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Science and technology giving outdoor power tools a Millennial twist


The modern world runs on batteries. Portable smartphones, tablets, computers, e-readers and more have revolutionized how everyone communicates. The same is becoming true for household chores. Today’s line-up of innovative devices make maintaining a home’s outdoor spaces easy, fast and fun while adding a dash of Millennial cool.

New battery-powered tools are compact, lightweight and easy to store. They share the flip-of-a-switch appeal of other portable devices. But instead of connecting you to the outside world, these improve the world outside your own back door. Here are some ergonomic standouts.

Make a quick, quiet, clean sweep of the deck or patio

Lightweight, quiet and powerful describes Black and Decker’s new LSW20 Cordless Sweeper. While weighing in at a mere 3.7 pounds, the unit packs plenty of punch for blowing leaves, twigs, sand and other debris to clean patios, decks, sidewalks and garage areas. It’s perfect for everyday cleaning of hard surfaces, but not suited to the heavy lifting of clearing lawns or blowing piles of wet leaves. Its rechargeable 20-volt lithium-ion battery delivers quiet power for early morning or evening chores without bothering the neighbors.

Flip the switch on a lawn spreader that’s ready to go when you are

Forget big clunky lawn push spreaders with their complicated calibrations. The new battery-powered Ready2Go Spreader is compact, hand-carried and designed for ease, speed and mobility. Just pick it up, turn it on and walk. The Ready2Go spreader comes pre-calibrated and pre-filled with popular granular lawn care products from Greenview, Preen and Vigoro: enough to feed or treat up to 2,500 square feet. It’s perfect for small lawns plus slopes, rough terrain and tight spaces. It’s refillable and its four long-lasting AA batteries are replaceable.

ower through window cleaning without slop, streaks or dripping

The first cordless window wet-vac and squeegee sucks up dirty water to make cleaning glass a snap. Karcher’s WV50 Power Squeegee earns high marks from consumers for its no frills ergonomic design and quick cleaning of storm doors, windows inside and out, patio sliders and car windows. Its 11-inch neoprene blades deliver edge-to-edge suction, powered by rechargeable 32-volt lithium-ion batteries for 20 to 25 minutes of run time.

For gardeners who think relentless weeding is a fact of life, weed preventers can be a wakeup call.

Sprinkled on top of garden soil or mulch, Preen weed preventers stop new weeds from growing for up to three to four months per application, now available with a battery-powered spreader-applicator cap so no shaking is required. The battery-applicator covers evenly and accurately, making it easy to apply even under shrubs and between plants. The bottle is refillable and comes with (replaceable) batteries installed. One set of AAA batteries powers up to 8 hours of use.

Give grass a quick trim with no fumes, no ear protection.

Gas, oil, fumes, noise, and other hassles are nonissues with this quiet, lightweight battery-powered grass trimmer and edger from WORX. The rechargeable 32-volt MAX lithium battery on the WORX WG175 Cordless Grass Trimmer & Edger with Wheel Set delivers 35 minutes of high-quality trimming. The six-pound tool features 3-in-1 functions (trim/edge/mow) and a single line automatic string feed (no “bumps”). For those into a trim-tidy look, these are desirable attributes that add up to less work, less fatigue and less time spent on yard care.

Outdoor tools may not have quite the cachet of the latest smartphone, but those with outdoor areas to maintain will appreciate the time and effort saved by these new battery-powered portables. Best of all, with just the right tool on hand, ready to go, jobs get done that otherwise might languish.



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