From Gasoline and AC Cords to DC Battery Power


 In grade school, I helped my grandmother mow her small yard in Galesburg, IL. She had a corded electric reel lawn mower, a brilliant piece of kit. Quiet, simple to operate, and cut the grass very neatly. The rest of the lawn work was done by hand, trimming, edging, etc.

Now that I am a grandfather, I want a different kind of simplicity and help from my outdoor power tools. For decades I have been using gasoline-powered lawnmowers. I have used corded string trimmers, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers. A few years ago, I got a Stihl gas blower, and chain saw. I also purchased a battery-powered string trimmer. I have been roto-tilling my garden with a 50-year-old gas tiller that needs a new engine and using a hand-me-down AC-powered cultivator.

This system requires keeping two kinds of gasoline, two types of oil, multiple extension cords, and battery chargers. It is too much!

Over the last few weeks, I have been burning up my Internet bandwidth by studying outdoor power equipment. I have read quite a few good stories and some bad ones. I have been watching the changing corporate winds and some ensuing drama. I have skimmed many reviews. Bad individual reviews, some with an ax to grind and some with another sweepstake to enter! The professional reviews seem to follow a different pattern of click-bait, forced brevity, and ad-infused noise! I have a growing dissatisfaction with consumer review sites and organizations that seem to paint a gloss over everything and try to create a magic numeric table of goodness. I do not think you can see behind the curtain!

Here is the plan...

I maintain two average suburban yards next to mine and my in-laws. I am converting my summer lawn and garden routine to all battery power. I picked a horse to ride on, and that is Ryobi. I choose what I am calling #LifeOn40Volts. Over the next few months, I will report how the Ryobi gear holds up and works for me. I will tell the story as it happens. The first episodes are under construction as I write this.

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