Redback-120V-Blower-featured-image Reviews

Redback 120V Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower: Product Review


GPR RECOMMENDATION

Ease of Use:
Quality:
Performance:
Summary

Power meets light weight, maneuverability, and long battery life.

Overall Score 4.6

Available on Amazon

Buy It

Earlier this year, I tested and fell in love with the Redback 40V Lithium Ion cordless hedge trimmers (see my review here). Since then, I’ve wanted to get my hands on this leaf blower! But as often is the case with the better things in life, such as fine wine and aged cheese, I had to wait. While Redback launched their 40V cordless blower a couple of years ago, the 120V wasn’t ready until recently.

So was it worth the wait?

Redback 120V Blower in use

Lots of land with several mature trees makes yard work at our place a family affair

SPECIFICATIONS

Weight: 5.5 lbs without battery; 9.5 lbs with battery
Length: 27” without battery and tube detached; 48” with battery and tube attached
Starting system: Push button start
Motor: Brushless
Power source: 120V lithium-ion battery
Power settings: 3 adjustable touch-controlled speed settings plus turbo mode
Airforce: 122 MPH maximum
Air volume: 514 CFMs
Runtime: 90-120 minutes on medium
Extras: Shoulder Sling
Warranty: 5-year limited warranty (3-year on battery pack and charger)

OUT OF THE BOX

When the Redback 120V Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower arrived, I found myself torn between excitement (“It’s finally come!”) and irritation (“I have no leaves to blow yet!”). Nonetheless, I ripped open the box and pulled out the contents.

Redback 120V Blower package

The package arrived with blower unit, shoulder strap, blower tube, battery, charger and instructions

While I waited for the battery to charge, I flipped through the instructions. Then I attached the included sling by squeezing the retaining hook to the housing that sits atop of the unit.

Redback 120V Blower shoulder strap and hook

The shoulder strap retaining hook secures into the housing on top of the unit

Simple Assembly

Next, I attached the blower pipe by lining up the slots and turning clockwise. While the instructions don’t reference this, the unit comes with 2 small screws that I believe are provided should you wish to further secure the pipe to the unit. If I thought I needed to use the blower heavily for the entire season, I might take the time to attach the screws. I didn’t bother, and I had no problem with the pipe coming off until I wanted it to come off.

Redback 120V Blower pipe

Line up the blower pipe with the connector slot that is integrated with the blower unit. Push down and rotate the pipe clockwise until it’s secure.

Since I have acquired quite a garden tool collection, I am always concerned about how much space a new tool might require. Without the battery (FYI, you don’t want to put cordless tools into storage with the battery inserted) and with the blower pipe disconnected, the Redback took up around 27”.

Redback 120V Blower tube detached

With the tube detached and the battery out, the overall length hits around 27 inches

Charging the Battery

Batteries and chargers have come a long way since the first generations. Today’s lithium-ion battery—like the one included with the Redback blower—goes from drained to charged in less than 45 minutes (for answers to common FAQs about Li-Ion batteries, see our article here).

I used to worry that I would put a battery in the wrong way and break the battery or the charger. Today’s models are pretty idiot-proof. They will go in only one way.

Attached to the charger is a pictorial “cheat sheet” that lets you know that a blinking green light means the battery is still charging, and a solid green light means you’re done.

Redback 120V Blower Green battery

Green means GO, the battery is fully charged

Once I inserted the full battery and heard a solid click to let me know it was secure in the back of the unit, I reattached the pipe and measured again: the overall length now reached about 4 feet.

Redback 120V Blower battery installed

With the battery installed and the tube attached, the overall length reaches nearly 4 feet

Lightweight & Well Balanced

Sliding the strap of the unit over my shoulder, I felt a little like Indiana Jones…had Indiana Jones ever used a leaf blower in one of his movies. I guess I mean that the unit just felt right. Compared to other units I’ve used, this featherweight Redback seemed nimble. Even though the unit seemed long, it felt perfectly balanced in my hands. The nose instinctively leaned towards the ground, which is exactly where you want the business end to the point.

SAFETY (FOR YOU AND THE UNIT)

The instructions include the usual safety information you’d expect of any power tool, such as wearing ear and eye protection (such as our favorites from Wiley-X), keeping the unit away from moisture and water, and preventing hair or clothing from blocking the air vents.

LOCK AND LOAD!

Even though I didn’t have many leaves on the ground yet, I decided to test it the best as I could under the three specific conditions most homeowners will face: (1) blowing over the pavement, (2) blowing over grass/brush, and (3) blowing over mulch/gravel. And if enough leaves fell, I wanted to conduct a final test, (4) blowing large piles of leaves.

Ready…Set…!

For the second time that day, I experienced a mixture of emotions: excitement when I turned the unit on and saw leaves start to fly across the driveway, and then disappointment when the unit stopped working.

Excellent Customer Service

Let me make a long story short. I called Redback customer service in Colorado and told them what happened. They’re excellent folks, very responsive. They told me that it’s likely a bad battery, so they shipped me a new battery. When it came, I charged it, inserted it into the unit, and tried again. Nada. The unit made a beeping noise, but nothing happened. I called Redback again. This time, they sent me a new unit.

Since the first unit didn’t work, I rated the QUALITY score at a 4. You can decide for yourself if a 4 is too high or too low for you, but I’ve been around the block enough times to know that all companies will pop out an occasional defective product. Don’t even get me started about the day I bought three new microwave ovens, and none of them worked! So given that the company has a 5-year warranty, and they shipped me out a new product that worked great, I believe that I got the rare problem unit. Additionally, the fit and finish of the tool seemed more refined than what many comparable units offer.

LOCK AND LOAD 2!

Even though Redback resolved the problem quickly, two months passed before I had time to put the unit through its paces. From a review standpoint, this worked out well. Because by the time I tested it, I had plenty of leaves on the ground!

Convenient Controls & Adjustable Speed

The Redback 120V Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower has a 3-speed adjustable motor plus an additional Turbo mode for short bursts requiring a little more blowing power. Controls are conveniently located on the top of the unit, and they include Start, Stop, and an Up and Down arrow (that controls the speed). To turn the unit ON, push the Start button, and then push the Up arrow 1 (slow), 2 (medium), 3 (fast) or 4 (Turbo) times. To reduce power, touch the down arrow to the desired setting. To help you know what speed you’re using, the LED light bar display will show 1-4 bars to coincide with your speed.

Redback 120V Blower easy controls

The controls and easy-read display are located conveniently within thumbs’ reach of the handle.

Note: A word about using speed 4, aka, Turbo mode. To give you longer battery life, the Turbo mode lasts for about 30 seconds before it resets itself to fast speed. If you still require more power, touch the Up arrow and you’re back in Turbo mode for another 30 seconds. Turbo mode is powerful, but you will see a quick drain on your battery if you use it frequently.

Test #1: Blowing over pavement

Dry leaves have no problem moving across the dry pavement, which is why the leaves from your neighbors’ property have no problem blowing across the street to yours. Perhaps that’s why the Redback worked well, blowing leaves across pavement even using the lowest speed. For fun, I hit the Up arrow to the middle-speed setting, but at that speed, the mulch under the leaves started to move, so I backed it down.

Redback 120V Blower featherweight unit

My wife loved the featherweight unit and its ease of use

Test #2: Blowing over grass/brush

While pavement offers little friction, it’s much more difficult to move leaves over grass, plants, bushes, and brush.

Bumping the speed up to fast, the blower had no problem clearing leaves from the foot of bushes, winter flowers, and tall weeds. Again, the 4-foot length and the natural tendency for the pipe to face the ground really helped this tool work.

Redback 120V Blower holding and manuvering

My tiny 10-year-old daughter had no problem holding and maneuvering the Redback

Test #3: Blowing over gravel/rocks

I recently installed several tons of medium and large-size river rock around my koi pond. While it looks great and helps (supposedly) deter snakes from getting into the pond, those rocks really hold onto pine needles and leaves.

So how did the Redback do blowing pine needles across the rocks? Good, not great. To be fair, nothing works great with those rocks. At low speeds, the pine needles stay stuck; at Turbo speed, the river rock gets displaced…and the needles still manage to stay stuck. However, the unit did a GREAT job on the leaves. Given their bigger surface area, the leaves blew free without a problem.

Test #4: Blowing large piles of leaves

I woke up one morning to find that the ornamental pear trees lining my driveway had dropped half of their leaves overnight. Redback to the rescue! Careful to remove leaves without disturbing the mulch edging around the drive, I created a tidy pile of leaves in no time. On Turbo mode, the Redback easily kept my pile moving and growing until finally, it reached its limit. Turns out, its limit was huge! Eight large wheelbarrow loads later, and my driveway looked clean…for about 10 minutes until more leaves started to drop.

Redback 120V Blower wheelbarrow loads

It took me 20 minutes to create and move this pile of leaves down my driveway, a pile so large that it filled 8 wheelbarrow loads

PROS AND CONS OF THE REDBACK

Is this the right tool for you? Here’s what I really liked about the Redback 120V Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower:

  • Strength and power options: Regardless if you’re moving leaves over pavement or out of bushes, this unit has plenty of oomph to get the job done. Initially, I didn’t understand why a blower would need more than a full power and off mode. But now I get it. When you turn the unit to Turbo mode, leaves tend to explode into the air like fireworks! The top speed has no problem moving leaves, but the optional lower speeds allow you to move them with more precision.
  • Weight and balance: The Redback weighs as much as an average housecat. Have you ever picked up your cat and thought, “My goodness, you’re heavy! I have to put you down!” Probably not. And I never needed to set the Redback down because my arm, shoulders, or back grew tired. Neither did my wife or 10-year-old daughter. The unit’s balance distributes the weight, making it feel lighter still. The lightweight and nice balance add up to maneuverability. Using the shoulder strap to hold the unit, you can angle the blower with a simple rotation of your wrist to clear leaves from any surface.
  • Long battery life: I got nearly 2 hours of continuous use of low and medium power with the Redback. I don’t believe I own another single power tool that will run that long between charges. That means I spent more time clearing leaves than waiting for the battery to finish charging.
  • Convenient: I am much more likely to grab the Redback blower instead of reaching for my gasoline-powered or extension corded units. Premixing gas and dragging out extension cords is a serious commitment. Maybe I’m getting old, but sometimes I’m worn out from getting a tool ready to use before I ever use it! But with the Redback, when I see leaves piling up on my driveway or in my yard, I just grab it, work for 10 minutes, and then put it away.
  • Feel: I can’t think of another word for it, so I’m going to stick with the word feel. I’ve given many tools high marks because they performed very well compared to the price or other alternatives on the market. The Redback has a long battery life, an ease of use, a powerful motor, and a lightweight overall package. But beyond that, it just feels like an extension of my arm.

But on the other hand, I did have a problem with the first unit.

  • Quality?: While I found the fit and finish of the Redback to be superior to others in its class, I can’t overlook the fact that the first unit I received for testing failed to work properly. I’m less concerned about a unit that fails to work out-of-the-box than I am one that falls apart in my hands over the course of rigorous testing. I put the new unit through 5 full cycles of charging and use over the course of a month, and I had no problems whatsoever. When the first unit failed, I’m happy to say that the Redback customer service team in Colorado made it right quickly and professionally.

WARRANTY

Redback offers a 5-year limited warranty on the blower, battery, and charger.

RECOMMENDATION

The cost of the Redback 120V Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower falls at the lower end of comparable tools by other manufacturers. Having tested others, I find the Redback a great value. Power meets light weight, maneuverability, and long battery life. What’s not to like?

WHERE TO BUY

You can find the Redback 120V Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower at Leaf Blowers Direct for $269.99. You can also find the unit at The Home Depot for $299.00. Finally, you can find it on Amazon for $372.64.

Redback 120V Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower
The cost of the Redback 120V blower falls at the lower end of comparable tools by other manufacturers. Having tested others, I find the Redback a great value. Power meets light weight, maneuverability and long battery life. What’s not to like?

Last update on 2018-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank Redback for giving us a free sample to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

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