Which Electric Mower?

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  • I bought one of the new Milwaukee's a few months ago. It has a steel deck and will chew through about anything. It's not my primary mower but is used for the area immediately around the house and where the Series 1 JD won't fit. I've been very impressed with it. The only down side is that it's pretty expensive. If you already have an investment in other Milwaukee M18 stuff though it's worth it.
     
    The one powered by fossil fuels from power company. Or a gas one> Hmmm
    For me it wasn't about being green or anything like that. I just find the electric one to be more convenient and they have finally achieved similar performance. It's quieter, more compact to store because you can store it standing up without leaking any fluids and it has less maintenance. I figure the break even point for the cost of replacement batteries vs gas is probably close to 5 years so it probably isn't any more economical.
     

    lazarus

    Active Member
    Jun 23, 2015
    10,009
    For me it wasn't about being green or anything like that. I just find the electric one to be more convenient and they have finally achieved similar performance. It's quieter, more compact to store because you can store it standing up without leaking any fluids and it has less maintenance. I figure the break even point for the cost of replacement batteries vs gas is probably close to 5 years so it probably isn't any more economical.
    You forgot the perks of significantly quieter and no gas/exhaust fumes. Plus maintenance is basically 0.

    And yeah, depending on how much you are mowing, my math is about 4-5 years break even between gas and 1 battery for a push mower that is your primary means of mowing. For me, I don't use mine very much since it is just for clean up and my orchard. Which get done about every 2 weeks. So it is probably closer to a decade.

    Though you are saving your time and the cost of replacing the oil (and filter if it has one) as well as possibly cleaning/replacing the carb at some point and the spark plug. At least so far I haven't had a gas mower have a carb die. Or a generator have one go. I have replaced the carb on a chainsaw and also had to clean and replace the carb twice on a string trimmer. Likely more as a result of 2 stroke oil-gas over straight gas in the mower and generator. I have heard from people they've had to clean/replace carbs on mowers though.

    My 2 cents is the only time a gas push mower is superior to an electric these days is if you need to mow a LOT of lawn. Though I'd ask why you aren't using a riding mower at that point. But the electric is lighter, the more powerful ones are as powerful as the gas mower (my 40v greenworks has no problem with thick tall grass unless I am trying to cut like 12" high grass. 2 weeks of lawn growth and plenty of rain and it'll still cut right through it with no problem. It will stall on a month of growth, or I have to cut very slowly). Then you get the generally cheaper, sometimes a lot cheaper than the gas. Maintenance is basically zero other than occasionally sharpening or replacing the blade. Refueling if you have a spare battery takes a few seconds. Most run at around 70-75dB in volume, compared to 110-120dB in volume. No fumes. Store however you want. Typically lighter by several pounds. Mower itself is generally cheaper. Though the batteries add a lot of expense. Then again, if you using the same line of lawn tools, that spreads the cost significantly.

    At least at this point the only two lawn tools I find where battery powered electric isn't almost as good as, as good as, or better than gas powered are leaf blowers and chainsaws. And I have battery powered of both. Electric small leaf blowers are FANTASTIC. But if you want the full up POWERFUL kind you'd want to use on a grounds crew/landscaping crew, you need the battery electric backpack type leaf blowers and those ARE as powerful. But the run time isn't all that great, they are a fair amount heavier than gas powered backpack leaf blowers, and they are $$$ more. Then again, you save a lot of money on gas if you are using one commercially. They are still WAY quieter and no fumes. Having used backpack leaf blowers, those are not insignificant things as perks.

    For chainsaws, the current battery electric ones are pretty danged awesome. But even my father-in-law's almost brand new 80v 18" is not nearly as powerful as my Stihl 271 farm boss. And if you were ONLY getting that and some spare batteries, you'd really need probably 3 batteries in total to do serious cutting work. Which makes it quite a bit more expensive than the Stihl 271...

    And it just can't do as much work as fast. I've got a greenworks 40v 16" chainsaw and it is fantastic for light and even medium work. But its got about 1/3-1/4 the cut speed of my Stihl farmboss. And it starts to overheat by the time I am about exhausted the 2nd battery if I am doing hard cutting (like chopping up a 8-10" diameter tree) and I usually need to let it sit and cool for 10-15 minutes about the time I've finished the 2nd battery. So that slows you down further. At least my greenworks batteries take around 90-120 minutes to recharge (some manufacturers have fast charge on their batteries and can charge them in around 30 minutes. However, it WILL burn out the batteries much faster. So you might only get 100-200 charges to 80% capacity versus charging at 1-2hrs which might give you 300-500 charges to 80%).

    So anyway, in HARD work, it's probably more like 1/5th the work rate that running my farmboss gets me. Shorter bar, doesn't cut as fast, time to charge batteries (even though I have 3 4ah and a 2ah 40v battery), time to let the saw cool. Plus, with a 4ah battery, the 16" chainsaw is as heavy as my farmboss with a 20" bar.

    For light work it is much closer to parity. If I am just limbing a tree, or cutting up small trees/saplings, the electric is nearly as fast. Because then it's as much about moving from cut to cut and not a whole ton of time actually doing a cut. And I can set the saw aside and I am not idling along wasting gas. Much more time to cool between cuts. Etc. Limbing and lighter cutting and I can get away with a solid 30-45 minutes of work time on a battery, so it cools enough and with charging I don't really have to stop work other than replace batteries and throw one on the charger.

    My FIL's 80v cuts somewhat faster and seems to have slightly less issues with overheating (he has gotten it to overheat cutting up a big tree), but he is still only getting about half the cutting speed of my Stihl in trying it out.

    For your average homeowner, battery electic chainsaws would be just fine. And ideal because you don't have to deal with gas, being super loud, fumes, etc. Costs are lower than a good chainsaw if you are already sharing batteries around (I have a string trimmer, pole saw, 16" chainsaw, mower and leaf blower sharing my 4 batteries). If you were getting the batteries only for a chainsaw, the cost is higher if you want to be able to do a lot of work. If you are fine just getting the tool and one battery, it is price parity with a cheap gas chainsaw and maybe only a bit less capable than a CHEAP chainsaw (my 16" poulan with a new chain cuts maybe only about 1.5x faster than my 16" greenworks and my FIL's 80v cuts about as fast. Of course, it is still capable of a lot longer work).

    But if you need to do serious work, a nice gas chainsaw is better.

    And of course, there is NO comparison against more powerful gas chainsaws and electric. The kind of stuff a tree company or lumber company are going to be using. For instance I had to have a black gum taken down close to my house last week. Tree company took it apart and then cut it down. They were using Stihls. The guy in the tree looked like he was using a small little woodboss to cut off the big upper branches. The guy on the ground (once the guy in the tree finished and came down) was using one of the BIG models with a 30" bar just sliced right through the tree like butter.

    I still love my electric chainsaw. But I have 4.4 acres that are mostly wooded (about 3 acres of it). I am real glad I am using my farmboss to cut up that huge black gum rather than my battery electric. Its about 30-32" at the base and the upper part of the trunk is around 19". It is saving me hours of work and backpain. I end up having about a tree a year like that I end up cutting up for firewood and plenty of smaller trees and thigh/torso thick large branches that come off trees. I burn around 2-3 cords of firewood a winter. So a good strong chainsaw is critical. The electric gets used all the time to limb fallen trees, cut up smaller branches that have come down. The cypress trees that I take down (those are usually only around 12-14" at the base), etc.
     

    Slackdaddy

    My pronouns: Iva/Bigun
    Jan 1, 2019
    3,103
    I am patiently waiting for them to perfect the "Battery powered generator"
    No more stale gas fouled carb, oil changes, hard starts, etc.
     

    slsc98

    Active Member
    May 24, 2012
    4,816
    Escaped MD-stan to WNC Smokies
    This is what someone in Middletown has for their yard. Actually they have two…one in front and one in back. Almost like a mowing Rumba!

    ^This That^ is what I’m holding out for, only on Steroids. All wheel drive and smartphone capable … got 3 acres of HILL and am push mowing 1/3 of it … hanging in there for now but, writing on the wall is becoming more evident with each season … (narrowly avoided repair of torn meniscus in both knees last year so, sign me up for robot lawncare, lol!)

    I figure by time I am no longer able to push, what we will need in the way of a “Lawnba” (as far as torque, battery life, etc,) will be in the neighborhood of $10 grand …

    Wife says, “Hey, if it keeps us in this view for anything close to another decade, fook it, Go For It!!!
     

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    lazarus

    Active Member
    Jun 23, 2015
    10,009
    I am patiently waiting for them to perfect the "Battery powered generator"
    No more stale gas fouled carb, oil changes, hard starts, etc.
    What is your definition of perfected. That isn't glib.

    You can get 240v split phase battery inverters now if you want. Portable by many definitions of portable (wheels and can be dragged around. Carried if you are rather strong). NOT cheap though. I can't tell you what the cheapest option is, but I think you are looking at around $5000-6000 will get you a setup that will do 240v split phase and put out at least 5000w of power with around 8-12kwh. That would be enough to run a house with reduced load for a day.

    Honestly the best option is a battery electric vehicle that can back feed. The Ford Lightning can do that (I think just the extended range model). When you are talking 60+kwh on tap, that is some serious storage for all but the largest houses (probably still power limited for BIG houses that are all electric. You aren't going to be back feeding 24kw or anything. But you could 10-12kw).

    If you don't need or want to run anything on 240v split phase and just looking for 120v, that is a lot easier to find. If you are just looking for running your fridge, some lights and outlets you can find some 120v units that'll put out 3000w surge fine and have 4-6kwh of storage for around $2-3k or somewhat under maybe. That would run a fridge, lights, ceiling fans, some lights, charge your stuff, watch TV, etc. for probably a couple of days.

    Of course, you'll want to recharge that at some point. Though solar panels have gotten a lot cheaper and most of those setups you could get a couple of folding 150-250w panels and parallel them to the inverter/battery unit and charge during the day. It won't get you a ton of power on the scale of a HOUSE, but plenty to limp along for an extended outage. Depending on your insolation you could get 2-4kwh a day out of that.
     

    lazarus

    Active Member
    Jun 23, 2015
    10,009
    ^This That^ is what I’m holding out for, only on Steroids. All wheel drive and smartphone capable … got 3 acres of HILL and am push mowing 1/3 of it … hanging in there for now but, writing on the wall is becoming more evident with each season … (narrowly avoided repair of torn meniscus in both knees last year so, sign me up for robot lawncare, lol!)

    I figure by time I am no longer able to push, what we will need in the way of a “Lawnba” (as far as torque, battery life, etc,) will be in the neighborhood of $10 grand …

    Wife says, “Hey, if it keeps us in this view for anything close to another decade, fook it, Go For It!!!
    The existing ones are under $7k last I checked and that was several years ago. They'll usually be able to mow around half an acre on a charge, go back, recharge, go back to mowing. You'd need to look at them more, but I think the suggestion was about 1.5 acres each because it would basically mow half an acre per day and I guess they assume you either need to mow a LOT, or want a few days of it not mowing.
     

    slsc98

    Active Member
    May 24, 2012
    4,816
    Escaped MD-stan to WNC Smokies
    The existing ones are under $7k last I checked and that was several years ago. They'll usually be able to mow around half an acre on a charge, go back, recharge, go back to mowing. You'd need to look at them more, but I think the suggestion was about 1.5 acres each because it would basically mow half an acre per day and I guess they assume you either need to mow a LOT, or want a few days of it not mowing.

    ^That^ll work particularly as I have (barring anything unforeseen :-) 7-10 more years of being able to push the hills that require it … lotta teckernologee can occur in 8 years, nowadays!
     

    Slackdaddy

    My pronouns: Iva/Bigun
    Jan 1, 2019
    3,103
    I will never take a elec push mower serious,,, until they stop making them with the "Fake" gas engine on the deck.
     

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