This is one of the most powerful handheld electric blowers available. If you’re serious about getting the job done quickly, this is the baseline. The next power tier is a gas backpack blower at five times the cost, then an even more powerful backpack, and then four-digit specialty tools from companies like Billy Goat. I bought the Worx because I didn’t want to spend three hours raking a half-acre of grass.My trial run was an hour of continuous use with matted wet leaves and driveway sand. It fast became apparent that to be efficient, a blower has to move leaves without being on top of them. Blowing from six inches just makes everything scatter as piles build up. You end up crisscrossing the section you just cleared to deal with the strays. The further your breeze carries, the more direct the flight path of the leaves. This range, and the ability to scour stubborn leaves from the ground, comes from air speed (MPH). At the same time, though, you need a big enough wall of air to move more than one leaf at once. That comes from the size of your pipe opening. The two multiplied together determine your total air volume over a given duration, or CFM (cubic feet per minute).In physics-land (with spherical cows and turbulence-free pipes, spared from the icy hand of marketing), CFM is the best measure of a blower’s power and work capacity. MPH, you can change by varying the size of the pipe; a smaller pipe makes a smaller column of air moving at a faster speed (and more impressive advertising), which is why a lot of consumer-class blowers have tiny nozzles. (I’m looking at you, Sun Joe SBJ601E.) CFM stays the same regardless of nozzle size. In theory.In practice, trying to cram air quickly into a tiny hole tends to reduce CFM, so blowers that optimize for speeds over about 150 MPH tend to be less efficient relative to their fuel or electricity consumption. Still, if you know either value and the size of the pipe, you can calculate the other (assuming the manufacturer isn’t misleading you by quoting CFM at the fan and MPH at the end of the pipe). To get CFM from MPH and the radius of a round pipe, the calculation is (radius^2)*(mph)*(1.92). That’s (1.69^2)(110)(1.92) for this blower’s 110 MPH and 3 3/8″ pipe, with the result arriving right at the rated number of 600 CFM.Anyway, the Worx has enough volume and speed to blow mounds of wet leaves from six feet and dry ones from ten or more. It’s impressively powerful. I was switching arms every few minutes as they wore out from the backward force. Only some really baked-on mud would have benefited from a pipe-reducer attachment. Thanks to ape-like proportions or the secure fit of my spandex leaf-blowing onesie, clothing suction from the rear-directed air intake hasn’t been a bother.ALTERNATIVES:I almost bought Toro’s highly-rated “Ultra” combination blower to minimize bagging, but the vacuum functionality didn’t seem that useful in videos. Maybe it’d be adequate to clean an enclosed deck area or a small yard with a scattering of dry leaves. For a larger yard, it looks like a time sink relative to a standalone mulcher. Likewise the blowing capacity, which, at 410 CFM, trails the Worx by quite a lot.Cordless tools were also tempting. There’s a 20V DeWalt people seem to like that’s rated at (a perhaps optimistic) 400 CFM. Because it’s a similar fan design to the Worx, we can compare power directly. DeWalt’s standard battery is 20V (or so we’ll stipulate; it’s closer to 18V under load) and 5 amp-hours, so we’re looking at 100 watt-hours total output. 15 minutes of runtime translates to a sustained draw, best case, of 400W. Assuming 90% efficiency in the brushless motor, that’s 360W actually moving air. (When new. Expect a performance drop over time and battery replacements by year three.)Compare this Worx: 12 amps at 120V equates to 1440 watts sustained, in this case feeding a 2-pole AC/DC motor that’s perhaps 55% efficient. 12A is close to the maximum a device can reasonably expect from a typical 15A household socket. Even with nearly half of our power lost to heat and noise, the remaining 790W is over double what the DeWalt can manage. It’s no coincidence that 600 CFM cordless blowers (Greenworks and Kobalt come to mind) have 80V/2.5Ah batteries with twice the DeWalt’s capacity. Their runtime at full tilt? The same fifteen minutes, with three extra pounds to lug around from a chunk of lithium that costs more than the blower it attaches to.And what of gas blowers? The handheld versions have around 1 HP with CFM from 450 to 500. They’re usually tuned for higher MPH than the Worx, so they’re likely to be a little better with wet leaves and a little worse with dry ones. Backpack blowers up the displacement and make between 1.5 and 5 horsepower. The models that you might find on the back of a professional landscaper can manage nearly 1000 CFM with speeds around 200 MPH. That’s a considerable difference, but you pay for it at the checkout and in weight: figure 10 pounds or so for a handheld (relative to 7ish for this unit, plus some cord) and 20 or more for a backpack.As of mid-2020, two other corded blowers are worth a hard look: Toro’s F700 and Worx’s WG521. The Toro arrived first in 2019 with a hefty 720 CFM rating, a bigger two-arm handle, and a better cord retention mechanism. The WG521 is the response: 800 CFM and 135 MPH (claimed) from a ~4″ nozzle, albeit still intended for one arm. All three blowers are beastly and often close in price; pick whichever best channels your inner Tim Allen.ACCESSORIES:A motor this powerful benefits from a thick (low gauge) cord for longer runs. You lose a bit of performance with thinner cord. The generic orange 50-foot extension everyone has is 16-gauge. Feeding a 12A load for 50 feet, it’ll have a voltage drop of about 5V. Heavier 14-gauge loses 2.5V on the same run, and industrial 12-gauge, only 1.5V. The scale is linear, so if you double up that 16-gauge cord for a 100-foot run, you’ll lop off 10V.How’s that play out here? From a short and fat cable (that the cheesy plastic strain-relief piece won’t actually accommodate; just tie an overhand knot over the two plugs instead), we’d expect a 1440W draw (12A * 120V, or a bit less because the house wiring itself has some drop). Losing 5V drops the total to 1380W. That’s about what I found when I tested the Worx with a watt meter.12ag / 3 ft = 1423W14ag / 100 ft = 1352W16ag / 50 ft = 1351W16ag / 50 ft + 14ag / 100 ft = 1280WWith the progressive thumb dial at the lowest setting, minimum draw was 260W.For shorter runs, disconnect extensions you don’t actively need. Every cable sheds a percentage of the energy it carries to heat. As above, skinny cables lose more. Coiled on the ground and coupled with a high-load device like the Worx, they can build up enough heat to start melting insulation, which tends to cause sheepish expressions and insurance claims.This blower is also loud enough to merit hearing protection. On an A-weighted scale (approximating human hearing), measured outdoors from three feet, it makes 82 dB on low and 91 dB on high. Indoors or near a wall, volume jumps by 10 dB and subjectively doubles. While the sound character emulates a vacuum, my Shark only measures 72 dB indoors; you’d have to run over a rat’s nest of lamp cords to make one this loud. Amazon has a number of comfortable muffs for less than a Jackson that’ll keep your ears intact.You can find electric blowers with more toys, but few that’ll get the job done as fast as this one. It’s a bargain at the asking price. I’ll update if I catch any reliability problems.
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