Pros: Lightweight and portable. Good tool for intended uses.
Cons: Not heavy duty enough to do flowerbeds or lawns
Black & Decker Cordless Blower (Ns118). My wife had been asking me if there was a cordless leaf blower on the market because she was tired of getting the extension cord out, dragging it around and putting it away. I saw our neighbors had a set of tools powered by a rechargeable 18-volt battery. They had a leaf blower, hedge trimmer, and a line trimmer/edger. All of the tools black and orange, a clear indication they were Black and Decker, the parent company of the battery tool powerhouse, Dewalt. I knew the Dewalt line quite well. My only concern was the amount of work being asked by the battery on this trio of tools (I'll review the other two in related reviews). How long would they last per charge?
I had been using a corded blower for years. The real drawback was the cord. I have a fairly large yard and dragging around 150' of 12 gauge wire was really cumbersome. We have a cord winder mounted to the wall but it really is still a chore. I saw that if I bought the hedge trimmer, the leaf blower and the line trimmer all at once in a kit, I would have three batteries, a charger and tool mounting stand. I began to see a plan forming in my mind. I could get a new leaf blower for Sherry and I would get a new line trimmer for me, all sans gas. Now before you begin to think I was setting myself up for a trip to the doghouse, she really did want a new line trimmer and I wasn't planning on giving this as an anniversary gift or anything. I began my hunt.
Release the Hounds
Before I could acquire this leaf blower I first had to find out where it was available. Amazon.com showed it in stock but I really wanted to buy in town, even if it was from a big box. Now I don't frequent Wal-Mart because I don't like their store. So it turned out that I had to go to Lowes. Not much difference you say, in my mind there is. My inlaws had given us a small monetary gift over the holidays so we decided that it would be a good use for the money.
Details of the Leaf Blower
The cordless blower weighs 4.8 pounds according to Black and Decker's website. I didn't weigh it on the scale because I didn't want to explain to my wife why I was in the bathroom with a leaf blower (I am just planning on cleaning honey!) I don't live in the Tool Time house so I can't tell you if this is with the battery or not. The things is light regardless. Attaching the 18-volt battery adds a couple more pounds, but still makes for a very light, easy to handle tool. Included with the yard care kit are three batteries, a wall mount and a charger.
The motor housing and switch are encased in an orange plastic case that kind of looks like a hand mixer. The blower tube is about 21 inches long and has a scraper on the end to get up stuck leaves or the occasional dried piece of something you can't easily identify but don't want to touch. (Thank you dog walking members of my neighborhood)
On the website, Black and Decker suggests potential uses such as cleaning your sidewalk, blowing off your driveway and cleaning out your garage (I do that but for some reason my wife can't see me using it in the house)
The owner’s manual is your typical multi-lingual manual that opens like a map or instructions for a model. You really don't need too much information about the blower it really is that simple. The standard warnings about the proper care and handling of rechargeable batteries is in there.
One funny comment that another reviewer noted and I saw as well was that the blower was not dishwasher safe. Is this a pre-emptive warning or did Black and Decker find people were asking if they could actually put this thing in the dishwasher.
As with nearly all of the Black and Decker products nowdays, you get an American product but it is made in China. Don't be too shocked, nearly everything is made off shore to be price competitive in todays gotta have it society.
Use in real life
My yard care kit arrived in a pretty nicely packed kit. They are doing a good job of being environmentally responsible and keeping the packaging to a minimum.
Before you use this tool, like any other battery operated tool, you have to give the battery a full charge. This ensures the battery starts off with a full charge and will give you the best battery life. These batteries can be left in the charger when not in use and it will keep them topped off.
To operate the tool you simply flip the little paddle switch located directly under the handle and use it. It is a single speed blower. According to Black and Decker, you will get 120mph out of the tip.
Now in real life here's what you get. Right off the bat the blower comes on really strong. Don't expect corded power though. The throat of the blower tube is smaller than most corded models simply because you can't get the power out of a cordless tool. Too make up the difference the tube was narrowed to increase the speed of the exiting air. After a few minutes of use, the power drops off to a steady level that will hold for about 10 more minutes. You want to do a longer job, bring another battery with you.
I am generally able to walk up and down my sidewalk after trimming, walk the perimeter of my driveway and clear my front walk to the door before the battery gets really low. You can't expect to clear your whole lawn with the blower. It simply isn't designed for that.
The blower will last long enough to blow the floor clear in my three car garage. So it sill beat sweeping.
Sherry and I both enjoy our new lawncare kit and have no regrets regarding its purchase. For really big jobs we will haul out the corded blower and the rake. You never can really get away from this. Please keep in mind the sweeper’s limitations and intended uses and you will be satisfied too.
Green minded consumers might like to know that it costs less to own this tool than a gas powered model that you would use for the same use. Black and Decker has an energy calculator that says where I live this will save me $13.86 per year over the cost of running a gas powered blower for equivalent use. That is nice to know. I know we would spend less because we charge our batteries on off peak hours and get a 50% reduction in our electric rates during those times. Something else to keep in mind for the green consumer is your are already paying for the recycling of the battery when you purchase this tool. The RBRC logo on the battery indicates this. Find a battery recycler near you and do the responsible thing and drop it off. You can find out more about this at rbrc.org