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Before you head out to get your lawn and landscape machinery humming again, check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recent tool recalls (beginning January 1, 2013) to avoid unwanted burns, gas leaks, lacerations, and explosions.

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Recall: Briggs & Stratton Ariens Compact Snow Throwers
The carburetor bowl nut on Ariens’ orange-and-black 24-inch Snow-Thro can allow gas to leak from the unit, causing a fire hazard. The model number is 920014 with serial numbers from 100,000 through 119,039. They were sold from August-September 2012 at Ariens and Home Depot locations nationwide.

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Recall: Ryobi Lithium 18 V 4Ah Battery Pack
The cordless tool battery pack, model P108 and part number 130429028, can overheat and burst while on a charger, causing fire and burn hazards. They were sold at Home Depot in the U.S. and Canada from September-December 2012.

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Though we haven’t tested one of these in person, we’ve been quite impressed with the bang-for-the-buck value of Ryobi’s updated One+ line, identifiable by their video-game-green color. And we’re glad to see the cordless recip get the updated treatment as well. Besides the obvious new look, some other pretty upscale features lurk under the hood, including a cushioned anti-vibe handle and an adjustable, pivoting shoe.

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With the introduction of the green-batteried li-ion line a few years ago, we became fans of Ryobi’s power tools. While the early (blue) One+ line pretty much defined (in our opinion, at least) the price-cheap and quality-cheap low-buck tool line, the updated li-ion versions flat blew us away. We thought the li-ion One+ drill compared favorably to models offered at twice the price; you could actually pick up a whole multi-piece kit for under $200. That’s not bad. Of course, Ryobi has always been in the garden tool market as well, so we’re interested to see what comes of Ryobi’s new 40V li-ion line, which applies most of the same technology to a battery pack large enough to power higher-draw tools, like the chain saw pictured above.

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Ryobi is now taking registrations for their new online community, “Ryobi Nation.” On one hand, it’s cool that Ryobi is attempting community building through a place where folks who dig the new green-and-black tools can show off their projects and get discounts on new gear. On the other hand, they’ve now collected a bunch of information on you and can send focused marketing your way.

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The larger li-ion battery packs tool companies are putting out today are getting closer to giving us the kind of power and duration they’ve been promising since the eighties. Just slide a pack in and do whatever you need to do — like mow the lawn. Sure, Ryobi isn’t the first electric mower or even the first to use a battery. What it really does is prove engineers are still working on solving all household issues with reusable battery packs; hell, Craftsman’s even got a 48v mower.

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Now firmly escaped from the Fein grip, it seems like the cut/sand multi-tool has made an appearance in almost every manufacturer’s tool line, from Bosch [What’s This?] to Harbor Freight. Now Ryobi offers one, too, and as you might expect — given the surprising quality of some of their recent One+ line tools — it looks like it’s firmly in the middle price and quality-wise. Read on for a quick look.

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Yes, two-cycle engines make more power per displacement and weight unit than four-cycle engines, which makes them engines of choice for go-fast go-karts, small motorcycles, and most handheld yard tools like string trimmers and blowers. But truthfully, they’re a mess. Besides forcing you to keep a separate gas can around the garage just for the two-cycle’s gas-oil mix, they’re also finicky as hell and not much fun to work on. (Okay, I’ll admit that I’m parroting my dad here. He did a lot of small engine repair and he hated ’em. I’ve been of the throw-it-away-when-it-quits camp, which is embarrassing.)

That’s why these four-cycle models from Ryobi caught my eye. They offer wheeled trimmers and edgers in the line, too, but it’s easy to find those from other sources with a nice Briggs and Stratton on top. But the four-cycle blowers and string trimmers just seem like a great idea.

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Back in my day, installing a door used to be a skill, but now these newfangled do-dads make it so easy a dad-gum fool can do it. OK, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but door installation kits have come down in price to the point where they practically give them away with a lock set. Usually these kits are made for locating and drilling the holes for the lock and latch, and leave you to your own devices to mortise out the the door so the latch sits flush.

Like its name says, Ryobi’s door latch installation kit is an all-in-one tool for installing door latches. With it you can score the outline for either rounded or square latches, then chisel out the mortise to the correct depth. There’s even a built-in screwdriver on board for screwing in the latch.

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For decades pros have driven large nails in tight spaces with the venerable pneumatic palm nailer. Of course, they’re driving lots of nails, so they don’t mind lugging an air compressor and dragging hose around with ’em. A while back we reviewed a couple of products that ditch the cord for mini-Li-ion power: Craftsman’s Hammerhead and Ryobi’s similar product. Our verdict: They’re handy, but a little funky-shaped.

Milwaukee’s new cordless palm nailer gets it right. It’s simply the same kind of electric nail-driving tool, but shaped like the palm nailer you love.

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Ryobi started the recall today of around half a million 18V cordless drills due to a problem with the switch, which “can overheat posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.” The CPSC reports that “Ryobi has received 47 reports of the drills overheating, smoking, melting or catching fire, including 12 reports of property damage to homes or vehicles. Two of the incidents involved minor burns from touching an overheated switch.”

The model in question is the HP 1802M Cordless Power Drill (pictured above courtesy of the CPSC) made in China and sold at Home Depot between January 2001 and July 2003. If you own one, the CPSC recommends that you immediately stop using it, remove the battery, and contact Ryobi at 800-597-9624 (between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Mon-Fri) to receive a free replacement drill.

Ryobi Recalls Drills Due To Fire Hazard [CPSC]