Monday, July 22

The Ryobi Storm Kit Is a Must-Have for Weather Emergencies

Being prepared for power outages caused by weather or other disasters is getting easier as battery technology improves—which is a good thing, because the weather keeps getting worse. Keeping devices charged so you can stay updated on emergency information, have a light source, and be able to tune into the radio if internet and cellular networks go down are all important parts of being prepared in an emergency. Ryobi has come up with a Storm Combo Kit that can address several aspects of emergency preparedness.

Because the system comes with a battery and charger, it’s a good deal at $129. A battery and charger on its own would cost between $55 and $75, so getting the battery with the rest of these tools for $130 is a steal. Having only one battery wouldn’t be the most practical, however—so if you don’t already use Ryobi batteries, you may want to consider options that go with your existing battery system. (Don’t have an existing battery system? I’d recommend purchasing an extra battery with this kit.)

The inverter with USB ports allows you to charge devices and use small accessories, but it won’t take the place of a generator for larger items—it doesn’t put out enough power for things like heaters or electric burners. The portability of the inverter makes it good in an emergency, especially if you need to evacuate, but it won’t suffice for long-term use. It goes for around $100 on its own, so getting it as a part of a kit is a good deal.

The area light has three brightness settings and can run for up to 48 hours on the low setting, giving you a steady light source. The light also has two USB charging ports that you can use to power devices for added convenience. The portability of the light makes it a good choice for a pack out kit as well as an in-home emergency light. It costs about $40 on its own, so it’s a deal as part of the kit.

The bluetooth speaker and radio is an added bonus to this emergency kit, making it much easier to stay in touch for emergency information and for entertainment during a power outage. The speaker has a bluetooth range of 175 feet and runs for up to 32 hours on one charge. Even if the internet and cell network are interrupted because of weather, the radio will still allow you to stay in the loop on emergency announcements. This part of the kit would cost around $60 on its own.

The overall advantages of the Ryobi 3-in-1 storm kit are its portability and battery life. The drawbacks are that the power source isn’t meant to power larger appliances or electric heaters and that it only comes with one battery, so you’ll have to unplug everything if you want to charge up. Since the cost of the components of the kit separately would add up to about $255-$275, it’s about 50 percent less to purchase as a kit. In addition, you get a carrying case to easily take it along for road trips or camping.

Using your emergency kit is pretty simple if your battery is charged ahead of time. For increased versatility, having two (or more) batteries is recommended so that the kit can be used as a charger as well as a light or speaker at the same time, and so that you can double your battery life. If you already have a Ryobi battery system, you can always sub in your extra tool batteries, as long as they’re accessible. If you need to store batteries, you should store them off the charger and between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit in a dry place to increase the life of the batteries.

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