Cordless Leaf Blowers is about buying, using and testing a budget priced blower for outside leaf blowing and comparing its specifications to others that are priced higher.
The blower purchased from Lowes online is a Kobalt 24v “max” brushless model. Right at $100 with tax and free shipping, delivered to your physical mailing address. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find one that costs less that includes the battery and charger. 24v rechargeable battery and charger included. Have used it about 10x so far.
Rand Soellner, Senior Architect at Home Architects ® said “I was about ready to pack this up and take it back to my local Lowes. Then I checked online about the run time of other, higher priced blowers. I think I’ll keep this one.”
What Soellner discovered: that the run time for the Kobalt budget blower is in reality about 32 minutes, running at high speed. The velocity is barely enough to push wet debris (100mph according to specs), but it works. Soellner was able to blow wet leaves off his driveway and up over a 12″ high stone curb. Feels anemic, but it does work.
What changed Soellner’s mind about the low-end Kobalt was the reported run-times for more high-priced makes and models from such manufacturers as DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita and others, including Kobalt’s own higher priced models. Many of those are reported to have run times of 28 minutes, 25 minutes, 15 minutes, according to the reviews of their various users (not necessarily the manufacturers’ stated run times). So, considering the state of the art in cordless blowers today, the on-sale $99 Kobalt appears to be a good bargain. 5 or 10 years from now, one hopes rechargeable battery technology will improve to allow for a longer run time and shorter charge time.
However, if you really want to tackle something like Soellner’s 400′ long driveway of wet leaves, you might want to haul out the 200′ of extension cords and his 36 year old, 180mph corded Toro, which seems capable of blowing just about anything out of the way.
However, if you’re a 70 year old man and are climbing up on your roof to blow leaves out of your gutter guards, the Kobalt can be just the ticket for convenience, safety and about the correct run-time, depending on the length of your gutters.
It all has to do with convenience. The Kobalt is undeniably easier, being cordless, but if you’re after heavy metal power, corded is the way to go. No doubt the Makita ($329) with its double 18v batteries (=36v) likely has some good power (140mph), but user reviews peg it at less than 1/2 hour run time on “high.” Soellner has a bias in favor of both DeWalt and Makita and has tools from both of them that he considers dependable and capable.
Another issue: Battery Recharging time: Soellner’s experience is that the Kolbalt 24v battery takes about 3 hours (2:47) to recharge to its full capacity. That’s not convenient at all, if you only have one battery and you’re trying to get a job done. And the price of spare batteries in this type of technology can be about the same as an entire blower. Checking today’s online Lowes’ ad: $59 for one 24v backup battery, so that’s not as pricey as some other manufacturers’ batteries, but by no means, cheap. Might be advisable to have 3 or 4 batteries, fully charged and ready to go, if you’d like to complete and 2 hour long project. And start recharging the batteries as you use them, because it’s going to be a long wait for them to recover.
Note: if you are a professional landscaping service do NOT buy or use any cordless blower. They just either aren’t powerful enough or have their batteries last long enough to use in an heavy duty manner. Go with internal combustion engine type for now, or corded.