Yard Force 120V RX Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower: Product Review
Yard Force has launched a powerful leaf-busting blower for the season.
Available on Amazon
As a child, autumn meant Halloween, which meant treats! My brother and I would map out the neighborhood in advance of that sacred day to make sure we hit the houses that gave away the good candy the previous year. I’m talking homes that gave out full-sized candy bars instead of those wimpy little “fun-sized” ones or single pieces of gum.
I miss those days. Because now as an adult, autumn means clearing endless leaves. And for many years, that meant raking. Fortunately, plastic-headed rakes have come a long way since my youth when I would buy them—and break them—by the dozen each season. For example, see these reviews for the Golden Gark and the Corona BigLoad rakes.
Then I upgraded my leaf removal tool by adding an electric leaf blower. What an improvement! Just grab a 25-yard extension cord, plug it in, and get it done! Sadly, that corded blower had a big limitation: the cord. My yard looked great within 25-yards of my home; after that, you could see the extent of my cord length based on the mounds of leaves surrounding the perimeter of my home. On top of that, the cord would snag on every branch and trunk, and I spent just as much time cursing under my breath as I did working.
Enter a new era (at least for me)! Yard Force, as part of the much larger (and Fortune 500) SUMEC Hardware & Tools Company, has entered the market of cordless electric blowers with the Yard Force 120V RX Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower, which is the topic of this review. So is the Yard Force blower right for you?
|Weight:||23 lbs. (no, that’s not a typo)|
|Starting system:||Push button start|
|Power source:||120V lithium-ion battery (battery included; charger NOT included unless specified)|
|Power settings:||3 touch-controlled speed settings and cruise control|
|Air force:||140 MPH|
|Air volume:||540 CFMs|
|Runtime:||Up to 40 minutes|
|Extras:||Shoulder sling; 1 round and 1 tapered blowing nozzle|
|Warranty:||5-year limited warranty (3-year on battery pack and charger)|
LAYING IT OUT
I ripped open the box like a kid at Christmas, and placed the contents out before me. My package included the blower unit, a shoulder strap, and two blower nozzles. The 120V lithium-ion battery and charger arrived separately.
SETTING IT UP
Before reading the Operator’s Manual, I charged the battery. If you’ve ever used a lithium-ion battery and charger before, you know the drill. If not, see this article covering everything you need to know about Li-ion batteries for gardening tools.
The charger plugs into a standard wall outlet. As an added bonus, you can even mount the charger on a wall to get it up and out of the way. The battery then slides on the rails of the charger until it clicks.
When both the RED and GREEN lights remain on, the battery is fully charged. Charging the battery when drained takes about 45 minutes (NOTE: And the battery should not be fully drained before re-charging…something I would have learned had I read the manual first!). Be warned that a fan in your battery charger engages while the battery charges. This is normal.
While the battery charged, I skimmed the Operator’s Manual. Eager to start, I connected the shoulder strap hook to the loop on the top of the blower.
It took me a while to figure out the right strap adjustment positioning through trial and error. I found the unit worked nicely when I placed the shoulder strap around my neck on the opposite side from the unit. This balanced the weight.
Next, I looked at the 2 different blower nozzle attachments. Initially, I thought that the two pieces connected together to form a giant tube. That’s the not the case. The round nozzle is suggested for general blowing, and the tapered, flat nozzle is used for concentrating the blower power on rougher surfaces like gravel.
SAFETY (for you and the unit)
Given the literal gale-force wind the blower generates, plan to wear protective eyewear and ear protection. Also, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing. The rear turbo intake sucks in great quantities of air, and more than once it tried to take my shirt with it.
No, I don’t think you’ll see any headlines in the near future stating 200LBS MAN SUCKED INTO CORDLESS LEAF BLOWER. But I imagine blocking the vents could damage the unit. So be warned.
START YOUR ENGINES (OR BRUSHLESS MOTORS)
Once I believed that I got the strap adjusted right for me and reviewed the Operator’s Manual, I was ready to put the unit through the paces. But first, I checked on the battery, which by now was fully charged. I inserted the battery into the blower with a sense of anticipation.
I should mention a few things about operating the unit before sharing how it performed. First, take the time to adjust the shoulder strap so it’s comfortable for you. The unit is back-heavy, especially after inserting the 4+ lbs battery. I found it most comfortable to wear the strap on one shoulder and hold it in my hand on the opposite side. Additionally, I adjusted the strap so that the weight of the unit fell on my shoulder, not my arm and hand. Finally, adjust the blowing nozzle so it’s about a 45-degree angle to the ground.
PUTTING THE YARD FORCE THROUGH THE PACES
While I was excited to try out the Yard Force 120V RX Lithium-Ion Cordless Blower blower, I had a problem of sorts: a leaves shortage! Normally by early October here in North Carolina, my yard is covered by a solid 6 inches of leaves from dozens of varieties of trees. So normally, I don’t even try to gather leaves until they’re deep. But wanting to review this blower in time for the autumn season, I decided to give it a go with the few leaves that had dropped.
I tested the blower in three conditions that most homeowners will face: (1) blowing over pavement, (2) blowing over grass/brush, and (3) blowing over mulch/gravel. Limited leaves on the ground didn’t allow me to conduct a final test, (4) blowing large piles of leaves. But I can surmise the results based on how the unit performed under other conditions.
Blowing over pavement
Dry leaves move quite nicely over a dry, flat pavement. When you add the power of the Yard Force, they move even nicer. The pear trees surrounding my drive won’t drop their leaves en masse for another few weeks, but the ones on the driveway were no match for 140MPH force. Even wet leaves and patches caked with some mud flew off the concrete like they had someplace better to be.
Blowing over grass/brush
While pavement offers little friction, it’s much more difficult to move leaves over grass, plants, bushes, and brush.
My wife tested the unit on the patch of ground under a maple tree. Even though the leaves had been rained on and left drying and curling, the Yard Force blower was able to get underneath them. She had no problem moving the leaves, leaving nicely cleared grass in the wake.
Blowing leaves over ground cover and other brush presents a bigger challenge. Leaves and rough surfaces tend to stick together like the hooks and loops on VELCRO®. Usually I reserve this task for a soft, flexible plastic rake (like the excellent Garden Gark reviewed here) to prevent damaging the plants. But as I cleared leaves across the ground, I found the Yard Force blower was effective at removing the leaves from the ground cover without me even trying to do so.
Blowing over gravel/rocks
Earlier in the year, I installed a koi pond on my property. I’m not sure who enjoyed the koi more: me, or the snake that ate them. To make sure that didn’t happen again, I took several measures to make my koi pond less resemble a 7-11 for reptiles. One of those measures included building a “gravel and lava rock moat” around the pond.
While this has kept future koi safe, it’s not easy to keep the rocks clear. The rougher the surface, the more leaves snag on it. And it’s not just leaves. Several pine trees surround the pond, and I had no idea how many needles and cones fall from those trees until I put the rock in the area. Every morning when I feed the fish, I now have to clear off the leaves, twigs, needles, and cones that have fallen in the previous 24 hours.
So how did the Yard Force do blowing debris across rocks?
This unit is significantly more powerful than my electric, corded leaf blower. And it’s more convenient. Even though I have several plugs around the pond and shed, I admit with shame that I never once took the time to drag out a long cord to clean it off.
PROS AND CONS OF THE YARD FORCE
Is this the right tool for you? Here’s what I really liked about the Yard Force 120V RX Lithion-Ion Cordless Blower –
- Strength. You ever run a vacuum over the same piece of lint on the floor five times to try to suck it up, and yet it doesn’t move? Well, the Yard Force has enough strength to move leaves and debris, so you won’t have to hit the same patch five times! The Yard Force is no first generation, underpowered battery-operated “toy.” It’s got as much muscle as I’d use across my acre of land. Oh, and as for how I believe the Yard Force would perform on the 4th test, blowing large piles of leaves, I am confident that when the rest of the leaves start to drop later this month, I’ll be glad I have this tool!
- 3 Power Options. You can use any one of three power settings. When blowing dry leaves across pavement, you can use the lower setting. And running the Yard Force at the lower power settings conserves the battery life. The middle power setting is great for removing leaves from the top of mulch without displacing the mulch. The highest power setting is for blowing those leaf piles where you want them to go.
- Convenient. Gasoline. Pre-mix ratios. Tangled extension cords. I don’t know if I’ve become wiser or lazier with age, but when I find a comparably performing tool that comes without fumes, a mixing recipe, or a cord, I’m sold. I no longer have to look for cords or the right mixture to clear leaves off my front stoop. Now I can go from clearing those few leaves to back to my couch during a commercial break.
- Speed/Cruise Lock. To prevent you from developing hand-cramps caused by depressing the trigger for too long, the Yard Force incorporates a Speed/Cruise Lock that keeps the unit blowing without holding the trigger. Once you get the shoulder strap comfortably situated, you can select your desired speed, and then just slide on the Speed/Cruise Lock to operate it.
But there are a couple of things I didn’t care for—
- It’s heavy. I’ve mentioned several times how important it is that you adjust the shoulder strap so it “fits” you and your movements. Why that’s so critical is because most people won’t be able to hold this unit in one hand for an extended period of time. A gallon of milk weighs about 8.6 lbs; the Yard Force weighs 23 lbs. How long could you hold 2.5 gallons of milk in one hand? While I loved the performance, the heavyweight made me rate the ease-of-use score to 3
- It’s back-heavy. Most of the weight is in the rear. I would have liked to have more weight up in the front to keep the nose (nozzle) pointed to the ground where you want it.
I’m guessing that Yard Force doesn’t think you’ll have a problem with this blower breaking after just a couple of seasons because they offer a very generous warranty. The blower is covered by a 5-year warranty covering defects and workmanship; the battery and charger comes with a 3-year warranty.
WHERE TO BUY
The Yard Force 120V RX Lithion-Ion Cordless Blower is now available on Amazon Prime for $299.99.
Will this help me to keep the cleanest yard in town? Absolutely. Will I recommend it others? Absolutely, but I will give the caveat that power comes at the expense of some heft. Do I think this is the best cordless leaf blower I’ve used to date? That would be a great big YES.
Are you sick of raking leaves from your yard? Would a cordless leaf blower make your life easier? Let us know in the comments below!
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