Going into 3rd season with Ego

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I wish I could select all four categories. This is basically a 2 year review of several products my business is using.

My first product was a trimmer. It was and still is awesome. Plenty of power, good battery life easy to hold, even with big batteries for strong people. No Complaints.

Second was the handheld 580 blower. things was and still is awesome. I like it better than the backpack blowers honestly. easy to hold and portable, almost the same power, does the trick. Doesn't match a stihl br700 or anything, but most the time you don't need that much kick. I have a shovel, broom and dustpan. No complaints.

Third I think I got a mower that had been returned. I just happened to have the money, and it just happened to be 25% off, and it just happened to be the next thing on my wish list. The mower was and still is awesome. No complaints.

By the way, every EGo tool I have ever bought was a combo pack with battery and either fast or standard charger. Best deal, especially for a business, can always use extras.

Then I think I might have picked up the basic hedge trimmer because I sold a hedge job. Was and still is awesome. I probably need to clean and oil it though. no complaints

Then I think at the start of my second year I got another mower, blower and trimmer.

The mower was the same. Two great mowers, no complaints. High Lift blades are a must.

The blower was a step down. Its alright, but I'd definitely go with the 580 or a backpack in the future. The turbo button is fun... but I prefer the steady locking variable control of the 580.

The trimmer was the fancy speed loader carbon fiber deal. I didn't have high hopes - sounded gimicky - but what a great idea. And a great idea it was for the first few loads. I don't even think it made it to 10 loads before it started to not work, tried coaxing and wiggling and getting it to wind, but you could smell burning plastic and started smoking the last time I tried. And it is super hard to wind the hard without the push button speed loader. I mean it was fantastic when it worked, took like 30 seconds to load and I was on my way. It also felt like it had more power, can't remember if it was brushless motor or what, but it was a little bit stronger than the origianl 15" trimmer. Now it just an emergency backup because its a pain to load.

Then I think I found the brushless hedge trimmer on sale, open box or no box something, might be the only tool I bought without battery. It was on sale, and it was shiny, and I didn't have one, so I bought it. Haven't used it yet.

Then at the end of last season I saw 2 back pack blowers that had been returned or something. I live in AK and they don't stock the EGo back pack blowers in store. I found them in the clearance section and bought them both just because I figured I could save the month of waiting for them to barge up up since batteries can't fly.

Oh I also bought a chainsaw somewhere in the first year. Thing was and still is awesome. Battery life goes fast... but as long as you're not clearing a forest, you can take a few trees down for sure.

So thats
- 4 blowers
- 2 mowers
- 2 Trimmers
- 2 Hedge Trimmers
- 1 Chainsaw
- And the Snow Blower

Almost forgot the snow blower. Its pretty cool. It does good with 1 - 6 inches of light snow. Maybe 2 - 3 inches heavy snow. No good for slush. It kicks dry snow real far. Its fun to snowblow the light fluffy stuff. It not being self propelled means more labor, but you can move way faster than waiting for a self propelled unit to go at it's pace. I can jog with this thing if its an inch or two of fluff. I've got about 5 driveways and 2 small parking lots I clear with this thing. Hasn't had a problem in two seasons so far. I have an extra belt and paddle on standby though. Might need to replace the scraper bar though, need to get one. The snow Blower takes 2 batteries so I can usually get through 1-2 driveways. I have my dirve-ways routed so that I can charge at every other stop. I want to get a battery bank / solar assisted to help with charging on the go and not needed to plug into customer outlets.

Also I got extra blades for the mowers. I need to order more. 

so I think thats 12 or 13 batteries I've accumulated over 2-3 years. 4 are down and wont charge anymore. the first to go was brand new; it was a 2.0 that came with the first hedge trimmer. Dropped it from waist/chest height on my gravel driveway and it never worked. 2nd and 3rd were a gut punch; I lost 2 of my 7.5's this winter to what I assume to be freeze damage. I forgot to bring them in to charge one night and 2 of the big boys gave me red blinkers. Still bummed about that and considering how to replace and keep up with current pace of work last year that relied on as much battery power as possible.

The last battery to go was a long time coming. it was a 5.0 that I was using during emergency tree work during a storm we had last spring. it was sunny, windy, raining, sleeting, hailing, snowing.... it was a wild day. We had to get a couple trees out of a driveway and off a truck. I did my best to keep everything sheltered, but I think the 5.0 got a little wet at some point. Ever since that day it has been known as 'blinky.'

It would only charge in the fast chargers, it would show defective on standard charger. But fast charger would do it. as soon as it had some juice it would start blinking a steady green, like a heartbeat. It would blink itself to death if not used in a few days. I think it got some freeze damage as well and it finally won't charge anymore. 

At my peak I had 4 small 2.5, 3 medium 5.0, and 4 large 7.5. The 2.5 died before use so I never got to include it. But losing 3 batteries this winter, I've lost 20 of 55 AH - which is almost half of my power that I now have to replace, instead of build on. So it was an expensive lesson with forgetting to bring these babies inside in the winter. I got a little lazy in the summer a few times and didn't bring them in right away if I didn't have work the next day. Time to implement a best practice!

The chargers all work. For charging while on the go I have 2 fast chargers in 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled at the bottom and along the top walls. The manual says they are for indoor use only, but I haven't bothered with any warranty stuff because its only a year for commercial use. which hardly seems worth the hassle in my opinion. Maybe that will be different if I can get some of their new commercial lineup to AK....(HINT HINT) Anyway the buckets are Home Depot so they are bright orange and hard to forget... kind of. I have forgotten them charging in customer driveways several times. but it does provide a little protection against dirt, grass clippings, and a light sprinkle. If it starts to rain I put a lid on and I haven't had any problems yet.

I plan to build a solar charging enclosed trailer with a battery bank large enough to get me through the day. Obviously the goal to be completely solar powered is ideal, but it will be a process and a journey.

Thinking about getting the dual battery mower... but why no 2 x 7.5 package? or did that sell out? I thought I saw it before, but now its just the 5.0's. I need the big boys, and that double capacity would be nice for my condo association if I get them again.

I also really want to get the edger. It was be nice to get the whole powerhead kit and kaboodle, but everything comes with small batteries. 

Might just end up getting another mower or 2 with the 7.5's... Just so dang expensive to buy the batteries buy themselves, and I figure it will be good to have extra tools for backups or growth. I'll have to probably plan to buy a battery or two every year anyway to cycle them out as they die... Only Time will tell there. Have to really develop good habits with taking care of the batteries.

Its also a bummer that to get any of the good stuff I have to order slow boat shipping. Our local Home Depot only carries the basic entry level models. batteries + shipping = suck I get it. just requires extra planning and financial flexibility on my end. 


Keep up the good work though. It's good stuff. I get a lot of compliments on how quiet this stuff is. I've even had phone conversations while mowing. I don't think I'll ever buy a gas trimmer again. Probably my favorite tool is the regular 15" trimmer. Gets a lot of action and never a hiccup. 

hoping to see commercial mowers. something with twin mulching blade like commercial honda, and then larger sizes like a 36 inch walk behind! A shop vac, and pressure washer would be cool too. And a battery powered backpack sprayer. And a self propelled snowblower on tracks. Tracks>Wheels. With a cruise, transport, and/or free-roll/spin speed setting! ideas for days.

debating what to get next,
Keeton
Owner Caliber LLC
Anchorage, AK
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Keeton Fagnani

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Posted 4 months ago

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szwoopp, Champion

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Keeton that is quite the rundown of Ego equipment.  Once again - fantastic to hear from someone using the tools professionally.
Thanks for the very complete review
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Blue Angel, Champion

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I'll second that!  Thanks for taking the time!  Lots of good information there.  Ego does read these comments so I'm sure your thoughts will be considered.
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Keeton Fagnani

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Also... I use the handheld bowers for snow.

I saw a complaint about a guy getting electrocuted. I must be forgetting to dip my hands in water or something, but I've never been electrocuted using your blowers for snow. I also usually wear these great hand warming devices called gloves, but they can be expensive so maybe he can't afford any... but if its not technically for snow, then its not technically for snow. 

but they do great for light fluffy snow. I mean, i keep the batteries in my tool box and the blower in the cab so they aren't getting much exposure. I just got a laugh from homeslice trying to return the unit and make a stink. They are they best thing ever for blowing off the truck. Beats a snow brush/broom thing. I seen one of the car dealerships up here with Ego blower for the guy dusting snow off the cars for sale too. I can twist and turn and juggle with the darn thing if i want. its light weight and works in any position, easy to lift and get angles that backpack blowers cant and that gas units might leak or not get fuel upside down or whatever. the 580 blower is my favorite blower for sure; over the backpack and the 500 or whatever it is.
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szwoopp, Champion

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"Homeslice"
best post of the year
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Lapp3r30

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I had some minor electrocuting myself with my blower.  Sort of like a buzzing effect.  
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Exrace

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Depending on the type of snow and humidity a static charge can build up from the snow exiting the plastic chute. Leaf blowers are known to do the same thing. Many have reported this on this forum.
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David HD, Champion

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I am in agreement here, never been shocked by snow with my 575 CFM.  But now that I said it, I will get it the next time I use it for light snow ... :-)
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There is a slender grounding contact imbedded in the underside of the hand grip. This is to facilitate a constant trickling off to "ground/earth" of static electricity through uninsulated hands. Think of the helicopter dropping Jack Ryan off at a US attack sub: "those rotors put out enough static electricity to light up Times Square". The heavy winter gloves I wear disallow the current flow. In summer I wear textured rubber so no shock there either. When I have received a shock it is only a little tickle. You see, I'm a high amperage kinda guy and it takes some serious juice to light me up. 
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Craig Rogers

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So you are a true believer.. I think its going to hurt a lot when you have to purchase 12-13 batteries to keep going with your business. I dont think you stated how many times during the year you used each piece and charged the batteries before they died... That would be good to know. Plus why aren't they covered under warranty?
(Edited)
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Ken, Champion

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They are covered under warranty. He addresses that in his post. Warranty for commercial use is different from consumer use, plus he admits some of the damage to batteries was because of his own actions.
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Keeton Fagnani

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Yeah warranty for commercial use is one year - and I've been doing things like using the charger outside (meant for indoor conditions only) and I forgot the batteries in my truck in freezing weather - I can't hold EGo accountable for my negligence. And The batteries are weather resistant but not waterproof so I can't bitch about the one getting wet in the rain. I wish the batteries could handle the freezing cold overnight, but I understand enough about batteries to know that temperatures can damage them.

I am however starting to question the long term potential with running battery powered equipment. I already don't know what I'm going to do because I'm dumping money into marketing, but I'm starting the season with less power. So I'll have more work and less batteries. But i'm hoping to buy a couple batteries once things start flowing. 

As far as the number of times I used each battery and piece of equipment - I'm not keeping track. It might behoove me to do so though. I had about 20 residential accounts and one 40 unit association. I stayed busy 4-5 days a week last year, we have about 20 weeks in our season. Batteries are used and charged several times a week - With the larger batteries getting more action than the little guys. 
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Lapp3r30

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I'm in year 4 of my business. Same 2 batteries. Hundreds of charges. And then some!! I'll let you know when they stop.
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Peter Wachter

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PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE. It's clear that the batteries come near to equaling or exceeding the cost of the machines they are designed to power. Increasing numbers of people are using battery-powered landscaping tools on a professional basis. Thus it would be interesting, and no small challenge, to do a quantitative ROI for battery vs. gasoline powered machinery. One could assign a "pain threshold" that might allow that the battery scenario could be let's say 25% more expensive and could be justified. In municipalities with noise abatement codes there may be no choice but to migrate to juice instead of gas. I live on the "North Shore", suburbs north of Chicago along Lake Michigan. Since some customers reside in towns with noise laws, landscapers are now towing a "kit" comprised of both gas and electric. $urely a burden.  In running this comparison one should delve deeply into all the "incedentals". Filling with gas, changing oil, spark plugs, fuel and air filters, winter de-comissioning, etc. Would anyone out there have an idea of the total operational hours expected from any EGO tools? Will the initial batteries die before the electric motor? Is the electric motor user-replaceable? Or shall we discard these "shells" like we'll do for all bespoke-designed LED light fixtures knowing that in 5-10 years newer generations of products will be so much better, more efficient that the choice is obvious?   
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Keeton Fagnani

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Very interesting and thought provoking.

I'd like to know total operational hours as well. Also I read somewhere else - I think a comment on the brushless mower - Guy seemed to know what he was talking about, but he said that the brushless mower and all brushless tools are the way to go because the brushed tools will actually lose efficiency over time, causing more drain on the aging batteries and getting less run time. Brushless on the other hand supposedly retains its efficiency since there are no brushes. I'm not sure if anyone services brushed equipment to restore it to optimum conditions - but almost certainly no one in Alaska does which means I might be screwed. 

It starts to not become too hard to imagine needing a completely new equipment lineup every several years.... Batteries age and lose charge, brushed motors age and lose efficiency - Not a winning combination. 

But is it better in the long run than constantly buying gas, oil, and taking time to maintain combustion equipment...? Everything was batteries is quicker and quieter, and 90% problem free. But cheaper... not so sure. 

I might have to just buy a mower every year, number them, figure out how to record their running hours, and wait for them to die. Maybe compare against a brushless. 


But then like you say... 5-10 years and technology improves. So maybe its ok to have short lived equipment so that I'll be ready to get the fancy new bells and whistles when they come out. Like cell phones, I'll just have to get the latest and greatest every 2 or 3 years....  Who needs relialble combustion dinosaurs when you have an army of replaceable batteries. The price will come down - I remember when 1Gig SD cards cost $100.
(Edited)
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Keeton Fagnani

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Even if batteries end up not being the best choice for mowing.... I don't think I'll ever use combustion hand tools again.

Weed Whacker/Trimmer is Boss
Hedge Trimmer Boss.
Blowers Boss.

I'll pay for new batteries and new hand tools no matter what. Combustion tools can suck it.
(Edited)
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bigfootcountry

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Interesting thread.

I have been running Ego handhelds for about a year and a half professionally. I too went battery heavy vs charge on the fly.

I don't believe there is a formula that can measure the cost of battery vs gas. Simply you cannot measure the sensory improvements you experience from running battery equipment.

I run a longer season than you do and see plenty of rain. Probably a fluke that rain affected your battery. I have dropped batteries plenty of times and still no direct failures. I think the cold is hard on these batteries though.....Probably your biggest enemy to battery life.

I stayed away from the mowers instead going all in on handhelds. No regrets and I will not go back to gas.
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Lapp3r30

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Nice post Keeton.  I checked out your site.  What do you use for aeration?
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Keeton Fagnani

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Thanks!
In the ideal situation, i use mother nature. Well, not ideal for profit, but for the customer and environment.

I have a customer With a 17 year old organic lawn no chemicals, just organic Spring fertilizer. No thatching. No aeration. And she's got the nicest grass in the neighborhood. Her worms and the micro scopic life living in her soil aerate the soil. Grass is so thick it's easy to take care of the occasional dandelion.

But for everybody else I just rent a big heavy duty gas hog walk behind Aeration machine. Except for the one guy that asked for spike aeration I had to step it out lol 4 holes at a time. Took like 3hours. But I couldn't find a worth a crap spike aeration machine anywhere.
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Exrace

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I am in my 3rd year of usage with the 21 SP and trimmer and have no issues with batteries. 
I charge the hour before I cut grass as the 7.5 amp battery can do my whole yard in one charge (1 hour run time). On the trimmer I have two 2.5 hour batteries which I cycle between running them till the trimmer stops then charge full and sit on shelf on garage for next usage. 

For winter storage I 50% charge the batteries and store them on a shelf in my partially heated garage (never gets below 40 degrees). The mower also sits in my garage so this unit has never experienced freezing temps or cold to warm weather condensation from being in a unheated shed.

To save on startup draw and increase brush life on the mower I normally mow my yard by never shutting off the motor (only for bag changes) and use the SP about 10% of the time in section of my backyard which has inclines.

I bag my yard every cut and the ego does a good job with the standard blade. I gave up on mulching with this mower during the heavy grow season due to the dropping of clippings in a line when cutting heavy grass.

Overall I am happy with the mower/trimmer and battery life. My 25 year old Honda is still rusting away in my shed as backup. 
(Edited)