When I was in grade school, I helped my grandmother mowing her small yard in Galesburg, IL. She had a corded electric reel lawn mower that was a brilliant piece of kit. Quiet, simple to operate, and cut the grass very neatly. All of 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 of the ensuing drama. I have skimmed many reviews. Bad individual reviews, some with an ax to grind and some with another sweepstakes 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 each other; 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.