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Cordless / Battery Powered Handhelds? OakNut Gives it a Try

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by OakNut, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,591

    Why not? I've been toying with the idea for a few years, but couldn't bring myself to pay the same (or more) amount for unproven, technology that is clearly not up to the same tasks as can be performed with a gas powered trimmer.

    I've been doing the solo lawn care thing for 5 or 6 years now and I've been using a Stihl FS90R. I have two of them - I picked up the second about a season and a half ago and use the original as a backup. (although I typically keep a hedge trimmer attachment on it and use it as such)
    Plenty of power - enough for anything I've come across and more than is needed for the typical weekly maintained lawn. They aren't perfect though and I find them a tad heavy, they start acting up by season two and need a tuneup, and if I run one for more than ten minutes straight, my hand starts tingling from the vibration. Minor issues for sure, but if there's another option, I'm open to trying it out.

    Echo's recent entry in the cordless market got me thinking about it again.
    In theory I could have a lighter string trimmer that doesn't vibrate, and is "good enough" to do light maintenance trimming, while I have the FS90R waiting just in case I need something with more power. Saving money on fuel isn't a bad thing either.

    "What's out there?" (these are just a few, but the only ones I considered)

    Husqvarna
    Looks good on paper but I'm not ready to pay a msrp of $400 (not including battery/charger)

    Echo
    They had a less powerful cordless trimmer out but this new one is 58v and sold exclusively at Home Depot. ($269 retail price includes battery and charger)
    Also available are a lawnmower, blower, hedge trimmer, and chain saw - all use the same battery.

    EGO
    Much like Echo, in addition to the string trimmer, they also offer a lawnmower, blower, hedge trimmer, and chain saw - all use the same battery. ($219 retail price includes battery and charger)

    Greenworks Pro 80v

    As with the others, a line of battery compatible units are available.
    ($299 retail price including battery and charger)


    It would take forever to explain the differences and pros/cons, but to sum it up as easily as possible, I didn't care for the Echo because the battery is INSERTED in the unit limiting the size of the battery. The brushless (all of these are brushless BTW) motor is up in the back like a traditional trimmer which must turn a shaft to power the head. This seems as though it would be a strain on the battery as compared to a motor located IN the head.

    I was "this close" to getting the Greenworks Pro, as it has a split shaft and accepts box store attachments. Its also more powerful than the others. (well, it has more volts anyway)
    The drawbacks were that it also houses the motor in the back, it only uses puny .080 line, and it's $300.

    I ended up choosing the EGO 15" string trimmer.
    I decided on that one because the battery design seems superior and the "open" design of each unit allows for EGO batteries of all sizes to simply slide on and lock in place. It also has the motor built into the head for maximum efficiency. (the only thing running through the straight shaft on this trimmer is a wire to supply power to the motor)
    The lower price was also a big factor as I don't plan on using this as a "main trimmer" and didn't want to throw a lot of money into this "experiment".

    I'll post up some pics next and I'll then comment on my impressions after having used it "in the field".
     
    The Swamp Fox and Fatwood like this.
  2. OP
    OP
    OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,591

    Since Home Depot sells both the Echo and the EGO I went there to look at them in person to compare.
    They didn't have an EGO on display so I took one out of the box. Note that in these pics the loop handle and front guard are not installed.

    The cool thing was that the battery as shipped is partially charged so I was able to actually run the EGO to feel it spin and work the trigger. The Echos are all on display with discharged batteries that are locked on and the trigger zip tied down.

    [​IMG]

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    I'll say that the Echo seemed a bit better built - at least the metal parts. The plastic on the Echo seems cheesy and I wasn't instilled with a lot of confidence that it would hold up to being banged around.

    The EGO is nicely designed and the plastic portions feel a bit more durable. Not "commercial grade" durable, but better than I had expected.

    Balance is good on both, but I give the Echo the nod by a slim margin for how it felt when holding as if it were in use.
    The Echo uses the standard Echo Speed Feed head.
     
    Fatwood likes this.
  3. AMC32

    AMC32 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Lincolnton, NC
    Messages: 1,511

    How do they compare weight wise? The echo looks like it would be significantly heavier than the ego. And is that a place to rest your arm or help balance it on top of the ego?! I really wanna hear how it works out for you and how well it actually does

    I bet people who were walking by wondered who the crazy guy was taking everything out of the box like it's Christmas morning lol
     
    Mr Stripe likes this.
  4. OP
    OP
    OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,591

    The EGO is notably lighter. (about 9 lb with battery)

    The Echo (13.3 lbs - I assume that's with battery) is close in weight to my Stihl FS90R (11.7 lbs) which was another strike against it. That said, it's pretty well balanced.
    (EDIT: I just looked up the specs and it is heavier than my Stihl)


    The top of both trimmers works well for resting your arm against.
    I do that with my Stihl actually - takes some of the weight off it.

    I'll post more tomorrow.



    EDIT: Sonofabitch. Home Depot reduced the EGO $40 from $219 to $179!
    Gotta see if I qualify for a price adjustment. I'm betting they are dropping the EGO line soon. I noticed they lowered the lawnmower from $499 to $399 recently.
    (I have no real use for the lawnmower)
     
  5. Nunyabisnes

    Nunyabisnes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,014

    Did you look into the stihl ones? Not sure how they compare but have heard good things about them.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. OP
    OP
    OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,591

    No I didn't. While I could be way off base here, I assume that they are getting to be "dated" as newer, better, longer lasting technology comes along.
    They are only 36 volt and besides, they look like an electric carving knife mated with a string trimmer. :laugh:
     
  7. OP
    OP
    OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,591

    Before I get into usage of the EGO string trimmer, I'll post a bunch of photos. I got a lot of good close up shots of various parts.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    It has a hinged shaft for more compact packaging...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The hinged bracket is aluminum and once it is unfolded, two screws lock it tight. That, the loop handle, and the front guard are the only parts you need to attach.

    The wire inside is protected by a fairly heavy outer casing...

    [​IMG]



    Fully assembled and battery inserted...

    [​IMG]

    ...
     
    Fatwood likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,591

    Closeup of the head where the brushless motor is housed...

    [​IMG]


    The guard is a flexible plastic that seems pretty durable.

    [​IMG]


    Bump feed head holds pre-loaded .095 twist line of unknown origin.
    (I will say now that it feeds really smoothly and works well with Echo Crossfire string)
    It comes apart much the same as the head on my FS90R and the string winds on the spool in a similar manner, but does not need to be cut into two pieces.

    [​IMG]


    The handle is a sturdy plastic with a padded section that is nice and comfy. (and likely to tear with heavy use)

    [​IMG]


    The handle area has a "grippy" area that resists slipping and is pretty comfortable. I'm not a fan of the "open" design of the levers as there is the potential for them to catch on things and be broken if hit with enough force.
    The rear housing (that looks a lot like an interstellar fighter cockpit) is pretty solid and it's shape allows you to rest the underside of your forearm on the top - handy to balance it if you need to use one hand for a moment.

    You will note that the area where the battery goes is an "open" design which allows the use of larger, longer lasting batteries - they just slide onto the bottom and snap into place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    In these next two photos, note the "power button" on the rear of the battery. It's a "status light" - when depressed it glows green for a few seconds if the battery has a good amount of charge in it.

    [​IMG]
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    Underside...

    [​IMG]


    Note the slots. I have no idea what they are there.

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    Closeups of the bracket that holds the two-piece shaft together.

    [​IMG]

    The two bolts on the top that run parallel to the shaft are the only two you need to insert and tighten. (an allen wrench is supplied)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. OP
    OP
    OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,591

    Comparison shots with my Stihl FS90R


    [​IMG]

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    See the difference in the trigger and dead man switch design? That's what I mean by an "open" design. In contrast, nothing can catch on the Stihl throttle and hitting it from the side is unlikely to break it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I wonder if a Stihl loop handle would fit. It would keep the "feel" closer to what I'm used to.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
    The Swamp Fox likes this.
  10. AMC32

    AMC32 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Lincolnton, NC
    Messages: 1,511

    That bump head looks a lot like the husqvarna one and those are awesome. Does that curved handle not feel kinda awkward? So far it's looking pretty cool! Those open trigger designs are iffy. I wouldn't want the dead man switch to be open but the throttle its self I do because it has more give than the solid one. But like you said sometimes I do worry about breaking it
    Posted via Mobile Device
     

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