Editor's Note: This blower and the entire 40V line have been discontinued. This review was originally published in October 2017.
Blowers seem to be everyone's first step in using lithium-ion outdoor power equipment (OPE) these days. To the makers' credit, it's probably the easiest to make. Basically, you just need a motor to spin an impeller inside the housing, which creates the intake and air output. The rest are just details. But it's these details that make such a big difference. With the same 40V motor, you can get several very different performances depending on the design of the tube. It's all about how the design helps move air from the back or sides to the front.
You'll find two numbers on each blower: cubic feet per minute (CFM) and miles per hour (MPH). It's these two numbers that tell us what kind of performance to expect. When you look at the DeWalt 40V Max Blower, you'll see that it pushes a maximum of 400 CFM at 120 MPH. Great, but how does it compare to others? Kobalt's 40V Max Blower converts its power to 140 MPH and 250 CFM. This is useful for blowing away driveways and sidewalks, but not much else. On the other hand, Greenworks' 40V G-Max Digipro blower is pushing 185 MPH and 340 CFM. Greenworks also uses brushless motors. The point is, we have three 40V systems and three very different specification sets. How will DeWalt's promise of gas performance be fulfilled?
outside the box
When I unpacked the DeWalt 40V Max Blower, a few thoughts came to my mind. First came up when I took out the charger. I'm not sure if DeWalt intended to design the 40V battery to charge on the system as the 20V Max series. they do not. Your DeWalt 40V Max Series and 20V Max tools require separate chargers. But that's not something that surprised or disappointed me.
I like the protective frame on the base of the unit to sit on. It keeps the motor slightly above the ground and keeps the tube end up. While it's certainly not a make or break feature, I like the fact that I keep the impeller clear of debris on the ground.
I also like the large air intake to the right of the blower. This has the look of being able to suck in a lot of air with ease. This is great for right-handers, but might hinder lefties a little. There's a protective frame around the air intake so air flows even when it's against your left. However, at 400 CFM it may degrade performance slightly due to lack of air. Just keep the blower a bit away from your side, and if you're left handed, avoid wearing very baggy shirts and you should avoid any problems.
I'm not entirely sure what the tube does. Superficially, no apparent taper occurs. This is typical of higher performance blowers with the ability to push solids at volume and velocity. However, there's a slight S-shaped bend in the middle that doesn't seem to help performance in any way. Maybe the DeWalt 40V Max Blower is set to look like something different than the standard or maybe it's just a branding idea for OCD folks who really want to output directly in the center. This horizontal flex doesn't appear to be severe enough to adversely affect performance.
Although I initially thought of the S-curve, it does serve a subtle but very important purpose – to reduce arm fatigue. The DeWalt folks told me that this bend creates rotational control that doesn't exist in straight tube designs. Honestly, I didn't notice until they pointed it out. Now, I can't help but realize the difference compared to other blowers we've used.
DeWalt 40V Max Blower Specifications
- Power: 40V max battery pack, 4.0 or 6.0 amp hours
- Air volume: 400 CFM
- Airspeed: 120 MPH
- Rated volume: 67 dBa
- Weight: 10.4 lbs (4.0 battery), 11.4 lbs (6.0 battery)
- Price: $299.00 (4.0), TBD (6.0)
- Warranty: 3 years
Like most blowers, the DeWalt 40V Max blower has a lot of plastic on its housing. Compared to other Li-Ion battery models I've seen, it seems to be stronger than most. This may add some weight, but I still find it only slightly higher than other blowers in the same class.
As mentioned earlier, DeWalt uses a brushless motor in the DCBL790H1/M1 blower. In addition to the increased power and runtime provided by brushless motors, it should also extend the life of your equipment.
Ergonomically, the blower is well balanced once the battery is installed. Like most blowers, most of the weight is around the motor, making it an easy pivot point as you direct the air. What I don't like is that the handle doesn't have a rubber overmold. It's just straight plastic. I do a lot of work with gloves on and I really don't want to wear them when I'm wrapping things up with a blow dryer.
The first thing I want to see is whether the DeWalt 40V Max Blower can live up to its gas power claims. We have leaves blowing down the driveway and I wish any blower could handle it. We also need to blow leaves, twigs and other debris off the roof and carport. While not necessary, I'd also like to see what the blower can do with the oak leaves already in the grass.
I started on the roof and found a solid layer of oak leaves, Spanish moss and several deep layers of branches. What happened when I pulled the trigger made me smile. I was easily able to clean everything within 6 feet of the blower, and loose leaves were blown away 10 feet away. While the DeWalt 40V Max Blower doesn't have the power to push your arm like EGO's 56V Power Plus Blower, it does deliver the power I'm used to in smaller gas blowers.
The real test came when I walked to the gutters by the front door. I'm not planning to clean it up, but I wanted to see if I could save some time (and dirty hands) by going hands-free. A few places were poked close, but it cleared completely filled gutters that had begun to act as compost piles. Not just leaves, there's some legitimate soil growing in there.
The blower also performs well on a carport roof. However, some of the larger branches and moss combined to roll up the leaves, creating an ultimately unbearable mass. Needed a leaf rake to pull it off before I could go back to work with the blower.
Next, we need to blow out the driveway. The DeWalt 40V Max Blower did the job in no time, impressing my stepdad and the lawn guy next door. In fact, my stepdad said this Li-Ion blower was more powerful than his [name removed to protect the innocent] gas blower.
Finally, I checked what we could get from the leaves in the grass. It's able to move those on the surface, but the oak leaf is further down against the 120 MPH air velocity. In fall, you should be able to easily blow the broadleaves in your yard. Oak and pine needles still need to be angled.
I like that the lock on the trigger is mutable. You're not limited to giving it your all. That's a good thing, since you don't have a separate power setting. Blow away the driveway? Turn it up to half power and work around. Need to blow up a bunch of maple leaves? Go ahead and set it to full power. Like the handle, I'd really like to see some rubber overmolding on the locking lever to make it more comfortable to use. You can see that there is a direct connection between the lever and the trigger. It's plastic on plastic, so it's not as smooth as a lubricated metal connection.
With the DeWalt 40V Max Blower, we were able to run a solid 20 minutes at full throttle. We've been on the last indicator bar for a while, so I doubt how much juice is left. Like other Li-ion tools, it will run until it dies.
For the pro who just needs a blow dryer to quickly get rid of grass clippings, you'll love the DeWalt 40V Max Blow Dryer. You'll still need a couple of spare batteries to get you through the day, though. This is the same limitation as every Li-Ion blower currently has. Prosumers will find the 6.0 amp hour kit ideal for handling most blower applications in the home.
Users will be a little shocked. DeWalt's prices are significantly higher than last year's 40V or even 56V platforms ($299/$369). It is in line with some other new additions to the Li-ion OPE platform. To DeWalt's credit, he skipped the 2.0 amp-hour battery and went straight to the 4.0 and 6.0 kits.