$150 (Cost of a cheap gas mower)
$75 (Year 1 Operating Cost)
$75 (Year 2 Operating Cost)
$75 (Year 3 Operating Cost)
$75 (Year 4 Operating Cost)
$75 (Year 5 Operating Cost)
$525.00 Total Spent on Gas Mower, Gas, Oil, Stabilizer, Filters, Spark Plugs, service...
$507.80 Cost to purchase an EGO mower and pay for electricity.
To use a phrase from a former President, George W. Bush, you are practicing “fuzzy math”.
My last $129 mower lasted 10 years. All I did was change the oil 2x's a year, use 1 gallon of gas a month and replaced the spark twice during my ten year ownership. One thing you did not mention was sharpening the blade. I do my own blade sharpening every one or two years. I never had to replace it, however, I could readily buy one locally if needed. How about your replacement? Is it stocked locally, or would I have to wait weeks for one to come from China?
Sorry, but most mowers don’t need an oil filter. As far as fuel stabilizer: none is needed if you run the fuel out before storing it away for the winter. If you leave fuel in the tank over the winter, the gas will eat up your carburetor seals (never had the rebuild my carburetor as a result). In other words, your figures suggest poor maintenance practices which may ironically void the warranty(E85). Also, I do not not buy E85 gas, just regular unleaded. I could go on about why E85 is actually worse for the environment anyway, but that is a separate conversation.
Now we will address the true cost of a cheap gas mower. The numbers reflect my actual operating costs:
1. 1 gallon gas at $3.50gal/month
2. 2 sparks over 10 years @ $1.29 x2/120(ten years in months)=$.02/month
3. 2 quarts of oil a year @ $3.00/qt (I usually get it cheaper than this, when its on sale=$.50/month
4. Using my bench grinder to sharpen the blade, energy and stone usage WAG $.02/month
Totals 3.50+.02+.50+.02=$3.5/month=$7.70/month x 6 (months of mowing in Minnesota, very few places mow year around)= $46.20/yr x 5yr = $231 + $129(mower cost) = $360 (interesting this equals the cost of the Greenworks mower on line from Amazon). Oh but I forgot I have to charge the batteries weekly, so I guess this “green mower” cost more than my recyclable gas mower too! I got 7 years service from my first one and 10 years from my last one, I doubt the Ego will last that long(added savings when you factor in the ten year life). It has yet to prove it can make its 5 year warranty.
Dear readers: please tie this in with my reply post for “impact on the environment.”
Two spark plug changes total, during my 10 year ownership.
Time to change spark plugs=approx 5 mins(10 mins total for the whole ten years)
Two oil changes per year, change oil=15 mins each time (20 oil changes total for ten years )
Extra maintenance, once a year; scrape down the underside of the deck=1/2 hour (total 5 hrs for 10 years).
You are right some people don't know how to do these simple tasks, or they would rather pay someone else to do them. Also, some people value their time so much, or don't want to do the mowing themselves they will hire that out too. I like doing my own maintenance.
RE: time to/from gas station=one time a year(5 gallon can with Sea Foam fuel stabilizer added)
I buy it when I gas up my car so I fill up the can too, the gas station is 1/2 mile away.
RE: sore shoulder/icing = none, I am 58 years old, I run the mower completely empty before storing it away for the winter, pull out the spark plug and spray fogging oil; re install spark plug . I make sure I buy my gas in the spring, well after the switch over to warm weather gas from the petroleum companies(gas sold in the winter has more alcohol in it to prevent fuel line freeze up), so there isn't any "gumming" up of the carburetor. Starting the following year takes 2-5 pulls with fresh gas. When you take care of your mower properly it is easier on you both physically and financially(no need to rebuild the carburetor or have some one do it for you). I do this to my snow blower too, except I fill my 5 gallon can with gas in the fall, before the switch over to winter blend gas and add Sea Foam to it(I have yet to see a battery powered snow blower).
You are right about the exhaust fumes, and a big concern for me is noise pollution. After much researching on gas vs. battery power mowers I have decided to buy a different brand of battery powered mower, because of the fumes and noise issue effecting both me and my neighbors, another plus is easy starting for my wife. I am not totally sold on the complete green message of these mowers, reference my posts "impact on the environment" , "protect motor" and "actual cutting diameter of your unit". The mower I am going to get is a true 20" mower and is a full $100 dollars cheaper than Ego, from another home improvement store($369 from amazon), there are many more tools the batteries(comes with 2 batteries and a charger that gives you a 70 min run time)can be used on and they have been making these"green products" for a much longer time. I feel the Ego's are overpriced, they have not been time tested yet and their product line is not near as extensive. Ego's have two advantages, 56 volt battery, and are fold-able with another 1/2 advantage, the headlight (who knows how well it will light and how much battery draw it will have, I will just mow when it is light out, just as I have always done), however I see this as not enough to justify the extra $100+ bucks.
The Craftsman 40-Volt Li-Ion Dual Battery, Dual Blade, 20" 2-in-1 Cordless Push Lawn Mower. Its blade measured 19-1/4"(19.25), this one is harder to measure since the motors are not in line with each other, one is offset a little behind the other(the plastic housing over the blade measured 20") . The two 10" blades turn faster than the Ego and they spin counter to each other(this would probably cut the clippings finer), comes with two batteries and a charger, run time 70 min. Folding the handle down was difficult, Its body also is virtually 100% plastic and seamed more flimsy. Cost: Sears $399.99.
The G-MAX 20" 40V Cordless Twin Force Mower, (2) Batteries, Charger. I could not find any in stock at local stores, but looking at it, I suspect they make the Sears model above, looks identical. Cost: Lowes $399, Greenworks direct $399, Amazon(price may vary day to day) $369.99. I will use the same comments as the above Craftsmen.
The Kobalt 40-Volt Max 20-in Cordless Electric Push Lawn Mower. A Lowes exclusive, none of the Lowes in my area had any in stock, nor any other cordless mower brand they advertised. Cut Width is listed as (Inches)20.0, has multiple tools that the battery can be used on, this is also true for the preceding brands above. Lowes: $394.64.
The Ryobi 20 in. 48-Volt Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower. Appears to be a Home Depot exclusive, not in stock in any store in my area. Blade Length listed as (In.) 19.5 (probably factual because of the way its worded, more on that later). Self propelled and very heavy, battery usage appears to be limited to this mower. Home Depot: $369
I measured many green mower blades, some corded and some battery operated, they all measured considerably short except the Remington models, all of these measured within +/- 1/16"(.0625) of their listed size. At Sears, Lowes, Home Depot I randomly measured gas lawn mower blades right on the unit, they all measured within +/- 1/16" of their listed size. At Sears I also measured many gas mower replacement blades they had in stock(they carry blades for many different brands, even for mowers they do not sell) they too were +/- 1/16" of their listed size. interestingly I could not find a replacement "green" mower blade in stock(not even for their brand), however it is possible I could have overlooked it .
Now we go on to the "wording" of the mower size. Beware of implied statements such as "20-Inch cutting deck"," Cutting Width 20 in", "20” Cut Capacity"," cutting swath" none of these statements actually mean the same as blade length. The Ryobi listed size as 19.5 could be factual because of its wording, This would make it "the widest cutting swath of all battery powered mowers on the market".
Fudging the size of these mowers reminds me of when computer CRT monitors would state their diagonal measured size including the plastic molding detent/indent around the screen. I don't know if a government agency, lawyers, or the consumer public outcry caused then to change their advertising practices. You my a recall a brief period of time when they listed the size as example: 19"(view able image 18.5) and now, they are simply listed as 19" and it measures very close to that.
While "green" mowers are certainly competitive, viable and there is a market for them to be "presently" used for small city lots and some suburban larger lots, in the end I could not justify purchasing one for me. While I could have made one work for me, even with my midsize suburban lawn, a combination of price, misstating of blade sizes, a smaller blades means more work for me(I am older and have arthritis)and major plastic parts . My new mower(from Home Depot) is a Toro smart stow, self propelled, a full 22" blade and it will fold up vertically like the Ego, even with gas and oil in it. I expect to get 7 to 10 years out of it just like my other ones. Maybe by then the battery mowers with have larger (true) blade sizes, will be be self propelled and can get at least 60 min. from a battery.
By no means I am trying to tell anyone not to buy a "green" mower just know all of the facts and make the decision that is best for you.
Robert I hope you enjoy your new Ego mower, you can always build your own mower in the future again if need be.
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