Four years ago I started down the path to all battery lawn and garden tools – here’s how it went

On July 22 or 23, 2018 I decided I wanted to finally get rid of the yearly “well, what’s not going to start this time and how much am I going to have to pay to find out” lawn maintenance routine. I also hated storing gasoline at my house because, well, fire hazard and it goes bad eventually. This lead me down the path to all battery lawn and garden tools.

So I got a Ryobi 20″ mower that had a battery, charger and such. It functioned remarkably well, although I’d say that calling itself as strong as a gas powered mower was pushing it. It needed two batteries, or one battery with a replacement charge to handle my lawn in normal operations. I’ve been using it four years with no issues and the batteries still hold a charge and no issues with the unit other than the auto close spring on the lid popped off in an accident.

Ryobi 20" self propelled battery powered lawn mower

In June of 2019 I got a Ryobi chainsaw. Got the same brand because I’ve got spare batteries. You know the lock in techniques. We had a bunch of storms and tornadoes, and the chainsaw worked as well as a gas one for the times I used it. Limited by battery capabilities, which you might guess are more problematic to recharge when there’s no power. Eh, great power, your use cases will dictate. I’ve worked alongside a lot of people helping clear trees and I think it kept up.

Chainsaw eating tree - good grief
There’s the rare chainsaw eating tree pictured

In 2020 I picked up a weed whacker and a hedge trimmer. Also battery powered. No complaints except the weed whacker didn’t have a trigger guard and I transported it with a battery in it once… once… lot of seat damage.

I decided to take a Jackery 250 and solar panel I’d reviewed and see if I could charge everything with that. I could, no issues with getting my lawn off the grid in 2021. I’ll note this would theoretically not save anyone a penny until several hundred years after the battery had already died (and take an additional few decades to reach a green level,) if I did the math right. I just happened to have the equipment around. I’ve got to point out there’s no financial or green benefit to doing this, just decided to see if in a post apocalyptic Mad Max world I could mow. Yup. Not an issue.

I’ve had no maintenance required beyond cleaning the units. No gas spills. During the pandemic shutdowns I helped neighbors mow and was much more easily able to transport an electric light mower from place to place than my gas beast. With the batteries removed no kids are going to start them up.

For my use cases, other than the helping neighbors whose yards had overgrown, I have had no complaints. Not sure I’d even complain with what I had to tackle, because even my gas mower would have been underpowered. The chainsaw has been especially noteworthy. For my fairly infrequent chainsawing, being able to keep up with real ones that weigh twice as much for 3-4 batteries is great! Coincidentally, 3-4 batteries worth (7-9 amp hours,) is the same amount of time it takes to completely wear my butt down chainsawing, it’s worked.

Anyway, so far for Paul’s use cases – pleased. You need to never stop and work all day at chainsaws, gas probably your thing. Mowing fields? Gas probably your thing. In an urban/suburban area and mowing when it needs mowed? Electric all the way. Mowing at 6am on a Sunday and don’t want to annoy your neighbors? Hell yeah batteries and a whirring lawnmower.

I suspected by year 4 my batteries should be fading. Maybe they are, but I’m still at just under two of the larger ones for one solid mow. Nothing runs out faster than I expect it will.

Upside is light, powerful, no maintenance I’ve had to do beyond replacing a chainsaw blades – wore down one, broke one, one was bad out of the box which was weird, think I’m on #4 now. These are name brand non-Ryobi blades as a note, the Ryobi blade lasted two years and was sharpened repeatedly.

So yeah, battery/electric has been good. There’s no cost benefit that I can tell. Little to no green benefit over the expected battery and product life. But the experience has been a lot better. Just starting and stopping the mower without wondering if it’s going to start up has been freakishly great. Got a charge and a chainsaw? It’s probably going to work without having to pull it apart and clean a fuel line.

Year 4, electric/battery wins for me. Your use cases and experience may vary wildly.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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