While the BLACK+DECKER LSW40C is one of the most ergonomic and quiet cordless leaf blowers we have tested, it is also one of the least expensive. Unfortunately, it delivered such a comically weak set of results in our power performance that it ended up earning one of the lowest overall scores to date and we are fairly reluctant to recommend it.
BLACK+DECKER LSW40C Review
Pros: Quiet, cheap
Cons: Pitifully weak
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This cordless leaf blower is basically one of our least favorite models we have seen to date, as we essentially only found it to be useful for dusting small areas.
To find out which cordless blower topped them all, we researched and compared all the top models, then bought all the most promising to test out for ourselves. We divided all of our tests into four groups, with the BLACK+DECKER LSW40C's performance in each of them outlined below.
Making up half of the LSW40C's final score, our leaf blowing power metric is the most important of them all. Unfortunately, this blower did extremely poorly, earning a 1 out of 10. This is based on the BLACK+DECKER's maximum useful range, the height at which it could levitate a beach ball, and how quickly and easily it could clear a parking lot.
This leaf blower could barely move sand that was 4.5' away, far less than the 15'-20' some of the top models could do.
It also could only float the beach ball to a height of 2", again far less than the 5'-7' the best blowers could.
After that pair of poor performance, we didn't really expect the BLACK+DECKER do much of anything when it came to clearing our parking area of different types of messes and we weren't disappointed. It took forever to clear even the lightest debris and our overall conclusion was that we would rather just sweep the pavement than try and use this product.
Next, we moved on to rating and ranking the battery system of the LSW40C. It did fairly well, earning a 6 out of 10 in this metric, which accounts for one-fourth of its overall score.
To score this, we started the BLACK+DECKER with a freshly charged battery, then timed how long it lasted on its most powerful setting. This blower's 40-volt, 1.5 amp hour battery made it for a little more than 25 minutes before calling it quits — handy, since it takes so long to clear any appreciable area with it.
Regrettably, the charger for this blower takes forever to replenish a fully depleted battery, taking almost 3.5 hours in our test, even though the claimed charge time is just 1 hour, 15 minutes.
The performance of the BLACK+DECKER continued to improve in our next metric, with this cordless tool earning an 8 out of 10 for its solid ergonomics. This metric accounts for 15% of the LSW40C's final score and is based on the weight of the BLACK+DECKER, its balance, grip feel and comfort, and if it tried to suck in your clothes while in normal use.
The LSW40C is one of the lightest blowers of the group, weighing in at a measly 4 lbs.
The intake for this cordless blower is on the bottom, so it almost never tries to suck in your shirt or jacket.
This blower is quite balanced, with just a tiny bit of bias towards the front. However, this blower is so light that it takes almost no effort to lift, so you can easily compensate for that.
Our last round of tests focused on how loud the BLACK+DECKER is, with points determined by the noise level for both the person using the LSW40C and for a bystander at a bit of a distance away (50'). These account for the remaining 10% of the final score for this cordless leaf blower, which finished with an excellent performance that merited a 10 out of 10.
The LSW40C only registered about 73.6 dBa for the person operating it, with some passing cars seemingly generating more sound. This tapers off abruptly as well, only recording a little more than 64 dBa on our meter for any passersby.
While the LSW40C is considerably less expensive than the premium products, it is also considerably less good, making it mediocre when it comes to value.
If you only need to do extremely light-duty work and are shopping on a tighter budget, then the LSW40C is an alright choice. Otherwise, we definitely would recommend a plethora of other products in this category over the BLACK+DECKER — practically any other blower that we have tested.
— Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman