Despite its name, the humble leaf blower isn't just for blowing leaves off your porch, you can use it for a myriad of things from cleaning, drying, cooling.. limited only by your imagination.. and of course, the length of the power cord. That's where Hitachi's RB18DSL 18V cordless blower comes in.
Similar to the Hitachi G18DSL 4-inch cordless angle grinder we reviewed earlier, simplicity is a key attribute of the RB18DSL. Along with a non-lockable variable trigger, Hitachi also did away with the 2-LED battery indicator. So unless you start off with a fully-charged battery pack and keep tab of the run-time, you basically have no way of knowing the battery's state of charge.
A departure from most Hitachi tools is the fact that the RB18DSL doesn't come in the signature Hitachi green but rather an all-black design. This might be aesthetically pleasing and looks a bit more professional in a sea of multi-coloured power tools but we find that it tends to get 'lost' easily in the tool shed particularly if everything else is also black.
Additionally, the entire RB18DSL's body is made from hard plastic with no rubberised coating - while this may seem uncomfortable when holding without a gloved hand; it does have its benefits such as not getting affected by oils and ingrained grime - a problem common with any rubberised tool grip.
The RB18DSL is rated at an air volume flow rate of 2.2m³/min. By comparison, the corded Hitachi RB 40VA outputs almost double the air volume flow rate of 3.8m³/min, and is even approximately RM40 cheaper than the RB18DSL. However, what you lose in power, you make up by having a blower that works just about anywhere.
This makes the RB18DSL exceptionally handy regardless if you're simply blowing leaf off your lawn or if you're a hobbyist car detailers' garage blowing the bulk of water off the car after a wash or even as part of a maintenance tool for quickly cooling down machinery to speed up maintenance work and reduce down-time.
Since the RB18DSL weighs in just a feather over a kilogramme, or approximately 1,649g with a 5.0Ah battery pack, it's also extremely light and compact for a cordless blower.
The downsides, as with most cordless tools, the price of the RB18DSL does not include the battery pack and charger unit. With a Hitachi UC18YFSL charger and a 18V 5.0Ah battery, you're looking at a recommended sales price (RSP) of RM1,053.10 for the set.
You could probably squeeze under the RM1K mark by getting a 3.0Ah battery instead but we feel it isn't worth the RM75 savings.. The 3.0Ah and 5.0Ah packs are essentially the same physical size with only 10g difference between the two.
In our tests running at full throttle, the RB18DSL drains a 3.0Ah battery pack in about 15 minutes and roughly 40 minutes for a 5.0Ah pack. It also takes an hour and 1.5-hours to fully-charge a flat 3.0Ah and 5.0Ah battery with the UC18YFSL charger.
While a bit on the pricey side, the Hitachi RB18DSL should compliment your existing Hitachi 18V cordless eco-system perfectly should you need a cordless blower. However, unless you already own an existing Hitachi 18V cordless tool, it's quite hard to justify shelling out three times the cost just for a cordless leaf blower, Hitachi or otherwise.
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