Previously, I talked about how switching to an electric mower was my teeny, tiny part of doing something positive for the environment. The truth is, I’d already made the switch with my other tools. I gave up my gas blower and switched to a push broom, started using a battery-powered edger/string trimmer, and grabbed a corded hedge trimmer for those rare times I needed to cut down the bushes in front of my house.
The problem is, those solutions all kind of sucked.
While pushing a broom around gives you an extra workout, it takes a lot longer and never really sweeps up as cleanly as you’d like. The edger I picked up had a 20v battery and, while it got the job done, it was obviously not as good as my old gas model. Whenever my neighbor used his gas edger on our shared sidewalk you could tell that, where my edger was shoving the grass around, his was cutting a clean line. And the hedge trimmer? After cutting through three extension cords, let’s say I had my regrets.
I wish the POWERCOMMAND+ line of 60v tools from Black+Decker had been around last mowing season to save me from the frustration of my bad decisions (despite their unfortunate use of all caps in their branding.).
The POWERBOOST Cordlesss Blower ($169 Amazon) was the tool I was most eager to try out. It had been about a year and a half since I’d had a blower, convincing myself that using a broom was the Right Thing to do. I slotted the battery in, pulled the trigger, and hit the POWERBOOST button on top of the unit… and promptly blew all of the recycling out of the bin in my garage because I wasn’t looking at where I was pointing it. After wrangling my cardboard back to where it belonged, I cleaned up my driveway and sidewalk in a little less than three minutes. Old, righteous Anthony could suck it. The wide mouth of the blower takes care of a large area, and the extra boost feature ramps up the speed considerably. Even using nothing but boost for the entire three minutes, I still had plenty of battery leftover (so much so that I almost considered getting up on the roof and blowing out my gutters… almost). There was no whipping the blower back and forth, watching bits of grass limply tumble back towards the lawn, I pointed the blower, and the mess was gone.
Part of that mess was from the EASYFEED String Trimmer ($169 Amazon). It switches between an edger and string trimmer, so you can use one tool to finish up your entire lawn. While I missed the guide from my previous edger that kept me from straying off the line, I couldn’t argue with the results. The 60v battery tears through grass, leaving a clean edge. It took a bit to find the balance point; the string trimmer itself is rather long and the battery is heavy, hanging out on the back of the device. But once I got comfortable using it, I was able to make short work of the detailing. The EASYFEED button works perfectly, playing out a little more string at a time with a press. My previous trimmer had a “bump and feed,” which meant I had to smash the trimmer on the ground and then flip it over and pull out the string manually anyway. This is far superior and works every time. The string trimmer also has an awesome glittery orange paint job that I wish was shared across the other tools in the line.
The POWERCUT Hedge Trimmer ($169 Amazon) was the last on my list of tools to try out because, usually, by the time I get finished mowing, edging, and sweeping up, it’s about 5,000 degrees outside and my insides have liquefied. But since I was able to finish up quicker than usual, I figured I might as well take the hedge trimmer around the house to knock back some of the leggy bushes that had popped up. Not having to wrangle with an extension cord already made for a better experience, but the extra power that you can call on with the POWERCUT button was enough to saw through a few sapling live oaks that had been worming their way into my shrubs. Anything too large to fit between the teeth of the trimmer was easily handled by the sawblade on the tip. Usually I’ll only use my hedge trimmer once or twice a year, when I have to, but the convenience of the POWERCUT means that I’ll likely use it more often (which is better for my plants anyway).
What’s nice about all three tools is that they share the exact same battery pack. I just popped them in, one and a time, into the charger I already had plugged in for my mower and, in less than an hour, everything was ready to go again (not that I’d gotten close to depleting the batteries on any of the tools).
The entire POWERCOMMAND+ 60v line of tools from Black+Decker prove that you can replace gas tools with battery-powered models and end up with devices that aren’t just comparable, they’re superior. Head over to the Black+Decker Lawn and Garden site to learn more (they also have some nice DIY projects there). You can also pick up your own on Amazon, just in time to tackle those summer lawns.
Disclosure: Black+Decker provided samples for this article. Opinions and push brooms are my own.