It's been a year since I started transitioning to battery powered landscaping equipment. The transition is now complete, and has been for a couple months. I now use battery powered tools for just about everything. The last time I used a gas powered chainsaw, or any other such equipment was February. Equipment is lubricated with used deep fry oil.
I even bought a battery powered bicycle which is used for most of my travel within the city. The truck only moves if I'm going to a new job or if I have something heavy to transport. A gas powered vehicle has been used four times in nineteen days. This is at least a 75% reduction.
I have seen my income rise during this period. About $5500 has been spent on tools. None of them have given me any trouble.
My truck is the primary user of fossil fuels now. Judging from past experience, I expect to use less than $100 per month in gasoline, with the bike being used for commuting and personal trips. This is far less fuel than is used by your average landscaper/tree cutter/demolition guy.
More on this later, with links to all of the new toys.
My primary tool is the E-go chainsaw. I have four batteries, since I also have the E-go blower, hedge cutter and weed whacker. Two chargers are generally used when I'm on a large job. By the time I drain two, the others are ready. They are usually plugged in very close to the truck. I haul some branches and the batteries to the truck and return with fresh batteries. Charge time is 33 minutes.
The Stihl equipment uses a battery that's good for longer than my arms will hold up.
I have 5 Makita batteries.
There are a wide array of tools and tasks to be done. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to kill all batteries.
I'm following your battery transformation with interest. Here are my experiences.
I've been a carpenter for over 15 years and have enjoyed the evolution of battery tools from the makita 9v screwdriver to where we are now.
I use makita 18v exclusively now for battery tools as I find them overall the best balance between price and quality. There are other machines that are better, (specifically the panasonic cordless drills) but the hassle of having different chargers and powerpacks outweighs the benefits for me. I'd love the industry to settle on standards like they did with USB, but I can't see that happening for a while, if at all.
I own a drill, rattle screwgun, recipro saw, circle saw, jigsaw and biscuit jointer and strimmer.
Now the 18v batteries are 4.0 Ah or more at least, super heavy use only needs 3 battery changes per day, and the extra power that the brushless motors deliver really takes things into wrist hurting territory for long (200 mm/ 8 inchscrews into hardwood)
On the other hand the 18v strimmer (brush trimmer?) that my wife wanted for the garden is a bit of a toy really. It works to tidy things up, but after being away for 2 weeks, I used it for the first time and it really struggled through the longer stuff. Having said that, no extension leads and no fumes made the job much more pleasant than it could have been. It was cheap, is really light and I'm probably trying to make it do things it's not designed for.
On Dale's fine recommendation, we have been purchasing a wide assortment of E-go battery-operated tools. We have the 20" electric lawn mower (that I use to cut grass for fodder for my pigs/chickens/turkeys), chain saw, and string trimmer. We have one heavy-duty battery and 2 smaller regular batteries. I can mow for hours and cycle through all 3 batteries so there is no down time. The $500+ price tag for the mower was hard to swallow, but I got the heavy-duty battery and charger with it, and I'm delighted with how light and yet durable it is. I really put it through its paces and it "takes a licking and keeps on ticking". I have mown 3' grass with the mower, and it did as well as anyone could expect. I love it.
The chain saw is light, quiet and powerful enough to take down mid-sized trees with ease. Plus it doesn't smell bad. These are all wins in my book. E-go's customer service is really wonderful, too.
The one item I'm not thrilled with is the string trimmer. We've been through 2 already, and they just don't feed line the way they should, and clog in heavy grass. My scythe is worlds better for cutting long grass, and using it is a similar physical strain. For trimming walkways and lawn edges the string trimmer is perfect, though.
"It is, of course, one of the miracles of science that the germs that used to be in our food have been replaced by poisons." - Wendell Berry
I also have to thank Dale. I have the ego chainsaw, hedge clipper, and string trimmer. The combo of the chainsaw and clipper make clearing land wonderful. Being a permie, I don't want to just bush hog everything. There's a lot of plants I want to keep. I beat the hell out of them for two seasons and no sign of slowing down. I charge them with a discount store solar panel mounted on a furniture dolly. On a good day I can continuously keep batteries charged. Otherwise, I don't use them every day, so I can charge extra batteries and a small golf cart battery. Which I can normally get two full tool charges from. The tools are amazingly powerful. A crew of people armed with ego hedge clipper could clear a acre of woodland of invasive plants in one day. With out sacrificing beneficial plants. And no impact , or fuel pollution from machinery. The hedge trimmer is great for chop and drop too. Light, clean, and veg oil for bar lube, zero residue chop and drop. Thanks again Dale.
I have now just about eliminated the need for extension cords and generators when I'm involved in demolition and house moving. I have purchased some top-quality Milwaukee fuel tools. The circular saw and reciprocating saw compete very well with their plug-in counterparts.
With the time spent running extension cords and monkeying with generators is considered, both tools are far more productive than their plug-in equivalent.
On most jobs, I don't take an extension cord with me anymore. The only exception to this is when I cut stucco or use a jackhammer. There is no operation that I do with wood, that can't be accomplished more efficiently with my battery powered equipment.
My friend Felix, heats his house with scraps from my jobs. I used the circular saw to cut up enough firewood two fill a pickup truck. This killed one of my 9 amp hour batteries. When I look at that huge pile, it definitely represents more cutting than is typical in a day of house framing. I have two 9 amp hour batteries and two 5 amp hour batteries. So all of this work was accomplished using about one-third of available power.
I have some Makita equipment that I am still happy with, but they are not used for heavy jobs anymore. The Milwaukee saws vastly outproduce them and last far longer between charges.
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