Kobalt Outdoor Tool Test Drive

Seven tools, one 40-volt lithium-ion battery. That's the gist of Kobalt's new outdoor power equipment line, which was recently unveiled at the brand's media event in Florida. But a closer look reveals the simplicity and convenience that the cordless lineup provides homeowners for maintaining a well-manicured yard. And HANDY editors were given the chance to take the new tools for a spin.

The most noticeable benefit of the line as a whole is the freedom it provides the user: no gas or oil to purchase or mix, no pull cords, no fumes and no extension cords to tie you down. Just one 2.0-amp-hour or 4.0-amp-hour 40-volt battery that can be popped into any of the tools at a moment's notice and then recharged after the task is complete. Here's a closer look at each of the seven tools revealed, all now available at Lowe's.

40V Max String Trimmer/Edger (model #KST 120X-06, $169)
The first thing we noticed when testing out the string trimmer/edger was its balance. The battery integrates seamlessly into the handle from the top down, equaling out the weight of the cutting head and conveniently allowing the user to spot the charge level while working. The head is stationary, reducing the amount of connecting parts and providing a more sturdy feel and operation. Designers and engineers for the product factored in universal handles so users can grip the tool and orient it in different ways for both trimming and edging. Its dual line, a feature usually reserved for gas-power string trimmers, cuts a 12-in. path and the variable speed provides additional control.

40V Max Chainsaw (model #KCS 120-06, $179)
Low maintenance is just one of the improvements that this chain saw brings to the table compared with a gas-powered version: It features an automatic oiler and tool-free chain tensioning. We were also impressed by how quiet this 12-in. chain saw ran while slicing through 4-in.-dia. test logs. According to Kobalt, the saw can make up to 75 cuts through 4x4 boards of pressure-treated lumber in a single charge.

(NOTE: It was windy the day we tested the tools. We apologize for the wind noise.)

40V Max 20-in. Mower (model #KM 2040X-06, $399)
Powered by two 40-volt batteries (a 2.0 amp-hour and a 4.0 amp-hour used in sequence rather than at the same time for longer run time), this quiet mower is easy to push and gets the job done. It's built with an aerodynamic DoubleCut dual blade and includes 2-in-1 mulching and bagging capabilities. One of our favorite features was the quick, quiet start with the push of a button and lever — no pull cord!

40V Max Hedge Trimmer (model #KHT 240-06, $149)
The Kobalt hedge trimmer was lighter than we expected because of its balanced design, again with the battery-charge indicator facing the user, but it preformed like a heavyweight champ. It sliced through the bushes and shrubs on site at the testing location with no hang ups and proved very easy to control. It operates at 2,800 strokes per minute and features a cut capacity of 3/4 in.

40V Max Blower (model #KHB 300-06, $149)
Clearing leaves from a walkway was a breeze with the 40-volt blower. One really cool feature is the variable-speed trigger for added finesse when the need arises. It tops out at wind speeds of 140 mph and is capable of moving 250 cu. ft. of air per minute. Plus, if it's good enough for the Lowe's Racing pit crew, then it's good enough for our yard. Seriously, how cool is that?!

40V Max 19-in. Mower (model #KM 1940-06, $349)
The compact size and durable 19-in. steel cutting deck on this mower make it easy to push and maneuver around a yard. Because this mower operates using only one blade (as opposed to the DoubleCut version's two), it features a side-discharge option as well as mulching and rear bagging. Of course, it's powered by either the 2.0 amp-hour or 4.0 amp-hour 40-volt battery, which both come with the mower.

40V Max Pole Saw (model #KPS 80-06, $169)
Reaching to tricky heights to cut down small problem branches is simple with the 8-in. pole saw. It's compact and fairly light, making it easy to position for cutting. It's also quiet and features a small hook that works well for pulling down stuck branches.

Note: All tools come with a 2.0 amp-hour quick-charge battery and will also operate using the 4.0-amp-hour long-run battery. The mowers come with both batteries.

Disclaimer: Kobalt provided travel and lodging to this event, but the thoughts and opinions about this event and the products tested are solely that of HANDY.