Batteries are part of our everyday lives and these days it would be utterly difficult to imagine our daily activities without them. Just think about your cell phone, wrist watch, if you still own one, or our usual evening companion, the TV remote.
Battery Technology – A Little History
It’s hard to believe that battery technology has been out for more than two centuries. The first electric battery was created by the Italian Alessandro Volta in 1800. Sounds familiar, right? The unit Volt (V) was named in his honour to describe electric potential, a measure that we still use today, and probably will for many many years to come.
Volta started the battery revolution with zinc and copper plates, then in 1881 the lead-acid based batteries hit the commercial market. This was such a good construction and technology that it is still in use today, although its use is restricted to heavy machinery, like forklifts and ships.
Lead-acid batteries are heavy, 60% of their weight is coming from the lead content. This makes them a bit ineffective but since lead based batteries are cheap, they are still widely popular today. Their lifetime is average, usually last between 3-5 years.
Nickel-cadmium technology came about 20 years after lead-acid ones, offering a much higher energy density, which meant same potential with half the weight of its predecessor. NiCd batteries became mainstream in the 1960s and many early portable power tools utilized the technology.
Fast charging, light and powerful batteries became the norm in the 1990s and 2000s when the chemical compound of lithium gained popularity among battery manufacturers. Lithium-acid and lithium-ion batteries were such a huge improvement, that they made vehicles and power tools compete with corded electric and gas alternatives in real word usage.
Snow Blowers and the Portable Power Source
It was only recently that consumer outdoor power tools, such as leaf blowers and snow blowers became ‘mobile’, in the sense that modern battery technology enabled manufacturers to lose the much hated cord. Even the powerful and high capacity multi stage snow blowers have battery versions.
Since then, all major brands offer cordless versions of their tools and although they are still rather expensive, the benefits of mobility, ease of use and low maintenance make them a rather popular choice for homeowners.
In fact, if you look at Home Depot, Amazon and other retailers, the best selling units are now portable versions of the particular power tools, assuming the buyer is a regular homeowner and not a professional.