The most powerful handheld blower I was aware of was the Stihl BG 86 C-E. This is a 27.2 cc gas-powered model that pushes 459 cfm of air at up to 154 mph. Husqvarna also has their 125BVx which pushes 425 cfm at up to 170 mph. Looking at specs, you’d think the measure of blower power might be the speed or mph (miles per hour) generated at the tip of the tool, but you’d be wrong. The real factor is how much air it can move—and that’s measured in cfm (cubic feet per minute). When we reviewed the original EGO 56V cordless system a while back, we were particular impressed with the 56V cordless blower. It had the ability to move 480 cfm. For a cordless blower, that represented a new level of performance on a battery powered product. This week, we got to test and review its successor—the brushless EGO LB5300 56V Blower.
This new EGO blower can do 530 cfm.
That’s pushing more air than any handheld gas-powered blower currently on the market (at least any that we can think of, and we did a bit of research). In fact, most entry-level and even midrange backpack blowers push 510 CFM or less air, though some of those are rated to higher speeds. In the end, what you’ve got is a product that leverages the power of cordless to its practical output limits.
Air Speed vs Volume
You can always throttle up airspeed by adding a nozzle on the end of the tube—something, but the way, EGO plans to offer in Q4 for this new blower. You can’t, however, increase the amount of air the blower can push by adding accessories or changing the shape of the tube. That’s completely up to the powertrain, including the motor, the fan, and how much air it can get moving through the tube. To achieve 530 cfm—and do it for any reasonable amount of time—means that the EGO LB5300 56V brushless blower was designed efficiently enough to push a high quantity of air through it with the limitations of a handheld form factor. Airspeed is good for those occasional “stuck” items that need to be dislodged from the ground, but air volume is what really moves a lot of leaves and debris. EGO seems like it has the volume locked up, and the coming accessories will likely push the air volume component further as well…we’ll see.
If you break down the various operating speeds of the brushless EGO LB5300 56V blower you get the following:
- Low – High run-time, 50 mph, 260 CFM
- High – Medium run-time, 85 mph, 430 CFM
- Turbo – Lowest run-time, 110 mph, 530 CFM
In terms of force, the EGO LB5300 56V blower puts out over 16 Newtons. A Newton is defined as the amount of force needed to accelerate one kilogram of mass at the rate of one meter per second squared. It’s another way of objectively showing the ability of this tool to perform work (as blowing force). As a comparison, the highest output Stihl handheld two-cycle blower I mentioned earlier, is rated to 15 Newtons. If you like numbers—there’s one that should impress.
Testing Noise Levels
For those interested in noise levels (and it’s becoming more and more of an issue in municipalities), the EGO LB5300 cordless blower does really well all-around. Measured at the ear with a standard Radio Shack SPL meter (C weighted), you can expect the following:
- Low speed: 72 dB SPL
- Medium speed: 80 dB SPL
- High Speed: 85 dB SPL
- Boost: 91 dB SPL
The output levels of this blower are so low during use that you can theoretically run it between 6-8 hours without hearing protection in Boost mode. Anything below that doesn’t require any ear protection whatsoever (though you may be more comfortable using it regardless, particularly if you’re switching back and forth between different outdoor power tools). If you’re dealing with NIOSH standards then you’re limited to 2 hours at Boost levels (which is impractical regardless) and around 8 hours in High. Given that no blower is run continuously on the job, my initial assessment is valid for both OSHA and NIOSH—you’re essentially good to use this tool without any hearing protection whatsoever for a typical 8-hour shift.
EGO LB5300 56V Blower Features
The first generation EGO 56V blower had two speeds plus a turbo button. The new brushless EGO LB5300 56V Blower has a smooth sliding dial that can adjust speeds in variable increments (and, yes, you still get a Turbo button). Gone is the secondary switch that lets you activate the tool. Now you just pop in a battery and pull the trigger. We like that a lot better. I mean, come on, what are you going to do…accidentally blow on somebody? The trigger fires up the blower to whatever speed is set by the sliding switch—similar to how a variable speed barrel-grip jigsaw works. The Turbo button is slightly out of the way, so it’s a deliberate (but still comfortable) move to engage it. More on this later.
The handle has a nice comfortable rubber overmold that feels comfortable in the hand. If you use an optional shoulder strap or harness, there’s a metal mount point in the left side of the tool that can take the weight off if you plan to use it for an extended period of time (and with the brushless motor and the purchase of an EGO 7.5Ah 56V battery that’s a distinct possibility). As we see more and more municipalities and areas pushing for noise abatement and cleaner landscaping options, the use of cordless power tools is increasing in popularity.
I want to mention the new battery that is debuting with this tool as well, because it represents more than just a small bump in run-time or potential power. The new EGO Power+ 56V battery is making use of new denser lithium-ion cells that offer more potential in the same size cell. That’s why this new 2.5Ah battery is the same size as their current compact 2.0Ah battery—but it offers 140Wh of power vs. 112Wh. That’s an increase of 25% no matter how you slice it. Pop this battery in other EGO tools, like the EGO 15 in string trimmer, and you’ll see increased run-time there as well. Here are the current battery options from EGO (charge times given with both the standard and rapid chargers):
- 2.0 Ah battery (BA1120): 112Wh, 2.8 lbs, 25/40 min charge time
- 2.5 Ah battery (BA1400): 140Wh, 2.8 lbs, 30/50 min charge time
- 4.0 Ah battery (BA2240): 224Wh, 4.9 lbs, 30/80 min charge time
- 5.0 Ah battery (BA2800): 280Wh, 4.9 lbs, 40/100 min charge time
- 7.5 Ah battery (BA4200): 420Wh, 6.3 lbs, 60/120+ min charge time
Using the EGO LB5300 56V Blower
I ran the EGO 56V blower through several cycles until I noticed something—my hands didn’t have that numb feeling that comes on when I use two-cycle blowers. As it turns out, EGO employed some pretty fancy vibration reduction in the actual motor and fan assembly. There are two mount points on each side that set apart the fan assembly from the plastic housing with washers and rubber mounts. It’s sort of like a motor mount system, and it decouples the high speed rotating motor from the handle. The result is that you can use the blower for an extended period of time and feel very little vibration.
Power is plentiful as you can probably tell from the specs, but using the EGO LB5300 56V blower is what really translates those numbers into real-world experience. When you hit the Turbo button to bring up a particularly stuck area of wet leaves (for example), the force on your arm is enough to actually make you have to work to keep the blower from moving back behind you. That’s not something I want to do to myself for extended periods of time (there’s a reason powerful backpack blowers have vertical handles!). Landscaping Pros know that you don’t need to use full power 100% of the time to get the job done—most of the time Low or Medium speeds will suffice for blowers and trimmers. In fact, when you’re blowing dry leaves and such, running this tool in Turbo is going to be detrimental—you’ll throw up debris everywhere. Still, I know that a lot of people want to crank these tools up to as high as they go and leave them there. Why? You don’t operate everything that way. Imagine if you drove to the store by getting in your car, turning it on, and then mashing the pedal to the floor until you got there…Sure, it would make a lot of noise and possibly be fun, but you’d have to augment your weekly food budget with traffic tickets and insurance claims for all the damage done along the way. As with most tools—use them properly, and they’ll perform far better.
Looking at run-time, the EGO LB5300 56V blower ran non-stop for 19-1/2 minutes in high (no turbo boost). I got around 10 minutes in Turbo, but during the process, I found I had to place the back of the tool on my thigh because it gave my arm such a workout. EGO claims up to 75 minutes of run-time with the included 2.5 Ah battery in Low. I have no reason to doubt that given the numbers and what I observed from it in higher speeds.
EGO LB5300 56V Blower Specs
- Brushless motor
- Turbo boost function
- Battery: 56V 2.5 Ah Lithium-ion
- Speed (low/high/boost): 10,000/18,000/23,000 RPM
- Air volume (low/high/boost): 260/400/530 CFM
- Air velocity (low/high/boost): 50/85/110 MPH
- Run time (w/incl. 2.5 Ah battery): 10/22/75 min.
- Weight (no battery): 4.81 lbs. (2.18 kg)
- Charge time: 50 minutes (2.5 Ah battery)
- Warranty: 5-year limited
- Price: $129
Basically, EGO took an already great product and ramped it up into something even better. The new brushless EGO LB5300 56V blower looks cooler, blows harder, and runs longer than its predecessor…and we loved its predecessor. At just $199 for a kit that includes a charger and the new 2.5Ah battery, you’re going to want to take a hard look at cordless. You finally get the run-time you need for it to be practical, and even though gas is currently on a downward spiral, the price of recharging a battery is far less than a tank of fuel any day of the week. Add to that the convenience of not having to worry about winterization, and you have a powerful case for ditching two-cycle for lithium-ion this leaf blowing season.