah battery): 3.3 lbs