A cordless edger that’s more powerful than gas! Would you sneer at this statement? That’s what I did, until I actually used the Oregon EG120VX edger, with 120-volts and brushless power. The 120-volts comes from either a 6.0 or 9.0 Ah battery delivering 648 and 973 Wh output, respectively.
It was only a couple months ago, while at the GIE Expo in Kentucky, that we first heard and saw the Oregon 120-volt line of lawn tools. Typically, word leaks out and rarely are we surprised – not the case here. Fast-forward a few weeks and Oregon sends us out some of the tools to try. There are currently slated, four lawn tools for what Oregon touts as the 120-volt Professional Series. These are expected to hit the shelves sometime in Spring of 2018 – which is now.
How do you get 120-volts and 6 or 9 Amp-hours from a battery? That’s easy, you wear it on your back. Specifically, you wear it in a backpack. If there’s one debate from this Oregon 120-volt arsenal, it’s the backpack battery idea. It does make the tool lighter, but will the industry adapt to constantly wearing a backpack. We’ll have to see…read-on to see what we think.
Oregon 120-Volt Lineup
- BL120VX Backpack Blower – delivers 165 mph airspeed and 526 CFM, at a 59 dB(A) max. Only tool to use the 120V battery onboard.
- ST120VX String Trimmer – 16.5-inch cutting swath and up to 4 hours runtime with the 9.0 Ah battery
- HT120VX Articulated Hedge Trimmer – 130° adjustable head with a 20-inch blade and nearly 6 hours of runtime
- Oregon EG120VX Edger – 8-inch professional blade and up to 7 hours runtime
Oregon EG120VX Edger Features
At first sight of the Oregon EG120VX edger, the build quality is top-notch. One might say it could be over-engineered…in a good way. The main body, housing the brushless motor and electronics are made of plastic, but the fitment and alignment are very precise. Following the body is the handle, including throttle and “stealth mode” (energy saving mode). The primary handle of the Oregon 120-volt edger is plastic with a rubber overmolding, making it comfortable to the user, even without gloves. An aluminum shaft provides access to the solid shaft and acts as the spine of the 120-volt cordless edger. The secondary handle is adjustable for different size operators.
On the business end, the gearbox and housing are all metal, ensuring that durability exceeds commercial standards. Keeping with the commercial standard, a professional 1-inch by 8-inch blade is used and included for performing the hard work. Using a wing-nut on a typical plastic rubber-lined wheel, the depth of the blade can be adjusted as the blade wears.
Oregon 120-volt Power – 1.2 kW
With the 120-volt battery for fuel, the Oregon EG120VX edger delivers exceptional torque with the 1.2 kW brushless motor, hence outperforming many gas-powered edgers. You get mounds of power while staying quiet, and no need to bring the gas can. With the 9.0 Ah BX975 battery tethered to this 120-volt edger, operators get 5.6 hours of runtime. Using the Stealth Mode reduces noise even more and extends runtime to 7 hours.
Stealth Mode is not a power delimiter, per se. This mode limits the RPM max of the Oregon EG120VX edger, however, it does not limit the torque. Even in the energy saving mode, the 120-volt edger will power through the tough stuff. This is the glory of electric-powered motors, you get nearly 100% of torque instantly.
Backpacks and Batteries
Most other cordless lawn tools include the battery attached to the tool. Oregon decided to go the route of wearing the battery on your back – in a backpack. Users can opt for the BX650 or BX975, both being high capacity Lithium-Ion batteries. The BX650 weighs 10.9 lbs. and delivers 648 Wh, while the BX975 tips the scales at 14.0 lbs. and puts out 973 Wh. Both batteries fit in the Oregon backpack and the backpack blower.
Even the backpack seems to have some engineering and thought put into it. The fit of the backpack is very secure through the use of shoulder straps, a waist strap, and even a chest strap. Adjustable straps adorn each of these areas as well, ensuring the best fit, no matter the shape or size of the operator. The six-foot lead wire coming from the backpack battery allows users to have the freedom to move. By plugging the tether into the Oregon EG120VX edger from the front side (underneath), users don’t risk cutting the power by snagging a cord and pulling out the cord.
Another great feature is the magnetic clip on the right shoulder strap of the backpack. The magnets provide a place for the user to stick the other end of the power-wire, when not tethered to a tool. This feature allows users to disconnect from a tool and secure the tether, but not have to remove the backpack. Both batteries and the Oregon EG120VX edger are weather resistant, hence there’s no reason to fret when those Spring and Summer showers come along. This is a daily occurrence here in Florida, during the summer months.
Using the Oregon 120-volt Edger
We like to really put tools to the test, especially when we’re placing a rating on them. In this case, we received the Oregon EG120VX edger many weeks ago, and we have done our best to use the battery-powered edger like we would a gas-powered edger. Oregon is outright claiming that these 120-volt tools are gas-replacements, even stating they surpass many gas models. This is a pretty bold statement, and we wanted to have our bases covered.
With great reluctance, I have to agree with Oregon. The EG120VX 120-volt edger blows away any of the current battery-powered edgers. It even beats many gas models, and it seems to at least hang with the best gas edgers. I know that I’ll hear it from the commercial and professional crowd, hence I want to make sure that I can substantiate my new-found 120-volt stance. After weeks of use, and bouncing between several edgers, this Oregon EG120VX is built tough and performs exceptionally well.
The power from the 1.2 kW motor turns the 8-inch blade fast and with plenty of torque to cut through thick soil, even when rock and gravel are present. With the battery worn on your back, the EG120VX edger weighs 13.3 lbs. While this is lighter than some gas-powered models, only by a couple pounds. In addition, you have 10.9 or 14.0 lbs. on your back, depending on which battery you have. This is one area where the jury may still be out.
No doubt, Oregon found a way to lay down the power with their 120-volt EG120VX edger. Even runtime seems to Not be an issue with the 9.0 BX975 battery running the edger up to 7 hours. This edger also has durability in mind with components built like a tank.
With Power, Runtime, and even Build Quality all very positive, let’s discuss two concerns which may, or may not, be issues. Price and ergonomics – more specifically, the backpack battery. We’ll look at the more objective issue first – Price. The expected MSRP for the EG120VX edger is $459 for the tool only. This is as much, or more, than many commercial edgers, and we haven’t even talked about battery prices yet.
Cost and ROI
The BX650 battery MSRP is $499, and the BX975 battery MSRP $699. This puts the startup cost of this 120-volt platform to eclipse the $1,000 mark. Granted, if you buy more tools, you don’t have to buy more batteries, unless you will have multiple personnel using different tools.
Looking long term, you won’t have to spend money on fuel or premix, nor will you have the mess that premix brings. This fuel and oil savings could quickly return the thousand or thousands of dollars spent. You’ll have to do your best to calculate this, but it shouldn’t be hard if you know what you spend each week/month on fuel. Spending only $20 each week on fuel and oil will return a $1,000 investment in just one year. That’s a pretty quick payout.
This is where lines may be drawn, and it will be interesting to see how well it takes off. Even with me, I’m not sure where I stand yet with the battery backpack – better idea or no?! While Spring has sprung in Florida, we’re still witnessing lower temperatures than normal here. With that said, we haven’t used the Oregon EG120VX edger in the heat of Summer, or even the heat of Spring. With the backpack loaded with the BX650, it is easy to wear and doesn’t seem to create a sweaty back. Time will only tell on this concern, and we’ll try to circle back an give our current feedback. With the other tools in the Oregon 120-volt line, we’ll be wearing these backpacks for weeks to come anyway.
At this time, with all the categories weighed out, we still give the Oregon 120-volt EG120VX Edger a big two-thumbs-up. Check it out for yourself, and you’ll quickly recognize the power behind the 120-volt 1.2 kW motor. For more information, click Oregon 120V Products .