Suggesting to a lawn care professional that battery-powered lawn equipment might one day replace the standard gas-powered option might get you laughed at. I know this from experience. I have a few friends that work in the field, and the last time we talked about the subject, I got scoffed at for the mere suggestion that battery-powered equipment seems to be steadily improving. Before I had the opportunity to clarify, the subject was met with, “Electric will never replace gas, there’s not enough power there.”
Fair enough. I’ve worked in the industry myself, and I’ll agree that the summer months might throw more at electric motors than they can take on a pro level. And, run times aren’t yet at a place where electric motors could displace gas-powered for a full day’s work. However – and this was my original point – battery-powered equipment has improved dramatically over the last few years. And, while it might not be at a point where it can take over for gas engines on a pro level, the technology is good enough for supplementing gas power.
What Are The Benefits?
Ease of Use. Electric outdoor power equipment is downright light compared to gas engines. Easier to carry and maneuver, battery-power can leave you less fatigued. With no pull cord to yank around, push-button start-up becomes instant and reliable. You can afford to pay less attention to maintenance, as there are fewer moving parts in the engine.
Electric motors require no gas and little, if any, oil. This means less mess and fumes. Also, without gas, there’s no potential for spilling gasoline into the topsoil. The cost of operation goes down with electric as well. For what you might spend on a few gallons of gas, you can power your electric mower for a year. If you’re also the type who cares about protecting the environment, electric power equipment can help you in your efforts to “go green.”
Battery power generates less noise than gas power; by comparison, battery-powered equipment is almost silent. Without gas-powered decibels screaming down your ear canals, you might just be able to salvage your valuable hearing for a few more years.
Supplementing Gas With Electric
These benefits might be negligible, if not altogether unimportant for the professional with 8 contracts to work through over the course of a day. If you can’t get the work done, either because of lack of power or lack of runtime, then the benefits of going electric become worthless.
However, there might be very good reasons for the professional landscaper to supplement gas power with electric. Some communities might have noise restrictions that make running gas-powered equipment problematic. And, as some state regulations become more strict on emissions, supplementing gas might eventually become a necessity.
Plus, battery-power is just handier than gas. The tools equipment weighs a good deal less, and start up almost instantly. If the yard I’m working on is small, I can slap a battery into my string trimmer and finish that job in the time it would take me to fill the gastank and yank a gas-powered trimmer to life.
At the end of the day, my professional landscaping friends might be right. Battery power can’t tackle the same sort of workload that gas power can. Or at least, not yet. Between having a longer run time, and providing the power necessary to get through hard jobs quickly, gas-powered equipment still reigns supreme in that line of work.
However, it seems short-sighted to write off battery-powered equipment completely, even on the professional level. Supplementing gas power with electric power seems like a win-win. Equipping yourself with power and efficiency can only benefit the work you do. And, if there’s any truth in that dusty old chestnut that “time is money,” using both platforms for your lawn business could save you both.