BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Sweeper (LSW221): Product Review
A sweeper that does its job well and almost replaces the need for a broom.
Available on Amazon
Have you ever wanted something more than a broom to sweep away dust, dirt, cobwebs, and small debris? You don’t need the power of a full-fledged blower, but do need something with less air volume and nearly the same air velocity. Enter the cordless BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Sweeper (LSW221).
The unit came in a strong cardboard box that was clearly marked on the outside that it was indeed the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Sweeper (LSW221). Inside the container was a disassembled sweeper – 2 blower tubes, instruction manual, a battery and battery charger. The entire package of goods came through without a scratch. The operating instructions were easy to follow.
|Weight w/o battery:||1 lb. 10 oz.|
|Weight w/ battery:||3.7 lbs.|
|Battery type:||20V Lithium Ion (1.5 milliamps)|
|Overall length w/ blowing tubes:||36”|
|Body length w/o blowing tubes:||12”|
|Battery charge time (from zero to a full charge):||3 hrs.|
|Blower continuous run time with fully charged battery:||approx. 8 mins.|
|Air velocity:||approx. 120 MPH (Miles Per Hour)|
|Air volume:||approx. 100 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)|
|Sound level:||> 66 dB|
|ON/OFF button:||Toggle switch on top of handle. Single air speed and air volume|
A SNAP TO PUT TOGETHER
The sweeper comes in three parts (not counting the battery and charger). Basically, it’s the motor assembly and two blower tubes. The tubes slide together and click into place with interlocking tabs. It couldn’t be easier to put together. I like simple.
HOW WELL DOES IT PERFORM?
I liked this sweeper (or small blower as I often refer to them). It is compact and lightweight. My most common tasks with the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Sweeper (LSW221) are blowing out my garage, and the back of my pickup truck. I’ve also used it to blow off my patio rugs and areas that collect lots of dust (my wife and I live in Tucson, Arizona – it’s noted for its dust, and it gets into everything!). That’s one of the areas in which this little baby really excels.
Since I received this as a test unit from BLACK+DECKER I pretty much have hung up my broom and dustpan. There are exceptions, like piles of dirt or heavy debris, but outside of this, the BLACK+DECKER Sweeper has made the days of a broom almost obsolete.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SWEEPER AND A BLOWER?
Some may ask why the unit is called a sweeper vs. a blower? Good question. It has to do with the amount of air (CFM – Cubic Feet per Minute) that exits the nozzle, and what the units are used for.
First, large blowers expel anywhere from 390 CFM to 500+ CFM. Sweepers, on the other hand, are in a class by themselves and the air volume moved is substantially smaller … somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 CFM. Think of it like water. A large leaf blower would be like a raging waterfall while a sweeper would be more like a garden hose. Both have the same air velocity (or nearly the same) but the CFM is substantially different.
There are applications where a large blower is needed – like moving piles of twigs, leaves and yard debris. A sweeper simply doesn’t have enough CFM for those jobs.
But when creating a tornado of airborne dust and flying debris is not the objective, that’s where a sweeper comes in. Sweepers excel at blowing lighter debris (such as grass clippings and dry leaves) from flat hard surfaces and keeping it close to the ground.
Some sweepers have the air intake on the bottom, others (like the BLACK+DECKER sweeper) have it on the side. Of all I’ve tested, the one least likely to get clothing sucked in the intake is the bottom-mounted type (assuming that you’re holding the unit beside you as you’re using it). And even the bottom intakes can have their own suction problems with clothing (wearing an untucked long-tailed shirt as an example).
With the air intake being on the left side of the unit, I found that when I used the BLACK+DECKER sweeper in my right hand there was a greater chance of blocking the air intake with my pant leg. As soon as the intake touched my leg the air flow and volume was cut down by about half. This becomes a problem if you want to keep the airflow/volume constant, avoid overheating the motor and keep the blowing debris moving.
I tried using the sweeper in my left hand to avoid the air intake problem, but it exposed my leg to the motor assembly that stuck 2-1/2” away from the body of the sweeper (making it more difficult to maneuver).
EASE OF USE
Overall I liked the feel of the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Sweeper (LSW221). It was extremely light, easy to operate and durable (I dropped it a few times and left it in the rain once and it didn’t miss a beat). Its approximately 120 CFM of air moved all the dust, small dried leaves, and small debris from my decks, furniture, outdoor rugs, garage, pickup truck bed, etc.
The sweeper has a thumb mounted on/off switch ergonomically placed on the top the handle where it’s easy to use. The sweeper is a single speed unit driven by a brushed motor.
LITHIUM ION POWERED
Lithium-Ion batteries are now pretty much standard on all cordless tools today due to their no-memory-loss technology. See more on this topic in our Lithium Ion battery article.
Runtime is dependent on the battery’s Ah (Amp hours or milliamp-hours) and the electrical “load” that the motor experiences. The higher the load (or the more energy it takes to power the motor) the less battery life there is to a charge.
The BLACK+DECKER Sweeper with its 20V Lithium Ion, 1.5 milliamp battery was able to crank out 8 minutes of continuous use before the battery went completely dead. Given the voltage and (milli)amperage, I would have expected more than 8 minutes of continuous runtime, but I have seen 24V Li-Ion batteries with pretty much the same milliamps run for almost the same amount of time. Knowing this, I did not subtract points for shorter run times than I had expected.
The 1.5 milliamp Lithium Ion battery itself was easy to insert into the battery storage slot near the bottom of the sweeper. The battery had a clip to lock it into place, and with a press of this clip, the battery slipped out of the battery compartment with ease. I’ve had other battery-powered equipment where it was a real bear to remove the battery. In those cases, it took a lot of pulling power. Not so with the LSW221.
SMALL CHARGING PLATE VS. CHARGING POWER BLOCK
The battery charger is a small slide plate. I liked this a lot, I guess because it’s small and doesn’t take up much real estate on my workbench (other than the size of the battery and a very small part of the charging block). But the disadvantage is that it’s not wall mountable like many of its competitors (block type chargers). It’s a matter of personal preference. If you don’t want to mount your charger to the wall, then the larger chargers will take up more space on your workbench than the BLACK+DECKER. If you need a wall mounted charger, then there are other comparable, competitive sweepers with similar voltages and specs as the LSW221.
FIT AND FINISH
The fit and finish were good, except for the snap locks on the tube assemblies. When inserting the tubes together and finally attaching them to the blower itself, it took a lot of strength and a screwdriver to unfasten them. This is not an issue if you want to store the unit fully assembled, but if you want to strip it down to the motor assembly and two single tubes for easy storage you’ll probably have a heck of a time taking it apart. With a lot of pressure on the integrated locking tabs and prying with the screwdriver, I was able to separate everything. But I still left screwdriver dents in the plastic motor housing which did not make me a happy camper.
The remainder of the unit has smooth corners and no molding imperfections that I could see or feel.
As with all power equipment, we recommend the proper safety gear for the tool at hand. BLACK+DECKER recommends safety glasses (which you’ll have to purchase separately) and we concur. We recommend these safety glasses. And although the dB level is just below 66, we recommend using ear protection for long periods of continuous use.
BLACK+DECKER offers a 2-year warranty against defects in manufacturing and workmanship, and only honors this warranty for the product being used in a “home” environment.
Overall I really like the sweeper. It does what it’s intended to do – sweep. Instead of a broom, I can now get into crevices and tight spots that a broom wouldn’t have a chance of accessing. The time to sweep has gone down almost exponentially. The light weight makes it super maneuverable and the 20 V Lithium-Ion battery gives it a decent amount of time between charges (based on comparisons that I’ve done with other sweepers in the same class).
I wish the battery charge time had been quicker. I’m used to chargers that take a dead battery to full charge in less than an hour. The BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Sweeper (LSW221) took about 3 hours to full charge. And the other area I’d like to see improved is the ease at which the locking tabs unlocked the tubes from each other and from the motor assembly.
All in all, it’s a decent sweeper for the money.
WHERE TO BUY
Now over to you – Have you used a sweeper before? What did you use it for?
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