Pros: Good wind velocity, Great fit and control, two batteries
Cons: I have to use it.
Doing yard work blows! Ok, OK. I know thats a cheap shot lead-in when reviewing a device designed to blow stuff off the sidewalk. Ive always admitted that Im cheap and lazy so what else can be expected? As a matter of fact, Im so cheap and lazy that Ive gone completely cordless with all my yard work tools. Cheap fits me with gas at $2.40 a gallon and lazy certainly fits me because I find myself putting stuff off rather than mess with gas or wrestle a 100-foot extension cord. The cord wins the match every time anyway, so why bother. Well Ill tell you why I bother! My queen is far tougher than a tangled electrical cord. Yes, fear is a great motivator.
Early last year I started to disassociate myself from all yard tools that require gas or an extension cord. I got a Neuton cordless mower, a Black & Decker cordless hedge trimmer, and a Black & Decker cordless string trimmer. The grab-it-and-go convenience of cordless power tools, while not elevating yard work to a heavenly endeavor, certainly pulls it up from the hell Ive always thought it to be.
When all the mowing, hedging, and weed whacking was done, I still had the mess left behind. I couldnt see it from my recliner, but for some reason her highness would purposely go look around (go figure?) and issue an edict to clean up the leftovers. Id get up complaining to no avail, lose the wrestling match with the extension cord, and finally break down and (gasp!) grab a manual broom. WHOA!! That now makes me a chicken, cheap, lazy guy! NO MORE!
I was wasting time one day walking around Lowes looking at fun stuff when I saw the Black and Decker 18.0 Volt Cordless Broom Hard Surface Sweeper model NS118. The word cordless caught my eye. The fact that it was 18- volt and came with two batteries convinced me that momma could work a couple of overtime hours to pay the $69 for me to give it a try. See guys, cordless will make you braver.
I grabbed the box, paid the nice lady some of her highnesses money, and headed to the hut. Assembly was a snap. It really was. I opened the box, snapped on the extension tube, and assembly was done. The toughest part was getting the Styrofoam packing out of the box!
This cordless broom came with the blower itself, a battery charger, and two 18-volt Black & Decker batteries. These batteries are supposed to be the same that are used in all the B&D 18-volt tools, but since I dont have any of those I cant attest to that. Why is that by the way? The initial charge on the batteries is supposed to be at least nine hours. After the initial charge, it takes about three hours to recharge them. I do like the quick recharge time. I may also pick up another 18-volt charger so that they can both remain in the charger when not in use. B&D says this is a good thing.
I spent the first day charging both batteries per the directions.
I woke myself up real early the next morning so I could check this baby out. OK, thats the first and only lie in this review.
Anyway, when I dragged myself out of bed sometime that morning, I went out and tested this cordless broom. It worked good. Goodbye.
Oh well, I might as well expound on how it really worked. I really like the way Black & Decker has worked on the fit and function of their yard tools. The broom weighs only 5.5 pounds with the battery installed and is extremely well balanced. The unit is 36 inches long overall with 33 inches from the handle to the end of the nozzle. Yeap, I measured it just for you. The balance and length is just perfect for my boringly normal six-foot body type.
I feel that B&D really shines with its ergonomic handle and switch designs. The handle is a long, padded handle that is big enough around that it is very comfortable to hold without excessive hand spread, or even worse, so small that you have to squeeze with all your strength to just to hold on to it.
The operating switch is a genius of design. Its shaped like a large butterfly wing that can be operated with just a flick of the thumb while holding on to the handle in a normal manner. Its a true On/Off switch. Flick it one direction and the blower is on, and flick it the other way to turn it off.
Black & Decker says the cordless broom generates a wind velocity of 120 mph. I didnt use an anemometer to measure the wind speed, but I dont doubt it. This thing really blows. Unlike gas and corded leaf blowers designed to put out 200+ mph winds to blow bowling balls across your yard, the Black & Decker Cordless Broom Hard Surface Sweeper is designed to blow debris off of hard surfaces such as sidewalks, decks, garage floors, and such. I reckon thats why they call it a broom rather than a blower. It does this extremely well. It blew the leaves; grass trimmings, small twigs, and one-inch white rock right off these types of surfaces. A big plus for me, is how great it is for blowing the sawdust off of my workbench and powered woodworking tools.
Run time is always a primary concern with cordless tools. Does it have enough guts to get the job done in one swoop without having to stop and recharge the battery? During my first test, I put the fully charged battery in the cordless broom. I let it run, without turning it off, to test the run time. The broom ran for 10 minutes before the wind velocity slowed down enough that it was no longer effective. (UPDATE: The instructions say that best battery performance is reached after 5 to 6 chargings. That must be true because I'm up to a little over 15 minutes of effective run time after that many recharges.) That amount of time let me blow out the 2-car garage, the 3-car driveway, 70 feet of sidewalk, the curb, and my sawdust covered power tools. I still had one battery ready to go for the backyard, presuming I ever get the energy to do the front and the back in one day. Run time was just fine for what I need. Yeap, Im still lazy.
The B&D cordless broom doesn't even come close to making the noise of a full size leaf blower. I can carry on a conversation with my "real boss" while using it. I wouldn't recommend using it at 6 AM Sunday mornings, though.
If your looking for a cordless leaf blower to clean out flowerbeds or blow the fall leaves off your yard, good luck. If your looking to use a blowing cordless broom to clean out the garage or clean up the sidewalks and decks after mowing, get the Black and Decker 18.0 Volt Cordless Broom Hard Surface Sweeper model NS118. It does the job for us. Momma likes it, therefore I love it.