Long Term Ownership Costs?

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I'm interested in purchasing a Ego mower initially but I have reservations about long term 5+ year parts costs and the ability to keep the mower running cost effectively.

1.Has any thought been given to a EGO battery trade-in program, where you could trade-in your dead or dying EGO batteries down the road in order to get a reasonably priced replacement? I'm specifically referring to outside the 3 year warranty period. 
2. Is there any estimate for how long the brushed motor (in the mower) will be "maintenance free" as far as not needing the brushes, bearings, etc replaced? Is sending the mower to a service center the only option or will parts be available for us who are pretty handy ourselves?

If I made the purchase, I'd want to keep the mower running for years and years, so these long term questions are important to me. I know that many in the community will likely be eager to reply with info about the cost savings of electricity vs. gas, etc. , Thank you but I've already read that info and am only looking for information related to very long term running costs related to keeping the mower itself usable as reasonably as possible..

Thank you,

Joseph
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Joseph Metler

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Posted 2 years ago

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Blue Angel, Champion

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Joseph, I can offer a little insight.

1. Great idea and maybe something they would consider for the future, but as of right now there's nothing in place to trade in used batteries.

2. Although brush wear is a motor by motor thing, I can say that I sold my corded electric Black & Decker mower to my neighbor when I got the Ego mower. That B&D was ten years old and it was still going with the original brushes.

Though nothing has been put in place yet, we're all hoping a replacement part program will exist by 2019, which is when the first Ego tools will be out of warranty.

Hope that helps.
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Egocentric

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Joseph, I had many of the same concerns, and sort of arrived at the conclusion that I am not going to be able to get a good answer to that question.  I decided that the immediate convenience of the battery system was worth the risk.  I hope that doesn't come back to bite me.  Ego's 5 year warranty on the product helped a little bit.  The other thing is that persuaded me is that, its a lawnmower, not a car.  If the thing goes completely up in smoke, its not going to be financial ruin.  

Basically, for me, I have become so disgusted with gas mowers that the convenience was worth the risk.  Not a very satisfying answer to your question, but it was my motivation.   
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szwoopp, Champion

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Egocentric nailed it.  Although this is not cutting edge technology, it is a new product line, so there are some risks involved.  On the up side this is a very big company that has been making tools for a long time for other companies under other names, so it is not some start up. 

I was encouraged by the battery technology that seems to be a step up on others.  This gave me a level of comfort in making the purchase.

And as Blue said - everything they have sold is still under warranty, so it will be a few years until we know what ego will do about trade in programs and replacement parts.
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Michael G

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Joesph - these guys are right. If you search my posts I'm in (or was in) the same boat as you - want this thing to last at least 10 years before I need major maintenance investment. But, people at this forum and Ego reps have answered my questions and concerns with convincing answers - so far keeping me on the Ego side of the fence. I also took the plunge knowing Home Depot has a 90 day trial period. I bought my LM2102SP on May 21st and have cut my lawn 4 times with it. By my third cut the newness and fun of using this new mower has almost worn out. This is a good thing - only took 3 mowings to get familiar with this somewhat different machine. I've been so impressed with the operation of the mower I replaced my gas hedge trimmer, blower, and string trimmer with EGO and am loving gas-less on these tools actually more than the mower. 

Mike
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Agreed on the other Ego tools.  I love the line trimmer, and blower.  I really love the chainsaw.  Perhaps because I don't have to use it all that often?  

The chain saw really is my favorite.  Gas powered chain saws scare the life out of me.  This thing is a real mild mannered and very quiet.  Deceivingly so.  It rips through 8 inch hardwood like it is butter.  
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Joseph Metler

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Thank you everyone. I appreciate your feedback. For me, I keep circling back to the 7.5 AH battery pack vs. the cost of the self propelled 21" brushed mower (which is what I'd likely buy). Using current Home Depot prices, the 7.5 AH pack is $398.21 and the mower is $599.00. So the battery alone is 2/3 the cost of an entire new mower WITH another 7500mah battery! This really reminds me of the price gouging with ink jet printer refills where people often joked it was cheaper to buy a new printer for $59 than buy the refills for $38. (notice the numbers I picked there weren't coincidence). Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but the price gouging on the batteries is a huge turn off as an potential buyer. Sure there are ways to rationalize it "the mower price subsidizes the battery" or "buy more tools to get batteries cheaper" but why would I want to invest money knowing that the ala carte part prices are so high up front? This raises serious doubts for me as far as how willing Ego would be willing to take care of me down the line if they're so willing to gouge me up front on batteries. 
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I can't dispute your logic. If you look at it purely in economic terms, Ego may not be the way to go. I am willing to pay a premium for the convenience and utility. I also get along quite well with one 5 aH battery, and a fast charger, so perhaps with the size of my lawn, the fact that I am older, and have come to thoroughly despise gas powered equipment, Ego may be a far better choice for me than it is for you. Different strokes as they say. If I get 5 years out of the battery, I will be satisfied. If I get 7, I will be ecstatic. But again, that is me. If you feel that price gouging (good term btw) is not offset by the convenience, then obviously this is not the path you should take. There is little happiness in buying a tool and feeling that you are being screwed every time you use it. Do things that make you happy.
(Edited)
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Egocentric

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Oh hopefully the Ego won't clog up like an Ink jet printer.
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Michael G

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I know this isn't the case with EGO...yet, but, I can buy no- name cartridges for my printer for a buck. My power tool Li-Ion batteries have dropped in price in the past ten years plus they now pack twice the Ahr rating in the same package.
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David

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I looked at it this way. I'm buying my bare mower (roughly about 150$ more in price to a comparable gas mower ). 
And the price of the battery is like pre-purchasing my gasand tuneups for the next 4-5 years.
It in negligent what it costs to charge the battery but I know that with my gas mower it cost me ~$1.25 in fuel every mow. $6 in oil and a spark plug every year.
All of a sudden it doesn't sound so bad.
Especially if you consider the time, trips to the store/gas bar, jerry can, mess, starting, noise etc
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David

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I looked at it this way. I'm buying my bare mower (roughly about 150$ more in price to a comparable gas mower ). 
And the price of the battery is like pre-purchasing my gasand tuneups for the next 4-5 years.
It in negligent what it costs to charge the battery but I know that with my gas mower it cost me ~$1.25 in fuel every mow. $6 in oil and a spark plug every year.
All of a sudden it doesn't sound so bad.
Especially if you consider the time, trips to the store/gas bar, jerry can, mess, starting, noise etc
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David

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BTW- the cartridge in new printers only has a "teaser" quantity of ink (not a full cartridge even if they look it)
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Joseph, the cost of Ego's batteries is a long standing thorn in our sides, no doubt. The ultimate evidence is the 7.5Ah backpack blower kit that sells for only a few dollars more than the battery alone... I can't see why anyone would buy the battery when they could get an essentially free backpack blower instead.
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Joseph Metler

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Blue Angel, it's funny you mention it as I'm picturing large numbers of Ego Blowers showing up on eBay and Craigslist never used and maybe half off! (minus battery of course)

I really don't like Ego's business model. I'm a person of principle and would likely go with an inferior product (with a more supportive manufacturer) than buying Ego at the present moment. I'm not looking to make an immediate purchase, so there is hope, but I just cant see choosing Ego, knowing what I'd be getting in to. None of us should have to buy a blower (or another mower) just to get a replacement battery at a reasonable price. (Ego could solve this with a trade-in program, but there's none presently.)
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Michael G

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Joseph - I'm thinking something has to happen with the battery costs once the 3-year warranty period vanishes. Speaking from the power tool end of Li-Ion batteries, the high cost of replacement batteries created a new industry - battery re-builders. This caused the OEM new battery prices to drop somewhat. If EGO chooses not to bring the battery prices in line sales could be lost to re-builders.

Mike
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Hmmm!  Interesting observation on the glut of blowers on Ebay.  Just blowers, you say, no string trimmers...which use the smaller batteries.  Ha!  

Joseph, I have to agree with you, this is less than an ideal situation.  I haven't looked into any other manufacturer's policies.  If you do go with a competitor and find a better battery policy, come back and post it, so that we can all storm Ego's castle walls with our pitchforks and blowers.   
(Edited)
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Joseph/Michael, the other thing to keep in mind is the constant decline in lithium battery prices. As new competition comes to market they will do so with that day's market price backing up their business model, making them more competitive.

Ego's battery prices have not dropped since 2014, yet the cost of lithium batteries does drop at about 3-4X the rate of inflation every year. At some point the cost per Ah will have to come down at the retail level for them to stay competitive.
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Egocentric

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Blue, let us hope! 
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Ego is a premium brand and their batteries are designed better than any others I've seen, but they still need to be priced competitive enough as to not discourage potential customers...

When the battery replacement cost is more than 2/3 the cost of the kit it came in, we have a problem. In the case of the 15Ah snowblower kit, the cost of the replacement batteries is EQUIVALENT to the cost of the kit! How does that make any sense?
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szwoopp, Champion

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I'm not chearleading, just honestly asking for an explanation
Ego 5Ah 56v = $245
Greenworks 5Ah 60v = $199

Ego 7.5Ah 56v = $398
Greenworks 5Ah 80v = $359 (special price - formerly $399)

Greenworks 2 year warranty - Ego 3 year
Does the higher volts effect the battery value ?

Just curious about the overpriced battery conclusion v we expect a discount when we buy a kit.
Would like a little explanation of the why when making these statements.  I am all for lower prices, just like to understand the products and some of you guys are more than qualified to give me a little battery pricing 101.
 
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Joseph Metler

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You increase the voltage by adding more cells. At least with hobby stuff, LiPo cells are 3.7 volts each, so to get say 44 volts, you'd need 12 cells. That's the general idea for getting 80 volts vs. 56. Generally, because of manufacturing costs, it's cheaper to build fewer bigger cells than more smaller cells, so voltage (in general) would cost more since more cells are required. 

There's also the value/price of cell or battery component prices. Generally, you'll get higher performance with higher quality electrodes, wiring and electrolyte. 

Unfortunately, none of this speaks to the price difference of certain tool EGO prices ala carte vs. buying them as a combination tool, battery, charger. It seems to be more sales and marketing vs. engineering driven decision.

The battery and motor for an electric power tool are roughly equivalent to a gas engine for a lawn mower. Baring the super cheap stuff, any mower with a major brand engine will have parts available for decades, if not more and that's without the need to toss the whole engine and replace it for a new one. Ego really needs to address the high battery prices if they're going to convince more people to give up their MUCH cheaper to repair gas mowers.
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szwoopp:

2.5Ah $150 = $60.00/Ah
5Ah $245 = $49.00/Ah
7.5Ah $398 = $53.00/Ah

Going from the 2.5 to the 5 doubles the capacity and sees a 22% drop in price per Ah. If the jump from 5 to 7.5 (50%) had the same proportional drop of 11%, we would see the price set at $44/Ah, or about $330.

It should be clarified that when I say Ego's batteries are overpriced, my main issue is with the 7.5Ah. Also, just because someone else is overcharging doesn't mean Ego/HD aren't. ;-)

Also noteworthy is how the 5Ah battery is $49/Ah and the two year older 4Ah battery was $50/Ah... pretty much the same, and the cost/capacity of bulk lithium batteries drops significantly year over year by about 7%.

In my opinion, when two or three years goes by Ego should be introducing today's new higher capacity battery at the same price as yesterday's model. If they don't do that, some competitive product line will launch with ordinary margins based on the reality of the day and significantly undercut them.

Refusing to keep your prices competitive and based on your costs will price you out of the market. Cars are no more expensive than they were ten years ago despite offering far better equipment/performance/specs, same goes for cellphones and lots of other products.

Ego's batteries are getting more expensive, not less or even staying the same. Gotta be aggressive if you want to stay ahead... specs and reviews only get you so far, and as we've seen here there are customers looking at costs down the road that include replacement batteries. :-)
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szwoopp, Champion

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Thanks Blue
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Any time! :-)
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When I had my gen 1 20" mower apart of the motor repair, I measured the brush length.  I do not know what the original length is, but the THREE YEARS of use didn't seem excessive.  Also the commutator (the contact that the brushes contact) did not look excessively worn either.  My conclusion is that the battery system will fail long before the brushes and motor windings give out.  No data on the sealed bearings, but those usually last a good long while; and if the fail before five years, they are covered by the warranty.

https://community.egopowerplus.com/ego/topics/20-mower-field-repair-of-the-motor


(Edited)
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Cldlhd

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I don't think you can really make an economic case for a battery powered mower at this point. For the cost of one $500 EGO you could purchase 2 gas mowers and get about 15 yrs out of each with decent maintenance. It's more of a want. You have to decide if the lighter weight, less maintenance hassles , less noise etc are worth it,
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Michael G

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"You have to decide if the lighter weight, less maintenance hassles , less noise etc are worth it,"

Yes, yes, & yes.

I bought the 21" EGO in May. My previous mower was a Honda that I had for 17 years. It served me well but it's a joy to just walk out to the shed with a battery under my arm, pull out the mower, pop the battery in, and mow! (same for my other new EGO tools)

Mike
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People paying more for convenience is not a new or revolutionary concept.

Many people in first world countries will spend more money upgrading their smartphone every two years than what we are talking about with the lifetime ownership cost difference between an Ego and a gas mower... every two years.

Funny how a piece of lawn equipment faces such financial scrutiny while we barely think about many of the other ways we choose to spend our money.

Drive a truck to work every day? Buy a car instead, and you'll save more money on gas in two months than it takes to buy an Ego mower outright. Few people actually need a truck, but lots of people WANT one. ;-)
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Joseph Metler

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Actually, I paid for a different type of convenience. I bought a 30" mower on sale for slightly more than the cost of the EGO. I'll save 1/3 the time in mowing and not have to deal with the exorbitant EGO replacement parts costs. I have no doubt that you haven't factored in replacement battery (and other) costs for the EGO in your "lifetime ownership cost difference".
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Cldlhd

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My work isc4 miles from home so no way I'd make up the difference in gas.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Chris, at 4 miles, you would be the exception! :-)
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Joseph, even if you needed a new battery every 5-10 years my argument still stands; the $400 7.5Ah would add $40-$80/yr. to ownership costs. For someone with a large enough yard who actually needs the run time of the 7.5, much of that cost would be used up in gasoline.

The 5Ah would add $22.50-$45/yr. In the grand scheme of things these costs are puny. Switching from a large coffee to a medium in the morning would have a much greater impact on one's finances. ;-)
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Cldlhd

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I wouldn't argue that the cost will have an impact on ones finances, I spend about $40 or so a week on happy hour, I'm just saying that it is more expensive than a gas mower even if the battery doesn't need replacing. At least given the current cost of gas and the fact that my yard is between 1/4 and 1/3 an acre. I have no problem with the idea of paying a bit more for convenience, easier storage, less maintenance,less air and noise pollution etc.. However I don't feel the smartphone analogy holds up entirely. People use their smartphones everyday throughout the day, they're portable and most are pretty beat up after 2 years. I use my mower once a week for about 45 minutes and for 1/3 of the year. Also phones see pretty significant jumps technologically over 2 years compared to a lawn mower. One is used to communicate, play games, entertain, read books ,give directions and the other is a tool to get a job done.
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All valid points, no doubt. I was just tossing some perspective in for good measure. :-)
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Cldlhd

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I know, I like the back and forth. The only other thing I have a little concern about is future repairs. If my mower needs a part there are plenty of places both local and online where I can get them pretty quickly and from what I read the warranty work through Home Depot can be a bit exasperating. Also as said earlier EGO should come out with a more advanced model for the same price or make it cheaper. I hope this happens but I'm not going to lie if I pay $500 for a mower and a year later a substantially improved model comes out for the same or less it will be somewhat irritating. Unlike a car you can't trade it in.
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Agreed on the repairs. Hopefully Ego will have a replacement parts program in place before 2019 when the tools start coming out of warranty.

A more advanced model making your mower obsolete? That's smartphone talk! :-D
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Joseph Metler

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I decided that the parts costs for the EGO mower were simply too high to make it attractive over the long haul. Perhaps if the batteries were reasonable it would of been a different story but other parts were also much more expensive than a typical gas mower as well. Personally, I don't really care about the noise or the weight of a gas mower. I'll concede that having gas on hand and storing it can be a hassle though!
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Cldlhd

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That's why I own a car and not a truck. When I needed to get sheetrock last weekend I rented the Home Depot truck for $20. I'm not saying it's a bad purchase decision overall it's just that from a money perspective it doesn't make sense, regardless of how much cheaper it is per cut. I'm sure a lot of people who love them might feel different if their battery dies shortly out of warranty and the cost is still where it's at. I'll probably get one for my mower but I do feel people often aren't objective about a semi expensive purchase they make , they like reinforcement that they made the right decision.