The Kobalt 40V Max Electric Outdoor Power Equipment is a new line of rugged outdoor tools by Lowe’s all powered by the same rechargeable 40-volt max lithium-ion battery system. Plus they’re all backed by a 5-year hassle-free tool guarantee. This might just be the line of tools to convince die-hard gas lovers to go electric. (Psst, now there’s an 80V line, go here.)
There are 7 tools total, a chain saw, pole saw, two lawnmowers, a leaf blower, a string trimmer, a hedge trimmer, and we tested them all.
This wasn’t a skimpy demo in a trade show booth where you watch a handsome spokesperson point out features. We took a trip to Ponte Vedra, Florida and tested each piece of equipment on a variety of well-put-together demo areas of real grass, real shrubs, real logs, and real situations, including an Amazing Race-style riddle gauntlet race course that further tested the gumption of the tools. We got to play with each tool for as long as we wanted and basically do whatever we wanted to them. That’s how this happened:
So what did we think? We’ll tell you a little about each tool.
The Kobalt 40-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Battery Charger and Batteries
Each mower comes with 2 batteries, a 2.0 Amp-hour Quick-Charge and a 4.0 Amp-hour Long-Run battery and a charger. The other tools in the line come with one battery and one charger. The batteries have a favorite feature of ours, a push-button LED readout of how much battery power is left. We loved seeing how far we could get without having any green bars go away, OCD, anyone?
The Kobalt 19-inch and 20-inch 40V Max Lawnmowers ($349) and ($399)
Our first thought was DAMN those look RAD and our second thought was “Why in the world is there a 19-inch AND a 20-inch?”, you know? But it makes sense. When we asked, if I remember correctly, it was more of a range thing. The 20-inch lawnmower ($399) has 2 battery slots and a double blade system. You’re mowing along and when one battery runs out the other kicks in, like a reserve tank, plus, two blades means it runs quieter (and two is always better than one). The 19-inch mower ($349) has one slot so you’d need to switch out batteries when one runs out (but that only takes 3 seconds) and settle for a single blade.
- Easy push-button start.
- Simple raising and lowering of the cut height (see the lever on the 20-incher? It’s that, like a gear shifter on a Trans Am)
- You can mulch, bag, or side discharge.
- Lightweight and easy to throw around and maneuver. At least they were light to us, but we’re pretty manly, a couple of the other
wusses, um testers, didn’t think they were as light as we did, but it’s a damn mower, how light do you want it?
Kobalt 40-Volt Max 12-in Cordless Electric Chainsaw ($179)
Of all the tools, we found the electric chainsaw to be the least likely to replace their gas-version counterparts, NOT THAT IT’S BAD! It was actually pretty good, and would be perfect for quick cleanup of a branch that needs trimming, or maybe some campfire log trimming. You know, when you don’t want to fire up the gassy monster and kick over the gas can onto the fire. But this isn’t the tool you’d grab when a tree comes down in a storm and you need to blaze through serious logs. One of the best features of this chainsaw is the simple chain-tightening functionality. No tools required. I hope it holds up.
I believe my wife called this “cute” and she was VERY excited at the prospect of being able to cut up some branches without messing with gas and oil mixtures and pull-starting and adjusting the choke on my gas chainsaw.
It seems pretty tough. Marty was whaling on it and could get it to bog down if he really horked down on it while trying to cut fast and diagonally through a log, but it’s not really built for that. But wow, look how perfect his hair is.
Kobalt 40-Volt Max 250-CFM 140-MPH Light-Duty Cordless Electric Blower ($149)
The blower was pretty impressive. We immediately thought of other uses for it. One of them was gutter cleaning from up on the roof. You could walk the perimeter of my roof blowing the gunk out of the gutters without my gas-powered backpack blower throwing off my balance. Uh oh, now we probably need a disclaimer now telling you not to try this, so please, don’t walk around your roof with the blower, like a dummy.
It’s hard to describe wind MPH and CFMs, but it felt powerful. We can’t imagine you’d clear heavy wet leaves from your lawn all afternoon, but this could easily clear the walkways and driveway of grass clippings or leaves that blow in. Plus no gas or cord dragging so it’s perfect for quick jobs. And it’s light, so you can have your kid use it.
Kobalt 40-Volt Max 12-in Straight Cordless String Trimmer and Edger ($169)
We also fell in love with this dual-line string trimmer. It was powerful, quiet, balanced, and light. It boasts a variable speed trigger, which has the same feel as a gas trimmer, you know the more you pull the trigger the faster it goes. The dual-string makes this trimmer way superior to the single string counterparts we’ve seen in the electric category. Our least favorite part of the trimmer (and a lot of the trimmers today) is that it takes pre-strung cartridge of trimmer line ($20) which always drive us nuts. We love stringing our own spools and whenever we hear string trimmers that auto feed and auto cut the string to length we can feel our wallets getting lighter. Of course we’d just take the spool apart and try restringing it ourselves anyway.
Kobalt 40-Volt Max 8-in Cordless Electric Pole Saw ($169)
I immediately liked the cordless pole saw for the simple reason that there’s no long extension cord to drag around. I have 2 acres and not every tree that needs pruning is within the reach of my extension cords. The pole extenders are easily screwed in to extend the reach to almost 11 feet. It made quick work of the beautiful trees we pruned down to ugly scraggly nubs.
Kobalt 40-Volt Max 24-in Dual Cordless Hedge Trimmer ($149)
A cordless hedge trimmer is something everyone with hedges needs. Imagine…no more battling an extension cord. The Kobalt hedge trimmer is a great tool. It was light, well-balanced, and powerful. This will make a great addition to anyone’s arsenal. No jokes here, just a great hedge trimmer. We were really ragging on it and got the anti-burn-up-your-motor safety feature to kick in more often than we would have liked, but in real life we don’t think you’ll be trying to use it to mow down hedges at the trunks like we did.
SO, would we spend our hard-earned money on these tools?
We’d have no problem adding any of these tools to our shed. The only tool we’d think twice about is the chainsaw, but again, it worked great, it’s just not really even meant for what we end up needing a chainsaw for 95% of the time.
Still want to know more? Download a brochure and let Lowe’s say it better than we can:
Here’s a not very official disclaimer.
Lowe’s paid for us to go to and stay in Florida to test these tools. They took us to the Daytona 500. We got hot passes, met Jimmie Johnson, and he autographed a couple things for my friends’ kid, Matt, and made him happy. We got to hang in the #48 Lowes Pit during the race and see pit stops up close. They gave us food. We are not saying nice things because they did all this stuff, all opinions are our own.