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Sun Joe iONBV Review

The Sun Joe received one of the lowest scores we have given to date, failing to impress
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Price:   $179 List
Pros:  Quiet, nicely balanced
Cons:  Below average amounts of power, little pricey
Manufacturer:   Sun Joe
By Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Jul 11, 2019
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Power - 50% 4
  • Battery - 25% 5
  • Ergonomics - 15% 7
  • Noise - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Scoring close to the back of the group overall, the Sun Joe is far from our favorite cordless leaf blower. It has less than average amounts of power and a mediocre battery life, though it is quite ergonomic and quiet. However, these don't redeem its flaws in our mind, making it very hard for us to recommend.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

In terms of overall performance, the Sun Joe finished just behind the WORX Turbine and ahead of the BLACK+DECKER. The Sun Joe costs a little bit less than the WORX but it is also substantially less powerful. However, it does have a better battery life and runs a bit quieter. The BLACK+DECKER is quite a bit less expensive than both the WORX and the Sun Joe but is practically pitiful when it comes to comparing power, though it is quiet and has a respectable battery life.

The Sun Joe iONBV  ready for testing.
The Sun Joe iONBV ready for testing.

Performance Comparison


Our review process began with an exhaustive analysis of all the different battery-powered leaf blowers currently on the market. After comparing tons of specifications and user reviews, we settled on our finalists, then bought them all to test and compare side-by-side and pick out which ones are really worthy of our awards. We split our tests into four weighted metrics, with the Sun Joe iONBV's results in each outlined in the following sections.

The iONBV felt a little underwhelming.
The iONBV felt a little underwhelming.

Power


Comprising 50% of the Sun Joe's final point tally, the trio of tests that compose our power metric is exceptionally significant. To assess power, we measured the height the iONBV could float a beach ball, it effective range at moving sand, and how quickly, effectively, and easily it could clear a variety of different debris and messes. It didn't exhibit tons of power in these tests, earning it a 4 out of 10.

This leaf blower levitated the inflated beach ball at a height of 40" — much less than the six or seven feet the top models could float the ball at.

The iONBV giving us a show.
The iONBV giving us a show.

It also did comparatively poorly in our effective range test, failing to move sand that was further than 8' or so from the leaf blower.

We would need to think about bringing the iONBV with us to the beach.
We would need to think about bringing the iONBV with us to the beach.

Unsurprisingly after those first two tests, the Sun Joe iONBV couldn't really compare to the best blowers when it came to clearing dirt, leaves, sand, and stones from several parking spaces. We thought it is average at best, easily stalled by larger clumps of pine needles, stuck-on dirt, or small rocks or stones. It isn't the worst and can effectively clean the area but you should plan on walking around quite a bit due to its so-so range and power.

Battery


Our next most significant metric is entirely focused on the battery system of the Sun Joe, which comprises a quarter of its overall score. It did alright, receiving a 5 out of 10 for its overall uninspiring battery performance.

Removing the battery on the iONBV.
Removing the battery on the iONBV.

We based this score on how long the included 40-volt, 4 amp hour battery could power the Sun Joe in its most powerful continuous operating mode, as well as on the time it took for a battery to charge. The Sun Joe lasted for about 17.5 minutes before dying, which isn't the worst we have seen. It also takes a little more than an hour and a half to recharge, which is just a tiny bit faster than average.

The iONBV is around average for charging time.
The iONBV is around average for charging time.

Ergonomics


The Sun Joe's performance rebounded a bit in our next metric, meriting a 7 out of 10 for its above average ergonomics, which constitutes 15% of the final score. This is based on the Sun Joe's weight, its balance, grip comfort, and how frequently the air intake tried to suck in loose articles of clothing.

The iONBV is easy to turn on and off  but harder to adjust the speed with one hand.
The iONBV is easy to turn on and off, but harder to adjust the speed with one hand.

The iONBV is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to size, tipping our scales at about 8.8 lbs.


The air intake is on the bottom of the blower, which makes it one of the least likely to inadvertently suck in some of your clothes.

You can grip the iONBV anyway you want since there isn't a trigger to hold down.
You can grip the iONBV anyway you want since there isn't a trigger to hold down.

The iONBV continued to earn some extra points with its ergonomics when it comes to balance, naturally holding almost the perfect angle for clearing leaves with hardly any effort at all on your part. The grip is comfortable to hold, with our only complaint being that it is just a tiny bit weighted towards the back.

Noise


Our final group of evaluations focused on the noise generated by the Sun Joe iONBV, which is responsible for the remaining 10% of its overall point scores. The iONBV is one of the quieter models that we have reviewed to date, earning it an 8 out of 10.

This model isn't our first choice for clearing a sidewalk or bike path.
This model isn't our first choice for clearing a sidewalk or bike path.

For the first evaluation, we measured the sound level created by this blower for the operator, using a sound meter at ear level with the blower running on its most powerful mode. The iONBV registered 85.2 dBa, which is quite a bit less than the loudest blowers that are close to 95 dBa.

Next, we measured the sound levels for a bystander 50' away from the blower. The sound of the Sun Joe fell off quite quickly, dropping to 68.6 dBa.

Value


The Sun Joe isn't a great value, pairing a solidly lackluster performance with a higher than average price.

The adjustable speed wheel on the iONBV.
The adjustable speed wheel on the iONBV.

Conclusion


Overall, we aren't really that impressed with the Sun Joe and it definitely isn't one of the first blowers we would recommend to anyone.


Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman