Distributed by Masport here in Australia is the Power Flex® range of 42-volt battery powered landscape maintenance products by German brand, solo by AL-KO. The first in the range that I have used is the Power Flex® LB 4250 Blower.
Unlike most battery-powered equipment, the Power Flex® battery does not fit directly into a number of the tools. Instead, the battery is carried in a belt-pouch attached to a shoulder-harness. This system reduces the weight of the blower, hence reducing fatigue and making the blower more operator-friendly. The Power Flex® LB 4250 Blower itself weighs a mere 2.2kg, enabling the operator to use it for extended periods and easily manoeuvre in tight situations such as stairwells. The only restriction is the cable, which supplies the power to the tool from the battery (it might get snagged on obstacles). The cable inserts into the back of the blower easily and a slight twist solidly locks it into place so it will not accidently pull out. The Power Flex® Lawnmowers, Brushcutter and Multi-Tool Base Unit are exceptions to this arrangement.
The shoulder harness and waist belt are padded with adjustments so once attached to the operator’s back and adjusted it is very comfortable to wear with a single battery.
It also has the provision to hang two more batteries on the belt, which is a good option for larger areas but would also increase weight on the operator. With a decent run time of 50 minutes additional batteries would have to be carried for commercial applications. The battery slots into the pouch, which attaches to the belt via a hefty Velcro strap. On the outside of the pouch is a pocket, which houses a very handy USB port for charging devices on the job – a nice touch.
When using the LB 4250 I found the blowing force to be terrific for a small battery powered machine, especially when Turbo mode was engaged. The Turbo mode is easily activated with a press of the operator’s thumb – as it is located on the top of the handle – without releasing grip. A Cruise Control lever can be set in the same manner as it is located on the side of the handle enabling the speed to be set at a constant speed for those larger areas. Air intake is through the rear of the unit rather than the side like petrol-powered handheld blowers reducing the annoying problem of the operator’s clothes being sucked towards the intake.
Removal of the tube from the body of the blower is simple to compress the unit for storage or transportation.
The Power Flex® LB 4250 42-volt handheld blower has great blowing force for a lightweight compact machine and has the added advantages of reduced running costs, reduced noise to the operator and bystanders, as well as reduced maintenance compared to its petrol powered rivals.