Festool Pro 5 sander – Reviewed

Festool is expensive. I don’t think I’m breaking any news by putting this up front and center. It may be what they are primarily known for, but Festools are also good. Usually.

There are quite a few sanders in the Festool line: 5″ and 6″ random orbits, rotary versions of both plus a 3.5″, rectangular and delta versions of the 5″, drywall, half sheet sanders…you get the point. The 5″ random orbit is called the ETS 125, the number representing in millimeters the pad size. It is normally almost $200, which is a stark number to ask when competitors are half that price or better.

So, Festool tried something new this time, a limited edition of an upgraded ETS 125 called the Pro 5. You’ll notice right away the use of imperial numbers, something Festool is also trying with a number of tools in their lineup – catering to the American measurement system. You’ll also notice right away the limited edition price – $99.

When the Pro 5 reverts back into the new ETS 125 in 2017, it will most likely go back to near or at $200, come in the regular systainer, and come with the dust bag and a sheet of paper. Until then, it is further identified as a limited edition by coming with a total of 11 discs of sandpaper (the standard 120 grit, plus a 10 pack of 2-80, 2-120, 2-150, 2 -180, 2 -220) of Granat variety, a locking port for your hose to match the new sanders, and a gorgeous dark blue systainer with green accents. This is the same blue that the tools are in, which a lot of people mistake for black. It truly is a stunning combination, and I’d like to see them go with this color standard.

The special price point was designed to get more people into the Festool ecosystem, and I’m sure to sell more 5″/125mm paper and pads. The ETS 125 was a hard sell to even those invested in the Festool system, mainly because it felt a bit underpowered, had a small stroke, and with the pricing occupied an odd spot in their lineup. The ETS 125, DTS 400 and RTS 400 all use the same motor and housing, and just differ in the pad shape and size, with the RTS/DTS priced about $100 higher. The thing about the ETS was that for about 40% more, you could pick up the 6″ ETS 150 in either 3mm or 5mm stroke. A bigger pad size allows for more work done in less time, and is generally considered by most Festool fans to be a much better value.

Festool tried to make this more appealing by bumping the power – a 25% increase from before. The power rocker is bigger and more finger friendly. It has a new dust port that features a twist and lock mechanism, for more secure attachment to the extraction hose. All three sanders will now include edge protectors, which is a great move in my opinion. I think there is an improvement with the pad extraction, but I can’t speak to that with any accuracy. Obviously, the thing that does the most to make the sander appealing is the price. At $100, it competes on a more level standing with offerings from Dewalt and others. The other big factor is the inclusion of a$50 rebate, to be used upon the purchase of any other Festool power tool – or rather, anything with a serial number (MFT is included). No accessories, but then that is to be expected.

So for anyone already in the market for another Festool, it equates to a $50 sander. That’s a heck of a deal. So how does it perform? Well, the thing to remember is that this is a 2mm stroke sander. It is for finishing, not stock removal. It should be the last sander you reach for, not the first. I have three sanders that I will be comparing this to: a cordless 5″ Ryobi, a 5″ Porter Cable, and my 6″ Festool 150/3.

My first sander, the Ryobi, I nicknamed Disco Volante. Why? It would spin like a top if you let go of it, an indication of how out of balance the thing was. A lot of that could be contributed to the effect of a heavy battery on top. If you’re coming from something like this, you will absolutely be blown away, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Pretty much any sander is going to be better balanced and better made than that Ryobi I had.

The other 5″ sander I owned was a Porter Cable 390K. This is a low profile sander that unfortunately is no longer in production. This was a great sander. It did very well at removing stock at lower grits all the way up. It was comfortable. It did have the tendency to vibrate, and the pad material broke down a bit too quickly. At around $60, it fared comparably to other box store sanders. If I was comparing it directly to the Pro 5, I would say the Pro 5 is slightly better. The dust collection is better, and it is better balanced. Unfortunately though, the 390K was a better all around sander due to the larger stroke. As long as your hands didn’t mind getting numb, you could use it for awhile.

 

My best comparison is to the ETS 150/3. This is a decent compliment if you need a lighter, smaller sander for vertical surfaces. I would still say that if you could only get one, or you needed a first one, the 150, 3mm or 5mm stroke, is the better choice. It is more ergonomic, even better balanced, and you get the advantage of the larger pad and stroke. The 150/3 is a sander I can use for hours, with any grit. It will get the job done in orders of multitude faster than the 125.

I used the Pro 5 two different ways. The first was testing it out on rough cedar and soft maple. While I went through the grits as expected and got good results to the touch, I also did a run of just 220 and it actually felt better on both the cedar and maple. I also compared it to the 150, and the 150 made much shorter work of it. The feel was the same, and it pretty much should using the same Granat discs in the same 220 grit. The other way was on my LEGOrganization cabinet, by sanding from 120 to 220 on the drawer fronts while they were still in the cabinet, with the drawer pulls already installed. I did enjoy the edge protector, the lighter weight, and the finish it gave me I had no complaints with.

The Pro 5/2017 ETS 125 is a fine sander, and I really do mean that. It is well balanced, it leaves a good finish, is light enough for vertical work, and has the dust extraction you would expect out of a Festool product. For a $99 (or $49, if the voucher will be used) sander, I think you’ll get your money’s worth. Here is a short video I shot showing it isn’t going to walk away from you while sanding.

The thing is though, it’s not fantastic. It does it’s job well, but it isn’t a game-changer. I have my doubts that if you are new to Festool that you will get a good sense of where the quality and game-changing attributes are in the lineup. I don’t know that it alone will move more product. If for some reason you can’t afford the ETS 150, or don’t have a use for a 6″ sander…buy something else. Particularly at full price. If you want to stay in the Festool family, buy the RTS or DTS instead, and gain the advantage of being able to fit in even tighter corners. I would go as far as to say there would only be two reasons why you would want to buy the Pro 5 – you either have it ordered at the promotional price, or you have a RO 125 that you don’t want to invest in a new paper size. The Pro 5 suffers from the same problems the old ETS 125 did: it isn’t a good enough or cheap enough sander to make you want it over the 150. Even if you were to dedicate it to only 220 grit and above, the 150 still does a great job at making it superfluous, and the sharp corners of the RTS or DTS would be more useful.

So, in conclusion: The price, voucher, and special systainer are the real draws here. Without all of those things, you’re better served with an alternate choice.

Review – Rikon 8″ slow grinder

Late last year Rikon released this grinder and Woodcraft had a special promotional price of $99 for a time ending in December. I hadn’t been getting good results with my Ryobi 6″ grinder, so I picked up a Oneway Wolverine to help sharpen my lathe chisels. I was still getting poor results, and I couldn’t tell if it was from the substandard steel of the HF chisels, or the grinder. So on the last day of the promotion I jogged over to Woodcraft and picked one up.

Now, I don’t have a lot of (read: any) experience with 8″ grinders, but I have been very pleased with it. It came with two white abrasive wheels, which made the grinder even better of a deal. I get a nice grind on the chisels, and some of it is the abrasive, some is the speed. It’s not adjustable, but I find the low speed is just fine for me. As you can imagine, it does have a nice hefty footprint and weight. It’s 6′ cord is a nice length.

There’s really not a lot more you can say about a grinder. I like it.

Four out of Five Stars

Review – Hitachi C12RSH

I reviewed it’s little brother in 2012, and I liked it a lot. Eventually though I found that I wanted a bit more capacity in my cuts. In October of 2012 I upgraded to Hitachi’s 12″ sliding miter saw, the C12RSH. Now that I’ve had this for over a year, I thought it would be time to share my thoughts on it to help clear out my review queue.

The 12RSH (and it’s related brethren) use a little bit different sliding system than most. The slides can lock in two positions: one is the normal sliding action everyone is used to, with the rods going all the way back. The other can lock where the rods don’t go as far back. This was a huge reason why I was able to buy it. From the back clearance to the fence only needs about 20″ or so, which is a lot less than most of the competitors.

The quality of cut with the 60(?)T blade is very good. I had it on there for a year and was much better than expected. I recently replaced it with an Irwin 96T blade and it is absolutely awesome. The accuracy is very, very good. 90º cuts are dead on. To the best of my knowledge 45º is right on as well. Fine adjustment is possible on bevel and miter cuts with two fine adjustment knobs. Miter cuts are helped by stops where you’d expect them. Dust collection is about on par with what you would expect, perhaps slightly better. With dust collection hooked up, I’d say 80% or so goes up the chute. I’ve not tried putting a zero clearance insert in yet. The laser is as on the cut line as is physically possible.

At $400 (what I paid) this was a very worthy upgrade for me. The only bit of problem I have is the size, which was probably more than I wanted. Still, smaller than most of the competition. I probably would have been very happy with a Kapex, but the price difference is absurd. The miter handle knob is longer than it should be. The dust port is an odd size, making connecting it to collection a bit more difficult.

Four out of Five Stars.

I didn’t give this as high of a score as the previous saw for a couple of reasons. One, it’s almost too big for my shop. If you have a nice size shop, then that doesn’t apply to you. The other reason being I wish the dust collection was just a little bit better. It could be, if the dust deflector behind the blade was just a little bit longer, and the dust port an actual standard size.

Review – Harbor Freight Plate Joiner

If you read one line of this post, make it this one: don’t buy this tool.

I wasn’t really impressed with this thing when I bought it, and two years on or so I’m even less impressed. The fence isn’t very good at all. To make any adjustments you need to whip out a Phillips screwdriver, because the plastic knobs either don’t turn or turn the whole screw. To put the fence up for face work it’s the same story. So, the fence is just awful.

The bigger problem to me is the cut. I can fiddle with the fence and get to sort of work. The depth of cut is completely off though. I have some FF and 0 biscuits that I picked up, and obviously the FF is for the PC. But I set my cut to the 0 biscuit and attempted to put together a joint. The cut depth was completely off. There was a 2mm or so gap that wouldn’t close. I tried the 10 setting. Still wouldn’t close. Of course with the crappy fence I couldn’t line the cut up exactly as it was before. I didn’t bother with the 20 setting, I nearly threw it in the trash right then.

Now, I should say this: they have updated the model since I bought mine. It might be better. It certainly looks better. I still don’t think it will be worth your time long-term. Buy a PC or a Dewalt or even a Lamello, or go with dominos. Anything but the HF version. It’s not worth the hassle even playing around with it.

0 out of 5 stars

First impressions – Ryobi One+ fan (new version)

I talked about it a couple posts ago, but here it is, my first impressions of the new (green) fan.

It’s different.

You can see right away the difference in vertical height on a horizontal surface, it’s about half the height. The fan diameter itself is smaller, but deeper.

The overall depth in deployment mode is the same, however it is what it is for storage – there’s no space gained by folding anything up, because there’s nothing to fold up. It’s not very apparent in this picture but it is below, that trying to insert or remove a battery while it’s up on a wall will be much easier with the new one. The old one had to have it’s leg kicked out at least partially to accomplish this.

The power switch on the old one is right below the battery, convenient no matter the position of the leg. The new one has its switch on the back of the fan housing, which unfortunately moves the fan. Not a huge deal, but I would have preferred it on the legs somewhere so it gives solid feedback. It annoyingly also has in huge lettering the fact that it runs 10 hours (more on this later) and is ‘30% more.’ 30% more what? Of course the answer is airflow, at least that’s the claim. Over the old one, but once the old fan stops showing up in stores, people aren’t going to care. One thing that has puzzled me since I saw it was the claim of 10+ hours on the front of the fan: On the back of the old one, it claims five hours. I thought, great, the new fan is either claiming more time with the Lithiums, or the fan is more efficient and can run 10 hours. Well, on the back of the new fan, it has the same five hour ‘replace batteries’ notification sticker. Either no one thought to update that, or you can still only run the fan five hours. I have no idea which one is which, since I doubt I’ll want to spend five hours in the shop this summer at one time.

The wall mounting options on the new one are varied. You can use the dual hooks to latch on to any wire-type surface (think a metal dog pen) or to perhaps a taught wire itself. Chain-link fence, that sort of thickness. There is also a swivel hook in the front that can function the same. The base has four holes in it to permanently mount it, or to mount to a board that could be used in a french cleat system. Instead of hanging the old fan on a screw or putting it down, you do have a lot more areas where this could go. It could even go upside down (ceiling?), provided you could still get to the battery.

Now, for a direct comparison between old and new. I fitted each with a fully charged P104 (the slim LiIon one) battery, and checked the performance. While it certainly feels like the new unit processes more air, I wonder if that’s actually true. While the airflow is a bit stronger on the highest setting, I wonder if the smaller diameter of the fan lets you get more air, or the same air on a more concentrated area. I’m certainly no expert in fluid dynamics. What’s important to me, and probably most people in a shop setting, is how the fan impacts how you feel. I think a stronger force is better than a weaker one, and if it can reach farther away, that’s a good thing. I think the new one accomplishes that. Not only is the new one a smaller diameter, it has less (but larger) fan blades, and I think just as important is the fact that the fan intake is conical. More surface area to bring air in to expel it out than the old one. Even with the smaller outflow diameter than the old one, I think the new one has an increase intake surface area. If air can’t get in, it’s not going to get out. And that was a huge problem with the old version when it was flat up against the wall, which rendered a large aspect of it’s flatness irrelevant.

In addition to doing the ‘face feels good’ test, I measured sound with my iPhone. I got a difference in about 7-8dB, with the new one being louder. This was at about a foot, though. At about three feet, there really was no difference in noise. At that distance, either one is only about 10dB above ambient, which for my shop is about 50dB. Since I always have the radio on, the 60-62dB rating either fan got won’t make any difference.

I think I like what they did for this remodel, but still leaves me with questions. I wish they could have incorporated lateral adjusment, but perhaps that took away from the ruggedness. I don’t feel quite comfortable with the handle. If it was about a half-inch longer, it would work fine. The lip works fine. However, if the underside of the handle was of a rough texture, it would feel more secure in my hand. I was worried it would slip, and I wasn’t using gloves and my hands were dry. Gloves, or slick hands, it might present an issue.

I’m not sure where this fan will go. The mounting location of the old one isn’t permanent, just some place out of the way until I find a better spot. Largely because the fan doesn’t really work on the wall and has to be moved to function. With this one, I’ll have to plan a bit more, or put it on a french cleat holder for mobility.

Either fan runs $30 at Home Depot right now. I say right now, because even the new fan rings up under the old SKU. In fact my receipt stated ‘blue fan,’ or something to that effect. However when the new radio replaced the old, I believe they did the same thing and the price stayed exactly the same.

I certainly appreciate the effort One World continues to show in making this lineup stronger, and updating the non-tool tools. It also appears that Ryobi is going all in with the electric green color scheme, something which I really had confirmed when I saw an unreleased Ryobi jigsaw in the green livery in HD’s overstock area. No model numbers to share, although I can tell you it will be at least 6 amps. I put an inquiry into their marketing department but haven’t heard back yet. I also shamelessly asked for review materials so I can try out some products from time to time. I don’t expect to get a positive reply, but I asked. I continue to think these are the best bargains for homeowners, but I do wish they would adopt some of the policies they’ve given their big brother Ridgid – namely, lifetime guarantee on batteries. I haven’t had any go out on me yet, but it would be a great marketing tool. Which is exactly why they haven’t done it, to give the Ridgid line a leg up. Oh well, I like Ridgid as well.

Final impression is that this is a worthy tool for my workshop. 4.5 stars

Review – Hitachi 10″ Miter Saw (C10FE2)

I went on a bit of a spending spree in the summer of 2010. The table saw was the most money I had spent at once for the shop, even at the low price of $300. I bought a nice little vise that I still get regular use out of. I built my current router table. I lucked into a floor drill press and a planer. Some decently nice router bits came into the shop. But what kicked off that minor spending spree was the addition of the miter saw.

This was almost a complete impulse buy. I watched the NYW episode where he built a miter saw station and decided I wanted one. I saw the Hitachi at Lowe’s one Saturday and bought it. Returned it when I found out Amazon had it for $20 cheaper. I wasn’t aware of Hitachi as a brand in consumer tools, so I thought I’d take a chance.

There’s really no good way to summarize the last two years with this tool, so I’ll just say that I’ve been very happy with the operation. Blade changes are easy. I put together two picture frames this weekend (link coming) and the miters were almost dead-perfect, and that’s on the preset stops two years on with no adjustments.

One of the few things I have bad to say is the stock hold-down mechanism. It’s adequate, barely. Worse is the fact you have to remove it in order to swing the fence extension up. It can then be replaced, but it’s a unnecessary process. The little stock extension arms got tossed perhaps two seconds after they emerged from the box. The bolt holes are just a little too close to the body to comfortably use a socket on. All these are but minor nibbles though. I’ll take all of these over having to find where a true 45º is.

Unfortunately it is only a 10″ CMS, and has the drawbacks that they all do: relative lack of cutting width. I have been looking longingly at the Hitachi 12″ slider, but it’s simply too big for my space. A larger saw will have to wait for a larger space, and I’ll be happy to keep using my Hitachi for as long as it works. Four and a half stars.

Hitachi C10FCE2 10-Inch Compound Miter Saw

Review – Ryobi One+ Supercharger

This is one of those products that I got, thinking it would do one thing when it did another. Fortunately, that turned out to be not so bad.

The Supercharger is a six port charging station for the Ryobi One+ tool line. It is dual-chemistry, like all the other green chargers (that I’m aware of), taking both versions of the Li-ions and the NiCd 18v batteries. It has status lights for each battery, and a system light that tells you at a glance if it is actively charging or in standby mode. It has a chip that regulates power flow to each battery and puts it into maintain mode if they are fully charged.

When I saw it in the store, I thought that it would charge six batteries at once. That was incorrect. What it actually does is charge them in succession. If you need to charge multiple batteries at the same time, you’ll need to plug in multiple chargers. But having them charge in succession has a particular advantage for me: since I don’t have permanent power in the workshop, I can head out there a hour or so (more if they’ve sat for an unusually long amount of time) before I want to do something, run my extension cord, plug them all in the charger and do something else. It’s a very useful ‘set and forget’ feature. I’m not sure how useful this is for those who do have full-time power.

The other thing I like is the fact that it is a place to store the batteries when not in use. For someone who is spatially challenged, this is a very good thing. Don’t have too much bad to say about it other than the price. It’s pretty steep for what it is. 3.5 out of 5.

(Disclosure: I was given this as a gift by a family member with no relation to Ryobi, One World Industries or Home Depot)

No affiliate link on this one because the resellers on Amazon charge way too much for this.

Home Depot – Ryobi One+ Supercharger

You can see it here on my wall under the clock. The cabinet isn’t crooked, the building is.

Review – Pro Grip Edge Clamp system

(Disclaimer is now on the Reviews page – this will be the last reference in a post)

I’d love to say that this review encompasses every part of the Pro Grip system, but unfortunately I haven’t purchased all the little accessories yet. However I think this review will give you a good idea of the system and what I recommend it most for – crosscutting large sheets.

Pro Grip clamps aren’t exclusive to Peachtree Woodworking, but that’s where you’re going to find the most references to when you do a search for them. I’m not entirely sure who makes them. What I do know is that it’s a pretty good system that can make a very cheap alternative to a track saw.

A track saw, for those who aren’t aware, is a circular saw that rides on a track that will give you a controlled cut. Longer versions can be used to rip cut full size sheets. Most versions aren’t that long, and are for cross cuts. They can be used to cut a sheet, or several boards at a specific length.

Dewalt makes a track saw, but the best known one is Festool. Unfortunately, both run upwards of $500 usually. While you get a saw included, that’s pretty steep for a fancy clamp.

So use a fancy clamp.

In reality, that’s what the Pro Grip system is, clamps. There’s several different options – standard, back to back (clamp the clamp to the table, and clamp something on top of the clamps. Clamp. Sorry, felt like throwing one more in). They have wide body, connectors to hook a couple up. More accessories are different levers, different connectors to drill holes, attach a fence, etc. There’s a ton of stuff you can get that is part of the system.

I started out with a 50″ clamp because my straightedge guide from Home Depot wasn’t accurate enough and tended to flex. After awhile I added a 90 degree head. It became a revelation, however, once I added a circular saw and their plate. I had been using my Ryobi One+ circular with the clamp. Just measure over 1″ and cut away. However, the performance of it was starting to suck. I found a Task Force 7-1/4″ corded circular on clearance at Lowe’s and wasn’t having good results. I was afraid my $10 investment was worth about what I paid as it was wandering everywhere, even against the guide. I took a trip over to Peachtree Woodworking in Duluth and picked up the circular saw plate and attached it to the saw.

The installation process sucked, to put it bluntly. I had to try and blindly line up where I wanted the blade to come out the other side. Instead of following the included directions, I attempted to give myself a nice round number for final measurement purposes – 6″ right of the guide. Ended up at 6-1/8″ or so. Trying to countersink the bolts on the underside was a true pain, partially due to the width of the head of the screw, and nothing to do it with besides undersized countersink bits and a chisel. Not the prettiest thing in the world, I’ll confess. But, it does to the job.

I have to say, with the addition of the saw plate, this has become one of my more used tools. It’s become indispensable when breaking down full sheets. I think perhaps at some point I’ll buy another plate and redo it so that it’s a proper 6″ away from the guide, but other than that I have absolutely no issues. Anyone that has shied away from a true track saw for it’s price needs to check this one out. I believe I have just under $80, which is about 20% of the cost of the others.

The only nod against it I have is that it takes resetting the clamp each time you do it. The lever locks it down, but the moving part on the other side wanders after successive clamps, and it takes a bit of fiddling to come up with a good system: lever all the way up, push lever side into piece, push moving side into piece, lock down the clamp (first position). Locking the clamp down into ultra-clamp mode (second position) actually seems to loosen it. I give this one four and a half stars.

Pictures might be coming, but you get a pretty good idea of what it is via the Peachtree website.

50″ PRO-GRIP STRAIGHT EDGE CLAMP BY PEACHTREE WOODWORKING PW591 – Amazon (referral)
Peachtree Woodworking – Clamping category

Review – Ryobi One+ String Trimmer

(Unless otherwise noted, I have not received any compensation or consideration for any of the reviews listed. These have been purchased with my own funds at regular or sale prices publicly available.)

Continuing on the Ryobi review train is the 12″ cordless string trimmer. I’m not entirely sure why it’s designated 12″, but I suppose that’s the cutting diameter. Like the leaf blower I reviewed yesterday, it’s the lime green hue of the Li-ion line, but this doesn’t suck.

The String Trimmer comes with a charger and a full-size Li-ion battery. It was actually my first foray into the Ryobi lithium line, and I’ve been hooked on the better juice since. What separates the large and small batteries besides physical size and longevity is a push-button sensor that tells you how much power is left. It’s really nice, and I wish all the batteries had this. Otherwise, I have to reach for my separate battery checker which is only slightly more inconvenient. The charger is dual chemistry, meaning you can charge either NiCd or Li-ion batteries in it.

For operation, the trimmer has an extendable shaft which also pivots around to use as an edger. The handle is adjustable, and so apparently is the battery dock, which I’ve never tried. The string is advertised as no bump and auto feed, which until today I never knew how to get it to feed. You click the power switch several times until it reaches the desired length. Funny how the manual said that the entire time…

I have to say, with the included larger capacity battery this does anything I need it to in my yard and has juice to spare. It edges decently, it cuts anything smaller than a half-inch or so diameter weed without effort, and is reasonably light to carry around.

I did realize after writing these last two reviews they aren’t really woodworking related. As I go through the One+ system and make my thoughts known about them, however, you may decide to buy into the system. If you do, I hope the trimmer and blower reviews help you see that while not always perfect, the system is pretty inclusive for the average homeowner situation. With lots of tools and batteries otherwise, I’d be looking at these yard tools as well and would appreciate the info. I hope you do too. Since those are the only two non-woodworking One+ tools I own, it’s back to woodworking on this front as well.

Ryobi has now come out with a 24v cordless trimmer, but the reviews on it are not promising. This one, however, gets five stars from me.

Ryobi One+ 18v Trimmer w/ battery
Trimmer (refurb), bare tool
Trimmer and Blower combo (Blower review HERE)

Pics coming Tuesday

Review – Ryobi One+ Leaf Blower

(Unless otherwise noted, I have not received any compensation or consideration for any of the reviews listed. These have been purchased with my own funds at regular or sale prices publicly available.)

I have a ton of the Ryobi One+ tools, and generally love them all. That’s why it pains me that this leaf blower is the one that is going to kick it off. I purchased this refurbished at a store I like to visit, Direct Tools Factory Outlet. I just wish that the store wasn’t an hour drive from me, as I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up additional refurb tools from them as the quality has been very good. The quality of this leaf blower is very good, unfortunately the performance doesn’t match.

Among the positive attributes of the unit is the weight – this can easily be used by an adult, and even awkwardly operated by a toddler. The design of it is made for the larger Li-ion batteries, the smaller ones really help with the weight.

Unfortunately, that’s where the positives trail off. If it ever reached 120MPH as stated, I’d owe someone a beer. It works decently on loose, dry leaves, but anything wet and you might as well grab the rake. It’s not powerful at all, which I suppose should be expected for a battery-powered unit. However, the battery use is atrocious. Five to ten minutes of use is all you get with the smaller Li-ion batteries, and don’t even think about using the old Ni-Cds.

It was an obvious addition to the line, but I wonder if it would have been ppossible to make a better product, or at least make it for less than the asking cost. I purchased my refurb unit bare (no battery or charger) for under $20. List price with the battery and charger is a whopping $109. For comparison, the tool by itself and the battery and charger kit are sold online through Home Depot for $59 and $40 respectively. Which doesn’t make sense being $11 less than the packaged product. Go figure.

Ryobi makes some pretty good homeowner/weekender level tools (more than they get credit for), but unless you’re picking this up refurb or getting it as a pack-in with the hedge trimmer or edger, go with a corded or gas unit. You’ll be much happier. Certainly don’t buy this if you don’t have a few other One+ tools.

For those who still want to buy it or read other reviews, I’ve included the links below. 2 out of 5 stars

Home Depot – Blower and Battery
Home Depot – Blower only
Home Depot – Edger w/ Blower pack-in