Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower Review
The Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower is an excellent solution for getting the jobsite clean. The compact length combined with robust housing design results in quality performance for work on hard surfaces.
Jobsite blowers have been misunderstood in cordless circles for a while now. They’ve had a hard time gaining traction in a market that heard “cordless blower” and expected to get a gas powered replacement running on one 18V battery. Fortunately, improved performance technology and user understanding have reached a compromise. The Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower is a prime example of what a jobsite blower should be.
When it comes to setting expectations, we’ll start with the specs. The Ridgid Jobsite Blower pushes 280 CFM air volume up to 100 MPH air speed. Compare this to a cordless blower aimed at lawn maintenance. EGO’s PowerPlus 56V Blower is capable of producing 480 CFM. Pro gas models can deliver more than 700 CFM at well over 200 MPH! Clearly, the Ridgid Gen5X has other applications in mind rather than yard work.
One change that has been made from the early jobsite blower models is a change of perspective on air flow. The original designs put a premium on air speed at the cost of air volume. Product managers have worked around to the conclusion that higher air volume is more important on jobsite applications than higher speed to efficiently move debris. This makes sense given the jobsite blower is moving saw dust and sand – it’s very light compared to the sticks and stones a landscaper may be pushing aside.
Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower First Impressions
Ridgid’s new blower is small in some aspects, but not all. The housing is about what we’d expect from other solid lithium-ion powered blowers with some unique design features we’ll talk about in a moment. The tube is short and follows the wide open end trend that has become more popular the past couple of years. This creates a robust, capable look that we didn’t see in some of the skinny early models.
The handle and trigger are unique physical features for the Ridgid Gen5x 18V Jobsite Blower. The L-shaped handle breaks away from the traditional closed design. The opening it leaves allows room for the battery to be installed above the housing.
The battery is protected in this position from strikes due to dropping. Despite how much of the battery is exposed, the width of the housing combined with the handle prevent it from hitting the ground no matter how you drop it. The only risk it’s taking is to be hit from the side. At the same time, this exposed position leaves plenty of room for air flow to cool the battery more efficiently than closed designs.
I wasn’t convinced about the trigger when I first saw this unit. It’s very similar to the trigger of a string trimmer with no trigger guard. My initial reaction screamed out that this will catch on something and break too easily. Then my rational mind kicked in to remind me how many times I’ve broken a string trimmer trigger like this – zero.
You’ll notice the jet engine style feature protruding from the housing. This doesn’t rotate like you’d expect on a 747 engine, but it does help to compress the air into a smaller space than the tube on its own would to accelerate air more efficiently.
Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower Ergonomics and Performance
Ergonomics and blowers really come down to two things – weight and balance. Replacing the gas engine with a permanent magnet motor and 4.0 amp hour battery leaves you with an agreeably manageable weight of 7.3 pounds minus the battery. The balance of Ridgid’s Gen5X Blower is pretty much parallel to the ground. Typically, I like a little bit of forward lean since I’m usually blowing off the floor or driveway beneath me.
One of the points manufacturers like to make is the run time on lithium-ion blowers. It’s kind of hit or miss though. Most know that users are going to crank it up to full, yet they list the run time based on low speed use. Who actually uses their blower on low though?
Well… I do, actually. Full speed blowing works great for clearing off your driveway, but the shop or interior jobsite is a different story. Full speed even tends to send debris in all directions – including space you’ve already cleared once air starts hitting obstacles.
I was able to feather the Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower very easily to send sawdust and sand out the shop door with more control than I could have in other speeds. Once I got to the edge, full power was absolutely appropriate to kick it further away from the entrance.
I like to think of my jobsite blower as a broom replacement. A broom doesn’t leave me going back over the same areas against a wall, corner, or push debris under workbenches like an out of control blower will. By utilizing both low and high speeds, I was able clear out the space we’d made a mess of effectively in one pass.
Circling back to the run time question – plan on getting about 20 minutes of full power out of a 4.0 amp hour battery. Even more once the 5.0 amp hour packs make their way to your shop. Combining controlled lower speeds inside with high speeds to give debris the kick it needs to clear the door will extend your run time well beyond the 40 minute mark.
A quick note of caution – the Ridgid Jobsite Blower is a great cleanup tool, but it has it’s limits. When it comes to cleaning off your tools, many people like to go at with a blower. It’s easy to use and seems effective. I’d encourage you to go with your dust extractor though. Often, blowing your tools “clean” will force particles into the dark regions of your power tool where they wait for company to start degrading the performance.
The Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower is an excellent solution for getting the jobsite clean. The compact length combined with robust housing design results in quality performance for work on hard surfaces. Keep in mind what it’s designed to do and you’ve got a great addition to your Ridgid 18V collection that will make cleanup easier when the job is done.
Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower Key Features
- Over 280 CFM best-in-class airflow
- Extended runtime
- Compact size
- Variable speed trigger
- Hex grip micro texture for maximum user comfort
Ridgid Gen5X 18V Jobsite Blower Specifications
- Model Number: R860430B
- Air Volume: 0-280 CFM
- Air Velocity: 0-100 MPH
- Fan Speed: 0-11,000 RPM
- 4.0 Amp Hyper Lithium-ion battery: Sold separately
- Warranty: Lifetime service
- Availability: September 2015
- Price: $79 (Currently $69 until 2/01/2016)
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