Opinion: Time to move lawn maintenance equipment (mowers, blowers, chainsaws) to electric as well

greenworks-80v-tools

Today, I updated much of my lawn equipment to electric and not just because it is better for the environment – there are tons of reasons well, 11 listed below, to make the move. Until recently, electric lawnmowers, chainsaws, edgers, snowblowers, etc weren’t’ as powerful as their gas counterparts. However, with Greenworks and others making the jump to 80V products, the high end of electric lawn tools now compete well on power with standard gasoline-powered competitors.

I have Greenworks products (40V Mower/chainsaw, corded snowblower) that work well, but I’ve not tried or used the 80V products I purchased today.  These are way more hardcore:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLVZPjIRRZk

So if they are roughly equivalent to the power of gas, and often cheaper, what other advantages can you expect to see?

  1.  Quieter – Electric motors are much quieter than gas equivalents. Besides the whirl of wind and the sound of blades hitting grass, you barely hear anything. Compare to the annoying sound of a petrol engine. Makes listening to podcasts or music or an ebook while doing yard work that much more enjoyable.
  2. Less vibration. When I was a kid mowing lawns for money, my hands used to go numb or even hurt after a few hours of yard work due to the vibration of the internal combustion engine. Comparatively you can go forever pushing an electric lawnmower which feels like you are using an electric fan.
  3. Easy – Electric equipment is comparatively maintenance free because you don’t have to go to the gas station to get gas and oil, mix it then keep a container around. You simply pull a battery off the charger and pop it into the equipment you want to use.
  4. Storage – Not only are electric tools smaller but you can put them in more places. Would you put a gas chainsaw in your home? An electric chainsaw can be stored inside without threat of fumes, leaks or stink.
  5. Starting – Electric is push button and go. While with gas, you often have to pull a cord and hope you didn’t flood or choke it.
  6. Gas is flammable and poison – you have to store it in a barn or your garage where it stinks. It is poison and if it spills it stains and can kill plants animals and even humans. Electric, you could put next to your bed if you wanted to.
  7. Electric tools are simpler and lighter. Pushing around a light lawnmower or holding a chainsaw is no contest compared to gas.
  8. Exhaust isn’t just bad for the environment, it is bad for the operator. You know the smell that you have coming in after yard work? Well, you still stink with electric but it isn’t a burnt fossil fuel smell at least.
  9. Longevity – Electric vehicles will last longer and because of everything above, will have a higher resale value.
  10. Quick charge means unlimited supply. Greenworks tools batteries charge in a half hour (2Ah) to an hour (4Ah) so you can pretty much charge, switch and go all day if you have 2 or more batteries.
  11. Yeah that environment thing. You’re neighbors don’t just hate your gas lawn work because you are noisy, it is also because you are polluting the neighborhood. Get off that gas already and go electric!

I still haven’t found great industrial strength yard tools that are electric (so yard companies won’t likely soon be electric) but the 80V class of yard tools means that anyone with under an acre of lawn care can easily get by without petroleum yard tools.

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Comments

  1. quiviran - 7 years ago

    I think your idea is correct. Too bad the producers of the video didn’t have the wit to let you HEAR the equipment in action.

  2. Walt - 7 years ago

    Been using a hustler Zeon for almost 3 years now.

  3. Trev Page - 7 years ago

    I have the Greenworks 80V snowblower and it’s quite good. I used it a few times this past winter in all kinds of conditions for my 2 car garage and it performed as intended. Don’t let the poor reviews of the 40Volts SnowJoe deter you, the 80V Greenworks blows it away, literally.

  4. Dave Lecture - 7 years ago

    I bought the 80v 21 inch Mower from GreenWorks, about a month ago. Mowed 4 times with it, and it’s never been so pleasant, mowing and not feeling I’m poisoning myself with fumes. Feels more like I’m vacuuming the lawn, which is a good thing. The unit has more than enough power for my 1/4 acre lot, even when it’s below 40F.
    rai
    Did see a youTube video where a guy wrecked his by using a low setting on overly tall grass. It jammed the shaft to one side of the mower and destroyed it. He called Greenworks, who sent out a replacement, and proceeded to ruin that one exactly the same way, rather than work the grass down using multiple passes. I’ve been terrified of damaging mine every since.

    But, he’s correct in that the design is flawed by having the blade directly attached to the motor shaft, rather than using gears to take the strain and prevent the shaft from being bent off center when overloaded or hitting objects. Perhaps in the near future, GreenWorks will upgrade the design for better robustness.

  5. Alasdair - 7 years ago

    Bosch make a range of professional grade rechargeable garden equipment, and it looks really serious: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p8n6HLjD0XU

  6. notmyrealname - 7 years ago

    Fully Charged Show covered the Bosch professional electric garden lawnmowers a few months back – well worth the watch https://youtu.be/p8n6HLjD0XU

  7. Foob - 7 years ago

    Been using EGOPowerPlus tools the last couple of years (the mower, leafblower and strimmer), and they’ve been excellent. Their 4ah battery charges in half an hour. They just launched a few new tools with much higher capacity batteries (up to 7.5ah) that are backward compatible with the tools I have, and say they’ll launch a snowblower before next winter. Definitely worth a look if you’re in the market. I have no affiliation with the company. Just a happy customer 🙂

  8. Lee - 7 years ago

    I bought an electric snow blower in the fall of 2015 for the impending winter. I originally was going to get a gas snow blower, but the main reason I changed my mind was because I didn’t want to deal storing a wet gas engine for an unknown period of time during the winter, then summerizing the machine and storing it. With an electric, I just unplug it and let it dry before putting it away. I bought a 13A machine and it handled 6 wet inches of snow well. I don’t have a large driveway though, just big enough to park two cars.

  9. Dan - 7 years ago

    We’re fans of the less-expensive Worx brand power tools here. Small lawn to care for at our home. We have the mower, blower, and edger/whacker. Plenty powerful enough for our needs. Another advantage over gas: no messing around with adding StaBil to your fuel tanks for off-season storage to prevent the gas from gumming up the carb next time you try to start it. And let’s not even mention the PITA of mixing fuels for two-stroke engines!

  10. phermey - 7 years ago

    Electric weed eaters just aren’t there yet.

  11. Nathanael - 7 years ago

    Snowblowers aren’t ready yet. Everything else is.

    I’ve been using Black & Decker cordless lawnmower and string trimmer (weedwhacker) for… five years now, I guess. There are now a *lot* of very nice alternatives available.

    For hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and string trimmers, the battery-electric tools are even read for yard-maintenance-company scale use. The batteries are swappable. Just buy a pile of batteries and swap ’em as needed. The gasoline versions of these small tools are exceptionally inefficient and smoke-belching so these should be a *priority*.

    • Nathanael - 7 years ago

      (When I say that snowblowers aren’t ready yet, I should specify that I live in an area where the snowfall is measured in feet.)

  12. Jeff - 7 years ago

    Love my Greenworks tools in the garage. Had trouble letting go of the old gas mower at first but half way through the summer I gave the mower (and gas can) to the kid down the street. Get an extra battery! While it’s charging you can keep working.

  13. Kakkerlak - 7 years ago

    The other day I was walking my dog and passed two separate crews doing yard work. I only knew about one because you could hear the scream of their blowers and trimmers from four blocks away.

    The other crew was from a company that specializes in zero-emissions yard work. They had a pickup truck fitted with solar panels charging their off-duty batteries, a little Honda generator sitting idle for extra capacity, and the loudest sound was the whoosh from a leaf blower.

    The difference for the workers was obvious; the electric crew wasn’t wearing earmuffs and they were talking and joking and smiling.

  14. John - 7 years ago

    Great review on the electric lawn mower. Thanks for the tips and helped me choose the right lawnmower for me!

Author

Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites. Tesla Model 3, X and Chevy Bolt owner…5 ebikes and counting