Time for a new tool
We've been enjoying using our Stihl 36V battery powered hedge trimmer.
It's a bit heavier than a corded model hedge trimmer, and about the same weight as a gas powered trimmer (10.6lbs w/battery), but Carolyn has found it easy enough to manipulate for trimming/pruning the lavender. It also works great on blackberry vines, not so much on tree branches.
So I couldn't get my old Homelite leaf blower to work last week (and when it did work it was way underpowered), so I went to the Stihl dealer today to buy the Stihl battery powered blower, thinking I would save because I didn't have to buy the battery & charger (each sold separately), since I purchased those last year with the hedge trimmer. Stihl's highest-end battery powered blower is here.
It doesn't quite have the CFM (cubic feet/minute) that Stihl's pro-model back pack gas blower has, but it's still 494CFM at the nozzle and 168mph max, plus it's a quarter the weight at 5.5lbs, and it is a LOT less noisy (54dba vs 75dba), and we don't have to deal with the gas or a cord.
The chart says it will run "up to 25 minutes" on our AP180 (36V, 178Wh LiOn) battery... I'm assuming that's running the blower in the lowest power mode, so it'll probably be even less than that for normal use. For reference our hedge trimmer runs for 140 minutes on our AP180 battery. 25 minutes is not very long, and was thinking we should get a 2nd battery. Stihl now offers an AP300 battery (227Wh) for the same price that is supposed to run the BGA100 blower for 34 minutes. Two batteries (for hot swapping) should be enough, I'm thinking. Stihl has a much bigger battery (1148Wh) that you carry as a backpack that would allow you to run the blower for 160 minutes on a single charge, but that's REALLY expensive ($900), so it is obviously geared toward professional gardeners/landscapers.
So strangely, unlike ALL of the other Stihl battery-powered tools the BGA100 blower does NOT have a slot to hold a battery brick. Not sure why, their next blower model down does (the BGA85), but I guess the lighter weight has the advantage of being easier to wield. Instead it has a plug for a cable. In order to use our AP180 battery with this blower we have to buy a battery belt w/cable to hold the battery. The Sherwood Stark Street L&G (a certified Stihl dealer) had NO idea what this product was... they first told me that the BGA100 wouldn't work at all unless I had the big backpack battery. When I showed them that the Stihl website says it does work with the brick batteries, they then tried to sell me 2 different Stihl products that wouldn't have worked. Finally they called the Stihl rep, and the rep told them the part number for the battery belt w/cable that I needed. I ordered that today, and it should come in this week. When that comes in I will pick up the BGA100 blower, along with an AP300 battery.
So all-in-all we're probably not going to save a lot of money, but at least I don't have to deal with gas mix and smelly gas engines that are picky about starting.
Other cool Stihl products they sell that use these 36V Lithium Ion batteries are: chainsaws, trimmer/weed whackers, lawn mowers, pole pruners, and cut-off machines (for cutting brick and metal). Don't believe I need any of these soon...